Saturday, August 23, 2008

No Short Shorts, More Social Discipline and Slut Shaming

This post comes via Just A Girl In Short Shorts.  Kristie Arnold was sentenced to three days in jail for having the temerity to wear shorts judge Janet Booth deemed to be inappropriate to court.

Too much leg.  Yes, the female body is to be covered and hidden from view unless permission has been given for it to be displayed.  This is slut shaming at its finest.  That this punishment is inflicted by a woman highlights the degree to which we have succumb to the idea that female bodies are always dirty.  The message is that if the body is on display it is always sexual, thus invalidating womens agency.  That a woman may choose to display her body for her own gratification is often overlooked in the desire to construct the body from the point of view of the patriarchal lens.   The understanding of the  body is not removed from discourse rather it is formed from it.  It is already understood before becoming realized in the corporeal sense.

The second aspect to consider when we view this incident is the class element at play.  Class is more than a designation it signifies a series of learned behaviours, as well as access to certain commodities.  A person of a middle or upper class background may exist with the understanding that certain clothing is appropriate for certain spaces, however those lessons are not necessarily transmitted to those of a different class location.  Arnold assumed that because her clothing was neat and clean that her attire was appropriate, yet without continual access to the privileges that class grants such ignorance of cultural norms is understandable.   Booth did not attempt to make a determination of why Arnold felt that her attire was appropriate, nor did she take the time to investigate whether or not she had the financial ability to purchase the kinds of clothing that she deemed to be acceptable.  Arnold was disciplined and stigmatized by both class and gender.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Man Fed To Lions: Thanks Mandela

image In 2004, Nelson Chisale was beaten and fed to lions on the orders of his white boss Mark Scott-Crossley.  All that remained of the father of three were his skull and strips of his clothing.  A South African jury rightly found Mark guilty and sentenced him to  life in prison. That should be the end of the story, justice served right?...WRONG. According to CNN Mark Scott-Crossley was released on parole on Thursday. Do the math, that is four years for threatening a man with a gun, having him beaten to death, and then feeding his remains to lions.  This is the kind of justice that happens in South Africa when it comes to blacks.

South Africa has worked very hard to change its global image since the end of the evil apartheid system.  That it now publicly criticizes Israel of human rights abuses is an example of the hypocrisy at play.  It began with the historic release of Mandela from prison and his ascension to power as the countries first black president.  He is  globally celebrated as an emissary of peace for asking black South Africans to accept the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a path to healing and progression. 

SINCE the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1993 (Act No. 200 of 1993), provides a historic bridge between the past of a deeply divided society characterized by strife, conflict, untold suffering and injustice, and a future founded on the recognition of human rights, democracy and peaceful co-existence for all South Africans, irrespective of colour, race, class, belief or sex; AND SINCE it is deemed necessary to establish the truth in relation to past events as well as the motives for and circumstances in which gross violations of human fights have occurred, and to make the findings known in order to prevent a repetition of such acts in future;

The end result is that blacks learned how their loved ones died and the murderers got amnesty. Sounds like a fair deal doesn't it in the interest of peace.

This Constitution provides a historic bridge between the past of a deeply
divided society characterised by strife, conflict, untold suffering and injustice
and a future founded on the recognition of human rights, democracy and
peaceful co-existence and development opportunities for all South Africans
irrespective of colour, race, class, belief or sex.
The pursuit of national unity, the well-being of all South African citizens and
peace require reconciliation between the people of South Africa and the
reconstruction of society.
The adoption of this Constitution lays the secure foundation for the people
of South Africa to transcend the divisions and strife of the past, which gen -
erated gross violations of human rights, the transgression of humanitarian
principles in violent conflicts and a legacy of hatred, fear, guilt and revenge.
These can now be addressed on the basis that there is a need for under -
standing but not for vengeance, a need for reparation but not for retaliation,
a need for ubuntu but not for victimisation.
In order to advance such reconciliation and reconstruction, amnesty shall be
granted in respect of acts, omissions and offences associated with political
objectives and committed in the course of the conflicts of the past. To this
end, Parliament under this Constitution shall adopt a law determining a firm
cut-off date, which shall be a date after 8 October 1990 and before 6
December 1993, and providing for the mechanisms, criteria and procedures,
including tribunals, if any, through which such amnesty shall be dealt with at
any time after the law has been passed.

Turn the other cheek, swallow your rage and anger.  This is globally what blacks have been told for centuries in regard to the crimes committed against us.  Yet no matter how many times the olive branch is extended our bodies continue to be violated. Mandela had a historic opportunity to achieve justice for the long suffering blacks of South Africa and instead it was more of the same.  I cannot find it in my heart to praise him when I continue to see how black lives are devalued in South Africa.  I cannot praise him when I realize that all that has changed is that now there are a small group of black bourgeoisie who are intent on oppressing the majority of the countries blacks.

Blacks still live in shanty towns without running water or electricity, while in the cities whites reside in comfortable homes with their neatly manicured lawns. That commercials like this still need to made is a sign of exactly how unequal South African society is.  Yet he continues to be held up globally as a hero.  I believe that this is a case of white fear.  There is no doubt that whites have globally committed horrific inhumane acts against POC.  They fear retribution. They fear justice, and rightly so,  I am angry and so are my brethren.   No more turning the other cheek, for if history has taught the brown peoples of this world anything, it is that forgiveness is only an invitation to be revictimized. I shall hold my anger in my heart as a shield against the pain that has been inflicted upon POC. I shall swallow it like vinegar relishing the taste because I know that there is a truthfulness to it, an honesty that cannot be found in pandering and begging for what is rightfully ours. 


