Saturday, January 8, 2011

Drop It Like It's Hot

Hello everyone, and thanks for another interesting week of conversation.  If you would like to participate more fully in the goings on here, please take advantage of the open guest posting policy.  Simply send in a link to your blog or your original work via e-mail to womanistmusings (at) gmail (dot) com.  Please include a three line bio and an image that represents either you or your work.

March 8th is International Woman's day and to celebrate, I would like to do a series of post on women heroes.  If you are interested in participating, please send me a small e-mail naming the woman you intend to write about so that I can ensure that there are no duplicates.  Ideally, the finished piece will be about a prominent woman that you admire.  Final submissions are due February 15th.

Below you will find links to 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.

Anger, fear and pain
Food: More Questions
Gazan Youth Manifesto For Change
Who Decides How the Oppressed Should Fight Oppression
Sex workers and whore stigma in Southern Africa
White racism creates more sexism in the world
Indigenous People in Late Twentieth Century Science Fiction Television: Is There a Place for Indians in our Vision of the Future? 
We Became One
But You're Gonna Die
The Best Thing You'll Read All Day
If audiences don't women as leads, Why did Aliens succeed?
The Scott Sisters, Nancy Lockheart and the Politics of Freedom
Dear Kanye West: I Quit You 
Sistah Vegan: A Bunch of Inarticulate Black Women Vegans
Food Deserts: An Interactive Map
Challenged Book: 1984  
To Be Young, Gifted and Mixed? Jean Toomer's Cane and Questions of Identity
Lakota Deserve Apology for Wounded Knee, 120 Years Ago
Social Justice Matters: Protections For Transgender Prisoners. 
Eating Disorders The Media and Skepticism 
Why Zora Neal Hurston Was a Conservative  
Screaming At A Wall
Gay Bars, Gentrification and Homophobia 
Barbie Even More Unrealistic Now Than in 1990 

Would you invite an unrelated person a family member knows to your Christmas dinner?

This a guest post by Lyndsay

Lyndsay is a woman who studied biology and psychology, then teaching (Secondary School) in Ontario, Canada. She finished school last May and is still figuring out life and the world post-school. In the meantime, she has travelled, lived in the U.K., met people from various countries, learned a lot and had a lot of new experiences. For example, she has learned she loves mulled wine and that not everyone reads music with the letters A to G. 

I am a Canadian who spent Christmas in Europe. I've been living in the U.K. since August. Flights to Canada cost three times more during Christmas so that was out of the question for me. So the question remained of how I would spend Christmas. On the one hand I didn't feel too heartbroken over missing my family's Christmas dinner for one year. On the other hand, Christmas is special to me and I didn't want to spend it alone. As Christmas got closer I realized everyone I knew had plans with their family and I still had no plans. It started to occur to me how exclusionary Christmas is to people who either are not in contact with their family or are too far to be able to get to their family. I started to wonder what it would be like if I tried to invite a friend to my family's Christmas dinner. I had a hard time imagining some of my family members welcoming someone who is not family to our celebrations. Thus, I started to want to ask this question: Would you invite an unrelated person a family member knows to your Christmas dinner? Christmas is in practice "about spending time with family". But maybe we could think about expanding our idea of what Christmas is about if we hear about someone who could be alone at Christmas. I also ask: Have any of you celebrated Christmas with family AND one or more people who are not family?
In the end, on December 22nd a close friend invited me to his family's Christmas celebrations in Paris. At first all the buses were booked but I managed to get a night bus on the night of the 23rd. I had a very relaxing French Christmas celebration with his family on Christmas Eve. It was my first Christmas without presents (except chocolate) and I didn't miss them. I got everything I had wanted. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

The New Trend in Christian Patriarchy - Stay at Home Daughters

I am a 36 year old disabled woman who has been variously labeled "fat", "crazy", and "a hippie weirdo." I now try to embrace labels that others use in an attempt to "shame" me into being someone more "acceptable". I am passionate about issues of race/racism, criminal (in)justice, fat acceptance, and mental health advocacy. I blog at My Name Is JuJuBe and I am on the team at The Intersection of Madness and Reality 

Zora Neale Hurston Biography

Today is Zora's birthday and in celebration, The California Newsreel is airing a documentary online about her life.  Apparently, it is only available for viewing today, so if you are interested in the life of this amazing Harlem Renaissance writer, hurry up and check it out.

