#DearCaribbean Blog Carnival Guide & Review

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De customs man at Piarco tell me dat de only ting dey does tek from Guyana is pineapple an’ plantain. — Thoughts of a Minibus Traveller

Mas. Jouvayists from Guyana, St. Kitts & Nevis, Antigua & Barbuda, Trinidad & Tobago, The Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, Haiti, Curacao, Canada, the diaspora and Nigeria. Making multi-directional crossings from and to Venezuela, India, Nigeria, Flatbush and Crown Heights, T&T, Grenada, Harlem, these repeating islands of the Caribbean.

Some sweet sweet love letters to the region. Dear Caribbean: Thank you for my big headOn being the daughter discovering the home of her descendants. Love note to the Caribbean.

Meditations on Caribbean feminisms. Feminists that don’t yet know they are feminists. The risky location of being an Indian feminist in the Caribbean. The liberatory potential of Vodou.

Ruminations on Caribbean Identity. Pineapple an’ plantain only. I am Your Daughter Too.

Home. Always Home. Again and Again.

Ukranian Lessons on Regional Integration (one of the most shared e-mas submissions published on the CODE RED blog).

Ol Mas meets Queer Caribbean Sexuality. Leslie, the lesbian doll.

The art of play. Play yaself!

Meet a Caribbean woman from Haiti, Guyana or the Bahamas. Listen to the voices of Caribbean men from St. Kitts and Nevis and Guyana.

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Poetry. Trujillonomics. Caribbean Crossings, In Motion. Basseterre Woman.

Writing. Like fine wine. Exquisite.

Art. Photography. Images.

e-mas is LOVE: radical, political, Caribbean, queer, poetic, renewing. 

Like true Caribbean people many of the jouvayists turn up on Caribbean time so quite a few entries just came in.  Giving thanks to Carla Moore and Feministing for using their wide reach to give the e-mas a boost.

If this guide was a bit too dizzying you can visit the e-mas page where you can read/watch/listen/view all the posts in the order in which they were submitted.

Use #dearCaribbean on twitter to keep the vibes flowing.

One Love.

Photo credit: amina. olayiwola

Caribbean Feminists Exist & Some of Them Do Not Yet Know That They Are Feminists

To the Caribbean, With Love

Caribbean Feminists Exist & Some of Them Do Not Yet Know That They Are Feminists

When ah leggo mih cock yuh betta tie up yuh hen

Caribbean women located at home and those abroad in the Diaspora have heard and readily understand the implications behind such warnings issued by generations of Caribbean parents to their daughters. Within this warning there is the familiarity of male privilege and a culture steeped in patriarchy, and thus dismisses the actions and behavior of men, as something that is innate and expected, while placing the burden of social order and the fault of rape and sexual harassment and molestation on women. See, it is the hen (women) who must be responsible for how they may dress, dance, speak, and walk, because they may temp and arouse the Cocks (men), and will have to rightfully deal with the consequences of doing so. Thus, good Caribbean parents raise their daughters and sons within this context, and sons grow to believe that any unattended women in their paths are available to them, and at the least should be receptive to their advances. The acceptance of these misogynistic, outdated, and openly sexist gender roles form the basis for Caribbean Rape Culture, and helps to understand the epidemic of rape and intimate partner abuse in the region and throughout the Caribbean Diaspora. Central to this culture is the notion that women are the temptresses, and that their colonized bodies are not their own. They are not free to adorn and clothe their bodies as they choose, without being told that they are inviting sexual violence, or deserving of domestic violence, if their partners find their actions disrespectful. They are not free to travel without fear of objectification, molestation, and violence.

Caribbean women throughout the Diaspora understand that there are socio-cultural double standards involved in the assignment of gender roles. However, only a small, but increasing number of Caribbean women have openly challenged, denounce, and work to combat these double standards and inequities, and a growing number of them now self-identify as feminists or Womanists. The term, feminist, although it still remains taboo, is actually being embraced by more Caribbean women. Within the Caribbean Diaspora, feminist is still viewed as an inflammatory, divisive, and foreign bad word. Yet, a number of Caribbean women have looked beyond the many misconceptions of the term, and in looking at its most simplistic definition,which is the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes, realize that they are indeed a feminist. While some Caribbean feminists find it more feasible to carry out their work without openly wearing the label or using the word feminists; as described by the Barbadian blogger at The Mongoose Chronicles “If advancing the ideology without using the F word is going to improve women’s access to economic goods, then I’m prepared to use other words.”

