Saturday, May 8, 2010

Drop It Like It’s Hot

Hello everyone, and thanks for yet another interesting week of conversation.  The blog was once again invaded by a bunch of unscrupulous trolls and I would like to thank you not only for your patience, but for ignoring their vitriolic comments.  I was forced to close two threads this week and I am sorry about that, but the threads became to much for me to moderate.  I think that the worst is now over and that we can once again engage in the difficult conversations that have become the norm for WM.

Please do not be scared off by the troll invasion, it is to be expected when a blog does not shy away from the so-called controversial subjects.  It is my belief that if we simply pretend these issues don’t exist, no significant change can ever be made.  If you would like to participate in widening the conversation here at WM, please feel free to send me a link or your original work via e-mail.  The more voices speaking, the better the conversation is.

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

“Not all tears are an evil”

A STRANGER IN MULATTOPIA

AN ANGLE ON SLASH AND THE APPROPRIATION DEBATE

On a Border Near Arizona: How Police Can Protect Immigrant Women

My Mothers Abortion Improved All of our Lives

WAS JESUS CHRIST HETEROSEXUAL?

Michelle Obama & Princeton: Do the hard work yourself

the classism, sexism and racism of (some) environmentalism

Will South Carolina Follow Arizona’s Lead?

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

In Russia, Women Empower You!

Disability and Birth Control Part 1 and Part 2

Is Crying at Work So Wrong?

Appearance Politics: does this dress say I’m easy?

Look At What Our Collective Cowardice Has Wrought

Spice, lice, united

“American Able”: Challenging Depictions of Women With Disabilities. (NSFW)

White people lack empathy for brown people, brain research shows

Suffocated

Fat and Crazy; Not Entirely Coherent Awkward Musing On My Fat And My Crazy And How They Party Together

The Bisexual Woman: Hip-Hop’s Shug Avery

multicultural crayons: eight skin colours in one box

It has to be you

Smile! (Your Face Is Making People Unhappy)

Demographics of Abortion: Race, Poverty and Choice

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Directing Racism at the Obamas Cannot be Defended as Satire

The Smithtown Messenger on Long Island clearly does not know the difference between racism and satire.  They printed the following before and after images in their publication.

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The image includes the Bushes (both JR and Sr), Clintons, Reagans, Carters and the Obamas.  All of the other couples have before and after pictures but the Obamas are paired with  Redd Foxx as Fred Sanford and LaWanda Page as Sanford's sister-in-law, Aunt Esther.

Phillip Sciarello, publisher and part owner of the Smithtown Messenger on Long Island, defended the decision to publish the photo, but added the newspaper would run a retraction in its next edition for anyone who might have been offended. (source)

This image is not political satire.  If a political statement was intended, each set of presidential couples would have a similar photo-- but the fact that the Obamas were the only ones attacked is one just one of the reasons why this collage is racist.

Satire is often used as an excuse to engage in outright racism and when marginalized people rightfully take offense, we are being too sensitive, or can’t take a joke.  Obama like every other president is not perfect.  His administration has made plenty of mistakes that can be rightfully criticized, but using race to express political discontent simply reaffirms undeserved White privilege.

This is the part where racists usually argue that there are images depicting George Bush as a monkey, and that this falls under the same heading; however, Bush’s Whiteness means that the image does not carry the same weight.  Whenever you seek to criticise someone, you cannot divorce them from the historical context of how their race, class, gender, sexuality and able-bodied status has been understood. This is why images like above fail, they do not consider the ways in which racism continues to plague Blacks.

The fact that the publisher is only willing to apologize to those they “might have offended,” instead of admitting that what they did was offensive, illustrates a refusal to understand their role in perpetuating racism.  Just as “The New Yorker” defended their actions when they put a racist image of the Obamas on their cover, satire is once again being used by the media to perpetuate White Supremacy.  How can people honestly claim to be colour blind, or even post racial, when major agents of socialization have completed invested themselves in ensuring that Blacks continue to be understood as second class citizens?

H/T New Black Woman

Whiteness and the new Arizona immigration law.

This is a guest post from Butterfly who blogs over at Xicanisma

image I am a radical/revolutionary/progressive Chicana feminist. I am also an undergraduate student studying Psychology in hopes of going to graduate school in Clinical Psychology to become a Clinical Psychologist with emphasis in ethnic and gender studies.

I have been doing a lot of reading on this topic: from bloggers, to news articles, to op-eds. I have many issues with this law, but the terrible implication from this is the racial profiling of innocent citizens and immigrants.

I understand there are laws of this country, however, just because something is a law does not make it right. I have drastically "liberal" views on immigration that I won't be addressing in this post. I will be addressing Arizona and the White people who find the goodness in the law.

This law upsets me more than just the racial implications. My mother and her family were migrant workers in the summer and would travel the southwest and west to work the fields. Half of my relatives on my mother's side are "brown" and the other half are "white". I am pretty sure they would have been stopped if this law would have been in place back then. (On a random note, my mother was ironically born in Phoenix, and on her birth certificate she is "white", there was no way of knowing statistically who was Latino...)

I want to first differentiate between two terms I see wrongly used. In this article: the author uses the word "migrant" and "immigrant" interchangeably. I believe the author meant to use immigrant...an immigrant is someone who crosses borders; a migrant is someone who moves around for work. Yes, sometimes a migrant can be an immigrant, but a migrant is not always an immigrant, hence why people need to understand the difference. Understanding the differences between these words is crucial for those who think they are one in the same, and therefore mistakenly think "migrants" need to leave the country...

When reading many of the articles and such that I have read, I have seen many hateful comments. The comments that bother me the most in these articles are those that imply that Latino people will not be targeted. "WHERE DOES IT SAY THAT IT WILL TARGET LATINOS? HUH WHERE? THERE ARE EASTERN EUROPEAN AND CANADIAN IMMIGRANTS TOOOOO!" "Ohhhh but it doesn't SAY in there that it will target Latinos" "You will only be stopped if you have violated a law" "If they have probable cause they should be allowed to stop you" "I don't have any problems showing my papers, so why wouldn't Latinos?". I'm going to make a list to counter argue these implicitly racist and ignorant remarks.

1. Considering that Arizona's LEGAL amount of Latinos (obviously primarily Mexican American citizens) is at least 30% percent of the state's population, it is obvious that Latinos would get stopped. Do you honestly think they will target Eastern European or Canadian immigrants? Fat chance.

2. Probable cause is something that is so vague that I have many problems with it. My problems aside, what is probable cause under this new law? It never states what probable cause they are talking about in the beginning... Now, if I am driving and I have pot smoke coming out of my car windows, is that probable cause? I think so. Driving while brown? Not so much...

