Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Real Division In Feminism

Kids are at the park and all is calm in my world for a few minutes.  I thought, perfect time to celebrate the calm with green tea and slate magazine.  After reading, "We Need To Talk", screaming kids somehow seems like a welcome diversion.  The point of the Slate article is that the true division that has become obvious due to the failed Clinton campaign is the generational rift between 2nd and 3rd wavers in feminism.  Mothers can simply not support their daughters choice to vote for Obama after all of their sacrifices. Yes Lithwick tells us, "If there is any reconciling to be done at this point in the Democratic primary, it's between women and other women. The worst of the intergenerational bickering of the past months has resulted from a failure of empathy; a breakdown in our capacity to acknowledge that the experiences of others are as compelling as our own. In a sense, we have simply been doing battle over whose stories are more legitimate—the second-wavers or their Pottery Barn daughters— or whose perceptions of gender discrimination are more accurate." Clinton has shown us that we don't respect our mothers struggle, and they don't accept our autonomy.  This is the lesson learned after months of struggle, bickering, angst, and tears.

Guess what Lithwick, I'm not buying your argument.  In fact I am irritated by it. Feminism as you define it means WHITE WOMEN. Oh my God, the white women are upset.  Everything must come to a halt while they work out their issues, and regroup. Feminism cannot possibly go on while white women are going through such emotional angst. How will they survive? They have barely gotten over Oprahs betrayal, her support of Barack Obama, and now Clinton finally had to concede defeat.  But Valenti of feministing fame is quoted as saying, we should work towards a "better, more forward-looking feminism."... really does that mean that women of color will start to be more than an occasional blurb on your blog....Or that our issues will actually be treated with a measure of respect and seriousness?  I'm not holding my breath, my children still need their mama.   I still remember Feministings acknowlegement of the Bell verdict, announce it and move on quick.  Of course the fact that his mother was dealt an emotional blow that day was irrelevant.  She was only a black mother, so no need for any serious analysis of the effects of police brutality on black women.

Reports like like this one at Slate magazine explain why so many WOC are sick and tired of feminism.  Despite the fact that as women we are subject to sexism, rape, domestic violence, (the ultimate) glass ceilings etc feminism continues to make it clear that we do not have a place in it.  Reading this article describing the fissures in feminism that erupted due to the Clinton/Obama divide, one would believe that black women were not placed in a unique position wherein we had to ponder both race and gender.  We were never pulled in two directions, despite the fact that race and gender equally impact our lives. No the election was not used as some sort of litmus test of our loyalties. Weren't you listening the problem with feminism is WHITE WOMEN and the AGE DIVIDE.  WOC weren't going through anything at all.  Feminism in no way creates white woman as the monolithic representative, and this slate article isn't narcissistic  in its approach. I am just one crazy, venom spouting woman of color who has lost her mind.  Is there some sort of special door that WOC should be knocking on to be recognized as women? Some secret handshake that we neglected to learn?  I thought having a vagina and or identifying as female was enough to be counted as one..apparently not.

Watching Michelle and Barack stand on stage and together in unity meant so much for people of color.  We have been afraid to dream for so long.  We have been told don't push, things will come in time.  Barack dared to dream, he had the audacity to hope and beyond our wildest imaginations a significant part of our dreams were fulfilled.  The next morning I was able to tell my child, baby you can be anything you want to be, and truly mean it.  Not only did black men get an excellent role model in Barack, black women got one in Michelle.  You see WOC never forgot about her.  What would a black first lady mean to us?  We who have been stomped upon, abused, marginalized and silenced?  But then our reasons for voting for Barack are unimportant, because we don't represent feminism. How can we represent feminism when we are barely acknowledged as women? 

The more whining and simpering that I read, the more incensed I become.  I want to ask these Hilary supporters who claim victim status, what does it feel like, because you know we WOC certainly cannot identify with what it means to be marginalized or made to feel invisible?  All you young third wavers who voted Barack while barely acknowledging what his candidacy meant for people of color, it amazes me how you never fail to make yourself the center of any story.  Both sides are narcissistic .  Both sides make me sick.  You can keep your feminist label because it is clear, it was never for, and never will be for women like me.  I will embrace womanism, because in that discourse I am a woman equal to all that surround me.  Perhaps one day when you can see beyond your own myopic needs and desires feminism might actually represent women for the first time ever, won't that be a historic moment worthy of celebrating.

Bald Women Are Not Acceptable

image   Stacy Fearnall had been working as a waitress for Nathaniel's Restaurant for two years when she was sent home for arriving at work with a shaved head, and refusing to wear a wig.  According to the Niagara Falls Review, Nathaniel's owner and chef Dan Hilliard defended his decision, saying the restaurant has certain standards. He prohibits male staff from wearing earrings and requires employees keep their hair at a reasonable length.  Fearnall is still on the payroll and she can return to work image once she grows her hair back, he said, adding she was offered the summer off to spend time with her kids. Fearnall had shaved her head to raise money for the charity Cops for Cancer.  For shaving her head Stacey earned $2,700. Hillard claims that he made it clear to Fearnall in advance that the restaurant would not be pleased with her if she shaved her head.

According to the Toronto Star, Fearnall agrees that her, "employers had previously "made it very clear" that they had concerns about the haircut plan, but said that they had never explicitly told her that she could not have it done.

"Even when I asked them point blank if I would still have a job if I had my head shaved, they didn't give me a direct answer, so I thought it was okay," she added.

While part of this issue involves the right of an employer to dictate appearance standards to an employee, the larger question is why are bald women unacceptable.  Hair is significant in the social discourse of femininity.  In some cultures it must be covered at all times, as it is considered a womans pride, and in some it must be grown to very long lengths, to represent the difference between masculine and feminine roles. When we look at the women from the Texas sect of FLDS, physically what they all had in common was long hair.  Styles have changed over the centuries, but it has never been socially acceptable for a woman to be bald.  It is always viewed as something that is counter culture, or somehow a radical denial of what constitutes femininity.  We have much invested in maintaining gender binaries as it helps to support a patriarchal power structure.  If women are allowed to take on the physical characteristics that have been assigned to men, they might then decide that they want male authority as well.

Hillard was taught a harsh lesson by her employer.  One must always perform their gender, or there are penalties to be paid. Don't want to play by the male rules, then back into the kitchen for you.  For some women the consequences of not correctly identifying and performing can be quite sever, for example the image case in which  songwriter Tanya Wright was referred to as an "it", threatened, and escorted out of a Beverly Hills hotel, simply because to the male gaze she didn't present as female.   Another example is the murder of  Sakia Gunn as reported at Ebony Intuition. The oppressor must always be able to quickly identify the oppressed.  You see the body is encoded with behavioral standards that we have normalized.  Each time we refuse to perform any aspect of our gender, as women we are challenging male hegemony. That is the heart of this issue.  Who decides what roles are assigned to each gender, and what value is assigned to these roles? We claim in Western society to privilege the individual, but these examples prove that individuality is not a sacrosanct concept. As De Beauvoir theorized, "one is not born a woman but comes one."  It is in the becoming that agency and the physical autonomy of the body are squashed in the name of social good, as though women do not make up a significant number in society.  Whether or not we shave our heads, legs or pubis the female body in a male hierarchal system is meant for male pleasure.  This is why shaving of a female head is considered a radical act, men have not declared it sexually attractive.  Though it cost Stacy Fearnall economically what she did was assert the privilege of physical agency.   For women like Sakia Gunn "non conformity" would cost her, her life. What seems like a simple case of following the instructions of an employer has larger implications in a world where the ultimate punishment - death, is often meted out for deciding that the category 'woman' is multi-dimensional and autonomous.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Men Troubles

I swore that I was not going to blog anymore for the day.  I was just planning on checking out some blogs that I had been meaning to read.  It seems that image controversy finds me where ever I go. On blog after blog authored by black women, I see the same whine, over and over again.  It seems that there is a man shortage, and black women are scared to end up alone in their senior years.  There are many posts dedicated to why this happening. It has been suggested that the high incarceration rate of black men is a factor, black males dating inter-racially, as well as the typical "ball busting" characteristics of the black female... my answer... STOP IT, STOP IT, STOP IT.

