Saturday, January 16, 2010

Drop It Like It’s Hot

Hello everyone, thanks again for the wonderful conversation this week.  This week,  Natalie Wilson posted her first article here at Womanist Musings.  Her work will be featured here every two weeks, in a column called Monstrous Musings.  

I have struggled recently writing the blog because I feel that while I am passionate about so many things, my voice cannot and should not be representative of the various marginalized communities.  I know that many view this as a blog about race, however; my intent is to have an intersectional blog.   It is truly my belief that all oppressions are linked and we cannot possibly fight one without fighting them all.  To that end, I have decided to open my space.  Over the next few weeks, I will be adding different reoccurring columns to the blog.  Each person will add their unique voice and their unique experience.  I ask that you treat them as respectfully as you have me and welcome them into our space.  I say our space because even though I do the majority of the writing here, Womanist Musings is a community which could not exist and thrive with the contributions of everyone. 

The Womanist Musings Podcast returns this week with fencer Dawn Wilson to discuss sports and the trans community.   The show will air live on Sunday at 8pm EST.  You can listen live here.  The call in number is (347) 326-9452

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Below you will find a list of some posts that I found interesting 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.  Please feel free to share what you have either personally written, or a piece that touched you in some way.

Men seeking sexual assailants: The horrifying story of an alleged Craigslist rapist

Response to Haiti’s earthquake: from urgent aid to “pacts with the devil”

excerpts of tasteful sensuality…

From My Brown Eyed View

I am talking about you

Dear Mr.White Man

I Fear I Might Never Have Children

Coffee with white male privilege

Dear Imprudence: Dan Savage, Savage Love, and “That’s Retarded” (Hint, Dan, “Leotarded” Is Just As Unacceptable)

Outrageous Sara Baartman Ornaments On Sale

The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for The American Worker by Steven Greenhouse

minimize black heroism

 Justice Is For Others…

The Homebirth Study in South Australia

Is Refusing Bed Rest a Crime?

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Friday, January 15, 2010

African migrants rebel against racist attacks

By Monica Moorehead

The worldwide capitalist economic crisis is hitting tens of millions workers hard to one degree or another, be they in the poorer nations or the rich capitalist countries. Many of these workers are forced to migrate from their beloved homelands to look for work that will provide a decent wage to help them and their families survive.

Immigrants are amongst the most exploited and oppressed workers. They make tremendous profits for the capitalists. Not only do the bosses pay them starvation wages with no benefits, but many face political and social injustice, especially racism. The recent developments in Rosarno, Italy, are a prime example of this outright bigotry and repression.

In Italy sign reads: ‘We are people like you,<br>don’t let them kill.
6 are dead.’

In Italy sign reads: ‘We are people like you,
don’t let them kill. 6 are dead.’

On Jan. 7, African migrants, including some from Nigeria and Togo, rebelled against racist attacks by white Italians and the police in this working-class town near the western coast of Calabria. Many of these workers, who are both documented and undocumented, work in the citrus groves in the poorly developed southern part of the Italian peninsula.

Characterized as “rioting” by bourgeois news sources in order to demonize the justifiable nature of the rebellion, some African immigrants were provoked to rebel when an immigrant was shot by a vigilante in a nearby city. It has been reported that organized crime figures helped to instigate the attacks.

The immigrants used rocks to fight back and torched cars against the vigilantes and the police. Some migrants were shot with pellet fire and beaten with metal rods, warranting surgery.

On the weekend of Jan. 10, more than 1,000 African workers were transported to detention centers, which are nothing more than jails, for an indefinite amount of time with no charges.

Thousands of African workers pick fruit during the harvest season for many hours a day for less than $200 a week. This is work that many native-born Italians feel would be degrading for them to do.

The rebellion reflects the deepening economic crisis in Italy and Europe in general: In the absence of a strong anti-racist, pro-working class movement against the bosses, migrants are being scapegoated for the loss of jobs. Public statements and policies of the xenophobic, right-wing government of Silvio Berlusconi have given the green light for these racist attacks to intensify.

Treated as social outcasts, these African migrants are forced to live in makeshift shanty towns with much of the housing being subhuman. On behalf of the tourist industry, a majority of these makeshift houses have been bulldozed at the same time these workers are being detained.

A spokesperson for the International Organization for Migration in Italy, Flavio Di Giacomo, commented, “This event pulled the lid off something that we who work in the sector know well but no one talks about: That many Italian economic realities are based on the exploitation of low-cost foreign labor, living in subhuman conditions, without human rights.” (New York Times, Jan. 11) He went on to describe the conditions of the African migrants as “semi-slavery.”

The Italian section of the Anti-imperialist Camp, commenting on the rebellion of the African workers in Rosarno, while recognizing the extreme poverty of the region, made it clear that “We must be on the side of the Black laborers, no ifs or buts. ... It is a good thing that they have risen in rebellion, demonstrating that if they are human beings, the others are no more than pigs.” (campoantimperialista.it)

This is not the first time that African migrants have been targeted in southern Italy. In 2008, six Ghanians were killed, execution-style, resulting in a rebellion near Naples.


Articles copyright 1995-2010 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

New Jerseys Jilted Former First Lady Dina Matos Comes Out Against Same Sex Marriage

image It must have have seemed like a nightmare at first, when Dina sat down with her ex husband Jim to discuss his homosexual affair.  At the time, Jim had a promising political career and they were raising a beautiful baby girl together.  Life must have seemed perfect for the McGreevy’s, until Jim was forced to admit to being gay after the scandal came to life about an affair with a staffer.

Dina has since written a tell all book about her experiences as part of her healing process.  To find out that someone that you have dedicated yourself to and attempted to build a life with has been unfaithful, is an extreme violation and this is exacerbated when one must deal with this in the full glare of the media lights.  Dina stood by her husband with a smile frozen on her face, as he announced to the world that he was gay and resigning from office.

What McGreevy did was truly dishonest, however; part of the blame can certainly be placed upon our heterosexist society, which is dedicated to creating everything gay as necessarily deviant and amoral.  Even the allegation of homosexuality is enough to stall someone’s career.  Gays and lesbians have repeatedly spoken about the harassment that is all to common place on the job. 

It would seem that Dina has turned her anger at the betrayal by Jim into rage at the entire LGBT community.

Recently, Matos told The Daily Record newspaper she believes the definition of marriage is between a man and a woman and she is glad NJ didn’t legalize same-sex marriage.

Jim was the one that hurt her and Jim was the one to betray her trust.  There is no reason to take out her personal pain on all of the members of the GLBT community.  Perhaps, if we had been more open and accepting, Jim would not have felt the need to hide his sexuality from the world. Gay marriage will not end the homophobia that the GLBT community faces, however it will certainly help to normalize their relationships.

