Saturday, June 14, 2008

Colluding Ass Women - Feminism Benefits You Too

At the end of last month I came across a post entitled, "Why Is This Woman Against Feminism."  It prompted me to write, "Why Feminism Is A Necessity." To be completely above board I wrote the author, KellyMac to inform her that I had posted a response on my blog.  Since this time I have gotten alot of responses from her readers, and while most were very respectful I did gain a few trolls. Lucky me!!! Kelly posted a response to my commentary.  A 24 point response to be exact.  Being the stubborn, hysterical, angry womanist that I am, noooooo way is she getting the last word on this one. Had Kelly been a man, I probably would have let this go, but colluding ass women get on my nerves. They want all the benefits of feminism/womanism without admitting the privileges of patriarchy. Someone has to shake them loose from the Stockholm syndrome that they clearly are suffering with.  So strong is my dedication to women that I am willing once again, to wade into the muck of false identification.

In what follows, all commentary in blue is written by me.

1. Women still make 70 cents for every dollar a man makes, and the disparity is even larger for women of color. Not true, when you compare apples to apples. Here’s a wiki article – wiki being known for consistently deleting articles about Misandry and men’s rights.

Right, Wikki is exactly where I want to go to find a reliable source.  Does it occur to you that wikki can be edited by anyone.  Try and cite that on a university paper, and so how pretty the F looks beside your name. Clearly you need help finding sources...start with google scholar, or like I mentioned in my previous post the library. I'm not going to do all the work for you, I will  however get you started with this .. Researchers have found that less than half of the pay gap is due to men dominating in fields like engineering, and business.  The imbalance has to do with workplace characteristics like high performance systems, degree of foreign ownership, and rate of part time work (Drolet 2002) and to gender discrimination (Phillips & Phillips, 1993; Chaykowski & Powell, 1999, Cromption & Vickers, 2000)

2.The vast majority of women that are single mothers live in poverty, Actually, according to this link, 27.7% of custodial single mothers live in poverty, although in researching it, I did find statistics up to around 35%. However, given that women initiate 2/3 of divorce, and that women are most likely to gain custody, it kind of looks like the situation is mostly in the control of those same mothers.

Yep took the time to check out your link at About.com.  Yes I have no doubt that this may be an accurate statistic for the US, however the world is larger than the United States of America, believe it or not.  Step outside of your western privilege for just a sec...promise I'll throw you a rope so that you won't get lost.  Do you think that the single mothers in Iraq, Afghanistan, or India are living high on the hog?  Are they all welfare queens? By the way in the Islamic world men only need to say I divorce you three times while no such right exists for women.  In the case of divorce globally, women do not benefit.

3. daily the right to have an abortion is continually being assaulted Ok. And daily the right to have an abortion is defended as well. That’s called free speech. What’s your point? As far as I know, abortion is still legal.

My point dear is that slowly roe vs wade is being restricted.  If this continues the right to have an abortion will not exist.  In Canada Bill C-484 or the so-called unborn victim of crime act is attempting to roll back abortion.  Just as rights can be granted they can be removed.  Think of all the privacy you had before the reactionary Patriot Act.

4. Mothers that are married, and work outside of the home still perform most of the domestic duties, childrearing, and elder care. This constitutes a “double day. Could it be that a messy house bothers her more? Or that she doesn’t think he’ll do it right? Ask yourself this: are women being forced to do more housework, or are they choosing to make the house the way they want it? Besides all that, prove it. I submit that if both spouses work full time, they split up the chores – including running the kids all over town and cleaning the gutters.

Mothers do more work because of the historical division of labor. Men's work was in the public sector, and womens in the private sector.  To this day housework is still largely associated with women.  If this were not the case every single cleaning product would not direct their marketing at women.  They know damn well who cleans the house.  But you want a factual back up don't you...well here you go, and while you are at it, notice that it is a reputable source of information.  I don't need to turn to WIKKI to prove anything.  example 1, example 2, example 3.

5. Women bodies are constantly sexualized in the media. I challenge you to watch fifteen minutes of television without seeing the image of a half naked woman, selling us something we neither want, or need. And men are constantly belittled in our media. Not only that, but men are also sexualized in the media. Sex sells. You’re never going to change that. If you want to stop those ads, organize a boycott. Don’t complain about how powerless you are.

Yes the media does have a habit of portraying men as drooling dolts, but this in no way effects the global power structure of patriarchy.  This is exactly the opposite of how the world is run, and deep down even you have to admit that.  Men control the media, and an attempt by them to show men as victims of evil harping women belies the fact that in almost every industry you turn to, men are in positions of power.  There is a large difference between reality, and fantasy. As for the article that you directed me to, did you not see the racism in the ad?  There is a reason that the man that was selected was black.  This has more to do with race, than it does with gender.  It is an attempt to delegitimize black men ..a big black dick, no operating brains.  This is not new, look at the "lunchbox" campaigns that were directed at Linford Christie.

6. Daily for a small fee one can have access to violent pornography thus reifying our rape culture Ok, first off, the term “rape culture” is one that was made up by feminism to be used in women’s studies courses and to play on your fears. How safe do you think it is for a lone man to walk down a dark street in a rough neighborhood? Second, when you use the term “violent pornography”, you really mean “against women”. There’s a fair amount of femdomme porn out there as well. Ever seen the ones where a man is bound spread-eagle and kick in the crotch (as a very mild example)? Again, you get a half-truth.

Right because men routinely get raped, and note when it does happen it is usually done by other men...I am not saying that women do not assault men, what I am saying is that the majority of the sexual assaults that occur are perpetrated by MEN. Speaking of rape, how do you think the women of the Congo feel?  Oh, I forgot it is a made up term, and so I guess those women are only imaging that they are confronting rape on a daily basis.

Yes, again Femmedom Porn does exist, but like every other industry the porn industry is dominated by MEN.  It is largely created to satisfy the MALE GAZE...

7. hip hop is your thing, I can imagine how you might find it pleasant to hear women referred to as bitches and hos continually Here’s the thing about hip hop. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. It isn’t a society-wide phenomenon. Freedom of speech, and all that.

Yes due to freedom of speech people spew all kinds of venom.  I of course stopped listening to any hip hop that contained woman hating lyrics, however that does not mean that I am not offended each, and every time I hear it. You don't need to actually buy it, to be exposed to it.  While hip hop does have its target audience, I must still interact with people who feel that this kind of misogynistic hate is ok.  Of course just like any agent of socialization (media) hip hop has an effect on its listeners. Nothing is ever innocent.

8. sexism that has been thrown at Hillary Clinton. My goodness a woman president, we cannot have that, when she gets her period she might be tempted to push the button. Where oh where will we hide the tampon dispenser in the Oval office? You see that office is the repository of male bodily fluids, and the cleaning staff are used to dealing with semen, and not blood. Ok, I’m not sure where this came from, but have you considered that maybe, just maybe, Mrs. Clinton isn’t the right woman for the job? I’m sure sexism has been thrown at her. I’m sure racism has been thrown at Obama. I’m sure infidelity has been thrown at someone else. And draft dodging. And anything else their opponents can come up with. Welcome to politics.

As I have stated in many posts, I am not a fan of Ms. Clinton, however I am even less a fan of the sexism that she had to endure during the race. It is not as simple as saying welcome to politics.  With her, they avoided debating the issues simply because they could count on a hatred of women.  What her run for office proved is that no matter what lip service we give to equality, we have not reached the point where women are taken seriously.  I simply cannot imagine a great debate amongst political pundits regarding the shrill like whine in either Obama or McCains voice. I cannot wait to see when these two face off, how many times they will be accused of being hysterical, or having a nagging quality to their tone.  Bet that won't happen because those are gender specific commentary.

9. Any idea where your clitoris is? Found it by accident didn’t you, because female sexual pleasure just isn’t taught in sex education classes. Wow. Do they teach male sexual pleasure in sex ed these days? Seems I remember learning about ovulation, semen production, std’s, stuff like that. Besides, I knew where my clitoris was long before sexual maturity, and not because of abuse. It’s actually pretty common.

If they are focusing on intercourse, then they are focusing on male sexual pleasure.  Most women need stimulation of the clitoris to achieve orgasm, and since that is not a high priority in sex-ed classes I would say that they are focusing on male sexual pleasure. This is what female centered sex education looks like.