CNN Slut Shames Amanda Beard

Where the hell does Amanda Beard get off saying, "eww", when she was asked if she had kissed Michael Phelps? Seriously, the dirty slut had the nerve to pose naked, she is no position to be picky.   Isn't she aware that with his record breaking gold medal wins, he will be a multi millionaire?  It is common knowledge that money is supposed to buy access to womens bodies.  As long as you are in possession of  a vagina you must spend your life on an auction block.  It seems that if you refuse to be sold like chattel, it is perfectly acceptable to be a called a slut and a whore.  Good to know that in 2008 women are still expected to fuck on command.

CNN makes it quite clear that in comparison to Michael Phelps, Amanda Beard is a image nothing. That she is also a gold medalist is completely ignored in their desire to paint their hero as ruler of all he surveys.  Why didn't she just acknowledge her own second class citizenship in comparison to the new lord and master of the pool.  Poseidon God of the  water has a dick and must be fed pussy to keep a float.

Poor Amanda does not know what she is missing, and it doesn't matter anyway as it seems CNN decided in the end, that Michael could do better than sloppy seconds.  Yeah the king of the water deserves fresh, virginal pussy.  No one on this horrendous panel stopped for a moment to discuss Phelps sexual history. He was picked on as a child, boo hoo, he can't possibly have any freaky sexual peccadilloes the world might be interested in.  MMMM...what was I thinking, men don't have sexual peccadilloes,  especially when they they are conquering heroes....Men like Phelps fall into the category of STUD.  Valenti got this one right, He's a stud, She's a slut is the way the world works. 

If she had slept with him, she would still be a slut because women are supposed to be virginal.  Not sleeping with him is still reason to be called a slut because women are meant to be passive in the face of male sexual advances. No matter what angle you look at this from slut shaming is meant to keep women constantly changing their behaviour to satisfy whatever particular male interests are at play at any given moment. Women are reduced to marionettes in a game of sexual conquest in which their genitals represent the totality of worth.  Legs open or leg closed it simply does not matter as long as we are focusing on how men want us to behave rather than what is appropriate for our needs and desires. You had me until you apologized Amanda, you had it right the first time. You are entitled to pick who will, and will not sleep with without being constructed as a whore. 

H/T Wolfrum @Shakesville


Too Many Gays In New York

I have a little confession to make..I am nosey. I eavesdrop on peoples conversations quite a bit.  Yesterday while attending a private function I had the displeasure of hearing two acquaintance of mine in conversation.  One asserted his desire to travel to New York City..A wish I completely understand as N.Y is image my second favourite  city.  The other acquaintance lowered his voice and responded, "you don't want to go to New York there are too many fags there." Due to the nature of the gathering I was not able to publicly give this man the verbal thrashing that he deserved but I did give him a very scathing look which I know imparted my displeasure with his commentary.

Too many fags...I personally believe that there are too many intolerant fundie oxygen thieves but I tolerate their existence.  Upon reflecting on this conversation one of the things that I could not let go of is the fact that he knew with a certainty that what he was saying was not only homophobic, it was wrong.  I know this because he took the time to lower his voice before speaking.  What do you do with someone who knowingly promotes bigotry?  

How does someone else's sexuality become threatening to another?  Heterosexual panic is partly based in the fallacy that all gay people find all straight people attractive.  If I am sitting next to a lesbian, it does not mean that she will find me attractive  just because we possess the same body parts. Just as hetero people have a "type" of person that they find sexually attractive so to do gay people.  It is hetero arrogance to believe that appropriate body parts necessarily means that another finds you attractive in this way.  This is a part of the don't ask, don't tell theory.  Yeah if same sex people work together and someone happens to be gay they will be overcome with desire, and this will lead to a distraction...in a word BULLSHIT.  I am straight and do not drool over every man I come across.  There are often times when I look at man and think not even if he were the last one on the planet, and all of the dildos and vibrators magically disappeared  would he be invited into my bed, and gay people think the same way. Dear overly panicked straight people, there is no need to fear....you may not be as hot as you think that you are.

 


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Kick Ass

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Kevin of the Slant truth honoured me with this. Totally awesome as he is damn kick ass himself.  At any rate I am going to pass this on to five blogs that I think do an awesome job of truth telling.

Transgriot: If you are not already reading it you should be.  Do you want to learn how to be an effective trans ally, or to remove transphobic language from your speech, this is the blog.  If you want to learn about what it is like to live as a trans woman in a society that is un welcoming and intolerant, this is the blog.

Professor What If: This feminist blog examines race, class and gender from  a theoretical perspective.  In terms of ass kicking, you need look no further.  Every time I read it, I need to take a moments pause to reflect upon the lessons that have been so generously shared .

WOC PHD:  Do you ever read a blog and find yourself continually nodding your head in agreement?  This is what happens when I read this blog.  I find myself thinking now why didn't this occur to me?

