Archive for the kimya dawson Category


Posted in kimya dawson on March 20, 2012 by jerlina

If she didn’t exist I’d be really sad.


White Privilege, Black Power and Some More Kimya

Posted in kimya dawson, mixed celebs, my theories about race that are true on September 28, 2010 by jerlina

This is a post of many themes. First I want to start a theme that I will continue writing more about but it has to do with white privilege. I mentioned in my “why it’s better to identify as mixed” post that mixed people benefit from white privilege which I whole heatedly believe is true. This morning I thought “white privilege functions more like a spectrum than either you’ve got it or you don’t.” What does this mean exactly? Well because I’m fairly assimilated into white culture I feel pretty confident when going into situations such as national parks, meditation centers, farmers markets, job interviews, museums etc. that are full of white people. After a while I usually notice and get annoyed but for a while I usually don’t notice that I’m the only brown person around. So this is where the spectrum comes in. Mixed people often have more access to resources that are usually exclusively white (intentionally or by default) but that feeling of inclusion (which really manifests as NOT feeling excluded because of culture or skin color) usually has its limits. Also, poor white people usually don’t feel privileged at all. Especially if they are assimilated into black culture. Oh it’s all so wonderfully confusing! Well, I won’t go further because I don’t have much more to say about it now, but I will.

On the subject of Black Power i want to talk about mixed kids with black nationalist dads by way of another mixed celeb spotlight! Did you know that Amiri Baraka (aka LeRoi Jones)- founder of the black arts movement had two daughters with Hettie Cohen? They were both beat poets but then Baraka became a black nationalist, moved out of the Village, up to Harlem and left his Jewish wife behind. Or so the story is told. Their children Lisa and Kellie,  both became very successful and I happened to have worked for Kellie when I worked in New York.

I am really interested in mixed people with black nationalist dads. Danzy Senna in her book Caucasia also had a black nationalist father and even though she passed as white she chose to identify as black. Lisa and Kellie identify as black too.  A friend of mine, however, who had a black nationalist dad who left his mom for a more afrocentric lifestyle chooses to identify as mixed. Food for thought.

Dr. Kellie Jones is Associate Professor in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. Her research interests include African American and African Diaspora artists, Latino/a and Latin American Artists, and issues in contemporary art and museum theory. Her teaching covers the 17th – 21st centuries

Lisa Jones is the Author of Bullet Proof Diva: Tales of Sex, Race and Hair which I read in high school and thought it was pretty interesting. Lots of it dealt with her experience as a mixed person who identifies as Black. In the book she writes, “My mother is white. And I, as you may or may not have figured out, am black. This is how I choose to define myself and this is how America chooses to define me. I have no regrets about my racial classification other than to lament, off and on, that classifications exist period.”

Ok now time for more awesome KIMYA!!! Woot woot!

This song is called Walk Like Thunder and it’s the best ever!

Individualism and Communalism

Posted in kimya dawson, my theories about race that are true on August 26, 2010 by jerlina

I just sat down to write about individualism v. comunalism but I’m not sure what exactly I want to say. I do want to write about it in relation to being mixed. Ok, this is a simplistic version of what show up in a later posting which might be more thoughtful: white American middle class culture is individualistic. Most other cultures aren’t. So let me spell that out in terms of my own experience:

My grandpa grew up as one of 5 boys and lucky for him he was really smart. Really really smart. They didn’t have much but he worked his way up the ladder in the Royal Canadian Navy then went into hospital administration where he retired at the top of his profession. He was a lone ranger, a cowboy, a man of his own making who created his own wealth and his own identity with is own two hands. He is, as far as I can tell, a model individual. He doesn’t belong to a church, a cultural association, he isn’t even that into family life. No groups for grandpa, unless they are more of a meeting of individuals.  Oh yes, and grandpa is white, but even writing that doesn’t make sense because that isn’t part of his identity. Grandpa is an individual, not a member of any group, especially a racial group.

On the total opposite end of the spectrum is my Grandma Jonny. Although she was an outstanding person, it’s hard imagining her apart from the communities that she was apart of. Grandma was all about family all the time. I don’t know if I can remember ever seeing grandma alone, like as in being home by herself or going shopping solo. Grandma was so inseparable from her family that she almost can’t exist without thinking about other relatives at the same time. She didn’t go to church either, like my grandpa, and she wasn’t apart of any clubs, but she to me seems to embody a communal identity. She was a wave in an ocean called my family. And it’s probably obvious but Grandma was African American and loved R&B and gospel music and southern cooking. This was all part of who she was and I can’t imagine that she ever thought about struggling to find herself or distinguish her own identity. Who knows, maybe she did but I just can’t imagine it.

So having these two pillars in my life, two examples of how to live a noble life surely is confusing. A radical individual on one hand, a stitch in a quilt called my family on the other. And I don’t think this is a gender thing, although that could have something to do with it, I think it’s a cultural thing. Currently I am reflecting on how individualistic (or ‘self absorbed’) I have become since leaving home 10 years ago and can see this individualism in the culture I am currently apart of at Zen Center. I share the company of many “Jack Kerouac” types who arrived with nothing but a backpack and a dream of enlightenment. Here we are together in this beautiful valley, a loose band of individuals who don’t know or care for each other very well. On one hand it’s great to have the space to carve out my own identity and do what I want but lately I’ve been wondering about communalism.

I’ve been wondering what it might be like to be absorbed by a group of people who know and care about each other? What would it be like to open up my identity to include other people? I mean, when I think about myself it’s not just in terms of personality traits but in terms of who I am responsible for, who I connect with and am supported by. What if I actually thought that I belonged to a group of people who knew where I was coming from and might be able to support where I’m going? All this kinda sounds like fantasy, in part because I haven’t mentioned the suffocating and oppressive aspects of communal identity and living but for now I kinda want to focus on the benefits.

So I mention all of this here on my blog about being mixed because I think this issue is pretty common for us mixed folks. Especially in relation to how we identify ourselves culturally/ethinically/racially. Do we take on communal identities, can we become embedded in cultures and family groups or are we individuals? Is this idea of “choosing” an identity just another form of radical individualism passed on from our lighter sides? Is our choosing to identify as black or brown or whatever an act of aligning with our communal sides? Agghhhh!!! Can’t win can you?

Can we do both? Can we be individualistic and communal? I am pretty sure we can because I think that I do this, I switch between feeling like I am a member of communities- mostly my friends and family, and at Zen Center I am an individual, a lone warrior. In fact I seem to hate being treated like a member of some group when I’m here, I just want to be me, radically, uniquely, undeniably Jerlina.

So I wonder if it has been that way for my maternal grandpa and my fraternal grandma? Did they fluctuate between these ways of thinking about themselves? They probably have but maybe not as much as my and my brother.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now.

(notice the different perspectives these two graphics show of individualism and communalism. I tried to find a neutral picture but had no luck)

Oh, I have to share yet another Kimya Dawson song and it is on this subject! Amazing! My BFF sang it to me after I wrote this post. It’s called I like Giants- listen to the lyrics, they are incredible. woweeee.

More Kimya because she is great

Posted in kimya dawson on July 11, 2010 by jerlina

Here are a few more Kimya Dawson videos and links to two of her websites. I love her.

Kimya Dawson “Rollercoaster”

Posted in kimya dawson, mixed celebs on June 18, 2010 by jerlina

I met this lovely lady in Olympia Washington. I like her and her music (and you guessed it she is very mixed).