Posts tagged ‘Washington DC’

5 places to go in DC

For today’s blogging challenge, I’m doing a list post. If you’ve seen my previous posts, you know that I recently returned to my hometown of Los Angeles after living in DC for 8 years. I am happy to be home and it was a much-needed return, but I can’t even tell you how much I miss DC and I can’t wait to go back.

With that said, I’m letting my nostalgia lead me and am doing a list of 5 places to go in DC. This list could be much longer, but I didn’t want to get carried away and I wanted to focus on my faves.

1. Cafe Asia sushi is my favorite food, and this was my favorite place in DC to get it. Also, I enjoy the 2 dollar sake during happy hour. I’ve been to the Rosslyn location too, but I really love the atmosphere in the DC location.

2. MarvinThere’s so much to say about Marvin. I can’t tell what I like best–brunch on Sundays or DJ Stylus on Mondays! Shrimp and Grits is my favorite thing on the menu, but my standout memory of Marvin was going there on a random Thursday for a J-Dilla tribute/DJ Set. One of my most fun times in DC.

3. Perry’sI added this partly because I just love it and partly because I once went there with Rosetta, my homegirl and the one who originated the 31 Days to a Brand New Blog challenge. It’s another place where you can get sushi, but it’s really a Latin-Japanese fusion kind of place….and they have a fabulous rooftop.

4. Lounge of IIISo many great memories were spent at this little bar on 10th and U Streets, NW. Great hip hop music, cheap drinks, what more could a girl ask for?

5.Eatonville Zora Neale Hurston is my favorite author, and I’ve had some great times at this restaurant on the 14th Street Corridor. Great soul food, decent drinks, and amazing artwork on every wall. And it’s another place Rosetta and I used to hang out 🙂

If you live in DC (or you have visited), what are your favorite places in the city? If you live outside of DC, where are your favorite places to go in your city?

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Where I’ve Been (Or, Why I took a Hiatus)

When I’m down, I just draw some roses/on a pretty piece of paper/…halfway through I feel so much better/I imagine happiness/and it runs right to me, such amazing beauty–Georgia Ann Muldrow, “Roses”

Things have been noticeably quiet around here, so I thought I’d tell you about what’s been going on and what I’ll be up to next.

About 3 weeks ago today, I became a casualty of this recession: I was laid off from my job. During those first few days, I felt so many different emotions at different times. First I was sad (I cried for the better part of the afternoon on day 1), then I was angry (why me?!), and then scared sh*tless (how will I pay my rent?).  I had to take an extended time away from updating my blog to go through all of these emotions, and to take some time to reflect and map out my next moves. But as time went on and as the biggest snowstorm in DC’s history blew through my hood, I started to feel, despite it all, happy.

That isn’t to say that this time has been easy or that it isn’t stressful. Being unemployed is always difficult no matter what the circumstances were that lead you to it. I know Im not immune to the challenges that lie ahead, nor the present. But more than anything else, I’ve made the conscious decision to take this time of “(f)unemployment” to learn more about what it is I really want my career to look like, and how I want to pursue my own happiness from here on out.

Lately, I’ve been listening to the song “Roses” by Georgia Anne Muldrow:

The song challenged me to meditate on what was really important in my life, the things and people I had to feel grateful for, and the ways that God has continued to bless me. Everytime I feel frustrated or when sadness starts to creep up again, I try to think more about my strengths and less about my weaknesses. I focus on the few things that made me smile, the people who made me laugh throughout the day.

Soon after I discovered “Roses”  for the first time on Blip.fm, I came across an article about the artist who wrote and performed the song, from an issue of LA Weekly published just last year. She was discussing her philosophies on life, her new baby boy, and her music. One part of the article discussed the remix of “Roses” featuring rapper Mos Def, and how that moment caused a type of paradigm shift for her:

“It was an inspiring thing because the week that [Mos Def asked to remix her song ‘Roses’ for his new album], I stopped calling myself broke and started to follow certain spiritual laws one must observe in order to call oneself successful,” she says. “You can’t cancel out all the resources from the divine realm, which are trying to help you. I’m very inspired by what energies can be brought in through cleansing the bad habits and negative energies toward myself. Or directed toward what I think about myself. And that’s the most inspiring thing, because that’s what ‘Roses’ is about: finding happiness from within.”