3. YOU (white people) don't have a problem showing your papers because you know there is like a 1% chance of you being stopped in Arizona. One lady on a Facebook "Shame on Arizona" fanpage trolls the statuses and comments and keeps reiterating this statement. She claims she has to show her ID every single day. I don't know where she works or what her daily schedule is, but most people only have to scan something with identification to get in. Unless you work for the government or something, most Americans don't have to show identification to someone on a daily basis. Now, if I am going to enter a government building and they are asking EVERYONE for their identification, I will be more than happy to oblige. In this case, Arizona is not asking everyone for their papers, therefore this argument is trash...

4. Most people do not understand the history of racism that the Southwest has inflicted upon Mexicans and Mexican Americans. I am not going to pretend I am an expert, however I know a thing or two. In 1954 there was a little something called "Operation Wetback" in which many illegal immigrants and their U.S.-born children were deported back to Mexico. Often times, Mexican nationals who were here legally were also sent back...

Whatever a person's opinions are about this new law, let's not pretend for one second that this law does not target people of Latino descent. I even appreciate racists for at least acknowledging that they are racist and that this law is also racist. I wont accept comments that pretend that race relations in this nation have improved since Barack Obama took office. Things have gotten much worse. Whenever things seem to look good for minorities, White people get upset and start getting uppity. They start to claim reverse racism and that social programs are only helping minorities and other things that portray them as the victim. Just because YOU don't THINK that this law will inevitably lead to profiling, doesn't mean you are right. All of the signs and current uprise of upset rich, educated, white people will lead to a social upheaval sooner or later.

Finally, the only way to curve the uproar, at least on the minority side, is for President Obama to address immigration reform in the next few months. The fact that more and more states are considering proposing similar laws means that action must be taken to make sure that: 1) Other states who propose these laws get shut down immediately 2) The Arizona legislature will be forced to withdraw this law. The sooner the process starts, the sooner comprehensive reform will be at the table, instead of avoiding it like we did back in 2006 when things got heated.

This law is no longer solely about immigrants; it's about social justice and human decency.

It’s Friday and the Question is…..

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The kids and I are planning on probably spending a week in New York sometime this summer to visit family.  I have been thinking about the logistics of this trip and how being disabled will make this  more stressful than pleasurable for me.  It also made me think about the places that I have always dreamed about visiting.  I have always said that I would love to go to India and see the Hindu shrines, and of course top on my list is the Sistine Chapel to see “The Spark of Life”.  I realized that the ability to even envision these trips is a reflection of my class privilege.  If you are poor, travel is not on the agenda because money is dedicated to survival.  If you are poor and disabled, the two combined present an insurmountable obstacle.  There is a reason why the poor live, and die within miles of where they are born.

This week I would like to know what obstacles you have faced in travel and what place would you most like to visit if there were no limitations at all?

What I am Not Teaching My Children

Recently I have gotten a lot of comments suggesting that I am teaching my boys to hate White people.  At first they made me angry, until I realized that these people cannot possibly understand what it is to be a little Black boy growing in a small town.  The first time he was attacked for the colour of his skin he was five years old.  The kids at school thought that it would be fun to call him Brown boy.  After several conversations with the teacher regarding this, the unhusband and I went to the principal to deal with this issue. Though she vowed to put a stop to it, she clearly did not understand how it could effect him throughout his life.  In our conversation regarding this issue, she compared being teased for being brown, to being teased for wearing glasses or braces.

A few weeks ago a young boy on the bus called a bunch of Black kids niggers. My son reported it to the school, and for his trouble he was intimidated by a principal that he didn’t know and ostracized on the school bus.   He was clearly the victim of a hate crime, and yet the only safety he could find was in the embrace of this family.

Last night he went to what we thought was a friends house for dinner and to invite them to his birthday party on Saturday.  When a disagreement arose between the two, the little boy responded by calling him a nigger.  My boy told his friends mother what he said and then walked home.  He struggled with his tears until he entered our house and knew he was safe. His father and I held him and told him repeatedly that he is not a nigger and that it was his friends ignorance that is the problem, not him.

He looked at his dad and said, “I’m surprised that you love me because I am a brown son”.  He told his father that he is the only nice White person that he knows.  You see, I don’t have to teach my son to hate White people, the racism that he has encountered in his brief nine years is enough for him to form an opinion all on his own.

My struggle is to teach him to understand that hating White people is NOT the answer to the racism he encounters, while teaching him to love and respect his Blackness.  It has been my experience that many White parents labour under the false belief that Blacks radicalize their children to protect them when in fact, Whiteness attacks our children and we end up playing defence and drying tears.  At the tender age of 8, the White child attacked my son sure in the knowledge that his Whiteness made him superior.  He may not have understood the historical connotations of the word nigger, but he knew enough to invoke his Whiteness in the conversation as the ultimate trump card.

We are heavily invested in teaching him his history and investing him with pride in being Black, because the world is already teaching him that he is less than.  To that end, the unhusband (amazing wonderful man that he is) came home with a gift for our boy this morning.

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The hat is for the National Negro League that existed during segregation.  It has the insignia of each team that was a part of the league.  The unhusband  wanted our boy  to see that in the face of White hatred, that Blacks stood together and created a community for themselves. 

It reminded our son of the the Tuskegee Airmen who I had taught him about last winter.   We are actively teaching him about brave Black men and women who have stood up to be counted in the face of White hatred, so that he can understand that he is not alone, and that he will come through this a stronger person.  The question is not what I  or other Black parents are teaching our children, but what is Whiteness teaching their children.  

Already my son knows that his anger is justified and yet there are those that would believe that he has a chip on his shoulder because his lived experiences  will not be listened to or validated.  Instead of owning the blame for their continued actions of hatred against Black people, we are expected to turn the other cheek -- and even a child as forgiving and loving as my boy has his limits. 

I don’t want to hear about blaming Whitey for our problems because the truth of the matter is that Whiteness as an institution is a problem for Black people.  Racism is not a thing of the past and Blacks of all ages deal with it every single day.  I don’t want to hear that Jim Crow and Slavery was so long ago, and  that we should just move on -- because Whiteness continues to benefit and sneer at the problems Blacks endure.

So in short, I don’t hate white people, but I do hate Whiteness.  I hate it for how it has not only hurt me, but the people that I love.  I simply cannot stand the pseudo White liberals who cannot and will not understand that despite their so-called race neutral position, that they are a part of the problem.  Don’t send your uncle tom’s to my door to declare racism dead and don’t think you know what it is to be Black because you watched “Roots.” And finally, Dr. King had things to say after 1963, and the only reason you ignore that is because the man that you praise as peaceful and accepting, knew damn well how evil Whiteness is.