Renegade Evolution: This blog is written by one fucking right on woman. I find her work to advance the rights of sex trade workers to be inspiring. She is a master of truth telling.

Uppity Brown Woman: I just discovered this blog not to long ago and I am hooked.  I love her brashness and honesty. I love the way she keeps it real, mostly though it is the way she speaks truth to power---tell it


Gender Bending In Egypt: The Male Bellydancer

While in some ways he still promotes the gender binary by stating that men and women should dance differently from one another, daring to belly dance in a country where anything that is remotely associated with homosexuality is considered  taboo deconstructs gender performativity vis a vis traditional ideas of masculinity. I feel that this is a very progressive step.  Western countries have a tendency to perpetuate the idea that fluidity is the preserve of the west but as he clearly displays eastern ideas of masculinity can be just a gender bending when given the opportunity to flourish. 

Walmart: Where Exploiting People Is The Law

image At this time I was not able to find a lot of information on Walmarts effect in Canada.  When I am able to amass enough information I will dedicate a post directly to that.  This blog post will deal primarily with Walmart in the United States.  After examining the data it should be more than obvious that Walmart is an evil corporation.  When we spend our few disposable dollars there we are culpable of participating in a vicious cycle of exploitation.

Year after year Walmart achieves record sales and earnings. When a Walmart comes to town property value for businesses immediately declines. It is assumed that small mom and pop businesses will have to close because of an inability to compete with Walmart. Annually, Walmart drives down retail wages three billion every year. It purposefully short staffs, and keeps the number of full-time staff low. Full-time workers are living at a poverty level and cannot afford Walmart health insurance. Keep in mind that for Walmart, full-time constitutes twenty-eight hours per week. In Florida Walmart has more workers eligible for medicare than any other company. USC Berkeley did a study and concluded that Walmart costs eighty-six million per year to California tax payers, and up to twenty-five million more to country tax payers picking up the tabs for health care, income tax credits, housing subsidies and food stamps.

Alabama: 3,864 children of Walmart employees are enrolled in Medicad
Arizona: 2700
Walmart workers are on medicade
Arkansas: 3,971
Walmart workers are on public assistance
Florida: 12,300
Walmart workers and dependents are on Medicade
Georgia: 10,261 children of
Walmart employees are enrolled in peach care for kids
Massachusetts: 4,172
Walmart workers and dependents are on state health care
Tennessee: 9,617
Walmart workers are on Tenncare
Texas: 4,363 children of
Walmart employees are on Chip
Wisconsin: 1,252
Walmart employees and dependents are on Badger care
Federally:
Walmart costs 1,557,000,000.00 to support its employees.

 Walmart is notoriously anti-union. It illegally shows videos to staff saying that unions will not protect them and will cost them money needlessly. This is despite the fact that Walmart routinely asks employees to work off the clock. They imply if the worker does not consent to this that they will be replaced. They have also been charged with hiring illegal workers and locking them in their stores at night. This is a health and safety risk as well as a violation of labour law. The federal poverty level for a family of four is 17,650 and a full-time Walmart sales associate earns 13,861 annually. They are currently facing lawsuits in 31 states for wage and labour abuses, involving hundreds of thousands of workers.

Labour in China: The employees must labour seven days a week and reside in a Walmart issue apartment. The rent for their apartment is deducted from their salary whether or not they occupy the place. The apartments are small, filthy and do not have adequate space for cooking. The cost for a worker to assemble a product in China is eighteen cents, that same product will retail for 14.96. In 2004 Walmart imported 18 billion from China.

Labor in Bangladesh: Walmart employees 189,000 women sewing garments. These women brush their teeth with their fingers using ashes from last nights fire because they cannot afford to buy toothpaste or a tooth brush. They work from 8am to 10pm for thirteen to eighteen cents per hour seven days per week. They are often beaten by their supervisors if they fall behind schedule.

 Walmart tries to tell the world that they care for others. They have an in house program wherein employees are encouraged to donate money to other employees in need. In 2004 Walmart employees donated over five million dollars and the Walton family gave a stunning six thousand dollars. The Walton Family had a net worth of ninety billion dollars in 2004. They have cumulatively donated less than 1% of their wealth to charity whereas Bill Gates has donated fifty-eight percent. And the final insult to injury, in the 2004 tax year the Walton family received a federal tax break of 91,500.00 per hour. Do you still feel like shopping there?


Disposable Targets: Domestic Workers Exported Exploitation

Kamusta, Womanist Musings readers!  I'm tanglad, and I write about the impact of globalization on women and marginalized groups in the Philippines and Southeast Asia at tanglad.wordpress.com.  In case you're wondering, tanglad is Tagalog for lemongrass, my favourite herb.  I can't begin to thank Renee for this opportunity, and am thrilled at the chance to join your conversations. Salamat.

Eugenia Baja’s family began to receive worrisome text messages towards the end of 2007. First, the 25-year-old Filipina domestic worker in Riyadh said she could not send money for Christmas. Then in January 2008, Eugenia pleaded to her brother, “Please help me. Please find me.” 

Eugenia texted that she felt cold all the time. Hungry. She did not know what was being done to her. She felt like she was losing her mind.

