Saturday, November 29, 2008

In Defence Of Womens Studies

So I popped in to see what king of the asshats Glen Sacks was up to. (Once again, I do not link to misogynists) What did I find but more deception and lies.

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The example here is a middle-aged woman's book club but college men endure this all the time as Women's Studies promotes anti-male exaggerations and falsehoods. Chrsitian Hoff Sommers accurately describes some of these not as "Hate Speech but as "Hate Statistics."

He would know this because he has taken courses of Womens Studies right?  This piece of work does not even have the slightest idea of how feminism works and he expects people to believe that he has taken a Womens Studies course. This is just one more example of the ways in which the MRA movement is more than willing to stand on its head to promote blatant falsehoods.  I am surprised he didn't tag this post feeding the trolls, because clearly that was what this little entry is about.

Unless something is focused completely on men, the MRA movement will immediately declare it misandry.  Imagine the nerve of those uppity WISE profs having the nerve to tell young women that they matter.  It certainly cannot qualify as true education if it isn't revolving around a poor marginalized dick.

Don't you just love the hyperbole of his usage of the term hate speech.  Right, hate speech to speak openly and honestly about issues that effect women.  Unless we are docile and bathing the royal penis we are being hateful.  Talk about extreme privilege denial. 

Glenn you don't know a thing about Womens Studies.  I would bet money that you could not list the organizing principles, outcomes, critiques and goals of 4 feminist theories without hitting wikipedia.  You are more interested in perpetuating the idea that agency in women is something to be rejected to promote your unearned gender privileges. 

I have read the commentary on your blog, and those idiots that worship you cannot tell the difference between a third wave feminist and a radical feminist. Let me tell you about womens studies: it promotes critical thinking, and is an inter disciplinary form of study.  To be successful in this field you need to have a working knowledge of history, economics, sociology, biology, and political science.  To be an MRA all you need to do is know how to worship a dick.

MRA do not employ intersectionality and continually use the monolithic man to represent all of masculinity.  They routinely deny privilege in all circumstances. They skew statistics and lie at every opportunity.

Here is something I find most interesting.  The big rally cry is fathers rights.  On and on your group blathers about how fathers are being unfairly treated by the courts. Ummm who wrote the laws?  Who are the majority of the judges? Gotta an issue, take it up with your fellow males.

Ummm last point, even though I could argue against your nonsense all day, if you claim to love your children so much, why is it that you routinely run down women?  Some of you must be fathers to girls.  Has it not occurred to you asshats that by making your misogyny so public you are teaching the daughters you claim to love so much that they are worthless?  You know one day they will grow up to be women and they will learn what daddy dearest thinks of the evil wimmins who dare to have a mind of their own.  You would think as concerned daddies it would behove you to support something that teaches your daughters that they are valuable people....ooops silly me I forgot that for MRA it is about the dick.


Drop It Like It's Hot

Time for another round of blogwhoring.  I found some really interesting reads this week and hope that you will take the time to check them out.  As always take the opportunity to share what you have been reading and writing this week.  Please feel free to share a bit about your week as well.

This week was pretty uneventful in our home.  We only had one incident of Mayhem bathing in the toilet.  The unhusband did commit the ultimate sin and informed me that my corn bread sucks.  Apparently it is dry and crumbly.  No I didn't mush him, but I thought about it.

The Fate of the SUV and the Lower Classes

Alice and Rebecca, Embracing the Complications

recreate Jesus in their own image

Johann Hari: How Navratilova leads the way for lesbians

White people think that people of colour have more culture

The Tiger Woods president

Who Wakes Up And Says, "I Wish I Could Be Oppressed Too"

Awesome Names For MRA Fuckwit Blogs

El Buen Canario & the Bloody Cage

yOni's menstrual tip board

 

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Santa Is Coming, Let The Shameless Consumerism Begin

image Today is our annual Santa Claus Parade.  It will probably be a dismal disaster much like last years (the kids didn't even want to wait around for Santa) but we are going any ways. 

With the official arrival of Santa comes the what I want for Christmas pitch.  You cannot watch tree house, or the toon network without being inundated with the latest piece of over priced plastic crap, that was probably made in a Chinese sweatshop. Ho Ho fucking Ho.  Retailers have already started to inform kids about products they didn't even know that they wanted until the commercial promised them they would be happy, if only they could this plastic piece of crap.

I recently read that about FOX's resident evil asshole, Bill O’Reilly complaining how the liberals have destroyed Christmas by making it all PC.  Yes saying happy holidays and acknowledging that not every single person you meet is Christian is somehow an affront to what has become nothing but a consumer extravaganza. 

What disgusts me each year is the way we put ourselves into debt becauseimage somehow the only way to show people we love them is to purchase items that they will forget about in less than six months.  I am not trying to be a scrooge here, but I am really starting to wonder about the message we are sending our children.  Show me you love me, buy me something doesn't really feel like a celebration of anything other than capitalism.

The Christmas season is the only time Sick Kids has a waiting list to volunteer. Does it not occur to anyone else throughout the year that the season of giving should be continual?  Suddenly people have money to buy that homeless guy a coffee, though they walked by him in their nicely tailored suit for a year without ever acknowledging he was a human being.  The Project Share Bin gets filled because hey everyone should have one decent meal a year, and who cares if the rest of the year people donate by dropping off food that has collected dust in their cabinets that they have finally decided that they are not going to eat.  Christmas donating like this is giving yourself a cookie...you were great for one brief season so for the rest of the year you continue on ignoring the real struggle and plight of the working/underclass.