10. barefoot, and pregnant This term was reportedly coined by a sexist legislator in 1963, and has been used ever since as a feminist catchphrase. You can do better than that.

Uuumm yeah, don't care who coined it, it's an accurate statement.

11. They just need to spread their legs when told, and feign pleasure at the mans will. I’m not sure where you’re going with this. Are you saying we’re all sex-slaves?

What I am saying is that when it comes to heterosexual sex there is a lack of reciprocity.

12. perfecting the skill of fellatio while ignoring the fact that your man thinks that cunnilingus is some foreign country off the coast of Italy. Throw the little man in the boat a life jacket, and buy a vibrator, it may be the only way you will ever have an orgasm See my comment on #11. Or you might try communicating with your man. Just a suggestion.

You think that it is because of a lack of communication...please...For every 10 times a man receives fellatio, he performs cunnilingus 3 times. In the western world heterosexual sex, has always been phalocentric.  It is only since feminism made sex an issue, that women have had the courage to demand sexual satisfaction.

13. it isn’t considered sex when lesbians are intimate. Is this why the rape scene in “The Vagina Monologues is so empowering?

I have no clue what you are talking about....I left the monologue the minute she encouraged men to say the word cunt...you will have to enlighten me on what your commentary is supposed to mean.

14. Did you know you stink? Don’t worry though there are douches for that, just don’t think about what it is doing to your natural chemistry My understanding is that douches are for occasional use only, and it’s better to use the unscented vinegar-based ones. Maybe they’re telling you something different these days? That’s marketing, just like the Gardasil commercials. Did you know that 85% of the deaths from cervical cancer in the last count could have been prevented if the women had chosen to get a pap smear?

My point is that products like douches prey upon the social construction of the foulness of the vagina. There is no need for a woman to douche whatsoever.  It's predatory.

15. Didn’t you know that women are supposed to all have hairless prepubescent bodies at all times, while men can go around looking like they belong in gorillas in the mist, with nary a batted eye Look at mass media advertising, and then ask your male friends what they prefer. I think you’ll find that preferences vary, especially when it comes to the prepubescent look. Shaving our pits and legs is part of grooming. Just like when men shave their faces, trim their beards, wear ties, all that stuff.

No we are only told that it is part of grooming.  Ask yourself why it is necessary to remove hair from the human body that does not impede someone's functionality?  Gasp...Could it be for male pleasure. As for the Brazilian trim, please tell me the last time you saw a model with a single pube sticking through her bathing suit, or around the bikini line?  The bald muff is not about female pleasure, it is once again about the male gaze...No woman sat around one day and thought that it would be a great idea to poor hot wax on her vagina.  I can think of much better ways to spend an afternoon.

16. diet industry is dependent on your desire to conform to the ideal female form to maintain profits. Don’t worry though Jenny Craig will love you, for every dollar of your meager disposable income that you spend trying to get into an unachievable size o. Do you have any money left after purchasing your high sodium diet food? The diet industry is as bad as the pharmaceutical industry. Successful advertising is not the same as coercion. Besides, how many home gyms and protein powders are sold because men are supposed to be muscular and cut?

Right, right the money made by targeting women does not far exceed the money that is made from targeting men. Women don't succumb to anorexia and, bulimia trying to attain these unrealistic images at a much higher rate than men...no ones fault though, everyone is innocent.  When we give a girl a Barbie Doll, we don't set the stage for unrealistic body images...nope, not at all..the ideal body image that is crafted for women has no effect on our gender psyche at all.  Just one mass hysterical delusion. Just wondering while you are at it, do you want to tell me how easy obese women have it as well?

18. man, who even though he is five years older than you is becoming distinguished while you look dried up, and used. There are evolutionary reasons for older men being attractive to us – they represent someone more established and able to support us. As for older women looking dried up and used, I don’t think I agree with you. Yes, we lose our firmness and suppleness, but if we go into it gracefully, I think older women can be very beautiful. You can’t expect to always look fertile. Blame the primitive brain, not sexism.

Totally missed the point didn't you.  I am saying that the media presents older men as sexy, alluring etc whereas once a woman hits 40 she is done for. Michael Douglas weds Catherine Zeta Jones, not a word said. Demi Moore gets it on with Ashton Cutcher, and she is a cradle robber.

19. You see, you took so much time out of the workforce to raise children, and take care of your elderly parents that it has effected your retirement benefits. Should you have the misfortune to outlive your spouse, and loose his share of benefits you will become a regular at food banks, and soup kitchens. Even with the discounts you will get for being a senior, economically life will be very hard for you. If you choose to stay home and raise the kids, that’s the choice you make. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been putting money into retirement since I was 30 years old. You have to take care of these things yourself, instead of expecting someone else to do it.

Here we go on the privilege roller coaster again.  You are able to save in your class bracket, ask yourself how women who are living in poverty are doing?  How will retirement benefit their already meager income. Glad to know that you support stay at home moms too, so woman positive of you.  A woman staying at home to raise children is providing a valuable service to society, and she should not be penalized economically for doing so.  While she may have removed herself from the labor market, society will benefit from the labor of her children. One other point, in most cases where a woman stays home, the husband is in a high stress, high income job.  These jobs require a support staff to be maintained, or do you believe he still picks up his own dry cleaning? The husbands ability to function is directly related to the wife performing labor in the household.

20. “Ninety percent of girls reported experiencing sexual harassment at least once. Specifically, 67 percent of girls reported receiving unwanted romantic attention, 62 percent were exposed to demeaning gender-related comments, 58 percent were teased because of their appearance, 52 percent received unwanted physical contact and 25 percent were bullied or threatened with harm by a male. 52 percent of girls also reported receiving discouraging gender-based comments on the math, science and computer abilities, usually from male peers, and 76 percent of girls reported sexist comments on their athletic abilities, again predominantly from male peers.”( a study I quoted from) Yes, but what is unwanted sexual attention? “Hey baby, give me your ass”, or “You look really sexy in that short dress”? Who isn’t teased because of their appearance? I’ve worn glasses since the 3rd grade, had acne since 6th grade. Trust me. I got teased. What about the boy who isn’t buff and wealthy? Think he’s not getting teased? Think again. That’s only your first few statistics. Question the rest of them.

Unwanted sexual attention speaks for itself.  This isn't about teasing, this about male ownership of the female body.  Ask yourself why you don't see hordes of women catcalling men?

21. Feminist theory is fluid, and constantly changing to meet the diverse needs of women Ah, here’s where you throw in the “all the bad stuff isn’t REAL feminism”. The convenient denial.

Actually, I am saying that unlike you colluding women, feminism does not always create a monolithic representative woman.  Just as there are many different kinds of leftist theories, there are various forms of feminist theory.  Each one has a different set of organizing principles, outcomes, and goals, but you would know that if you studied feminism beyond a Rush Limbaugh rant.

22. Simply stating the facts of the lived experience of women does not constitute the demonization of men. Why should women deny the horrors of their daily lives so that men can have a feel good experience? I never said stating the facts of our lived experience constitutes the demonization of men. I said blaming men for everything bad that has ever happened does. Is your daily life really a horror? Really?

Again this is not about me as a person.  It is about the lived experience of all women.  I certainly would not presume to think that my life mirrored that of a woman living in South Africa, or Iceland.  What I am stating is that each, and every time women confront patriarchy, we are told that we are picking on men. Heaven forbid they own their gender privilege.

23. men have been slaughtering women since the beginning of time. I couldn’t find a source that said this. Do you have one?

Cute..do the work yourself.  Men have killed women plain, and simple. Open your local paper, I am sure you will find one incident of violence by a man against a woman. 

24. Now with the aid of technology we are killed before we can even take our first breath. It is called femicide The only information I found about femicide deals with the killing of female fetuses in India. Which is absolutely horrible. But I’m a little confused. If abortion is ok, but femicide is wrong, then that only leaves the murder of male fetuses. Is this really what you’re trying to say?

Are you serious?....oh well, When a woman chooses to have an abortion because she cannot afford another child, or she simple does not want to be a mother, that is completely understandable, and acceptable.  Femicide occurs because males are valued more than females.  These abortions are coerced quite often, and they are occurring simply because the child in question is female. Abortion should not occur due to gender.