Matos may never forgive McGreevy and in truth, it is understandable but to turn that anger into a whip to oppress others is unacceptable.  There is no excuse and or reason, that will ever legitimize the “othering” and marginalization of any member of our society. 


PeTA Takes On The Pro Life Movement

There are not often times when you can honestly wish that both sides of a debate are unsuccessful but when PeTA attacks the pro-life movement, who in good conscience can you root for?

A new super Planned Parenthood is being built in Houston.  The pro-life movement is referring to the building as an “abortion super center”.  They are always happy to ignore the fact that Planned Parenthood offers a lot more than abortions.  If it were not for their services, many poor women would be without medical treatment.   The following is a list of a few of the services offered:

  • checkups for reproductive or sexual health problems
  • breast exams
  • cervical cancer screening — including Pap tests
  • fibroids testing and treatment
  • follow-up and treatment for abnormal Pap tests
  • hormone replacement therapy
  • incontinence treatment
  • infertility testing and treatment
  • mammogram referrals
  • menopause and midlife services
  • sexual response education
  • routine physical exams
  • urinary tract infections testing and treatment
  • vaginal infections testing and treatment

Only a short sighted person could refer to Planned Parenthood solely as an abortion center.  The pro-life movement has begun to use Margaret Sangers racism, to energize the Black community to eliminate these vital centers.

Transcript:

Take a moment and look back to 1916.  You’ll find this woman, Margaret Sanger; starting what we know today as Planned Parenthood.  It was her beliefs that make up the foundation of Planned Parenthood, her racist  beliefs.  She called Black Americans, “human weeds” and “reckless breeders”. Then she started she started the Negro Project to eliminate the ones that she thought were undesirable.  What Sanger built so long ago continues to this very day. The racist agenda is alive and well and they’ve hidden it right under our noses.  I mean right now 2 out of3 Planned Parenthood abortion facilities are in Black  American neighbourhoods and now the are focusing on the growing Hispanic community, which bumps the number up to 76%.  Do we even know this?  Probably not, but Bound for Life wants to change that.  Right now in Houston Texas, Planned Parenthood is building their biggest temple to this racist agenda.  It will be the 2nd largest abortion facility in the world.  It’s a massive 78,000 square feet and it’s being built for one purpose: to expand abortion on an unprecedented scale.  As former director Abby Johnson has said, “one of their goals is to make money and they way that they make money is to increase the number of abortions.  Whose money are we talking about here?  This monstrosity is being built right in the middle of 4 super neighbourhoods and guess who lives there?  One is 85% Black American and the other 3 are 85% Hispanic.  This is wrong, really wrong.  It’s time for the abortion issue to become a justice issue.  On January 18th, that’s Martin Luther King day, we are calling for everyone that cares about justice and the future of America to join Bound for Life and thousands of Black and Hispanic Americans as we march to this Planned Parenthood supercenter.  It’s time to subpoena the conscience of the nation. Go to bound.com for information and shape the path of history.

Suddenly these Black conservatives are concerned about race.  Bishop Harry Jackson in particular has aligned himself with the Republican party.  Can anyone tell me the last time a member of the GOP party actually gave a damn about Black folks?  This is a man that declared that God told him to work for the re-election of George Bush and we all know how hard Bush worked for improvements in the Black community. Katrina survivors are so thankful that he was in office at the time of the hurricane. He has also come out fighting against universal healthcare, calling it reverse classism?  I wonder if the scores of uninsured Black people resent the opportunity to see a doctor? Just in case you think that he cannot be full of more win, he  has also worked stridently to fight same-sex marriage. For a man so interested in Black issues, it seems that there are plenty of Black people that he is willing to oppress.

Jackson and his Bound for Life, are an organization that needs to be challenged at every turn but should PeTA really be the ones engaging in debate?   PeTA is attempting to have billboards placed for the march.

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Reads PETA's press release:

When pro-life supporters arrive in Houston on January 18 to protest the future opening of a 6-story PP facility, they may be met with a challenge. That's because PETA is negotiating with outdoor advertisers to place a billboard ad near the building - an ad that shows newly hatched chicks and reads, "Pro-Life? Go Vegan. PETA."

PETA's goal? To urge people in the pro-life movement to respect the sanctity of life every time they eat - by rejecting the slaughterhouse.

"Eating meat supports horrible cruelty to animals, and of course, it also entails killing them," says PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich. "Everyone who is 'pro-life' has the opportunity to show it every time he or she sits down to eat - by choosing a vegetarian diet."

PeTA has proven repeatedly that it does not care about life.  It’s advertisements and media stunts have sexualized women, attacked fat people, have been homphobic as well as transphobic and they are not at all shy to use racism to prove their point. Less than a week after Dr. Tillers murder, they rolled into town to place their offensive billboards. 

PeTA has never been about respecting life and this is a major commonality between the two groups.  How dare they interject themselves into this debate for a cheap publicity stunt.  The lives of women are at stake and all they can concern themselves with is their warped agenda.  Abortion is not now or ever has been an act of cruelty, when performed by trained medical professionals and to equate abortion with their agenda, is to once again appropriate women's bodies. 

Each side is dependent upon cheap rhetoric and neither side truly values what is at stake here.  These centers are in neighbourhoods of colour because we largely comprise the poor.  Without access to centers like Planned Parenthood, these women who are the least likely to have health insurance would have nowhere to turn for their medical needs.  Women are not pawns to be moved on a chessboard to score political points and if either side truly cared about women, their agenda would be to support them in their efforts to lead healthy and full lives rather than sexualizing, slut shaming, and appropriating their bodies at every turn.



Thursday, January 14, 2010

Goodnight Teddy P and Sweet Dreams

Ya, know when you are feeling the need for some loving, some soft candles, a bottle of wine and  Teddy would set the night just right.  I know there are a few people walking around today, that can thank Teddy for setting the mood just right for their parents.  Not only would Teddy put you in the mood, he’d tell ya how to go about it to…Sweet dreams Teddy and thanks for the loving.

You Cannot Be A Rape Victim Without Credibility

image For many, once consent is given to a sexual act it implies consent to all future sexual contact.  This frame of thought serves to create some women as specifically unrapeable.  This argument is commonly applied to sex workers, however it can at any time attach itself to any woman as a form of convenience, thus limiting a woman’s right to have total control over her physical body.  If consent is always implied then someone cannot say no. If you cannot say no, then you cannot every really say yes.

