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Uses of the @ Sign, Part II / Usos del signo @ (arroba), Segundo Parte

lati-negros:

I am African-American and Puerto Rican, black on both sides, un poco indígena.

I grew up in a land of women, descended from clusters of sisters who were siblings first, mothers second, daughters third. My latinidad unfolds from that past, binds me to my three sisters in the present, pushes us down dark streets into the future. It never crossed my mind to question the role women’s labor, time, energy, and anger played in my everyday life. It was in the water.  

Like English, Spanish is a language of colony, empire, and bondage. English erases her/ella from existence; Spanish obsesses over defining the terms. Spanish leaves little space for gender to hide, slide away from itself, transgress, be queer. Gender becomes a territory marked by soft vowel sounds asking who is she/quien es ella and who is she to him. 

I want my language(s) to reflect my reality, the generation on generation of women’s work I wrap myself in. I use the *@* to  disrupt the a/o in Latin@, to force the reader to search for *her* or *him* or *hir* or *they.*  To require consent. Or a question: Who are you and who am I to you?   

My blackness, checkered, runs in multiple directions—through South Bronx, Carolina, Utuado, Alabama—and meets itself back in Chicago, the city of wind. It’s bolstered by familia formed in DC, Brooklyn, New Orleans; only at the LatiNegr@s Project, among radical womyn of color bloggers, as my mother’s daughter. So I use the small ‘b’ because on these different roads, my blackness is called different things and signified in different ways—it is hip hop, Regla Ocha, house music, the chocolate strike of the clave, twerking, and ratchet. I fear boundaries created by nationalizing blackness. I want it all—every drop of Africana/africanidad I can drink up. I even want the blackness that denies itself. And I want my blackness to trickle and breathe without effort, coil like a cobra before striking. 

In the past, I haven’t remixed the arroba with Afro (Afr@) or used Afra. I could give a good reason, suggest using Afr@ appears redundant against its counterpart in Afr@Latin@, or using Afra, while centering women, succumbs to a gender binary that erases trans* and genderqueer latinidad. 

But my real reason is still the water. Convinced my latinidad was already so dark, intimate, and female, it never occurred to me to do more than pair it, linguistically and visually, with my blackness: Latinegr@. Afrolatinidad. Afro-Latin@.  And ingesting a blackness already so rich and male, I never questioned ways I assumed a certain masculinity in the Afro-diasporic movements, politics, imagined diaspora also as male.

These are questions I didn’t ask until forced to, until given space to do so in places like this. In other words, there is more in the water than I thought. There are monsters swimming there, dangerous assumptions worth putting to bed and soon. 

Now I’m looking at the word Afr@Latin@ and discovering there is something satisfying about seeing the arroba nestled so nicely within the word/between the words, something circular and thick and familiar. Como una guagua winding its way home. 

by Jessica Marie (@jmjohnso)

Photo
[Excerpted from Are Women Human?]
Let’s Talk about Names: Britni
Britni de la Cretaz is a feminist, activist, queer femme, former pessimist, dopeless hope fiend, and super rad chick. She is a social worker by day and a spiritual gangster by night, as well as site leader and co-founder of Hollaback! Boston somewhere in between. Her goal every day is to make just one person’s day a little bit better. She believes in second chances, sleeping in, and lots of sequins. You can find her blogging at Fiending for Hope or tweeting her face off at @hopefiending.

The other thing that I love about making a non-traditional decision about our last names upon marriage is that it allows me to open up this feminist discussion about agency and choice with the world at large. I work with teen girls who have often never considered anything other than what society has taught them. When I explain that my husband and I have decided that we will both change our name upon marriage, to symbolize our moving forward as equal partners who are forging a life together and becoming a family, I plant a seed. In being true to myself and my feminist values in this area of my life, it allows me to subtly spread my feminist ideas just by living my life the way I think it should be lived.
We’re lucky that in our state, Massachusetts, it’s easy for both of us to change our names. We are one of the states that allows same-sex marriage and therefore one of the fewer-than-there-should-be states that allows men to change their name upon marriage. A man in Florida has been accused of fraud and had his license suspended for taking his wife’s last name after marriage. Something as simple as this is a good example of why we need feminism. Feminism isn’t about man hating or boner killing or being angry. To me, feminism means that the personal is political and feminism is ultimately about choice. It’s about giving all people choices in their lives to do what they feel is right for them. This couple decided that the husband would take the wife’s last name to honor her heritage, and that was the choice that worked for them. Unfortunately for them, the state is trying to dictate what kinds of choices they can and can’t make for their family. This kind of thing happens everyday, all over the country, in both more and less obvious ways. Anyone who says that feminism isn’t necessary any longer should re-evaluate that position.