The unhusband and I have a rule, If five toys come in then they must donate 5 toys to our local brothers and sisters club.  I am trying desperately to keep a balance and remind the boys that this is about us being together as a family, but it seems since we are together daily as a family to them it is about the toys.  All of the lessons that we work all year to impart seem to go out the window the minute the man in red trolls into town with his reindeer. 

image He ho ho ho's and jingle bells his way through the downtown core as people line up for free stale donuts and popcorn, but right after he pulls upstakes and returns to the North Pole, our sense of caring for those around us dissipates. Does anyone notice the end of the desire to give usually coincides with the arrival of the visa bill that lists the ways in which we have once again over indulged?  We claim that we have winter blues but I have the feeling that a good portion of that is shopping hangover and regret.  Even if you max out your credit cards you cannot make someone love you more.

As the unhusband and I struggle with the lessons we want to teach Destruction and Mayhem this season, I cannot help but be troubled by the fact that everywhere they turn they are given the message that the path to happiness is consumption.  I want my children to understand most of all that giving should not be something that we schedule on the calendar when we put up the Christmas Tree, but something we actively engage in because people matter 365 days a year.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Why Whiteness

I have written quite a bit about whiteness.  I know that this is a subject that causes anger in many people.  The usual response is to call me a racist, or lecture me about my tone. Once in awhile I get the you're to sensitive or things aren't as bad as you make them out to be comments.  I realize that these are a defensive reaction but it is still highly irritating to say the least.

The reason we need to talk about whiteness is because it is everywhere.  It has become so dominant that it is normalized in every social institution.  Everywhere you look there is the influence of white culture.  I am well aware that many view culture as something that belongs to "others"; you know the "exotic darkies" but trust me whiteness has its own unique culture.

Even though whiteness is highly visible for all to see, it is something that is rarely discussed.  Usually when we discuss racism we attack it from the point of view of the person of colour.  We talk about things like how the legacy of slavery still haunts blacks, or the ways in which Indigenous cultures continue to be colonized. but never do we associate that as an act in maintenance of white hegemony.

Whiteness does not just exist, it is active, vibrant and alive.  Daily whiteness works hard to make sure that it is the centre of matters from the important to the trivial.  If we only speak about race in terms of the way that it effects people of colour, we are denying whiteness as a race and as an active participant in racial hierarchy.

Though focusing on the exotic darkies may be comfortable because that is what we have always done when we speak about racial discord, it is a very limited conversation.  Healing does not come from avoiding our pain and discomfort it comes from directly challenging it and forcing a change.

When I speak about whiteness I do it in search of a world in which all voices are truly equal.  For me it means releasing some of the anger that I have, and for others it may mean owning their unearned privileges. 

Privilege is the loaded word in all of these exchanges.  What some have come to view as a right of their existence is actually the result of  systemic racial equality.  The ease at which you are able to navigate the system to your advantage exists because the system was created to benefit you. 

Though I speak in generalities when I focus on whiteness it is important to point out that if you are disabled, gay, of lower/under class status etc the degree to which you will be able to benefit will be reduced.  This does not mean that a POC in your same position is your equal.  If standing next to a person in the same situation your whiteness will reassert itself and reestablish the hierarchy.

To be critical of whiteness is to risk attack simply because one is butting up against the norm.  How could a person of colour express dissatisfaction with a system that clearly so many people are happy with.  The sheer length and breadth of white hegemony would seem to make it an impenetrable fortress.

But my worth...my value...my satisfaction is every bit as valid as a white person.  Despite the content of whiteness with the inequality, my marginalization is something that I cannot content myself with.  It is not a matter of seeking to remove privilege but a demand that said privilege be extended to all.  The same opportunities and life chances that my white neighbour has, should be the same opportunities that are granted to me.

I should not have to fear that the police will one day attack my child.  I should not have to lie awake at night worried about the fact that I have to explain to my child that despite his gentle nature that the world will see him as a threat because of his blackness.  I should not have to battle with a racist education system to ensure that my child gets the education he is entitled to by law.  Finally I should not have to do battle daily to ensure that my child does not hate his blackness because that is the message that the world sends to him.

As an adult I do not expect any changes to directly effect me.  My path has been chosen and I must simply navigate it until its end, but as a mother and a potential grandmother I soldier on for those who will come after me, just as my foremothers did.  Whiteness is personal to me because it effects not only my life but the lives of those I love. 

Feel free to throw your hissy fits, stomp your feet, and howl, but your privilege must come to an end.  You are not more valuable to this world than my beautiful child.  I do not want your pity or your condescension.  My right to equality has been paid for in blood and I shall not allow your over sensitivity and selfishness to deny me my birth right.


Rejecting the Black Person In The Mirror

I love to use stumbleupon to surf the web.  It brings me to websites that I never would have visited.  On a recent search I landed at StormFront a white supremacist website (No I will not link, hit google) At any rate I expected to see the usual racist screed about how whites are suffering reverse racism, and how underprivileged they have become.  What I did not expect to read was the following.