I cannot believe I made my way through all of that. Well despite the vitriol from the trolls that I got from my original post, and this response from KellyMac, I have emerged unscathed.  I have a challenge for you, take the time to think about the different ways that gender has had an impact on your life.  In each, and every single incident who has benefited?  Think outside of your personal experience, and image the life of a woman half way across the world.  What may not effect you, could be a major factor limiting her life chances. I personally identify as a womanist because I find that to be a more inclusive form of feminism, but that does not mean that I am not aware of how the social construction of gender impacts men. Take an intersectional approach to examine the different ways in which the isms combine to act as stigmatizers.  While each person must necessarily confront sites of oppression, they must also acknowledge the ways in which they are privileged. The two go hand, in hand.

Feminism is more than what you see on the evening news, and it is certainly not the hateful theory that is presented.  Keep in mind that the people most vocal in their hatred of feminism, largely neglect to mention the ways in which they continue to benefit from the oppression of women.  I cannot tell you what to think, in fact that is not my intent...I only ask you, isn't it worth your while to just take a moment to question?  I don't even recognize the feminism that you are decrying as a form of legitimate feminist theory, and so perhaps your idea of feminism is wrong period.  As I mentioned there are various forms of feminism to suit the diversity of women on this planet.  I will just name a few, eco-feminism, radical feminism, liberal feminism, post structural feminism, Marxist feminism, post-colonial feminism etc and etc...before you decide that feminism is bad, take the time to look at the various forms of feminism, their organizing principles, and outcomes, you might just find one that you like.

 

 

R.Kelly Should Join FLDS

image  By the time you read this post it will have become common knowledge that after a 6 year ordeal R. Kelly was pronounced not guilty yesterday.  He was charged with 14 criminal counts of sex with a girl, who at the time was 13.  These alleged acts(hate using that word) were apparently caught on tape.  Both the girl in question, and Kelly said that it was not them on the tape. Due to a very fortunate mole on Kellys back he was able to attest, (I won't say prove) that the man on the tape was not him.

There were many yesterday who felt that this was cause for celebration.  Just like O.J, the black community rallied to support its hero..WAKE UP PEOPLE, color should not mean automatic solidarity.  Just because he is a talented artist does not mean he deserves a get out of jail free card. You may think that you are stickin' it to the man, but what you are really doing, is throwing his 13 year old victim under the bus.  Why doesn't she count for anything?  The remarks at Ebony speak for themselves.

Carla says: To be honest with you i think the girl lied about her age. There are so many young girls out here that have bodies that are so mature for their age and will use their body to get what the want rather it's with a celeb, singer,or even a drug dealer for that matter. Most people can distinguish an adult from a child just by their conversation and if R.Kelly could'nt tell then he is not most people. I love his music and always will no matter what the outcome is. One love R.Kelly

Yes this predatory 13 year old girl used her feminine wiles to entrap a man. He was just so entranced that he could not tell that he was sleeping with a minor. Besides, black women are naturally sexually aggressive, and permissive.

Renee404 says: I don't thibk that r.kelly did it. Those females just wanna see him go to jail and hell if he did do it they mad because they didn't get no MONEY out of him. Also all they doing is making themselves look bad because they the ones who is doing it... That's what the press have to think about to. So ya'll need to be tellin those females to get some help cuz hell they the stupid one's....

Yeah, this 13 year old decided to set herself up for life, and sleep with R.Kelly. She didn't ever dream about what she was going to do when she grew up. Her plan from the cradle was to find some rich black man, and sleep with him to attain a huge financial windfall.  So determined was she to have this desire fulfilled, that when he refused to acquiesce to her desires like the petulant child she was, she tattle tailed. By hook or crook eh?

Gmack says: What happens to these under girls that choose to do this. should there be some punishment for under age girls that choose to be with older guys. Maybe R.Kelly is guilty or maybe he is innocent, but still this behavior must stop on both ends.

Why don't we just pretend we all reside in Saudi Arabia, and stone her.  It is a womans responsibility to remain pure.  Men cannot be trusted whatsoever to contain their sexual desires. Everyone knows that an engorged penis causes men to loose the capacity to think.

DeAnna says: Kells I feel so bad what you are going through. I have never seen the tape and to be honest why should he be going to jail if those tricks consented? If they wanted to have sex with him it was their decison. I think it's a bunch of crap. Also these girls these days looks a lot older than their age. If their mothers was doing their job they wouldn't have been in that predicament. I love you Kelly, May God Be with you!!!!!

Though you used the word trick by implication you meant whore, or slut didn't you? You didn't even see the tape, but there is no way that R.Kelly is guilty. All women are dirty sluts by nature, it says so in the bible..remember Eve and the apple, or Delilah and Samson?

littlesmurf says: to me the young girl in the video look like she know what she was doing i'm 41 yrs old and some of thing she was doing i would not do the way she was moving and the way she toke his p---- he was no small man and she toke it all with no problems.she toke it like she no what she was doing.my prayer are with you r kelly if it is you you have to give in count for that before god on judgement day

Even if she was sexually experienced it still did not give Kelly the right to sleep with her.

I won't expose you to anymore of this disgusting commentary.  It turned my stomach to read it, and so I can imagine what it is doing to you.  Well Kelly used the mole defense, and today he is a free man.  I am sure that this will only work once though.  So here is the plan...I think that Kelly should move to Utah, Bountiful BC, or Texas, and join the FLDS.  This will give him a whole new line of defense for his pedophilic urges.  He can claim freedom of religion, and pray while he busy raping, and impregnating celestial wives.

Just like Kelly these men hold power over young girls, and use it to their own advantage.  Should he choose to join the cult, (I meant religion) he will be able to attain multiple victims that are considered ready for marriage from the first day of their periods.  The bonus is that when the first wife reaches the age where she is no longer physically attractive, (18) he can get a younger model. Since he is already wealthy he won't have to commit welfare fraud to support the multiple children that such unions will produce.  I really don't see how he can loose...These young girls are brainwashed from birth to believe in the principle, and with the limited education that they possess, he should have no problem explaining why he is justified in raping them. 

When will people understand that you cannot consent to your own abuse.  The child was 13 years old. Has no one ever heard of power differential? Kelly knew what he was doing was wrong.  He knew that he was sleeping with a child.  Why else would he instruct her to call him daddy?  (more proof of pedophilic urges btw) Stop victim blaming. Men do not have the right to female bodies.  I wonder how many of these Kelly supporters would be happy to send their daughters for a visit? Probably the same amount that would accept a sleep over invitation for their child at Michael Jacksons house.  Rape is rape no matter who is committing it. Having celebrity status in this society, does not mean that the individual is not capable of heinous crimes.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Link Love Friday

Ok, the following are some articles that caught my attention this week.  I suggest you check them all out, they are definitely worth the read.  Then head on image over to the comment section and practice a little self love by promoting your best posts for the week.  I look forward to reading what everyone blogged about.

I would like to remind everyone that I am still accepting submission for Tell it - WOC Speak Carnival.  Please make your submissions here.  They can be about anything that you deem important, race gender, family, personal stories etc..you decide.  What is important is that we send our collective voices out there and demand that we be heard! The submission date is June 25, and I will post the carnival here at womanist musings on July 1. The homepage for the carnival can be found here.  Articles submitted by allies will also be accepted.

Ok get reading...and don't forget to promote yourself on the way out the door.

The Goddess
Feminism has many definitions and a lot of women make a lot of money parsing, defining, theorizing and creating them so they can publish books and theses and dissertations about it. The bottom line, though, is that feminism has to be inclusive and address issues of social justice- things like racism, colonialism, violence, war, hunger, poverty, civil rights for everyone and defending a woman's right to choose- or it's meaningless. Electing more women to office is great, but they have to be the right women. There are feminist men who would be much better choices than some ultra-conservative women. We can't just play a girls-only game while we live in a society with both men and women. (I do think that it might be a good idea to develop women-centric communities or neighborhoods, but that's not the state we currently live in.)

Brown Black and Queer
Just the fact that feminism automatically means white feminism, and if feminism is to mention race, it’s suddenly black feminism, or women of color feminism, or third world feminism, meaning it’s a whole new game of feminism that’s not quite Feminism, because it’s outside the scope of mainstream feminism. But this is a problem. Aren’t we capable women (and people)? Can’t we expand naturally our limited ideas? We should never settle for “beyond the scope.” It’s difficult to keep asking for more and more, but it’s difficult to live oppressed to...