To read the entire piece, click here.
Image used with permission of author.

[Excerpted from Are Women Human?]

Let’s Talk about Names: Britni


Britni de la Cretaz is a feminist, activist, queer femme, former pessimist, dopeless hope fiend, and super rad chick. She is a social worker by day and a spiritual gangster by night, as well as site leader and co-founder of Hollaback! Boston somewhere in between. Her goal every day is to make just one person’s day a little bit better. She believes in second chances, sleeping in, and lots of sequins. You can find her blogging at Fiending for Hope or tweeting her face off at @hopefiending.


The other thing that I love about making a non-traditional decision about our last names upon marriage is that it allows me to open up this feminist discussion about agency and choice with the world at large. I work with teen girls who have often never considered anything other than what society has taught them. When I explain that my husband and I have decided that we will both change our name upon marriage, to symbolize our moving forward as equal partners who are forging a life together and becoming a family, I plant a seed. In being true to myself and my feminist values in this area of my life, it allows me to subtly spread my feminist ideas just by living my life the way I think it should be lived.

We’re lucky that in our state, Massachusetts, it’s easy for both of us to change our names. We are one of the states that allows same-sex marriage and therefore one of the fewer-than-there-should-be states that allows men to change their name upon marriage. A man in Florida has been accused of fraud and had his license suspended for taking his wife’s last name after marriage. Something as simple as this is a good example of why we need feminism. Feminism isn’t about man hating or boner killing or being angry. To me, feminism means that the personal is political and feminism is ultimately about choice. It’s about giving all people choices in their lives to do what they feel is right for them. This couple decided that the husband would take the wife’s last name to honor her heritage, and that was the choice that worked for them. Unfortunately for them, the state is trying to dictate what kinds of choices they can and can’t make for their family. This kind of thing happens everyday, all over the country, in both more and less obvious ways. Anyone who says that feminism isn’t necessary any longer should re-evaluate that position.

To read the entire piece, click here.


Image used with permission of author.

Photo
[Excerpted from Flyover Feminism]
Let’s Talk about Names: Rebekah
Rebekah is a married feminist and activist who has worked on projects for Planned Parenthood and has interned with her state legislature. She grew up on a ranch in the middle of nowhere New Mexico. She currently is majoring in accounting and lives in the suburbs of Seattle with her husband.

I don’t know if I made the right choice about my name or not. Some days I appreciate it’s simplicity. Some days I feel an extreme disconnect to it and wish to change it. I know that I always have the option of doing that later. I still have complicated feelings about having the last name of a man who wasn’t really a father to me, and I would much rather have a last name that speaks to something that I freely chose, instead of something that was thrust upon me by way of birth. Either way I have learned that the names chosen for me by my parents aren’t my identity.

To read the entire piece, click here.
The lily pond at Juanita Bay Park. Photo used with permission of author.

[Excerpted from Flyover Feminism]

Let’s Talk about Names: Rebekah


Rebekah is a married feminist and activist who has worked on projects for Planned Parenthood and has interned with her state legislature. She grew up on a ranch in the middle of nowhere New Mexico. She currently is majoring in accounting and lives in the suburbs of Seattle with her husband.


I don’t know if I made the right choice about my name or not. Some days I appreciate it’s simplicity. Some days I feel an extreme disconnect to it and wish to change it. I know that I always have the option of doing that later. I still have complicated feelings about having the last name of a man who wasn’t really a father to me, and I would much rather have a last name that speaks to something that I freely chose, instead of something that was thrust upon me by way of birth. Either way I have learned that the names chosen for me by my parents aren’t my identity.

To read the entire piece, click here.


The lily pond at Juanita Bay Park. Photo used with permission of author.