Unfortunately for a 24 year old woman from Liverpool merely entertaining the thought of group sex would be enough to remove her right to consent.

But the trial at Preston Crown Court collapsed when computer evidence was produced showing her entertaining the prospect of group sex.

Judge Robert Brown ordered the jury to return not guilty verdicts.

Prosecutor Michael Leeming told a jury the case involved allegations of rape and conspiracy to rape at a house in Great Lever, Bolton, on 19 June.

'Wholly different light'

But he formally offered no evidence after reading excerpts of MSN chatlogs of her conversations before the alleged offence.

He said: "It is right to say that there is material in the chatlogs from the complainant, who is prepared to entertain ideas of group sex with strangers, where to use her words 'her morals go out of the window'.

"This material does paint a wholly different light as far as this case is concerned.

"We take the view that it would not be appropriate to offer any evidence."

Not to put too fine a point on it, her credibility was shot to pieces

Judge Brown ordered the jury to return not guilty verdicts for rape and conspiracy to rape against five men.

Even if she had the most steamy conversation with the accused men, that does not remove her right to say no.  The judge essentially revoked her right to say no and by his decision affirmed the right of these men to attack her sexually. They could have erections like steel and she could have been buck naked but the moment she said no, that should have been the end of contact period.  Men do not have a right to female bodies no matter the contexts upon which they met.

Time after time women have been denied justice based in the idea that we are not pure enough, yet no such demands are placed upon men's sexual behaviour.  Do not comfort yourself with the knowledge that you may not be interested in group sex because patriarchy can always find a way to impugn your integrity.  We need to come together as women to end the judging of people based on sexual behaviour.  If we find this verdict acceptable because we choose to slut shame this poor women, we are rendering ourselves open to this very same attack.  You either believe that a woman has a right to say no or you don’t.


Monstrous Musings

This is a guest post from contributor Natalie Wilson

Got Blood Privilege? A Review of Daybreakers

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At my Seduced by Twilight blog, I have written about “Vampire Privilege” as thinly disguised white, hetero, male, middle-class, Christian privilege, arguing that the series champions traditional privileges and the societal norms that keep these privileges in place. The new film Daybreakers puts an entire new spin on vampire privilege, turning it into an all out class-war between the haves (the middle to upper class vampires) and the have-nots (the humans and the “subsiders”).

In the film, only 5% of the human population remains, everyone else is vampire. The haves are yuppie-type vamps who live in sleek homes in gated communities and drive cars decked out with drive-by-day features (which allow for safe driving in the vampire-death-inducing daylight). They can afford the Starbucks-esque coffee shops where blood is the new caffeine. The have-nots are the “subsiders,” or those vampires that live below street level in the “subwalk” system, unable to afford the life-sustaining red fluid. As detailed during a classified meeting at Bromley Marks, the bio-pharmaceutical company trying to create a blood substitute, subsiders suffer from blood deprivation, the effects of which turn one more savage bat-monster than metro-cool vampire.

The scenes inside the Bromley Marks corporate enclave hint at a world sharply divided along class, race, gender lines – all those in the confidential meetings are white males, the human they experiment on is a Private (not so far from historical experiments on military personnel), and the ads outside the building tout “infinitely white,” an advanced tooth whitener with an image of an attractive white female vampire baring her sexy-looking teeth.

In the opening montage, a homeless vampire holds a “starving: need blood” sign. He will undoubtedly devolve into a subsider soon, a “blood-deprived citizen” who will become more savage the longer he goes without blood.

Later, one of these subsiders breaks into Edward’s home (the good vampire haematologist played by Ethan Hawke). After Ed and his brother bring him to a particularly gory end, the cops show up and refer disparagingly to the subsiders, noting “these things are in the suburbs now” and referring to them as “filthy rats.” When Ed recognizes an engraved bracelet they find on the subsider’s corpse, he realizes that this sub was Carl, a local gardener. Here, the film hits at a racial/class divide where many don’t have the social capital to avoid blood deprivation.

Yet, the film doesn’t point the finger at corporatism, militarism, and race/class privilege enough if you ask me. As Historiann notes, there is a tendency to act as if inequality is everyone’s fault and NOT the result of corruption/greed at the top. This film falls into this tendency, suggesting that the devolution of society is everyone and everything’s fault rather than linking it specifically to a top-down societal model. It relies on an immersing the audience in an admittedly provocative visual world, but I wish all the eye-popping scenes of this fully realized vampire society would have been supplemented by stronger characters, better dialogue, and more directed critique.

In the film, Bromley Marks search for a viable blood substitute would make access to blood available to all, or so the unspoken corporate promise indicates. In actuality though, as Edward suspects, no such altruism lies behind the corporation headed by Charles Bromley (played by Sam Neill). When Ed asks him for a guarantee a blood substitute will put an end to human harvesting, he argues, with typical corporate aplomb, that “if we don’t cater to all markets, someone else will.” Later, more bluntly, he admits to Ed that “It’s never been about a cure, it’s about repeat business.” This, perhaps the most telling quote in the film, could be said of the real-world corporate response to many a social ills – as an example, going green is not only about saving the environment, it’s about selling more green products.

Disappointingly though, the film leaves its allegorical critiques under-realized. Even the continued emphasis on the unpleasant repercussions of living in a heavily militarized police state is shorn of its critical edge when the soldiers turn into blood crazed beasts during the gore-fest  ending. While the opportunity to depict the dehumanization that accompanies militarism was flirted with, the film failed to make any distinct critique or to link the blood-hungry corporatism ailing the Daybreaker world as part and parcel of a militarized society.

In the film, blood stands in most obviously for oil -- reports of global blood prices rising, blood riots, and blood related crime saturate the film. However, it seems that blood would more aptly be linked to water – something (unlike oil) that we can literally not live without. Access to water is also a have/have-not issue (in Iraq and South Africa, for example), with the privileged of the planet supping from “green” plastic bottles and the non-privileged living miles from the nearest well or having to spend hours in line hoping to get a scant amount of the precious fluid – a fluid that has been increasingly commodified over the last several decades. But, the film does not use its allegorical musings to interrogate water shortage – rather, it explores various contemporary issues – militarization, bio-pharm, corporate greed, dwindling natural resources, etc – so many, in fact, that none of these issues or allegorical narrative threads are played to their fullest. 

Thus, the film hints at the problems of living in a police state, the dangers of for-profit pharmaceutical industries, the violence that results from socio-economic disparity, yet it does not ever hook its analysis onto any one issue for long enough to allow for incisive critique. Instead, it examines a whole host of problems, never stopping to interrogate causes, symptoms, or solutions. Corny dialogue, a mood-manipulating score, and a rather predictable script turn what could have been an excellent allegory about a have/have-not system into your basic gore-fest. That, and the horrid line “Being human in a world of vampires is about as safe as barebacking a 5 dollar whore” left me hungry for a meatier (but less gratuitously bloody, less male-driven, and less white) narrative.

