Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tory MP Pierre Poilievre Brings Tar Baby To Parliament Hill

image One of the benefits of being White in Canada is having the ability to make a racist remark without apologizing.  You see, it does not matter what bodies of color think of your commentary, all that matters is your supposed ignorance or intent.

According to CTV:

Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre, parliamentary secretary to the prime minister, used the term in response to Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff's decision to back away from his predecessor's unpopular carbon tax policy.

"On that side of the House, they have the man who fathered the carbon tax, put it up for adoption to his predecessor and now wants a paternity test to prove the tar baby was never his in the first place," said Poilievre.

He used the term again later during question period.

image He is not the first politician to feel that it is appropriate to use this term.  Tar baby can be used to refer to a situation from which it is difficult to extricate oneself from, however it is also commonly used racial slur against Black children.  Regardless of the context, the fact that the term has such a negative racial connotation makes it offensive coming out of the mouth of a White man.

Liberal MP Marlene Jennings, who is black, decried the term and demanded an apology.

"As a black child growing up, I was called all sorts of pejorative names based on the color of my skin, including the 'n-word' and 'tar baby' -- and believe me, it was hurtful," said Jennings.

"I am offended by Mr. Poilievre's insensitive remarks --and I know leaders in the black community across Canada feel the same way."

Once told that your commentary is offensive, a decent person apologizes.  This is especially true if the intent was not to offend or cause undue harm in the first place, however Poilievre has refused to issue an apology.  Intent does not remove the pain that was caused.

"I have worked hard to represent people of all backgrounds and I have always done so in a spirit of tolerance. My reference to the term 'tar baby' was a common reference that refers to issues that stick to one," he said.

So, people of color are to believe that he did not know of its racial connotations and embrace him because of a supposed display of previous tolerance.  I personally find it hard to believe that he was ignorant of the term.  Quite often Whiteness will push boundaries and then claim ignorance to explain away racist statements or behaviour.   One only need to examine watermelons on the White House lawn, to see the veracity of this statement. Intent when it comes to racism is irrelevant, what matters is whether or not your commentary is understood to be racist.

Over at the CBC we can found even further examples of the ways in which white privilege has blinded people. in the comment section for this story. 

What is wrong with people who are sensitive about words or terms when there is nothing to be sensitive about.
Tar baby fits very well. There is nothing derogatory or racist about it. It's about perception. If you perceive it as poor taste, then you are too sensitive.
Maybe it isn't the best choice of words if you're in command of grammar, etiquette and ethics. But it is childish and a waste of time to dwell and make issue, especially to become a national news item.

Tar-Baby was a doll made of tar and turpentine, used to entrap Br'er Rabbit in the second of the Uncle Remus stories. The more that Br'er Rabbit fought the Tar-Baby, the more entangled he became. In contemporary usage, "tar baby" refers to any "sticky situation" that is only aggravated by additional contact. The only way to solve such a situation is by separation.
Those that find racism in its use are propagating racism where none was intended.

you people going on about it being racial, offensive etc......what's next? Hmmmm, how about we change the words and title of a Christmas classic to.."Pigmentally Deficient Christmas". Oh no wait, "Christmas" is offensive in itself. Change that too!!! Let's start there and see where it goes!!! LOL Too much!!!!

In the above we can see classic examples of white privilege.  First people of color are told that we are too sensitive and that the slur in question is not actually offensive.   Then Whiteness will attempt to educate us on our culture as though our lived experience is irrelevant.   Finally, as you can see with comment three, we are presented with a line of reasoning that is so fantastical it hardly stands as rationale thought.  You see, we are meant to accept our secondary status simply because it has always been customary to demean and marginalize POC. How dare we challenge the right of Whiteness to be offensive at will.

image The above is the benign Brer Rabbit Tar Baby that has been deemed inoffensive. It plays upon all of the negative social stereotypes associated with a Black identity and yet somehow we are being too sensitive in demanding an apology.  No matter what context the term is used in, this is the image that comes to the minds of POC instantly.   Many will also report being called tar babies as children by white children learning how to express their racial privilege.  It is loaded with racism and pain for Blacks.

No white person has had to be attacked or demeaned in this way for the color of their skin and are therefore not in a position to decide if the above image or the terminology is offensive.  It is also in the best interest of Whiteness to deny a racialized context and thereby deny the humiliation and anger that it causes.  It is a conflict of interest to expect Whiteness to make an impartial decision when declaring a fault will lead to a label of racist.  By denying culpability it allows Whiteness to be the center of the conversation and thereby control what is and is not acceptable discourse.

H/T Stephanie Berlevtov via facebook and e-mail

Tancredo Not Sorry For Comparing La Raza To The KKK

You would think that the White privilege would have choked off his oxygen supply by now.  Tancredo and men of his ilk are so desperate,  they are now simply resorting to blatant lies.  He is quite correct that there is a KKK comparison to be made but it is not with La Raza.

These right wing fundies make themselves more and more irrelevant each day.  It’s like they are on some sort of political suicide mission. It seems their resident house negro Michael Steele is unwilling to tell these fools the truth about their racism and their resident muppet Jindahl has gone silent.

Dear idiots: You have already lost the votes of Blacks despite your house slave and now you are proving your determination to loose the support of Latinos.  I know that you have invested your political future in the support of White people but you have failed to notice that times are changing.  There are liberal White voters that see you for exactly what you are.

Though I cannot stand the lies and the racism, I thoroughly encourage you to exercise your right to free speech and keep going.  The longer and louder you speak, you prove that race is nothing more than a social construction created to support the exploitation and marginalization of bodies of color.  Say it with me everyone:

A white man somewhere is being discriminated against whaaaaaa

Drop It Like It’s Hot

Hello everyone, Monica and I will be running our bi-weekly broadcast tonight at 8pm.  We have decided to do our show on the Purity Myth without Jessica Valenti as she never bothered to reschedule as well as talk about the racism that regularly occurs in the feministing comment section.  I hope that you will join us at 8 pm EST. 

I also wanted to remind everyone that womanist musings has an open guest posting policy.  If there is an issue that you don’t see covered here and you have something to say, don’t be shy about sending me either a link or a guest post


Below you will find a list of some great posts I ran across this week.  Please show these bloggers some love and check them out.  When you are done, don’t forget to drop it like it’s hot and leave your link behind in the comment section.

Can You Be A Feminist At Home Mom?

Kay Bailey Hutchison Is A Whore

My Uterus, Husband and I Agree – No Children

Racism Begets Racism

This is Not My Type of Feminism

People of color are not born with racial identities

HIV Still Seen as the “Gay Man Disease”

Help Send Single Mothers to the Allied Media Conference

Who was Angie Zapata? Her murder trial didn’t tell the whole story.

Why Your Community Ain’t Like Mine

The everyday verbal violence of children

40 Acres and A Dream

Where the violence starts – gay support for US militarism.