Let's look at a myspace commentary that typifies the lamentations that can be found on the net.

"Have we lost our ability to be soft and feminine and submit? We are in the lead and in charge when it comes to business, and with our kids, but when we get home, we have forgotten how to take off our mental pants. Ladies, we can be bossy and overbearing. And for the record, I'm talking about those good men who are really trying. Some men will give up their bachelorhood to be with one woman. I'm talking about those men."

Since black women were brought on this continent in chains we have never been given the luxury of being "soft".  We have been the ultimate un-woman. We lead because that is how we have been able to survive in a world that has proven to be predatory.  The whole idea that gender can be split into one dominant and one submissive belies the fact that these are social constructions, and are not "natural" characteristics of either gender.  We experience gender in a state of flux therefore each sex takes on characteristics of dominance, and submission.  To request that black women submit in order to empower the black male patriarchy eschews the vitality of female agency. Yeah lets all stand and clap our hands, and celebrate that men will agree to lower themselves to marry. Of course they don't benefit from marriage in anyway.  They are only entering the institution (note: the fact that marriage is an institution should scare any sane person) out of a true desire to be magnanimous.  They don't live longer when they are married right?  They don't get a live in housekeeper, nanny, cook, and built in sexual release? How many damn buttons, and hems do we have to fix before we acknowledge that men benefit far more than women do from marriage?

Nowadays, we run the show because we think we've had to. And then we find that having a boyfriend or husband means we have to share our power. Most times we want what we want and don't budge, so we end up alone - when being alone is the very thing we dread. WE are our own worst enemies. Being alone does not mean being lonely, but if your are lonely . . . well.

If you are lonely buy a good vibrator.  Trojan has a good one on the market now I hear.  2AA batteries and it can find a clitoris every single time without you having to say over to the left sweetie, or faking an orgasm just because it is enough already, and  fragile egos need to be preserved.  How about joining a book club, and widening your horizons.  A man no matter how wonderful cannot, and should not be the total focus of any womans life. As for sharing my power, you can forget it.  This world is no friend to 'woman' as it is.  The minute you let your guard down you will be exploited, and or marginalized.  To say that it is okay for the sake of love, is to deny that women deserve to respected.  A man that is sure of himself would never demand anyone to reduce themselves so that he could feel validated.

Submissive means to temper our assertiveness with softness. I'm still learning this even though I've known this for years. It takes focused effort. We need to be ourselves, but also stop and check to see if what we're doing is working. If it's not, perhaps WE can change.

What dictionary did you find that definition of submissive in?  Let's check a neutral source...just so that everyone sees that I can play fair. Merriam Webster Dictionary defines submit as :1 a: to yield oneself to the authority or will of another : surrender b: to permit oneself to be subjected to something <had to submit to surgery>2: to defer to or consent to abide by the opinion or authority of another.  This is your advice to women?  Turn yourself into a black stepford wife, and you too will get to live the white picket fence 1.2 children lifestyle.  Yeah!!! Just don't ever have another original thought in your mind for as long as you can manage to keep your marriage away from the relationship counselors office.  Don't worry if you cannot take it, you can always get your family doctor to load you up with Prozac to numb your natural inclinations to rebel.  Whooa now bessy remember your place....don't want to be a spinster now do you?  Never mind the fact that you can buy your own damn gold ring...you have to keep up with jonses and submit...pop a few more pills, and think of the joys of carpooling, and mandatory once a week sex night.

WE are modern women. Though if we keep saying we don't need a man, we won't have one.

That is just the point...WE DON'T NEED A MAN. We may want men in our lives but there is a difference between want and need.  If you don't know that, I don't want to see your bank book.  To enter into a relationship should be a free and autonomous decision. It should not be based on fulfilling social expectations.  Changing who you are to wear some blood diamond engagement ring, followed by the gold symbol of slavery wedding band is ridiculous.  No one can truly be happy under those terms.

Link Love Friday

Hey everyone...It's Friday. The happiest day of the week.  All you have to do is make until 5 pm, and your time is your own. I decided that the best way to image celebrate the end of 40 hours of exploited labor is share a little love.  On that note I am providing a list of some posts that I read this week that caught my attention.  Feel free to leave your links behind in the comment section...Love should start with loving yourself...promote away, and check out the posts I listed.

Links Worth Reading 06/08

Workers World
Black activists from around the country participated in a “Black Left Unity Conference” held at the Sonja Haynes Stone Black Culture and History Center May 30-June 1 on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The intergenerational gathering of activists came together
to continue the discussion on how to build an effective Black United Front

Brownfemipower
So the question becomes–what type of institutional misogyny are you talking about when you say “those of us who care about institutional misogyny”?
The answer to that question–the answer that far too many women of color understand in our bones–is why some women of color find the sadness, the outrage, the hurt feelings over Clinton to be alienating and even insulting.

The Angry Black Woman
A woman named Rachel Moss put a post on Something Awful mocking attendees not because of their politics or their feminism or their willingness to come to Wisconsin, but because they were too fat, too white, too male, or too black for her taste.

Whataboutourdaughters
The merchants of misogyny and the supporters of the Regime of Bullets, Booty, and Bling are willing to fight for the hearts and minds of out children, but apparently they don't have to because society in general rolls over and plays dead while the walk straight to the bank on the backs of your children.

The Curvature
As someone who was left in the dark, didn’t know jack shit about sex and had that lack of knowledge exploited by a sexually violent boyfriend, I’m personally failing to see the downside here…Healthy relationships do not just happen. They require effort. Healthy relationships, whether between friends, romantic partners, or family members, promote positive, healthy behaviors. They are built on trust and are founded on common goals and interests. They encourage and enable both people to grow and progress.

Feministe
Yes, you read that right: Women should be “informed” that the Pill kills nine-day-old babies. Which is a little confusing, until you realize that anti-choicers apparently track your age from what time your daddy’s sperm fertilized your mama’s egg. (The fact that the Pill is totally incapable of killing such a fertilized egg is apparently even further beside the point).

About.com

Something which many people may not realize is that, not too long ago, there was no legal or even social category of 'spousal rape.' When a woman married a man, she essentially consented to sex whenever he wanted it — and if he forced her, it wasn't "real" rape like it might be if they weren't married. It's important to understand that this was an integral part of the "traditional" conception of marriage: men were in charge and women were subservient in all matters, including sexual matters that involved their own bodies.