Feminocracy
Sex In The City
The women seem to live in the same fantasy New York of Friends, Mad About You, and Seinfeld, hardly a non white face in sight. So it did bother me a bit to see the barrage of coverage talking about how “women” would be salivating while they awaited the movie’s release. Then again, I’m likely a bit sensitive to how “women” now means “white women” in the American understanding.

Mirror On America
The entire Obama candidacy is about what I call a Racial Rorschach Test. The first phase were those idiotic articles about whether Obama was ' Black enough' for Black folks, which was insane, and off the point. Once that dog didn't hunt, we finally got around to whom the 'Black enough' test was really about, and that was White folk. While they're still mulling around this question and deciding whether to deal with it or not, we've got a new angle to this test.

The Burning Times
A choice between suicide or submission
“Greater freedom for the women of Afghanistan was one of the promises of the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. U.S. and Afghan officials say there have been significant improvements, noting that some two million women and girls are now attending school, something that was forbidden under the extremist Taliban government. But despite Western efforts, many Afghan women say their lives have not improved significantly and an increasing number of women are committing suicide by burning themselves to death as a way to escape physical, sexual and psychological abuse.[...]

Bitch Magazine
Ain’t I A Mommy?
That black mothers were not among the combatants on the fake battlefield of the mommy wars is not coincidental. This simply wasn’t our fight. In her book Having It All: Black Women and Success, Veronica Chambers notes, “Guilt just isn’t a currency in our lives the way it is in the lives of white women.” Further, as economist Julianne Malveaux observed in USA Today, “Some African-American women want to yawn at the angst about shouldering multiple burdens and juggling multiple roles. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt so long ago that I recycled it.” Since the 1940s, black women have outnumbered white women in the labor force. According to some reports, the black middle class owes its existence to black women’s presence in the workplace. ?

Womens Space

In its homeport, San Diego, sailors from the Nimitz rape the prostituted bodies of girls in that city and in Tijuana.  These girls are subject to the harshness of the sex industry which treats women like modern-day slaves; girls are held in debt bondage, pimp-controlled, trafficked.  Tijuana is in fact a ‘corridor’ city:  girls are ‘broken’ there before being shipped to U.S. markets.   To make them submissive, the girls are subjected to gang rapes, beatings, starvation, being filmed for porn to degrade them, along with psychological terror tactics.  This is the norm of what happens to prostituted beings.  These are the broken bodies sailors buy and use.

AngryBlackBitch

On the FOX Baby Mama fucktuptitude…

Pull the lever and watch the options spin…round and round and round…until, yes! Baby Mama will do nicely...manages to address that myth of black marriage and that other myth of black parenthood and the myth of black monogamy…and the myth that any black woman could ever be treated with one ounce of respect by a system that sees the most efficient way to campaign against a political candidate who is a person of color being to cast him as a terrorist, his wife as a whore and his children as the unfortunate bastards born into a culture seduced by violence, addicted to sex and comprised of slovenly waste.

Ryczak May Yet Pay For Becks Death

I have written two posts regarding the death of Stephine Beck. They can be found here, and here.  Ryczak murdered her in what he claims was self defense,image and then dumped her half naked body.  For this crime he received 1 day in prison plus time served.  Wow, he must be a connected man, you may be thinking, but that is not the case.  Beck was a prostitute, and as we all know the lives of sex trade workers are not valued.  This happened in the little town of St.Catherines Ontario, Canada, but it really could have happened anywhere.  Daily sex trade workers are subject to violence, and rape without any kind of police intervention.  Due to the nature of their employment, society thinks that were asking for it, or that it is just a part of the job that they should accept.  Rape, and violence only happens to "pure women". 

I have thought often about this case, as her body was found less than a 20 minute drive from where I live.  I have wondered what I would do if I ran into this man in the course of my everyday life.  I don't feel safe knowing that there is a killer on the loose simply because he happened to kill a sex trade worker.  The fact that I am not employed in that area does not make me immune from violence.  How is any woman to know that tomorrow they won't be the victim of a Ryczak attack? If we cannot have justice for Stephine Beck, then we can have no justice for all women.  But for a twist of fate how many of us could be in her position.  Many women in this area slip in and out of prostitution to augment the salaries they earn from the low wage service sector jobs that are available here.  With the cost of living rising, and the low availability of affordable housing sometimes prostitution is the only viable option for survival. To have to pay for that decision with your life is a punishment no one deserves.

Much to my surprise many Niagara Region residents felt the same way that I did.  My good friend Leslie Benson went door to door collecting signatures for a petition, to get the sentenced appealed.  When she was asked why this case struck such a mighty chord for her, she responded, "I just think the decision was outrageous. I feel like we've made it OK for one of the most vulnerable groups in society, besides children, to be hurt," Two rallies were held, in protest and  Welland MPP Peter Kormos raised the issue in the provincial legislature. During sentencing Becks lawyer asked for two years less a day, imagine his glee when his client got off with time served plus a day. Well it seems Ryczaks euphoria will be short lived because the Ministry of the Attorney General is appealing the sentence.

According to the Chronicle Herald, ministry spokesman Brendan Crawley was quoted as saying, "The defendant has been served and the Crown will be filing its notice of appeal with the Court of Appeal in accordance with the rules."  As printed in the Toronto Sun,The short court document filed with the Court of Appeal says the trial judge "erred by imposing a manifestly unfit sentence which did not reflect the seriousness of the offence." It says other grounds may be advised by counsel later. The relief sought is that the appeal be allowed, the sentence be set aside and a fit sentence be imposed," the notice says.

I am elated that Beck, and her family may yet get the justice that they are due, but it is a hope that is tinged with caution.  While the media has been instrumental in raising awareness of this case, it constantly makes reference to the cocaine found in Becks system, as though to explain how it is that Beck succumbed to strangulation.  I have no doubt in my mind that Becks involvement in the sex trade factored into Ryczaks sentencing, however it had no bearing on the crime itself, yet the media is quick to remind us that Beck was a  prostitute.  There is barely a human connection made with Stephine, she is portrayed as just some used body that was dumped on the side of the road by a man that just happened to loose control.  How can we ever achieve justice for Beck if her basic humanity is not recognized?  She was someones daughter, she had dreams and aspirations, and to make her life all about prostitution is to deny the essence of her being. When we think of Beck what we are meant to think of is her dirty carnivorous vagina, and not her equal worth as a human being. Justice comes from validation, and I fear until we can think of Beck like a daughter, sister, friend and lover her death will never be recognized as a crime, or a grievous loss to this community. I will continue to post on this case as I become aware of updates. Despite the drugs, and the sex work, there is a Stephine Beck in everyone's life. Does Wayne Ryczak have the right to take that life without a legitimate penalty?

High School No Place For Gay Clubs

image Irmo High school is in the news for intolerance again. Students found a staff sponsor with the intent of starting a gay/straight alliance group, when they were informed that the principle intended to resign in protest.  According to Yahoo News, principle Eddie Walker stated that he intended to step down because the Gay/Straight Alliance conflicts with his religious beliefs.  In a letter to the school and the Irmo community, quoted at People Not Politics, Walker said the Gay/Straight Alliance Club “conflicted with my professional beliefs in that we do not have any other clubs at Irmo High School based on sexual orientation, sexual preference, or sexual activity.”He added that the school teaches abstinence and a gay-straight club implies students joining the club would “engage in sexual activity with members of the same sex, opposite sex, or members of both sexes. I bear no malice toward anyone,” Walker said in his letter. “If the people involved at the district level had chosen not to allow the club to form, I am sure the district would have been sued and … that in all likelihood the district would have lost.”

They would have lost because its called DISCRIMINATION. According to federal law, unless the club is performing an illegal activity, the school cannot prevent it from forming. Just imagine a world where fundies like Walker were allowed to run amok spreading their version of Christian love and tolerance. I know, I know..but the bible says...guess what dude ( and I do really mean that in a pimple on a horses ass kind of way) secular state, separation of church and state.  Does anyone else find it convenient that a religion that is supposed to based on tolerance, and love is always being used to justify hate, and bigotry? Perhaps Walker missed the whole "let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Not to turn this into a theological debate but since Walker is a true believer then he himself must be guilty of original sin, and since all sins are equal in the eyes of God, I wonder how he manages to look in the mirror each day.  Since he is clearly a hateful sinner, how has he managed to not get struck by lightening?  If I took anything away from my reading of the New Testament it is that Jesus is about love, and redemption, which is totally contrary to the bigotry and exclusion that Walker is advocating.  Man was created in the image of God, and therefore each person regardless of race or sexuality is a reflection of Gods love...