Letter from a Black Girl: I love you guys


Hey. I just thought I would stop by and let you guys know that, despite my race (I am a non-White), I think the message that Stormfront promotes is absolutely right; I would be wrong to condemn any of you for defending your people, who've made so many contributions to this world. It's difficult for any sane person to know of individuals like Da Vinci, Shakespeare, Aristotle, Socrates, and countless others who existed because your race did. It's difficult to see the beauty of European nations (including the United States), but demonize and/or ignore the race that made it all possible.
You are absolutely right to love and adore your race; I think Whites in general, especially compared to Blacks, are more moral, peaceful, intelligent, creative, open-minded and forward-thinking, and definitely much better people to be around.
Furthermore, my own heart lies with the culture that your race, Whites, have built. Especially your music, of all genres; Some of my favorite bands are Cradle of Filth, Gorogoroth, Nickelback, The Fray, Nightwish, Lifehouse, Coldplay, etc.
You may think I'm odd for writing this, but I personally am disgusted with my own race. If you call Blacks a race of morons, I'll agree completely, because it's true. Anyone who is around Blacks enough can plainly see that most Blacks are impulsive, lack compassion, and are lazy, loud, corrupt, and rude...I can't stand people of my own race. I don't even know why the Black race exists, really. The Black race as a whole is a failure and I wouldn't mind if Blacks went extinct, even if that included me (I always have wondered what it would feel like to die anyway). I know that many of you don't, but I do believe in White Supremacy. I think the world would be a better place if Whites took over everywhere and I do believe that Europeans are as close to a master race as it gets.
As you can probably see, I would rather be White, but it's so bad I would rather be ANY race other than Black. I'd take Native American, Asian, Hispanic...anything. I've just completely lost faith in my race. It's fowl and I am always ashamed when I have to fill out forms where I have to put a checkmark in the box next to "Black", because it just reminds me of what I really am (stupid me, I'm seriously tearing up as I write this)...I hate my race very strongly.
Well, enough of my whining. I've made it quite apparent that I think Whites are a great race, and I hate that your countries are being gradually taken over by other by other races who will do it no good. I couldn't imagine what the world would be like without the contributions of your people; you deserve a place in this world more than any other race.
Thanks for reading, to those of you who read. Goodbye, and good luck for the future and I support your movement.

Obviously I have no way of knowing for a fact whether this person is truly a black female or not.  For the sake of argument I am going to assume the validity of the poster. 

The feelings that she expresses on this bulletin board are by no means  strange or unique.  From cradle to grave blacks are told that we are inferior.  Some never achieve the moral fortitude to recognize that they are being manipulated.  Some cannot see that those that are giving you this message do so for their own benefit. 

Hating yourself for being black is to be a dupe of the system.  The racial hierarchy exists to justify exploitation.  No matter whether it is between blacks and whites in the Americas, or castes in India, when we see difference in humanity the end result is always economic disparity. 

What posters like this do not realize is that by embracing blackness they would be thwarting the very force that seeks to create them as less than.  When you reject the metaphorical chains that whiteness seeks to place upon you, you disturb the hierarchy thus loosening the heavy yolk of oppression.

The brilliance of teaching the oppressed to hate themselves is that the prisoner now policies himself.  Scared of judgement the internalized hatred will cause the individual to constantly make decisions that are not in their best interest, in search of the approval of whiteness.

This approval will forever be dangled like a carrot on a stick, always just out of reach.  We are told if you speak properly, dress appropriately, educate yourself and generally remain docile that you too can be part of the American dream. It is the dream of acceptability that keeps blacks performing a lifelong minstrel show in the hopes of a scrap from the table of plenty.

In each generation there have always been a few exceptional Negroes that seem to break through and gain the respect of whiteness, but upon closer examination it is always revealed that they never escape the  blackness of their skin.  Whether it is Kennedy not wanting to invite Sammy Davis Jr. to the white house or President elect Barack Obama being hung in effigy, no one can ultimately escape the weight of a black body in a white world. 

Blackness is not a monolithic identity, though whiteness continually portrays us as baby mamas, drug dealer, criminals and thugs.  What we must seek to do is deconstruct blackness and embrace it in all of its multiplicities.   Policing ourselves and demanding a Eurocentric appearance or behaviour standard reduces our potential as a race.  There is no one way speaking, behaving or dressing that is necessarily more appropriate than another.  The aforementioned are only constructed social values that have no real bearing on the worth of a person.

We can look at great white poet and be moved by their articulate play with words, and yet rap which can be a very revolutionary form of poetry that has its genesis in blackness is repeatedly decried.  We can celebrate Mozart as a musical genius and ignore the brilliance of the likes of Miles Davis.  Our understanding of blackness is what causes us to ignore our contributions and devalue our unique and beautiful culture. We only elevate what is ours when it is appropriated by whiteness. 

Whiteness wants us to focus on the negative while at the same time ignoring their contribution that created the condition.  It is not accidental that blacks are over represented in prisons, and the military.  It is not accidental that we are undereducated and poor.  Even when they choose to educate us, our history is often ignored in the effort to present whiteness as the father of all that is good.

So yes I understand how and why this woman came to the determination that hating blackness was the answer.  After a lifetime of social conditioning and negative representations there will always be some that choose to identify with their oppressor because they are awed by  power. It is a desire to have the power to oppress that they seek.  It is a desire to have privileges to which they have been denied.  Just as children who are molested sometimes identify with their abusers so to do black internalize hatred and identify with whiteness.

The desire for power is the root of this hatred.  It is not that whiteness is naturally more attractive, or intelligent, it is that power and  whiteness are bed fellows.  When I write repeatedly about owning privilege it is for women like this.  No one should wake each day to reject themselves so that others may be uplifted.


Another Epic Waynes Brothers Failure

Was there ever a time when this family was relevant? In this latest disaster they use racism, homophobia, misogyny and violence against women as a source of comedy. 

Why is it that they routinely feel the need to turn to violence against women for comedic relief?