Alas, my beefs with the film are what made Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers like it. As he writes, “After all the toothless, limp-dick vampire posturing in the Twilight chick flicks, it's a kick to see a balls-out, R-rated movie about bloodsuckers that doesn't spare the gore so little girls won't cry into their Twitpics of Rob Pattinson.” Way to go Travers – hypermasculine posturing and misogyny masking as Twi-hatred all in one…

I for one would prefer more ovaries-out movies that reveal how attitudes like that of Travers are partly why we live in a non-gore sparing reality – more movies, say, like Teeth.

 


Israel’s treatment of Ethiopians ‘racist’

The following is an excerpt from The National

NAZARETH, Israel // Health officials in Israel are subjecting many female Ethiopian immigrants to a controversial long-term birth control drug in what Israeli women’s groups allege is a racist policy to reduce the number of black babies.
The contraceptive, known as Depo Provera, which is given by injection every three months, is considered by many doctors as a birth control method of last resort because of problems treating its side effects.

However, according to a report published last week, use of the contraceptive by Israeli doctors has risen threefold over the past few years. Figures show that 57 per cent of Depo Provera users in Israel are Ethiopian, even though the community accounts for less than two per cent of the total population.
About 90,000 Ethiopians have been brought to Israel under the Law of Return since the 1980s, but their Jewishness has subsequently been questioned by some rabbis and is doubted by many ordinary Israelis.

Ethiopians are reported to face widespread discrimination in jobs, housing and education and it recently emerged that their blood donations were routinely discarded.
“This is about reducing the number of births in a community that is black and mostly poor,” said Hedva Eyal, the author of the report by Woman to Woman, a feminist organisation based in Haifa, in northern Israel. “The unspoken policy is that only children who are white and Ashkenazi are wanted in Israel,” she said, referring to the term for European Jews who founded Israel and continue to dominate its institutions.

Please finish reading this important work here

Editors Note: When I post the above link I had not read the comment section of the post in question.  I have since been informed that the comment section is highly Anti-Semitic please read at your own risk..

I Am Not Ignoring Haiti

image I am sure that everyone is aware by know about the terrible earthquake in Haiti.  I just want to say that my thoughts and prayers go out to all of the people who are suffering and the families that have lost loved ones.  I have not written a post about this because quite honestly, I am disgusted with the hack jobs that I have seen at various liberal blogs.  There are so many issues that intersected to create this as a disaster that posting a way for people do donate ten dollars via their cell phones really does not address what has happened here.

I have a lot to say on this issue but I am not a first to the gate kind of person.  It will take me a few days to write the post that I believe that this earthquake deserves but in the meantime I wanted to acknowledge what has happened.  Please use this space to share your thoughts and discuss ways in which real awareness can be raised.  I know that Bono type activism feels really good right now but when Haiti fades off of the front pages, these problems will still exist.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Palins Chose Life So Should Everyone Else

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Okay, so the Palin ladies chose life.  Good for them, however I am tired of them using their decisions like a battering ram to shame women who decide for various reasons that motherhood is not for them.  I can give Bristol a little bit of leeway because she is clearly under her mother’s thumb but eventually my patience is going to run out.

What this women fail to recognize is that when women choose abortion, they are also choosing life.  Women who make the painful decision to abort are doing so because making themselves a priority is important and it is something that we have been to taught to forgo from birth.  Let face facts shall we, ovaries and a functioning uterus does not make one a mother.  Perhaps if more people realized that they were incapable of dealing with the responsibility of raising children, there would not be so many of them abused and neglected.

The pro birth movement uses women like Sarah and Bristol to suggest that women who choose to abort are chronically depressed and living with shame.  Simply because they are happy in their decision, does not mean that women who choose not to become mothers are not happy in theirs.  Motherhood is not a biological imperative like breathing or eating, it is simply one option out of many that we may choose in our lifetime. 

The other obvious elephant in the room that continually gets ignored is that they are both White women.  Can you point to one unwed teenage mother of colour that received the kind of redemptive treatment that Bristol Palin did?  If one of Obama’s daughters became pregnant from a man-child whose main goal was to get fifteen minutes of fame, it would be a hot second before the slut shaming began.   Not all mothers are treated equally and in fact more often than not, Black women are constructed as irresponsible breeders. 

Sarah and Bristol also have access to resources that a poor mother could never possibly dream of.  When a woman was sterilized against her will, instead of focusing on the gross body violation, the common refrain was to support the doctor because very few felt that we are communally responsible for children.  This choose life mantra is nothing but a cover for a desire to control women’s bodies and subject us to poverty.  It is a known fact, that a mother living alone with a child is most likely  to be poor and this is even more true if she is a teenage mother, which Bristol Palin is.

Finally, in what is perhaps the most disgusting factor in the media presentation of Sarah Palin, is the way that Trigg is used.  Constructing her as a “super mom” because she decided to sacrifice and give birth to a child with Down syndrom is highly ableist.   Trigg is a little person and he has value simply because he exists and yet he is seen as some burden that the sainted Sarah took on.  Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, his life will broaden hers.  His experiences will open doors to her that she may not otherwise have approached and this is the same with ALL mothers; it is not a unique phenomenon to mothers with Downs Syndrome babies.

In a society in which mothers are decidedly devalued, the way that the pro birth movement shames women and then fails to support the children that they argue that women must give birth to is disgusting.  From a lack of sex education, to purity balls, to the denial of abortion, which is a legitimate medical procedure, at every juncture they seek to deny agency.  Holding up women like Sarah and Bristol will not reduce the numbers of unwanted pregnancy or defeat child poverty but hey, we all benefit when White women smile pretty for the camera right?

H/T Jezebel


Monstrous Musings

This is a guest post from Natalie Wilson

I am a literature and women’s studies scholar and author of the blogs Professor, what if…? and Seduced by Twilight. I am currently writing a book examining the Twilight cultural phenomenon from a feminist perspective. My interest in vampires and werewolves dates back to my childhood fascination with all types of monsters.

At the age of five, I was convinced a witch lived under my bed.  This resulted in my obsessive need to look under the bed before going to sleep to see if she was there. I didn’t want to see her -- but at the same time, I did. This combined attraction and repulsion to the monstrous characterizes my fascination with them.