Keeping the faith and staying positive during challenging times isn’t easy but I think I’m doing a little better than I thought I would. Every day I have to remind myself that I’m alive, that I’m capable, that I’m healthy, and that I have friends and family who love me.

My 26th birthday is in exactly a week. As I approach the second half of my 20s I find myself considering what I want 30 to look like. I sometimes wonder if I would have started my own company by then or if I’ll be married with children. Then I realize that there’s no exact way to predict where you’ll be 30, nor is it a magical age where everything will necessarily fall into place. The only thing I know for certain is taht I know and believe in my heart that I’ll be happy.

For now, I’m reminding myself just as Georgia Anne Muldrow sings in “Roses” that happiness and fulfillment–in my career, in my friendships, in love–is a journey. Every day I am striving to act on my knowledge that not only does my happiness start with me, but also that a little bit of faith really does and will go a long way.


The Sotomayor Hearings and White Male Condescension

Picture Courtesy of the New York Times

Picture Courtesy of the New York Times

By the way: For those of you who missed the hearings or just want to see a good rundown of who’s who in all of this: Check out Adam Serwer’s post over at the American Prospect.

Okay, I’ll admit it.

I really did watch all 4 days of the Sotomayor hearings.  I didn’t watch so much to hear what the Republicans were going to say. I was pretty sure that they were going to harp on her speeches and the “wise latina” comment in particular, and do some failed race-baiting. I really did it to hear Sonia Sotomayor speak, and to watch her play hardball in the face of all of that racist and sexist adversity.

But what I wasn’t counting on was how offensive the tone of Republican’s questioning was going to be. I was more offended by the condescending and bullying tone peole like Tom Coburn used than the words themselves. They spoke to Sotomayor for 4 days as if she was a 12 year old on the street. Jessica Faye Carter talks more about this in her column at True Slant:

There’s another way to describe how certain Committee members have spoken to Judge Sotomayor: microaggressively.

The term “racial microaggressions” was originally coined in 1970 by Dr. Chester Pierce, a psychiatrist, to describe the (sometimes unconscious) mistreatment and humiliation of Blacks by Whites. But the definition has evolved over time to include behavior exhibited towards women and all people of color.  According to Dr. Derald Wing Sue of Columbia University, microaggresions are subtle behaviors that communicate slights, hostility, insults, or disrespect toward a specific person or group. In other words, they are put-downs that don’t really seem like put-downs—making them all the more challenging to identify and address.

Microaggressions generally fall into three categories: microassaults, an overtly racist act or communication, microinsults, which are demeaning or insensitive behaviors, and microinvalidations, or the negation and invalidation of a person’s life experiences.  The more subtle microaggressions were not only present in Judge Sotomayor’s hearing, but seem to have gone largely unnoticed by the mainstream media.

Still don’t believe me or Jessica? Look at this example:

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina seemed unconvinced that Judge Sotomayor, a sitting appellate judge, understood specific legal doctrines. So he questioned her on them, praising her when she answered correctly—as if he were her instructor—and consistently interrupting her as she attempted to respond:

SEN. GRAHAM: When Judge Rehnquist says he was a strict constructionist, did you know what eh (sic/he) was talking about?

JUDGE SOTOMAYOR: I think I understood what he was referencing, but his use is not how I go about looking at –

SEN. GRAHAM: What does strict constructionism mean to you?

JUDGE SOTOMAYOR: Well, it means that you look at the Constitution as its written or statutes as they are written and you apply them exactly by the words.

SEN. GRAHAM: Right. Would you be an originalist?

JUDGE SOTOMAYOR: Again, I don’t use labels. And — because –

SEN. GRAHAM: What is an originalist?

via Transcript – Sotomayor Confirmation Hearings, Day 2 – Text – NYTimes.com.

It is wholly appropriate for Mr. Graham to ask Judge Sotomayor what a specific legal term means to her, or whether she considers herself to fit into a certain legal category. But the questions testing her legal knowledge are a microinsult.