 


Fat and disability: what few of you want to hear

I have a new post up at Global Comment

The personal narrative is something I have avoided, because the naked honesty also leaves one extremely vulnerable to attack. Living in a marginalized body is difficult enough without showing one’s war wounds, but when it becomes clear that hiding is only enabling the complete erasure of people who look and function like me, then it is time to speak out. You see, I am fat, Black, female and differently abled.

I can never completely be at home with any one of the labels that best describe me. In the media, I can see Black women, or even fat black women, but fat and differently abled are definitely categories that are understood to be mutually exclusive. A body like mine contradicts the mainstream social discourse.

Fat activist groups like NAAFA (The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance) have worked hard to promote HAES (Health at any size). NAAFA’s goal is to build “a society in which people of every size are accepted with dignity and equality in all aspects of life”. Considering the amount of hatred that fat men and women face in every avenue of life, this is most certainly a laudable goal. The problem is that the HAES model often excludes disabled folks, because our bodies are seen as broken.

How can you claim health at any size when people who are fat and disabled exist in direct contradiction to the message? My fat is a direct reflection of the two chronic illnesses that have plagued my life for the last three years.

I am fat because I have been on prednisone (a steroid) for years. I am fat because the smallest amount of exertion causes extreme pain. There is nothing healthy about this fat.

There is nothing to experience pride in, because fat for me represents all of the ways in which disability has robbed me of the life that I once had. There is no room for this story in a fat activist platform, because it reminds people that yes, fat can indeed be a form of illness — and that is the antithesis of what fat activists are aiming for.

Finish reading here

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Monstrous Musings: Got Vampire Privilege?: The Whiteness of Twilight

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.

imageThe following is the second part of a piece posted two weeks ago.   Part 1 can be found here

Noble savages in need of vampire civilization

In addition to its depictions of the Quileute characters as literally and figuratively darker and more animalistic, the Twilight series also features many characters whose villainy is either associated with non-white skin and/or their black hair and clothing.

Laurent, for example, is described as having olive skin and glossy black hair in the books and is played by a black actor in the films. The evil Volturi, their name redolent of black vultures, are repeatedly associated with their long black capes and “dark ruby eyes”.

Even the raced vampire allies are portrayed as more savage than their white counterparts. The animal-skin wearing Amazonian vampires are depicted as “feline” with “long black braids.” Bella observes “It wasn’t just their eccentric clothes that made them seem wild but everything about them” Noting their “restless” “darting movements,” and “fierce appearance,” she relates, “I’d never met any vampires less civilized” .

The Brazilian workers featured in Breaking Dawn are similarly associated with darkness. The “tiny coffee-skinned woman” with “dark eyes” is “superstitious” and speaks in what Bella describes as an “alien tongue”.

More explicit racialization occurs via the NA wolves depiction as less civilized than vampires. In Breaking Dawn, for example, the Cullens introduce “culture” to Jacob, inviting him into their home. Sleeping and eating outside at first, in various states of undress, he is gradually “civilized” and moves inside the house, or into the white world.

The term werewolf, literally meaning man-wolf, connotes beastliness and irrationality, attributes that were also associated with those “in need” of colonization. This man-wolf idea, as Meyer’s books show, lends itself well to the historical rep of Native Americans as a violent, savage people.

Indeed, violence is represented as genetic trait of the Quileute via the actions of Paul, Sam, and Jacob, a representation that glosses over the political reality that  native women experience domestic violence at higher rates than any other ethnic group and frames native men as predisposed to violence.

On the flipside of this ignoble savage representation is the noble savage (the native American as close to the land, spiritual, heroic, virtuous—and doomed). In Twilight, Jacob’s “good side” is often rendered in animal-like terms which present him not so much as a savage beast, but as a loyal dog. These depictions, despite having positive associations with “man’s best friend,” nevertheless portray Jacob and the wolves as more animal-like than human, a portrayal that has historically been used in relation to Native Americans.

Tellingly, when Edward is associated with animality, he is characterized as a lion, the king of the jungle - Jacob, on the other hand, is depicted as a loyal dog, a savage wolf, and, at one point, a sure-footed mountain goat. He is the ignoble savage that forces himself on Bella – a younger Sam who, we are encouraged to think, might just leave Bella’s face scarred like Emily’s. Yet, lest this violent representation smack too much of racism, he is domesticated in the texts – rendered into a nice puppy dog for Bella to pet. (Tellingly, Bella admits she likes Jacob MORE in wolf form when she can be his metaphorical human master, patting his soft fur and reveling in his expressive wolf eyes that are so much more palatable to her than when he is human and can talk!)

She, as future vampire, tames his wolfishness, preparing him to enter the Cullen world – first via being allowed into their house, then dressed in “civilized” clothes, then ultimately made a family member through his imprinting on Renesmee. Not only is he colonized by these vampires, he now has godly Edward as a father. What a nice little assimilationist fairy tale…

 Edward’s mind versus Jacob’s body, or, Twilight as a Colonial Text

Twilight can be read as upholding traditional ideas of mind versus body and culture versus nature. Edward (and the Cullens) are associated with the mind/culture, while Jacob, the Quileute, the wolves, and other raced characters are associated with body/nature.

Edward has various graduate degrees, is well-spoken and well-read, and is distanced from his ice-cold body. As a mind reader, he lives not only through his own mind, but by reading the thoughts of others. Jacob, in contrast, is grounded in corporeality – his bodily size, color, and temperature are constantly focused on in the books. Further, as a werewolf, Jacob and other Quileute characters are associated with the unruly body.

Their bodies run hot and their physical anger cannot be contained. More generally, the werewolves’ lack of clothing emphasizes their status as bodies.

The sexualization of the wolf body further highlights the body/mind binary the series enacts. Echoing traditional representations of colonized peoples Jacob (and the other wolves) are perpetually in a state of undress. This, too, is in keeping with historical representations. As Peter van Lent argues in “Her Beautiful Savage,” sexuality pervaded captivity narratives with native men framed as dangerous, yet desirable.

Analyzing the popularity of “Indian Romances,” van Lent suggests that turning the native male into a romantic hero renders his supposed violence sexy and ameliorates the history of colonization. “Loving him,” van Lent writes, “a minority and a victim of much we regret—makes American dominant culture feel less guilty.” 

Taylor Lautner and his packing on of 30 pounds of muscle in the space of one month might be read in this context. Moreover, the fact he is only “playing native”  underscores the fact that real life indigenous males cannot live up to their media representations – instead, as Lautner’s casting portends, non-natives are “better” at being native than real natives1

Taken together, these representations in Twilight communicate to readers rather disturbing messages about race. In particular, Jacob’s character  perpetuates the dominant racial ideology which constructs the indigenous as “Other.” 