I recall being terrified by Star Trek, a show my older sister watched obsessively. When I got view of scary aliens or creepy creatures, I would have nightmares. Yet, the TV set still drew me in, the monsters within too fascinating to ignore.

My older sister was not the best influence in many respects, and took me, her young charge, to see many scary movies from age 6 or so. I attribute my enduring fear of the ocean and sharks to seeing Jaws at the drive-in. I don’t know how old I was, but if I saw it the summer it was released, I would have been four. Surely she must have taken me at a later age than this?!?

My parents did not monitor my viewing habits and seemed to think it was fine in 5th grade when I requested a Halloween slumber party complete with MANY scary movies. Betamax was still the rage, and we had a machine that had become my fondest playmate (I rented Jaws regularly and loved to watch, re-watch, and yes, even watch in slow motion, the part where Jaws eats Captain Quint and he gurgles up blood.)

I remember that one of my favorite scary movies from the Halloween slumber party well: Happy Birthday to Me. Perhaps it was my former fondness for Little House on the Prairie and the fact Mary Ingalls (Melissa Sue Anderson) played the lead role or perhaps it was the death by shish kebab that captured my attention. Whatever the reason, my guilty love of slasher flicks, especially when they include particularly monstrous murderers and story-lines, continues to this day.

In middle-school I discovered American Werewolf in London and my enduring fondness for werewolves was born. A bit later, my love for Bauhaus and Bowie led me to The Hunger, still one of my favourite vampire movies (and still one of the only to include a lead female vampire and a lesbian story-line).

I ended up with degrees in English Literature and, surprise surprise, found myself writing a dissertation on the grotesque in literature and film – a genre that plays on combining the humorous with the horrific  and bringing about reactions of both empathy and disgust. I fell in love with Flannery O’Connor’s monstrous humans and found myself unable to forget Mikhail Bakhtin’s “senile pregnant hags” who embodied “pregnant death, a death that gives birth” while laughing.

Bakhtin’s insistence that “There is nothing completed, nothing calm and stable in the bodies of these old hags” speaks to my embodied experiences - and particularly to being female. It speaks to me now on an intellectual and theoretical level, but I think this is also what drew me to the monstrous as a child – my fascination with my body in a family that liked to pretend bodies and bodily functions did not exist, my curvy, fleshy, boob-having body that threatened to break out of the Catholic school-girl uniform I had to wear each day, my love of touch and my curiosity about “down there” and those parts of the body that dare not speak their names (let alone their desires) in my household, at my school, or at the houses of my Catholic friends…

In perhaps his most famous passage on the grotesque body, Bakhtin writes “the grotesque body is not separated from the rest of the world. It is not a closed, completed unit; it is unfinished, outgrows itself, transgresses its own limits. The stress is laid on those parts of the body that are open to the outside world, that is, the parts through which the world enters the body or emerges from it, or through which the body itself goes out to meet the world…The body discloses its essence as a principle of growth which exceeds its own limits only in copulation, pregnancy, childbirth, the throes of death, eating, drinking, or defecation. This is the ever unfinished, ever creating body… “ (Rabelais and His World, p.26).

I am enthralled by this body – the body that is not closed off from the rest of the world, the body that refuses to follow the rules, the body that mingles with other bodies, the body that bleeds, shits, eats, gives birth, dies. It is a monstrous body, a body able to commit untold horrors and profound miracles, it is the human body, the one we all inhabit yet are supposed to treat like some outside object we can control and police. We are meant to exercise this body, diet it into shape, discipline it into holding up the status quo. But I don’t want a “hard body,”  I want a monstrous one. I dream of being a werewolf, a witch, a vampire, a zombie – I yearn for the animality, the magic, the immortality, the hunger these figures exude.

When I try to account for my personal fascination with the monstrous, I return again and again to my childhood, to imagining those monsters in the dark that scared the pants off me but also intrigued me. I think my own sense of monstrousness, of being female in a family where manhood was normal and the feminine was Other, of being very bodily in an atmosphere of bodily-denial, of being too curvy, fleshy, feminine, fluid in a socio-cultural surrounding that abhorred such things, led me to my love of monsters. I felt evil, Other, deviant – those things so long associated with so-called monsters. As Rosemary Garland Thomson argues, monsters are usually what we imagine ourselves NOT to be. As a kid, I did not want to be the unwanted girl-child, the only third grader with breasts, the non-believer in a sea of Catholicism.

Now, as an adult working in academia and surrounded by theory, I know that the monster is a cultural construct; the way we think about, represent, and respond to monsters reveals a great deal about ourselves and the world. As monsters defy easy categorization and reveal the tenuousness of normality, monsters are able to function both as release valves and as cultural conservators. They reveal our cultural anxieties, fears, questions, and desires.

For me, my love of monsters reveals a great deal about my childhood, about the culture I grew up in, and about why I am who I am today. I have always been somewhat of a rebel, refusing to believe that girls were weak, that men knew everything, that only white people mattered, that capitalism was a good thing, that god exists. This too leads me to an affinity for monsters. They allow for (and promote) the disruption of norms, they call into question organizational principles, they reveal the constructed nature of who and what we designate as normal. They threaten to destabilize societal institutions – marriage, the family, monogamy, religion, heterosexuality, capitalism… This is why I love them so much!

I am incredibly fond of things that disrupt “normalcy,” I like subversions of the status quo, I am drawn to those ideas and identities that reveal our hierarchical institutions and dangerous obeisance to binary thought. I am a fan of destabilizing privilege and progressing society towards a celebration of monstrosity (or what has elsewhere been called diversity, Otherness, difference).

Just as the personal is political, so too is the monster. I wish to reclaim those identities deemed as monstrous – being disabled, being female, being fat, being “too” sexual or sexual in the “wrong” way – and to demonstrate (a word etymologically linked to the monster) how we might reclaim monstrosity as a form of political agency. I want to reclaim my own monstrosity and encourage others to do the same.

In my column, which will appear here at Womanist Musings every other Thursday, I will take monstrosity seriously, reading past and present representations of vampires, werewolves, witches, zombies, etc, as important reservoirs for cultural critique. Just as freak shows, circuses, horror films, the gothic and the grotesque reveal a great deal about the cultural construction of bodies, of normative identities, of gender and sexuality, so do today’s monsters – the sparkly vampire, the clairvoyant waitress, the shrimp-like alien – reveal a great deal about patriarchy, socio-economics, and racism.1 As I argued in a recent post, “vampires are made, not born” – so to are monsters made and not-born. Examining who and what we make monstrous, and questioning why we both love and hate these creations, will be the focus of this column. I hope you enjoy my monstrous musings, the first of which will be a review of the recent film Daybreakers.

