Saturday, January 10, 2009

Grand Torino: Clint Eastwood And The White Mans Burden

Spoiler Alert

image Believe it or not, I actually sat all the way through Clint Eastwoods latest flick, Grand Torino.  I walked away learning that the white mans burden continues to this day.  The most honourable thing a white man can do is lay down his life to teach the savages how to be human beings.  This was the overriding theme of this movie.

Throughout the film Eastwoods character kept referring to the visible minorities as spics, chinks, gooks, and niggers, all while he demanded to be addressed with respect.  It seems that only whiteness deserves to be acknowledged as human and not referenced by a racial epithet.  I continuously marvelled how Eastwoods character was able to assume such a position of superiority based solely in race and have this premise accepted by every single person of colour that he interacted with. 

I'm sure that Eastwood felt that he was showing Spike Lee a thing or two about diversity, but all he really succeeded in doing was perpetuating social constructions associated with bodies of colour. The one time that blacks appeared they were gang members threatening violence to a young woman.  I assume that it would have stretched the imagination too far to show black men going to school, striving for an education, or daring to dream of a better world.

The majority of the film centres around his interaction with an Hmong family. To him they are the eternal other.  His whiteness makes him more American than them  Their traditions, and their culture, are treated like some odd freak show that invaded his precious space.   His, lawn, his car, and his gun come to represent an America that is white and hyper masculine.  It is this America that must be defended from the evil slant eyed savages that dare to share his neighbourhood.

We watch as the foreigners encroach upon him.  Somehow despite his struggles our shining white knight manages to retain his dignity. We are meant to view Eastwoods character as an honourable man.  When he begins one gun toting incident at a time,  to school his foreign neighbours on how to become civilized, we are meant to feel relief that someone has taken on this difficult task. Difference can certainly not be allowed to survive in the land of the red white and blue.

It seems that the white mans burden lives on - Grand Torino is the perfect example of how it translates to the modern world.  Even as he is denigrating their culture, hurling racist epithets, and threatening them with guns, Eastwood is our hero.  His whiteness allows his clearly anti-social racist behaviour to be acceptable to all.  Had a person of colour behaved in the same manner as Eastwood, they would have been declared a criminal and not a hero.  This is the beauty of whiteness, it has the ability to construct  most actions as in the service of the greater good, simply because whiteness is understood as a state of perfection.

I know that there are those that will say that this is "just" a movie; however it is in the places that we refer to as "just" that culture, beliefs, and ideas, are created.  The media is an agent of socialization. It reinforces pre existing beliefs as well as creates social norms.  Movies like Grand Torino serve to perpetuate the idea that it is the white mans burden to bring order to this world.  It glosses over the fact that often times in the name of so-called civilization bodies of colour have been colonized into a state of annihilation.

Grand Torino fails on may levels to make the larger connections between racism and poverty.   It simply presents whiteness as the cure for the social evils of capitalism, racism, poverty and violence.  This movie is not about interrogation, it is about ensuring that the discourse of the violent savage lives on.  As long as this model continues to exist we can never hope to reach a state of post racial state.  A black man may be president, but whiteness continues in its rule.


Drop It Like It's Hot

Is anyone else ready for a thaw?  I hate winter. I know that there are those that love skiing, ice fishing, and hockey, but to me winter is the drudge season. It is the season I like the least.  Oh well, gotta take the good with the bad I guess.

I have yet another set of interesting posts for you to check out this week. Please check them out and let me know what you think. I don't necessarily agree with all of the positions taken, but all of these posts did give a moments pause.  As always this is an open thread, so be sure to leave your links behind in the comment section.

Myth Versus Reality: Empowerment

Political Incorrectness gone mad!

Labor Pains

The Politics Of Mantyhose

Yoko Ono A Feminist Analysis

Meaningless Argument About What's Feminism

Catholic and Feminist: You Got A Problem With That?

What if Michelle Obama's place is in (or at least residing over) the kitchen?

Becoming A Quality Black Woman (this is a must read)

Aliyah's Choice: The L.A. Times' Profile Of A Lesbian Muslim

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Friday, January 9, 2009

On the Passing of Jett Travolta and the World’s Forgotten Children

I have a new post up at Global Comment

I was watching CNN the other day when I learned that John Travolta had suffered a personal loss. It seems his sixteen year old had a seizure and died in the bathroom. The loss of a child is something I think that no parent ever really gets over. The natural order tells us that our children will outlive us, and that they will be our living legacy. From the moment a child is born we spend our lives watching over them, nurturing them and protecting them. Life is finite, and for many, people children provide hope.

I watched as network after network aired updates to this story until I found myself asking, of all the children living on this planet, what made this child so important that his death requires grieving on a national level?

Doctors and acquaintances were interviewed in an effort to secure a connection with the viewing public. I realized that we are meant to weep for this child that we do not know. Jett Travolta is valuable, not for anything he has ever done, but because he is the child of a rich, successful white man.

The continual media coverage of his death as a singular loss to the western world speaks of the way we have allowed a hierarchy of persons to determine which deaths are mourned and which deaths are ignored.

Had his name been Shamar we would not have heard of his passing.

Had his skin been brown, red, or yellow, we would not know his name. Had he grown up in Chinatown, or on a reservation, he would have been deemed part of the surplus population. When underprivileged children die it is considered a relief because then it is one less person to consume the earth’s valuable resources.

We are facing major problems in the oil indistry, the malls in the urban centers are empty, and the homeless rate is rising along with the rate of burglaries. In times of economic downturn it is the poor that are most affected. The invisible underclass that we march by daily on our way to earn a living, know that they have long since been forgotten.

Finish reading here

The Other Half Of The Choice

For the sake of full disclosure this post originated in a conversation I had with the ever brilliant Octagalore.

I believe that there are very few feminists that don't identify as pro-choice.  Feminism is about asserting that right of women to choose and empowering these decision and therefore the right to control ones fertility is of paramount importance.  Much of our organizing energy goes towards ensuring that women have access to safe reproductive health choices.  We raise awareness around birth control and abortion but seldom do we speak in depth about the other choice. 

A woman can choose in some cases to have an abortion and she can also choose to become a mother.  Motherhood is something we approach only in the most abstract forms and yet for many women,(myself included) motherhood is a significant part of our identity.  I actively chose to become a mother twice.  When we speak about a womans right to choose, it is quite often from the perspective of choosing not to become a mother.  While the right to have an abortion is definitely important, so is becoming a mother.

Where are the spaces in which we discuss this choice actively and the changes and sacrifices that it entails? Where are the places that we openly celebrate the joy the comes with bringing a new life into this world?  Destruction and Mayhem are the love of my life, and yet in most feminist spaces it feels as though this love no matter how great, can only be conceptualized in the ways it which creates poverty, or stress.  Where are the places that we talk about the laughter that we share with our children, or the moments when they make you so proud that your chest positively swells.

When Destruction gave his Christmas money away this year and made gifts for everyone instead of buying something it filled me with the greatest pride.  He was embarrassed at first to only have a drawing for me, but to me it was an absolute work of art that brought tears to my eyes.  Other than in this space that I have created there is no room to speak of the everyday small triumphs that come from sharing your life with a child.