Okay done breaking down the religious counter argument....moving on.  His next objection is that the school teaches abstinence. Okay lets back up  discrimination in defense of a policy that does not work. I think in some dark crevice of his twisted little mind he has figured out that abstinence policies have a high failure rate, or why would he be worried that gay students would be encouraged to engage in sex.  Oh I know...those licentious perverted freaks just do it all the time...when they are not having sex, they spend their days thinking about sex..you know how gay people are. They don't want a club to talk about the persecution of homosexuality by society, political strategies for gay rights, or dealing with the violence that they are often subjected to by God fearing, bible thumping, scripture quoting fundies. The purpose of this gathering has to be sex.  The fact that the teenage years are difficult, and are particularly so when one identifies as gay is simply irrelevant.  According to the Center for Disease Control/Massachusetts Department of Education Youth Risk Behavior Survey (1999), 33% of gay youth will attempt suicide. In fact, gay teen suicide attempts are four times that of heterosexual youth. But why let a  little thing like potential death, be used as a justification to form a support network?  They just need to hold onto a bible and pray themselves into normal.  Why can't they just jerk off to the sears catalogue like the good old days?  The closet was good enough for their grandparents and this new trend towards openness would not make Ward and June Cleaver very happy at all.  You remember June and Ward don't you?  That is what Americana is supposed to look like, pure wonder bread family without a pervert in sight. 

All sarcasm aside, this troll thinks that his resignation is a loss. Better that he crawls back into the hole from which he sprung rather than tolerate this kind of bigotry and 'othering'. Regardless of sexual identification each person deserves to be recognized and treated with human dignity.  That is the lesson that children need to learn today.  When we look around the world and see such inhumanity as war, mass rapes, and starvation, how can it be wrong to embrace love? 

Throwing the mike to Jules from Pulp Fiction for a minute:

"The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides with the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who in the name of charity and good will shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon those with great vengeance and with furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know that my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee."

Find your righteousness Mr. Walker, and learn to love thy neighbor as thy self.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Michelle Obama Is A Baby Mama

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[Note This is a Cross Post from Blackpolitical Thought]Conservative blogger and Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin bit off a little more than she could chew or she really thought that she could take a low blow and get away with it while she was on Fox News yesterday. According to Huffington Post, as if implicating Michelle Obama as one half of a "terrorist fist jab" wasn't enough, Fox News has gone on to label Michelle Obama "Obama's baby mama." Malkin appeared on Fox during a segment discussing conservative attacks against Michelle Obama, the wife of presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama, the network described the former as "Obama's baby mama." This description was displayed on the screen several times during the segment with Megyn Kelly and Michelle Malkin.
Or, I guess maybe Fox News was more to blame for this than she was, since she said that she did not write the caption and she was not aware of it when it ran (the Baltimore studio doesn’t have a monitor). Michelle Malkin stated on her website that she didn't know if the caption writer was making a lame attempt to be hip, clueless about the original etymology of the phrase, or both.
So, I went to to see if she responded to the drama. You see, Michelle Malkin is the same person who raised a stink recently about a scarf Rachael Ray wore in a Dunkin Donuts online commercial. She and a lot of conservatives said that the scarf reminded people of terrorism. Go figure. So, now she has her sights on Barack Obama's wife. Okay, I admit, Michelle Obama is fair game in terms of any statements she makes on policy issue or the campaign. So what if she said that Barack Obama is her "baby's daddy?" Do they now have to label her "Obama's baby mama?" Isn't that just being used as a stereotypical ploy by Fox News?

The Rest of the story is available at BlackPoliticalThought...go...what are you waiting on?

Cynthia McKinney- The Fallback Choice

Statement by Cynthia McKinney, Power to the People Candidate for U.S. President, on the nomination of Barack Obama as the Democratic Party's image Presidential Candidate in 2008

Statement issued June 9, 2008
On Saturday, June 7, 2008, Hillary Clinton announced that her 2008 presidential bid is over, making Barack Obama the first-ever Black presidential nominee of a major party in the history of the United States.
Congratulations to Senator Obama for achieving such a feat!
When I was growing up in the U.S. South in the racially turbulent 1960s, it would have been impossible for a Black politician to become a viable Presidential contender.  Nothing a Black candidate could have done or said would have prevented him (or her) from being excluded on the basis of skin color alone.  Many of us never thought we would see in our lifetime a Black person with a real possibility of becoming President of the United States.
The fact that this is now possible is a sign of some racial progress in this country, more than 40 years after the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts. But it is also a sign of the deep discontent among the American people, and particularly among African Americans, with the corporate-dominated, business-as-usual politics that has prevailed in Washington for too many years.
Coming from Barack Obama, the word "change" did not appear as just another empty campaign slogan.  It galvanized millions of people --mostly young people--to register to vote and to get active in the political system.  The U.S. political system needs the energy and vision of all is citizens participating in the political process.  Citizen participation is always the answer.
Senator Obama called for healing the wounds inflicted on working people and the poor in our country after eights years of a corrupt and criminal Bush-Cheney Administration.  Just as in November 2006, people full of an expectation for change, including those the system has purposefully left out and left behind, flocked to the polls to vote for Senator Obama.  Across a broad swath of the people of this country, and from those who are impacted by U.S. foreign policy, there is a real expectation, a real desire, for change.
While congratulating Senator Obama for a feat well done, I would also like to bring home the very real need for change and a few of the issues that must be addressed for the change needed in this country to be real.

The rest of Cynthias statement can be read here.

I thought that it was important to post her commentary on Barack.  Cynthia has not been given the attention that she deserves in the media because she is not considered a serious contender for the election.  Even though she and Barack are adversaries in the political system, Cynthia is more than cognizant of the historic nature of his nomination and bears him no ill will, unlike the white feminists that are considering voting for her now.  Gasp...white feminists supporting a black female candidate??  You see, now that their darling Clinton is out of the running a black female candidate will do.   Suddenly Cynthia has been reborn, reclaimed, cleaned, washed and presented as an "acceptable" choice. They'll show the man...yep support a black female that is just revolutionary.

Where is this coming from you may ask...Well it is coming from the commentary section of The Reclusive Leftist. 

Gayle says: "If Obama’s the nominee, I’m taking my measly little “WOW” vote that the party doesn’t want or need and I’m giving it to Cynthia or Cheryl. Unity ended the moment they decided Hillary was the enemy."

Alikatze says: Violet, I will be voting Green if Hillary does not win the nomination. Cynthia McKinney appears to be the Green front-runner so far for Pres. After what I have witnessed in this campaign - the absolute abandonment of Hillary for the first MALE candidate the Democrats could rally around, the appalling smear job because she is female, and the “nudge-wink” attitude of Obama himself - I will not, never, ever give my vote to Obama. In fact, after this race, I may never vote Dem again. The Democrats are without any courage, fortitude or long-term goals (and this current nominating process is not the first time I have thought this). I turn my back on “Democrats.” This country needs something more than “Republican” and “RepublicanLite” on the ballot.

julia says: We have a chance to support a real progressive, who is also a woman: Cynthia McKinney. This could be the year that women give a boost to the Green Party. If the Greens get enough votes we could eventually have a third party, and a real diversity of choice. So don’t vote for “the guys” - vote for Cynthia!

Red Queen: If the Obamabots think I can cast my ballot from under the wheel of their campaign bus, they are sadly mistaken. I’m either writing Hillary in or voting for Cynthia McKinney and the green party. Could we take over the green party, us escaping vagina americans?

Joseph Cannon: If Obama is the nominee, Cynthia McKinney would be the ideal alternative choice. How can anyone label us racist if we vote for her?

Apostate: Come on! I’m not thrilled with Obama and if I had to make a choice, probably would vote for McKinney over Obama OR McCain, but Obama is nothing like the disaster McCain would be.

