Saturday, June 13, 2009

Flava Flav Award: Baby Wipes (Terrence Howard) You’ve Earned It

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Now isn’t that a disgusting vision?  The first Flava Flav award went to the blog Crunk + Disorderly. There have been several candidates that I have considered since then, however the recent commentary by Baby Wipes AKA Terrence Howard has forced me to dust off this award and hand it out once again.

image Terrence you need to get on the bus with all of the other Black people we would like to rid ourselves of.  That TOOT TOOT TOOT is the horn blowing just for you.

In an interview with The  Washington Times, baby wipes is quoted as saying:

"Political dogma stifles intellectual growth.  I don't think President Obama has been that revolutionary in reaching out to ethnic communities. President Reagan did a lot for the black community that people don't realize.”

His commentary goes beyond a Negro please and is squarely in the territory of idiocy masquerading as thoughtful speech. Intellectual needs to be stricken from his vocabulary.  In what world did Reagan do a lot for Black people?  In what world did he do a damn thing for a single marginalized body? Dear God Terrence, pick up a history book before you start to speak. 

Who the hell do you think the so-called war on Drugs and mandatory minimums are targeted at?  You know all those who are dying of AIDS today, (yep Blacks get AIDS) imagine what would have happened had Reagan actually taken action.  Or how about his position regarding States Rights (read: white supremacy). Go right on ahead and be the good house negro if you want to, however please make sure that you clarify your position before allowing such mendacious thought to pass as the ramblings of a thinking Black man. You cannot claim to want to fight racism and support a man like Reagan.

Just about every damn time you open your mouth, you spew some form of ridiculousness that makes me wonder how you manage to function.  From your baby wipes commentary (cause all the wimminez are dirty), to justifying beating your then wife cause she hurt your wittle fee fees, you are a walking this is a brain on stupidity ad.  Pretend that you are a VISA commercial Terrence; silence is priceless. For all of the ISH that you have bestowed upon the world it is my pleasure to give you the Flava Flav award…yeah boyie how is that for the well deserved smack that you have earned?


Privilege and Ignorance Speak Volumes

One of the most dangerous things in this world is ignorance.  While no one can be expert in everything, choosing to live in purposeful ignorance allows the perpetuation of much of the worlds issues.  Daily I see the reflection of this in the comment section of this blog and it sickens me.  I don’t even have the words to express the frustration I feel when some “well meaning” commenter decides to educate me on a subject matter in which they clearly know nothing.

Most recently I have been told that cisgender is not a word, womanism is not a movement or a word, transphobia does not exist or I use the term incorrectly, whiteness does not act systemically and finally my favourite denial: racism does not equal prejudice + power.  If you are not familiar with a term, that does not image mean that it is being used incorrectly, nor does it mean that it does not exist.  If you cannot find it in a dictionary, try google or even better, academic journals.  No one ever promised you that education would be easy, or that it would be spoon fed on demand.

The aforementioned list is filled with 101 basics.  Despite my desire to move the conversations on this blog to topics beyond a 101 level, there are so many that are still so attached to their ignorance and privilege, that we end up having the same conversations repeatedly.  This allows those that are intentionally obtuse to control the topics and how we discuss them.  They certainly do not see this as a manifestation of power, however that is exactly what it is.

A cisgendered individual need not learn about the life of a trans person if they choose, just as a white person need not learn about the lives of people of color.  When you exist as part of a dominant social body your experience becomes normalized, thereby creating everyone else as “other”.   All of the agents of socialization are geared towards reinforcing normalized identities and therefore unless one chooses to challenge privilege directly, learning about those that society has marginalized will not occur.  Entering spaces designed to highlight the experience of those that we have assigned a spoiled identity to and once again insisting that conversation reify dominant social bodies, is an expression of power and privilege. 

In a post awhile ago I used the term “dumb” to refer to those that did not acknowledge their homophobia.  When a commenter rightfully pointed out that image my language was ableist, my initial reaction was to become angry.  I do believe I remarked to the unhusband, “geesh no one can even speak anymore.” As soon as those words came out of my mouth, I realized that I had engaged in an act of privilege.  The instant you feel anger, that is a cue that an issue needs to be examined.  Anger does not result in a vacuum; in instances like this it is often the manifestation of a desire to maintain a privilege.  In that moment I knew that I had been ableist and I felt regret. 

No one is born outside of discourse and therefore historical events have a real and lasting effect on what is occurring today.  You may never have owned a slave, however there is a direct relation between the impoverishment of Blacks image today and slavery.  Did you see anyone get their 40 acres and mule yet?  When the spurious loans were made to the Black community during the so-called housing boom, it was predicated on a long held desire by the Blacks to own land because that is the best way to transfer wealth from generation to generation, within a capitalist system.  Land has always been denied Blacks because it is a form of racism that supports capitalism. 

Structures and ideologies exist for a reason.  We don’t create them out of boredom, we create them to support hierarchy.  Though we are an inter dependent species, many of our social structures flout our essential nature and promote a form of predatory individualism, that leaves many languishing for basic subsistence and respect.  Much of what I say has been deemed angry or even radical and that is because we have placed social construction above one another.  To actually believe that all bodies matter is understood as a radical thought because it means that I am unwilling to privilege my lived experience over that of another. 

To fight for justice is not an easy thing to do in a world that is dedicated to inequality. I will tell you quite frankly that there are days when I do not want to check my e-mail or even read the comments on this blog because they are often filled with such ignorance or hatred.  I press forward because I have no choice.  I press forward because despite the negativity, I believe in the fundamental goodness of people.   If we were to acknowledge how heartbreakingly beautiful we are as a species, much of the angst and social unrest we experience would disappear.  It is ignorance and privilege that will divide and destroy us but only if we choose to allow them to continue to be the barometer for how we lead our lives. 


Drop It Like It’s Hot

Hello everyone.  Thanks for another great week of discussion.  We cannot always agree on all subjects but if we are conversing there is always room for change and growth.   As always, I want to remind everyone to try and be respectful of each other.  I want this to be a safe space for all and this cannot happen if people engage in racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, ageism or ableism.  The number one rule of this blog is that ALL PEOPLE MATTER and I hope that we will all remember that as we continue our conversations.

I also want to remind everyone that Womanist Musings has an open guest posting policy.  If there is an issue you are passionate about don’t be shy to send me an e-mail with either an original or a cross post. I am not an expert on all issues and the best way to broaden the conversations here is if we all contribute. 

Below you will find links to posts that I found interesting.  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.