I understand that there are politics at play and that we cannot let down our guard for a moment when it comes to reproductive health, but must this come at the cost of celebrating the other half of the equation?  Must we continually theorize motherhood as some kind of drudgery that women need to escape from, or that binds us to our biology?  For some of us this active choice is part of what makes us whole.  For some of us motherhood can be the greatest inspiration of our lives.

On Fridays when we are doing our chicken dance to celebrate making it through another week as a family and my home is filled with laughter, I know that my struggles and the stress involved have brought me to this moment, the moment when I get to know absolute peace of mind with those that are dearest to me. To see them smile, or to hear their laughter is to know a joy that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.  I have always said that the best view in the world is standing on my front porch looking into my home with the sure knowledge that everyone I love most is inside. 

Feminism needs to find a space to celebrate the active choices that we make as women.  It has become so politicized that it has forgotten that women are human beings with emotions.  We politicize, and theorize, and consciousness raise, but when do we connect with each other in real and concrete ways?  Where is the tactility to our feminism?  It has become just as disconnected as every other aspect of society.

We instant message and twit instead of calling each other.  We e-mail tiny little missives instead of dropping by for tea.  We speak about interconnectedness but in truth we are more separated from human touch than we have ever been.  This cold detachment has seeped into the feminism that I love and has caused us to loose our connections with each other.  When I think of feminism, I think of a movement that is not only committed to securing our rights, but a movement that is committed to celebrating the life's experiences of all women.  I think of a movement that is committed to ensuring that there is a real lasting connection between us.  Sisterhood can only take us so far; however we should not discount its value, and our connections as path to understanding each other.

It is in the name of these connections that I am determined to have the conversations that no one else is having.  How can we value each other if we cannot relate to one another about the simple pleasures in life.  How can we learn to ignore difference, when we cannot examine the commonalities that we share as women? Even in our struggles there are triumphs and at some moment we need tp see these times as opportunities to increase our connections to each other.

I am not a utopian.  I understand that daily life as a woman is hard.  Each day I have my struggles and my worries, but I know that each day that I continue to draw breathe, I have won a victory against those who believe I don't have a right to exist. Womanhood is a beautiful and precious thing and each day that we do not celebrate the absolute wonder that we are, we cheapen and devalue ourselves.  I think that if we could learn to celebrate our active choices we would suffer from less internalized hatred.  If we refused as women to allow others to define for us what is important and what is of value, we could truly have a sense of agency and value that the world is denying us.

My choices are simple ones.  I choose to see the goodness in people.  I choose to love and honour my family.  I choose to acknowledge my unearned privileges in this life, but most of all I choose to love me.


It's A Post Racial and Post Feminist World

Well apparently I am the crazy lady of Womanist Musings.  The idea that privilege should be challenged is simply unbearable to some.

"Wah, wah, I'm so oppressed. All white people are the oppressors, even though they have done nothing to me. None of my struggles compare to yours, even though they are often the exact same. My colour makes them special."

Redemption from what? Being white? From not pandering to your victim complex? This woman is a self righteous asshole

Nope, you're definitely not a bad person for wanting to slap her...hell, I'd like to PUNCH her! She's nothing but a whiny, blame the whites for everything from a hangnail to a bad hair day, bitch. I've no use for people like her

I will never hit a woman. I will shake the shit outta one though."
Yeah, that woman is fucked in the head.

To see yourself spoken so highly of leads to joy. <snark> I bother to post this idiocy to prove a point, the same point I make when I don't delete obviously hateful commentary left by many on this blog.  There are people out there that are openly hostile. 

There are many that would say that the struggles of POC are over now that Barack Obama is president.  There are many that would say that there is no need for feminism now that women are supposedly equal beings. Statements like the above serve the function of proving that there still exists a need to push for equality.

A world that was feminist would not tolerate a space in which others suggest that a woman should be physically assaulted for having the nerve to express an opinion that is different than yours.  A world in which all people are equal would consider the experiences of visible minorities valid and real.  White privilege exists despite your failure to acknowledge it.

Though I have fouled by blog with the commentary posted above, it is worth it if it proves to even one person the insidiousness of intolerance, and our general hatred of difference.  There are structures at work that maintain our dissonance of worth and value and unless we attack them at the root, exposing the ugliness to the light of day, they will continue to function as normalized discourse within our society.

I am "crazy" because I believe that racism and sexism are systemic.  I am "crazy" because I believe we live in a racist, patriarchal, abelist, cisexist, homophobic, ageist, capitalist state.  Mostly I am "crazy" to believe in the true equality of all beings.  Equality is something we profess continuously, after all we live in a democracy (we'll just ignore those that cannot vote due to the racialized penal system). It is easy to quote the words of Dr.King and talk about the fabled mountain top.  It is easy to ignore the high rates of domestic violence, rape, and unequal pay, behind the boys will be boys discourse.  What is difficult, is looking behind the curtain that we have so neatly drawn to hide our inadequacies, and hatred, and admit that we are far from an evolved species.  Dogs don't shit where they sleep and we cannot even stop killing our precious mother earth.

When I think of the daily acts of violence that occur to maintain this horrific system, and I cannot help but wonder how anyone could possibly justify the cost that we are paying.  What kind of inflated self importance is necessary to decide that you as an individual, are worth so much more than the many that you share the planet with.  How does the ugliness of this position not fill you daily with shame? I continually return to privilege on this blog because I believe that it is the heart of everything that is wrong with this world.  It is our desire to maintain unearned privilege that leads to the dehumanization of so many and the destruction of our planet. 

I could fly into a rage and start throwing vitriol left, right, and centre, at those that feel that they have the right to reduce who I am as a human being for their own benefit, but instead I ask you to examine their words closely.  Though they are directed at me, they are not really about me.  They reference the ways in which we have constructed a hierarchy of beings to justify our ever growing apathy. They represent a people so panicked by the idea that the privileges that they have come to take for granted are not natural, but a result of the ways in which we have actively become predators.

I will not apologize for my views, or internalize the hatred of others.  To shrink away quietly would be to admit that we are beyond hope.  The possible is what keeps me blogging and the certain knowledge that there are others determined to do the work required to ensure that we begin to live the love that we are capable of as a species.  Were it not for this hope, the ultimate possibility of change, we would have long ago destroyed ourselves.  Here is to a brighter tomorrow.


Nothing Is For Nothing

Jill Scott

Transcript is below the fold.