Where are you from…really?

This is a post I wrote for the Anti-Racist Parent

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Immigration continues to be a great issue in the United States with opponents using racialized arguments to attack undocumented workers. Even the first African-American president, Barack Obama, referred to them as illegal, when he announced that they would have no access to his new health care plan. It cannot be denied that several American industries are particularly dependent upon the labour of undocumented workers. The practice has been to ignore the importance of their contributions, while stripping them of their humanity.

In Canada, the subject of immigration is quite different than it is to the U.S.; a significant amount of the conversation is determined by what is understood to be a Canadian identity. Before the Articles of Confederation, Canada was divided into upper and lower Canada. This division was essentially based in language. The over arching debate in Canadian politics has historically been language and this colours our understanding of who is and is not Canadian.

To be Canadian is to be white. My unhusband’s family has been here for generations and his whiteness serves to tell the casual onlooker, that he has a right to claim his citizenship in a way that I will never be able to. We were born in the same city, 10 years apart, but race opens spaces to him that will forever be closed to me. Despite an official policy of multiculturalism, I am an additive at best.

Next month is Black History Month and Canadians will momentarily take the time to acknowledge that blacks have been here for generations but only because doing so allows Canadians to display a liberal credential to the world of inclusivity. February is a very political month in that it perpetuates the lie that race is no longer a problem here. Canadians love to get on a holier-than-thou soap box and look southward with a false air of superiority. During Black History Month the overriding message is that the Underground Railroad lead to the safety of Canadian shores. No discussion takes place about the raving racism engaged in by our Prime Ministers or the fact that Jim Crow existed here. Acknowledging the Underground Railroad allows Canadians to look morally superior and if the cost means admitting that there are black Canadians for a scant 28 days, well that is a price that whiteness is willing to pay.

Eleven months a year we are invisible; you see, black Canadians are always from somewhere else. Despite the facts that blacks have been a part of the Canadian experience from almost the beginning, the most common question is “Where are you from really?”. If you are black in this country, it is assumed that you are recent immigrant from Jamaica or Africa. My birth certificate is no less blue than my unhusband’s, but my citizenship is always questionable. This means that a person of colour is always necessarily “other”.

Violence, rape, robbery etc., are not committed by Canadians, they are committed by “other” people. People of colour are presumed to lack awareness about the goodness of being Canadian and it is often suggested that we cling to supposedly savage ways. This of course is perpetuated by the fact that we steadfastly refuse to acknowledge experience and education from other parts of the world. I have met countless doctors, dentists, accountants and engineers doing menial jobs because somehow unless you have Canadian, American or even British education or experience, you are necessarily incompetent and not fit to match up to Canadian standards. Take a guess as to which countries are specifically stigmatized?

Canada welcomes you as long as you are intent to serve the dinner, rather than expect a seat at the table. We have increasingly tightened our immigration laws, as the race and ethnicity of those attempting to build a new life within our borders moves away from Caucasian. The birthrate is declining and even though we will soon be dependent upon immigrants to keep our population stable, we still only want those that are white. Even though every single person living here who is not of First Nations descent is an immigrant, the label is decidedly used as a slur against people of color.

Canadians loudly announce to the world that unlike the U.S., we have a salad bowl instead of a melting pot. Immigrants are encouraged to hold on to their heritage and traditions, however; what we do not announce to the world is that we continually mock and deride those that do. These very same traditions are used against a body of colour to declare them specifically as an outsider. Canadian traditions are for whiteness and we certainly have no desire to allow inclusivity to actually exist. The Mountie is still understood to be white, blonde and blue-eyed, even though black mounties do exist. “Dudley Do-Right” is still the guardian of all that is good and pure.

“Immigrant” in Canada in many ways is a negative descriptor applied specifically to people of colour. Using “the N word” would be far too gauche and showy. Just like our patriotism, we hold our prejudices close to the vest. The irony that most will not admit is that the denial of race problem in Canada is predicated upon the false belief that all people of color here are immigrants. In a homogenous society, inter-racial strife would be non-existent and therefore; the identity of Canada as white bolsters the lie and soothes the senses.


Wednesday What’s Up?

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It’s officially hump day.  After today the worst of the work week is hopefully over.   Please consider this your open thread to chat about whatever you would like.  Are you reading anything interesting?   Last night I subjected the unhusband to Bridgett Jones’ Diary.  Yes, I know there are all kinds of problems with the movies but I cannot help but love them.  See that, I gave you a midweek Sunday Shame.  Chat away and I will join you in the comment section.

Indigenous peoples and H1N1 deaths

A continuing legacy of inequality

By Dolores Cox

In December, the Centers for Disease Control issued a report regarding national mortality and infection rates from the H1N1 “swine” flu virus. One portion of the report was almost an afterthought and not very widely reported: Indigenous peoples in the U.S. and Alaska have been four times more likely to die from the swine flu as has the population overall.

Similar findings have been the case in Canada, where some Manitoba First Nations communities were outraged in September when the Canadian government initially sent body bags and masks rather than much-needed medicine or medical personnel.

Are Native people somehow genetically more susceptible to H1N1 and hence more likely to get sick and die from it? Not at all. Racism is the cause of these increased death rates.

Native peoples are hit harder by any flu pandemic due to high poverty rates and higher rates of diabetes, asthma and other conditions that place them at higher risk.

A November 2009 report published by the Institute for Policy Studies, entitled “Challenges to Native American Advancement: The Recession and the Native American,” documents the condition of Native peoples in the U.S. in the 21st century. (www.ips-dc.org)

The report gives a brief history of the growth of the North American economy since the first European arrival in the 15th century, and its correlation with the concurrent collapse of Native nations’ economies. “The modern U.S. economy is based upon the stripping away of wealth — notably, land and natural resources — of Native Americans to create a foundation for a European-American economy. This legacy is seen in the contemporary economic disenfranchisement of Native Americans.”

The report highlights factors that have led to disparities between Native peoples and non-Natives, such as the appropriation of Indigenous peoples’ lands for the gain of white settlers; the mismanagement by the Bureau of Indian Affairs of the resources found on Native lands; and the underinvestment by the federal government in Native nations’ education, health care and economic development.

Key findings are that the poverty rate as of 2007 for Native peoples is more than twice the national average, and almost three times higher than the rate among whites.

With regard to health care, only one-third of Indigenous people have health insurance. Native people have the highest rate per person of disability among all racial and ethnic groups, and are twice as likely as whites to die from diabetes, 60 percent more likely to have a stroke, and 20 percent more likely to have heart disease.