Sick Whites ‘Blame A Black Man’

Children of Bad Memories

The new face of black face

One Man’s Menstruation

Was Rape an Enhanced Interrogation Technique?

Lessons from KRXQ-FM: Hate Speech Shouldn’t Go Unchallenged

Covered life gives new perspective

An American Crises

Black Women  Bear the Burden of Domestic Violence

Catholic columnist: homosexuality = eating disorder

FemiNoshing: Our Tortured Relationship with Food

The love that dares to speak its name

Rape is NOT a game

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Friday, June 12, 2009

In The Name Of Guns The Council Of Conservative Americans Dresses Sotomayor In KKK Cap

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If you believe that you should have the right to education and self determination, obviously you are against whitey.  Heaven forbid you exist as a woman of color and decide to allow your experience to shape your world view when everyone knows that whiteness is the great normaliser. 

It is far easier for an extremist group to refer to Sotomayor as a”whitey hating judge", than to admit the racism that they are employing.  In this instance they hide their bigotry behind the second amendment. Inexplicably defending gun ownership somehow allows them to engage in racism as though the two are somehow connected.    As far as I know there have never been roving bands of Latino’s burning, raping and pillaging to maintain undeserved privilege.

“I think that the only reason Clarence Thomas is on the Court is because he is black. I don’t believe he could have won had he been white. And the reason is, I think it was a cynical ploy by President Bush.” - Sotomayer AKA the Pot calling the Kettle Black.

What Sotomayor is saying is that if you are willing to play Uncle Tom, as Clarence Thomas is clearly willing to do, then whiteness will allow a certain degree of success.  No group is ever able to police large amounts of citizenry without employing those who have internalized negative values to aid in the exploitation.  Thomas is where he is precisely because he is useful to whiteness and not because he is willing to challenge the dominant racist discourse that maintains the divide between people of color and Whiteness.

By appointing Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, Obama is attempting to undo generations of White supremacy.  There were no complaints when year after year White men used their frame of reference to interpret the law to their benefit because it supported the White supremacist state.

As these hate mongers shake their fist and decry the fact that Sotomayor is a benefit of affirmative action, they conveniently forget that it works both ways.  When whiteness acts in its own defence or promotes members of society that are White we don’t see this as affirmative action…oh no then it is normal or to be expected.  When people of color gain from affirmative action then of course they are getting “special treatment”. 

Fear is behind this hate.  Whiteness fears that the chickens are coming home to roost.   It is well aware of the crimes against humanity that it has committed against people of color and one day there will be a reckoning.   It is not a matter of hating whitey; it is a matter of wanting justice and it is this that causes these extremists groups to tremble with fear.



Kate Gosselin: When Mommy Isn’t Perfect

In the video above Maddy complains of being dehydrated and asks her mother for water.  Kate then requests a bottle of water but then drinks it when it arrives, denying her child the opportunity to quench her thirst.  Kate announces that the interview is about to start and that everyone will have their needs taken care of afterwards.  When Maddy complains again she is told to be quiet by her mother.

Clearly this is not a shining moment for Kate and to make matters worse, it was all caught on film.  Those that have been looking for the smallest excuse to vilify her will take this little clip and run to the moon and back with it.

Michelle Collins of the Best Week Ever, turned this little episode into a tirade.  She called for Kates children to be removed by child protective services. Apparently Kate’s attitude is so terrible that she needs to be forcibly stopped.

It is clear that Kate Gosselin is not the perfect mother, but no one is.  Each day we all make mistakes, say things we wish we could take back and display a lack of patience.   It is only because the discourse of “perfect mommy” exists, that we are able to so easily denigrate women like Kate. 

Of course she made a mistake, in fact I am sure that it is one of many, however advocating for children to be removed is ridiculous and plays into the stereotype that mothers exist to serve the needs of their children immediately.  Anyone that has watched five seconds of the show knows that Maddy is a drama queen, furthermore waiting a few minutes for a drink did not cause the child permanent damage.

No matter what mother a camera followed, if it recorded honestly the day to day interactions it would reveal moments of imperfection and loss of patience because mothers are HUMAN BEINGS, who have been known from time to time to fuck up. Kate is the mother of eight and no matter how much we love our children there are days when they will drive us around the bend or we will be thoughtless in our actions.  

No one will ever get it all right and what matters is that we get it more right than wrong.  How about we give Kate a break and stop trying to shame her for not being the perfect June Cleaver.  Society is hard enough on women without us all lining up to judge and jump all over one another.


Congratulations to Thomas Beattie In Spite of “The Views” Transphobia

Thomas recently gave birth to a baby boy.  Despite the fact that he and his wife Susan are leading happy lives, there are those that cannot seem to check their transphobia at the door.  Genitalia does not equal gender and to me that seems like a fairly easy concept to understand.  There is no need to write man in quotation marks when referring to Beattie because he is unequivocally a man, despite giving birth vaginally twice.

image This week my youngest actually surrendered the television to me during daytime hours and I decided to watch an episode of The View.  I would have been better off watching Barney than listening to their transphobic screed.  Sherrie, Whoopie, Joy and Elizabeth sat there comfortably in their chairs and declared Thomas a woman. 

Sherrie in particular was adamant that because Thomas still possessed a vagina that made him a woman.  Vagina equals woman, she stated emphatically and repeatedly.  Whoopie went on to confirm her statements by agreeing that because Thomas retained the ability to become pregnant, that he was indeed still female.

What these women fail to recognize is that the ability to declare has always been the prerogative of groups that exist with social power and therefore by labelling Thomas a woman, despite the fact that he has declared that he is male, they were expressing cisgender privilege and transphobic hate. None of these women are going to spend any significant time with Thomas and yet they felt empowered to deny him the right to determine for himself what gender he is able to live in.

Barbara was the only person who attempted to speak on Thomas’s behalf but she was shut down by the four other women.  Elizabeth seemed content to believe that if we caught a child attempting to subvert traditional gender roles at an early age and redirected their attention to the appropriate activities and toys, image that  they would learn to conform properly.  Nothing like raising a little automaton incapable of thinking for themselves, or expressing views that are inclusive and therefore essential for a progressive society. 

These so-called progressive women are more than happy to essentialize gender roles if it means oppressing someone that is not like them but you can rest assured that if it meant that they were forced to perform genderized work i.e. stay home and play good little wife while the husband works, you would hear an uproar.  Gender is not something to be trotted out for convenience and then tucked away when it is employed to hamper the ability of women to participate fully in society. 

image Joy claims to be a feminist and yet her position in this instance would necessarily mean that she is unsupportive of transwomen.  If she cannot recognize Beatties maleness then she would be unable to recognize a transwomans femaleness.  How does oppressing the trans community forward a feminist agenda in any way?  All it does is reify a hierarchy of bodies that we know to be damaging.