This is just another example of sexist and racist overtones to the treatment of Sotomayor at the hearings and in the press.  Moreover, they went back to Sotomayor’s background, saying that it would influence decisions she’d make as a Supreme Court Justice.  Right, as if their white male backgrounds wouldn’t. Perhaps if I got the feeling that the Republicans not supporting Sotomayor held themselves to the same standard, I wouldn’t be so bothered by this particular concern, but I have a sneaking suspicion that they do not.

Let’s face it, most of the white people–mostly males–who are coming forward as being so strongly against Sotomayor’s confirmation are doing so because they are deathly afraid of  smart woman of color who has truly gotten to where she is on her own merit and ability. They are afraid of the idea that she may very well do a better job than a white male and could quite possibly be smarter than them.

With that said, I am so very proud of Sonia Sotomayor and the intelligence, grace, and humility she showed during the course of this 4-day hearing. She makes me so proud to be a woman of color at this particular moment in our nation’s history. That wise Latina really knows how to shake them haters off.

Looking for the Next Barack? Yeah, right.

Some of you may have seen Jenee Desmond Harris’ piece in the Root last week. In it, she says that perhaps Black women can learn from Michelle Obama by letting go of our shallow “requirements”: a college degree (or two), a house, a “good” job (think Capitol Hill or a Consulting firm), and yes, “swagger.”

But now there’s a follow up from a male perspective. This week, David Swerdlick’s piece entitled “What Women Can’t Learn from Michelle” really sparked my attention:

You can’t argue with Jenée’s thesis: her coterie of pedigreed, upwardly mobile black women have to dig deeper for unseen potential if they’re looking for “Mr. Right.”

But if Barack Obama Part Deux is what it’s going to take to satisfy them, then her advice is going to leave a lot of women single as hell.

Personally, I blame Dwayne Wayne. Those endless reruns of your favorite episodes of A Different World get y’all completely twisted when it comes to evaluating a potential mate. But that’s beside the point. Here are a few tips to straighten things out:

Stop comparing regular guys to Barack Obama.

I can only speak for myself—I’m biracial, went to some pretty decent schools and spent most of my 20s in a cramped bachelor pad—but that’s where the comparisons to Barack Obama end. There’s nothing cool or Kravitz-esque to see here—I’m the other kind of mixed guy, in need of a tan and a fade. Picture Benjamin Jealous after six weeks on Survivor.

He had me at hello.

So many women–especially in DC–are on a mission for their Barack Obama. Now I know this goes against my past views about this topic, and I have to say that after much thought, I think that perhaps the “find your next Barack Obama” meme is over the top and, in a word, a little silly. There is only one woman for Barack Obama, and that’s Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama.

But beyond that, I think what what Swerdlick is getting at is that many women look at the wrong things: we are looking for some inkling of Presidential Swagger that may not be there because, well, the guy you’re peeping at the happy hour is not the President at all. And he may never be President. Sad, but true.

Stop looking at his checkbook and start updating your playbook.

Just because a man can “afford” to pay for $15 apple martinis doesn’t mean he wants to. Sometimes the guy buying rounds of shots is on his third bankruptcy, and the guy drinking $2 Miller Lights owns three rental properties.

We’ll do what we have to do to get your phone number, but in case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a recession going on. If you start sizing up a man for all he’s worth right now, you’re letting him know up front that if things get too far, he’s on the hook for a three-karat rock and a mortgage on a beach house in Oak Bluffs. And if he knows that already, he might flee.

….and this isn’t to say that I don’t appreciate a man paying when we go out, but I’ll take a taco dinner at Taqueria D.F. just as happily as I would a gourmet affair at 1789. Maybe it’s the California girl in me.  It’s not the price of the time you spent. It’s about the person and how happy you are with him or her.

But I wanna know who these women keeping score based on a man’s salary are…do I know them? Are we friends? …but I digress.

And then, Swerdlick gives us one last word of advice:

Start dating white, Asian and Latino men.

And while we’re on the subject, how about trying Something New?

Not into white guys? That’s too bad because I’d be willing to bet that Bill Clinton has dated more black women than Barack Obama.