Jacilyn: IMO it isn’t about Obama being sexist. It’s about whether or not we are OK with the Democratic party basically saying they don’t have to do look out for us. Women aren’t important the way blacks are. Right now, I am thinking about voting Green if Obama is the candidate. What I will actually do will depend on circumstances ‘on the ground’.

idear: The more I think about it, the more I agree that if HRC does not get nominated by the dems, then voting green is the next best way to go.

ea: Please consider Cynthia McKinney if you find you can not vote for Hillary in November–write-in opportunities are not automatic.

Kali: If Obama gets this nomination, we really need to start up some grass-roots movement for McKinney. Just look at that platform. It is amazing. I didn’t even know that. There’s nothing to lose (since Obama is not all that different from McCain anyway) and everything to gain. How do we do this?

There are more examples but I got sick of the unacknowledged racism and sexism.  These commentaries reflect a point of view that I have repeatedly stated, WOC only matter when it is convenient.  Suddenly McKinney is acknowledged as a woman too? Imagine that. According to Julia, this a good time to use her for a figure head, so that feminism can have its very own marionette. That is exactly what McKinney aspires too, I am sure. Now that Hilary is officially bust, Cynthia can join the vagina club.  I wonder if this makes her feel like Susan Lucci did when she finally got her award...Since there is no one better, let's vote black female.

Comments like these are why I refuse to identify as a feminist.  As I have repeatedly stated feminism has no room for WOC unless we are serving in a support staff position.  We are not conceived of as leaders, or innovators.  We are simply fillers until something better comes along.  If they truly view McKinney as a woman, where was the outrage when these images appeared?

image  image

image image image

Silence was the response...Why call out racism, and sexism when it is aimed at a woman of color?  Remember our bodies don't matter in a system that is predicated upon the exploitation of our sexuality and labor.  What really matters is that HRC lost because of sexism.  Did you know that only white women are subject to sexism, because they constitute the ideal womanhood?  Black women have never been subject to a single racial or sexual construct, so why the hell are we so angry? Ooops I forgot, all black women are naturally angry, it goes along with being ball busting shrews.

S'ecuse me everyone I forgot my place again. But I sho  nuff won't make that mistake again missus... I sho nuff loves me Missus Clinton. I tell you wat...I's gonna get me some uh dat hair relaxer and soma dat  dere skin bleachin stuff, make it easier on yo white folks to scratch my name on da ballot. Don't you worry none about me...no sireee just tell me what to say and I'll say it.  I knows you been right bout evrythin all along...That is the Cynthia McKinney that white feminists are looking for.  They want the Aunt Jemmima that they have grown used to exploiting. What could be more comforting than the loving embrace of Mammys ever abundant tits. You jus hush now honey chile everythin sure nuff goin be aight. And it most certainly will, but just to ensure that this conversation of allies starts off on the right note, let me throw a welcoming salvo....FUCK YOU, AND THE HORSE YOU RODE IN ON!

Let's Embrace Ignorance

I came across this story at Racialicious, and it was originally reported at Houston News.  The Friendswood school district board will meet Tuesday night to discuss the replacement of a principal who invited two Muslim women into her school to teach students about their culture. image

The presentation created a controversy in the southeast-side town.

Approximately 800 seventh- and eighth-grade students saw a PowerPoint presentation put together by the Council on American-Islamic Relations just before school on May 22.

Asma Siddiqi helped present it. She said it was simply meant to explain Muslim tradition and culture, not to promote the religion.

"I didn't expect people to get upset because, I mean, we were just there telling kids, you know, this is who we are," Siddiqi said. "I explained what the holy book was, which is the Koran."

But plenty of parents were upset, such as Kim Leago. She was angry that she was not told her eighth-grade son would attend the presentation.

"If they're going to squeeze in religion, which is not allowed in school, why did they choose that religion? With the war and everything, I just don't think that was the right choice," Leago said.

Principal Robin Lowe allowed CAIR to make the presentation because a few weeks before, a Muslim student had been bullied and beaten at the school.

But criticism from Leago and other parents, which was echoed on local talk radio programs, resulted in Lowe being reassigned.

That move upset parents who believe Lowe was made a scapegoat. Both sides will tell it to the school board Tuesday night.

Yes, why oh why should innocent children be exposed to this foul, dirty religion. Better to let them live in ignorance.  We don't want to raise children that learn to think critically about the issues. Where will the future Republican voters come from?  Lets continue on in silence, and let the children believe that it is alright to physically assault someone because they are "different".  To do any less would be unpatriotic, after all "our boys" are dying over there.  It is not an illegal war of aggression, or a bid to control the oil spigot, noooo sir, Americans are bringing democracy to the ignorant backward peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan.  Teaching children about diversity implies that there are Americans that are not white, and Judeo-Christian. That is simply too radical to embrace. 

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

The aforementioned aren't words to live by. Bodies of color, or different religions are for exploitation, and marginalization damn it. Why can't these people just content themselves to driving taxis, washing dishes, and working as nannies?  A country that declared its independence in 1776, has nothing to learn from a culture that is centuries old.  What could the cradle of civilization possibly have to teach that would have any value...I mean they cannot tell us when the next Walmart price markdown is going to happen, or predict the release date of the next Disney movie...That's really valuable information damn it.

Alexyss Taylor- The Mute Button Has Your Name On It

I came across this video at Jezebel.  It simply has to be seen to be believed.  Watch for as long as you can stand it....

I simply cannot stand hearing a black person say the word Nigger.  Once is more than enough, but to use it repeatedly for shock value reveals a colonized mind. Apparently she is unaware that someone cannot "turn" gay.  Referring to homosexuals as sissies is extremely derogatory. If both parties agree to engage in different sexual acts, it is none of your business.  There are many couples that are quite content living a polyamrous life.  It is not a marker of low self-esteem to have an open sexual relationship, it is a matter of not viewing your partner as a possession. Monogamy may be hegemonic but that does not make it any more normal than polyamory.

The amount of time that she spends dedicated to anal sex, leads one to believe that she has some sort of fetish for it.  The louder you scream about it Alexyss, the more you make me wonder... Are you thinking about that as you puff, puff, puff away on that nasty cigar?  What you are is a disgusting caricature of everything the media constructs women of color to be.  You are loud, abrasive and callous.  While you claim to be making this little rant to benefit WOC what you are actually doing is SHAMING US.  No one is saying that you have to conform to be accepted, however spewing your ignorance all over the net for the world to see only helps to reinforce a negative image of WOC in the minds of others.  I am sure that Jerry Springer would love to meet you, such is the level of your elegant soliloquy.  We deserve a better representative then you.

Even as I type this, I know that I am arguing with crazy, something that a very wise woman once told me never to do.  How can anyone make a sensible argument with a woman that says things like "butt pussy".  Here is another point you should note, calling women bitches is not empowering. Inferring that there is a competition between straight women, and gay men is simply twisted.  I just cannot seem to stop commenting....hmmmm.....

Ok final words, I realize that the woman is clearly off balance, but if I can see that why didn't the person who gave her, her day pass notice this too?  When you return her to the straight jacket that she clearly needs, ban her from making anymore youtube posts, and inform her that she is the worst representative for "vagina power" that has been unleashed on feminism ever.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Illusion Of Virginity

image For many Muslim women virginity can be a life, and death issue.  On their wedding night a groom must display a bloodied sheet as proof of the brides chastity. No such requirement exists for males.  This of course is problematic due to the fact that some women are born without hymens, and some have them torn or stretched in childhood without ever participating in sex.  I personally did not bleed on the day that I lost my virginity.  Women that cannot prove their innocence are considered to have damaged the families honor.  In some cases lack of definitive proof can lead to death.  Recently in France a lack of virginity on part of the bride was accepted as grounds for the annulment of a marriage.  The court made the ruling based on a breach of promise, as apparently the bride had presented herself to the groom as a virgin.

By allowing the annulment what the state effectively did was to support the cult of virginity, thus legitimizing patriarchal control over female sexuality. When a woman agrees to wed she is already consenting to her own exploitation. The oppression of women is rooted in the patriarchal family, whose sole purpose is to reinforce authoritarianism and male hegemony. 'Woman" is reduced to a breeding mare, who performs domestic work. Charles Fourir theorized that the status of women, in any given society reflects the level of that society's general level of human emancipation. The western world claims to have pledged itself to secularism, however fear over charges of  xenophobia, and racism have allowed the perpetuation of religious beliefs that are counter to women's best interest.