The Assassination of Barack Obama

image Yesterday ( June 04/08) Yazmany Arboleda had the brilliant idea to rent a space for the public display of his "art".  Many new artists have a hard time drawing attention to their work, hence the phrase starving artist.  What separates Arboleda from the rest is the title of his piece, The Assassination of Hilary Clinton and the Assassination of Barack Obama.  For some reason this idiot could not figure out before hand, that the secret service might view this as a threat to the presidential candidate. He was summarily arrested, and taken away for questioning.

Now that should be the end of this little story shouldn't it.  Unfortunately it is not. There were images of nooses, references to his bi-racial status as well as a graphic image of a black phallus, next to the words "once you go Barack."  Even the Obama girls are featured with a caption that says, "nappy headed hos." Art is intended to make us think outside of ourselves. Occasionally it enrages us, as it moves in a direction that is often contrary to conventional social ideologies/themes, however racism cannot be claimed as art. There was nothing new or adventurous in this display. All that this so-called artist did was prey upon the racial stereotypes that have plagued POC of color since we first stepped foot on this continent.

“It’s art. It’s not supposed to be harmful. It’s about character assassination — about how Obama and Hillary have been portrayed by the media.” He added, “It’s about the media, as was reported by the New York Times. “The Secret Service had to do a whole questionnaire with me,” he said. “It was about an hour of questioning. They asked if I owned guns, if I was a violent person, if I had ever been institutionalized.”

Mr. Arboleda answered no. Nonetheless, he said the Secret Service asked him if he would voluntarily take down the exhibition title from the window.

“I’m renting that space; the space was allocated for an exhibition and it’s my right to put those words up,” he said. “They said it could incite someone to do something crazy, like break the window. It’s terrible, because they’re violating my rights. If someone breaks a window, they’re committing a crime.”

He added, “The exhibition is supposed to be about character assassination. It’s philosophical and metaphorical.”

Not to keep beating a dead horse but this is very similar to the image of Michelle being lynched that was in the Daily Kos.  This is not the behavior of an ally. Rather than being an attack on the media representation of Barack vis a vis racism, what this exhibit does is perpetuate cultural myths/stereotypes that are harmful, and degrading to POC.  Consider the image of the erect phallus next to the phrase "once you go Barack", this is meant to insinuate in the mind of the viewer that the black man is the ultimate sexual "partner".  He will please, you and tease you, that is his sole function, however also encoded in this imagery is the black sexual savage who socially is constructed as dangerous.  Yes while the caption may indeed imply sexual gratification in actuality black male sexuality is the dark sexuality. It is predatory, and consuming.  Considering that in terms of sexuality the media portrays Barack as effeminate, due to his "ball busting" wife, I hardly see how this relates to him as a person.  Instead it stands a social commentary on how all black males are perceived. Indeed how the artist himself views black males is evident from the big throbbing black penis; a small degree of envy coupled with irrational fear. There is nothing philosophical about a stereotype that is alive and well within a culture.

What was the purpose of describing children as nappy headed hos?  Clearly this is a take off of what Imus said, but how is this meant to engage us?  Well obviously there is the historic licentious black woman, but when coupled with an image of children it asserts that this kind of sexualization is not only specific to black females, it is our natural state.  Like all women we are the originators of sin, but only black female bodies encompass, and reify the sin.  I cannot see  the sexualization of children as art, or even worthy of commentary rising above derision. Yazmany simply sought to draw attention to himself and used racial stereotypes for this purpose. This was hardly an artistic or even altruistic venture.  With images of erect penises, nooses and words like "Nappy headed hos", he has the nerve to scream about his rights being violated.  He was never concerned about our shared right to human dignity. At the end of the day the only thing that is worth acknowledging is that racism, and sexism are alive and well in the US today, hardly earth shattering news.



The link for this story was found at whataboutourdaughters

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Put Your Woman On A Leash

Looks like today is going to be day of ranting.  I am seriously thinking it is time to unplug, as everywhere I look I keep getting assaulted by images that people seem to find humorous, that are in fact sexist and hurtful to women.  image

 imageI found these two little beauties at a website that promotes leashing women to ensure that they remain under male control.  The gold wedding ring is not a status symbol enough, no women must be put on a leash to make sure that we obey our male masters/husbands/boyfriends..or roving psycho. Notice that both women are smiling happily despite being led on a leash like a dog.

What you may wonder, has earned these women these wonderful collars? ...SEX.  We claim to live in sexually liberated times, yet in actuality this is not the case.  A woman's sexuality is ultimately still under the control of males.  Despite the fact that it is our bodies, we should never be able to decide for ourselves how, and who we will engage with.  A man deserves to know that his "property" is intact at all times.  Isn't that the crux of the issue for all misogynists...women are objects, and not people therefore it is justifiable to demean us in any, and all matters.  Sex is something men do to women, and not something that should ever be considered a shared experience. Well guess what, my vagina is not just a cum repository. It is the giver of life, and MY pleasure.

Somehow I cannot find amusement in this site.  The thought of being put on a leash to make sure I "stay sweet" fails to tickle my funny bone.  Why would that be?  Perhaps because somewhere along the line I decided that my body belonged to me.  Maybe it was the day I had the ridiculous thought that it should be my decision on whether or not to have sex.  Perhaps, it was when it occurred to me that I am more than my body parts, and did the ever so radical thing of acknowledging myself as a sentient being.

Okay enough beating around the point.  This SHIT just is not funny, unless you are a useless, pitiful piece of crap not worthy of giving a handout to.  It is more than annoying in the Jehovah's Witness at your front door sense, it is infuriating in that I wish I could whoop your ignorant woman hating ass kind of sense.  It brings out the violent streak in me, and yes I know that good girls are supposed to hold our tongues, and not acknowledge our baser emotions. When I see crap like this I must admit it gives validation to political lesbians.  My body is not for sale, it cannot be controlled, nor am I interested in boosting your fragile male ego.  A possession is is inanimate object, and not a living breathing human being, or did you miss the 13th amendment in civics class?  Here is an idea, how about we put a muzzle on all men until they can learn to behave like human beings?  How about we put them in cages until they learn that it is not okay to rape women. How is that for a lesson in control?

Womanism - The We Instead of Me

Racialicious has an excellent post up regarding Michelle Obama.  I suggest you check it out. It immediately incensed me.  When I wrote the social lynching of Michelle Obama last week one of things that I touched on was the silence of white feminists in regard to a cartoon in which she was overly sexualized, and lynched.  As I roamed through the blogsphere, this picture kept reoccurring at womanists blogs, and yet was nowhere to be seen at blogs like feministing....You can spout all kinds of vitriol for subway pervs, but when a WOC needs defense you are silent. If this were Friday, I would say that you earned yourself a Friday Fuck You.

I cannot say that I am surprised by the silence of white feminists when it comes to the treatment of Michelle, by the media.  What nerve that woman has, having a career, being beautiful, successful, and eloquent when she should be raising your kids, and saying yes missus I's a commin.  That's the kind of black woman that you are comfortable with.  One that is deferential.  One that can be used to push forward your agenda in the name of ALL womanhood.  Because you cannot make an Anita Hill out of Michelle, you have thrown her to the wolves.  Her black sisters see you, and we know what you are all about.