Jacob, as a stereotypical “good Indian” tells Bella his cultural “legends” but does not place much stock in them, characterizing Quileutes as overly superstitious. Before his turn to wolf, he is very critical of the “La Push gang,” calling it a cult and mocking the fact they are “all about our land and tribe pride.” Referring to what is happening as “like a bad western”, Jacob has adopted a white, Westernized view of his culture and heritage.

When he asks Bella, “So do you think we’re a bunch of superstitious natives, or what?” with “a hint of worry” in his voice, he emphasizes his own fear that this is indeed the case. His westernized view, or colonial viewpoint, results in negative views of himself and other tribe members. His turn to wolf is redolent of forced colonization – a turn caused, significantly, by the presence of the white Cullen vampires.

And, while Jacob is especially reluctant to serve his wolf-mates and follow Sam’s orders, he, in keeping with the colonial viewpoint the text enacts, he seems happy to be at the beck and call of the white girl he has fallen in love with, reminding Bella, “I offered eternal servitude, remember, I’m your slave for life”

We might also read Jacob’s forced turn to wolf in relation to white conquest – he does not want to fight, to be an animal, but the Cullen intrusion forces him to do so. Yet, rather than a justified warrior hero, he is presented as “a monster who might hurt somebody.” 

Compared to the high-culture Edward who, fittingly looks like a classically beautiful statue, Jacob is childlike, irrational, temperamental, impulsive, and beastly. Edward is a white vampire god – Jacob, in contrast, is a lowly teen wolf, with “russet-coloured” skin and anger management problems. He is framed as the real and more dangerous monster, just as men of color are framed as a danger to society, to their families, to themselves. Post-racial society my ass. More like “Twilight society” where white guys are the heroes, males of color are violent cads, white girls are desired booty, and women of color are victims. But it’s “just fiction” and “only entertainment” – kind of like the Western movies that gave us the enduring image of indigenous men as monstrous.

It’s not “just fantasy”: why Twilight’s representation of race matters

The contrasting depiction of Bella’s suitors, with the white vampire as gentleman-hero and the native werewolf as an aggressive cad, accords to racialized stereotypes of white versus non-white behaviour.

The fact that Bella chooses Edward over Jacob at the series close and that this choice is framed as a “happy ending” implies that what Edward represents – whiteness, civility, wealth, and intellect – is the better choice. Bella chooses the Cullen vampire life, a life that brings with it a knapsack full of privileges. This choice, read in the context of the racial ideologies that shape U.S. society, reinforces messages of white superiority.

Twilight needs to be examined in terms of the dominant ideology of race that shapes the U.S. culture. By perpetuating ideas of whites as civilized and indigenous people as savages, it naturalizes and perpetuates age-old racial divides. Such depictions, even when situated in a fantasy, contribute to dominant notions of race shaping U.S. culture.

We must remember that fantasies portrayed in media texts are often held up as ideal. Gunshot Westerns were largely fantasy too, and think of the lasting legacy they have left us with in terms of Native Americans being seen as angry warriors who scalp too often and drink too much.

Further, the fact that the series depicts a real group of indigenous people is problematic, especially given the failure to mention Native American realities of poverty, unemployment, high suicide rate, lack of access to healthcare and generalized social disenfranchisement.

Instead, Twilight relies on stereotypical representation of race, focuses on falsified legends, and leaves out any consideration of the lasting effects of colonization. As such, it serves the dominant ideology and undermines native sovereignty and cultural survival.

While the texts are indeed fictional, we cannot discount the power such fiction holds over our lives, over the socialization of young readers, and over our cultural constructions of race. Not all vampires (read: all white guys) are “godlike” and “angelic” and not all wolves (read: men of color) are testosterone fuelled beasties.

 


The term "tea-bagger" is like uttering the "n" word

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Here we go again with the insensitive comparisons to a word that needs to disappear altogether from our vocabulary. Of course, to privileged White men, revisionist history that turns them into the great unwashed oppressed, is just another day in wonderland.

The term "tea-bagger" is like uttering the "n" word, some say. Though he aspires to promote civility, evidence has surfaced that President Obama has added "tea-bagger" to his public lexicon, though it's considered a cheap and tawdry insult by "tea party" activists. Watchdogs at Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) barked when they saw the proof, tucked in a sneak peak of Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter's new book, "The Promise: President Obama, Year One," to be released May 18. Indeed, it appears the president joined certain partisan critics and the liberal media, and took the tea-bag plunge.

"This remark is the equivalent of using the 'n' word. It shows contempt for middle America, expressed knowingly, contemptuously, on purpose, and with a smirk. It is indefensible to use this word. The president knows what it means, and his people know what it means. The public thought we reached a new low of incivility during the Clinton administration. Well, the Obama administration has just outdone them," ATR president Grover Norquist tells Inside the Beltway.  (source)

There is no word that is “like the n word”.  It has a very specific history and is used specifically to degrade a Black person based specifically on race.  The moment that the n word is uttered in a conversation between Whites and Blacks, the power dynamic instantly changes, because the White person has claimed racial superiority to which there can be no defence.

Let’s just set history right: unlike Black people who never actually chose to call themselves the scurrilous word nigger, the tea baggers actively chose their label.  It was not until people on the left like Rachel Maddow began laughing at their choice, that they had a problem with the label.

Had they done a little bit of research before they chose the label, they would have realized that tea bagging refers to a sexual activity.  A simple trip to Wikipedia would have revealed that: “To tea bag is a slang term for the act of a man placing his scrotum in the mouth of a sexual partner. The practice resembles dipping a tea bag into a cup of tea when it is done in a repeated in-and-out motion. As a form of non-penetrative sex, it can be done for its own enjoyment or as foreplay before other activities, such as oral sex”.

But the tea party was far more interested in re-enacting a moment from American history, to consider that the term might have evolved since it was first used.  I suppose if they had a few progressives, or even gays and lesbians in their movement, they might have had the knowledge to think twice -- but hey, that’s what you get for being closed minded troglodytes.

To then turn around and claim that a label they chose is the equivalent of the n word, reveals just how over privileged and clueless these people are. Tell me, are teabaggers being enslaved, lynched, raped, routinely beaten and murdered by the police, over represented in the prison industrial complex, under educated, impoverished and above the national average in unemployment?  When they watch television can they see their race glorified 24/7?  Yeah the poor teabaggers have it rough alright, no wonder they think that having to suffer the presence of a Black man in the White house and paying their fair share of taxes is oppression.

bell hooks has said repeatedly that there is no such thing as a good oppression; however, everything that the tea party is currently facing is  of their own making -- and none of it can be reasonably characterized as oppression.   This is nothing more than a group of people acting out of fear and anger attempting to maintain a privilege that they view to be their birth right, on the backs of the marginalized.  Tea Partyers don’t want to know what it is really like to be treated like a nigger, they only want to play at oppression for the sake of pushing their selfish, twisted message.