This poem is called nothing is for nothing. MMM if you feel it holler when you hear it.  I had been turning tricks longer than I actually knew it.  Being whatever they wanted me to be whenever they wanted me to be it.  A freak, inside, outside kitchen counters, laundry mats, hotels, motels, and backseats of leased cars, vans and jeeps.  Made myself like it 'cause they liked it and I liked that they liked it and so I continued being the perfect image of a wet dream.  Nasty, wild, exotic, erotic, freak was they wanted  so freak was who I was and everybody was walking around talking about me.  Like teenage pregnancy wasn't becoming synonymous with being black and woman like America wasn't suffocating our thoughts.  Like there was nothing to talk about what was doing or screwing and I thought the whole damn thing was ridiculous, which it was.  "Cause I was content giving my men a little heaven between their struggle to breathe and their contemplation of suicide.  Wasn't I good for the cause? Closed mind, open legs, making niggers forget why they're so damn angry. Wasn't I good?  Then the mood swung as well the tempo and I became an ideal.  They want her pretty and docile,  caring and stupid and there I was on your Mark Seth  Joe and I was Suzy homemaker on the hunt for love; cooking and cleaning, ironing and faithful and a freak cause that's what they liked and I liked being what they liked so that's what I was.  A prostitute, selling my soul for emotional gain, struggling not to be the third generation of lonely women in my family.  Struggling to gain but gaining nothing but confusion, frustration, illusion, 'cause there was no love, just empty condom wrappers on the floors to be discarded like me.  A prize performer long before I actually knew it too, 'cause I was faking me out of the me I would become.  The me that I see now. The me that holds onto herself with both hands and all feet.  The me who must have love and give it.  The me who brings more to the table than good looks and a wet hole.  The me that is confident, and intelligent and filled to the brim with respect for me and a freak 'cause that's what I like and I like being what I like and what I like is all a part of what I am.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Finally Bountiful in Bountiful

image I had a huge moment of celebration when I learned that polygamist leaders Winston Blackmore, 52, and James Oler, 44, were arrested by the RCMP.  It is said that Blackmore has over 100 children by his 20 wives.  For over sixty years these men have hidden behind freedom of religion to "marry" young girls in celestial marriages.  In some cases, they were decades older than the young girls.
They call themselves fundamentalist Mormons, but I call them pedophiles.  They Sneak girls across the Canadian/US border to reduce inbreeding; the resemblance to sex trafficking is obvious.   Raised in the faith, children grow to believe that these leaders are God like figures.  The abuses on these compounds have been well documented by those who have managed to escape. 

There is a push behind by the polygamists for acceptance of their behaviour by linking it to the drive to legalize same gender marriage.  I find this argument to be completely repellent.  In same gender marriage, you have two consenting adults agreeing to share their lives together, whereas; in the polygamist system which Blackmore and Oler run, young girls are married off without their consent and forced to function as brood mares to these men.
Though a lot of part of the push to stop this abuse is to bring a halt the rape and abuse of young girls, what happens to the boys is equally as tragic.  When the boys hit puberty, they are no longer viewed as the children of prophets.  The elders begin to see them as competition for the affections of the young women on the compound and force them off of the land.  They are known as the lost boys.  Without any survival skills for the modern world, many end up living on the streets, dealing drugs, or resorting to prostitution to survive.  Their stories are hardly ever mentioned in the media, as the meme is about saving innocent young girls.
In Canada, education falls under provincial legislation and the government of BC has allowed these people to educate their children. Often, the only education these children get is in the biblical interpretations of Blackmore, thus ensuring that those who do escape, are woefully unprepared to deal with our advanced technological world.  Our tax dollars are financing the indoctrination of these children.
Lawyers have already stated that this case will probably go all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada because the defence is freedom of religion.  I do not believe that when the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was written, that it was intended to allow the kind of abuse that regularly occurs in Bountiful.  I fully respect the right of someone to practice their religion; however, the moment it begins to infringe upon the rights and liberties of another, it becomes oppression. This is no different than charging parents with abuse and neglect when they turn to faith healers instead of traditional medicine, thus resulting in the death of their child.  The government must first protect its most vulnerable citizens and in Bountiful, those are the children.
Whatever the cost, this needs to be brought to an end.  We need to stop allowing our tax dollars to be used to fund the systemic rape of young girls and the neglect of young boys.  No matter what excuse these leaders use to justify their behaviour, I cannot in good conscience believe that this is what God intended.  Today I will celebrate and smile, because I know that for tonight at least, a child is not going to raped by these so-called prophets.  For tonight, at least a young boy will not have to worry about being thrown out of the only home that he has ever known. Bountiful is finally Bountiful.

Oscar Grant: Black In The Wrong Space

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He was 22 years old and the father of a 4 year old girl.  He was black and human.  Now he is dead, forever lost to those that loved him, a victim of police violence and racism.  Earlier this week when I posted I am Sean Bell: A Mothers Lament, one of the commenter's told me that it was wrong to teach my black sons to fear the police.  Today when I saw the video of the death of Oscar Grant I knew that my fears are indeed legitimate.

In our post racial world the police do no think twice about racially profiling a suspect.  Bodies that are considered threatening are often times abused and in the case of Oscar Grant murdered in cold blood.  This can be described as nothing other than an execution.

We teach our children that "officer friendly" is there to protect and serve, we never ask to protect and serve who.  Black lives are cheap and when men that hold hatred in their hearts are given the power to act upon their unearned privilege it often times leads to death. 

How many times do we need to see police brutality to come to the determination that they have become nothing more than armed thugs pretending to be acting in the service of law and order?  Today because of the advent of technology we are able to witness some of these acts, but how many times daily are black bodies battered?  If this kind of atrocity can occur publicly with cameras rolling, what occurs in the dark alleys and the forgotten places?

How many bodies sleep in morgues whose violent arrival was predetermined by the colour of their skin?  Whiteness has the nerve to daily speak of fear of dark bodies and the crimes that we commit, conveniently ignoring the ways in which it has continually waged war on all those that it seeks to control. 

Racism is not something that ended in the past.  It is not something that Martin Luther King brought to an end with the march on Washington.  It lives like a virus spreading throughout our society, eating bodies of colour as fuel. What whiteness fears is not bodies of colour but our vengeance.  It fears the righteous anger that causes our bodies to shake.  It fears the pain that we experience every time we must burry one of our sons, or daughters.   

It sets its racist cops upon us, it creates laws and then applies them with racial bias, it imprisons a whole generation of our youth behind iron bars.  It offers us substandard education, substandard living conditions, ensures that we are employed in jobs that barely provide subsistence and then in the final act of hatred, teaches our children through media, that we are despicable. 

To counter act our anger we are chastised with the term reverse racist.  They express fears of "hating whitey" as though that emotion had no basis in the historically cruel treatment of bodies of colour.  I do not accept hatred based in colour but I understand it; whiteness stands before the world as though it is pure in thought and deed.  The blood of our children convicts you.  When Oscar Grant was experiencing his death rattle what were we to feel but rage? 

Today the man that executed him is on paid leave.  The videotape that shows his death has been deemed inconclusive.  Whiteness has once again succeeded in reminding us all that simply being black constitutes threat, guilt, and fear. 

As I write this I am watching my two young sons play.  They are beautiful and they are my hope.  Tonight when we sit to have dinner I will sit and tell them what happened to Oscar.  I will remind them once again that even though to me they are more precious than the air I breathe, that they must be hypervigilant in their interactions with whiteness.  I will tell them that whatever emotions that they experience are legitimate, but mostly importantly I will remind them that even though the world may see the face of evil when they see them, to me, their mother they are the face of love.

H/T Feministe


What If Selling Sex Is Your Business

image I was asked to write this post by a few readers.  I have mulled over my thoughts and still yet I am not sure that I have a coherent response.  In all things that I do I want to support women, and this quite honestly comes from a place of love.  I truly love women with a passion that is undeniable.  I know that for many the circumstances that they are born into  dictate what opportunities that they will have in life.  We live in a society that sells the lie of meritocracy but in truth the road is not paved in gold and not every kitchen larder is filled with food.