The women of The View may not have been able to express joy at Thomas’s ever expanding family, however I wish him and his wife Susan nothing but the best.  Gender never has been or ever will be a simple binary and the sooner that we accept that, the sooner families like the Beatties will be able to go about their lives without being demeaned or reduced. 

Today Thomas is the father of two. He eloquently stated, “I feel it's not a male or female desire to have a child. It's a human need. I'm a person and I have the right to have a biological child, We are a man, woman and child. It's ironic that we are so different but yet, we're just a family, just the same as anyone else."  It matters now how the family came to be existence, what matters is that they love each other unconditionally.


Dear Poor White People

Dear poor white people:

image I am specifically addressing this to the working/under class people who are white; how much longer are you going to continue to be dupes?  Your ability to act in the best interests of others rather than yourselves is idiotic and has lasted generations.  

From the minute the first black slave landed on the continent, it was never in your best interest to support slavery.  Why would someone hire a poor working class white man or woman when they could buy a slave or rent a slave for a nominal fee?  When slavery came under attack, you  foolishly spilt your blood to defend an intuition that impoverished you and dehumanized blacks because you foolishly believed in the value of whiteness.

Along come the Indian wars and you once again lined up to become  murderers.  The lure of supposed dominance and the potential to own land was enough to cause you to act against your interest.  Hello idiot, if they were not going to let Indigenous peoples keep their land, what made you believe the rich bourgeoisie whose ultimate goal is consumption, would allow you to keep your stolen property?  Once again you counted falsely on your white skin to protect  you, forgetting that capitalism only cares about order of exploitation and is intent on swallowing all whole.

image Even when you finally recognized that class consciousness was necessary and formed unions many of them were quickly disbanded when employers questioned your allegiance to whiteness.  Nope, cannot be in a union with a person of color despite the fact that you sweated next to one another in the same mines, or factories.   It is far better to allow the employer to exploit your labour than admit that as proletariat you had more in common with people of color.

Today you join white supremacist groups or so-called border controls convinced that people of color are taking over “your” country.  Latino’s are taking American jobs you scream, forgetting that these are jobs that you don’t aspire to and allowing the bourgeoisie to pay the so-called illegal workers wages that barely provide subsistence and further drive down your wages. 

Thick in your discourse is hatred towards poor women of color on welfare as though they are captains of industry and are living the high life.   Where is your angst towards the white male CEO, who awards himself millions in bonuses while  you look for kraft dinner on sale? 

Every time you have depended on whiteness to protect you, it has only served as a pecking order for exploitation and yet you refuse to see that you have more image in common with a poor working class person of color than a rich white male CEO.  Every time the Republicans cut social programs they don’t exclude poor whites;  it is an assault on ALL poor people and yet you continue to vote for them.

Whiteness does not offer you the protection that you believe that it does.  How many generations are you going to spend on the wrong side of history before finally acknowledging the class commonalities that you share with people of color?  You have been duped into committing atrocious acts, spilt your own blood, and have slaved away in an exploitative capitalist system but hey you’re white right and it has done sooooo much for you. 


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Perhaps Peaches Geldoff Got Lucky

image Max Drummey, the guitarist for Chester French, has admitted that his brief marriage to Peaches Geldoff was a hoax. Apparently even as they swore to a lifetime of fidelity, Peaches was on the payroll as a “friend for money” After a quick 10-day romance they were married in Las Vegas and divorced in February. Though this marriage was to garner publicity for the band, from the lack of attendance at what was only their fourth London gig in Shoreditch, perhaps marrying for the sake of attention is not the wisest PR move.

When one plan fails, it is always best to have a back up and it seems that Drummey has decided to garner attention through offensive language. In a rant reported by the Daily Mail regarding the alleged domestic abuse situation between Chris Brown and Rihanna Drumney stated, “'We're guys who have been hurt by women and I'm glad people like Chris Brown are finally taking it back and hurting women.'

Whether this marriage was a hoax or not, any woman spending significant amounts of time with this man is in danger because he believes that violence against women is justifiable for hurt feelings. Violence is just one of the ways in which men express power coercively over women.

Domestic Battery in many instances leads to death. According to the United Nations of the UK, two women will die of domestic abuse every week. In a recent study seventy-four percent of British men would report a dog being beaten, but only fifty-three percent of men would report a domestic violence incident.

Children who are reared in homes in which violence is a regular occurrence often grow with anti-social issues as well as experience long absences from school. Those that identify with the abuser will go on to abuse their future spouses and children. The longer the abuse, the greater the circle of victimization becomes.

Violence against women occurs on a daily basis, and because of our second class standing, it is not taken seriously. Some will openly speak out against those who beat their wives and yet take no issue with violence in the media or in comedic routines because they are not deemed real. It is quite easy to dismiss the commentary of a man like Max Drummey as the rantings of an immature youth; however, language all too often translates into action.

Language is a reflection of our shared social beliefs and therefore if we find it humorous or not worthy of commentary when violence against women is discussed in the mainstream media, it is because we have already deemed women to be of little value socially. When women speak out against such language, we are accused of being too sensitive and yet it is our bodies that will ultimately be broken to maintain undeserved patriarchal privilege. Drummey is a product of our social world and though what he said was reprehensible, it is merely a reflection of the ways in which violence has become institutionalized. His marriage to Peaches Geldoff may well have been a publicity stunt but clearly an intimate relationship was not in her best interest to begin with. Identifying with a man that has been accused of beating his girlfriend is a sure marker of someone who has internalized violence as a right of masculinity.


Gordon Ramsay on Tracy Grimshaw: a Case of Foot-in-Mouth Disease

I have a new post up at Global Comment

image Gordon Ramsay is known as much for his culinary creations as his foul mouth. There are few subjects that the famous chef feels unqualified to comment on, forgetting that his speciality is cooking and not sociology. In his most recent tirade he decided to insult Australian TV host Tracy Grimshaw.

In the name of fun, in front of an audience of thousands at the Good Food and Wine Show, Ramsay displayed an image of a naked woman on all fours with multiple breasts and a pig’s face and then stated, “That’s Tracy Grimshaw. I had an interview with her yesterday - holy crap. She needs to see Simon Cowell’s Botox doctor.” He then went on to call Grimshaw a lesbian.