Native peoples’ unemployment rate is double that of the U.S. population as a whole. In this recession, industries with a relatively high number of Indigenous workers have experienced disproportionately high job losses. Additionally, over the past 30 years government spending on programs for Native peoples both on- and off-reservation has decreased dramatically.

The report notes that not only is “this country’s past and present still stained by the legacy of enslavement of African people [but] the original sin was the treatment of America’s Indigenous people. As the nation works to reverse today’s economic decline, it must finally work to repair the stains of the past.”


Articles copyright 1995-2010 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Guess Who is Blacker than Barack Obama: Rod Blagojevich

image It seems that the former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has taken a break from feeding his chia pet like hair to get down with the peeps.  Blagojevich was arrested last year after it was alleged that he engaged in corruption, which included the attempted sale of Barack Obama’s senate seat.  Clearly this a person for whom service and honour mean volumes.  

Since then, Blagojevich has engaged in a campaign to garner respect and to paint himself as a sympathetic victim.  He has repeatedly asserted that all of his actions were for the benefit of the people.  In a recent statement to Esquire magazine, Mr. Blagojevich chose to invoke race to certify his persecution.

Blagojevich, referring to the president as "this guy," says Obama was elected based simply on hope.

"What the (expletive)? Everything he's saying's on the teleprompter," Blagojevich told the magazine for a story in its February issue, which hits newsstands Jan. 19.

"I'm blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes. I grew up in a five-room apartment. My father had a little laundromat in a black community not far from where we lived," Blagojevich said. "I saw it all growing up."

Did you catch all of that?  He observed the poverty of some members of the Black community and he himself grew up poor and this makes him a defacto person of colour.  Today I have given a new name to racial cluelessness - Rod Blagojevich.

What Blagojevich fails to acknowledge is that despite the poverty that he was born into, he also had two major markers of privilege.  Blagojevich is White and male and this constitutes the most privileged group ever to exist in history.  Class may have mitigated the degree to which he was able to wield this privilege early on his life, however White masculinity ensured that he was able to receive and capitalise on opportunities that have never been available to Blacks.

I am further disgusted that he found it appropriate to suggest that poverty encapsulates the entirety of the Black experience in America. There can be no denial of the fact that there are far to many Blacks that live precariously based on the economic racism that they are subjected to, however there is still a Black middle class that is thriving and attempting to swell in numbers.  Even were this not the case, how exactly does a White man know what it is to be Black?

The idea that because some groups share similar experiences that they can ever truly understand what marginalization means to the targeted body is a reflection of privilege.  No White man is ever going to know what it is like to be called a Nigger.  No White man is ever going to understood what it is be considered a threat because of the color of your skin.  Because we have so overvalued Whiteness, it has the ability to act as a salve against some of the worst persecutions, meaning that even within groups that are targeted, there is still the existence of racial privilege which makes the body more socially palatable.

Blagojevich has since apologized for his commentary saying:

"What I said was stupid, stupid, stupid," Blagojevich said, using the word 16 times in a few minutes. "I deeply apologize for the way that was said and having said it. Obviously, I am not blacker than President Obama."

Before we start commending Blagojevich for apologizing, I think that it is important to note that Whiteness continually makes these sort of racist statements and then apologizes after the fact. The apology can never remove the harm that was done and when this sort of behaviour repeatedly occurs, it sends the message that the apology was not for the offense but for getting caught. Blagojevich is not a stupid man and he had to have known, even as he shot off his mouth, how offensive his commentary was; the issue is that he simply didn’t care. 

Many have ignored Blagojevich’s comments because of his current legal drama, however no matter how problematic the source, racism still needs to be acknowledged and firmly stamped out.  His commentary is not less valuable because he has been politically disgraced due to the fact that he still exists with White male privilege.  He is not some form of aberration simply because many would like him to disappear, rather he is indicative of the reasons why Blacks continue to be marginalized in this society.  If even the lowliest amongst White males cannot be held accountable, then who can?

Tune in Tuesday: Fall at your Feet Jesse Cook

Jesse Cook is a Toronto-based Nuevo Flamenco guitarist, born in Paris to Canadian parents.  Of course, I have to highlight the fact that this is yet another example of goodness coming from the great white north.  It is amazing what happens when we take time away from snowshoe making. I absolutely love Jesse Cook. When I listen to his music it takes me away from the horrible doldrums. Today I am listening to his CDs pretending that it is not winter outside.  It makes me think of dancing; it makes me dream of flying.  Even though it reminds me of a time when my body regularly answered to my will, it still creates a space for me to escape.

So readers, what does this music inspire in you and who are your favourite Nuevo Flamenco artists?

Beautifying Your Vagina A Little Pink For You

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This is definitely a case of are you fucking kidding me… Pink Button markets itself as “a Cosmetic Dye especially for the woman's genital area, to help restore that healthy vibrant Rosy color.” 

Not only is this nasty little product highly sexist, it is extremely ageist.  With all of the issues that women have to deal with, now we are supposed to worry that our vaginas are not pink enough?  Give me a fucking break.   This little product exists to shame women and then profit off of that shame.

If you are even a slightly aware reader, you know what this product is not only wrong but extremely harmful.  Women already make significantly less than men and therefore all of these beautification products amount to a genderized tax.  We need to stop supporting and normalizing ideals that are  harmful to us. 

Really, if a man has the nerve to complain about the colour of your girlie bits,  is he someone you should be having sex with to begin with?   My New Pink Button  fits so well with the social construction of the vagina  as a dirty and disgusting thing.  We spend oodles of time praising everything phallic because it suits patriarchy but we never stop to question the purposeful demonization of the feminine.  In this product we can clearly see how patriarchy uses gender shaming to profit. 

I am going to keep this short because I don’t believe this product needs a huge denouncement from me.  If you are buying into this nonsense, you my friend are a dupe of patriarchy and capitalism.   Products like this can only be successful if you believe that you should be ashamed of your body. 

Miep Gies, Protector of Anne Frank, Dies at 100

image Though she would eschew the label of hero, in my mind that is exactly what Miep Gies was.   In a time when it was far easier to side with status quo, Miep stood to be counted when she attempted to shelter two families from the horror of concentration camps and extermination.  How many today when faced with the same decision would have the courage to do what Mrs. Gies did?  Not only did she attempt to shelter these families, after the Gestapo raided their small hiding place she kept Anne’s diary safe.

I read The Diary of Anne Frank when I was nine years old.  It is a story that has stayed with me all the days of my life.  It taught me about the cruelty we are all capable of and the courage that we all have the ability to display in the face of human tragedy.  It is a timeless lesson to all of those who persist in the belief that there is something to be gained from hate.  