Do you want to know why black women are enraged....it is because you have a history of betrayal.  From the earliest days of the feminist movement it has been about your needs, your concerns, and your advancement.  As long as there was a mammy to suckle your precious blonde haired, blue eyed babies while you took on the world, all was fine.  It didn't matter that mammy had children that needed her love and attention to.  It didn't matter that mammy was also subject to discrimination.  As long as you had the right to declare victim status and still abuse others, all was balanced in your world. Even the women that fought against slavery did so to save the white man from the licentiousness of the seductive black temptress.  The fact that it was rape, was unimportant.  White men needed to be saved.  Nowhere did anyone consider the obvious power imbalance. What occurred between  between Sally Flemming and Thomas Jefferson is still to this day being called a "love affair", and this false characterization is evidence of a lack of recognition that there was no element of choice. See I always assumed that rape occurred when a woman was forced to have sex, but then we are referring to black women, so I guess this definition is non applicable. When Ida B. Wells was reporting on lynching in the black community, where were you?  Oh I forgot it didn't involve your babies...no need to speak up enmasse. But times have changed right?  This is why you are all actively pushing for the passing of legislation to make it a crime to place a noose for the purposes of intimidation....hmmmm, no I guess you missed that one as well.

But feminism is inclusive, and all about choice.  That is unless you are a black mother.  You see we didn't need to be told about having the option to work, because it was not an option for us. Oh but that was in the past... well today the Feminine Mistake, which discusses what women loose when they stay home, once again fails to mention that for black women it largely continues not be a choice.  We never had the luxury of choice, and from the looks of it we never will,  but you will jump on the bandwagon screaming about welfare queens all the while worshipping quiverfull women like Michelle Dugger.  Now that is the image of motherhood we should all stand behind right? Not the poor black mother who is struggling to pay her bills and keep her kids from being taken by so-called child protection agencies.  When we cannot provide because the system unfairly stigmatizes us we are bad mothers, but put a white woman in that situation and it is all about the feminization of poverty. No need to rip her kids from her loving embrace.  Ripping apart black families has worked very well to maintain white hegemony, so why not keep perpetuating this trend.  Why should black families remain intact when we just keep breeding damn it?

I am a womanist because black women, black men, and black children matter to me.  I am a humanist because I identify with those the world has chosen to construct as less than.  I recognize that the struggle for equality involves all oppressed peoples of this little blue planet. To truly be an inclusive movement feminism needs to concern itself with more than white women and their slights.  Yet every opportunity that "mainstream" feminism has had to decry racism, there has been a resounding silence.  A silence that is almost deafening. It is in this vacuum that WOC of color have come to understand that our bodies, and our struggle are considered unimportant.

image I found this image of Michelle over at Racilicious.  Once again a black woman is being denigrated for her physical appearance.  I particularly love where it places Condi and Michelle in competition for Barack.  Of course, we WOC are always fighting each other over a man.  No matter how educated or accomplished we are, we loose all sense of self when a man enters the picture.

Of course she controls Barack, one look from her historically ball busting eye, and he will have no choice but to come to heel.

And the always reliable connection with blacks and drugs.  Of course she will be able to smell the pot because, we POC walk around stoned all day.  In fact if we weren't high all the time imagine what we could accomplish.

Even as I wax satirical about this image, I once again expect silence from white feminists.  They will not see this as their battle.  It will never be their battle until they can own their privileges in this world.  We can never afford to truly trust them as history has proven that we need to be circumspect of their motivations. WOC need to unite with other women of color, for only we truly understand the full scope of a womans journey.  We know that race, class, and gender intersect to effect a womans life.  We cannot afford to have a myopic self interested view of the world, that is not our privilege.  While I will not own the term victim as a totalizing label, I certainly refuse to be silenced to benefit a movement that refuses to acknowledge our shared humanity. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Noose Intimidation Finally Illegal

image Lafayette Rep. Rickey Hardy, authored a bill to make it illegal to place a noose with the intention of intimidation.  Hardy's HB726 is now heading to the Senate for consideration."Anybody who feels like they've been intimidated" by someone displaying a noose on another person's property or in a public place can file a complaint with a district attorney's office, said Hardy, as reported by the Shreveport Times. After an investigation, the district attorney would decide whether to prosecute under the new law.

Dressed in a white suit, black shirt and white tie, Hardy told the House his bill was plain and to the point — "like me, in black and white."

"I ask you to do the right thing for all the people in his great state," he said, prior to the 97-0 vote.

The House considered an amendment that would sanction use of nooses at school pep rallies but after questions raised by fellow members of the Legislative Black Caucus, Rep. Charmaine Marchand, D-New Orleans, withdrew it.

Marchand said tying a noose around a dummy dressed in an opposing team's colors is meant to "excite the student body, not to intimidate anyone." She said it "happens with students of all races at a function."

Rep. Rosalind Jones, D-Monroe, said a noose is considered a symbol of slavery, since lynching was a common form of punishing escaped slaves, and "these are our children we're trying to set an example for."image

Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, said it was "unnecessary violence on a campus."

Hardy said his bill would prohibit posting a noose on someone else's property or in a public place with the intention of intimidating another person, regardless of race.

But the bill includes language stating that a noose "means a rope tied in a slip knot, which binds closer the more it is drawn, which has been used in execution by hanging, and which historically symbolizes racism and intimidation."

The bill now moves to the Senate for debate.

There are some who would say that the recent strategic noose placements are isolated incidents, I  submit, that they are not.  noosewatch The map courtesy of  Diversity Inc illustrates the prevalence of these terror attacks . Discovering a noose is no different from finding a cross burning on your front lawn.  It is an act of hatred, meant to incite fear and submission of black people.  By authoring the bill Rep. Rickey Hardy has made a statement that blacks will no longer be intimidated.  We have the right to live a life that is not subject to fear based on our race.

The reaction to this legislation has not been pleasant.  In fact there has been a huge back lash from historical revisionists. All commentary is from the Shreveport Times.

Bullfrog44: "What a crock.."no need to make a noose unless you intend to use it".. as someone who played "Indians, and cowboys" in my youth along with using cap pistols, and riding stick horses I and I dare say all of my friends made a noose with NO intention of using to hang an Indian, a cowboy, or a black person...it was simply to see if you could tie one just part of the game of make-believe we experienced before the days of video games, etc.. Liberals are so concerned about being PC.. Get over it."

How many of his "little" friends wanted to play the black or the Indian that got slaughtered.  Let me guess the guy in the white cowboy hat was everybody's favorite right?  Sure little children playing lets hang the black, or the Indian was a perfectly harmless pass time.  It did not teach white privilege, nor did it reinforce the idea that some people had the right to pursue life, while others should naturally fear death for the evilness, and or savagery of their race.

ColdTruth: "If anyone thinks this law will be equally enforced on the races they are terribly naive. This is yet another 'feel good' law. Blacks DO NOT have the right to claim a noose as their own' victim symbol. Cowardly white politicians make me sick. Just WHO is going to prove "intent" in a courtroom? A jury full of blacks and liberal whites? Proving intent is like trying to read someone's mind. Impossible, but what a black jury convict a white person and ruin their life because they drew a picture of a rope."