The white men is being oppressed!

Maricopa County Allegedly Fails to Investigate Sexual Assault Cases


Friday, May 29, 2009

Marriage is “Between a Man and a Woman” in California

I have a new post up at Global Comment

image On May 26, the California Supreme Court affirmed Proposition 8 by a six to one majority. The eighteen thousand that got married while same gender marriages were legal were issued a reprieve when the court confirmed that their marriages were allowed to stay intact. Reading through commentary from the GLB community, it is difficult not to feel empathy for the sadness and anger that this decision engendered.

“Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California,” Chief Justice Ronald George wrote in the court’s opinion. With those words he and six other Supreme Court Justices set the framework to firmly ensconce heterosexual privilege into law. Whether or not one believes that the state should be involved in marriages or the family pairings of individual citizens, the fact remains that we have come to view the institution of marriage as a right and therefore the exclusion of any segment of society amounts to discrimination.

image It does not take courage or foresight to uphold the tyranny of the majority; it simply takes a willingness to bow before power. What is the purpose of the law, if it does not protect our weakest citizens from unnecessary harm? We exist with the ideology of equality and yet fall far from practicing it in many real ways. To propose that the majority should have the right to determine the rights of a marginalized group is to ignore the fact that historically, power does not concede, it simply controls and/or consumes the weak in an effort to maintain the status quo.

Finish Reading Here

In Memory Of Robert Mitchell Can We Stop Calling Tasers Non- Lethal Force?

image Mitchell was not wanted for any crime but he did have a learning disability.  His mother believes he ran from police when pulled over because he was afraid of them.

Amnesty has reported that more than 350 people have been killed by tasers since 2001 in the US.   Those that have died have been predominately of color and therefore is it really illogical for Mitchell to have had a fear of police?  Even if we remove tasers from the equation, it is a well known fact that police officers across North America have been engaging in an unacknowledged war against black masculinity.

According to CNN, the police not surprisingly have already cleared themselves of any wrong doing.

Police followed Mitchell into an abandoned house about two blocks away. Officers tried to apprehend him once he was inside, but he resisted, Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer told CNN.

"They ordered him several times not to resist, and he continued to resist," Dwyer said. "They had no alternative to use what they felt at the time was non-lethal force."

The commissioner called Mitchell's death "a tragedy," but said police who watch someone run from them "can only assume he committed a crime or is wanted for a crime." The officers had been trained to use Tasers on people resisting arrest, "so there was nothing wrong with using that Taser," Dwyer said.

In the touching video on this story Renea Mitchell speaks of her heart break at the loss of her young son. Like Emmitt Till’s mother before her, she speaks of not having time to mourn because her heart is set on justice for her boy.  How many black mothers will have to dawn mourning sheaths because society has decided that our sons lives have no value? 

Just as men of color have been subject to violence by police forces and those that represent white hegemony, it is us their mothers, sisters, wives and daughters who must deal with pain of their loss. 

Once again there is no mention of this so-called non-lethal force incident on white feminists blogs and yet they want to appeal to our sense of sisterhood to advocate for womens rights.  Dear white feminists: it is your continual denial of the value of the men that we love that continues to be just one of the reasons why WOC reject feminism. 

When white men commit crimes it is socially understood as an aberration.  You don’t even bother to critique their violence unless it directly involves a woman and she usually must be white to garner your attention. White feminists regularly fail  to acknowledge that the loss of our male counterparts affects us in real and meaningful ways. 

It is not you that has a history of cutting your sons down after they have been lynched.  It is not you that has had to wash the blood from their bodies after they have been shot by police and it is not you that must burry them after they have been tasered; is it any wonder that you continually fail to understand why this is a feminist issue?

As a mother, each time I hear of one of these incidents my heart races with fear for my two sweet boys.  They may not be worth anything to anyone else but they are my life.  They are as necessary to me as the very life I breathe and when you fail to acknowledge the value of black men, you fail to acknowledge my worth as well.  The day I reconsider feminism is the day that it finally acknowledges the issues of POC are worth fighting for.   As far as I am concerned you are just as guilty as the white run police forces who have already declared themselves innocent.

Want To Teach Schools About White Pride? Send Your Kid To School With A Swastika

I have been following the case of the two children removed by CFS from a Winnipeg mother after she sent her daughter to school with a swastika drawn image on her arm.  They have thus far accused the child of lying while claiming it is their right under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to teach their children what is clearly racist and hate filled ideology.  This case is important because it is a test of what we consider parental rights to cover.

Though they claim to be filled with white pride, the mother has yet to make an appearance in court and is instead in an undisclosed location.  It seems she is not as certain of her convictions as once proclaimed.   As reported by the CBC,  she claims to originally have sent her eight year old daughter to school with a swastika on because the school was not doing a proficient job of promoting white pride.  

The mother complained about discrimination against white people at her daughter's school, which prominently displayed posters boosting minority pride. The mother said the school failed to do the same for whites, according to the social worker.

The mother also said her daughter had been missing school because she didn't want to sit next to a non-white boy, the social worker testified.

The worker also said the couple named their son after a Nazi skinhead cultural icon. And when the children were taken by CFS, the parents used a photograph of them to create a poster titled: "Missing, Kids With White Pride," the worker testified.

Her argument is very similar to those who complain about black history month, or BET being discriminatory; it fails to acknowledge that because of the uneven access to power throughout society most things are already a reflection of whiteness.  Her real issue is that she cannot tolerate even a momentary lapse in whiteness at the center of power  and conversation, even though it serves as no direct challenge to white hegemony.

image If her daughter did not want to sit next to a little boy of color, it is because of the racist teachings that she got in her home.  Children see differences in race but it adults who teach them value laden stereotypes.   As imperfect as the Canadian education system is, attempting to falsely construct Canadian society as a cultural mosaic is an attempt to challenge the systemic inequality that has become naturalized in our social discourse.  Everywhere her daughter looks she will see whiteness affirmed as good.  

It is white women that are constructed as morally upright and pure, whereas women of color are perceived as angry, slothful jezebels.  White men are understood to be rational and calm, whereas MOC are constructed as violent, drunk and or drug addicted criminals.   From politics to television there are no shortages of positive images of whiteness for her daughter to identify with and yet she feels threatened that in school her daughter is being taught that a Canadian identity includes bodies of color.  This is nothing but illogical white fear on steroids.

To add insult to injury, the mother now claims that the social worker is lying. Being the child of devoutly racist skinhead parents the little girl at the age of 7 has supposedly discerned that such language is not socially acceptable and therefore would not repeat her parents racist propaganda publicly.

"My daughter would never say something like that. Ever," said the mother. "I think the social worker put a lot of ideas and words in her mouth and in her head."