Then in February came the news that Eugenia had died in a Saudi Arabia hospital of an unspecified illness. The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs later changed the story, saying Eugenia committed suicide by banging her head against the bathroom tiles in her employer’s bathroom.  But Riyadh autopsy documents listed her cause of death as an ulcer, and noted that her body showed signs of starvation.

Eugenia was one of the three thousand Filipinos who leave the country every day to work overseas. An estimated 75 percent of them are female, making Filipinas the country’s largest export.  People like Eugenia are also the country’s most lucrative export, generating remittances of over US$15 billion in 2007. This state-sanctioned labor migration is therefore a key component of the country’s economic development program.

This, of course despite the fact that too many women are coming home in caskets.

The government is heavily invested in the OFW remittances, so it maintains that the death of Eugenia Baja, and too many more before and since then, are just unfortunate, isolated incidents.  President Gloria Arroyo calls OFWs the bagong bayani. The new heroes. Somehow, these platitudes are to make up for how women like Eugenia are practically treated like export commodities.

Eugenia’s death was a direct result of the state state-sanctioned labour migration program and the lack of support infrastructure. This is even more pronounced for Filipina OFWs in service and domestic work occupations, where they are more vulnerable to abuse and violence.

Rosa Linda Fregoso provides relevant insights for studying state culpability in the deaths of women, in her essay “The Complexities of ‘Feminicide’ on the Border,” from The Color of Violence:  The Incite! Anthology:

“The state’s early response, negation, involved at first a denial that the killings were systematic. Then, when the state could no longer deny this reality, officials shifted the blame onto the victims, committing further sacrilege against already violated bodies.”

This denial was evident in how Eugenia’s cause of death was painted as a suicide (i.e, her fault), even when her body evidenced starvation, bruises, stab marks. This denial and victim-blaming is also seen in the government’s silence on the “rash of suicides” among OFWs in the United Arab Emirates, including numerous women workers who allegedly jumped off buildings. Norayda Ayuman. Mitos Vergara. Myrna Baylosis. Evelyn Lilo. Remedios Waayan. All women the government would rather we forget, women whose families’ demands for justice continue to go unheard.

And lest you think that Filipinas only come to harm in the Middle East:

There is Honiefaith Ratilla Kamiosawa, a waitress whose mutilated and dismembered body parts were found around Tokyo last April.

There is Jocelyn Dulnuan, who was found dead last October of multiple stab wounds in the Canadian mansion where she worked as a caregiver.

So what is to be done?  We can start by supporting the People’s Global Action on Migration, Development, and Human Rights.

But the only true solution is a long-term strategy. Filipinas like Eugenia, Honeyfaith, Jocelyn become OFWs for one reason—because it was impossible for them to provide for their families by working in the Philippines. Eugenia comes from a family of tenant farmers in rural Bohol. They needed seeds, fertilizer, rent money, then had to turn over half the harvest to the landowner.   Eugenia could barely contribute when she worked as a salesperson. But when she went to Riyadh, she was able to send money for a carabao.

“This newly constituted global economic order impacts the most vulnerable communities,” writes Rosa Linda Fregoso, “the bodies of the poor and Third World women, who are its disposable targets of labor exploitation.”

The poverty that fuels labor migration is a systemic program, and globalization has only exacerbated the problem.  And every day, there are thousands more Filipina women who become globalized labor’s disposable targets.


Radical Feminism And Men

Yes I am going to go there.  I was reading through some rad fem blogs last night which I will not link to as I have decided that this kind of feminism is not inclusive and has the potential to be harmful to women.  Yes I understand that there have been some wonderful outcomes like DV shelters and eliminating a womens sexual past as a reason to question her rape however, its continual refusal to accept intersectionality and its demonization of men is problematic to say the least.

As you are all aware I live in a household of men.  I have been happily unmarried to the same man for over 18 years and am the mother of two wonderful sons.  What I can tell you with absolute certainty is that my unhusband is not a potential rapist, or batterer.  How is that possible, he is in possession of a penis? I will tell you how that is possible, he respects women.  He is also not some kind of freak anomaly. 

In much of radical feminist theory there is a tendency to demonize men.  Do males commit some of the worst atrocities on the planet, absolutely but that does not mean that all men are capable of these acts.  It should not even have to be said that generalization of this kind is harmful. When we look at a group and pronounce them all guilty it is an excuse to spread hatred.  Believe it or not when you spread such vicious hatred of men it is not only harmful, it is hurtful to a large group of women.

I did not choose the sex of my children but I would not change it.  Raising sons can be an extremely feminist act.  Not only am I raising my sons to respect women and treat women as equals, I am teaching them to own their unearned male privileges.  The women that they encounter in life will benefit because of the lessons that I have taught them.  The lessons that I am choosing to impart are not only supported by their father they are promoted.  Feminism is a lived theory in my household.  So when I hear that all men are ___ (insert whatever crime), it causes me to get angry because not all men have the desire to cause harm and furthermore daily there are many women dedicating our lives to making sure that future generations of men are even less likely to cause harm. 

I am a straight woman, but I am also a mother, a sister, friend, an aunt and a cousin. Men play many integral roles in my life.  They have been by dearest of friends, sources of extreme pride and filled my life with much joy.  To admit this does not lessen my commitment to seeking justice for women.  To admit this does not make me less of a feminist.  I love women and will always work to improve our lot in life, but uplift cannot come from treating another group as though they are all criminal and evil.  This is the same kind of generalization that whites use to demonize blacks, and straights use to create homosexuals as less than.  Asserting your humanity also means validating the humanity of others.  If we expect men to value us as people, we also need to value them, and their contributions to our lives.