It won't be enforced equally because you idiot, whites hung blacks not the other way around. Did I miss an outbreak on the evening news wherein there were stories of blacks burning crosses and placing nooses on the property of whites?  That makes about as much sense as a POC trying to join the KKK. After the end of slavery when blacks no longer constituted property, they began to be lynched in mass numbers.  They were murdered for perceived slights against whites, including alleged rape of white women, glancing at a white woman inappropriately, owning property, attempting to vote, attempting to run for office, owning property, owning property in better shape than a white persons, speaking out about social injustice, or even just for having self pride. 

Other than trying to intimidate a black person, I fail to see any other reason why a white person would strategically place a noose on the property of a POC. Its sole purpose could be none other than reminding us that our bodies have no value in this society. I would suggest that rather than a symbol of black victimology, the noose represents a symbol of white hegemony.

Bullfrog44 (again): Their next logical step will to be to outlaw white sheets being sold by retailers..DUH !

And the final word...

Poodleball: "HOW DOES A NOOSE ... historically symbolize racism and intimidation? "
NOT TO ME IT DOES NOT.

Not to you because you do not have a history of watching your sons and fathers dance with the rope. According to Spartacus Education, "It has been image estimated that between 1880 and 1920, an average of two African Americans a week were lynched in the United States." 

Why should we claim the noose as a symbol of hatred, violence and murder?  Quite simply because that is exactly what it represents.  Perhaps pictures speak louder than my humble words. I suggest a visit to withoutsanctuary.org. There you will find a photographic history of lynchings in America, if you can stand the violence and the hatred.

THIS IS A PERPETUATION OF RACISM, BY BLACK LAWMAKERS NO DOUBT. A noose should be a sign of criminal punishment -- in some states, is not there still the option of death by hanging?

The last time someone was hanged by the state? Anyone? Bill Bailey 1996 and all gallows have since been disassembled. However, long before that the most common method of execution was the gas chamber.  I will suggest to you in an irony that you perhaps did not intend, more blacks have been executed than whites, and therefore your argument about it being a symbol of capitol punishment alone is baseless.  The death penalty is racially biased, and thus the noose could also stand for the racism that is inherent in the legal system. 

They diminish themselves as educated people. An attempt to stir the pot , add controversy and garner votes at their next election.
NO ONE IS BEING SOLD IN THE MARKET SQUARE. JUST MOVE ON, TAKE CARE OF YOUR CHILDREN AND DODGE THE BULLETS FROM THE BLACK CRIMINAL ELEMENT IN YOUR COMMUNITY.
DO NOT THESE BLACK LAWMAKERS REALIZE THAT THE LEGISLATURE ALLOWS THESE NUISANCE BILLS TO APPEASE BECAUSE THESE BLACK LAWMAKERS NEVER SUBMIT ANY BILLS OF SUBSTANCE!"

I thought that the next major election was for President of the United States.  Did I miss something, is he not a representative of ALL of the people?  Since when did it become the black election? While slavery is no longer in existence, commentary such as this highlights the degree to which racism is still an issue in the United States.  The fact that a bill like this even needs to be authored stems from the fact that blacks are still considered second class citizens. Fighting racism by making it illegal to display symbols of social injustice is not a nuisance, it is an attempt on the part of lawmakers to address a social wrong, and achieve some sort of racial parity.  Be honest, you are only really upset because now you don't have an accessory to go with your white sheet.  Halloween just won't be the same for you now will it?  Final note, there are whites in jail for committing crime as well.

Barack Obama--Yes We Can

image As a Canadian citizen I have promised myself not to comment on the US election.  Last night though, I must admit that I image witnessed history.  A black man won his parties nomination for the President of the United States.  Never in my lifetime did I think that I would see the day.  As I watched, I realized that this will be a day that I will tell my grandchildren about.  I am realistic enough to know that even if Obama wins, racism will not stop the next day.  Blacks will continue to be abused, marginalized, and disenfranchised.  But how can I not stop and reflect in awe...even if it is just for one moment... A black man has a legitimate chance of becoming President. I don't agree with his politics, but I salute his effort.

Shakesville has an amazing post up.  Check it out.  If you don't tear up...well, lets just say you have no imagination. 

For those of you that claim that Black shouldn't give their children ethnic sounding names, it seems to have worked for Senator Barack Hussein Obama, put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Fat Black Women Let's Go There

I came across a post over at Nubian Fitness Goddess, entitled "I'm Thick!!" Are Black Women in Denial About Their Health.  At first she goes through the descriptors "thick" and "F.A.T" (Fabulous and Fat) to discuss black women that are considered obese. Apparently it is okay to accept these terms as long as you are attempting to do something about your "excess weight".  Loving yourself for who you are is somehow impossible, if your body is encased in a lump fat. Think about loving the body you will/should have, versus the body you currently inhabit.  We all must openly acknowledge the health concerns of carrying excess weight.  Yes I know, diabetes, strokes, etc are risks however, why must we constantly acknowledge this to make skinny people satisfied that we find our selves contemptible? Confess, Confess you twinkie eating fatty...Skinny= Good, Fat = Bad, and everyone knows it. Quick ,say 20 Hail Marys and 10 Our Fathers for absolution.  How dare you have any kind of self esteem while you are shoving an extra large pizza down your throat, cause you know all of us fatties are constantly binge eating, ignoring the health risks.  How do we even sleep at night with that threat hanging over our heads. 

She even goes as far as to supply us with a list which she claims "not to endorse". Why provide a list and not endorse it, own it sweetie you posted it.

"Skinny" (Naomi Campbell)image
"Slim" (Ashanti)image
"Medium" (Gabrielle Union, Ericka Alexander)
"Thick" (Lisa Nicole Carson, Kenya Moore)
"Hella Thick" (Buffie the Body, Ki-Toy Johnson)
"Buff" (Serena Williams, Jana Stewart)
"Super Thick" (Queen Latifah, Kym Whitley)
"Big" (Monique)

 

Yeppers Kym and Queen Latifah are fatties. Lets not focus on their talent (especially where the Queen is Concerned), success, or beauty. Who the hell would want to identify with that?  Wrapped in all of this supposed concern about health, is just another veiled attempt to disciple the bodies of women.  We all need to fit into a certain size, or stereotype to be considered valuable.  Let's take a scroll through the commentary:

"YES!! I am really tired of morbidly obese black women loudly proclaiming they are thick and sexy but short of breath after going up a flight of stairs. All of the women in my family, except for me, are overweight by 30-150 pounds. My 35 year old sister takes Lipitor and Glyburide and has no plans of losing weight. I think that many black women feel that if they actively lose weight and eat a proper diet, they are giving in to the regimented beauty standard set by society. It makes me angry and sad."

This person so believed in what they had to say, they posted anonymously. And what insight, we are using our weight to rebel against convention. Black women don't have enough struggles in this life, and so we just feel it is necessary to add another dimension.

FaceBook Responses:

I think a lot of black women are in denial about their health. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with having an attractive "thick" build you need to work it out and eat healthy. Eating healthy doesn't mean starving yourself, and working out doesn't mean you're trying to be a size zero. It means you are keeping yourself in shape, preventing high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and maintaining a healthy heart. I've found when I'm treating my body healthily, it enhances my mental and spiritual health as well. Besides muscular toned thickness is the best. Sistas we already have the BEST shapes given to womankind, we just gotta keep em fit!