Sub-Merged Margins And Us

Jaded16 is a Radical Feminist from India. She writes a humour blog Oi With The Poodles Already’, attempting to make her world a little woman-friendly using healthy doses of irony and sarcasm to de-condition the Indian masses. It is at times like these when she loses all her sense of humour and starts looking for a rock big enough to live under.

Last week while returning a couple of books at the library, I saw the woman in the line next to mine was holding a copy of  ‘Writing Caste, Writing Gender‘, a book I’ve read cover-to-cover a few times. She saw me looking at the book and started  a conversation about the editor and how this was her first book on Dalit feminism. So I told her a few other names, and she marveled how I knew ‘so much’ about ‘them’ — as it turns out I’ve got ‘Privilege’ and ‘Hindu’ stamped on my forehead in invisible neon ink — because as she assumed correctly, I couldn’t possibly be ‘one of them’¹. While I smiled at her, I was cringing inwards to see how swiftly she spoke in ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ speak, forgetting the ‘We’, we forged somewhere in the middle, if the Constitution is to be believed at all. As insulting her words were — of course she ‘meant well’, after all Hindu Ladies have never really been evil, check our scriptures if you want! — this erasure of Dalit people, or the failure to acknowledge them as humans isn’t new. ‘Caste’ seems to be a word we love to forget, dropping it from our consonants as if it doesn’t matter at all, or as if the entire country just comprises of one monolithic Hindu ethnic identity. Moving across borders, an otherwise non-imperial article on Nepali bonded labour of little girls mentions the intra-generational debt, servitude and communal ‘tradition’ of gendered slavery, but yet again re-writes caste-struggle as a largely class-based one. Any time people want to play hide and seek with the term, I can only think of my aunt who calls Dalit women, ‘women like that‘ and almost wish I could ask them to pronounce the word like I do with my students when we learn new French words and phrases, just to make sure the word ‘caste’ can sound from their tongues too.

Save your apologies, Chris Brown

This is a guest post from Tami of WhatTamiSaid
Who knew one could find valuable life lessons on the wall of a sandwich shop?

I was waiting for my Italian Night Club at Jimmy John's when I spied a lesson on giving proper apologies. I paraphrase:

1. I was wrong
2. I'm sorry I hurt you
3. How can I make it better?

So simple. It's astounding so many public people apologize so poorly. (Cough...Keith Olbermann...cough)

Here is another important thing to know about apologies: Sometimes they are simply not enough. Sometimes they change nothing. Sometimes the only way to prove you regret a certain action is to commit to longterm education and a change of behavior. Sometimes anything less is an offense.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

'Braxton Family Values' May Include Posing For Playboy

Toni Braxton successfully inked a deal with Bravo, to get her own reality television show Braxton Family Values.  Recently Braxton tweeted the following.

She went on to say:
"I would love to pose with Hugh Hefner though. He's the sexiest guy I know over 30 ;-)"
She went on to say that the Playboy spread would be "tastefully done" and would just be a "lil T and A".  (source)

Well, since Braxton decided to ask what I thought, who am I deny her my opinion. Braxton is in the process of going bankrupt for the second time and is said to be some fifty million dollars in debt.  Let me repeat, 50 million dollars in debt.   I understand that some women get into sex work because it is something that they enjoy, but in Braxton's case, I cannot help but question how much agency is involved in her decision to pose. I further do not believe that playboy suddenly became enamored with Ms.Braxton; it seems like a case of convenient timing.  This reminds me of when it was reported that Nadaya Suleman was experiencing technical difficulties, and the porn industry suddenly became interested in signing a contract with her.  The moment a woman becomes vulnerable, the sex industry is always ready to capitalize.

Muslims have a lot of bridge building to do

WoodTurtle is a Canadian Muslim feminist currently using her extended maternity leave to explore developments of Islamic feminism in the Western and Muslim world.  As a woman who wears the hijab (owns several abayas and a niqab monogrammed with her initials in pink, sparkly sequins), she writes frequently on genderized Islamophobia. She also works toward dispelling myths and stereotypes about women in Islam for both Muslims and non.

I had such hopes for the first week of 2011. The firecrackers from this year's global celebrations are still getting play on the local news channel, and along with them are horrific scenes of the recent bombing of a Coptic church in Egypt that killed over 20 people and injured close to 100, the continuing week-long violence between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria, the attack on a Catholic Church in Iraq that killed 58 people and the assassination of Governor Taseer of the Punjab province in Pakistan, killed for his role in championing the rights of Aasia Bibi, a Christian convert facing execution for blasphemy.