Umm… I think putting a swastika on a child counts as “putting ideas in her head.”  She was not born with a knowledge of these symbols or their meanings.   It is clear that these parents are determined to deny responsibility for their racist behaviour, now that they are being socially castigated for their much valued belief system. At some level they must be cognizant that not only are their beliefs abhorrent but contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms on which they stake their defence.   It will be interesting to see what further twists and turns they invent when they present their side of the case in June.  If racism was natural there would be no need to obfuscate facts to the degree that these two have done.

Sotomayor is “unnatural” in English

image It seems that there are those that will simply not cease with their complaints when it comes to Judge Sotomayor.   She is too racist for college drop out  Rush Limbaugh, not intelligent enough for Buchanan and to Spanish for Mark Krikorian.  

According to Krikorian, “Deferring to people's own pronunciation of their names should obviously be our first inclination, but there ought to be limits.”  Of course those limitations just happen to be relevant when it comes to the first Latina woman to be nominated for the Supreme Court.   The position she is attempting to hold represents America and therefore insisting on the correct pronunciation of her name is asking way too much.   The US is an assimilationist country and to expect ordinary (read: english speakers) to defer to Spanish pronunciation is to demand special treatment. 

Hiding behind supposed difficulties pronouncing her name is based in ethnocentrism and racism.   It is hardly accidental that those that seem to have the largest issue with Sotomayor are white males.   Mike Huckabee’s famous so-called misfire was laden with his white privilege.   He simply could not help himself from channelling Westside Story when he referred to Sonia as Maria. It’s only natural to think of Latina women as Maria;  it certainly does not come from a place of unacknowledged white privilege.

When Sotomayor is examined all of the racist constructions of Latina women quickly become actionable.   The loud, whining and crying of these over privileged white men has its basis in fear.  They have become accustomed to exploiting and devaluing WOC at will and to see one rise to the top of her profession, despite all of the blockades placed in her way is threatening to them.  To debase her, or her accomplishments is to maintain Whiteness and its so called fitness to lead.  As the racial balance continues to shift the fear and the panic from White men who have become accustomed to the ability to wield power will only magnify.  2050 is coming and with it the chickens just might decide to come home to roost.

On Limbaughs show he stated the following:

Here you have a racist — you might want to soften that, and you might want to say a reverse racist. The libs, of course, say that minorities cannot be racists because they don’t have the power to implement their racism. Well, those days are gone, because reverse racists certainly do have the power. … Obama is the greatest living example of a reverse racist, and now he’s appointed one.”

It is not Sotomayor that is unnatural but the systemic racism and sexism that allows some to profit off of the exploitation of others.  These isms have only become normalized in our discourse because of  the previous inability of POC to check the hegemony of elite white men.  In their resistance these  men lie and twist facts in the full knowledge that the crimes that they have committed and continue to commit are harmful.  Fear of a loss power and fear of retribution will continue to spur their actions, which only reveals their level of desperation.  Might does not equal right and the time is fast approaching when POC will get out due. 

“Mild Mannered” Grandfather Stabs Cheating Wife

image That is the “gentle” face of an aggrieved man.  Seldom have I read about a more sympathetic person.   This poor sweet grandfather was happily looking forward to his golden years with his wife of  35 years, when he experienced a totally understandable “moment  of madness .”  Brian Gibbs has admitted to wounding with intent and was jailed for four-and-a-half years.

What could have driven this clearly “mild mannered mannered” man to such image extreme action?   Surely he must have perceived a threat to cause him to throw a woman down a flight of stairs and then stab her repeatedly in the neck with a pair of hairdressing scissors. This woman was none other than his wife of 35 years and her “crime,” was having an ongoing affair with his former best friend.  It seems Catherine Gibbs decided to end her 35 year marriage and this was more than the supposedly “mild mannered” grandfather could take.

Even the sentencing  Judge, Peter Thornton was full of empathy for the poor man.

"This attack, however inexplicable in its ferocity, did have an explanation.

"Your anger and your jealousy at her infidelity and your fear of losing her no doubt caused acute stress for you and led you to committing this offence. You are normally a quiet, non-violent, hard-working family man. This is a sad case and you acted completely out of character."

I’m amazed that he gave him such a long sentence considering the mitigating circumstances.  Everyone knows that sympathizing with the victim in Western society is unacceptable.  If said victim is a woman then surely she must always carry part of the burden for failing to be appropriately submissive, or sexually pure, or for having the unmitigated gall to believe in bodily integrity.  Surely we must acknowledge Ms. Gibbs responsibility, she did after all have an extra-marital affair in a patriarchal world that long ago determined that women are to submit to the authority of men.

Whether “out of character“ or not, what this man did was attempted murder and 4 years for this crime only emboldens those who believe it is their right to be violent against women.   Infidelity is certainly hurtful and morally wrong, however it should not cost someone their life.  In this case I tend to agree with Liss over at shakesville, that had this same crime been committed by a woman such leniency would not have offered. 

I further believe that the race of Gibbs also played a factor in his light sentencing.   Unlike MOC, when White men are violent it is usually seen as an aberration because of the understanding of whiteness as good and rationale.  Socially a violent identity has been attached to bodies of color and therefore when they commit acts that are violent is is ascribed to a “natural instinct”.  We are taught not to fear White men though they are wife beaters, pedophiles, rapists, and murderers; instead the image of danger is the unknown man of color hiding in the bushes, who is unable to control his baser instincts.  Such is the nature of white privilege that even in guilt it can still function as a mitigating factor. 

Imagine this same incident occurring except with Gibbs being a man of color and attempting to murder his white wife.  Little to no consideration would be given to her infidelity as society and the Judge would have deemed it in the best interests of all that he made to face the full weight of the law.  In this case the whiteness of Catherine Gibbs would work to ensure that she be properly ascribed victim status.   

This incident is troubling because it reveals an interaction between race and gender that affirms white privilege, while denying women freedom from violence.  It should not matter the race of the violent offender; attempting to murder anyone is wrong. 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Two Spirits

image I was sent the link about an Indigenous trans woman from Monica of TransGriot.  Willyssa Thunderpuss dreams of the opportunity to travel  across Canada and the States promoting two spirited identities.  Willyssa speaks quite openly of her experience growing in a traditional Aboriginal environment, or “living in the bush,” as she puts it.

As I read the far too brief account of her experiences, the following is what really garnered by attention, “I didn’t know what homophobia was until I left the reserve.”  Growing up in a community that is respectful to trans, two spirited or gender queer bodies is not a common experience.   We have so much invested in teaching children to perform their assigned gender, that “coming out” can be a traumatic experience.  We are quick to correct for what we deem to be a mistake in a chosen activity or article of clothing because we have  invested in maintaining a gender binary, even though we are socially aware that not all people can be defined so easily.