Photo
[Excerpted from Are Women Human?]
Let’s Talk about Names: Nia
Nia King is a queer mixed-race multi-media producer with a passion for social justice. She is the creator of the podcast We Want the Airwaves: QPOC Artists on the Rise, the film The Craigslist Chronicles, and QTPOC Comics. You can learn more about her work at artactivistnia.com or by following her on Twitter, @artactivistnia.
This piece was originally published in Borderlands: Tales from Disputed Territories Between Races and Cultures and reprinted in Race Revolt Magazine.

Earlier I said that my hair is one of the only markers of my ethnicity. The other big one is my name. Nia is Swahili for “purpose”. It’s also the fifth day of Kwanzaa, which falls on December 30th. When I compiled “MXD: True Stories by Mixed-Race Writers,” I edited it and submitted to it under the name Oxette. I took this nickname while traveling places where no one knew me. I decided to use it full time when I was looking to settle down and start over. I hoped ditching the old name would help me put the past behind and get a fresh start. But I had this nagging guilt. How could I start over and leave the proud Black name my father had given me – one of so few markers of my ethnicity – behind? It was unconscionable. And so I took the name back.

To read the entire piece, click here.
Nia’s partner on a beach in Monterey. Image used with permission of author.

[Excerpted from Are Women Human?]

Let’s Talk about Names: Nia


Nia King is a queer mixed-race multi-media producer with a passion for social justice. She is the creator of the podcast We Want the Airwaves: QPOC Artists on the Rise, the film The Craigslist Chronicles, and QTPOC Comics. You can learn more about her work at artactivistnia.com or by following her on Twitter, @artactivistnia.

This piece was originally published in Borderlands: Tales from Disputed Territories Between Races and Cultures and reprinted in Race Revolt Magazine.


Earlier I said that my hair is one of the only markers of my ethnicity. The other big one is my name. Nia is Swahili for “purpose”. It’s also the fifth day of Kwanzaa, which falls on December 30th. When I compiled “MXD: True Stories by Mixed-Race Writers,” I edited it and submitted to it under the name Oxette. I took this nickname while traveling places where no one knew me. I decided to use it full time when I was looking to settle down and start over. I hoped ditching the old name would help me put the past behind and get a fresh start. But I had this nagging guilt. How could I start over and leave the proud Black name my father had given me – one of so few markers of my ethnicity – behind? It was unconscionable. And so I took the name back.

To read the entire piece, click here.


Nia’s partner on a beach in Monterey. Image used with permission of author.

Photo
[Excerpted from Flyover Feminism]
Let’s Talk about Names: Annamarya
Annamarya Scaccia is an award-winning freelance journalist who has reported extensively on reproductive health and reproductive rights, women’s issues and rights, civil rights, constitutional issues, marriage equality, sexuality, sex worker rights, and sexual violence, among other rousing topics. Her work has appeared in/on Philadelphia City Paper, Philadelphia Weekly, West Philly Local, Initiative Radio with Angela McKenzie, RH Reality Check, Prince George’s Suite, Origivation, and BLURT. She was a 2011 Peter Jennings Project for Journalists & the Constitution Fellow, and is the author of the 2005 poetry and prose collection, Destiny for a Tragedy.

But this isn’t why I hated my name or why I wished upon stars that my birth certificate read Amanda instead. The simple, unabashed truth is I wanted to be named Amanda because of what it symbolized: an American girl in an Italian family.
In a lot of ways, my family is the quintessential Brooklyn Italian famiglia. Our heritage is important to our identity, to the way we communicated, and to the way we responded to the outside world. A mix of broken English and broken Italian was spoken over dishes of orecchiette and ragu. We would walk the line of the Santa Rosalia feast (better known as the 18th Avenue Feast) every year and shove our faces with delicious, messy zeppoli. And we would attend midnight mass on Christmas at St. Simon and Jude Church, filing in with our other Catholic neighbors.
Yet, I wasn’t Italian enough. Even though my mother would only joke about how I was “Americanized”— how I couldn’t speak or understand a lick of Italian or I didn’t like certain traditional foods—I always felt she had a point. How can I really be a first generation Italian-American if I couldn’t comprehend the language that filled our house? How could I really be a first generation Italian-American if I turned away from Catholicism to pursue a more profound faith?

To read the entire piece, click here.
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. Image via WikiCommons.