Before someone goes off about how this is a spoof, and I am taking it to seriously, let us all keep in mind that violence against women is a serious matter that should never fall into the realm of something that we joke about.  Though I have been repeatedly told that I have no sense of humour, I stand by the statement that certain things are not funny.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Christian Church and Forgiveness

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The Missiongathering Christian Church in San Diego recently paid for this billboard. America needs more Christians like this.  I think that we always give lip service to the phrase not all people of a certain group think the same way. We should take the time to acknowledge the difference when it makes itself obvious. 

This group clearly has nothing to apologize for, but the fact that the took the time and spent the money to acknowledge the importance and legitimacy of gay marriage should be acknowledged.  This display of tolerance and mutual respect is heart warming.

H/T Raging Rainbows

Law and Order: The Invisible Black Victim

The Law and Order series have been on television for quite sometime.  Each week viewers can tune into either the original, or one of the two spin offs.  Get the "bad guy", and make the world safe for the law abiding citizens is the theme week after week.

Despite the repetitive plot the Law and Order series remain extremely popular. I have a tendency to watch Special Victims Unit the most, because I simply adore Mariska Hargitay.  Recently I am finding that even my desire to watch Hargitay kick ass is being ruined by the continual portrayal of POC as criminals rather than victims.

The majority of the assaults that the show investigates are the rapes of white women, or white children.  It would seem just like the major news outlets the series is intent to perpetuate the idea that our bodies are never violated by creating  crimes against us as invisible. 

Is it a case of life imitating art, or art imitating life?  In either circumstance what is clear is that the body of  colour is either deemed to exist for violation, or our bodies are considered so worthless that any commentary on the violence that is committed against us is unnecessary.

In a recent episode a black female opera singer killed a white female opera singer.  The motive was predictable - jealousy.  Of course we are the violent ones because deep down we have internalized what whites have been teaching us about blackness.  How could this woman not feel inferior when placed next to the perfection of white womanhood?  These kind of racist stereotypes are reinforced week after week.

How many times do we have to see the black man as rapist, drug dealer, or all around criminal low life on Law and Order?  How many times is the black woman either not mentioned, or portrayed as a prostitute, uneducated, working poor, or single mother? 

I suppose the producers believe that having two black characters Sharon Epatha Merkerson and Ice T counteracts the racial stereotyping that happens week after week, but in truth two people cannot undue the  work that these shows have done of creating us as the great evil.  Presented this way it makes it seem as though that Merkerson and Ice T are not the norm; they are just the magical negroes that managed through daily interaction with the positive role model of the white justice system to resist the urge to turn to the baser temptations that are attached to blackness.

I want to keep watching the Law and Order series.  They are well written and challenge difficult subjects week after week, but how long can one deny not seeing an accurate depiction?  This is not the matter of a program that has been on the air for a few years, the original series has been on well over a decade.  That is 10 plus years where blacks have been constructed as the villain and not the victim. 

While I wholeheartedly admit that blacks do indeed commit crimes, week after week where we are seldom portrayed as being victims of crime as well supports social constructions about bodies of colour.  White victims may be sympathetic to a white audience; however for a show that is supposedly based in reality the authors should realize that violence and victimology have no skin colour.

So is this art imitating life, or life imitating art?


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Teaching The Young To Disrespect Indigenous Culture

As I watched this video on CNN I could not help but to be filled with disgust.  Here we have the Indigenous community clearly stating that this tradition is offensive, and white people standing on their heads to say no it's not harmful, or racist. One woman even has the nerve to pull the I have native friends card to justify her bigotry.

To be clear, what happened to the Native American community was genocide.  There are tribes that are no longer in existence.  There are unique cultures and languages that have been lost forever; and this woman somehow cannot see a comparison between that and what happened to the Jews in the holocaust.

It is further disgusting that children are being taught this falsehood as a method of maintaining white hegemony through the physical performance of revisionist history.  The indoctrination of children with revisionist history is part of the way that racism passes from one generation to another.

Of course to a child this seems like a harmless tradition, they have no knowledge of history.  They count on us as adults to be their guides and tell them the truth. This is an abdication of our responsibility to educate them.

Native culture has repeatedly been appropriated.  We see it show up in the form of mascots for sporting teams as a normalized display.  People seem to feel that it is their right to cheapen and demean the culture of another, while telling the oppressed community that they are being to sensitive. 

The oppressor does not have the right to tell the oppressed what is and isn't offensive.  No one exists with the inherent right to "other" another. Ignoring the complaints of  the Indigenous community as hyper sensitive keeps whiteness at the centre of the discussion.   

To these people what matters is their ability to express power over another.  The ability to create history in a certain light belongs to the conquerors and not the vanquished; and as such they feel it is their right to use the Indigenous community as a mascot in their celebration of white hegemony across the Americas. 

The story of the setters is not one of over coming strife, but that of rape, pillage, theft and murder.  No amount of cleansing can erase the blood that the earth has absorbed.  The truth is ugly, but it is one we must all face if there is to be any hope of achieving equality for all members of society.

Expecting the Indigenous community to play noble savage and ignore the ways in which their ancestors were mistreated is once again an expression of white hegemony.  Expecting the Indigenous community to be silent about the ways in which they continue to be marginalized, so that people can celebrate their deaths is beyond macabre, it is a denial of basic human rights.

There is no thought to the Indigenous children who are being forced to celebrate a day of pain in their culture.  They like their parents do not count, because socially we have decided that the only people of value in this society are white. While whiteness as good and normal may have become a normalized social thought, it does not mean that it should not be challenged.  Arguing that a tradition is 40 years old does not serve as grounds for its continuation.

As families gather to give thanks, they should have a real moment of reflection for what they are gathered together to celebrate: the rape, and near destruction of a people.  It should not be a moment of levity, but one of mourning for the way of life that was lost, and the ways in which we have not progressed since then.