That one statement by Willyssa really gave me a moments pause.  Even though she had to negotiate the stigma of being a woman and Indigenous, in a sexist and racist state, how much better is her self esteem because she was raised in an image accepting environment?  One of the fears that youth who are BTLG have, is that upon revealing themselves to their families, that they will be forced out of their homes.  This is a very real fear as many homeless teens are in that position because their birth families refused to accept their TLBG identity. They quickly become swallowed up by the streets and are forced to do tricks to achieve  and maintain subsistence.  Many become addicted to drugs to deal with the pain and the rejection.  This is a trap that Willyssa escaped because her grandparents and community accepted her from the beginning.

She states, “In my family, growing up gay, bi or transgendered wasn’t a big issue.  When I was young, I was a little boy. But when I hit my puberty and my teenage years, I became more feminine and I lived my life as a female. I’ve always kind of lived a two-spirited life. I still go back home, and walk around being who I am. Nobody has anything negative to say.”

Two spirited people have always had a place in Indigenous communities. They are seen as having a gift and perform duties that are assigned to both genders. 

Many tribes had rituals for children to go through if they were recognized as acting different from their birth gender. These rituals ensured the child was truly two-spirit. If parents noticed that a son was disinterested in boyish play or manly work, they would set up a ceremony to determine which way the boy would be brought up. They would make an enclosure of brush, and place in the center both a man's bow and a woman's basket. The boy was told to go inside the circle of brush and to bring something out, and as he entered the brush would be set on fire. The tribe watched what he took with him as he ran out, and if it was the basketry materials they reconciled themselves to his being a 'berdache'. (Roscoe, 1988)

image I am still very much in the process of learning about Indigenous communities, however through the reading of first hand accounts like that of Willyssa, it seems to me that this is a far more healthy approach to life.   It recognizes that a GLBT identity is not chosen, it is simply a part of who the person is and therefore; if we respect life, accepting them for who they are is a natural result.  In my reading it is has become clear that colonization has had some affect on how acceptable a two-spirit identity is within indigenous communities, however it is my hope, that they will stand fast to their traditional values because they are clearly so much more advanced than that which the European colonizing culture has to offer.

Trimming The Bush To Make The Tree Look Taller

These sorts of advertisements are generally aimed at women and so I was quite surprised when I received a link from Macon at Stuff White People Do, with a commercial exhorting men to shave their pubic hair.   It’s a cute little demonstration video for those that have always been curious about how to rid themselves of hair without damaging their oooooh so delicate bits and pieces.

My initial response was to laugh and move on, until I thought about how different this advertisement would have been had it been aimed at a woman.  image Eliminating all the hair on our bodies with the exception of that which grows on our head, has pretty much become socially mandated.  Heaven forbid you should wear a tank top or a sleeveless dress and decide not to shave your arm pits.  Even as female bodies are constructed as attractive, they are also seen as filthy.  

The impetus behind shaving of male pubic hair you will note, is not because the penis or the scrotum are dirty but to give the appearance of  greater length.  Men are not shamed into performing, they are simply offered a BS line about penis length.  Shaming it seems is something that patriarchy and capitalism reserve for women.  Even this commercial is positioned from an enhance what you have perspective, rather than the understanding that what you possess is inherently imperfect and in constant need of improvement.

Working on your body is the continual job of a woman; it is a social obligation.  Men receive no such demands and commentary on male bodies is usually only relevant in terms of how it relates to competition.  A man may be perceived as less masculine than another man but his body in and of itself is never thought of as inferior and that is the difference between men and women. 

Armed Robbery For Insulin

image Yes, you read that title correctly.  It seems that an armed man attempted to rob E-Z mart in Arkansas to get forty dollars to pay for his insulin.  The clerk reached into his own wallet and gave the man the money he needed.  The two shook hands and the alleged thief left the store. The police are currently searching for him.

Without insulin a diabetic will die.   It is as necessary to life as water, food and shelter and yet this man was reduced to committing an armed robbery to ensure that he could live.  There are those that will read this story and say that theft is theft but I urge you to consider what you would do if your life was on the line. The fact that we have commodified heath care is positively criminal.

In Canada you can see a doctor for free due to our socialized health care system, however unless you are hospitalized or are on welfare, drugs are the responsibility of the individual.  The situation is even more magnified in the United States, where each person is responsible for paying for the cost of their health care privately or through some form of insurance.  There are many that are currently uninsured due to an inability to pay.  Hospitalization, or a long and protracted illness can decimate a family financially.  There are many who avoid seeking medical treatment because they cannot afford it, thus allowing a small issue to become a life threatening problem. The best way to deal with health is to be proactive, not wait until treatment options become limited and even more expensive.

image Year after year pharmaceutical companies report record profits even in nations like Canada and Australia that limit the amount they are allowed to charge.  I live in a border city and I cannot tell you how many times I have seen Americans purchasing drugs, both prescription and over the counter medication.  Americans that live close to the US/Mexico border also find that purchasing drugs in Mexico to be much cheaper.  Overnight, online pharmacies have sprung up all over the internet offering cheap drugs for sale.

While the alleged thief in the above incident certainly could have chosen to pawn or sell his gun for money, I think it is particularly salient to consider when it comes to drugs who the real criminals are.  How many die each day because of an inability to pay for the drugs that they need?  How many are taking only half of their prescriptions and skipping doses on a daily basis.?  Not everyone is able to receive free samples from a kind hearted doctor.

image Though I have three chronic illnesses, I  have excellent insurance and have never paid out of pocket for a single prescription in the last 12 years.  Some months the tally for my drugs hasreached almost a thousand dollars.  What family could afford that for months on end?  My health and the health of millions globally is dependent upon a social construction – money. 

Can we really blame people when they become desperate because they cannot afford the care that they need even as big pharma continues to profit?  Money has no more value than that which we ascribe to it, whereas; life is impossible to quantify.  Each day the economy continues to worsen despite the feel good forecasts from economists; how many will be forced to desperate measures because we have a system that values money more than people?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It’s Not Abuse It’s Accidental Racism

As I posted earlier there is currently a case being heard in Winnipeg in which CFS have removed an eight year old girl and her younger brother from their parents custody after the child appeared at school with racist symbols drawn on her skin. 

It seems that these white pride parents are so proud of their political and racist point of view that they have decided to blame the child.  Somehow the child came up with the racist language on her own accord and decided that she wanted to display a swastika on her body.  They have declared the child a liar

They told the social worker their daughter often makes things up, and was famous for lying, the worker testified. The parents also said the girl had likely drawn some of the symbols on her body herself.

When the social worker asked why the girl was able to talk about certain things, like hurting people or killing people of colour, the stepfather said it was probably something she'd heard in a private conversation and was probably a joke, the hearing was told.

According to the social worker, the mother said she had no idea why her daughter would refer to them as skinheads.

But the social worker said extended family members later told her that the parents had shaved their heads, and the little girl's, and described themselves as a skinhead family.