Generally, the world is not off to a great start, and more specifically,
Muslims have a lot of bridge building to do.

In university, I sat with the Chaplain, a Buddhist nun, a Hindu scholar, a Baha'i practitioner, the local Rabbi, and a First Nations representative on an interfaith council. Our main task was to provide resources for religiously observant students, and to make sure that professors or university policies accommodated students who needed to opt out of classes when they conflicted with religious beliefs or observant holy days. We were also on rotations to offer the religious prayer at Convocation ceremonies, memorials and to provide appropriate opportunities for interfaith dialogue.

This university, like many, had historical traditions, pomp and circumstance built upon Christian foundations. Instead of wiping away these traditions, and to help accommodate the growing diversity of its students, the university opted instead to help promote a pluralistic, religious culture.

Working closely with these religious leaders gave me access to events, extra-religious services, places of worship and knowledge that I may not have otherwise been exposed to. I began seeing more and more broad stroke similarities between our religious traditions, and more specific similarities with Christianity.

Removing Nigger From Huckelberry Finn Is A Mistake

As you may well have heard, an Auburn University scholar named Alan Gribben, has adapted the novel Huckelberry Finn to exclude the word nigger. In an interview with Publisher's Weekly Girbben had this to say:
"This is not an effort to render Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn colorblind," said Gribben, speaking from his office at Auburn University at Montgomery, where he's spent most of the past 20 years heading the English department. "Race matters in these books. It's a matter of how you express that in the 21st century."

The idea of a more politically correct Finn came to the 69-year-old English professor over years of teaching and outreach, during which he habitually replaced the word with "slave" when reading aloud. Gribben grew up without ever hearing the "n" word ("My mother said it's only useful to identify [those who use it as] the wrong kind of people") and became increasingly aware of its jarring effect as he moved South and started a family. "My daughter went to a magnet school and one of her best friends was an African-American girl. She loathed the book, could barely read it."

"After a number of talks, I was sought out by local teachers, and to a person they said we would love to teach this novel, and Huckleberry Finn, but we feel we can't do it anymore. In the new classroom, it's really not acceptable." Gribben became determined to offer an alternative for grade school classrooms and "general readers" that would allow them to appreciate and enjoy all the book has to offer. "For a single word to form a barrier, it seems such an unnecessary state of affairs," he said.
Gribben has no illusions about the new edition's potential for controversy. "I'm hoping that people will welcome this new option, but I suspect that textual purists will be horrified," he said. "Already, one professor told me that he is very disappointed that I was involved in this."
Gribben is engaging in revisionist history by deciding to substitute the word slave for nigger.  The truth is, the word nigger is meant to make us uncomfortable and Twain knew that even as he wrote the book.  It was an intentional commentary on the state of race relations and the message it has to teach us is no less relevant today.  We must begin to confront the systemic nature of racism and have conversations that make us uncomfortable.  

Three Thoughts On Coming Out

Richard Chamberlain, Keven Spacey, and James Franco all gave statements about gay actors coming out and whether or not actors should even be asked to declare their sexuality.  I thought it would be interesting to put the quotes together and discuss our reactions to them.

Richard Chamberlain: “For an actor to be working at all is a kind of miracle, because most actors aren’t. So it’s just silly for a working actor to say, ‘Oh, I don’t care if anybody knows I’m gay’ especially if you’re a leading man. Personally, I wouldn’t advise a gay leading man-type actor to come out,” he added. (source)

 An interview with Kevin Spacey.

We gay men have always proudly claimed you as a member of our tribe, and yet you don't proudly claim us back. Why? 
Kevin Spacey: Look, I might have lived in England for the last several years but I'm still an American citizen and I have not given up my right to privacy.

But that's where we differ. I don't think being gay is a private matter. Heterosexuals don't consider their heterosexuality itself a private matter. I'm not asking you what goes on behind a locked door anymore than I would ask a heterosexual. I'm not asking if you're a top or bottom. That's none of my business. 