No fat person has ever seen the inside of a gym. The only thing we think of as exercise is lifting fried chicken legs to our mouths, or squeezing the top off of the lard container. I do love the racial superiority uplift after running fat women down. Don't worry if you loose weight you too can be a Nubian goddess.  Stop thwarting nature girlfriend.

I think that black women are coming to the realization that that we are not thick- but obese. Being thick is just not healthy regardless of how good we look. If we want to advance in our careers, we have to understand that employers discriminate against fat people-it is unspoken but it does happen.

So instead of fighting discrimination we should all join Jenny Craig and conform, conform, conform. Lets hear three cheers for the multi=million dollar diet industry.  Imagine how much they need the boost from the few disposable dollars that black women have. 

I think a lot of us are in denial about how healthy we are we choose to affectionately describe ourselves as thick or voluptuous, when in reality we are reinforcing behaviors and ideas that will lead us to overweight or obese.

Right, because we need others to tell us that we are overweight.  We don't look at ourselves in the mirror and truly assess our bodies like all other women on the planet.  Thank God these women are out there to tell me how unacceptable, unhealthy, and truly grotesque that I am.  I never would have known this on my own.  Somehow I didn't understand that buying plus size clothing meant that I was not the so-called "average" size.  How did I live in denial all of these years?

Okay ladies lets talk some truth that all of you have neglected.  Black women by enlarged live in poverty.  If you have been to a grocery store, then you know the true price of food.  Compare the cost of a head of broccoli to say a box of kraft dinner...which do you think is cheaper...the box of kd. Sometimes people cannot eat better because they cannot afford better.  Has it even occurred to you that there is a link between poverty and obesity?  Why would that be? Perhaps because the price of healthy food is extremely expensive, and I am not even talking about organic food.  The cycle of obesity runs in families partly due to genetics, and partly due to generational poverty.  It is not always a case of self will, but I will be sure and tell all of the sistas not to even bother to try and turn adversity into triumph by loving themselves despite everything.

Oh, and about your health concerns...some people are heavy because they have an illness.  Try and stay skinny taking steroids, or having a thyroid problem. But oh no, once again lets ignore the reason why people may be heavy, and just judge them without knowing their story. Health, health,health, you women use it like a battering ram without ever looking at the other side of the equation. Heaven forbid we have a little solidarity between women.  That is too much to ask for. I am glad that you got your emotional boost by being "supportive" of the cause to uplift black women.  How about next time you try do it without making yourself feel good, and running others down.

FEMA Is Evicting Katrina Survivors

image As of June 1, FEMA has plans to evict the  last of the Katrina survivors living in trailers, unless less they could prove to City Hall that their rebuilding plans or other circumstances make that timeline impossible, two city officials said Wednesday.  The government is concerned that should another hurricane hit the area, the trailers will turn into flying missiles, as well as the concern regarding toxic fumes.  More on this story can be read here, here,and here. 

There can be no denying that the aftermath of what happened has revealed exactly what bodies matter in the US.  Who can forget the images of the super dome.  People were trapped waiting for their government to step up and help. I remember the media portraying blacks who were going image into stores getting diapers and formula as looters. LOOTERS, in a time when they had absolutely nothing, and  Bush was too busy with other things to give a damn.  Katrina made it obvious to the world at large that if you were black, and poor you do not count.  Some people have still not gotten this message.  While reading on this story I made the mistake of reading some comment threads.  Here are a few examples of what I came across.

From Nola.com comes the following:

nolattorney: most people living in trailers [31 months after the storm] have no intentions of seeking permanent housing. Road Home will be used to buy a new TV, just like those FEMA checks and Red Cross cards.

annx12345: I agree with nolaattorney--it has been 31 months people need to get on with their lives. Living in a trailer is no "real" life. Most of these people are used to "free" housing. People must understand that nothing is free post Katrina. They must accept responsibility for themselves and their needs. They can't depend on the government to give it to them and need to do something about it on their own. No more GIMMEEE.

sweetyankee: Let's go people - enough free housing. I have never heard of free housing for 31 months! They complain about the odors, the noxious fumes, etc. but do they leave - noooooo. Why? Because it is free. I do not want to here "I am 5 kids and can't make it on my own. Well you obviously should not have had kids in the first place. America mean Freedom NOT free hand outs. It's a disgrace to have sooo many people who can't seem to support themselves. Once again I am grateful to be a self-supporting, independent Yankee woman. I went to public school, worked 3 jobs to put myself through community college and saved every dime I had. Nobody handed me a thing, from free food to free housing!

People that are stuck living in trailers are not there because they want to be.  The idea that this is a choice is the most ridiculous thing that I have come across in a very longtime.  Who wants to wake up every morning in an formaldehyde death box? When they considered all of the wonderful options out there as poor blacks they decided that no, ...they don't want to live like Oprah ( cause you know we all have that kind economic privilege) I choose option B, a stinky, over crowded trailer that daily exposes my family to life threatening noxious fumes. image

Before the storm hit these people were already living on the margins.  Capitalism is not about enriching everyone.  It is about exploiting the masses while enriching a small segment of society.  After the storm hit, rents skyrocketed as well as the fee for staying in cheap run down motels.  Most cannot even afford to rebuild the substandard housing that they resided in pre-Katrina.

Then you have people like sweetyankee questioning why people had kids.  Since when is procreation the privilege of the rich?  Let's not blame the system that seeks to profit from tragedy.  It is all the fault of the individual that they cannot afford to pay the exorbitant fees that land speculators are now demanding.  It is all the fault of the individual that the city is not rebuilding the subsidized housing that was lost in the storm. Who are "these people" precisely? Do you mean the poor?  They are not just a nameless, breathing lump, they are human beings, a fact that seems to have been forgotten.

From chron.com

whitneynhouston: When they didn't have the means for sustainable housing before the hurricane was it our responsibility to house them?
No.They need to quit playing the pity card. These people who are still in trailers are better off now than they ever were before the hurricane. It's not right.

Yes, it is the social obligation to make sure that everyone has access to shelter, clothing, education, food, medical care. and water.  These are essentials to life, not just some sort of luxury.  If they are exhibiting a sense of entitlement to the aforementioned, they are correct in doing so.  In a system in which every person who does not own the means of production is exploited, it is playing the pity card to correctly identify with your class position? Perhaps you are the one that needs a lesson in simple economics. If they are better off than they were before the storm, what does that say about the system in which we all live? 

duckyq: Ummm..Does anyone else see a problem with folks still living off of our tax money almost 3 years after the fact???!! Six months, okay. But not almost 3 years!!! Get off your butt and get a friggin job already!!!

My personal favorite:

Houston1291: Damn... it's been 2 1/2 years!!!! What have they been doing this whole time? These people are so lazy! Sometimes when people don't do for themselves, you just got to give them the boot. Maybe then, will they make an effort to build a better life for them and their still growing family. They don't work or pay rent but still making babies. That's not right. If they haven't done anything for themselves by now with this much assistance... then they never will.

