josé olivarez on vs: three notes

the josé olivarez episode of vs (josé olivarez vs grownups) was excellent (like all episodes of vs). three things stuck out to me in it and, though each one of these could be its own post, i didn’t write down enough info to really make that possible now that i’m finally writing this (i listened back in late august). so here’s are just some quick stubs about the three points that resonated. sidenote: i also can’t remember exactly who said these things, soooooo &shrug;.


“i am greedy with my time and selfless with my self.”

don’t remember who said that, but i loved the idea. i think it was josé, but whoever it was was talking about how much better he could contribute to their organization and work when he was well-rested and full of things to give. and so, when it comes to time devoted to being well, he was saying that being greedy with his time made it possible for him to make choices that prioritized himself. and yet, when it came time to work long days or do difficult things, as long as he felt energized, he’d do whatever it took to be there for people he was working with and for.


“if our children are hungry, how will they have dreams bigger than ours?”

someone quoted this (maybe attributing it to audre lorde?) but i can’t find the quote on the internet. either way, regardless of who said it, it’s an incredible line. it’s really just about focus in movement work. we gotta eat and make sure our kids can eat before we can hope or expect them to dream.

in some ways, this makes me be critical of my work that i consider to be in contribution to movements. and it takes me back to where my connection to social justice movements even got started: food. hm!


paraphase: “dear white people, please stop writing poetry about mike brown. write poems about darren wilson. stop looking at us and look at yourself.”

this, which is something i talk about all the time, is an antidote against the that supremacy and oppression direct attention at the oppressed and away from the oppressors. white people, especially wealthy, philanthropic white people, love to give money that will support to poor, brown & black neighborhoods. i can’t totally hate that because those neighborhoods do technically need more resources. but what keeps those neighborhoods needing more resources is the way that wealthy, white neighborhoods hoard resources and opportunities (interesting book in this out right now that i haven’t read yet, but want to: opportunity hoarding()). nonprofits will always be needed in poor neighborhoods as long as wealthy neighborhoods don’t ever have to look at themselves.

this is why projects like the harvard university W.E.B Du Bois Research Institute , ibram kendi’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center at american university, and claudia rankine’s racial imaginary institute are so important.

such a good episode and really worth a listen. also, josé’s poem, (define) (american), is amazing. it’s even better when he reads it on the episode.

words / writing / post-processing
497w / 14min / 13min