The mother has fled the area and is living in an undisclosed location.   These parents are guilty of indoctrinating their children with hatred. What I find astounding, is that they are not openly admitting their actions despite claiming that they are entitled to their individual beliefs. 

Isn’t it lovely to be able to have it both ways.  This family declares a freedom of belief/expression, combined with the ability to deny undeserved white privilege and in each situation they deny responsibility for their actions.  You cannot have it both ways, either you have the right to free speech or the little girl is a liar.  I think I will trust the little girls version of events. 

If these people are so proud of what they claim are their beliefs they should be able to cite them without reservation.  Not only do they want to hold onto white privilege, they want the right to express their bigotry and racism without reproach. Times have changed and people of color no longer have to tolerate our diminishment without commentary.  So, if you are going to be proud of your “white heritage”, say it loud, say it long but be willing to accept to the consequences of your behaviour.

Sotomayor "believe[s] in reverse discrimination against white males"


Well I think that is going to be a problem for her but the second problem and the more important one is in the Frank Ricci case, which was really an act of real discrimination against these white firefighters.  It was up in New Haven, Connecticut.  That came to her appellate court and it was really an outrage and she wrote a single paragraph on it and covered it up and buried it.  Even her chief judge said that this is an outrage and this is on its way to the US Supreme Court.  The question is, does she believe in reverse discrimination against white males.  It appears she does and I think the Frank Ricci story versus the Judge Sotomayor is going to be really where this battle is fought out.

The Ricci case basically comes down to whether or not to uphold affirmative action.  Ricci is a fireman who finished sixth of seventy-seven in a test to be promoted to lieutenant in New Haven Connecticut.  When it was revealed that the results of the test would not allow for the promotion of a single person of color, the test was thrown out and no one was promoted.  Ricci felt that this was discrimination and filed suit. 

I find it interesting that Chris Matthews felt that Karen Torre, Frank Ricci’s lawyer was competent to speak about whether or not the Black community was upset by the nature of the testing and the results.   Who could be more competent to speak on behalf of Blacks than a white woman?

If a test is issued and  visible minorities do not score as well as whites, clearly there is an inbuilt bias in the test.  People of color are not naturally inferior to whites.  Just like any other standardized testing, examining acquired knowledge is going to be problematic because the systemic inequalities do not allow everyone to have the same access to education resulting in a lower test score for Blacks and other visible minorities.

While Ricci may feel discriminated against, there is something to be said for having a fire department that is more ethnically and racially diverse.  Firefighters do not solely work in lily white neighbourhoods.  Society benefits from diversity in ways that are not easily measured. 

What Buchanan and Ricci see as preferential treatment is simply the law correcting for undeserved white privilege.  The very idea that allowing for the unique circumstances of people of color amounts to racism against Whites speaks to a denial of the ways in which the system specifically seeks to promote White hegemony in every sphere.   The term “reverse racism,” in and of itself speaks to a determination by Whiteness to ensure that racism and discrimination are solely aimed at people of color.   The language used is not value neutral though it is projected as such. 

Sotomayor is going to apply the law through her own personal frame of reference as a Latina woman.   Those that are speaking out against her fail to acknowledge the ways in which the Supreme Court has for the majority of its existence promoted the interests of rich White men because the judges were applying the law based on their frame of reference.  In whose interest was the Dredd Scott case decided?  Sotomayor is threatening because her body represents what Whiteness and patriarchy fear; a loss of undeserved privilege and an ability to frame their interests and needs as the center of all debates.

As the confirmation process gets underway, we can rest assured that this is just the beginning of the racist and or genderized attacks Sotomayor will undergo.  No powerful group has ever seceded power willingly and therefore white males shall sound the rallying cry to ensure that the potential first Latina woman on the US Supreme Court is aware of their priorities.  They have already challenged her qualifications and her intelligence.  Some have gone as far as to suggest that she only made the “short list” because of her race and her gender.  I would be very interested in seeing the college transcripts and resumes of her detractors because it is quite clear that one does not rise from poverty to graduate Suma Cum Laude from Yale without being of above average intelligence.

The lack of intelligence smear is strikingly similar to that thrown at President Barack Obama.  Despite all of his achievements, conservative fundies continue to refer to his so-called lack of intelligence, and or reliance on a teleprompter; conveniently forgetting the C student president (read: Bush) has left the country in shambles. These kinds of arguments prove that even when we beat them at their own game and set a standard of excellence, it is denied simply because Whiteness cannot tolerate the idea that person of color still has the ability to succeed despite the purposeful roadblocks thrown our way.  Intelligence has historically been understood as the preserve of the white male elite and to accept that a Latina woman  is not only capable but exceeds excellence is to admit that the hierarchy on which American society has been founded is false.  Sotomayor represents change and this above all else is what is so threatening about her existence.

Slavery 101: Clearing up some misconceptions.

This is a guest post from regular commeter, Nia.

Most European nations, and the US, to this day have not convincingly dealt with the racist European ideologies that reinforced, sustained and justified the horror of transatlantic slavery. Rather than focus on and deal with this particular crisis in their respective national psychologies, these nations are instead all too happy image and eager to focus on the fact that “black people owned slaves too.”  Whenever a conversation arises about the ways in which white people have benefitted from slavery, rest assured there will be a resounding chorus of: “But your African ancestors had slaves too”, and “Your ancestors sold their own into slavery”. Many white people, some of whom cannot name even one African history scholar (Henry Louis Gates does not count) all of a sudden are such experts on African history! As progressive as Western society claims to be, and despite the fact that the Atlantic slave trade was neither initiated nor maintained by Africans, Western society would have us believe that responsibility for the Atlantic Slave Trade must remain primarily in the hands of Africans. Calling out and chastising marginalized people on their shortcomings while failing to check their own first is nothing new among privileged groups, but what makes this interesting is that in this case many of them would have us believe that they are making these comments in a legitimate attempt to offer a more balanced analysis of the historical facts of slavery.

Let’s get one thing straight: The only reason they are making these comments is so that they can wash their hands of the ways in which their great nations were complicit in the slave trade, the ways in which they continue to benefit from the racist ideologies which were reinforced during the slave trade, and to promote the racist notion that European motives and endeavours are basically pristine and only become tainted when intertwined with villainous African characters.

Let me also add that there are black people who are as psychologically and culturally invested in this negative, anti-Black philosophy of western culture just as much as white people. Instead of picking up a book and learning about their own history and thinking for themselves, they instead choose to parrot Eurocentric discourse and throw around false narratives and distortions about their own history. Some of these false narratives I will try to address in this post.

And - as Renee frequently has to remind some of us - if it’s not about you, then please don’t make it about you.

image One of the more fashionable notions that gets thrown around is that the slave trade would not have happened without the complicity and collaboration of Africans. In other words, Africans (i.e. Black people) were responsible for their own enslavement.