[Excerpted from Flyover Feminism]

Let’s Talk about Names: Annamarya


Annamarya Scaccia is an award-winning freelance journalist who has reported extensively on reproductive health and reproductive rights, women’s issues and rights, civil rights, constitutional issues, marriage equality, sexuality, sex worker rights, and sexual violence, among other rousing topics. Her work has appeared in/on Philadelphia City Paper, Philadelphia Weekly, West Philly Local, Initiative Radio with Angela McKenzie, RH Reality Check, Prince George’s Suite, Origivation, and BLURT. She was a 2011 Peter Jennings Project for Journalists & the Constitution Fellow, and is the author of the 2005 poetry and prose collection, Destiny for a Tragedy.


But this isn’t why I hated my name or why I wished upon stars that my birth certificate read Amanda instead. The simple, unabashed truth is I wanted to be named Amanda because of what it symbolized: an American girl in an Italian family.

In a lot of ways, my family is the quintessential Brooklyn Italian famiglia. Our heritage is important to our identity, to the way we communicated, and to the way we responded to the outside world. A mix of broken English and broken Italian was spoken over dishes of orecchiette and ragu. We would walk the line of the Santa Rosalia feast (better known as the 18th Avenue Feast) every year and shove our faces with delicious, messy zeppoli. And we would attend midnight mass on Christmas at St. Simon and Jude Church, filing in with our other Catholic neighbors.

Yet, I wasn’t Italian enough. Even though my mother would only joke about how I was “Americanized”— how I couldn’t speak or understand a lick of Italian or I didn’t like certain traditional foods—I always felt she had a point. How can I really be a first generation Italian-American if I couldn’t comprehend the language that filled our house? How could I really be a first generation Italian-American if I turned away from Catholicism to pursue a more profound faith?

To read the entire piece, click here.


The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. Image via WikiCommons.

Photo
[Excerpted from Are Women Human?]
Let’s Talk About Names: Robyn
Robyn is a parent, educator and writer living in New England. Her writing tends to focus on issues of gender, food justice, sports culture, and queer parenting. She manages an urban farm project for a living and loves to laugh, learn, share and smile with her wife and beautiful toddler. You can find her on twitter (@1brobyn).

The legal name change process can be very challenging to navigate; for me, the situation was only compounded by the stress of travel. On top of the initial steps completed in time for the flight that never was, I’ve contacted the State Dept of Vital Records to update my birth certificate, applied for a new passport, corrected my health insurance and acquired new debit and credit cards. The list goes on.
With every phone call, email or office visit, I never know what to expect. Sometimes, staffers says “sure,” and other times I am met with judgment or resistance. Sometimes I am able to send one email and other times I must fax multiple forms. Sometimes gender matters, and other times it doesn’t. Sometimes it’s infuriating and other times it’s awkwardly hilarious. I hear the line ‘Well, I have never gotten that question before’ more than I ever expected to in my lifetime. Sometimes, I’m even embarrassed by my own behavior, like when I entered “tips on how to take a good driver’s license picture” into the search engine and proceeded to watch a recommended video for pointers.
The business side of transition continues. At last check, I still had dozens of updates that I hope to make. I try to take care of these in small doses, when I have the time and energy. I’ve also come to the realization that my name and gender trail is long and complex, to be found in numerous manila folders, databases and pockets of the internet. I might not ever completely update my name and gender marker in all of these locations. This is unfortunate, but it’s not something I will allow myself to be consumed by.

To read the entire piece, click here.
Grounded during the blizzard. Image used with permission of author.

[Excerpted from Are Women Human?]

Let’s Talk About Names: Robyn


Robyn is a parent, educator and writer living in New England. Her writing tends to focus on issues of gender, food justice, sports culture, and queer parenting. She manages an urban farm project for a living and loves to laugh, learn, share and smile with her wife and beautiful toddler. You can find her on twitter (@1brobyn).


The legal name change process can be very challenging to navigate; for me, the situation was only compounded by the stress of travel. On top of the initial steps completed in time for the flight that never was, I’ve contacted the State Dept of Vital Records to update my birth certificate, applied for a new passport, corrected my health insurance and acquired new debit and credit cards. The list goes on.