I do not have the words to properly eulogize a shero of the magnitude of Miep Gies and so I turn you over to the New York Times.  I can only say that the world is a better place because Miep Gies lived.

A Spark of Wisdom: Rights: You keep using that word. I do not think it means, what you think it means

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 This is a guest post from Sparky, of Spark in Darkness.  Many of you are  familiar with him from Livejournal, as well as from his insightful and often hilarious commentary here. Each Tuesday, Womanist Musings will be featuring a post from Sparky.

There are many things that the extreme right wingers, the bigots, the desperate conformists, whatever you want to call the people who give us all a collected headache, do that annoy me in the extreme. In fact, I couldn't even begin to make a list because collecting so much wrongness together in one document would enrage me past reason (well, even further past reason than I like to play)

But I have to say one of their many many many habits that I find objectionable is their appropriation of the language of rights and oppression. It is grossly offensive to me to see some of the most privileged people imaginable - often the most privileged people possible - to appropriate the words of oppression and marginalisation

I've seen some pretty awful ones out there. There's the use of "Christian Bashing" to appropriate the term gay-bashing. And while that may be the one that hit's closest to me, I've also seen appropriation of the civil rights movement, segregation, apartheid, the holocaust - gods you name it, nothing's untouchable. Some people have no shame and they sure don't have any respect.

And one of the appropriations that annoys me greatly is the appropriation of Human Rights.

I'm a lawyer. I like the law. I have a lot of respect for the law. I am genuinely and legitimately interested in my work - I love it dearly. I also have a, sometimes naive, desperate hope for the law. When I wrote about why I vote I said it was because, as a marginalised person, my well being is very dependent on government policy - and most certainly law. And definitely Rights.

The law (and most certainly its agents) is frequently - very frequently - used to abuse the marginalised. But law, and human rights particularly, are also our biggest shield against persecution.

Without Rights enshrined in law my life would be very different. In fact, there's a very good chance I wouldn't even be alive. More and more I am still horrified by how much people hate us, how little our lives are worth and how much so many people would cheer and fight to see my life ruined.

I like my life. It's a good life - a damned good life. But it exists only because of the shield that Rights have given me.

Rights are important. It seems so infantile to say it that way, but people forget. People whine about them. People neglect them and people abuse them. And the latter annoys me - to twist and maul something so essential and - on a selfish note - so very necessary to me, galls me a great deal.

So, I'm in the mood to grab the haddock and do some important slapping on people who appropriate the language of human rights to try and destroy them

Monday, January 11, 2010

Lesson in History: The Tuskegee Airmen and Black Pride

Destruction and I were cuddled on the couch yesterday flipping through the channels for something to watch, when I noticed the movie The Tuskegee Airmen.  I decided that this was a good movie for my child to watch.  He has learned about World War One and Two in school and from family stories because both his paternal grandfather and great grandfather fought in the war.

As I watched this movie with him, I realized that all of his images of the military have been White, though in the modern military people of color are over representative.  I certainly did not want him to get the impression that I support a military career for him but I felt that it was important for him to learn the sacrifices that these men made.

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“The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African American military aviators in the United States armed forces. During World War II, African Americans in many U.S. states were still subject to Jim Crow laws. The American military itself was racially segregated. The Tuskegee Airmen were subject to racial discrimination, both within and outside the Army. Despite these adversities, they flew with distinction. They were particularly successful in their missions as bomber escorts in Europe”.

Even though we are Canadians, I take pride in all of the achievements of the peoples of the African Diaspora.  I know that this is a story that Destruction would not have been taught in school and therefore; it is particularly important that as part of my responsibilities as a parent, that I educate him on OUR history.

Black history month is approaching and it will be filled with stories regarding the Underground Railroad because it benefits Whiteness in Canada to believe that it has not been racist towards Afro-Canadians.  The children will learn that Black history is an additive; something to be banded about once a year because of a lack of importance.   As a parent I must attack this message and show him as many positive images of Blackness as I can because the world will teach him to hate his skin and to believe himself inferior.

When White parents send their children to school they don’t have to worry whether or not their children will learn positive things about their history and  or culture  because Whiteness dominates the education system, leaving little room for the inventions and accomplishments of POC. Without actively saying that POC are less than, the erasure sends this message to children, which they in turn act upon in their daily interactions.  Dismantling racism begins by demanding that the history of the marginalized and oppressed be taught alongside the colonizers truth that we have become far to found of.

As a Black parent, I know that it is my responsibility to teach my children about the peoples of the African Diaspora to the best of my ability.  To default on this responsibility is to hand my children over to Whiteness unarmed and ill prepared.  Even in this I must recognize my privilege because I am educated and have the wherewithal to investigate specious arguments presented to my children.  Someone who is poor or without education, may not have the time or the knowledge to contradict the harm that is daily being done in schools.  Generation after generation, ignorance is passed on in this way.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Shame: Food Theft

This is a guest post by the ever wonderful Sparky

There is a rule in my house.

image The rule is that all food and drink belongs to me. (Well, except that which belongs to the cat. Because this is a cat rule and she is clear that she gets prio). Anything left unattended will be claimed. Many a time Beloved will leave the room and come back to find his sandwich gone and me happily sipping his drink (he should have made me one, really).

Of course, I don't like all food and drink. Beloved has some very very distressing taste in food. He likes his sandwiches dry without ANY mayonnaise or pickles. What is wrong with that? But he will slather things in ketchup. I hate ketchup - it's a terrible thing to do to a sandwich. Oh and he eats dry pasta. No sauce. Seriously, that's clearly proof that he is possessed by demons, right?

And he drinks this vile Belgian beer that I wouldn't use to clean sinks with. And his coffee is too weak. *grumbles*

Now, some people would say that, therefore, I would leave Beloved's distressing food alone. Not so, Sparky is more crafty than that. Many a time Beloved has come back to find lime added to his beer, ketchup scraped out of his sandwiches (and replaced with pickles. Nom nom pickles) or new condiments and seasonings added. If I'm lucky, Beloved won't like my adaptations and will surrender it to me and make a new one (which, of course, is also mine if he puts it down).

Beloved, of course, objects most unreasonably to this behaviour. Which I think is shocking. SHOCKING I say.

Personally, I blame Beloved. He's lived with me for years now, you'd think he'd know the rule by now. You'd think he'd take precautions. And he really has no right to be irritated by this, does he?

So 'fess up people. Who among you is a food thief? Who can't see someone else's plate without wanting a forkfull? And especially - who among you says "no, I don't want any" then  does once it's cooked/made? (Beloved has threatened me with death by torture for this one)