Finally, there are Caribbean women (and men) who share the belief of gender equality, and thus have not yet realized that they are indeed a feminist. For those of you, who may be part of this group, I offer the following to prove that you may actually be a feminist:
If you believe that women deserve equal pay as men, especially when considering the many households that are headed by single mothers
If you believe that girls have a right to education, particularly post-secondary education, which is an opportunity that our mothers, grandmothers, and ancestors did not have just a few years ago
If you believe that women must be allowed to have a voice and representation in the political process
If you expect a man to help out, and actually pick up and push a broom across the floor at home, the same way he would use his legs to “do di sweep” in the middle of a dancehall jam
If you believe that you should be able to go to a fete, dance and enjoy yourself without molestation, and certainly without a random stranger believing that it is perfectly acceptable for him to rub his erect genitalia along your backside.
If the familiar and annoying pppsstt sound makes you vex as you attempt to walk along the government streets
If you are angered by the fact that men believe that  you are obligated to entertain their sexual advances, and even worst approach them when they yell out such comments as, “yea…di one in di red”.
If you believe in family planning and would appreciate being viewed as livestock, who are meant to be constantly breed
If you are proud of your liberated womanly body, which you happily adorn in the most colorful and festive carnival costumes
If you have a problem with pedophilia — the open courting of young girls by grown men   within the Caribbean culture
If you do not believe that traveling to a certain place, being seen casually drinking, or wearing a certain type of clothing can justify raping you.
If you are not willing to tolerate any form of intimate partner violence or abuse, despite the legacy of our foremothers who lived lives without many options, and thus felt compelled to endure the abuse.

This guest post by Cherise Charleswell is part of the Caribbean Blog Carnival which we’re hosting this month. Check out other blog carnival entries on the e-Mas page and learn how you can participate here.
Cherise Charleswell, MPH is a Bio-cultural anthropologist, self-proclaimed Womanist, author/writer, poet, public health researcher/practitioner, founder, host & producer of Wombanist Views radio, as well a contributing producer for Feminist Magazine 90.7FM KPFK broadcasting live in Los Angeles, and globally online. She is the Chair of the Women’s Issues department of the Hampton Institute, and is currently working on the book projects: “Walking in the Feminine: A Stepping Into Our Shoes Anthology” and “The Link Between Food, Culture, & Health Inequities in the African Diaspora”.

#1 To the Caribbean, With Love: La Negra Isidora, Calypso Queen of Venezuela

Caribbean Blog Carnival kicks off with a post about La Negra Isidora, the Calypso Queen of Venezuela. Visit Diaspora Dash for photos and video of Carnival in Callao and learn more about Anglophone Caribbean migration to Venezuela.

Don’t be left out! To the Caribbean, With Love is a Blog Carnival for all Caribbean bloggers, writers, thinkers, artists, photographers.  Click here for details!

 

 

CFP: Caribbean Blog Carnival

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CODE RED for gender justice is hosting a Caribbean Blog Carnival throughout the entire month of January!

The theme is To the Caribbean, With Love.

Here’s how to participate:

1) Write an original post based on the theme or share something you’ve written before which you think fits.

2) Share your post with us on facebook, twitter, via email [redforgender at gmail dot com] or even in the comments below.

3) Be sure to leave a link to this post on your post letting users know about the carnival.

4) We’ll share them as they come in and collate them on our blog when the carnival closes.

5) Use the hashtag #dearcaribbean

6) Visit the e-Mas Caribbean Blog Carnival page for real-time updates & new submissions

Any blogger from the multilingual, multi-ethnic Caribbean and its diaspora can participate. We welcome a diversity of voices, approaches, ages, styles, sub-themes including:  gender, sexuality, race, love, dis/ability, economic crisis, activism, art, politricks, tech & media, your dreams for the region etc.

Don’t yet have a blog but a carnival neva miss you yet?  We welcome guest posts and will post them here once they respect our submissions guidelines.

Still confused about what a blog carnival is? Think of all the usual ingredients of a Caribbean carnival and try to replicate those with words, images and/or sound.  The theme is broad enough that you can guh to town pun it!

Full disclosure: the inspiration for this blog carnival came from “Why I still deh hey..” on the Thoughts of a Minibus Traveller Blog.

Edited to add: Vidya, who inspired this call for submissions,  has reminded me that not all Caribbean countries have carnival:

“Just thinking that since Carnival is mostly in the Anglo Caribbean.. a TT thing, that some of us might not understand and I do not know if there are other things like cook up rice, or callaloo.. well even those things are not across the Caribbean.. “

He’s right.  There’s no carnival where I come from either. So how about some letters To the Caribbean, With Love?