With every phone call, email or office visit, I never know what to expect. Sometimes, staffers says “sure,” and other times I am met with judgment or resistance. Sometimes I am able to send one email and other times I must fax multiple forms. Sometimes gender matters, and other times it doesn’t. Sometimes it’s infuriating and other times it’s awkwardly hilarious. I hear the line ‘Well, I have never gotten that question before’ more than I ever expected to in my lifetime. Sometimes, I’m even embarrassed by my own behavior, like when I entered “tips on how to take a good driver’s license picture” into the search engine and proceeded to watch a recommended video for pointers.

The business side of transition continues. At last check, I still had dozens of updates that I hope to make. I try to take care of these in small doses, when I have the time and energy. I’ve also come to the realization that my name and gender trail is long and complex, to be found in numerous manila folders, databases and pockets of the internet. I might not ever completely update my name and gender marker in all of these locations. This is unfortunate, but it’s not something I will allow myself to be consumed by.

To read the entire piece, click here.


Grounded during the blizzard. Image used with permission of author.

Photo
[Excerpted from Flyover Feminism]
Let’s Talk About Names: Marna
Marna Nightingale lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. She is very married

I put a lot of thought into the question of taking my hypothetical future husband’s name, when I was in my late teens and early twenties. Just as I felt I had come up with a plan, though, I got a girlfriend. Then I turned out to be poly. I now have two wives, a husband, and my birth name, not on principle, exactly, but because when it comes down to it, there is no practical alternative.
We did consider it, but all of us taking a new, made-up name didn’t appeal to any of us. Choosing one of the four names and going with it didn’t work either. As for hyphenation, I think quadruple-barrelled surnames should be given only to minor European nobility, who are presumably issued special passports with extra blank space to fit it all in.
Aside from all of that, I like my surname. If I didn’t, I might think differently; I don’t know. I don’t really think of it as “my father’s name”, either, even though he’s the reason I’ve got it. He carries it; he doesn’t own it any more than I do – or I don’t own it any less than he does.

To read the entire piece, click here.
Photo used with permission of author.

[Excerpted from Flyover Feminism]

Let’s Talk About Names: Marna


Marna Nightingale lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. She is very married


I put a lot of thought into the question of taking my hypothetical future husband’s name, when I was in my late teens and early twenties. Just as I felt I had come up with a plan, though, I got a girlfriend. Then I turned out to be poly. I now have two wives, a husband, and my birth name, not on principle, exactly, but because when it comes down to it, there is no practical alternative.

We did consider it, but all of us taking a new, made-up name didn’t appeal to any of us. Choosing one of the four names and going with it didn’t work either. As for hyphenation, I think quadruple-barrelled surnames should be given only to minor European nobility, who are presumably issued special passports with extra blank space to fit it all in.

Aside from all of that, I like my surname. If I didn’t, I might think differently; I don’t know. I don’t really think of it as “my father’s name”, either, even though he’s the reason I’ve got it. He carries it; he doesn’t own it any more than I do – or I don’t own it any less than he does.

To read the entire piece, click here.


Photo used with permission of author.

Photo
[Excerpted from Are Women Human?]
Let’s Talk about Names: Minna
Minna Hong is a freelance editor/copywriter by night, and political blogger/fiction writer by later night.  She blogs about race issues, women’s issues, queer issues, and whatever else is on her mind for her Angry Black Overlady at angryblackladychronicles.com under the ‘nym asiangrrlMN (now Minna Hong (asiangrrlMN)).  She also contributes to the mayhem at Dead Shuffle, where she is responsible for the Minneapolis Zombiepocalypse. She’s working on her fiction website, which she hopes to do more with in the very near future.  In her spare time, she is learning the Sword Form in tai chi, cuddling with her two black cats, and tweeting merrily during #AfterDarkTwitters as @asiangrrlMN.  