Pointing out sexism and the ways in which patriarchy continues to be damaging to women is vitally important to changing our lives.  Just like every other social justice movement feminism needs allies.  The civil rights movement of the 60's would not have been as successful as it was, if blacks and whites had not marched together.  We must embrace the males in our lives that commit themselves to feminism as it is their help that we need to make real and lasting change to this society.  Understanding that feminism improves the lives of both men and women can and should be the basis for a foundation in which we come together to end the ways in which gender performativity forces us to adhere to behaviour that limits our personal aspirations and desires.  When I see a man, my first thought is not potential rapist, nor is it potential baterrer, however I am open to the possibility that in time man it will automatically come to mean ally and friend.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Jeremiah Munsen Gets 4 Months For Hanging A Noose

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That is the face of hate and ignorance.  Jeremiah Munsen hung a noose from the back of his pick up truck and then proceeded to drive by Jena6 protesters.  Time and Time again I have blogged about the noose and what it symbolizes to blacks. If I were to walk by this young man on the street I would never guess that his heart held such hatred towards me simply because I am black and he is white. To see him away from the symbol of hatred that he decided to terrorize protesters with is to view him as just another human being tying to get by in this world.  As I look into his eyes I cannot help but wonder what happened to make him decide that it was okay to threaten the safety of another in this manner, and what caused his pure and simple hatred for blacks?

He was born just as I was into this world with colour blind eyes.  Yes children can see that there are differences between us but they assign no difference to colour. That is a specifically learned behaviour.   Even if we  accept that he  was raised in a racist society or that he had been socialized to view blacks as less than by his family, at the age of 18 he should have been able to overcome these teachings and formulate for himself a more inclusive view of humanity.  Instead he choose to internalize messages from the hateful KKK. 

I fear as the economic disparity between the rich and the poor continues to rise we are going to see more instances of this kind of threat and intimidation.  One of the things the KKK regularly preaches about are POC taking away jobs from God fearing white people.  What these racial bigots don't realize is that they are dupes.  That is right dupes.  The ruling bourgeoisie have perfected the art of divide and conquer.  Instead of targeting them and the capitalist system which is the true cause of poverty, poor whites have internalized white privilege to the degree that they have learned to blame POC instead of the system.  They see whiteness as valuable enough to disregard our common plight as proletariats.  In accepting whiteness as a reward they are complicit in their own economic and social marginalization.

The ruling elite have wielded white identity as a weapon to forestall labour unity and any kind of economic advancement of the working poor. Today Natalist can be heard screaming about so-called illegal immigrants crossing the border to steal jobs.  Yes steal jobs even though no American citizen wants to work below minimum wage and receive zero health benefits.  What jobs are they actually stealing?  The key to this implied threat is that American stands for white.  As long as these forces continue to look outwards and see POC as a threat rather than inwards at the corrupt corporations that regularly flaunt the few labour laws in existence poverty will continue to be pervasive.

POC have never been the enemy. To accept us as such is beyond ridiculous.  How is it that a group of people that have historically occupied the bottom tier of the economic pyramid can be blamed for something as systemic as poverty? The answer is that people continue to value whiteness.  To be accepted as white is to be deemed a person of value.  That this privilege is routinely mitigated by class, ability, sex,  etc is oft overlooked to gain a form of power where none exists.  Power is at the very heart of this debate.  As humans we actively seek to wield it even when doing so places us at a disadvantage.  Think of the thousands and thousands of confederate soldiers who died defending the evil institution of slavery even though it was the planter class that had the financial ability to own. Who and what did they die for?  They died for the right to claim themselves as white?  Slavery did not benefit poor whites in any way.  By having a class of people that could be forced to labour indefinitely it reduced opportunities for poor whites to sell their labour power and yet when called to fight and risk their lives they readily signed up, such is the value of whiteness. 

Jerimah Munsen is a dupe.  he has internalized the idea that white power is the road to success and this has garnered him four months in prison.  While what he did was criminal, I believe that incarcerating him is only going to further entrench his hatred.  This kind of hatred is a learned behaviour, and can be unlearned.  Instead he should have been forced to learn about African  American history, economics, white privilege and power.  Jail should not only be about punishment, it should be about rehabilitation. Until we take active steps to confront racism and its causes it will continue to spread like a virus through our communities.


Spanish Tennis Team Shows The World Their Slant Eyes

 

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After the controversy that was created with this picture of the Spanish basketball team  it would be fair to assume that making a facial gesture meant to mock another race should have been understood as patently racist and clearly not acceptable.  It seems that some groups of people are slow to learn.

image 

H/T Blackperpsective

The following comes from skynews.

Olympic tennis silver-medallist Garrigues insisted the snap was not "racist" and was not intended to cause offence.

"We did it because we came to China. We don't want to do anything bad for Chinese people or Asian people," she said.

"We think maybe we took a bad picture but we never wanted to offend anybody. We didn't see it as a racist gesture."

Asked if she wanted to apologise, she replied: "Yes, sure. We never wanted to do anything bad."