I don't believe that any little girl grows up and thinks to herself. I want to be a prostitute, or a stripper.  I do  believe that little girls are taught not to dream about excelling and the best ways in which to turn their natural abilities into marketable abilities. For some working in the sex trade industry is the result of lost opportunities, abuse, addiction, and violence.  For others it is a legitimate choice.  Many sex trade workers have said repeatedly that they entered this field because they enjoy the work and that they find it empowering. 

Being a WOC I have had many people attempt to interpret my words in an effort to tell me what I really meant to say.  I have had people impose meaning that I did not even come close to implying, and if I were to reproduce that behaviour, and challenge sex workers when they say that they find a sense of empowerment in their chosen field, I would simply be performing the same behaviour that has worked to silence me; I therefore take these women at their word.

This is not a profession that I would choose for myself but because I ultimately believe in the right of a woman to have control over her body and her sexuality, I cannot sit in judgment of the result of where that decision leads.  My concerns are for the ones that are being prostituted without their consent.  My concerns are for those that are addicted, abused and raped.

As women we come from various different backgrounds and therefore we cannot always agree on what is appropriate behaviour, but I think that we should all agree that those that make up the most vulnerable sections of our society should be protected.  When I think of sex workers rights, I think of things like education programs for the ones that want to change, I think of forcing the criminal justice system to take their rapes and murders seriously.  These women are deemed disposable as if somehow the fact that they choose to perform sex work somehow makes them less human.  I take issue with that.  Patriarchy will always find a way to devalue women and if we allow them they will attack us all.

I also believe we need to stop talking at sex trade workers as though they don't have a voice of their own.  So many feel that because they have a moral position that they can sit in judgment and speak on behalf of these women.  I believe one of the first things that feminists need to do if we really want to help is to STFU &L.  For to long these women have been denied any legitimate voice and therefore it is time to listen.  If we want to know what they need, we need to ask. We need to follow their lead and respect their experiences. 

In every action as feminists it should be our goal to empower all women.  When we make distinctions based in so-called morality, we are doing the work of patriarchy.  We are allowing ourselves to be needlessly divided and in the end the only ones that benefit, are those that seek to keep women as second class citizens.  If we truly love our feminism and have a deep and abiding faith in women, we need to seek ways to actively help each other.

I remember when  Stephine Beck's killer received one day in prison for her murder.  Such a thing was only possible because she was a prostitute.  Today Ryczak her killer walks the street a free man, while she sleeps in an icy grave.  This sentence was only possible because we do not support sex trade workers.  We do not demand that they receive human respect.  As feminists this is a betrayal of women and everything that feminism stands for.  I know that my position is a great departure from radical feminism, but if we decide that feminism is about uplifting women then no call to arms should be ignored.  Allowing one woman to be raped, battered, and murdered makes us all victims.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Pulling The Race Card

There are many that still contend today that we have moved to a post racial world.  We all bleed the same red blood and therefore whatever differences that occur in power distribution have everything to do with a lack of individual will rather than systemic racism.  Doesn't it just want to make you want to sit around a fire singing Michael Row The Boat Ashore?  Do you feel warm and loved?

image Today when you point out that something is racist, or that a white person is failing to acknowledge privilege, invariably you will be told that you are "pulling the race card".  It seems that for some calling out inequality is the equivalent of pulling an Ace of spades out of a deck of cards; the ultimate trump  card, meant to arouse white liberal guilt and thereby twist the situation to our benefit.

In a word, bullshit.  My life and racism cannot be reduced in this way.  Such language is inflammatory and bigoted.  It is no different than accusing a woman of "crying rape" or telling gay people that they have a "lifestyle" instead of a life.  Racism is real and it has a negative effect on my life's chances, as well as creating me and in fact all people of colour as "other".

The heart of this issue is that whiteness does not want to be called on its unacknowledged privilege.  It wants to continue  its hegemony thus ensuring the rest of us are securely marginalized in its benefit. To challenge whiteness in any way is to risk being called a militant hater. 

When the Reverend Wright spoke about his feelings about whiteness immediately the media denigrated him without considering the historical accuracy of his statements.  The same liberals that love to quote Dr.King (pre 1963)  are the same ones that expect us to believe the utopian lie of equality and sit in silence while they push the fauxgressive agenda. 

Pulling the "race card" has become part of our common language.  Casually reporters ask if someone is "pulling the race card".  Is this really a racial issue? Since we are not a racially blind society then the answer is yes..and it is always yes.  We view everything through a lens of difference rather than one of commonality.  If there is an opportunity to benefit from that difference then it will be even further enlarged to benefit whiteness.

Racism is not something that people of colour play, it is something that we experience.  It is something that we live with and it is hurtful and damaging.  No one has the right to question the legitimacy of the experience by asking if someone is "playing the race card".  In fact the question exists for the sole purpose of allowing whiteness to question the seriousness of racism.  Simply by asking if a person is "playing the race card" it infers a lack of legitimacy to the complaint.

Racism happens systemically but is experienced personally; therefore even if two POC disagree about whether an incident is racist or not, all that matters is the opinion of the person that was impacted by the action.  No one can judge the feelings of another and therefore no one has the right to decide unilaterally that something is not racist when another person of colour has declared it to be so.  There should be no standard "reasonable person" when it comes to racism.

The next time you hear the words "race card" fall from someone's lips, think about what it is that that they are really asking.  Why is a secondary declaration necessary after a POC has already declared that they are a victim of racism?  Why must we belabour the point as though the feelings of the victim are inconsequential.  We would not tolerate such questioning of another victim and therefore we should not allow it when it comes to racism.

 

 

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Rape In Prison: The Forgotten Women

Trigger warning.

In the US the attitude when it comes to crime is lock up the prisoners and throw away the key.  The prison industrial complex has become a huge part of the US economy.  Once the bars slam on the cell few care what goes on behind the m.  It is assumed that people are there for punishment and not rehabilitation; and therefore what occurs is almost always legitimized to some degree.

Women in prison represent a very vulnerable section of society.  At the mercy of prison guards and fellow inmates, many have been subject to horrific incidents of abuse.  With terrible crimes attached to their names few will take their complaints seriously. 

According to Freep.com, "A class-action lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Corrections has already yielded verdicts reaching an estimated $50 million, when interest and fees are included. And that's only for the first 18 women. With most yet to testify, and lawyers for the state insisting they have no intention of settling, Michigan's beleaguered taxpayers could face hundreds of millions of dollars in damages."

Women in Michigan were being raped repeatedly for years and the state did nothing.  As I read the testimony of Toni Bunton , I found myself filled with a rage that was difficult to control.  No matter what crime this woman has committed in the past no one deserves to be raped.  The state is of course refusing to settle the case, because to do so would mean admitting that they are culpable in the continual rape of women.

The state had a simple defense: These women are prisoners, and prisoners lie; if something did happen, it was the act of a few rogue guards; and if something did happen, the women didn't report it. So how could the Department of Corrections prevent what it didn't know was happening? The state said it thoroughly investigated any allegations it knew about and the claims of abuse were exaggerated.