Charlie Brown Lies

 image In Canada thanksgiving is in October, and so our thoughts have already turned to Christmas.   Tonight as I was flipping through the channels, I noticed that Charlie Brown had a Thanksgiving special, and so I decided to let Destruction my 7 year old stay up and watch it.  This would turn out to be a terrible decision.

Instead of the usual holiday cartoon where Peppermint Patty invites herselfimage over for dinner, we were treated to their rendition of the pilgrims and their wonderful relationship with the Indigenous community. As the cartoon progressed I realized that as soon as it was over, I would have to inform Destruction about the truth.

Seeing this in cartoon form enraged me.  No wonder so many are still unaware of the truth when we have children's cartoon indoctrinating the young with lies.  I could not help but wonder how many parents let their kids watch this travesty without comment. 

As soon as the cartoon was over I spent 30 minutes with Destruction informing him why thanksgiving is not a happy holiday for many Indigenous peoples.  When I asked him if he had any questions he looked at me and said, "Mommy why would Charlie Brown lie like that?"

Charlie Brown lied because we know that what was done to Native Americans in the name of conquest was wrong.  The degree of disparity that they continue to live with is wrong.  There is no justification for this, and rather than admit the crimes against humanity that were committed, we have decided to perpetuate the national myth of a friendly meeting of the minds. 

Children deserve to be told the truth.  It is today's youth that are going to have live with the consequences of the decisions that we make today, and we should have the decency to own the ways in which we have perverted history to maintain our racialized and hierarchal society.

Though he is only a little boy, it was quite obvious to Destruction after our discussion that what occurred was wrong.  Not only was he indignant to learn that such terrible crimes were committed for us to be able to live in our homes, he was angered that he was lied to.  It is one thing to know that a carton is not real, but quite another entirely to discover that it went from imagination to plain falsehoods.  We owe our children more than this, we owe them the truth in all of its ugliness.  If a seven year old boy can stare into the face of history and see  injustice, than we all can.

Shame on FOX for presenting this cartoon.  Though this network has made it clear that racial sensitivity is something it refuses to consider, targeting children in this manner is an all time low.


Lance Bass Channels Vanilla Ice

Lord, this was the most hurtin display I have seen in a long time. Who lied to this man and told him hip hop was his thing. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving: A National Day of Mourning for Indians

published Nov 24, 2008 9:19 PM

Following are excerpts from a statement written by Mahtowin Munro (Lakota) and Moonanum James (Wampanoag), co-leaders of United American Indians of New England. Read the entire statement at www.uaine.org.

Mahtowin Munro

Mahtowin Munro

Every year since 1970, United American Indians of New England have organized the National Day of Mourning observance in Plymouth at noon on Thanksgiving Day. Every year, hundreds of Native people and our supporters from all four directions join us. Every year, including this year, Native people from throughout the Americas will speak the truth about our history and about current issues and struggles we are involved in.

Why do hundreds of people stand out in the cold rather than sit home eating turkey and watching football? Do we have something against a harvest festival?

Moonanum James

Moonanum James

Of course not. But Thanksgiving in this country—and in particular in Plymouth—is much more than a harvest home festival. It is a celebration of pilgrim mythology.

According to this mythology, the pilgrims arrived, the Native people fed them and welcomed them, the Indians promptly faded into the background, and everyone lived happily ever after.

The pilgrims are glorified and mythologized because the circumstances of the first English-speaking colony in Jamestown were frankly too ugly (for example, they turned to cannibalism to survive) to hold up as an effective national myth.

The pilgrims did not find an empty land any more than Columbus “discovered” anything. Every inch of this land is Indian land. The pilgrims (who did not even call themselves pilgrims) did not come here seeking religious freedom; they already had that in Holland.

Leonard Peltier

Leonard Peltier

They came here as part of a commercial venture. They introduced sexism, racism, anti-lesbian and -gay bigotry, jails and the class system to these shores. One of the very first things they did when they arrived on Cape Cod—before they even made it to Plymouth—was to rob Wampanoag graves at Corn Hill and steal as much of the Indians’ winter provisions of corn and beans as they were able to carry.

They were no better than any other group of Europeans when it came to their treatment of the Indigenous peoples here. And, no, they did not even land at that sacred shrine called Plymouth Rock, a monument to racism and oppression which we are proud to say we buried in 1995.

The first official “Day of Thanksgiving” was proclaimed in 1637 by Governor Winthrop. He did so to celebrate the safe return of men from the Massachusetts Bay Colony who had gone to Mystic, Conn., to participate in the massacre of over 700 Pequot women, children and men.

About the only true thing in the whole mythology is that these pitiful European strangers would not have survived their first several years in “New England” were it not for the aid of Wampanoag people. What Native people got in return for this help was genocide, theft of our lands and never-ending repression. We are either treated as quaint relics from the past or are, to most people, virtually invisible.

When we dare to stand up for our rights, we are considered unreasonable. When we speak the truth about the history of the European invasion, we are often told to “go back where we came from.” Our roots are right here. They do not extend across any ocean.

National Day of Mourning began in 1970 when a Wampanoag man, Wamsutta Frank James, was asked to speak at a state dinner celebrating the 350th anniversary of the pilgrim landing. He refused to speak false words in praise of the white man for bringing civilization to us poor heathens. Native people from throughout the Americas came to Plymouth where they mourned their forebears who had been sold into slavery, burned alive, massacred, cheated and mistreated since the arrival of the Pilgrims in 1620.

But the commemoration of National Day of Mourning goes far beyond the circumstances of 1970.