Black women hoping for a monopoly on black men have to realize that they’re like General Motors in a Toyota world—either develop your own hybrid technology or prepare to go out of business.

The bottom line: Single women should avoid using Barack Obama’s résumé as a job description for a position they’re trying to fill or treating their next boyfriend like a prospective applicant.

I’ve never been a woman who claimed to only date one race or another.  It would make sense to me, especially in 2009, that it’s okay to date outside of your race. So go ahead–holler at the token White guy (or girl) at The Park next Thursday 🙂

At this point in my life, I’ve dated lots of different guys–plenty of guys with good jobs and degrees from the “right schools”, plenty of boyfriends with “swagga”–and none of it really matters. What matters is that a man treats me with respect and love–and yeah, that he makes me laugh–among other thngs.

The rest is just plastic. It’s not about being in a power couple. It’s about being with someone who loves you for you. And well, shouldn’t we do the same for our mate?

Why not call it terrorism?

There was a fatal shooting at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC this afternoon. According to the New York Times, the shooter is an 88 year old white supremacist:

The gunman was identified by law enforcement officials as James W. von Brunn, who embraces various conspiracy theories involving Jews, blacks andother minority groups and at one point waged a personal war with the federal government.

The gunman and the security guard were both taken to nearby George Washington University Hospital, with Mr. von Brunn handcuffed to a gurney, witnesses said. The guard, Stephen T. Johns, died a short time later. Museum officials said he had worked there for six years; The Associated Press reported his age as 39.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization based in Alabama, said Wednesday that Mr. von Brunn is a racist and anti-Semite with “a long history of associations with prominent neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers.”

On Wednesday evening, President Obama issued a statement saying, in part, “This outrageous act reminds us that we must remain vigilant against anti-Semitism and prejudice in all its forms.”

While I am glad President Obama released a statement–as did the founders of the Simon Weisenthal Center –I am still wondering why we still can’t call acts like these acts of terrorism.  On Twitter, a reason given was that perhaps the face of terrorism will always be a brown face–and perhaps America is not ready to deal with the idea of a white male being a terrorist.

Or perhaps it’s the fact that we aren’t ready for the idea of Christian terrorism? I took a class once where the professor explained that lynching of African Americans in the 19th century were acts of White Christian terrorism, no different from the 9/11 attacks. It surprised me how many students–black and white–disagreed.

In any case, it’s a terrible strategy. The only thing I can hope for is that people really begin to label James von Brunn as the terrorist he is, and to start thinking more about how we define and talk about hate crimes in our country.

Teenage Takeover

I’m going to preface this post with saying that I am NOT one of those snobby DC bloggers who write about their DC neighborhood and think they know everything about this city when they’ve only been here for a couple years, or because they were the first white man to buy a house on their street in Petworth or wherever. They annoy me, and it is not my intent to sound like them.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…I’ve decided I can’t hang out at Gallery Place anymore.

It’s nothing personal. I was just there to see Miracle at St. Anna with a friend. I love the Clyde’s over there, and it used to be where my now-ex and I would go on the fly if we wanted to catch a quick movie or maybe dinner. It was a cool ass place to hang out until the crazy DC teenagers started running rampant.

I can’t handle it anymore. I probably should have stopped when I saw two teens almost get into a knife fight right upstairs from the metro. But, I was faithful. I thought, maybe it would get better but no, it’s gotten worse.

I thought about mixing it up and instead of going to Clyde’s for dinner after the movie, we took the trek to the new Busboys and Poets on 5th and L, Northwest. I considered asking my homegirl if she wanted to hang out somewhere on 7th Street afterwards and grab another drink, but when I saw this one 14 year old girl dressed up like fricking Sailor Moon, I decided it was time to go home instead.

I’m just…over it. the loud cartoon character-lookin ass outfits, the loud cussin and laughin and riggamaroo, the running up and down the streets and acting all rude in Urban Outfitters (NOT THAT I SHOP THERE)….I just can’t.

So with this, I say goodbye to the 7th Street theater, the Clyde’s and everywhere in between. I wish I could have stayed but alas, I have been run out of that area by the crazy DC Teens.