This type of argument is offensive because it seeks to promote the binary construct of white-good / black-evil. Everyone knows that if Black people weren’t so backward, greedy, conniving and downright despicable in the first place  – why your ancestors would never have been brought kicking and screaming to these shores in chains. Europeans only happened by and took advantage of your inherently evil ways. 

Never mind that it was Europeans, and not Africans, who initiated and maintained the slave trade in the first place.

In any situation where people are seeking to survive or to liberate themselves you will always have those who side with the oppressor. This is not just a historical reality, it is a well-known fact which is evident in every single society to this day.

But, as some commentators would have us believe, it was being done by African people on a willing, even gleeful basis, as opposed to under duress. The way they would have us believe it, African people were just sitting around all too eager to sell off “their own” for a couple of brass trinkets and a ship load of guns and ammunition.

This type of argument also fails to acknowledge the tremendous efforts European officials in Africa used to install rulers agreeable to their interests. They would actively favour one African group against another to deliberately ignite chaos and continue their slaving activities. It also neglects to mention specific examples of the conditions under which African people were being sold.

image For example, there were groups in Ghana who were defeated and captured by the British. One of the conditions which the British set for these groups to remain free and live peacefully was that they had to provide slaves and gold in order to live peacefully.

They had no option than to also raid less-powerful towns to come up with the slaves and gold. So yes, in this way we were a part of it. The noble European, of course, is above this type of behaviour. If the Europeans were in this position where they had to participate in the slave trade in order to survive they would never, EVER do such a thing against their own, oh no!

This type of argument also fails to acknowledge the dynamic and complex nature of slavery, and the ways in which it was changing the social and economic image landscape of African society. It wasn’t like Europeans were simply sailing in, picking up a few slaves and leaving. They were forming great slaving companies across the ENTIRE continent of Africa. These countries formed monopoly companies, trading posts and colonies that stretched throughout the entire continent of Africa. These companies created regular commerce throughout Africa in such a way that you had two choices: Participate in the trade and profit, or go under. 

When white scholars discuss Europe and the West’s role in the slave trade, they are able to flesh out the various external factors, social, economic and political factors, reasons and influences behind Europe’s decision to initiate transatlantic slavery. We are told, sometimes ad nauseam, that it was because of economics, the industrial revolution, it was because of capitalism, expansion, it was because “the blacks could take the hot weather better.” However, when these same commentators discuss the involvement of African people in the same slave trade the only thing they can come up with is that “Well, Africans had slaves too and sold their own into slavery.”

At school I was taught about the role that was played in the anti-slavery fight by white abolitionists, Quakers, white politicians, etc. by my history teachers at every level. As Black people we were never to forget that there were white people like William Wilberforce, etc. who sacrificed and worked endlessly to “free the slaves.”

But the “Africans Sold Their Own” theorists love to omit the tremendous resistance that Africans themselves put up against European slave raiders, instead choosing to perpetuate the myth of African passivity and complicity in the slave trade. In reality, Africans were constantly fighting against the slave trade. There were several European accounts of more than three hundred battles taking place between Africans with European slave raiders in one coastal region alone. In many other coastal regions and in the interior there were ENTIRE African villages rising up to fight against European slave raiders. That also conveniently gets left out. How many of us are ever taught about the tremendous African resistance taking place against slavery in Africa itself, by African people? What do you think set the wheels of the abolition of slavery in motion in the first place? Africans were resisting and rising up against the slave trade in Africa with such tremendous force that it started to become a less economically profitable option for labour in the West. That and the fact that the Industrial Revolution was taking over.

As we all know, ALL humankind and EVERY race has practiced slavery and sold their own into slavery at some point in time. Slavery is as old as humankind itself. Back in the 15th century, Europeans were enslaving other Europeans too.

image When people speak about the negative impact of the transatlantic slave trade on black people today they are talking about the TYPE of slavery (i.e. chattel slavery). Never before had there been such a systematic and ongoing institution that completely disconnected people from their culture, their families, their homelands, and rendered them as sub-human. It’s not about who was enslaving who, it was about the TYPE of slavery that was practiced, and the racist ideologies that were being used to justify, sustain and reinforce it.

This popular, simplistic assertion that Africans sold each other into slavery is part of that same ideology and must therefore not be taken at face value. It helps to perpetuate the notion that there is something inherently sinister about the Black character, and paints persons of African descent as simplistic, passive actors in what was obviously an extremely complex period of human history. All countries in Africa did not even practice slavery.

If you take part in these simplistic analyses, all you are doing is showing your support for these types of offensive ideologies

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

California Supreme Court Rules 6-1

In a 6-1 ruling the California Supreme Court has decided to affirm a voter backed proposition of defining marriage as between a man and a woman.  "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California," Chief Justice Ronald George wrote in the court's opinion.  The court did however hold that all of the marriages that have already taken place will not be dissolved. 

"This is the culmination of years of hard work to preserve marriage in California," Andrew Pugno, a lawyer defending the ban, said in a statement. "The Supreme Court has acknowledged the right of voters to define marriage in the California Constitution. The voters have decided this issue and their views should be respected."

Gay rights activists have already announced that this is not the end of the struggle.   It is my belief that the court should a lack of courage and foresight by upholding this discriminatory decision.  If the law cannot protect the rights of the most vulnerable citizens it has no true purpose.  I cannot imagine the pain of the GLB community on this day as they once again realize that their rights are considered secondary. 

Allowing the majority to decide whether or not to grant rights to a minority is wrong.  There are few incidents in which a majority group will decide to share power or reduce its privilege by granting rights and freedoms, therefore; upholding this vote was patently unfair.  Those of us that stand in solidarity with GLB community must make it be known loud and clear that gay rights are human rights.  I don’t know when and I don’t know how but I do know that such inequality cannot stand.

Is Teaching a Child that “All Black People should Die” Abuse?

In June of 2008, two children were removed from their parents custody after arriving at school wearing a swastika and the white supremacist symbol 14/88

“The number 14 refers to a slogan containing 14 words – "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children", while 88 represents the letters HH (the eighth in the alphabet) to mean "Heil Hitler."

The custody case has gone to trial and on May 25th the social worker began her testimony regarding the child's statements. 

The elementary-school-aged child was familiar with Nazi phrases such as "Heil Hitler," used racial epithets and would talk calmly about how black people could be killed, a social worker testified.

"She said you would whip black people with a ball and chain and they would die," testified the social worker, who cannot be identified under Manitoba law.

The worker was the first witness at a trial that is to determine whether the province's child welfare system will gain permanent custody of the girl and her pre-school-aged brother, who were seized from their parental home last year.

The social worker was called to the girl's school after she showed up with white supremacist slogans written on her skin – writings which she appeared to understand fully.

"She told me that what people don't understand is that black people should die," the social worker said. "She stated that everyone who is not white should die.

