The Millennium Negro: The “New Black”

Joshua Lawrence LAzard

8 19 2014-WATN- Charice Pempengco & Raven Simone

“To put it bluntly, the likes of Pharrell and Raven-Symoné can afford to declare their independence from blackness.”

In April of this year, Pharrell Williams declared the “new Black” in an interview with Oprah Winfrey by saying:

The “new black” doesn’t blame other races for our issues. The “new black” dreams and realizes that it’s not a pigmentation; it’s a mentality. And it’s either going to work for you, or it’s going to work against you. And you’ve got to pick the side you’re gonna be on.

Just yesterday, child star of “The Cosby Show” fame, Raven-Symoné said the following:

I’m tired of being labeled.  I’m an American. I’m not an African-American; I’m an American.  I mean, I don’t know where my roots go to.  I don’t know how far back they go.  I don’t know what country in Africa I’m from, but I do know that my roots…

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Social media and a Slightly nude woman.

So, a little while ago i posted this photo on my instagram:


As a confidence building thing. I have, since i was 13 struggled with my body, and just now, going on 22 in January, i am finally starting to become proud of how i look. And under the picture i said about how we shouldn’t care what others have to say about something like this, to be proud of how we look and not feel ashamed for loving ourselves sort of deal.  And this is the response i received:


It was nice that someone had stuck up for me, but in the moment that i received the original comment about not respecting myself and the picture making me look stupid and bad, i was nervous but decided to leave it up.

Now i feel i wasn’t in the wrong, the picture of me is clearly respectful in the sense that it’s not demeaning and i don’t show off too much.
Im quite proud of myself for keeping it up anyway, it was a huge step for me in building my self esteem and self confidence.

But why is it that people, mostly women, freak out, we were born naked, we shower naked, we have to get dressed and that requires nudity, and so does sex…so why is it so wrong and disrespectful or demeaning to be proud and feel comfortable and sexy in our own skin? Is that not part of loving yourself?
Why did my picture have to become a sexual thing? Does this mean every female showing just as much with a shirt on doesn’t respect herself? Doubtful.

Why did my slight show of being nude offend someone? Since when is being natural and happy out of social norms and taboo? And since when is it a bad thing?
Is this the world i want my children living in? No, it’s not. I want my children to know the boundaries, but to love themselves and be proud of themselves.

Why is such a serious thing taken as a joke?

Has any one ever noticed that if you are sad people are there for you, care, and worry, but if you have clinical bi-polar depression, (as opposed to physical depression, which is caused by what one might be going through and can be over come) which is not something you can get rid of, people think and act as though it is a joke.

I have experienced peoples reactions first hand, having been diagnosed with cbp depression, as a result of having this my depression can affect me in “waves,” and as of most recently my fiancee was not understanding the severity of which my depression can get out of nowhere. Last year for instance I was so depressed, more than I had experienced in the past and I didn’t know how to go about coping with it(I choose not to take medication for my condition because rather learn about it than be on a script the rest of my life, being it doesn’t go away as I said physical depression does), anyway, I blacked out and took an hour and a half walk before I realized my mind set was to jump off a cliff, which I did not want to do at all. It was by far the scariest thing to know I didn’t have control over my own self because of my depression, but now I know to open up to someone if I start feeling close to how I did just before that happened. Well, anyway, my fiancee is not very good with “comforting” people, especially not me, he starts to feel bad and gets mad that he cannot help me, understandable but because he had heard about my depression many times before and he didn’t know how to help he avoided helping me and talking to me about it. When I made him listen to me he explained he didn’t realize it was so serious and apologized for not just being there for me as I had asked.
But it has been making me think, he isn’t the only person close to me to not realize how bad it can get. My dad who was there for the diagnosis has told me time and time again to get over it and stop making excuses, my grandmother has said to “look myself in the mirror and tell myself to get over it.”
So I want to know, why is it so looked over and treated as a self-guilt symptom, or taken as a joke all together?

“Abort it and try again”

Let's go have some pancakes.

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 8.52.08 PM

“Abort it and try again.”

Was this nasty comment made by a faceless internet troll? No. Immature teenage kid? No. This twitter gem comes from Oxford scholar Richard Dawkins in response to a woman pondering today whether or not she would continue a pregnancy if she learned the fetus had Down syndrome.

When I logged in to twitter to see how this great mind had responded to the ensuing backlash, I was hoping to see a well thought out, albeit misguided rebuttal. I was surprised to find this:

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 8.39.15 PM

This is supposed to be one of the most intelligent voices of our time, and a champion for critical thinking and evidence-based logic. His defense is “everybody does it.”

Reading further down his twitter feed didn’t improve things. So far we’ve learned that Richard Dawkins not only doesn’t value a life with Down syndrome, he actually feels it is immoral to knowingly bring…

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Failure is Good

In Flow with Otto


Failure is inevitably linked with art – and life for that matter. Well, it’s also linked to success if you think about it. To put it a little harshly; if we don’t experience failures it’s because we don’t live – or we don’t create, when talking about arts. And if we don’t dare to make failure we will never succeed, either.

Life and art is about jumping from an airplane without knowing how a parachute really works, but hoping it will. It’s about taking chances, knowing that often they won’t lead to anything – or at «worst» to failure. I use brackets because failures aren’t necessarily bad. On the contrary; you can use them as stepping stones to learn more, to become better next time, to evolve, to grow. In my post Weakness as Potential Strength I wrote: By figuring out where our weaknesses lie, we can take steps to…

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A picture worth a thousand words, or less?


This is a photo a drew when i was having a tough time in January, which if you read my first post should be quite understandable. Many people tell me they like this picture, others have said there is too much going on in it.
I showed my mother this and her immediate response was “Alicia, it is beautiful, but are you okay? If you need to talk I’m here.”
So I have since become more and more curious of what comes to mind when people see this, like:
What does the picture say to you?
What does it make you feel?
Or What comes to mind?
Would you too ask me if I’m alright?
Or maybe you understand what some of my thoughts were when I drew this, and would like to converse with me about it.

Please comment your thoughts, even if it’s just words.

Chaucer’s Funny Rape: Addressing a Taboo in Medieval Studies

Rachel E. Moss

[TW: rape, sexual assault, victim-blaming.]

Rape is funny.

That’s the kind of first sentence that might get me some immediate unfollows from impatient readers, but bear with me; I trust if you’ve been reading my work for a while, you’ll know that’s an introduction, not a conclusion. I’ve been thinking about this post on and off since the International Medieval Congress in Leeds this July, but I couldn’t work out how to quite put what I wanted to say into words. I haven’t managed this time, either, but perhaps this may mark a start in a conversation I think we need to have.

Lately in the popular and geek media there has been a great deal of discussion about whether or not it’s ok for comedians to make jokes about rape and whether feminists are too “sensitive” for reacting negatively to said jokes. On the FREEDOM OF SPEECH!!1! side, the…

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