Can we give thanks as we remember Native political prisoner Leonard Peltier, who was framed up by the FBI and has been falsely imprisoned since 1976? Despite mountains of evidence exonerating Peltier and the proven misconduct of federal prosecutors and the FBI, Peltier has been denied a new trial.

To Native people, the case of Peltier is one more ordeal in a litany of wrongdoings committed by the U.S. government against us. While the media in New England present images of the “Pequot miracle” in Connecticut, the vast majority of Native people continue to live in the most abysmal poverty.

Can we give thanks for the fact that, on many reservations, unemployment rates surpass 50 percent? Our life expectancies are much lower, our infant mortality and teen suicide rates much higher than those of white Americans. Racist stereotypes of Native people, such as those perpetuated by the Cleveland Indians, the Atlanta Braves and countless local and national sports teams, persist. Every single one of the more than 350 treaties that Native nations signed has been broken by the U.S. government. The bipartisan budget cuts have severely reduced educational opportunities for Native youth and the development of new housing on reservations, and have caused cause deadly cutbacks in healthcare and other necessary services.

Are we to give thanks for being treated as unwelcome in our own country?

When the descendants of the Aztec, Maya and Inca flee to the U.S., the descendants of the wash-ashore pilgrims term them “illegal aliens” and hunt them down.

We object to the “Pilgrim Progress” parade and to what goes on in Plymouth because they are making millions of tourist dollars every year from the false pilgrim mythology. That money is being made off the backs of our slaughtered Indigenous ancestors.

Increasing numbers of people are seeking alternatives to such holidays as Columbus Day and Thanksgiving. They are coming to the conclusion that if we are ever to achieve some sense of community, we must first face the truth about the history of this country and the toll that history has taken on the lives of millions of Indigenous, Black, Latin@, Asian, and poor and working-class white people.

The myth of Thanksgiving, served up with dollops of European superiority and manifest destiny, just does not work for many people in this country. As Malcolm X once said about the African-American experience in America, “We did not land on Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Rock landed on us.” Exactly.


Articles copyright 1995-2008 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Nebraska No Longer a Safe Haven: What to Do with the Kids Now?

Ok tooting my own horn, and once again promoting a post I wrote for Global Comment.

Nebraska was the last state to institute a safe haven law. The original intent of this law was to stop mothers from leaving their newborn infants in dumpsters, if they decided they did not want them, or for some reason could not care for them. The legislature could not decide on an appropriate age limit; and therefore employed the word “child.” This meant that any child under the age of 18 could be left at a Nebraska hospital, and the parent could not be charged with abandonment by law.

Now the law has been changed and an age limit of 30 days has been introduced.

The full text of LB 157 read: “No person shall be prosecuted for any crime based solely upon the act of leaving a child in the custody of an employee on duty at a hospital licensed by the State of Nebraska. The hospital shall promptly contact appropriate authorities to take custody of the child.”

In the lifetime of this law 27 drop offs occurred and 36 children were given up by their parents. Parents drove from as far away as California to relinquish their parental rights. One man left all 9 of his children behind.

According to USA Today, Todd Landry of Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services stated that, “the four oldest of the nine siblings were placed together in an emergency shelter and the others in a foster home. They’re struggling to varying degrees with what’s happened to them.”

To be abandoned by a parent can be an extremely traumatic thing for a child. In this case many of the children were of an age that they could understand exactly what the parent was doing even as it was happening. One can only imagine the pleading of the child, and the promises they must have made about behavioural changes as the parents headed toward the hospital exit.

Finish reading here.

Pearl Clutchers and Straw Women

image I have written repeatedly about colluders and the various reasons why they disgust me.  There is however another group of women which I hold in equal contempt; and they would be the Pearl Clutchers.  You know who you are. The oh noez not me crowd.  You are the kind of woman that professes to be all about equality, until a WOC has the nerve to point her finger at you and say the word privilege.

I really do wonder why it is so hard for you to STFU and just listen.  Instead we get the temper tantrum, foot stomping and all around dismissive bad behaviour, that feminism has historically employed as a weapon to silence WOC. 

This is when we start to hear the famous, "IMO its not racism".  You know what, who the fuck asked and you, and how the fuck do you know.  Seriously pearl clutchers, how the fuck do you know what is and isn't racism?

You've never been followed through a store, asked if you were your childs nanny, shown cheaper merchandise, had someone look you in the eye and call you a nigger, jigaboo, babys mama, or mocked during a lecture because you dared to question a professors authority on your cultural heritage.  Do you have your womanhood questioned constantly?  Do magazines create special editions to show that your kind of women can be considered beautiful to?

Here is a newsflash: The oppressor does not get to tell the oppressed what is and isn't oppression. I know that the victor traditionally writes history, but just for shits and giggles, how about you pretend that the subaltern can speak.  I don't want to hear about the ways that you identify with me, because you cannot.  I don't want to hear your comparisons of my life to yours, because they are not the same.  My struggle will never be the same as yours, and your attempts to diminish it by trying to find a reference point in your life, only makes the degree of privilege with which you function even more obvious.

Okay take a moment to grab your pearls and breathe.  Are you working up a venom yet, because I can almost hear the shrill about my angry tone?

The ironic part about this is, that this post isn't even angry.  I simply cannot be bothered to sugar coat my words to allow you to feel comfortable.  The entire world caters to you pearl clutchers ,and I for one need a break from the bullshit. Don't upset the fragile white woman, the mother of the great race.  God forbid there should be a tarnished spot on your pedestal.  Here let me spit shine that shit for ya. 