"She said that white children are not safe because of `n----rs.' "

The child repeatedly used racial slurs about blacks, Asians, Arabs and other minorities during a 45-minute conversation, the social worker testified, and believed any visible minority was a threat to white children.

When child welfare workers visited the family home later, they found white supremacist paraphernalia. Court heard the children also had access to a skinhead website and were shown videos depicting racial violence.

The reason given for removing the children in question is unrelated to the racist ideology that they have been exposed to, however it is my opinion that such behaviour is what is perhaps most damaging to the children and society. 

This case is important because it brings to light the issue of how far we should extend parental rights.  The fact that these children can parrot their parents racism without emotion reveals that they have come to fully accept the idea that people of color are inherently inferior to Whites.    Even though a Canadian identity is socially understood as White, the fact remains that this is a multi-cultural country and therefore; such attitudes towards people of color will inevitably hamper their ability to interact and function with all citizens.  A belief structure of this nature will impair progress in education, as well as in the job market.  If such ideas are more publicly articulated, they will cause harm to any person of color within earshot.

Hate is not a positive emotion and has no useful purpose.  An ordinary White citizen in Canada already exists with undeserved privilege, however this family seeks to escalate the racial divide by advocating violence and overt racism.  Children are often invoked as justification to advance or maintain policies that are inherently racist, homophobic, and transphobic, however when actual harm is done as with the case of this family, the argument is continually reduced to parental rights.  A harms based approach it seems can only be invoked when it seeks to maintain an undeserved privilege of a dominant group.

Allowing such beliefs to go unchecked within any society is tantamount to allowing the growth of a social cancer.   There can be no cohesion or positive growth if one group of citizens is continually under attack by another.   The constructed differences that we have allowed for the purposes of perpetuating hierarchy mean that we are not acting to our fullest potential.  How many opportunities are lost because marginalized groups are specifically undereducated?  The whiteness of ones skin does not indicate potential and therefore by continually advancing whiteness means that Canada is failing to utilize all of its potential human resources.  To encourage future generations to continue to believe that this racial divide is necessary due to the false ideology of racism, means that the very country which we seek to promote will inevitably be unable to compete. 

We know that what these children are being taught is not only damaging but morally wrong.   Instead of focusing on parental rights, we should consider the right of a child not to be taught misleading and or false information as though it were the least bit truthful.  We should be considering how the perpetuation of this vicious hatred will impact the racial dynamics of this country.   Ideas and language of this nature are not innocent and do indeed cause harm to the individuals that internalize them and the people that are forced negotiate it.

City charges rent at homeless shelters

By Brenda Ryan
New York

Published May 25, 2009 11:02 AM

The cruelty of capitalism is clear as more than 5.7 million people in the U.S. have lost their jobs in the last 18 months and hundreds of thousands of homes are foreclosed every month. Now New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has come up with a new form of ruthlessness for those suffering the most.

His administration recently started charging rent to homeless people who are working and live in public shelters. People must pay up to 50 percent of their income to stay in these minimal facilities. They are making far too little to rent a place of their own. Having to turn over a huge portion of their earnings for rent means they won’t be able to save money to get out of the shelters.

The New York Times reported May 9 that one woman who makes $8.40 per hour as a cashier at Sbarro received a notice that she would have to give $336 of her approximately $800-per-month income to a shelter she has lived in since March. Another woman who makes $1,700 per month as a security guard was told she must pay $1,099 in rent to her shelter.

“Families are being told to pay up or get out,” Steven Banks, the chief attorney for Legal Aid Society, told the Times. He noted that a survivor of domestic violence was actually locked out of her room.

Billionaire Bloomberg is pushing this policy as a record number of people have lost their homes. The Coalition for the Homeless reported in December that the number of homeless families in New York City was 9,720—the highest level since the city began reporting such data 25 years ago. The total number of homeless people was 36,000, including nearly 16,000 children.

Not only has the economic crisis increased poverty and homelessness, but the Coalition for the Homeless says Bloomberg’s policy of denying federal housing vouchers to homeless people has also increased the number of people in shelters. Those who receive federal housing vouchers pay no more than 30 percent of their income on rent. In 2004 Bloomberg halted the city’s long-time practice of giving homeless families priority in receiving the vouchers.

The city’s new shelter policy is based on a 1995 regulation issued by then-Governor George Pataki. The rule was never implemented because of an ongoing class action lawsuit against the city. The case, which was filed in 1983 and settled in 2008, claimed the city failed to provide adequate shelter for homeless families.

The new “income contribution requirement” is devastating for people who aren’t earning enough to live on in the most costly city in the country. One-bedroom apartments typically cost more than $1,500, even in the outer boroughs.

New York State Assembly member Keith Wright held a press conference on May 14 denouncing Bloomberg’s policy and announcing legislation to halt the new rules.

People must fight back against all attacks on poor and working people. No rent for shelters! Stop evictions and foreclosures!

Articles copyright 1995-2009 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Thunder Bay & Lessons Not Learned from Residential Schools

Canada’s now defunct residential school system will go down in history as one of our grossest violations of human rights and dignity. On July 11, 2008 Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a public apology to our Indigenous citizens saying:

“The treatment of children in Indian residential schools is a sad chapter in our history. The government now recognizes that the consequences of the Indian residential schools policy were profoundly negative and that this policy has had a lasting and damaging impact on aboriginal culture, heritage and language,”

With the apology and the payment of reparations, many Canadians consider racism against our First Nations citizens a closed chapter in our history books, thus denying that our Indigenous citizens continue to face racism on a daily basis. Their culture is often constructed under the banner of the “noble savage” or the “long suffering sqaw.”

It is quite common to hear Natives spoken of as though they exist with systemic privileges that are not possible within a racist white supremacist state. Not paying taxes or having the ability to cross the border at will does not compensate for the near destruction of a people, rape, theft of land, murder and poverty. Despite these so-called privileges, very few would be willing to give up the advantages that come with whiteness to trade places with the average Indigenous person in North America.

In the supposed act of civilizing Indigenous Peoples, one of the first crimes committed against them was the cutting of their hair. Though not all tribes had long flowing hair, reflecting European beauty standards was/is often understood as accepting assimilation as the proper goal of all people of color. Some First Nation tribes wore Mohicans or what is known as Mohawks, forelocks, scalplocks, squash blossoms, butterfly whorls, and chongos. Hair played/plays a significant role in their culture and is often not cut unless they are in mourning. To cut the hair of an Indigenous person without permission is a violation of their cultural norms and is seen by many as a humiliation.

Finish Reading At Global Comment

Monday, May 25, 2009

Trans Women Can Pee At Denny’s In Peace

image On October 25, 2007,  Brianna Freeman of Lewiston was informed by Denny’s that she no longer had the right to use the women’s bathroom after a woman complained and threatened to call the police.   She called Brianna “a man,” though she was clearly dressed and behaving as a woman.  In a bid to placate cis bigotry, Denny’s informed Brianna that despite her long patronage she would not be permitted to use the woman’s bathroom until she had completed sex reassignment surgery.  Feeling that this was patently unfair, Ms. Freeman took this issue to The Maine Human Rights Commission.