Given that Ramsay specifically requested that Grimshaw not question him about his personal life (read: lecherous behaviour), the fact that he felt empowered to speculate on hers speaks volumes about the degree of arrogance and patriarchal privilege that Ramsay operates with. Though many posit that we have reached a post-feminist world, men and women are often subject to different rules socially.

Demeaning a woman based on her physical appearance is one of the many ways in which men maintain privilege.  Ramsay’s language and behaviour were both sexist and abusive. A pig Photo-shopped onto the head of a nude female body is an insult to all women. Comedy is often used as a cover for sexism, as though it does not spring from a well of misogyny specifically created to ensure a divide between the sexes.

Though Botox has become a common form of physical alteration, it is not a procedure that should be entered into lightly. How is having botulism injected into ones face for the appearance of youth related to journalism? Ramsay could offer no critique of how Grimshaw performed her duties and therefore, as is often the case with professional women, insulting her physical appearance was the way to go. Men are seldom demeaned in a way that specifically assaults their masculinity.

Finish Reading Here

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Pastor Drake Prays For Obamas Death On Fox News

Alan Colmes: Well you say you are praying for the death of somebody using imprecatory prayers, I then asked for whom else are you praying you then said President Obama.  Are you praying for his death?

Drake: yes

Alan Colmes: So you are praying for the death of the president of the United States

Drake: Yes

Alan Colmes: Are you concerned by saying that you might find yourself on a secret service call or on some kind of FBI wanted list? Do you think it is appropriate to say something like that, or even pray for something like that? 

Drake: I think it is appropriate to pray the word of God.  I’m not saying anything. What I am doing is repeating what God is saying and if that puts me on somebody's list then I’ll just have to be on their list. 

Alan Colmes: You would like the president of the United States to die?

Drake: If he does not turn to God and does not turn his life around, I am asking God to enforce imprecatory prayers that are through out the scripture, that would cause him death that is correct.

Regarding the death of Dr Tiller at 2:52 minutes into the recording

Caller: You don’t think your little prayer effect looney tunes coming out of the wood work to do your acts?

Drake: No honestly not. In fact since this guy did murder George Tiller it’s gonna set the pro-life movement back considerably.

Apparently the death of George Tiller was an answer to a prayer.  “Drake said he didn't pray for Tiller to be murdered -- only that God would take his life by some method -- but that he "absolutely" believed that God wanted the doctor dead.”

Fundies always split hairs to try to justify the violence that their language invokes.   Did he think that God was going to sending a lightening bolt to smite Tiller?  We don’t live inside the old testament. Let’s be real shall we, Drake openly advocated for the death of a man and the result is that Tiller was murdered in his place of worship. How is that for leaving it all up to God?

He now has publicly advocated for the death of the president of the United States.  How much more evidence is needed that these people should be brought to heel?  You cannot have a conversation or try to negotiate with anyone who believes in murder as a resolution.  Drake and men of his ilk are terrorists, and are no different than Timothy McVeigh. 

They wrap their hate speech in God and country to disguise the damage that it causes, however it is clear that these fundamentalist Christians have only selectively chosen to fixate on certain passages of the bible, while ignoring the pleas of Jesus for peace and brotherhood. 

Since the election of Obama the hate speech and white supremacist groups have surged forward.  They view relations between the races as a war and are determined to maintain undeserved white privilege at all costs.  One does not ignore a declaration of war unless capitulation is the planned line of action.

Men like Drake are cowards that live in fear.  They know that what they are advocating is not justice or even in the least bit humane but their inability and in most cases outright refusal to see beyond their life and their experiences renders them dangerous.  The only person in that interview that needs to get right with Jesus is Drake. 



When A Racist/Sexist Is President Of A School Board

Comedy often serves as a cover for many to express their racist or sexist ideas.  When minority groups complain we are often told that we are either being to sensitive or simply don’t have a sense of humour.   It is not amusing to dehumanize another and only those operating with privilege believe that they have the right to belittle another for the sake of amusement. 

image The Buffalo News reported about the e-mails that Board President Robert J. Weller has been regularly forwarding to other board members. According to Weller, “All the messages were sent from a personal e-mail account and on his personal computer, not a school e-mail account or school-owned equipment.

The e-mails included the following according to The Buffalo News:

  • A photo of Barack Obama, depicted making a campaign promise to deliver jobs to “everyone who can work.” In the background of the doctored image is a group of African-Americans running away.
  • A mock news release from the Detroit Police Department that claims the department will replace German shepherd police dogs with “coon dogs, due to the fact the city is not having any problems with Germans.”
  • A doctored photo of Chelsea Clinton holding up a T-shirt that reads, “My mom is getting her ass kicked by a Negro.”
  • A list of a dozen male chauvinist “jokes,” including an explanation that women have smaller feet to allow them “to stand closer to the kitchen sink,” and a woman’s broken watch shouldn’t be fixed because “there is a clock on the oven.”

“They can accuse all they want to,” Weller said, “but I didn’t do anything other than what everybody else in the world does.”

The messages fall under his freedom of speech, he said, adding that he did not author them, but merely forwarded them. Weller, who said he thought fellow board members “could use a joke and lighten up once in a while,” also said, “at least I don’t discriminate. . . . I got a whole list of people I send to.”

Adamant that he’s done nothing wrong, Weller had a message for his critics: “Tell ’em he who’s without sin [should] cast the first stone.”

Even if others in society are racist or sexist, it does not give Weller the right to spread his particular brand of hatred across the internet.  It is not funny or amusing and his obstinate refusal to either apologize or resign is proof of the privilege that  is embedded to white male bodies. It is further irrelevant that Weller did not create the “jokes” in question because by forwarding them he tacitly approved of their messages and ignored the potential to cause harm both to the viewers and those that were the subjects of his offensive commentary.

Once again we can see that freedom of speech is being invoked to defend the atrocious behaviour of a bigot.  Looking specifically at his commentary image regarding “coon dogs”, it is clear that the intent is to dehumanize Blacks.  Each time that there has been a genocide or systemic violence against any group the first step is to ensure that they are not viewed as human by the rest of society.  This kind of language has always lead to violence and to hide behind the mantra of free speech as though such discourse exists without cost is reprehensible.  Men like Weller cannot see the link because they have always been at the top of the race and gender hierarchy.  When you don’t have to pay the cost for hate speech in dead bodies, rape and blood, one can afford to be ignore its potentialities.

It is even more distressful that this man is in a position of authority.  Working in education means that he will have the ability to insert influence over what children are taught and even if he does not display such covert examples of racism and sexism, it is certain that because he holds these views that such messages will covertly be passed along.   Children do not inherently see gender or race differences as less than; it is through interaction with adults that they learn to value bodies differently.  It is not enough for a man like Weller to undergo race and gender sensitivity training when he holds a position that has the ability to effect future generations.  If we truly believe that children are precious we need to guard against potential harm and that includes allowing men like Weller to have any influence over their education.