While claiming to decry sexism and misogyny, governments are more than cognizant of the fact that they benefit from the continued inequality of women.  Whether it is through domestic labor or reproduction, these are costs that the state does not have to factor in because of the construction of this as woman's work.  It is work performed by woman out of love, and therefore does not require a monetary reward.  As we continue to perform free labor, women are increasingly becoming more impoverished.  At each turn there is a hand waiting to be paid from the small remittance that we earn. 

Doctors have started to perform hymenoplasty, otherwise known as hymen restoration surgery.  According to the New York Times, "Gynecologists say that in the past few years, more Muslim women are seeking certificates of virginity to provide proof to others. That in turn has created a demand among cosmetic surgeons for hymen replacements, which, if done properly, they say, will not be detected and will produce tell-tale vaginal bleeding on the wedding night. The service is widely advertised on the Internet; medical tourism packages are available to countries like Tunisia where it is less expensive." Does anyone else see the irony of this situation?  Doctors are predominately male, and they are performing a surgery on women that upholds male control over female sexuality.  Not only is this work done in the service of patriarchy, they have turned it into a profitable business.  This is not happening in third world countries...no it is happening in the so called free secular western world.  Since this surgery is considered elective, women must pay out of pocket. It can range between 3000 to 5000 dollars. 

The desire to control women's sexuality stems from concern over the paternity of children.  When we began to amass possessions/wealth that could be transferred from one generation to another it became imperative to men to assure that only their progeny benefited from their labor.  From this we would witness the rise of the cult of virginity and the traditional family.  A woman's worth is conflated with her sexuality only because it serves male economic needs.  When men seek to sexually exploit women through participating in acts of prostitution wherein a legitimate heir would not be produced, the virginity of woman is not an issue.

Rather than encouraging these surgeries to continue, what we need to do is to set up safe spaces for women who thwart religious practices.  There was a time in the western world, where doctors were known to add a "stitch for the husband" after a woman gave birth.  This was often treated with humor.  We cannot continue to medically transform women's bodies to suite the desires of men.  These surgeries are patently unfair.  There is no medical way to prove, or disprove the virginity of a male, and to encourage virginity through medical intervention only supports a religious doctrine that is outmoded and harmful to the agency of women. That the state benefits from the slavery of women is without question.  Therefore we must rally behind our Muslim sisters, and demand that the state stand behind the ideals that it claims.  If the surgeries must be performed because it constitutes a life and death issue for these women, they should be provided free of charge.  No one should profit from the real threat of violence.  For those that are having the surgery in an attempt to secure a mate, counseling on women's oppression should be provided so that they are making an informed decision.  Just because the surgery takes only 30 minutes does not mean that it does not constitute a radical change to a woman's body.   To encourage hymenoplasty where there is no evidence of impending danger is to support the second class status of women.  It is time for freedom.  It is time to reconfigure the social power structure.  Our labor upholds this society and as such we deserve the validation of basic human rights and respect. 

Education and Exploitation - The Cristo Rey Model

New York (June 11, 2008) /PRNewswire—Cristo Rey New York High School (CRNYHS) will hold its inaugural commencement exercise on June 12, 2008. Forty students from low-income families successfully completed the school's college preparatory coursework while financing 70 percent of their education through an innovative corporate work-study program. The vast majority of the graduates will be the first in their families to go to college. The class earned 109 college acceptances and 24 academic scholarships. Graduates will attend such prominent institutions as Swarthmore, Lehigh, Fordham, Santa Clara, and the University of Rochester. Among the academic awards garnered by the seniors are a New York Times Scholarship, a Philip Evans Scholar designation at Swarthmore, a Thomas G. Labreque Smart Start Scholarship from JP Morgan Chase and a RMHC/HACER Scholarship.

Normally I would support anything that gives underprivileged children a chance in this world.  Stop and think about the fact that children must labor to pay the cost of their tuition.  All children regardless of their economic background should have access to good, and free education.  They are couching this work program as experience based, however what it essentially amounts to is a form of slave labor.  In the name of "charity", companies get four workers instead of one worker and  due to the part-time nature of the students work, the company avoids paying medical benefits.  This is a win/win for all parties involved except the students. Companies get even cheaper labor and the school gets funding that it otherwise would not have had.  This is the equivalent of modern chain gang labor.

On top of having their labor exploited the students must subject themselves daily to religious ideology.  The director openly stated in the video posted below that it was important that students practice the Catholic religion.  Again I stand firmly against this.  If a student freely chooses to attend mass and participate in religious services on her/his time that is acceptable, but to make it necessary to achieve a good education  is simply taking advantage of an individuals  economic positioning.  It is religious indoctrination through coercion.  Coming from the socio-economic backgrounds that these children do, they are all to aware of the necessity of a good education for the purposes of social mobility in a capitalist state.

I am truly happy that these students have earned a good education.  I am truly happy that the majority of them will go on to college.  Education should be a right, and not a privilege.  Using the model of Cristo Rey, the  school administration, and businesses are exploiting these students.  Instead of perpetuating this model, more money should be invested into the system as a whole so that all children will be able to fulfill their aspirations. Companies should not be able to exploit the labor of the poor and then claim it as a charitable deduction.  The Catholic church should not be able to amass new converts due to economic disparity. The education of children is a responsibility that we as a society should all gladly undertake.

The Color Of Love

Other than scant references to my personal life, I have made an effort to keep my identity as a blogger separate from the life I lead away from the Internet. What I post here at womanist musings is a side of my personality, the serious side...I am far more dimensional than the posts I have written.  To write the following post I am going to have to delve into the Renee that is a relative stranger to the blogosphere. 

I have been in an inter-racial relationship for almost 18 years.  Together we have two wonderful little boys, who for the purposes of this blog I will nickname mayhem and destruction.  As you know when children are quiet something bad is going on, and that statement definitely applies in my household.  I did not seek my partner out on the basis of his race.  We came together based on common interests, specifically our love of laughter and music. Throughout the worst times in our relationship we have always had the ability to share a laugh, and a hug.  It is what keeps us together, and probably what keep us sane in times of great stress. 

I make it a point not to justify my lifes choices to anyone, as I firmly believe no one sleeps in my bed except me.  I have read alot of posts in different blogs regarding inter racial relationships.  Most of it I have been able to tune out as just pure nonsense, that is until I read this post at Ruminations Of A Racial Purist. Upon reading, I really felt that Clare posed some questions that deserved an answer. So here I go....

Clare: I always wonder whether any of these women ever consider why - in a white supremacist society - would white men choose black women as partners. Why would people who have historically enslaved another people now want to be in relationships with them? Why would men who defiled and denigrated black women now consider marrying them?

I am sorry but I do not buy the “love is colorblind” nonsense. We live in a color conscious society and the truth is that color does indeed drive interracial relationships - more than the “Something New” brigade are willing to admit. Indeed, some of the worst racists out there are those who are in relationships with black people!

Believe it or not, there are white people, who have owned their racial and gender privilege. No one person is perfect at negotiating privilege, it is the daily attempt that counts. They realize that they cannot as an individual change society as a whole, but they can change the way they respond to certain situations.  I know that my partner chose me for my wit, my intelligence, my generosity and (yes I'm tooting my own horn) how damn cute I am.

No one living today took part in the form of institutionalized slavery to which you are referring.  Some of us are receiving the benefits of slavery, and some of us are still negotiating the social consequences of slavery. 

You are assuming that all white men have defiled and denigrated black women.  Until you have met every single white man on the planet that statement is impossible to prove.  In fact if you met my partner, you would be aware of at least one man that does not denigrate black women.  If this where the case I would have put him out on the curb with the garbage years ago. 

You are perfectly correct in you attestation that "love is not colorblind".  People in inter racial relationships recognize difference the same way that everyone else does, there is nothing unique in our socialization to suggest that we would suddenly look at a black person, or a white person and not be cognizant of race. There is however a difference...When I see my partner I acknowledge that he is white, I acknowledge that he lives with at least two locations of privilege, his color and his gender.  I however do not see these attributes as necessarily overtly valuable, or as the primary markers of his identity. Similarly, he of course recognizes that I am a black female, and that I have at least two markers of stigmatization to negotiate; but neither of these two completely represent who I am as a person. It is not about not seeing difference, it is about the value that we give to difference.