I know that dragging that pedestal around with you everywhere you go,  must make you tired.  Deep down some part of you must want to cast it into the sea. but it has become like a child's lovey; a symbol of comfort even as it weighs you down and stunts your potential.

I am not going to enable you.  Children eventually give up their pacifiers and you pearl clutchers can do the same with your pedestals and pearls.  WOC live without a safety net because society has not seen fit to afford us with one.  We must meet our daily struggles head on with no shield, and only our strength of will to protect us.  This lack of social coddling has allowed us to develop a unique voice, and it is one that you could learn much from should you ever decide to step off your pedestals and cast your pearls away.

I am not going to beg to be your teacher, or your guide because I don't want to play mystical negro, to your unenlightened white princess.  I am however going to suggest you pull the fingers out of your ears and truly listen.  Bite back the taunt of reverse racism that you have been dying to scream, and hear for the first time that your lilly white, over privileged ass, ain't worth a dollar more than mine.

Now that we have that straight, don't turn me into your new black bff to prove your conversion.  I am not your symbol of enlightenment.  Take responsibility for your journey and do your own work.  While I'm at it...don't ask me for one of those sisterly hugs in your time of need either; black women are tired of comforting upset white people like we don't have enough headaches of our own. You will not be getting a honey child from me. 

Well if you have lasted this far into the post with clicking off in a rage, you are probably on the road to a little thing I call redemption.  It is not an easy thing, but at the end of it all perhaps we can look each other in the eye with some degree of trust, rather than the hidden hostility we daily exchange. Now clean yourself up, square your shoulders and dive into the muck head first.  Decolonizing your mind is dirty work, so don't expect to be all pretty when you are done, but at least at the end of the road you can declare yourself a thinking woman of courage and agency.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Work It Like Beyonce

Now I do believe in the 70's this would have been called getting down with your bad self.

H/T theunsinkableML via twitter

Poverty Has A Face

I have seen this video over and over again on CNN.  As a mother it broke my heart on many levels.  The pain that this man is going through having to bring his children to beg for money is evident on his face. 

Much of the talk in the news about the economy has been very abstract.  We have heard about bank failures,  and the dips in the stock market.  We have seen executives fly in private jets to hold out their hands and beg for money, but we have not really seen how this crises is effecting the average person.

We have been socialized to walk by the underclass when see them lying on the streets.  It is almost as though we feel that by acknowledging their humanity we will somehow end up in the same situation.  The reality is that the economic situation is worsening everyday, and those people that we thought less of might very well be us soon.

We have already seen the recurrence of tent cities. When I see the pundits on CNN wax on in their tailor made suits and expensive jewelry, I cannot help but notice how disconnected they are from the realities of this hardship.  To them, this man and his children were just another story;  something to fill in the 24 hour news world until they could move onto something more attention grabbing.

Now more than ever we need to rediscover the sense of community that capitalism has crushed within us. Capitalism has pit us against each other with the false idea of promoting a "healthy form of competition". 

It has caused us to believe in the lie of meritocracy.  No matter how hard you work you can never pull yourself up by your bootstraps, when you don't have a boot.  The people have not failed, it is the system that has failed. 

As I look at this man, with the stigma of poverty covering every inch of his being, I know that his reality was created in a boardroom far from  the street on which he begs.  The hunger pangs of his children were created with the stroke of a pen that signed his pink slip. 

Food, shelter, clothing and education are all human needs, they are not arbitrary desires and yet we have commodified them.  By placing a dollar value on the necessities of life we have assured the suffering of millions across the globe.   What makes one being more entitled to food than another?  A CEO does not work any harder than a single mom trying desperately to keep a roof over the head of her children. 

This worshiping of the golden idol must come to an end.  This uneven culture that we have built upon consumption is slowly becoming our undoing.  It is not healthy for us as a people, and it is not healthy for the earth.

We have placed environmental concerns secondary, in an effort to raise more capital.  What is the value of capitol if it cannot clothe you, feed you, educate you, or house you.  It has no tangible value other than that which we give it. To create it we must kill something.  Think of the irony of that, to make a dollar we must kill a tree.  Each time we touch it, we are hold a symbol of destruction.

At the end of the day I don't want to hear anymore about CEO's and their jets, or their business retreats.  I want to learn about the ways in which we are going to dismantle a system that is so irrational that we have endowed corporations with the same rights as a living and breathing human being. 

I want to learn about the ways in which we are going to reconnect with the earth and each other.  Capitalism is a virus that we have allowed flourish and in its wake the bodies are beginning to stink of decay.  It is time for solidarity and it is time for peace. 

The proletariat need not look at each other and assign blame, for indeed we are faultless; it is those who daily live in splendour on the labour of our sweat that should feel ashamed. While they sip on their expensive wines, the children of this world go hungry.  Socialism is not the devil that we have been lead to believe.  Honestly what could be more awful than a system that daily sets us against each other, in the support of gain.  What could more awful than a system that daily reifies racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, and ableism; all to ensure that we are divided from one another.

The end of capitalism may not necessarily bring an end to all of the divisions that currently plague us, but it will certainly go a long way to  healing the sickness that we have allowed  to infest our society.


Boo Yaaa Period Time

image

Well it is the first day of my period.  This month I thought I would turn the subject to sex during menstruation.  Many people stop engaging in sex because of the idea that during our periods we are dirty.  There are religions that specifically prohibit sex during a woman's period on that ground. This once again falls in line with the idea that the vagina is somehow foul and dirty. 

Sex during my period is something that I avoid.  I must admit that for the longest time it was because I felt ashamed of my monthly bleeding.  I wanted to hide the evidence of it from my partner.   I am quite sure that once again this stemmed from the idea the female biological process is disgusting. 