 


Where Do You Stand Politically?

Often when we talk about politics, we dedicate ourselves to the left right divide and there is more to our positions than that.   Some historical figures like Ghandi or the Dali Lama are not as progressive as they seem to be and yet you have polarizing figures like Stalin and Mugabe who are clearly on the left, but with a strong slant of authoritarianism. Every once and  awhile, I like to take a test which  helps me to position my self politically.  As I aged, I thought that my beliefs would become more conservative, but it seems I move more to the left consistently.  If you have never taken it, or are curious to see where you stand now, might I suggest taking the Political Compass test.  Below you will find my results and how it compares to some world leaders and historical figures.

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The following is my test result.

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I am very interested to know where the readers of this blog stand.  The test takes between 3-5 minutes, so please take the time to complete it and share the results.  Did you learn anything about yourself, and if so what surprised you the most? I think if I move anymore to the left I just might fall right off the chart LOL.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck Slut Shames Erin Andrews

I don’t watch “Dancing With the Stars,” but I do watch The View”.   Most of the time Elizabeth’s commentary is enough to make me want to push a mute button.  I know that a broken clock is right twice a day, but Elisabeth seems to be unable to even reach that level.

Erin Andrews just went through a terrible ordeal in which unbeknownst to her, a man video tapped her naked through a peep hole, and then attempted to sell the video. When celebrity sites refuse to pay for his illegally obtained video, he put them on Youtube. He actually stalked her for quite some time as well.   This was a complete invasion of privacy and there is nothing that she could have done to provoke this kind of behaviour; however, in true Elizabeth fashion, the victim blaming came pouring out of her mouth.

transcript starting at 00:39

She is not on dancing with the starts. still there dancing; however for the last three weeks she’s been wearing like next to nothing.  Okay, so she’s come in and I think in the light of what happened and as illegal and inexcusable as it was for that horrific guy to go in and try to peep on her in her hotel room – I mean in some way if I’m him I’m like, man if I just could have waited twelve weeks and seen this a little bit less without the prison time, you know. 

Elizabeth then stands up to reveal to the audience that her clothing is made up of vast material, after being questioned as to whether or not she is wearing less by Joy. 

She may be a really nice person; I don’t know her.  I’m just thinking coming off of what just happened to her and this guy seeing her and making it seem she was vulnerable as could be, I would think …she has the right, I’m just thinking wear the other costume.

Yes, I know that most of that was scattered, but remember who was speaking.  It seems to me that what Elizabeth is suggesting, is that if Erin Andrews would only just dress modestly, no one would want to attack her.   It’s not like the real reason for these kinds of violations against women have anything to do with power or anything.   There is a reason that rape still happens to women that wear a niqab.  These kinds of violations are never about sex.  Sex is only the manifestation of a desire to hurt, shame, and overpower. It is never about what a woman is wearing, drinking, if she is out after dark, or alone with a man.  If man has determined that he will violate a woman, none of her actions will matter. 

Not to worry folks, “The View’s” resident bimbette learned her lesson and issued a teary apology the next day.

transcript beginning at 00:58

Yesterday when we were talking about Erin, even though I was focused on the detestable criminal who is behind bars thankfully, who has really  made her life a living hell, umm  and is in jail, umm I ended up hurting her. And so I told Grace, Grace mommy feels really bad cause I hurt somebody.  So I took out her little devotional that we read, and I read her mommy always read you reckless words pierce someone’s heart like a sword, and I told her, and I promised her that I would use my words more mindfully; like I try to do to build people up not break them down. Thankfully she is five and so cute and she said to me, “Mommy why don’t you just call Erin and tell her you’re sorry.”  So thankfully I listened to her she is a wise little girl and I did, so I’m really sorry and I wanted to offer that publicly  even though I did follow that advice. 

Is it me, or did you get the sense that Elizabeth still did not understand  why what she said was wrong?  Yes, she slut shamed the woman, but she also victim blamed and that is very dangerous, in a world where people think that women cannot be raped when they wear skinny jeans.  The category of who can be a victim is continually being narrowed by patriarchy, and this means that each day women become more vulnerable.  When we put the onus on women to prevent an assault or in this case a clear invasion of privacy, it removes the responsibility from the offender.  It further sets up a world in which women are always being policed and their behaviour suspect. 

It is troubling that socially a woman is only believed when she says yes to a sexual advance and a negative answer is always up to debate.  The acceptance of an affirmative answer is easy for patriarchy to accept because it benefits men, and this is why agency is only ever deemed acceptable when it is clear that a man can profit in some way.   Further, as Elizabeth has shown, women help to sustain a world in which they are forever prey by refusing to support each other on key issues.   Powerful groups are always supportive of margainalized bodies who are willing to be a tool of their own oppression, or as I like to label these women colluders.  What Hasselbeck fails to realize, is that one day that very same argument could be used against her.  She did not just hurt one woman, she hurt all women with her statements.  She particularly attacked all women that have been victims to stalking, male violence, and rape.  And so, while it is great that she apologized to Erin, until she can acknowledge how her comments played into a larger narrative that continues to create women’s bodies as always available, she remains a part of the problem.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What is the proper expression of fear for a man? (No, I did not scream, and that snake was awfully big)

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This is a guest post by Max Reddick. He blogs over at soulbrother v.2.  I discovered Max quite by accident and since then he has moved me with his eloquence and tender heart.

Okay, I know that spring is in full swing, and summer is just around the corner;  I just had my first snake spotting of the year.  Since I have been authoring this blog, several times I have related stories of the snake problem we have around our home [See here, here, and here].  We live in a semi-rural area and have a pond in the backyard.  Plus, we have an abundance of insects which brings the frogs around the porch to dine, which, in turn, brings the snakes.

So, as spring proceeds, I have been on the lookout for snakes, and today I finally saw my first snake of this season but quite by accident.  But there seems to be considerable disagreement as to what transpired immediately following this snake spotting.

This much I know for sure.  I was returning to the house after giving final instructions to the yard man, when out of the corner of my eye I sensed movement.  So, I looked down, and about a foot from my feet, I saw what looked to be this huge snake curled up there in the shade.  This is where everything gets kind of murky though.

Just moments after I saw the snake, my wife and children came to the door and opened it, and the yard man came running around the house, at exactly the same time.  Both asked me what happened because they had heard me scream.  Of course I took the time to inform them that, no, I did not scream as I pointed at the confused but alert snake still curled up on the porch.

My wife then closed the door, leaving me still on the porch with a snake at my feet and began talking to me through the closed door.