H/T Kathy Spillman via e-mail


Beauty Boot Camp

image Summer vacation is fast approaching and many parents are desperately seeking affordable activities to keep their children active and out of trouble.  Though the Niagara region is small, there are often many options to choose from.  This year Niagara college has decided to offer Beauty Boot Camp for tweens and teens.

Beauty Boot Camp for Teens
KIDS 1007 C

Calling all girls (emphasis mine) from thirteen through sixteen! Join us in our Esthetics Lab for a great learning experience and some amazing fun! You will learn how to do facials, makeup, nails, and up-dos to enhance your own natural beauty. Come on out and make some new friends while learning beauty fashion tips. Develop your own style, flair, and creativity! Enjoy learning how to give each other spa treatments and how to create your own beauty products. Don’t miss this experience! Register early as seats are limited.

Fee: $85.00 + $40.00 (mat) = $125.00

Course Dates and Campus Locations:
Class Number: 1254
Campus: Niagara-on-the-Lake

Mon/Tue/Wed/Thu/Fri Jul 13 - Jul 17 9 am - 12 pm
Class Number: 1255
Campus: Niagara-on-the-Lake

Mon/Tue/Wed/Thu/Fri Jul 27 - Jul 31 9 am - 12 pm
Class Number: 1256
Campus: Niagara-on-the-Lake

Mon/Tue/Wed/Thu/Fri Aug 17 - Aug 21 9 am - 12 pm

Nothing like making sure that your daughter spends the summer being reminded that her ultimate role as a future woman is to ensure that she is beautiful at all times.  That’s right, enhance your “natural beauty” because every woman knows no matter how pretty she is more always needs to be done.  Heaven forbid children learn to accept and love themselves for who and what they are. 

Gee what fun, facials, makeup and nails oh my.   We can all follow the yellow brick road to gender performativity that renders girls and women irrelevant socially.  Though this class is happening at Niagara College, similar courses can be found all over North America.   No other classes are specifically designated by gender.

image The  beauty industry is predatory and daily makes a fortune on the fears of women.  It is an industry of snake oil salesmen selling false “cures “ for imaginary flaws.  Many of the claims purported by these magical creams have been proven patently untrue by dermatologist.  It is impossible for them to penetrate the epidermis deeply enough to have the results that they claim and like lambs to the slaughter we line up to spend our hard earned disposable income.  Instead of arming our daughters with knowledge, courses like this just set up another generation of women to be duped.

If we are going to take the time to create classes by gender, how about one where both boys and girls learn affirming messages?  How about a class where they learn that it is okay to subvert gender norms if that is what makes them happy and comfortable?  A radical thought I know, a class that teaches children to think while at the same time affirming that the constructions which we  create are certainly not relevant or helpful for everyone.


Taking A Ride In A Vagina

image Every where we look there are phallic images in architecture because we have uplifted masculinity as good and normal.  Even in my small city of Niagara Falls we have the Skylon Tower which I consider to be the big penis watching over the city.  Just a few minutes away in the city of St. Catherines, Ontario we have the Schmon Tower at Brock University which stands guard over our institute of higher learning.  What every city seems to need is a pseudo cod piece reaching bravely into the sky.

Rarely do we see the vagina or images symbolic of the vulva as part of our landscape.   Unless it is on display for the sexual titillation of masculinity the vagina is considered to exist without beauty or power.  It is a thing to be possessed even as it is maligned at every opportunity.  

A Finnish artist noticed this trend and sought to normalize images of the vagina by creating a bike taxi in the shape of a vagina.

image Mimosa Pale refers to her work as a “Mobile Female Monument”.   One simply needs to crawl inside the vaginal opening to tour around the city. 

When I first saw this image it gave me a moments pause.  I wholeheartedly agree with Pale that the vagina is under represented in comparison to phallic symbols, however this kind of imagery does not counter the hegemony.  The fact that a passenger must crawl inside it once again reifies the concept of the vagina as existing for penetration and thereby consumption.  Unlike the phallic symbols that we see, this vagina has been put into service thereby once again proving that a penis need simply exist to be of value whereas anything associated with womanhood must justify its existence to be deemed socially relevant.

When we consider how we can change the dichotomy between male and female we must consider how any new images may be read by the casual onlooker.  If we find that we are simply repeating understandings that are already common in our discourse it is a fruitless effort. If we are going to normalize the vagina and create it as equally powerful to our current phallic images, it must stand alone and proudly proclaim its presence without being forced to labour in the service of others.  



Ethnic Makeup

Sometimes when you ask a question you get the education you were not aware that you were sorely in need of.

Transcript Below The Fold.

My glares burn through her.
And I’m sure that such actions aren’t foreign to her
because the essence of her beauty is, well, the essence of beauty.

And in the presence of this higher being,
the weakness of my masculinity kicks in,
causing me to personify my wannabe big-baller, shot-caller,
God’s gift to the female species with shiny suit wrapping rapping like,
“Yo, what’s crackin shorty how you livin’ what’s your sign what’s your size I dig your style, yo.”

Now, this girl was no fool.
She gives me a dirty look with the quickness like,
“Boy, you must be stupid.”
so I’m looking at myself,
“Boy, you must be stupid.”
But looking upon her I am kinda feelin’ her style.

So I try again.
But, instead of addressing her properly,
I blurt out one of my fake-ass playalistic lines like,
“Gurl, you must be a traffic ticket cuz you got fine written all over you.”
Now, she’s trying to leave and I’m trying to keep her here.
So at a final attempt, I utter,
“Gurl, what is your ethnic makeup?”

At this point, her glare was scorching through me,
and somehow she manages to make her brown eyes
resemble some kinda brown fire or something,
but there’s no snap or head moement,
no palm to face, click of tongue, middle finger,
roll of eyes, twist of lips, or girl power chant.
She just glares through me with these burning eyes
and her gaze grabs you by the throat.

She says, “Ethnic makeup?”
She says, “First of all, makeup’s just an anglicized, colonized, commodified utility
that my sisters have been programmed to consume,
forcing them to cover up their natural state
in order to imitate what another sister looks like in her natural state
because people keep telling her
that the other sister’s natural state is more beautiful
than the first sister’s natural state.
At the same time,
the other sister isn’t even in her natural state,
because she’s trying to imitate yet another sister,
so in actuality, the natural state that the first sister’s trying to imitate
wasn’t even natural in the first place.”

