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Ok, let me clarify: I want to throw the party for myself and my husband, and he just turned 40.  So it’s perhaps just a more extreme version of the “over the hill party” that was so ubiquitous for my parents and their friends.  I was old enough to be in attendance and remember it well.

My husband just experienced the loss of his father and has been watching a family video of his father’s 40th huge “over the hill party.”  My own father’s 40th birthday party came as a surprise.  It included an enormous floating Garfield balloon that came home with us and spectrally floated up and down the staircase late at night for weeks.   Neither father ever had any other large birthday party, but 40 was such a cultural boundary crossing when it occurred to them, that it was marked with satire, commiseration and almost as many family and friends as you would have at a wedding or a wake.

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“Do you think there is something we could do to improve how we see other human beings who are struggling?” –Trevor Noah, Daily Show, 01/07/2019

Collins picture     Image result for malala yousafzai   Image result for roy wood jr blindfold challenge

Watch Trevor Noah’s interview with Malala Yousafzai

Tonight President Trump will hold a press conference, presumably about the xenophobic wonders of the border wall.  Ahead of his desperate interruption, Malala Yousafzai’s new book, We Are Displaced, comes out today, telling stories of refugee girls around the world.  Yousafzai’s global focus developed from sharing her own experiences through discourses of media and academia into a project of listening and responding to girls victimized by terrorism.  Dr. Patricia Hill Collins has long been on a similar journey, sharing her own story and the story of her community.  She brings the layered cultural and physical constraints on Black women to the media and academy and now appears on the international lecture circuit, [1] affirming that intersectionality is a driving force all over the globe.

In Yousafzai’s January 7 interview with Trevor Noah, he noted “Being a woman or a girl who is a refugee exponentially increases how difficult that journey is.” He encouraged her to speak about specific refugee experiences, which she did, careful to use universal language when describing motivating factors—how it must feel to be without parents or facing the threat of unnamed violence. The studio audience showed appreciation for Malala; as viewers, we could feel good about knowing who Malala is, clapping for her and taking a few minutes to listen to her. To feel truly good about tonight’s episode though, is to get run over in the intersection, because Malala’s interview followed a segment on the new Lifetime documentary, Surviving R. Kelly, and in both the segment and the interview, the lived experiences of women of color were concealed even when they were ostensibly the subject under discussion. We need Dr. Hill Collins to guide us back, if not to safety at least to an awareness of the danger.
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