Just then my neighbour came into the yard as did a jogger who just happened to be passing.  They were both concerned because they thought they heard a scream.  I had to inform them both that no one had screamed, as I pointed to the snake who was now making his way toward the bushes.  The jogger took the earbuds out of his ear, and made the observation that he did hear an audible, blood curdling scream even above the music he had been listening to as he jogged alone.

And just as the snake reached the bushes, Jerry the intrepid yard man reached down, grabbed the snake by the tail, swung him around and dashed his head against the side of the house several times before slinging his dead, lifeless body onto a pile of yard waste.

“There,” he told me with a smirk on his face, “He won’t be able to make you scream again.”

So, I had to defend myself because this whole screaming thing was going a bit too far.  “I DID NOT SCREAM,” I said emphatically.

By this time my wife and kids were standing in the doorway again.  “Yeah, Dad.  I think everyone heard you scream,” my son told me.  And he’s supposed to be my boy.  He defected to the other side.

I tried to continue my protest;  I tried to continue to convince them that I had indeed not screamed, but by this time they were all gathered around the pile of yard waste, inspecting the snakes remains.

One of them finally said, “That’s just a little old garter snake.  That’s no reason to scream.  Garter snakes are harmless.”

So, again, I had to defend myself:  “That’s not a little snake.  It has to be at least two feet long.  AND I DID NOT SCREAM!”

Everyone was silent for a second until someone finally said, “I guess it is big as far as glass snakes go.”  Everyone nodded.  But then around the corner comes my neighbour's wife and kids.  “Is everything okay here?  We heard someone scream.”

“NO ONE SCREAMED,” I said.  Everyone pointed to the snake.

“I knew it!  I knew it was another snake!” one of my neighbour's kids said.  “Professor Reddick is a screamer!”

So I’m like, “You better get your kids, Pete.  Get your kids.”

But let’s say I did scream.  It is possible.  I did scream when I stepped on a snake before.  But what’s so wrong with me screaming?  What’s the proper response when one sees a snake at their feet even if that someone is a man?


Just Leave Gabourey Alone

Since Gabourey received international attention by staring in the movie “Precious,” the media has not tired of disciplining this woman.  She is too fat, too black, and too happy, for people to accept.  Doesn't she know that women like her are supposed to be hiding in their apartments with only the company of cats?

Fishbowl DC is just the latest outfit to try on the shame shoes.

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So, who was the weekend's biggest (no pun intended) disappointment so far? FishbowlDC heard the same complaint throughout last night: Gabourey "Gabby" Sidibe, star of 'Precious' was "not so precious at all," "anything but precious" and some comments were less complimentary than that.

When asked for a picture, the less-than-enthused newbie star could barely crack a smile. One photo-seeking fan said jokingly, "that's all you're going to give me," to the pouty Precious. Gabby responded, "you'll get what I give you."

Note to Gabby: You're already 5 into your 15 minutes of fame so simmer down.

So here we go again, a man wants a woman to smile because it would make him happy, and of course there is something wrong with her for failing to instantly comply.  Nothing is said about the fact that he seems to think that he has the right to force someone to perform like a trained seal, ‘cause that is what good girls apparently do. 

I get that Gabby is a celeb, but she is also a person -- and if she does not feel like putting a fake ass smile on her face to satisfy some guy, that is just fine.  Too often men will expect women to hide their feelings and become little automatons, because it makes them happy --never mind that it may be in direct conflict of how we are currently feeling.   This is not a celeb thing, this is a woman thing.  I have been told on more than one occasion that I should smile and all it inspires me to do is give the person the finger. You know, if I felt like smiling, I would smile.

Gabby’s celebrity status does not give some strange man, that she is never going to see again, the right to stroll in and expect a performance.  This is about gender and power and the failure to acknowledge this is reflective of the ways in which we often ignore the social discipline that is aimed at us every day.  Someone could look at this  and say, what’s the big deal, it’s just a smile – but that little smile is just one of multiple tasks that women are expected to perform by patriarchy.

We claim that women are more emotional than men when the truth is, women are allowed to show one emotion, and that is stepford like happiness.  We cannot be left alone to cry in peace, should the urge strike us, nor can we lash out in anger, because a perfect woman is the picture of serenity and calm --never mind that it may take drugs to achieve this. 

If Gabby is irritable, it is her right to be so and she should not have to “calm down”, be quiet, or perform.  It is also presumptuous to suggest her career is nearing its end, when she just did an amazing job on Saturday Night Live.  Gabby is riding high and going strong, and I think the issue is that society expects women, especially fat Black women like Gabby to behave a certain way.  I say kudos to Gabby for being just who she is, and if the world does not like it, they are welcome to bugger the hell off.  It’s about time women be allowed the autonomy to be individuals. I am far more thrilled by her failure to perform, than I would have been to see another faux smile on a woman who just wasn’t to it.

H/T (not) Happy About This


Forced sterilisation: a western issue too

I have a new post up at The Guardian

Much of reproductive rights activism is squarely centred on the right to have access to birth control and abortion. But while this remains an important factor in securing women's rights, the right to become a mother is a paramount issue to millions of women across the globe. The pro-life movement continues to suggest that women are "killing babies" but ignores the millions of women who have been prevented from ever carrying a child: the right to motherhood is the other side of the reproductive coin, which does not receive enough attention.

Times Online recently featured an article discussing forced sterilisation in China to enforce the one-child rule. The article states that in Puning, a county in Guangdong province, the government is imprisoning relatives of people who have broken the one-child policy in an attempt to force them to submit to sterilisations; the goal is to complete 9,559 sterilisations.

Similarly, a human rights group has recently alleged that Uzbekistan's government had instructed health workers to surgically sterilise women as part of a campaign to reduce its birth rate. But while the east is often singled out for its breaches on human rights (and by doing so reifying a false east/west divide), forced sterilisation continues to be a real and present danger in the Americas.

The Movimiento Amplio de Mujeres Linea Fundacional has worked to raise awareness regarding the forced sterilisation that occurred in family planning centres in Latin America between 1995 and 2000. The Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defence of the Rights of Women found that health officials in Peru used threats, promises and bribes to convince campesinas to submit to these operations. The BBC reports that 215,227 "sterilising operations on women" occurred in Peru alone. Unsurprisingly, the women targeted were poor, indigenous, rural and Quechua-speaking. This happened a scant 10 years ago.

In the US, coercion and persuasion are also often used when sterilisation occurs. Women incarcerated after having been convicted of drug use during pregnancy or child abuse were, in several states, given the option to take Norplant to avoid or reduce the length of incarceration.

Finish reading here

Happy Birthday To My Baby

 image Nine years ago today, my beautiful baby boy Destruction came into this world and my life has never been the same.  Life has not always been kind to me, but the baby boy has been the greatest gift anyone could ever have.  He is sweet and ever so gentle. 

