Friday, January 13, 2006

Welcome to My New Home

Liberals In Exile has moved due to hacker damage. So, welcome to my new home. I began Liberals In Exile on Blue Lemur with a letter to the world. I'm reposting it here for old times' sake.:

This is my letter to the world,
That never wrote to me,--
The simple news that Nature told,
With tender majesty.
Her message is committed
To hands I cannot see;
For love of her, sweet countrymen,
Judge tenderly of me!
--Emily Dickinson--

This blog will be, amongst other things, my letter to the world. I will rarely speak of myself or my personal life, unless the intersection of personal and political demand it. Instead, this will be a running account of my thoughts on the social, political, and cultural events of our day. However, as I've often found it helpful to know at least a bit about the person behind the ideas in my own reading, I'll open with a brief personal introduction that, I hope, will give you a fuller, more nuanced understanding of my scribblings.
I was born into the lower classes of the Deep South and was raised in the area that comprises the Bible belt. From my Southern roots, I inherited a substantial traditional streak when it comes to personal character and responsibility to the interests of the community. From my experiences with the deprivations and degradations of poverty, I learned a radical, proto-socialist view of economic justice and the myth of the American dream.
For most of my life, I was an above-average, overall "good kid." (This is, unfortunately, with the exception of the many neighborhood fights I engaged in due either to some slight against myself or attack on my little brother, the runt.) I excelled in academics, dabbled in sports, actively participated in extracurriculars, attended church regularly, and volunteered my time to organizations like the Special Olympics. I was even a cheerleader my freshman year and JROTC cadet sophomore year.
Perhaps I would have remained the "All-American" kid if I were not, as a friend has described me, "militantly engaged" in the world around me. As it was, experience and education eventually led me to a personal and political transformation.
First, an encounter with my 8th grade Louisiana history teacher forced me into an acute awareness of my racial background. To the casual observer's eye, I appear to be just another blonde haired, blue eyed "white" girl. Only a select few have noticed that my coloring is simply a result of recessive genes inherited from my two biracial parents or that my facial features are rather non-Caucasian. My teacher was, unfortunately, of the first category and so felt comfortable insulting Native Americans in a classroom lecture on the state's early days. Her error was quickly corrected by my infuriated "Excuse me?!" and another student's comment on my Native American background.
Before this, my awareness of my heritage was limited to my family's discussion of our lineage and the occasional comment from a relative about how I had inherited this or that physical characteristic from my non-white ancestors. Afterwards, I pursued my heritage with a vengeance that led to a more radical view of what it meant to be Native American, to "pass for white" and to be biracial in a country obsessed with the white-black dichotomy.
Later, at the age of 16, I discovered that I had been raised to believe something about myself that was wholly untrue. Like everyone else, I was socialized with the understanding that I was heterosexual. Unlike most, I wasn't. The discovery of my "lesbianism", the process of coming out, the loss of so much due to my sexual orientation, and my pursuit of information and education to guide me in my "new identity" radicalized me perhaps far more than anything else.
It took a long time to temper the rage that filled me when I was suddenly an object of discrimination, harassment, ridicule, and even physical attack. After being forced to leave home and school for the sake of my physical and psychological survival, I went on a three year binge of sex, alcohol, and self-discovery. More than a decade later, I am comfortable with being gay. I am not now, nor will I ever be, comfortable with the treatment of LGBT people in this country. Much of my work as an "activist", writer, and journalist has focused on the injustices of a homophobic/heterosexist society.
I am no longer the "All-American" kid. I'm a biracial, Jewish (I converted.) lesbian and liberal to the core. I'm a creative rebel with a lot of causes. I'm a pragmatic democratic socialist with influences by Plato, Aristotle, Thorstein Veblein, John Stuart Mill, Upton Sinclair, George Orwell, Martin Luther King, Jr., Ghandi, and many others. I am a radical in a nation where the acceptable "left" is still right of center. I'm a liberal in exile. Which leads us to my "qualifications." I have a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of New Orleans and a Master's in journalism from NYU. I am a perpetual student obsessed with history, philosophy, and politics. I am a Raw Story columnist, Altar Magazine book reviewer, the former associate editor of a small LGBT mag in New Orleans, and a freelance journalist appearing in various mags from time to time. Like most young writers, I'm still struggling to build a career in difficult economic times. (The cycle of poverty is, to my great distress, not as easily broken as some would claim. Talent, hard work, and education are rarely "enough" in and of themselves.) With time and effort and a stubborn streak wider than the Mississippi, I'm certain to succeed eventually. Perhaps I'll be one of those rags to riches stories you read about from time to time.
Until then, this blog is my letter to the world with hope that someday, the world will answer.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

best regards, nice info
» »

6:53 PM  

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