Now I’m thinking, “Damn, this girl’s kicking knowledge!”
But, meanwhile, she keeps spitting on it like
“Fine. I’ll tell you bout my ‘ethnic makeup.’
I wear foundation,
not that powdery shit,
I wear the foundation laid by my indigenous people.
It’s that foundation that makes it so that past being globalized,
I can still vocalize with confidence that i know where my roots are.
I wear this foundation not upon my face, but within my soul,
and I take this from my ancestors
because I’ll be damned if I’d ever let an American or European corporation
tell me what my foundation
should look like.”

I wear lipstick,
for my lips stick to the ears of men,
so they can experience in surround sound my screams of agony
with each lash of rulers, measuring tape, and scales,
as if my waistline and weight are inversely propotional to my value as a human being.
See my lips, they stick, but not together.
Rather, they flail open with flames to burn down this culture that once kept them shut.
Now, I mess with eye shadow,
but my eyes shadow over this time where you’ve gone at ends to keep me blind.
But you can’t cover my eyes, look into them.
My eyes foreshadow change.
My eyes foreshadow light.
and I’m not into hair dyeing.
but I’m here, dying, because this oppression won’t get out of my hair.
I have these highlights.
They are highlights of my past atrocities,
they form this oppression I can’t wash off.
It tangles around my mind and twists and braids me in layers,
this oppression manifests,
it’s stressing me so that even though I don’t color my hair,
in a couple of years it’ll look like I dyed it gray.
So what’s my ethnic makeup ?
I don’t have any.
Because your ethnicity isn’t something you can just make up.
And as for that crap my sisters paint on their faces, that’s not makeup, it’s make-believe.”

I can’t seem to look up at her.
and I’m sure that such actions aren’t foreign to her
because the expression on her face
shows that she knows that my mind is in a trance.

As her footsteps fade, my ego is left in crutches.
And rejection never sounded so sweet.

– Adriel Luis

H/T Diabola


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Whose Voices Get Heard

This will probably be the only post I write today as I have personal issues that will keep me away from the internet until late in the evening.

image Monica of transgriot made an excellent observation a few months ago when she pointed out the drop in the technocrati ratings in the post election period for black blogs on the BBR.   Whether we like to admit it or not, the blogosphere is just as segregated by race as any other section of society.  Unless it relates directly to so-called “Black issues”, we are not getting read or linked to.  Anyone perusing the BBR would find that though these blogs are Black owned and operated they cover a multitude of subjects. 

Just as Womanist Musings covers everything from race to politics, to current events, so to do the other BBR blogs.  We are small fish in a large pond fighting image for a piece of kale like everyone else, with the difference being that we must also combat racism when we try to achieve a larger readership.

The internet is considered the great equalizer and blogs like ProBlogger regularly publish tips on how to grow a blog without considering that a blogger of color is labouring under a unique set of circumstances if we choose to make our identity public.  A generic path to success i.e. “content is king mentality” is not enough to garner attention.

Many bloggers labour in near obscurity not because their writing skills are substandard or from a lack of interesting commentary but simply for daring to speak truth to power. 

Monica often reminds me that truth tellers are not always palatable and this statement is proven almost daily in the comment section of this blog alone.  When it comes to speaking about our experiences from a specifically afro-centric lens there is much resistance simply because whiteness has become accustomed to regularly seeing itself reflected in all conversations.  To speak about Blackness as though we are equals or worthy of any form of human dignity is often seen as an affront.  If I had a dollar for all of the times I have been called a racist in the last year, I could get the unhusband that Winnebago he has been dying for.

image Though most of my readers come from the “feminist” blogosphere it has not escaped my attention that even within the sphere of influence in which I operate, racism still continues to determine who is successful.  I have written about the dependency on white feminist for links in order to gain readership thus forcing a blogger to censor their words should they have ambitious goals for their blog.  In the last few weeks I have been very vocal about calling out both feministing bloggers and commenter's and I expect that I will pay a price in terms of link return.  This was a decision I made with full awareness of the political games that most bloggers play.  Feministing is not the worst offender, it simply happens to be the largest offender. 

If conventional means don’t work for bloggers of color and we repeatedly find ourselves beholden to the “whiteosphere” for attention or validation for our work, we are only recreating the same racial dynamics online that already exist in the “real world”.   We cannot solve the problem by simply avoiding a discussion of race because that only reifies the racial dynamics that are at play. 

Each Saturday I write a link love post in which I specifically look for smaller blogs that don’t receive the attention that they deserve.  I further provide the opportunity for other bloggers to promote their work.   Even as I try to spread the love around the blogosphere, I am fully cognizant that those efforts are not enough to undo the divide that exists.   No matter how proactive bloggers of color are to promote each other, unless white bloggers decide to look beyond their desire to privilege the work of fellow white bloggers, our work will continue to be done in obscurity. 

image There is much brilliance that daily gets ignored and each time you choose to avoid a blog written by a person of color you are missing an opportunity to grow.  Using us as a referential for “specialty” topics (read: race related) is very racist.  We are not one trick ponies and have varying interests.   Today I challenge you to check out a few of the blogs on the BBR.  Who you read says much about who you are and which voices you truly value.  Claiming to believe in equality is meaningless if it is not followed by action.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Number 10 On The BBR

image Every month the electronic villager diligently compiles a list of the black owned and operated blogs and lists them by ranking.  When I first appeared I was ranked somewhere in the low 800’s.  A lot has changed since that day.  Thanks to  all of the great readers here, Womanist Musings has been skyrocketing up the list and today I am THRILLED to report that  it is listed at number 10 out of 1704 blogs.  WOOT WOOT WOOT.

I would also like to put a shout out to my fellow blogger and friend Monica of TransGriot who is now number 34.  We’ve come a long way baby and the sky is the limit.

When “Good Girls” Engage In Oral Sex

It seems we need to hit  panic mode because “the prettiest girls from the best families are at risk.”  When “good girls from affluent families” decide to engage in sexual activity, we risk the end of civilization as we know it.  Sharlene Azam makes it a point to let us know that she is not focusing on marginalized young women; it seems that they are expected to be raving whores.  Why else do WOC exist but to be the cum receptacles for horny young males in their sexual right of passage?

The lurid behaviour of these young girls threatens to destabilize the pedestal that white womanhood has been placed upon and therefore it must be brought to an end forthwith.  How dare these young girls actually believe that their bodies belong to them to do with as they please.   What if they engage in sex and decide that they like it? Oh dear we cannot possibly have that because everyone knows that sex is something that men enjoy and women reluctantly submit to. 