Gee only maybe took a bad picture?  There is no maybe about this and what more it was knowingly racist.  How many times do Spanish athletes need to be told that making gestures like this are racist?  But this is what comes from a country that celebrates Columbus the father of the modern day slave trade.  This is from the country that made the word inquisition into a horrific nightmare.  So much for moving and growing from the past. Yikes they're different, they're not like us..let's go over there and plant our flag win some medals.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Belts, Children and Discipline.

I have been thinking about writing this since I read about the beating of 18-year-old Yaman Sankari at The Uppity Brown Woman. It seems that Sankari's family discovered that she was having sex with her boyfriend and their response was to beat her.  Her whole family has since been arrested and charged though they all deny that they have assaulted her.

This story triggered some very horrible memories for me.  You see I am no stranger to the belt.  For many years I was unable to even hold a belt in my hand because of the memories that it triggered in me.  I somehow have blocked out the sounds of my own screams but can regularly hear that of my brothers in my mind.  He was beaten more often, and more vigorously than I simply because he was male. 

Of course the beatings were always initiated by some wrong that we had done but regardless of the so-called disobedience no person should be beaten with a belt, much less a child.  The last time I was beaten I was 14 years old but I remember it like it was yesterday.  I remember the horror, the shock and the betrayal that I felt.  I have not forgiven it, and will I never forgive it for all the days of my life.

I cringe when I hear comics making jokes about catching a whippin.  It has become a regular shtick for some to turn this into a laughing matter.  Sinbad, Eddie Murphy, and Chris Rock all have comedy routines in which they speak about being beaten as a child by their mothers and the audience laughs as though this does not create lasting damage.  When you hit a child with a belt it is physical abuse. Many in the black community (though this happens in all communities) believe that this is an appropriate form of discipline. They scoff at time outs, and groundings because of course that isn't "real" punishment.  Is the point of discipline to teach consequence for actions, or to permanently damage a child? 

When I look at my own children, especially my oldest I know that if he were forced to endure what my brother or I lived with, it would break him.  I love both of my children and would never inflict this kind of pain on them.  It is  no excuse to say that you didn't know any better, or that this is the way you were raised, repeating the wrongs that were committed against you is continuing the legacy and cycle of violence.  At some point this needs to stop.  If you were beaten as a child then you know the pain, don't pass it on to your own children.  A child should never have to fear that the hand of the parent approaching them is going to deliver pain.  Yes they need to respect you, but when you beat them, all you illicit is fear and not respect.  Ask yourself as an adult why you deserve to exist without being beaten and a child does not? What makes your body so inviolable other than the fact that it has existed longer?

I will tell you as one that survived this kind of violence that it will stay with me all of the days of my life. When I think about it, my heart races and my hands begin to shake.  My body fills with such a rage that I cannot put words to it.  I know that my parents did what was done to them.  I understand that for them, this is what discipline meant but I cannot let it go.  I have intellectualized this to death but the end result is that the pain is and was real.  It was never a laughing matter for me and never will be.  It stands like a dam between us and will forever remain.  When you think about discipline and being tough on your children, I beseech those of you who think the belt is the way to go to think again.  You are violating your child and every other good thing that you may do will be overshadowed by this.  Most of all know that it does not get forgotten despite the fact that many have turned this into a joke.  Love and physical violence do not go together. Discipline does not need to rise to the level of abuse. Finally, love your children enough to respect their physical beings.  No one deserves to be beaten with a belt.


Not Near My Crotch

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This perfectly ghastly combination of vibrator and shaver is called The Womaniser.  "The magnificent Womaniser is not only smooth to the touch - it'll leave you smooth and strokable, too! This intimate shaver is hidden inside a single speed silicone massaging vibrator - the perfect combination for a night of orgasmic personal pleasure." Yeah for multi-tasking eh?  After you shave yourself to make sure that your body is appropriately smooth, you can just flip this little baby around and get down with the self pleasure.  Don't you just love the fact that even if you are masturbating you must make sure that your body is still smooth.  How can you possible get off if you happen to feel a hair on your own body? Gotta keep policing that muff.

For an extra 4 pounds you can image even get it beautifully gift wrapped.  MMM what's coming down the chimney tonight.

This gorgeously packaged toy includes:

- Sex toy and personal shaver

- Elegant safety cap and sealant ring

- Replaceable bullet motor (original lasts for up to 40 minutes)

- Additional shaving add-ons

- Bullet key (for removing the vibrator motor)

- Batteries

- User manual

This little gem is not the only product sold by this company.  Just to make sure that both sexes receive pleasure they also market drum roll please... a cock ring. HMM what gross little add ons are on the cock ring?  A switch blade maybe?  Some new way to make the penis pretty before it is put to use.

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Sorry to disappoint you, it is simply a vibrating cock ring. No fancy attachments associated with gender discipline or pain.  When it comes to a cock it is all about pleasure.  Only women would be "silly" enough to willingly put a knife near their crotches and smile pretty while they're doing it. How did I manage to have orgasms all these years without  a razor near my precious clit? But hey it comes in two pretty colours don't you feel reassured now?

H/T Feministing



Rape Will Never Be A Laughing Matter

This entire post comes with huge trigger warnings...graphic material.