I was taught like many other women to hide any evidence of my period.  It was to be invisible to the world.  Any stain on my clothing was to be washed immediately lest someone discover my dirty secret.  This idea carried over to sex where I feared that my partner would find disgust in my body because it was dirty.

As I think about blood, it dawns on me that it is only menstrual blood that is deemed foul.  If I were to get a cut on my finger, no one would comment about how disgusting it may, or may not bet.  Menstrual blood is deemed disgusting not because it is blood, but because of where it exits the body.  It is tied to our social attitude towards the vagina.  It is deemed our unique female stain, and a stamp of our eternal impurity.

Even recognizing that the stigma attached to my period is meant to create woman as other and less than, I still cannot engage in sex during my period.  On an intellectual level I know that there is no reason for shame.  I am the same woman today as I was the day before my period started and yet there is a part of me that fears rejection, or the disgust of my partner.  There is a part of me that fears contaminating him with my foulness.

I no longer feel the need to hide the evidence of my period.  I deem it a part of being a woman; however truly revealing it on an intimate level with someone I care about, is something that I have not yet been able to do.  I don't know if I will ever get to the point where I can leave this conditioning behind me. 

Please share your experiences, or thoughts about sex during your period.  Have you been able to freely engage, why or why not.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Shame

I am a firm believer in pop corn for the brain. I spend a great deal of time dealing with serious issues and so when it is time to relax I quickly sprint to the other side and surround myself in absolute ridiculousness. 

Today I am openly admitting before all the world that I, Renee of Womanist Musings have an extremely serious problem.  It is one that the unhusband has repeatedly told me that I need a support group for.  He has in fact plotted an intervention and has mentioned on more than one occasion that I might just need some counselling.

I know that I am beating around the bush so with no further ado I will just fess up to my addiction.

image image image image image image image image image image image image image

In my defence, at least I have not succumbed to the bachelor or the bachelorette. I simply just adore the contrived nonsense of reality tv. Yes, I know that these people have agents before they even set foot on the show .  Yes, I know that contestants are encouraged to sink to the bottom denominator to get ahead.  I just cannot help it...I love them.

Each time I tune in, the unhusband roles his eyes, clears his throat and gives me that you're to smart to be watching this crap look, but somehow I just cannot stop.  They have a ridiculous hold over me.  I know that I am not the only one watching this shit or they would not be on the air.  So, all of you who share my addiction fess up and admit why. 


Angry White Men

There are certain men that feel that filling the airwaves with their hate and aggression is the proper way to illuminate the evils of this world.  What is important to note is that what they consider evil, are not things like hunger, rape, pestilence and war...nooo the real evil is that white men, (who btw constitute the most privileged class in history) might possibly loose some of their unearned privilege.  All of the brown peoples and women of this world need to accept the white man as our natural leader. 

You are going to see the wholesale replacement of competent white men, and I'm targeting exactly the group that's gonna be thrown out of jobs in the government. And I'll say it, and I'll be the first to say it, and I may be not the only -- the last to say it. I am telling you that there's gonna be a wholesale firing of competent white men in the United States government up and down the line, in police departments, in fire departments. Everywhere in America, you're going to see an exchange that you've never seen in history, and it's not gonna be necessarily for the betterment of this country."

Right, because white men have done an outstanding job of leadership?  We will just ignore the wars, police brutality, rapes, poverty, etc and etc....How can POC not recognize how good we have it?  How can women not be content to be second class citizens, when we are afforded the ability to worship at the the phallic throne of whiteness? We do after all retain the right to spit or swallow, how many more options do we need in life?

White men have so much to fear in this life.  Just look how visible they are.  You can hardly regard a social institution where they are not highly visible.  The police, government, education, religion, military, media, and medicine, damn they are everywhere.  The fact that this visibility translates to power is of course circumstantial.  They don't need affirmative action because they set up the power structure to benefit them, not because they are somehow better than anyone else.  Listening to Michael Savage would lead one to  believe the opposite is true.  The good ole boys network is just some sort of social delusion that POC and women made up because we are to damn stupid to know our place.

Of course white men aren't angry. They are only telling us this for our own good. Only women and POC are angry.  White men just happen to see logic when the rest of us fail.

QUINN: Oh, I know, I know, I know. I'm such a xenophobe and such a hater. I mean, who would suggest that, you know, La Raza, or MALDEF [the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund], or MEChA [Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán] were really Reconquista groups. I mean, we all know that that's just a myth that's been started by a bunch of right-wingers. And it's not really an invasion. It's not an attempt to populate the Southwest to the point where you eventually can outvote everybody else, and do pretty much whatever you want to do, including secede from the union if you wanted to, 'cause you still do have the constitutional authority to do that.

 

So it seems that when we are not using affirmative action to get ahead we are employing a nefarious strategy to breed our way to prominence.  White men fucking and dropping sperm wherever they can, no problem; however a man of colour with a hard on is a reason to call out the troops. Hey, that could be one of those visa priceless commercials couldn't it?  Why is it that the only sexuality that is problematic is that of POC?  Oh I know...cause we might have babies and lord knows the only valuable babies are white ones.  Just ask Bristol Palin how nice it is to be an unwed mother who doesn't get slut shamed. 

It continually amazes me that despite the fact that white fear is completely unjustified, that it is regularly articulated as a justification to spread the hate rhetoric.  These men are being paid a salary to spread this ridiculous bullshit.  People are tuning in to listen to this crap and nodding their head in agreement. Lord, pity the poor disenfranchised white man.