In their defence of what is clearly obvious bigotry they employed trans panic.

The incident in question happened on Oct. 25, 2007, when Brianna Freeman of Lewiston – formerly known as (male name redacted)  - used a locked stall in the ladies room while "dressed clearly" as a woman, according to the investigator's report.

Another customer complained to the manager about sharing a public restroom with a man, said attorney Chad Cloutier, who represents the Rockport company Realty Resources Hospitality LLC.

"The customer was very upset, was irate, had threatened to call police," he said. "A few days later, management decided that it would be in the best interest of Denny's to ask the customer to use the men's room until sex reassignment surgery."

Freeman was a regular customer of the restaurant. After being banned from the ladies room, Freeman filed a complaint with the commission on April 17, 2008.

Cloutier argued to the commission that a discrimination decision would require that Maine businesses essentially decide whether a person is transgender or if they might want to use a particular restroom or locker room for purposes of "sexual perversion."

Making this accommodation is a violation of a woman's right to privacy, he said in a press release, as well as a "significant risk to the health and safety of [the restaurant's] customers, particularly children."

"It's almost an untenable position for businesses," he said. "It really is a slippery slope. This claimant may be perfectly safe and use the bathroom in a perfectly normal way, but what's to prevent a person of some devious intent ... the right not to share a bathroom?"

In a 3-2 decision the commission ruled in Ms. Freemans favour.  Betsy Smith, executive director of Equality Maine, told the Bangor Daily News it wouldn’t be safe for Freeman to use the men’s room. 

I believe the point about safety is particularly salient.  Though cis bigots attempt to position trans people in public bathrooms as a threat, clearly it is Ms. Freeman who would be in danger if she entered a mans bathroom.  Trans people have been using the appropriate bathroom since Christine Jorgenson had her surgery and I have yet to hear of any incident in which someone lost their mind and became violent or abusive.

image is what dominant bodies use to justify their bigotry, however what they fail to admit is that what they truly fear is a loss of undeserved privilege.  Clearly upon examination of criminal behaviour it is the trans person that has more to fear than the cisgendered body.   Though not specifically about trans issues Kravitz explores social fear in the song below:

Conditioning to hate and them to blame
Their search for God is just the same
Machines for hearts, how warped a view
Forgetting that they're human too
Waiting like a branded steer
Who first will launch the burning spear
When every day may be your last
You think we'd learn from our past

It very much reminds me of the white panic that is used to justify the systemic racism that has become socially normalized.  POC are constructed as a threat to safety and therefore it is understood as acceptable for Whiteness to establish and maintain social inequities.   Consider once again that when we examine the history of violence that it is POC who should live in fear and not Whiteness.  The false fear meme is repeated with the same props held out as extremely vulnerable.

When interracial marriage was first becoming an issue, it was the children that were constructed as facing danger.  Today as cis bigots attempt to deny trans rights, children are once again being operationalized to represent a group that supposedly face danger.  Using children in this way is particularly disgusting in that they function as a tool of convenience in a society that has proven repeatedly to care very little for their well being.   When they can be used to maintain privilege,  we suddenly care about their well being, however when it comes to their education, or right to be free of violence, and even health suddenly their rights or needs are irrelevant.

Cisgender bigots want the right to discriminate because it allows an expression of oppressive power.  A trans person in a stall using a bathroom poses no threat. This is no different than forcing people of color to use separate drinking fountains.   We have been down the road of social exclusion and bigotry countless times and each time we fail to accept the concept of basic equality and shared humanity.  I am thankful that Ms.Freeman won her case, however she never should have been placed in a position where she was forced to resort to The Maine Human Rights Commission in the first place.

Oral Sex and Reciprocity

Sex, Sex, Sex and more Sex.  We are so obsessed with sex that we often attach it to things that it has no relation to and when it comes to the actual conversations about intercourse, we use ridiculous euphemisms to highlight our supposed discomfort.  Speaking directly is something that is often discouraged in women and yet we are expected to be overwhelmed with our lovers prowess even when they leave us wanting to reach for a vibrator.

image Sexually men are understood as predatory and in constant image search of sex and this dynamic is routinely played out in the bedroom.  No man is ever to shy to say suck my dick and often fellatio is perceived as a necessary prerequisite to copulation.  A woman that does not enjoy giving head or finds it repulsive, is image deemed to be sexually repressed.  When  it is about a mans pleasure suddenly the idea of female sexual purity dissipates… Erections often lead to a loss of supposed sexual morality; orgasms before slut shaming.

Many men hump under the false assumption that their dick is the key to multiple orgasms and sexual bliss for women.  How many times have you had a dick waved at you like it was this long awaited prize that you had been dreaming about forever?  Oh yeah a dick, like they aren’t readily available for the asking.

image I am going to let all the men reading this in on a little secret.  A guy that is good with his hands and his tongue is a KEEPER.    If you can polish a pearl until a womans eyes roll back in her head, then you my friend will always be invited into a bed.  Don’t be a selfish lover. 

I cannot tell you over the years how many times I have heard women complain that their lovers won’t go down.  Seriously WTF…enough with men going down 3 times for every ten blowjobs they get.  That stat is worse than the pay inequity between men and women.  Where is the equality and reciprocity in that bullshit? 

Even worse than that disgusting statistics are the weak ass reasons why men refuse to put their tongues into service….It either “smells down there”, (note suddenly they can’t say pussy or vagina), or they just “don’t like it”.  Try telling a guy you don’t like giving blow jobs and set the stop watch because it will be seconds before he starts explaining to you that you have sexual issues.

Telling you that you smell, is just a way to shame you into accepting his failure to be a considerate partner.  It is common knowledge that the vagina is often constructed as dirty and to tell a woman that she smells “down there”, preys upon this meme and unnecessarily shames her.  I don’t know where men image got the idea that their crotch smells like a bed of roses.  The crotch is not a sweatless, odourless area and whether male or female, there is an odour. Call it body musk, call it crotch rot but no genitals smell like a 500 dollar bottle of perfume.

Even when some give in, it is often a case of “if you really want me to”, accompanied by a childish whine.  Socially we still view sex as something men do to women, and orgasms as something men give to women. We fail to understand that this false meme is centered solely on the penis entering the vagina, rather than a sexual act that is meant to specifically pleasure a woman.  As womanist/feminists ,we long ago claimed a right to our orgasms and so I must image ask why the hell are so many women still putting up with this bullshit?  To me it seems really simple; if you want head give head and if the man you’re fucking cannot agree to that, wouldn’t a hot bath, a shower nozzle and a good book be less frustrating for all?