I remember when I first held him; my heart was overwhelmed with love and each day it only grows.  There is not a day that goes by that is not filled with an exchange of love.  Whether it is the quick kiss on his way out the door to school, or the big cuddle on a cold day, our life together is filled with joy.   Even on the days when my body is too sore to hug, he will still touch my face to let me know that he cares, and wants me to feel better.

I have been honoured to watch him grow from a helpless infant, to a child that has endless concern about those around him.   He is truly amazed that there are mean people in this world, and is never afraid to stand up for someone smaller than he is.  I have watched him comfort a crying friend, when the other children had walked away.  I have watched him stand up to the neighbourhood bully to ensure that his little brother was safe.  And I have heard him correct his friend when he used the word fag as an insult.  Once my boy realizes that something is hurtful, he does his best to avoid the behaviour and encourages others to do so as well.  When I had surgery and was to weak to feed myself, it was my angel who sat and fed me ice chips, because caring for others is just a part of who he is. While I may have raised him to respect others, the degree to which he has internalized this message is a testament to his good soul.

In our quiet moments I sometimes look at him and I am so overwhelmed with love that I cannot speak, and he will just say I love you too mom.  Though I am not allowed to kiss him in public, ‘cause he is to cool for that, the moments that we do share mean the world to me.

We have created fabulous meals and treats in the kitchen, all the while defending it against his fathers creations.  When the unhusband tries to get creative, Destruction has been known to tell his father how I do things in the kitchen.  Yes sweetie, mommy does put cinnamon on the french toast. We sing songs together and laugh as his father scowls at their repetitiveness and we have had awesome dance parties.  When he was little I would let him stand on the kitchen table so that he would be closer to my height and we would stand right there and boogie.  I remember when his favourite song was “Night Moves” and everything had to stop while he sang the chorus. 

All of this is not to say that he has not had his moments.  I remember all to well waking up after a nap to find that he had rubbed an industrial jar of Vaseline into our fifty pound beagle and the time he decided to make me breakfast, by scrambling eggs on the floor, because he was too little to use the stove.  There was also his whole home decorator phase, where he had to release his inner Picasso all over the walls of the house.  Then of course, there was his midnight snacking phase, when I woke up to find him using my foot as a plate.  Do you have any idea how unpleasant it is to wake up because cold slices of ham have been placed on your foot?

My life with the baby boy has been an adventure, and I must say I look forward to seeing what each day brings.  I know that it will always end with a smile and kiss.  Each day I see him growing tall and strong and I am so proud of him.  Most mothers love their children but I can also say that I like my son.  He is a good person and a wonderful child; if only he wouldn’t grow up so fast.

Happy Birthday my angel.  And thank you for all of the joy you have brought into my life;  I would not be the same without you.  Thank you for all of the lessons that you have taught me.  Thank you for all of the laughter and creativity and most of all, thank you for being you.  I could not ask for a more wonderful child.

Je t'aime mon petit ananas.  Joyeux anniversaire

Mama

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tune in Tuesday: Black Eyed Peas I Gotta Feeling

From the minute I heard this song, I fell in love with it.  This of course means misery for the unhusband. I then introduced  it to the children and played it often enough for them to learn the lyrics.  This means that instead of living with just one person singing a song that gets on his nerves, he now has to put up with three people singing the song. It does not matter where we are when we hear it, we immediately start singing-- and the unhusband immediately starts looking for a hole to hid in, while pretending he is not really with us…I say that it’s pay back for all of the times he has nearly poisoned us with his cooking.

Please feel free to share any special attachments to this song or list another song that you love that drives the people close to you around the bend.

Let’s Celebrate Some Food

As a fat disabled person I am always advised to eat less and exercise, even though movement causes me a lot of pain and I eat a fairly balanced diet.  Fight teh fat at all cost is always the message because we are lead to believe that our bodies are disgusting.  Apparently, if you are fat you have no right taking any sort of pleasure in food, and should restrict yourself to a diet of raw carrots and bran cereal. 

Well guess what

go ahead guess

I’m not doing it.  That’s right.  Food is about more than sustenance; it is also about pleasure and I refuse to live a life of denial to fit into some artificial standard, while lying in bed hungry and battling stomach cramps.  There are women that actually starve themselves to get into a pair of jeans, whereas my motto is that jeans come in various sizes for a reason.   At any rate, I have decided that it is time that we take back the pleasure that comes with eating something good. 

Please use this thread to post a recipe to a meal that you absolutely love.  Consider this the Womanist Musings recipe exchange.  What better way to fight the idea that we should resist loving food than to actively celebrate culinary decadence in all of its goodness. Have at it folks and don’t worry, I won’t let the unhusband contribute any of his culinary disasters.

Spark of Wisdom: Silence is justice delayed - perhaps even justice reversed

image 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.

Do not be silent

It cannot be emphasised how important it is - marginalised bodies can never be silent. We must never stop talking, we should never stop criticising, we should never stop communicating.

And that's hard. There are no small number of people trying to silence the marginalised. Some of them are blatant - the violent monsters that threaten, attack, beat and kill marginalised people. The bigots who scream hate speech to all who will listen and society that will repeat it, listen to it and treat it as a legitimate position. The hateful trolls that stalk the net with their attacks and screeds to try and scare and intimidate and shame those who dare to speak.

There are many more subtle forces that demand silence. Sometimes every time you try to address a topic, people swoop in to derail and distract. Fans of politicians or institutions will shout you down for daring to speak against their hero. People with their own agendas will demand those of the marginalised be put on hold - perhaps indefinitely. People will decide that equality is a lower priority. People will demand you put your agenda on hold and get behind issues that affect the populace as a whole - which is fine, but the populace as a whole won't be there when the marginalised issues rise again - if they ever do. No end of people - even within our own orgs - will hit us with tone arguments - telling us to calm down, to stop criticising, to be patient, to, ultimately, shut up and wait to be noticed. Wait until the powers that be have time for you - if they ever do. Accept the crumbs they give you, the gestures, the tokens and shut up and be grateful for them. They will chide us for our impatience, our selfishness. They will insult our fight for justice as "selfish" "whining" and "sensitive." They will belittle our pain and our losses and our anger.

And sometimes silence is demanded by the sheer soul destroying effort that speaking brings. The knowledge that most people don't care. The comments demanding you to educate, the comments that force you to go back and explain the basic problem over and over again. The comments that constantly doubt and question your experience, that constantly minimise it or dismiss it. Even the comments that just burst with well meaning cluelessness - it erodes at the will to speak.

But speaking is important. Refusing to be silenced is vital.

We have to speak because if we don't who will? Who will speak for the marginalised?