Fast-forward to the latest lament over women changing their names upon marriage.  This is a pretty standard old-school feminist stance, and as critics have pointed out, narrow, privileged, and Eurocentric. Here’s the odd thing – I agree with many of the basic premises –there still is an expectation in society that a woman will take her husband’s last name, that even though the choice is individual, there are societal pressures that influence said choice, and it’s still considered ridiculous for a man to take a woman’s last name. All of these are reminders of sexist attitudes that still exist – and yet, the argument often leaves me cold.
One illustration of why: when I first became a feminist twenty years ago, I had an old-school feminist (wearing bright pink lipstick, mind you) ask, “What’s a feminist like you doing wearing a miniskirt?”  I said to her, “I got out of the patriarchy because it was always telling me what to do. I’ll be damned if I let anyone else do it, either.” I told her that automatically rejecting everything the patriarchy demanded was allowing the patriarchy to control you just as much as if you did everything it ordered. As long as you were simply reacting, you were still granting the patriarchy all the power. Part of feminism, to me, was the freedom to choose for myself after carefully thinking out the issue, and I wasn’t going to cede that power to ANYONE, ever again. Besides, damn it, I had good legs, and I wasn’t above showing them off.
 But I digress, as is my wont.  Back to the argument about name changing. Feminists who criticize this practice often do so in a way that’s purely academic, not taking into account real-world feelings.  Or, when they do, they dismiss people’s reasons as insufficient and assert why their ideas are better. There are no reasons good enough, in this frame, for a woman to change her name upon marrying. What this tells me is that people making such arguments aren’t interested in a discussion – only in pontificating.

To read the entire piece, click here.
Taroko Gorge in Hualien, Taiwan. Image used with permission of author.

[Excerpted from Are Women Human?]

Let’s Talk about Names: Minna


Minna Hong is a freelance editor/copywriter by night, and political blogger/fiction writer by later night.  She blogs about race issues, women’s issues, queer issues, and whatever else is on her mind for her Angry Black Overlady at angryblackladychronicles.com under the ‘nym asiangrrlMN (now Minna Hong (asiangrrlMN)).  She also contributes to the mayhem at Dead Shuffle, where she is responsible for the Minneapolis Zombiepocalypse. She’s working on her fiction website, which she hopes to do more with in the very near future.  In her spare time, she is learning the Sword Form in tai chi, cuddling with her two black cats, and tweeting merrily during #AfterDarkTwitters as @asiangrrlMN.  


Fast-forward to the latest lament over women changing their names upon marriage.  This is a pretty standard old-school feminist stance, and as critics have pointed out, narrow, privileged, and Eurocentric. Here’s the odd thing – I agree with many of the basic premises –there still is an expectation in society that a woman will take her husband’s last name, that even though the choice is individual, there are societal pressures that influence said choice, and it’s still considered ridiculous for a man to take a woman’s last name. All of these are reminders of sexist attitudes that still exist – and yet, the argument often leaves me cold.

One illustration of why: when I first became a feminist twenty years ago, I had an old-school feminist (wearing bright pink lipstick, mind you) ask, “What’s a feminist like you doing wearing a miniskirt?”  I said to her, “I got out of the patriarchy because it was always telling me what to do. I’ll be damned if I let anyone else do it, either.” I told her that automatically rejecting everything the patriarchy demanded was allowing the patriarchy to control you just as much as if you did everything it ordered. As long as you were simply reacting, you were still granting the patriarchy all the power. Part of feminism, to me, was the freedom to choose for myself after carefully thinking out the issue, and I wasn’t going to cede that power to ANYONE, ever again. Besides, damn it, I had good legs, and I wasn’t above showing them off.

 But I digress, as is my wont.  Back to the argument about name changing. Feminists who criticize this practice often do so in a way that’s purely academic, not taking into account real-world feelings.  Or, when they do, they dismiss people’s reasons as insufficient and assert why their ideas are better. There are no reasons good enough, in this frame, for a woman to change her name upon marrying. What this tells me is that people making such arguments aren’t interested in a discussion – only in pontificating.

To read the entire piece, click here.


Taroko Gorge in Hualien, Taiwan. Image used with permission of author.

Photo
[Excerpted from Flyover Feminism]
Let’s Talk about Names: Trudy
Trudy Hamilton is a writer and culture critic at Gradient Lair (@GradientLair), and a photographer, writer and eBook author at Tru Shots Photography. She has a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice with additional graduate work in Psychology. Her interests include critical media/art examination, and media/art’s impact on a plethora of sociopolitical issues. She identifies as a Womanist/ intersectional feminist. Follow her daily musings on Twitter:@thetrudz