People that approach inter racial relationships from the point of view of a voyeur will clearly still adhere to much of the racism that exists in Western society.  For them the body of color will always hold an element of the exotic, and they will never view their partner as an equal.  So once again the issue is about the approach of the individuals involved in the relationship.  Being able to cite incidents where a person still holds onto to their racist attitude does not mean that everyone is a racist.  This is another globalizing claim that you will be unable to prove. 

Clare: I strongly suspect that in many cases “interracially-inclined” men feel particularly comfortable in relationships with “out-group” women who have a lower status in society. For some, it may be the need to feel special and important in relation to their low status partner; for others, the driving factor is perhaps very low self-esteem in the sense that they simply do not feel secure in relationships with women of their own status (in white supremacist society).

Assumptions, assumptions, assumptions...by your very statements you are devaluing WOC.  To state that the only reason white men may be interested in us is because they have low self-esteem, necessarily posits that WOC have little to no value outside of acting as "fluffers" to male pride. Voyeuristic men may be looking to enact the white mans burden upon their partners physical body, however a man that has owned his privilege will once again take a different approach.  There is a difference between a man that actively seeks out WOC, and man that chooses a WOC within the contexts of all his relationships. One is based on an unconscious desire to oppress, and the other a happenstance of an engaged life.

Finally I want to point out that you only look at inter racial relationships from one perspective, white/black.  This world is very diverse, and many different races today are uniting in love beyond the prominent white/black pairing. Blacks and Asians are marrying, Blacks and Latinos are marrying, Blacks and Aboriginals are marrying...how do these relationships change your analysis of power? Are they somehow more acceptable because they do not involve a white partner?  When the gender is changed and the POC is male, how does the power dynamic change?  These are the kinds of questions you should be exploring. Finally as with all relationships, no one on the outside can ever truly determine the positive or negative aspect of it. Only the people living in the relationship are privy to the necessary information to decide what it is based on, and if they are truly happy.  Instead of chastising people that have found love in a world full of anger, racism and hatred, you should be celebrating it.  I cannot possibly see how truly loving someone is a detractor.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Discrimination Might Cost Nascar 250 Million

image Maurice Grant entered into the world of Nascar, as a black woman in a white male dominated sport. As reported by Fox news according to Nascar spokesman Ramsey Poston, Nascar claims to be fully "committed to the spirit and letter of affirmative action law."NASCAR provides equal opportunity employment to job candidates and employees without regard to race, religion, creed, age, gender, or any other characteristic protected by law. Personnel decisions are made based on factors such as performance and adherence to corporate policy."

That declaration, came as a surprise to Ms.Grant I am sure, who claims to have been subjected to racial, and sexual harassment. She filed suit on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.  Her lawsuit lists the following complaints, as reported by FOX:

  • Grant was forced to work outside more often than the white male officials because her supervisors believed she couldn't sunburn because she was black.
  • While riding in the backseat of her carpool at Talladega Superspeedway, co-workers told her to duck as they passed race fans. "I don't want to start a riot when these fans see a black woman in my car," she claims one official said.
  • When packing up a dark garage at Texas Motor Speedway an official told Grant: "Keep smiling and pop your eyes out 'cause we can't see you."
  • When she ignored advances from co-workers, Grant was accused of being gay. She also claimed co-workers questioned the sexual orientation of two other female officials.
Grant said she routinely complained to her supervisors. Two weeks after her final complaint, Grant said she was warned during the week of August 18, 2007 at Michigan International Speedway that she had engaged in "conduct unbecoming of a NASCAR representative" and would be fired unless she changed her behavior. She said the warning stemmed from a confrontation Grant had with a track official who stopped her as she passed through a gate to use the restroom.

Roughly two months later, Grant was fired, and NASCAR cited a poor work performance in ending her employment. The lawsuit claims other than a previous warning for using "street" language, Grant had never been disciplined for job performance and routinely received positive reviews.

In addition, the suit claims officials Heather Gambino and Jane Hayes were fired in 2006 for separately complaining about a sexually hostile work environment. The suit also claims former official Dean Duckett, who was black, was reprimanded and ultimately fired in November for using "aggressive language toward a white co-worker."

Among those identified in the suit are Balash, assistant series director Mike Dolan, supervisors Alan Shephard and Dennis Dillon, NASCAR's senior manager for business relations, the human resources director and 17 of Grant's fellow officials. All of the defendants are white. Grant is seeking 250 million dollars in damages.  She has not returned to work since being fired due to emotional issues stemming from the alleged abuse.

If even one of these incidents are true, it constitutes a hostile working environment.  Though I am not privy to "inside information", my inclination is to believe Ms.Grant.  Historically when women have tried to integrate predominately male bastions they have been subject to this kind of abuse. Due to the fact that Grant is a WOC her harassment would naturally take on racial, and sexual overtones.  As men increasingly undergo pressure to open positions to women that have historically been limited or closed off, the rise in resentment has been well documented. This backlash is an attempt to keep women in their place.  The racial overtones are to remind Ms. Grant specifically of her standing on the gender/racial hierarchy. For a supposedly gender and racially tolerant work site, these are serious issues. Let's unpack a few of Grants claims.

Grant was forced to work outside more often than the white male officials because her supervisors believed she couldn't sunburn because she was black.

As we know black women have traditionally been treated as beasts of burden.  When white women were dealing with the "fragility discourse", black women were expected to work as hard, and some cases harder than their male counterparts. Being understood as the ultimate "un-woman", black women have been a source of highly exploitable labor. 

While riding in the backseat of her carpool at Talladega Superspeedway, co-workers told her to duck as they passed race fans. "I don't want to start a riot when these fans see a black woman in my car," she claims one official said.

Yes the sight of a black woman would cause a riot because black bodies by their very existence are unacceptable, unless they are serving in support roles, i.e domestic labor, migrant workers etc.  There are few traditionally "white spaces" left, and so the presence of a black face would necessarily be seen as a threat.

When packing up a dark garage at Texas Motor Speedway an official told Grant: "Keep smiling and pop your eyes out 'cause we can't see you."

The lighter the pigmentation of your skin, the closer you are to being acceptable.  The dark is a being used a cruel twist in words to highlight the very invisibility of people of color to some whites.  Of course if one is invisible, one cannot be counted as a person therefore there is no possibility of offense.

When she ignored advances from co-workers, Grant was accused of being gay. She also claimed co-workers questioned the sexual orientation of two other female officials.

Black women are only considered women when there are sexual needs to be fulfilled.  Black women have a long history of being raped by both black and white image men. Both claim ownership over our bodies, but for different reasons.  For white men ownership stems from the view of black women as property.  For some, impregnating a black woman is no different than breeding a domestic animal. Even though slavery has long since ended white men still devalue black womens bodies.  Our bodies in a sexual sense are specifically socially constructed for the pleasure of others. When Hugh Grant was arrested for soliciting prostitution, the race of  "Divine Brown" was just as much an issue as his illegal activity.  Grant in the public eye had risked the love (Read: virginal purity) of Elizabeth Hurley. Repeatedly the call was, "what was he thinking?" In the  movie The Birdcage when a minor character is described as being found dead with an underage hooker, it is the color of the hooker, and not the age that is presented for shock value, and comic relief. It is a common view that black women are exotic, thus possessing a sexuality that is alluring, however we are viewed as completely unacceptable as wives, and mothers. White men do not own this predatory desire, as it is constructed as an impulse that is beyond their control.

Finally of course she is gay, because what women in her right mind could resist a hate filled, sexual advance.  I am unsure of Ms. Grants sexual preference, however being gay should not be considered an insult.  It can only be so to a mind that is filled with bigotry.  The fact that it was used underscores, the kind of mentality that she was dealing with. The charge of homosexuality was used as a defense mechanism because in the biogts mind black women are always already licentious by nature, and lesbianism could be the only reason why a black woman would refuse a white penis. 

As aforementioned I cannot substantiate the veracity of Ms. Grants claims, however when put into the social context of the way black women are most often perceived, her allegations have some merit.  I applaud her for coming forward, as this could not have been an easy decision to make.  Whatever the outcome of this case, Nascar in the future will have to ensure that it provides a working environment that is hostile free for ALL employees.