Yes get a job already, while you are at it get 2, or 3 because you are going to need at least that many to pay for the increased cost of rent and food, not to mention utilities. Those kids that you weren't supposed to have because you are poor can get jobs to.  Who cares if they should be concentrating on studying, or just playing and be kids, they have no right to be here because they were born to a poor family.  Can't they get a paper route, and start paying their way? There has to be sort of limit to the social contract.  Those that are elderly, undereducated, and in poor health should just be invisible.  Why should valuable tax dollars go to supporting them, when the US is busy funding an illegal war in Iraq?  Haliburton needs the money far more than these people... besides if we keep these people poor long enough they will see the military as an escape route, and quickly sign up to kill other poor people. Let's not give them the help that they need.  We wouldn't want too many people living a life of equality, self-respect, and autonomy.  Only the so-called middle class should have the right to make debt fueled trips to Walmart. Yeah for humanitarianism, lets all sing kumbaya and say a prayer entitled I am so glad to not be poor and black, in the good ole US of A. Privilege you just have to embrace it!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Gordon Ramsay On Boobies, Widgets and Fat People

image Gordon Ramsay is the loud mouthed chef famous for his rants on Hells Kitchen.  Each week viewers can tune in to watch him demean potential head chefs for one of his restaurants. He has famously addressed the female chefs as, "hells bitches". Each week at least one of the male chefs makes a pointedly sexist remark about the female chefs. As you watch the weekly tirade one begins to hope that at least some of this ignorance is part of an act to increase ratings.  Apparently I was wrong to hope, he truly is an ignorant ass.  When asked how he got his children to eat their vegetables it is reported by the Sun that he said, I say to Meg, "You’ve got to eat your lettuce, otherwise your boobies aren’t going to grow."  To prove that his ignorance is not limited to gender, he tells his son, "If you don’t eat your carrots, your widget’s not going to grow."

This is exactly what children need.  To focus on their genitalia because that is the most significant part of their bodies.  Imagine the horror of a flat chest woman.  What could she possibly have to offer the world, because large boobies are all that represent value and power for a woman.  As for his son, growing in a world that is ripe with phalocentrism, Daddy has reinforced in his mind the value of his penis.  Protect it, nurture it, feed it, so it can grow big and strong someday.  Implied in this message is that the penis is powerful, and one cannot afford not to invest in it.  For the Ramsays its all about boobies and widgets.  I am curious about one tiny little thing...if these parts are so important how come they get cute little pet names.  If the children are supposed to value you them, you would think he would at least invest the time in teaching them the biologically correct names.  Perhaps they are so powerful that breast and penis are words that can only be whispered, least they loose their magic power.

Unfortunately for us all Ramsays ignorance did not end with genitalia.  He went on too espouse his views on fat people. In yet another sun article he opined, "I don’t think a chef should be fat, because I was a fat chef once. I don’t think it’s a good advert for customers, especially when it comes to encouraging them to eat desert, and you look at the poor fat chef and think, ‘Well why should I have a desert? He’s clearly eaten them all."  The bottom line to him is, fat is bad for bad for business, and so it is okay to pick on someone else's personal appearance. Of course all people are fat from over eating.  It has nothing to do with a thyroid problem, illness etc?  We will just assume that the cook is a fat lazy slob by choice.  If his business goes under it is because he is to repulsive to look at.  It would certainly not behoove the general population to accept their cook for who they are, and marvel that they had the good fortune to eat a good meal. 

I am sure that some of you reading this are wondering why am I bothering to post such a little fluff piece today.  The answer is quite simple actually.  We consume ideas from the media without thought thus internalizing social constructions that create certain segments of society as other.  Ramsay has no problem attacking people for being fat because it is culturally acceptable.  Ramsay has no problem elevating the importance of his childrens genitalia because we live in an overly sexualized society.  Daily we are subjected to these messages, and they are often targeting the most vulnerable and or impressionable members of society. We think it is fun to watch him rant, rave and demean people.  This is what constitutes entertainment in the media.  We have become decadent, arrogant, and insipid in our choices.  Thought provoking television is quickly becoming a thing of the past, if indeed it ever existed.  If we must be served this daily load of tripe, we should at least attempt to consider its implications.  No message is ever neutral.

Trans Racial Adoption - Best Interest Of The Child?

To be a person of color in the Western world comes with a series of issues that must be negotiated on a daily basis.  All children are born color blind however, society is quick to teach them to perceive a difference in worth, where none actually exists.  For blacks this can be a particularly jarring experience.  Many Black children already attribute positive characteristics with whites, and negative characteristics with blacks, as attested to by the doll test, despite the best efforts of black parents to instill their children with a sense of racial pride. 

How are these feelings of inferiority compounded by being raised by a family that is not black?  Consider that to almost every face that the child must confront they will be perceived as an 'other'.  Adoptive parents do love these children, but are they really equipped to understand the issues that the a black child will face as they grow?  They will never be able to speak from experience about being a victim of racism, as theirs is a place of unearned historic privilege. In fact the childs very presence in the child welfare system, may well be a reflection of his or her race.  If the child lives in a mostly white neighborhood, the chances of interacting with POC will be even less. Where are they to see people that reflect them, that truly understand them on an intrinsic level? In a  study released May, 2008 by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, it was stated that, "African American children who come into contact with the child welfare system are disproportionately represented in foster care, and are less likely than children of other racial and ethnic groups to move to permanency in a timely way. These children account for 15 percent of the U.S. child population but, in FY2006, they represented 32 percent of the 510,000 children in foster care. Black children, as well as Native American children, also have lower rates of adoption than those of other races and ethnicities (U.S. DHHS, 2008a; U.S. GAO, 2007)."

If these children are not allowed to be adopted by white families, they will languish within the system until they age out of care.  The question is, is any home better than no home at all?  Along with racial considerations, children need a stable environment, love, discipline and unconditional acceptance from their families.  In the US adoption is subject to the "Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 (MEPA), which: 1) prohibits the delay or denial of a child's foster or adoptive placement solely on the basis of race, color, or national origin; and 2) requires that state agencies make diligent efforts to recruit foster and adoptive parents who represent the racial and ethnic backgrounds of children in foster care. In 1996, MEPA was amended by the Removal of Barriers to Interethnic Adoption Provisions (IEP), which deleted the word "solely" from MEPA's prohibition against delaying or denying an adoptive placement on the basis of race. IEP prohibits agencies receiving federal funding from considering race in decisions on foster or adoptive placements, except in exceptional circumstances. Noncompliance is a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, subject to a large fine; individuals claiming discrimination under the Act may file suits in U.S. district courts." To not even consider race is to deny the degree to which POC are subject to racism in our daily lives, and its affects on our over all sense of happiness, and fulfillment.

It would seem to me that a two fold solution is necessary.  Black families need to be given the tools to properly support their children.  Often children are removed for issues involving poverty, rather than parenting.  If a single mother cannot pay the electricity, or heating bill this does not make her a bad mother, it makes her a mother who is having financial difficulties. With the rising cost of food, and gas there will be more instances of this in the future.  The answer cannot be to simply remove the children.  The fault lies not with the individual, but the predatory capitalist system under which we live.  By commodfying basic needs, and dividing people into classes, we have created a two tier system of worth, and value based on money. For as rich as the United States is, Venezuela still provided discounted oil for the poverty  stricken.  In Canada, the government had to subsidize oil in some provinces, as people were living without heat. It cannot be the fault of the individual, when so many are in the same state.  We can no longer afford to treat the family as though it were inconsequential to the well being of the state (note: the term family does not necessarily denote the "traditional" patriarchal family).  Already services that were once covered under social programs have been reduced, and or eliminated with the responsibility of care downloaded to the family.  With North Americans actually working more than any other generation, and yet having less disposable income, this leaves the family in an untenable situation.  Removing children from a home because their parents are unable to cope within a system that is designed to exploit them is simply as irrational, as the system itself.