Having two small children I spend a lot of time watching cartoons.  One of my favourites is Scooby Doo.  It is a cartoon that I watched a great deal of as a child, and so you can imagine by surprise and disgust when I came across this.

Rape never has been nor will it ever be funny.  I wonder if the creators of this disgusting parody have ever seen this?

Of course the Scooby Video was made in the so-called enlightened west, where everyone respects each other and each person is an equal being.  So much so that rape can be held up as something that is just fucking hilarious.  I am actually quite speechless, but if this is what is coming out of academia today we have much to be concerned about.

When I looked at the video about the women of the Congo, I could not help but weep tears.  This is a war on women, and it has been occurring without cessation for years.  I wonder if men were being this savagely attacked if it would just be the impotent United Nations Peace Keeping Forces trying to end this horror? Somehow I cannot help but think that something more would be happening because men count as real people, and women are just disposable bodies.  This is specifically why a rape/murder of a woman can be ridiculed and seen as entertainment.  Sam Cooke once sang "a change is gonna come" and I cannot help but ask dear God when?


H/T Unapologetically Female (scooby video)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Black Women Can Be Beautiful To

I have written and deleted this post several times. Confronting beauty as a black woman is a difficult thing to do.  As much as I hate to admit it, beauty is a source of power for women and to be deemed unattractive makes one feel unfeminine and less than. It is definitely a truth that true beauty comes from within, but our first reaction to someone is their appearance and it is only in time that we get to know who they are as a person.  When we judge based in physical appearance alone we close ourselves off to many wonderful people.

Very little in society affirms black as beautiful.  As young girls growing up this lack of representation can be damaging.  Where ever we look we are told that beautiful womanhood is white, with long flowing hair, and thus learning to love and accept yourself can be a Herculean task.  At times it feels easier to give in and internalize the negativity, but this is ultimately self destructive.  So we swallow the pain and hold our head up against the wind trying to define and create a standard of beauty that is not Eurocentric, a beauty that makes room for our darker complexions, curly hair (I won't use the word nappy), and fuller lips and hips. 

Some women never reach the point where they can tune out the negativity image associated with blackness.  Some women wear permanent scars from attempting to become something they can never be - white.  In Uganda skin bleaching is all the rage.  Women slather themselves with creams  that they believe will lighten their skin, but it ultimately leaves them horribly disfigured.  According the WIP, "Consumers of bleaching cosmetics claim that they want to enhance their beauty. One woman who declined to be named, explains, “One has to look good, by having fair, lighter skin.”

What does looking good mean in a world where white equals beautiful and purity?  It means that black women become the eternal other.  Authenticating blackness as beautiful becomes something that whites do to prove how enlightened and advanced they are.  Whether it is the attention that is paid to Blacks during black history month, or the recent issue of an all black Italian Vogue, such temporary and fleeting representation only goes to remind us of exactly how disposable our bodies are.  Yes, here is one magazine out of the thousands that are printed world wide, dedicated to the idea that black women can be beautiful too, why aren't we satisfied? 

That is exactly the problem with this issue, black women can be beautiful too instead of black women are beautiful. The black women can be beautiful too comes with hueism which eliminates darker skinned women.  How many times are light skinned stars held up as an example of inclusiveness, and beauty, completely ignoring the fact that blackness comes in various shades.  This diversity of colour exists today from the legacy of the rape of our foremothers, and yet this is what we are to understand as beautiful?  It is time for a revolution, it is time for the field slave to mount the steps of glory and find herself not only only welcome but desired.  No longer should we pose the question ain't I a woman, instead we need to demand that we are recognized as women.


Radical Feminism And CIS Privilege

Okay ladies and feminist identified males, it is time for a reality check.  Privilege is a loaded word, and it is often thrown around in feminist circles.  Time after time I have seen feminists complaining that men don't own their gender privileges.  Women want acknowledgment that we are a historically marginalized and oppressed class, but there is a proviso to that statement.  To qualify as 'woman', you must exist with class privilege, race privilege, be able bodied, straight, and CIS.  If you can somehow fit into all of these categories at the same time, you have won the lottery and you get to proclaim yourself woman.  Not only woman, but long suffering woman whose day has finally come.

Yes celebrate on the land...Declare yourself free.  Don't give a moments thought that your so-called freedom actually means the freedom to oppress another group of women.  This is not equality, it is taking on the Masters Tools.  I know that you feel threatened, but this is simply because you and only you have decided that feminism is about your concerns and should privilege your bodies and your experiences. Unfortunately, humanity is extremely diverse and cannot be divided into neat little binary categories.  Sure if we all had the privilege to be born into your definition of women, it would certainly make things easier for you, but that didn't happen, and so I am afraid that it is time that you step up to the plate and start owning some of the privileges that you are quick to assert that others don't own.

Feminism is about supporting and advancing the lives of all women, not just the ones that happened to be born CIS.  Your vitriolic rants scream of privilege and hate. What about me...Don't I count? Newsflash, yes you are important but not anymore more so than women like Angie Zapata.  How does ignoring the the experiences of a group of women advance feminism in any way? You know feminism, the movement that is supposed to be about improving the lives of all women.  That's right the same feminism that has the objective of validating the lives and humanity of all.