"To say the department just sat back and did nothing, just let everybody run the place is just totally false," Allan Soros, an assistant attorney general, said at the first trial.

Nonetheless, a series of human rights reports throughout the 1990s said sexual assaults on female inmates were rampant and corrections officials tolerated the climate.

It seems that because these women were/are prisoners their word was immediately suspect.  Why did the state not consider the risk that these women were making coming forth with their complaint in the first place?  Due to the power division in any prison a guard has the ability to make life extremely difficult for a woman that would dare make a rape accusation.  To even accuse a guard of rape is to place oneself in a precarious position. 

The Michigan Women's Commission reported in 1993 there was an alarming level of sexual abuse and harassment by state prison guards.

In 1995, the U.S. Department of Justice found "pervasive" sexual abuse in Michigan women's prisons.

In 1996, Human Rights Watch released a report documenting sexual harassment, sexual abuse and privacy violations by guards and other employees in Michigan prisons.

The report, based on interviews with prisoners and prison rights advocates, cited rapes by guards in a "highly sexualized and excessively hostile" environment.

Sexual abuse in prisons is not new.  Male prison guards have been known to leverage their positions of power for sexual relationships and then claim that the women involved consented.  When someone has the power over whether you eat, sleep, or even use the bathroom, how can you consent to a sexual relationship?  You have absolutely no personal power and the relationship is unbalanced.

What occurred is not a series of isolated incidents but rather a highly structured assault of women by men.  The state  decided that these women must be locked away from society; and therefore it took on the burden of ensuring that they are safe.  It is not enough to simply provide them with the basics and forget about them as though they suddenly are not human beings. 

Why were male guards allowed to watch over female prisoners?  Why did the state not closely monitor their behaviour to ensure that no abuse of power was occurring?  Why did it not heed the multiple reports that were issued detailing sexual assaults?  The answers to those questions are really quite simple.  These incidents involved women that society has decided are no longer valuable bodies.  Rape is something we believe that happens to innocent young virgins and not someone who has run afoul of the law.  These women were not considered of any worth and therefore what happened to them was deemed inconsequential.

While the case has focused on the culpability of the state I cannot help but wonder why it is that the individual men are not being held accountable.  These men are rapists and they are roaming the streets free and clear today.   Will it take the rape of a woman who is not a prisoner by one of these guards for the state to realize the danger that they represent?  Some of these men are repeat offenders and they are not being punished.  Yes the state is responsible for what occurred.  They failed to protect these women but the men who committed these rapes need to be taken off of the streets for the safety of all.

What happened in the prisons of Michigan is a shining example of what occurs the moment we decide that certain bodies are disposable and without value.  Incidents like this secure my belief in the importance of acknowledging that all bodies matter.  These women were violated and abused because we decided that a past action rendered them unrapeable.  These women were violated because patriarchy believes it exists with the right to abuse women for sport.  It is my hope that this lawsuit will help prevent other women from undergoing the same fate.  At the very minimum the state and all those involved should come to the understanding that everyone deserves to live a life free of violence.  It is hypocrisy to lock someone up for committing a violent act and then turn around do violence to them.


What's Genocide

Carlos Andrés Gómez

The Transcript is below the fold.

Editors Note: Some of this is in Spanish and since I am not a speaker I will do the best that I can.  Please forgive my ignorance.

Our children can't hear the truth at school if a person says fuck.  Can't even talk about fuck even though a third of their senior class is pregnant.  I can't teach a thirteen year old girl in a public school how to use a condom that will save her life and the orphans that she will be forced to give to the foster care system.  Carlos how many thirteen year olds do you know that are HIV positive? Honestly none, but I do visit a shelter every Monday and talk with 6 twelve year olds that  diagnosed AIDS.  While fourth graders three blocks away give little boys blow job during recesses and then an 11 year old gang member in the south Bronx  who carries a semi-automatic weapon to study hall so that he can make it home and you want me to censor my language.  Carlos what's genocide? You wonder why children hide in adult bodies. Lie under light coloured contact lenses, learn how to fetishisize the size of their ass and simultaneously hate their lips.  My students think Che Guvere was a rapper from east Harlem, they think my Mumia t-shirt is of Bob Marley.  How can literacy not include Phyllis Wheatley? Schools were built in the shadows of ghosts filtered through incest and grinding teeth moulded under veils of extravagant ritual.  Carlos what's genocide?  Rosalyn how old was she (Spanish) My mother had 32 years when she died (Spanish) genocide they moved on from sterilizing (spanish) women. Injecting Indigenous women with hepatitis B.  Now they just kill mothers with silent poison stain their loyalty and love in their veins and suffocate that ones genocide. Readones father hung himself from a box cause he thought his son was ashamed didn't watch genocide. Maureens mother gave her skin lightening cream the day before she entered 6th grade.  What's genocide? She carved straight lines into her beautiful thighs so that she could remember what it feels like to heal.  What's genocide, what's genocide? Carlos what's genocide?  This, this right here is genocide.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What If Gay Marriage Isn't For You?

Here I go again wading into dangerous waters.  Working out your jones is something every sexual being has got to do. Let's face it gay, straight, bi or anything in  between as long as you are a human sexual being,  at some point you will want to get laid.  This of course is not a bad thing, it's just a part of life.

The gay rights movement has focused on marriage for its big organizing push. For some it is about equality, and for some it is about a recognition of love.   I don't believe in marriage period, but if heterosexuals can practice this archaic ceremony the same right should be extended to everyone.

In this movement one of the things that is occurring is the legitimizing of homosexual relationships.   While homosexuality is still considered socially by many to be a "lifestyle", or a counter culture way of living, one cannot help but notice the way that certain elements are working hard to police the movement in such a way as to create an acceptable way in which to be gay exists.

Did you ever think that you would see the day of "the acceptable gay".  From Queer Eye for the straight guy, to  The L word, and Ellen, more and more we are seeing gays and lesbians in the mainstream.  What this means is that those who refuse to fit into the neat little box that bourgeoisie gay leaders have created are still considered "other,"  and in some cases they are "othered" by their own community.

Nothing can be allowed to threaten the push for gay marriage.  Many have fought to dispel the social myth that gays and lesbians are naturally more promiscuous and incapable of a deep and lasting love. While I would agree with that assessment, it does not mean that for some the idea of getting married, or even settling into a long term relationship is not what is desired most. 

What I dislike the most about this movement is that it is creating the idea that being gay largely means whiteness and middle class.  Just like you they tell us, but who is the you that bourgeoisie leaders are using as a referential.  What happens if you are poor, of colour or gay and polyamourous?  What happens if you don't want to be inside the neat little package that attempts to represent your life like The Waltons only gay.  What happens if you want to be a bohemian and fuck your way through life, forming no lasting attachments?  What happens if you refuse to become pg13 so that someone else can create an image of homosexuality?

The issue with gay marriage as an organizing push is that it creates a construction through which homosexuality will be understood.  Rather than broadening the conversation in terms of the various ways in which sexuality can be flexible, it narrows the lens and creates an ideal that is ultimately limiting. It will do nothing to disturb the homo/hetero binary. 