Finally, if black children are to be adopted by white families, some sort of after adoption support must be made available.  The children will require some sort of mentorship program from a POC, as I have already stated no matter how well intentioned a white person is, they simply cannot relate with the lived experience of a POC.  As a community we must take responsibility for these children, so that they are aware of their heritage, and the potential issues that will arise because of it.  We must prepare them for the fact that as they age, certain stigmatizations will be attached to their bodies irregardless of their personalities.  A little black boy may be seen as cute when he is 5 or 6, however when he becomes a young adult society will view him as a threat.  The same child that you teach to turn to police in times of trouble must be taught to be wary of them as they age due to police violence; whereas the message of safety and protection never changes for a white child.  If we as a community do not take the time to teach these children racial pride, they will grow to internalize the negative images society has created for black people.  These children represent the future of our community, and we cannot simply abandon them solely to the care of others, regardless of how well intentioned they may be.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Good Vibrations

image Trojan has introduced a personal massager on to the market.  This tiny fingertip product of pleasure uses 2 AA batteries, and it is reported to go for 30 minutes. With the exception of Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Virginia, it is commonly available.  At last women don't have to venture into a sex shop to pick out a product designed to fulfill our sexual needs. A womans orgasm sold in this way is not a dirty thing that needs to be hidden. Trojan briefly tries to sell the idea that men also love this product but lets just be honest, this all about clit pleasure. Buzzzzz gotta love it.  Check the commercial.

One of the things that I love about this commercial is the eavesdropping older woman. In Western society the idea that we stop being sexual beings at a certain age has become part of the discourse around sex, and sexuality. Not only does this ad present middle aged women as wanting, and loving their orgasms it shows her encouraging younger women to do the same.  That is what I call pro-woman, pro-sex advertisement.  With so much of sex related products, and or advertising aimed at the male gaze it is refreshing to see one unashamedly aimed at women. Can I get a whooo hooo. 

I cannot personally attest for how well this product achieves its marketed goals.  It does have in its favor the fact that it is not the phallic replacement that is commonly sold. I am not saying that women don't enjoy penetration, but lets be honest most sexual pleasure is derived from the clitoris, so why not give it the stimulation that it deserves.  Dildos have their place, however we as women don't need to continually role play a fetishistic desire for a penis.  This is especially true for queer women.  Trojan truly considered a womans anatomy when they created this mini buzzer of pleasure.

This video was found at JUST A GIRL IN SHORT SHORTS TALKING ABOUT WHATEVER.

Mixed Schools Lead To Cross Dressing In Dubai

image In a campaign entitled "Preserve Our Social Values," Dubai is arresting men, and women who are publicly cross dressing.  The Khaleej Times Daily quoted Dubai Police Chief Dhahi Khalfan as saying, "Several men in women's dresses and make-up have already been arrested from shopping malls and residential buildings. He is further quoted by the Arab News as saying, “What is happening among our youth is unnatural and is a result of lack of religious awareness. A lot of these teenagers turn to such deviant behavior to make up for the lack of parental attention. Some parents also contribute to such behavior by treating the boys better than the girls which results in girls hating their sex and so trying to act like boys"

Unnatural?  Right because viewing everything in gender binaries is somehow more healthy, and stable.  Let's just ignore the fact that it undermines individual expression, and disciplines the body. Gender must be carefully divided into categories at all times, and there can be no blending.  Each sex is to be assigned roles at birth, which are to be followed rigidly until death, otherwise society will just completely collapse.  Imagine the damage a man in a skirt, or a woman in a pair of pants could do to civilization as a whole.  It could be worse for the world than the so-called election of George Bush, or even global warning.  Can a society really survive such a threat?

Of course the inequality between males, and females would lead to internalized hatred.  This could not possibly be a means of thwarting a system wherein women are subject to misogyny could it?  The true nature of the feminine is to submit at all times, regardless of how harsh, or unfair the living circumstances are.   Yes, gender bending behavior is simply unfeminine.  Using ingenuity to challenge hegemonic discourse surrounding performativity is something a male would do, and so when females put on "male clothing," they are turning their backs on everything that constitutes 'woman'.

Speaking to Arab News, Hamda Amiri, a social worker with one of the government high schools, said that there were an increasing number of girls dressing like boys in the schools. “The phenomenon is more visible in the girls’ schools than in the boys. It has become fashionable and cool for some of these girls to dress and act as boys. It’s shocking but some girls think that by dressing and acting this way, they are rebelling and making a statement! What is also sad is other girls are copying them, thinking that it is a sign of being cool!” she said.

It is simply tragic that they would turn their backs on all of the wonderful privileges they are endowed with as women in Dubai. What possible statement could they be attempting to make?  Gender binaries are normal, and not socially constructed at all.  I know this because the government  enforces this through the penal system, therefore it must be true.  The government would never pass a ruling that was not beneficial to all members of its society now would it? What kind of threat could women actually post to male hegemony if they were to achieve social, and legal equality?  We are after all only women, therefore we are quiet, submissive, and docile.  Nope, no natural aggression or intelligence here.

There must be something really sinister behind these changes.  With all of the work that has gone into regulation and social control, what could have gone unnoticed to lead to such a disturbing trend? According to The Khaleej Times Daily, Lt-Gen Dhahi Khalfan, "called upon the media and religious and educational institutions to spread awareness about this unnatural behaviour that violates Islamic values. He also called upon the Ministry of Social Affairs to study the reasons behind the trend and recommend solutions. “Co-education could be one of the reasons behind this,” he opined.

Ahhh, the perils of the sexes actually interacting with each other.  Of course this opinion is not in the least bit self-interested.  It would not in any way benefit one sex over the other to utilize a system of separate, and unequal education. Could that really be the answer, segregation? Psychiatrist Dr Mohammed Murad theorized, in The Khaleej Times Daily, "people who indulge in cross-dressing suffer from genetic disorders, but could also be influenced by odd behavior witnessed around them. He attributed such changes in society to co-education, Internet explosion and technology."

Opps, co-education again and hmmm of course they're sickos. Not like you or I. Now a doctor has legitimized it, and it makes sense.  "Normal" people always conform to their specific gender roles.  If it were not for the disgusting influence of the West, perhaps their "illnesses" would not even have progressed to this state. Of course having access to the Internet where ideas flow freely can be harmful to already damaged and ill minds, otherwise they would never turn their backs on this homogeneous way of living. Not to worry though, Big Brother is on the job, and Orwell would be proud. Dubai will be saved! This western perversion will magically disappear at the borders, as the government has already taken steps to ensure the return of normalcy to the population. The moral fiber of society is dependent on this delicate balance. If it is not checked at an early stage it could spread through society like a cancer, and who knows what people will do next. The line has been drawn, and western "influence" must stop at the sipping of Starbucks.