One girl states:

We’re not looking for um this is my future husband, At our age, especially I think all of us both sexes we have a lot of urges I guess that need to be taken care of.  So if we need to resort to a casual thing, no strings attached it’s perfectly fine.

gasp… young girls have sexual urges…vaginas not made of stone, wow who would have thought.   You will note that Azam did not find it necessary to comment about the boys that are having sex with these young girls because apparently such behaviour does not harm them.  No where does she consider that they may be participating in this activity because they to feel social pressure to be sexually active.  We’ll just go right on ahead and essentialize sexual activity by gender because that is what everyone is comfortable with right?

If we are going to be concerned about the behaviour of our teens it should not  be about whether or not they are engaging in sex, but whether or not the sex was consensual and safe.   As much as we love our children we do not own them, nor can we make decisions about what they do with their bodies.  The moral panic that is created by this video is sexist because it asserts that unless sex occurs under certain conditions that it is unacceptable.    We may not always like the decisions that young women make but if we truly believe in the autonomy of women we have to respect their right to be sexual beings and act on their urges.

;

Don’t call me liberated.

This is a guest post by Sarah Carmichael

Sarah declared when she was three years old that "no man is gonna take my name away from me!" Ever since, she has advocated for justice and called out bigotry, as she believes that silence is permission.  Sarah currently supports young people in their advocacy efforts, online and offline, and is passionate about social media for social change.

I hate to say it, but the women’s liberation movement did me and the women of my generation (and those to follow) a grave injustice.  I appreciate the intention, but the implications have been damaging.  The fiercely independent women of my generation have not been taught how to let someone else take care of us, and we have been conditioned to resent taking care of a partner, especially a man.  How then, can we create and foster meaningful, lasting relationships?

By most standards, I am a pretty successful woman.  I have a career.  I make more money than my male counterpart. I have paid off my car, which I was able to buy new. We bought our house on my credit rating, which is impeccable.  I am a mother. I run my home and provide the basics for my family – food, shelter, and love.  I don’t do it alone, but I know I could if I had to.

Good for me!  I am everything to everyone.  Thank you, liberation.  Having not lived for the better part of the 20th century, I cannot speak to the intentions of the women who fought for our rights to be human (aside from speculating that the intention was good and pure and true).  Unfortunately, implication trumps intention and the implications of the feminist movement are severe.

Instead of celebrating the differences of men and women and demanding that the work that women have been doing for thousands of years be valued, women’s liberation focused on ‘anything you can do, I can do (better).’  In so doing, forcing women to change to meet the standard in order to prove our worth, instead of forcing the standard to change to include us.  Internalized oppression was so profound that women did not see the worth in what they did and what they were inherently good at doing.

I have no interest in becoming a ‘like a man’ to prove my worth.  I am different from a man and I embrace that.  I want to throw like a girl and run like a girl and drive like a woman.  That is what I am.  I don’t want to be expected to “man up” and “grow a pair.”

We need equity, not equality; they are not the same.  Equality is about sameness.  Equity is about recognizing differences, celebrating them, and not evaluating people based upon those differences.

For thousands of years, women have provided for, supported, loved, raised, fed, and loved our families and children.  We have prepared our young for the world and for their futures.  We have been entrusted with the task of raising the generation to follow us (generation after generation).  In what kind of world  is providing the basic needs of food (cooking), shelter (homemaking), and love (staying at home)  not valued?

As a result of being liberated, I am now forced to choose between providing for my child and parenting him.  I do not have time to prepare the healthiest of meals, nor do I have adequate time to maintain a healthy home.  Sure, I get help from my male counterpart, but the responsibility falls upon me.

The pressure is overwhelming and the expectations, extreme.  Women have not been liberated, but the illusion that we have has been masterfully created and maintained, which further devalues us and strips us of our voice.  We have been silenced by the right to vote and the right to work.  As much as I appreciate those developments, I recognize that they both should have been a given in the first place.

Equity eliminates power structures and oppressive systems.  If cooking, homemaking, and child-rearing were valued to the same degree as working outside the home and making money, then there would be no supremacy in the home and more balance.  Having everyone responsible for everything is ineffective and inefficient.

I am not liberated and I am tired having my worth defined by how well I measure up to the male standard.  Value what I am inherently good at and allow me to do it.   The freedom to choose comes from true liberation.  Women need to choose what they are good at, individually and feel free to do that.  However, society needs to value what has been dubbed “women’s work.”  There needs to be a paradigm shift to remove the negative connotation and stigma of what has been women’s work for centuries upon centuries…

I struggle with the values of this world I know.  I know they are arbitrary and misguided, wrong and damaging.  They are so ingrained that even when oppressed people stand up and fight for their basic human rights, the message is twisted and the standard gets to be perceived as doing them a favour, and that’s only if the rights are granted, which they are often not.  Why do we let let this continue?


The Romantic Musings Of Glenn Beck

Well I decided that I should not be the only one disturbed by the following video.  Hold on to your lunch everyone.

H/T Pandagon

15 Year Old Rape Victim Gets No Justice In Boward

It has been stated repeatedly that the bodies of black girls/women are always already sexualized.  What we fail to really conceptualize when these words pass our lips is that this translates into the rape of Black women/girls.  Our bodies have been violated for generations by both Black and White men because we are seen as commodities and jezebels.  Who cries for us but our mothers and sisters because they share our pain and carry the scars of the same abuse.

Rage is what I feel when I think of young girls who are not safe because some man feels the need to express his power and hatred against women by raping a fifteen year old girl.  Fifteen should be a time of discovery, laughter and innocence, yet for far too many young women of color it is the time that they are forced to become aware of just how little they are valued in this world.

A fifteen year girl was allegedly gang raped by 6 men.  Some even took pictures of the act and yet the Broward State Attorney's Office has decided not to file criminal charges against two of the men accused of participating. 

image image One man (Johnson) went as far as to tell police that he stopped when “"he noticed the victim crying and discontinued receiving oral sex." That damn well sounds like an admission of guilt to me.  Police also retrieved photographic evidence of the alleged rape.  These men are now freely walking the street.  Who knows when they will decide to hold another young girl captive and violate her.

Dear God, if they don’t want to charge these men with rape at least charge them with statutory rape.  One man claimed that he thought the victim was 18-19 but he did not stop to ascertain whether or not his suspicions were correct.  How much more evidence does the D.A need to prosecute?  Furthermore, what about child pornography charges.  If a girl can be charged for taking nude photos of herself then why are these men not being held accountable for their actions?  The D.A has a multitude of options, the issue here is that s/he does not care to exercise them.