Gay marriage will create many new rights for a large section of the community, but I cannot help but wonder how many people will find themselves  even more marginalized in a movement that seems determined to create a normative gay existence.   The white picket fence is not for everyone and in the meantime issues like hate crime legislation, housing and employment discrimination are being ignored.  Not everyone wants to get married, but everyone needs to live a life free of violence, everyone needs a home, and everyone needs a job.  These are the universals that are being ignored in the hopes of securing gay marriage.

It makes me wonder if some of the push behind marriage is not more about reclaiming a power, or rather a sense of normalization that is lost by declaring oneself a homosexual.  When I look at the leaders of the gay rights movement what is I see is privilege i.e whiteness and wealth, just like any other social justice movement.  I can see why the "just like you" seems appealing.  It just makes me wonder about everyone else.  What if you never fit into the "normalized identity" to begin with?  Where does leave you and when do your concerns become a priority?

Marriage is important because it is a right that is being denied, but it should not make up the entirety of an organizational effort when it will not benefit everyone equally.  Sharing a sexuality in common with someone does not mean that every aspect of your existence will be even remotely similar and I cannot help but wonder how much more policed the movement will become as it tries to put a representational face behind its organizing efforts.  It already has a tendency to silence the poor and POC.  Will the aforementioned groups become even more invisible in the hopes of a trip down the aisle?

Social justice movements have a tendency to mirror the larger society from which they originate.  Though many will claim to be all about pushing for equal rights, in the end they simply recreate the same hierarchy of beings that they claim to be disturbing.  Can we really be surprised that the push for gay marriage has been represented by elite white men when that is who runs western society?  Can we really be surprised that their wishes and their agenda is what is being brought to the forefront? 

For whom is marriage most important?  Is it for the gay hooker who was thrown out of her or his home as a teenager?  Is it for the person who works a blue collar job that keeps finding themselves passed over for advancement?  Is it for those that face so many areas of stigmatization that being gay is just one part of their identity?  Or is it so that the white male bourgoiese leaders can reclaim privilege that they have come to view as their birthright as rulers of western society?

Social justice needs to encapsulate the needs of all marginalized bodies equally, otherwise it becomes a movement that only encodes certain bodies with power leaving others to continue to occupy the the bottom of the power hierarchy.  Walk down the aisle and smile but while you are doing so, think about the many men and women who would be better served by having their various stigmatizations addressed.  Love is beautiful, patient and kind but so is knowing that your life means something regardless of whether or not you fit the "representational image".


Radio Interview

Hi Everyone, I am going to be on SistersTalk.  Come by, check it out, call in and chat with me. I will be on air tomorrow night.

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The Mystical Negro and Self Flagellation

Who or what is the Mystical Negro?  She or he is the one who has been granted permission by whiteness to speak on behalf of blacks.  As a mystical negro it is your job to inform whiteness when they are being prejudicial as long as it doesn't challenge the current power structure.  It is also your job to issue the equivalent of hall pass by declaring that certain people and or behavior is not racist.  Ever wonder how people like Dog the Bounty Hunter can find a black person to come to their defence when they have been so obviously racist - meet the Mystical Negro.

The Mystical Negro is almost a superhero to whites.  Able to ignore white sheets with a single glance, while still marshaling out just enough guilt and pseudo Yoda like wisdom to appear relevant, the Mystical Negro is a wonder to behold. He or she does not hold any real power but their inflated egos allows them to believe that the false accolades and Cheshire like cat grins of their white patrons means that somehow they are a person of value when every other POC is being ignored.

The Mystical Negro is also essential to the necessary self  flagellation that every good white liberal must perform to keep their left leaning credentials in good working order.   It's the one that allows them to say I am white but....It's the one that allows whiteness to engage superficially without demanding any sort of commitment.

You ever wonder why so much of feminism is academic today? It is because such line of thought does not require investment on a real and personal level.  White feminists can wax on with detachment about the importance of intersectionality without embracing its tenets.  There is no rage in their writings, or speeches, only the appropriate amount of indignation.  With check list in hand they mark off marginalized bodies; blacks, lesbians, disabled peoples, Latn@, Asians, poor,  Muslims, third world bodies, everybody into the pot it's soup for dinner.  We are the consumable, the overly problematized, the often theorized, but the never heard.

Tell me, can you theorize hunger?  Sitting with lecture notes in hand can you problematize the essential situation, thus deconstructing the word nigger to the point where you truly feel the meaning of that word.  Say it over and over again, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, don't shy away from it.  It's not some sort of abstraction, something you can sit there and consciousness raise about.  It either pisses you the fuck off or it doesn't. 

Oh I know that you are all to careful to insure that when you do an anthology you include a certain number of each marginalized category, but did you ever think to give us, the women you seek to lead the chance to walk on our own.  I remember hearing in womens studies about the fact that so much feminist work had either been destroyed or not printed in the first place.  I remember learning about the feminist drive to create herstory. 

Who is her?  Who is included in the herstory because I sure as hell know who is not.  Are you over forty?  Are you of color? Are you a lesbian, or a transwoman?  Are you disabled? Are you poor? Are you undereducated?  Are you fat? If you have said yes to anyone of these, herstory is not your story.  Herstory is what sells, white, educated, middle to upper class, and "conventionally beautiful".  Her story is the woman on the pedestal and no marginalizsed woman has ever stood on one. 

The mystical Negro and its compatriots (read: Mystical Others) would love to believe that there is a place on the pedestal for them as well.   They are after all invited to be the token representative in the room, published  by the small firms, even given the occasional speaking engagement.  How powerful is it though to rehash a story that is not your own, but the tall tale of the victors song?  Am I making you uncomfortable yet? 

When you hide behind your mystical Negro friends and pretend to self flagellate to prove how just how "down" you are for the cause, you stink of falsehood worse than a used car salesman at a midnight madness sale.  It is obvious to all but you and your cronies. Cackling like hyenas, you snack on your cookies proud that your sheet is off white.  Hey, I am only stop on your multiples sites of oppression tour. Perhaps the next mystical Negro will be more accommodating than I.  You see, I have the nasty habit of truth telling, and that is not necessarily conducive to maintaining the lie of inclusivity and detachment.

Hello Feminists, you are not a doctor.  There is no requirement for detachment.  You are not going to loose yourself by becoming involved with us, rather than studying us like diseases in petri dishes.  Understanding the "isms" takes more than reading a few works and penning a good paper.  It means more than holding up a placard at a rally, and it certainly means more than writing the obligatory you rock, or go girl commentary on a blog.

Step away from your "mystical others" and your self flagellation routine.  Touching my arm in friendship will not hurt you.  Daring to engage with me and other marginalized bodes will not hurt you.  Saying I need to STFU & L only buys you so many passes.  Real feminism happens in the trenches.  It is a lived experience and not something you pick up in first year womens studies.  Is reading about sex the same as fucking?  Is hearing about orgasms, the same as having your eyes roll back in your head with pleasure as you loose all connection with space and time? Live your fucking feminism ladies.  Let go of all of the bullshit that comes with practicing theory and just fucking live it.  My feminism and anti-racism is real, is yours?