Let me tell you a little something, when you are bruised, or battered, humiliated and treated like some kind of freakish 'other' it hurts.  In a planet that is awash with womens blood, I shouldn't have to tell you that it is the same shade of red, or that it  is diluted only by the tears of pain.  That screaming that you hear are the collective death rattles of trans women who have met a violent end because of the same kind of ignorance and hatred that you regularly preach.  This is not a simple matter of an ideological disagreement, this is life and death.  Do you need to be splattered in their blood to take this seriously?

I wish I had the luxury of just dismissing your writings as nonsense.  I wish that I could just turn my head and say live and let live to the shit that you regularly spew on the internet.  As a WOC with a legacy of slavery, jim crow, beatings, lynchings, and rape I know that words like these are exactly how hatred is perpetuated.  When you turn someone's life into a comedic routine for your own amusement you are othering, and creating them as less than human.  When you can look someone in the eye and decide that they are not your equal, it serves as justification to be violent towards them.  Why should you care what happens to them if you cannot even recognize their shared humanity with you?  Before you make the accusation that I am projecting, let me remind you Hitler dehuamanized Jewish people as a justification for the holocaust.  In every war the first thing that happens is that we create the enemy as other to make their whole sale slaughter tenable.  Kill the gooks, kill the gerrys, death to the kaffirs...you may disguise your hate better but it is still the same thing to those of us that understand the value of language as tool of oppression. You have learned the lessons of Mein Kempf well, except this time there are people that are willing to sound the alarm bell.

As long as I have breathe in this body, I shall not stand idly by while one group is created as less than human so that others may exist in privilege.  You do not represent feminism, you represent hate.  It is no wonder that many disavow feminist goals when women like you claim to be its representatives.  Who would want to be associated with a group that regularly preaches hate and intolerance in a world that has seen more than enough blood shed.  This earth is so full of the blood of the innocent I could wring it free with my bare hands and yet you seek to multiple the destruction by deciding somehow you are more worthy than another.  This may be your ideal feminist vision but to me it is the stuff of nightmares.  In my dreams I see the headless horsemen, I see an apocalyptic vision in which our once fertile earth is reduced to a barren wasteland simply because we have lost the capacity to understand and truly believe that we are all of value.

H/T Renegade Your power was my inspiration.

 


Sunday, August 17, 2008

According To Jim Rome, Strippers Hate Their Daddy's

H/t BlackPerspective.Net

I was originally just going to post a response to this  at BlackPerspective,  but after polluting my ears with this video and reading the following commentary, "Rome can be annoying, but he hits gold sometimes; and this is just about my all time favourite rant of his – it’s too true. Come on." I decided to respond on my blog.

Well, let's start out with the fact that Jim Rome says,"Hey, listen I don't really know any strippers personally and I have never really had a conversation with  a stripper about this kind of thing but I think that we are all pretty safe in assuming that strippers hate their dads. Why do you think they became strippers because they had a good relationship with their father? Because they respected where he was coming from?"

Once again it is all about the men. Unless daddy gives you permission at the altar to be a sexual being, or perform in a sexual way, it is simply unacceptable. Women couldn't possibly choose to get into sex work because they enjoy it could they? The only two reasons to become a stripper is to feed a drug addiction, or to exact revenge upon daddy for his obvious neglect of his patriarchal duties.  Dear old dad should have no say on what a grown woman chooses to do with her body, and furthermore women are more than capable of making decisions outside of male considerations. Sometimes what is best for a man is not best for a woman.

"What is the worst nightmare that a father could have is that his daughter could become a stripper."

Of course the worst fear is not that she could be physically, or sexually assaulted.  It is certainly not that she faces a lifetime of systemic inequality as a direct result of patriarchy. Nope, the only supposed nightmare is that she might show her tits and shake a little ass to pay the rent and feed herself.  How can a man possibly embrace a daughter that believes that she has the right to decide what is and isn't appropriate for her to do? 

Daddy's don't love sluts. The best way to retain the love and respect of a father is to sit pretty, preferably with your legs closed, speaking only when spoken to.  When are daughters ever going to learn that their lives are not about them. Womens lives from birth to death are meant to be about fulfilling the wishes of men.  If Daddy wants chastity and you're feeling horny, you had better learn to masturbate quietly in a dark room, because dick  without permission is strictly a no no.  There is no point calling out the sweaty men that sit in pervert ally for their depravations, because everyone knows that it is women that are expected to be the moral regulators of sex and sexuality. Men may have their finger on the button but when faced with a snatch they suddenly loose the ability to think clearly.  I actually find that amusing considering it is common to hear that a woman could not be president because of hormones, but I suppose being led through your life by your genitals is ok, as long as it is a dick doing  the leading.

OOH twisting knife. I can already hear the trolls calling me a man hater. How dare I challenge their right to enforce appropriate morals (read: social chastity belts) on women?  I must be a slut myself for refusing to agree that all sex work is degrading. yeah, yeah, yeah.  Slut shaming is something that patriarchy excels at.  Sex is an essential drive and to discipline it in this way is to assert a large degree of control over someone's life. When the authoritarian father daughter connection is added to this equation, it appears to be an innocuous life lesson. Daddy is not harmed by the teaching but the little girl is deeply wounded because she learns from the one that is supposed to support  her the most, that there are conditions to love.