Instead of simply stating that the victim is “uncooperative,” how about a little understanding for her condition.   It is highly understandable that after being gang raped by six men why one would be in fear and traumatized. What she needs is justice and counselling, not proof that once again the world views black female bodies as valueless. 

Each time a woman gets violated and it goes unpunished it teaches men that they have a right to our bodies.  As these men sit comfortably in their homes a young girl is haunted with memories of their actions.  Generation after generation of WOC have been raped without ever receiving justice because we stand at the bottom of the race and gender hierarchy.  Pundits love to tell us that things are getting so much better and I must ask for who?  Please someone tell me who it is better for, when a young fifteen year old girl can be gang raped and the perpetrators are allowed to go free.

H/T What About Our Daughters


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Obama Promotes Choice in Cairo

I have a new post up at Global Comment

image

The ability to choose is paramount to the freedom and autonomy of women globally. Patriarchy has invested much in ensuring that women have reduced opportunities and are penalized severely should they attempt to step outside of traditional gender roles. In the West, we often look to the Middle East as the epitome of female oppression thereby disregarding how this understanding is Islamophobic as well beneficial to patriarchy.

Comparing ourselves to other groups of women is not the path to achieving equality. Even when we disagree with the decisions that women make, we must remember that if each person has the right to determine their life’s path, this will immeasurably improve the circumstances for women globally. Obama recognized this when he gave his speech at Cairo University.

Though some have come to view the hijab as the ultimate symbol of women’s oppression, this can only be understood in this way if we purposefully forget that, for example, for many women in Iran, the hijab was donned in support of the revolution started by the Ayatollah Khomeini in rejection of the corrupt government that was controlled by Western nations. The hijab came to represent a rejection of Western decadence and deceit.

Finish Reading Here

Remember James Byrd

image Eleven years ago today, James Byrd met his death at the hands of Lawrence Russell Brewer, 31, Shawn Allen Berry, and John William King, both 23.  Byrd was walking home when he was picked up by these men. He was pulled behind their  pickup truck by a chain attached to his ankles. He was alive when his head, shoulder and right arm were separated. 

At the crime scene deputies followed the dark red stains for a mile and found Byrd's head and then his right arm. Another mile, and they found tennis shoes, a wallet, even his dentures. And then the trail ended, at a churned-up patch of grass strewn with empty beer bottles, a lighter bearing white supremacist symbols and a wrench set inscribed with the name "Berry." They dumped his mangled body in a cemetery and never looked back.

King was a known rabid racist long before the death of Byrd.  At trial it was reported that he stated, “blacks are different from whites and are taking over everything -- taking over welfare.” In a jailhouse letter to Lawrence Brewer while on trial he wrote, “Regardless of the outcome of this, we have made history," King said in a letter intercepted by jail officials. "Death before dishonor. Sieg Heil!" 

Kings actions serve as proof as to why we cannot afford to ignore hate speech.  Language such as this often leads to violence and because it is the most marginalized sections of society that often bear the brunt of the violence, the government has been lax in realizing the seriousness of it.  Language that necessarily dehumanizes another being has historically lead to murder and this is a fact that is true regardless of what country we examine. 

The murder of Byrd had reverberations throughout the African Diaspora.  Despite the claims of whiteness about how evolved America had become, the fact that a Black man could meet his end so cruelly proved to all just how racist the world still was/is.  Former Texas Governor, George W. Bush, declined an invitation to come to Jasper personally to show his outrage over the racial killing.  Is it any wonder he was slow to act when Katrina occurred?

Even those who might have personally felt ill at the thought of the actions of Byrd’s murderers failed to acknowledge that it is actions like this that maintain the White supremacist state.  White hegemony is supported by purposeful actions and whether it is the murder of James Byrd or the purposeful action of white flight when a neighbourhood becomes to “dark”, it is a force which exists through sheer will and determination despite the best efforts of people of color to achieve equality.

White liberals spout the words of Martin Luther King and speak of a post racial world in which the systemic racial issues have either been solved or are well on their way to ending and yet a scant 11 years ago Jasper was  filled with so much racial animosity that the cemetery was segregated.  Even in death people of color were not deemed the equal of whiteness.  What mountaintop have we reached? The Klan roots have always been buried deep in Jasper and though there are those that would blame it on poverty and a lack of education, the reality is that racism is taught in every single social institution and that is not unique to this little town. 

All three defendants were found guilty of capitol murder, with King and Russell being sentenced to death by lethal injection.  While his murderers were forced to pay for their crimes, the problem is that Blacks are still subject to violence based in race.  If these incidents continue to occur how can we possibly declare this a post racial world? Brandon McClelland died in the same fashion as Byrd in 2008, proving that regardless of the potential punishment because racism has become such a necessary facet of maintaining undeserved privilege, whiteness will continue to commit violent acts.  Even as whiteness prided itself on being racially blind enough to elect a Black man as president yet another Black man, Oscar Grant met his hands at the hands of a White police officer.  These murders are not the actions of individuals temporarily “losing their minds”, they are the result of systemic racism and a desire to ensure that Blacks lead lives entrenched in fear.

Our bodies have always been the target of White anger and racism even as we are constructed as violent and savage.  Even speaking about racism is considered divisive as whiteness would much prefer we sing Michael Row the Boat Ashore and pretend that the crimes against us have come to an end. We cannot forget James Byrd and the cruel way in which he died because at any moment we could be next.


Sunday Shame: Gross Food and Outing Friends

I was in conversation with a good friend of mine (Allison McCarthy) when I admitted to a craving for………

image Yep, just scrape off the gross white fat on the top, grab some mayo and you are good to go.  Apparently this fell under the category of gross food for her and therefore she suggested that “I out myself”, on this weeks Sunday Shame.  For the record spam is a once every six month craving and yes, there are others who secretly have a stockpile in their kitchen cupboards.(Someone  in Louisville knows who I am talking about)

I further believe that there are far worse things one can eat than spam.  The unhusband loves to eat…

image  +image 

Yep, you guessed it French toast and ketchup.  Is anyone’s stomach turning yet?  Believe it or not, I can even top that one.  My good friend Monica of TransGriot eats…

image + image

Uh huh, your eyes did not deceive you.  Oysters and ketchup.  Seriously, between the three of us, I do believe my twice a year spam intake is by far the least offensive on the stomach.  Okay, you weigh in and let me know which is the least appetizing of the above examples or the food combination that you enjoy secretly, in full knowledge that others would find stomach turning.