Sweat

Niki Patin

Transcript is below the fold.

Silver cocoons me in heat.Sweat and my tongue dance looking to find a place of tasteless skin. Salt leaves and eager afterglow, daggers attack my shins, the balls of my feet heavy.  Thirty minutes are not enough, neither are forty-five or anything I can fit in between traffic or corporate America.  You walk, nah run. Why didn't anyone ever tell me to run outside and play because now I can't do this.  I can't think my way into better shape, rubber grips smell like anorexic hips too small for me to hold onto like normalcy looming at the end of psychosis. I can't do this because of what they see in me.  Slow moving, sweaty frustration and shame it's a black phone femme rock anger, all of this disgusts them. No one ever wants to see the fat girl cry, we're the jolly sort. The desperate wide eyed cows who the tank top chicks with the wide eyed lipstick look at sideways as they sidestep aerobasize their way from the potential of looking like me.  Am I the greatest threat to them? More fearful than the image dreams.  Someone will tell me how jealous I am of their good genes but I know I'm just looking for freedom.  Looking to jump up up without (inaudible) chipping my bones into arthritic paralysis on the way down.  Looking to walk nah run.  To move, to turn without pity pouring down like rotten honey, turning salty sweat into vinegar epithets well (she gives the finger).  To whoever decides that my body is the gatekeeper to my soul like shit can't be fixed, or changed, or manipulated like they're mindset when it comes to the number against their  neck because a size 14 today, size ten, twenty years ago and a hundred back a woman with large thighs was considered a grand prize, now we're relegated to talk show jokes and you think that shit is funny, because you smoke to much to breathe and you drink to much to eat, yeah you are my American standard to achieve.  Coffee in hand, yeah my personal trainer doesn't know what the fuck he is talking about.  When he pushes me harder and I think I can't do this, I sit in the locker room and cry after it's over.  Mind is quiet, body screaming  I can't, we can't, I can't then I realize my workout is over and I never quit.  I can't, those words never came out of my lips .


Monday, January 5, 2009

I Am Sean Bell: A Mothers Lament

This video literally moved me to tears.  It spoke to all of the fears that I daily live with as a mother of two black sons.  I have spoken of the ways in which racism has touched the life of  my oldest boy Destruction, but I have never really addressed how it leaves my heart cold with fear.  For those who cannot see why this is a feminist issue, remember that each black boy is the child of a black woman.

I am lucky in that no male in family has died from violence in my lifetime but that is not the case for so many others.  We are not far removed from a time when mothers were called to cut down their sons after they had danced with the rope. The name Emmitt Till haunts every black mother. As my son ages and the world begins to reveal to him the systemic inequality into which he has born, each day my fears for him increase.  I can no longer keep him safe in a stroller.  A simple kiss from me will not wipe away his hurts or his fears. 

Like any other child he pushes for more freedom and more independence, and though he has proven himself to be highly responsible and dependable I am loathe to cut the apron strings because to do so means allowing the world access to my gentle child.  I know that his blackness will speak for him long before he is allowed to protest his innocence.  I know that his blackness will make him a target long before his legs will reach the impulse to run.

My babies are black and it is the legacy of my womb.  No one will think of the loved ones they would leave behind, or the tears that would never cease to flow because their skin is black. 

When I watch videos like this, I think of the many times that I have heard whiteness express irrational fear of blacks.  They don't know what fear is.  They don't know what being a real "other" means.  Should a child have to be taught to fear those that are supposed to protect them?  Should a child have to be taught that through no consequence of their individual actions that their lives are in danger?

I will have to teach my son as he reaches towards maturity to carry himself in ways that white people will not perceive as threatening, while at the same time maintaining some sense of self  balance.  I will have to teach him to be hyper aware of his surroundings with the knowledge that though he is gentle and kind, to the world his blackness makes him predator.  Finally, I will have to teach my son not to hide his face in shame because this is not his fault, it is the fault of whiteness.

As the balance from a white majority shifts and the US becomes a minority majority such vengeance and hatred is bound to escalate.  A shift in power will not be peaceful and it is the children of colour who will pay the price.   Whites will fear an uprising and work twice as hard in their repression to ensure that the balance remains the same. 

My babies are young and still yet I have noticed the ways in which the world has already begun to racialize them.  Adults speak to them in slang that they do not understand, because hey don't all "black folk" speak like that?  White people assume that they want to be rappers, or basketball players, because hey black kids don't have dreams of becoming astronauts or doctors, or in the case of Destruction, archaeologists. 

Already the world is attempting to guide and shape their reality in a way that will make them deposable bodies.  Whiteness wants to know if he can dance or sing, but it has no interest in the fact that he is great at math and fluent in two languages.  If it cannot kill him with bullets, it will attempt to do so with apathy.

Every little black boy is Sean Bell, because every little black boy is viewed as a potential threat to white hegemony.  It matter not if you are gentle and kind, your body will speak for you long before your lips can pause to draw a breathe.

H/T Dawson's Ink


No really, the US isn't racist at all. I swear.

Hi, my name is Erin, and I'd like to thank Renee for allowing me a brief word here.  As a little background, I'm a full time web developer who dabbles in security and activism.  Because of this, I've been very interested in the ways that people try to claim, "its for security" to justify their bias and fear.  A recent story is a perfect example of this.

9 Muslim passengers kicked off of flight after remark.
The remark? "Wow, the jets are right next to my window."

Because of this innocent remark, nine people were removed from the plane and handed over to the FBI who cleared them after questioning. When the group went back to AirTran to re-book, they were refused, and did not get a refund until after this story hit the national media. What kills me is mindsets like this:

Christopher White, a federal Transportation Security Administration spokesman, said the situation was handled appropriately.
White said the pilot, after being informed of the remarks, requested that two federal air marshals on board remove the individuals. TSA then alerted authorities, including the FBI, which conducted an investigation. Once authorities determined there was no threat, it was up to the airline whether to allow the family to reboard.
"If the pilot is uncomfortable with someone flying on their plane, that's their decision," White said.


The pilot's discomfort is what determines if you are on the plane? Really? When you have two Air Marshals in the actual passenger area of the plane who are better trained to make threat judgments? The pilot wasn't even there to hear the comments, and who knows what kind of mangled third or fourth hand version of what the comments they heard. The story does not specify if the pilot went and spoke with the family before requesting that the Air Marshals act, but knowing people I sorta doubt they bothered or did so in good faith without muscle waiting behind.

This kind of scheme is a perfect example of what is wrong with the security setup. It enforces fear and suspicion rather than reasoned examinations of threat. The group in question was wearing "traditional Muslim clothing" - whatever that might be. While my memory is notoriously flawed, the images I saw of the September 11th hijackers showed them in western clothing. I suspect the same was true of the initial bomb attack on the towers. They'd be stupid not too, wearing hijab or any form of ethnic dress is only going to attract attention, which is exactly what they do not want during the opening phases of any attack.