When I finished college over a decade ago, I started the job search like every other graduate. Though I worked during most of my undergrad years, I assumed finishing my degree meant that I could get jobs that paid better than retail and call centers.I attended PWIs (predominantly White universities), lived in a racially diverse and economically stable area near my college and of course have the name “Trudy.” The combination of these factors consistently conveyed “White woman” to employers. However, every time I walked into the door for an interview, surprise, confusion, irritation, disappointment and even disgust covered White employers’ faces. (It never gets any easier seeing these expressions, even a decade later.)
It no longer mattered that they previously thought that I had a good résumé. It no longer mattered that the pre-screening phone call was pleasant and even charming or humorous at times. The laughs shared or conversation became a long forgotten memory as I, a Black woman, stood in their offices, practically interrupting many all-White spaces with my previously clandestine Blackness revealed. This doesn’t mean that in the over ten years since undergrad I haven’t had a job. I’ve been hired by the surprise-faced Whites more than the disappointment or disgust-faced Whites, obviously. (Completing a Master’s degree almost five years ago, plus the recession, has made it harder to find work outside of my own freelancing work as an artist. Employers seem even angrier when a Black woman with a Master’s degree shows up at an interview, versus one with a Bachelors degree.)

To read the entire piece, click here.
One of the halls at Stanford University. Photo used with permission of author.

[Excerpted from Flyover Feminism]

Let’s Talk about Names: Trudy


Trudy Hamilton is a writer and culture critic at Gradient Lair (@GradientLair), and a photographer, writer and eBook author at Tru Shots Photography. She has a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice with additional graduate work in Psychology. Her interests include critical media/art examination, and media/art’s impact on a plethora of sociopolitical issues. She identifies as a Womanist/ intersectional feminist. Follow her daily musings on Twitter:@thetrudz


When I finished college over a decade ago, I started the job search like every other graduate. Though I worked during most of my undergrad years, I assumed finishing my degree meant that I could get jobs that paid better than retail and call centers.I attended PWIs (predominantly White universities), lived in a racially diverse and economically stable area near my college and of course have the name “Trudy.” The combination of these factors consistently conveyed “White woman” to employers. However, every time I walked into the door for an interview, surprise, confusion, irritation, disappointment and even disgust covered White employers’ faces. (It never gets any easier seeing these expressions, even a decade later.)

It no longer mattered that they previously thought that I had a good résumé. It no longer mattered that the pre-screening phone call was pleasant and even charming or humorous at times. The laughs shared or conversation became a long forgotten memory as I, a Black woman, stood in their offices, practically interrupting many all-White spaces with my previously clandestine Blackness revealed. This doesn’t mean that in the over ten years since undergrad I haven’t had a job. I’ve been hired by the surprise-faced Whites more than the disappointment or disgust-faced Whites, obviously. (Completing a Master’s degree almost five years ago, plus the recession, has made it harder to find work outside of my own freelancing work as an artist. Employers seem even angrier when a Black woman with a Master’s degree shows up at an interview, versus one with a Bachelors degree.)

To read the entire piece, click here.


One of the halls at Stanford University. Photo used with permission of author.

Photo
[excerpted from Are Women Human?]
Let’s Talk about Names: Rawls
Kristin Rawls is a freelance writer based near Raleigh, North Carolina. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Christian Science Monitor, Salon.com, AlterNet, Truthout, Bitch Magazine, Religion Dispatches, GOOD Magazine and many others.

I’m attached to my name because of the stories that come with it and because of the perspective they’ve given me on the world. Just as importantly, I am deeply averse to making more trips to the DMV and other record-keeping agencies than absolutely necessary. So I’m unlikely to ever change my name.
And I really hope no one ever assumes that I’m judging their naming decisions because I never change my name. For the record, I could not care less what you do with your name. That’s up to you.

To read the entire piece, click here.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

[excerpted from Are Women Human?]

Let’s Talk about Names: Rawls


Kristin Rawls is a freelance writer based near Raleigh, North Carolina. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Christian Science Monitor, Salon.com, AlterNet, Truthout, Bitch Magazine, Religion Dispatches, GOOD Magazine and many others.


I’m attached to my name because of the stories that come with it and because of the perspective they’ve given me on the world. Just as importantly, I am deeply averse to making more trips to the DMV and other record-keeping agencies than absolutely necessary. So I’m unlikely to ever change my name.

And I really hope no one ever assumes that I’m judging their naming decisions because I never change my name. For the record, I could not care less what you do with your name. That’s up to you.

To read the entire piece, click here.


University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.