Can women rely on men to speak for them? Can POC rely on whiteness to speak for them? Can GBLT people rely on straight, cisgendered people to champion our cause? Can the disabled rely on the abled to speak up? This is not for a second to criticise the sterling and amazing work that allies do. Allies are a major force in all our movements and without them we would not be anywhere close to where we are today - but collectively, privileged groups do not speak for the marginalised. In general rights, equality and justice are not given - they are demanded.

For that matter how much can the privileged, no matter how well meaning, speak for the marginalised at very least without the marginalised speaking as well? Even the best of us get it wrong, and even the most sincere ally is not truly going to understand what it is to be part of a particular marginalised group, no matter how much they genuinely try or how much they truly care. Our allies are wonderful forces beside us, but it is not a movement they can lead.

But for me, most importantly of all, we must speak because our detractors will not be silent. While we are quiet, while we are polite, while we are patient, while we are intimidated, despondent or otherwise silent - our enemies still speak. The misogynists still speak. The racists still speak. The transphobic and the homophobic still speak. The "pro-family" groups will speak - pushing back GBLT rights and a woman's right to choose. The business lobby will still speak, protesting bitterly at any requirement to make shops, buildings - life! - accessible to the disabled. They will speak, and the powers that be will listen to them.

If we are silent, we cede the debate. We concede the frame. They get to set the agenda. They get to be the ones heard. They are the ones that set the terms, that speak unchallenged. They are the force that is listened to and the ones the powers that be feel they have to pander to. Gods know they pander to them enough - how much more so if they don't hear our voices? Or if our voices aren't as loud, aren't as forceful or as threatening?

We cannot be silent because we cannot afford to be. Silence lets our opponents dominate, lets our issues sink to obscurity. Silence gives the powers that be the excuse to ignore us. Silence is justice delayed - perhaps even justice reversed. Silence means accepting that our marginalisation is not a problem, is not wrong, is not unacceptable.

It is wrong. It is a problem. It is not acceptable - and I'm going to keep talking until that changes.

 

“Shoot The Illegal Immigrants”

The following is a flash game on the internet.

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click the image to play the game

After you are done pretending to murder undocumented workers it ends with the following message:

imageI really hesitated to write this post because I certainly do not want to give more attention to something this hideous, but at the same time, the amount of violence and racial rhetoric that is being aimed at the Latino community must come to an end.

This game is a manifestation of much of the hate speech that has become a part of the social discourse:  Pregnant women are running with a multitude of children and Latino men are carrying guns. This reifies the idea that Latina women are irresponsible breeders waiting to have an anchor baby, and that Latino men are extremely violent (note: each man is carrying a gun). 

Of course, all of this is meant to be in good fun right?  And it comes with the additional bonus of attacking a group that is already marginalized while supporting U.S. nationalism.  We need look no further than the U.S. government for the heightened anti-Latino sentiment that is currently on the rise.  From a law in Arizona demanding that individuals carry identification that declares citizenship, to the cancelling of Ethnic Studies, it is clear that an all out war has been declared against undocumented workers.

What is absolutely terrifying, is that many of the racist strategies that have been employed, have a very similar look to the laws that were used to enforce Slavery and Jim Crow.  The hate has moved beyond the normal xenophobic isolationist approach the U.S. has commonly taken, to an all out frontal assault.

While the right bellows regarding undocumented workers supposedly stealing jobs, the contributions that they make to the U.S. are soundly ignored.  Undocumented workers participate in the economy and in fact, the garment industry and the agricultural industry are particularly dependent on their labour.  They bring with them a beautiful language and a rich culture, that can only enrich American society-- and yet, this is easily ignored because it allows obfuscation by rich White men regarding their fear of loss of privilege. 

All of this hatred is about 2050.  White men are well aware that the U.S. will soon by a minority majority country, and the privilege which they have viewed as their birth right is in real danger.  This is why there have been so many attacks against Latina women and any children that they have.  This is why there is so much rhetoric about undocumented workers being a drain on society, when in fact it is the rich White bourgeoisie who routinely avoid paying their fair share of the tax burden.  A man like Rush Limbaugh costs the U.S., far more than an undocumented Latino worker trying to raise a family and make a new life. 

As the vitriol and the outright racist policies escalate, there is real danger of violence beyond this silly little flash game. Each and every time a marginalized group has had to stand up for their rights, the result has been some sort of violent action on by Whiteness. Remember the 4 little girls that were murdered in the church bombing during the African American civil rights movement? Though the action is always painted as coming from some sort of lunatic fringe, the truth is that the White majority supports the “othering” and marginalization of bodies of colour, and is directly responsible for acts of violence.  Whiteness as good is a child’s fairytale because certainly people of colour have been on the receiving end of enough hatred to see it as the mendacious social meme that it is.

Each day I wait to see what comes next, certain in the knowledge that the hatred will only continue to escalate. Whiteness has far too much invested in maintaining the current imbalance to simply give way, because it is morally the correct thing to do.  So, while we turn our head and declare the game above disgusting, what we should do is consider that this game came out of a social discourse of “othering” not only by Whiteness, but by the U.S. government.  How long will it be before the violence results in blood flowing copiously in the streets rather than in a hateful flash game?

H/T Feministe for the link

Happy Birthday Monica

Events

In 1776 – Rhode Island becomes the first American colony to renounce allegiance to King George III.

In 1910 – The Royal Canadian Navy was created.

In 1953 – Ernest Hemingway was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for The Old Man and the Sea.

In 1961 – American civil rights movement: The "Freedom Riders" begin a bus trip through the South.

In 1974  An all-female Japanese team reached the summit of Manaslu, becoming the first women to climb an 8,000-meter peak.

In 1972 – The Don't Make A Wave Committee, a fledgling environmental organization founded in Canada in 1971, officially changes its name to "Greenpeace Foundation".

Births

1008 – King Henry I of France

1930 – Katherine Jackson, mother of the Jackson musical family

1951 – Mick Mars, American guitarist (Mötley Crüe)

1954 – Pia Zadora, American actress

1959 – Randy Travis, American musician

1979 – Lance Bass, American singer (*NSYNC)

Holidays and Observances

Bird Day (United States)

Greenery Day (Japan)

International Firefighters' Day

Labour Day in many nations

Star Wars Day

Despite all of the things that have happened on May 4th, the most fabulous has got to be that today is MONICA ROBERTS Birthday.  Stand up and cheer y’all, girlfriend deserves all the love you got to give. Everyday she gives it all she has at TransGriot.

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Girl, you know you got it going on and then some, and so of course I have to take the time to wish you a happy b-day.  You keep rocking it and socking, and while you doin it, you think you can cough up some cornbread.  Girl if I were a credit card, you would done be in collections already. Two years and counting folks…two years and counting.  But I ain’t mad at you. See check the cake.

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P.S check your paypal, the Bluebell ice cream is on me.