This does not mean that there is not the possibility of an attack being carried out by a person or persons in some form of Middle Eastern or Saharan African dress, which is what people usually associate with "Muslim" clothing. But it does make it unlikely that a group of 9 would do so. Most terrorist activities requiring that number of people would need to be fairly coordinated, and it is far less likely that a group of that capacity would make a stupid mistake like not dressing in western clothing and acting as unobtrusively as possible. This thought process was not what happened however. Instead, we enabled the racist and xenophobic fears about our current cultural bogeyman.

It kills me, because the last time I made a remark about sitting by the wings, they gave me a tour of the cockpit and a sucker.


I Can't Read

Lamont Carey

Transcript is below the fold

I'm eleven years old in the sixth grade and I can't read.  The class is so full that the teacher doesn't notice me but I can't read.  And when she finally asks me to come to the head of the class I do everything in my power to make the class laugh.  What would you do if you knew that they all would laugh at you.  But I can't read and I can't write and I can't spell and most of the time I don't know my left from my right but they keep on passing me because I can dribble a ball and I can hit a three pointer y'all and I can almost hit a three pointer and I am guaranteed to get you 13 points.  But I can't read and I can't right, I can't spell most of the time I don't know my left form my right.  The teachers aid says it's the teachers fault and the teacher says it's the board of education and the board of education says its my parents fault and y'all my parents blame me.  But I still can't read, I can't write and most of the time I don't know my left from my right.  But on the biggest game of the year I was coming down the lane and I was doing my thing when number 13 crashed into me.  At the same time that I heard my knee snap, I heard my family dream shatter.  See they depended on me to get us out of the ghetto, so when I hit the ground I did everything in my power not to frown.  but it was just to much pain and ran straight to my brain and the last thing I remember is the doctor saying that I would never run again.  So now I;m asking y'all what are my options, I can't read.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

There Is Only One America

Hello everyone I have a new article up at Global Comment

For the first time in American history, a black man will be the major resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

He will not have to enter from a side door, or bend his back to those that do not believe he is their equal. He will not be shining silverware, or serving meals he will never taste.

On January 20th, a black man will be president of the United States.

For some, this is the culmination of dreams that they dared not dream, and for others it is the beginning of a four-year nightmare in which the hegemonic rule of whiteness will be disturbed by an uppity nigger. Yes, a nigger, because for some people, head of state, graduating Magna Cum Laude, first black president of the Harvard Law Review, former senator still equals nigger when your skin is brown.

With fifty-two percent of the popular vote he has been declared the great unifier. Even his bi-racial body is meant to stand as a testament to the convergence of the white and black binary that has for so long divided the great red, white and blue. Each word that falls from his lips in the cadence of a Baptist minister is meant to speak to us of a culture and a country that is beginning to deal with dissonance. “… No white, America and No Black America” - oh, the lies that are told on the path to power.

Finish Reading Here

Anne Coulter Bashes Michelle Obama In New Book

Good feminist that I am I tried not to be giddy when Coulter had her jaw wired shut.  I know that it is wrong to laugh at the pain of others and yet I cannot help but wish that we had found a way to silence this woman.  Coulter is supposedly a "conservative" commentator but in fact she more like a solipsistic, opportunist who preys upon peoples prejudices to advance her career.

In her latest screed Michelle  and Barack Obama are the focus of her attention. According to the Daily News, she does not mince any words.

Lashing out at the President-elect's wife, Coulter wrote, "Her obvious imitation of Jackie O's style - the flipped-under hair, the sleeveless A-line dresses, the short strands of fake pearls - would have been laughable if done by anyone other than a media-designated saint."

Coulter said Cindy McCain, the wife of vanquished GOP nominee John McCain, "dressed well without freakishly imitating famous First Ladies in history."

Coulter facetiously and snidely refers to Michelle Obama as a "saint" and "Mother Teresa" and suggests that her public service career "advanced in lockstep with the political advancement of her husband."

In the book, Coulter repeatedly refers to the President-elect as "B. Hussein Obama" and complains that the media "literally wanted to have sex with him."

Right, Michelle Obama the saint.  Who the fuck is Coulter kidding? I love the way that she conveniently ignores the ways in which Michelle has been attacked. If Michelle is such a saint why was she referred to as angry, and as Baracks baby mama?  How about the cartoon depicting her being lynched?  Yeah the media has gone out of its way to uplift her and embrace her. Why was there a need to start a Michelle Obama Watch if the woman was considered an untouchable saint? 

Normally I ignore most of the mendacious blather that comes out that Coulters mouth however this particular screed is so rife with falsehood as the render the any reader unconscious with the stench of this shit. How many trees were destroyed so that this woman could spread her falsehoods to the world? Even as an e-book this slime would not be worth the bandwidth.

It never even occurred to the clueless Coulter that it was the vicious media attack that caused Michelle to be re-tooled.  She simply wasn't acceptable to the white bigots like Anne et al. All that Michelle has publicly stated that she wants to be is mom in chief and from this Coutler is more that happy to call her a Jackie O knock off.  Look Anne, Michelle did not seek that label, the fashion media assigned it to her while they were busy critiquing everything from the size of her ass to the shade of her lipstick. 

Coulter walks thorough the world oblivious of her privilege and the ways in which it informs her rants commentary. She has built her career on asserting said privilege and in the process creating the poor and bodies of colour as "other."  The woman is a female Rush Limbaugh with less sense than God gave cabbage.  The day that Anne becomes half the woman that suma cum laude Michelle Obama is I'll declare the world flat. 

H/T This Week With Barack Obama


Asian Invasion

Beau Sia

Transcript Is Below The Fold

What's up America?  I don't mean to sound uppity but crouching tiger hidden dragon, wasn't our one shot at love.  It's the precursor of what's to come. Oh hey it's cool to like these Asian people as long as their being Asian on the big screen and it's in Asia and it's a long time ago and their dressed Asian, and their speaking Asian, thank God for the subtitles.  And who cares as long as their kissing other Asians I have nothing to worry about right?  Wrong motherfucker 'cause we're not just on the big screen in the kung foo flicks you adore, we are everywhere.  We are programming your websites making your executives look smart and getting into your schools for free.  That's right raise the bar and we'll meet it.  And we're not just kissing other Asians, our mad sexy asses are getting play all over the ethnic spectrum.  How the fuck do you think Tiger Woods, Rob Schneider and Keanu Reeves were made?  And you know what, its only going to get bigger.  The Asian invasion is a reality and we fuck so good it's only going to get bigger.  Bigger than Chinese on t-shirts, Japanese in rap songs and yoga, bigger than playstation II, curry and tae kwon do.  Bigger than Honda, sister in-laws and east Asian studies minors.  You asked for a global economy, well so sorry if it blows up in your face and goes beyond getting a billion Chinese on AOL eating KFC in their GAP  khakis.  Am I ranting, fuck yeah.  You are not shutting me up until the eggroll is recognized as an American food. Cause I got a chip on my shoulder the size of 25 years of being under represented, lumped into a group and made to feel inadequate and I've had enough.  I clearly have a non specific game plan but right now it's just very very angry.  It will be better thought out later. So until then rise up cause the highest per capita income group in this nation must realize the political power of this in a country built on moolah.  I'm not saying eliminate anymore.  I'm not a racist.  You are Texas.  I'm saying let's give America the melting pot it's always talked about and watch eyes get smaller, hair get darker and everyone fuck that much better.