Kevin Spacey: Let's enlarge the subject even more. I think what we have seen in terms of gay teenagers committing suicide because of bullying is anguishing. I think young people, if they are feeling like they are confused, need to know that there are people to talk to and that there are places they can go and not feel alone. But I feel that they have just as many rights as I do to not be bullied. And I don't understand people who say, "Well, this is a terrible thing that is happening to this young person whose life is being exposed," and then turn around and do it to another person. People have different reasons for the way they live their lives. You cannot put everyone's reasons in the same box. It's just a line I've never crossed and never will. (source)

James Franco:

"It's all cut-and-dry identity politics. 'Is he straight or is he gay?' Or, 'This is your third gay movie—come out already!' And all based on, gay or straight, based on the idea that your object of affection decides your sexuality. There are lots of other reasons to be interested in gay characters than wanting myself to go out and have sex with guys. And there are also lots of other aspects about these characters that I'm interested in, in addition to their sexuality. So, in some ways it's coincidental, in other ways it's not. I mean, I've played a gay man who's living in the '60s and '70s, a gay man who we depicted in the '50s, and one being in the '20s. And those were all periods when to be gay, at least being gay in public, was much more difficult. Part of what I'm interested in is how these people who were living anti-normative lifestyles contended with opposition. Or, you know what, maybe I'm just gay." (source)

How did each statement make you feel and how did you feel it reflects the culture of homophobia that we live?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Crying Game

I am a 36 year old disabled woman who has been variously labeled "fat", "crazy", and "a hippie weirdo." I now try to embrace labels that others use in an attempt to "shame" me into being someone more "acceptable". I am passionate about issues of race/racism, criminal (in)justice, fat acceptance, and mental health advocacy. I blog at My Name Is JuJuBe and I am on the team at The Intersection of Madness and Reality

I am a crier. I cry at TV shows, movies, new articles, even TV commercials. I LOVE a good cry. But, for a period in my life, I was totally UNABLE to cry. I could not figure out why. I would feel like crying. I would WANT to cry. But, nothing would happen. All those emotions stayed bottled up inside with the tears I could not shed.

I was in a psychiatric day program at the time, and I complained to my shrink that I had forgotten how to cry. He had a simple solution for the problem. He took me OFF of my anti-depressant, and lo and behold, within a few weeks, I had regained the ability to cry. And, boy did I cry!

I cried all the time again. Not out of depression. Not even out of sadness. I cried when I was touched. I cried when something or someone pulled at my heartstrings. I cried at music, literature, Youtube videos. You name it, I cried at it. And I LOVED IT. I still cry now, though not with the same intensity as when I first got my tears back. I tear up at movies and TV shows. Sometimes I even tear up when I am reading.. And I wouldn't change it for the world.

I am an emotional person. I do not like to bottle things up, and crying helps me to relieve my pain and anxiety. So, I have made the decision that I WILL NOT take anti-depressants again. Nor will I take mood stabilizers. I HAD sworn of ALL psychotropic medication, but when my anxiety started getting really bad, I had to give in and take an anti-anxiety medication. Not one of those real powerful, addictive ones. Just a real mild little something to take the edge off.

A few years ago, I lived in a house that was owned by an agency that provided housing for mentally ill individuals. I was REQUIRED to take medication. Someone even came over twice a week to monitor and count my pills. I thought I was going to have to take meds for the rest of my life.

When I moved to my own apartment, I continued the medication for a while, CONVINCED that I would fall into a deep depression or get extremely manic if I did not take pills every day. About 2 years ago, I just decided one day to not fill my prescriptions (NOT recommended, it CAN be potentially deadly if you don't taper off) I go through bouts of depression. I go through manic periods. BUT, it is nothing I cannot get through with the help of a few good friends.

In this society, they want to medicate us for everything. I mean, did Restless Legs Syndrome even EXIST before they came out with a medication to "cure" it? I hear of children as young as five years old being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (which rarely starts earlier than the late teens to early 20s) and given medication. They give us pills because they do not want us to be too "difficult". But, it deadens us.

It makes us fat. It decreases our sex drive. It causes us to be unable to reach orgasm. It deadens our emotions. It makes us PLIABLE. It make us VULNERABLE.

Now, I am not saying that NO ONE should take psychiatric medications. I mean if someone is hallucinating, or having delusions and medication can make them stop, then by all means prescribe something. BUT, psychiatrists often like to prescribe as many medications as they possibly can, in hopes that ONE will work. And DAMN those pesky side effects. Just a small price to pay.

At one point I was taking 9 psychiatric medications a day. Now, I take ONE. And, I feel SO much better. I am more productive. I can think and write better. My fantasy life (I have a vivid imagination) was GONE when I was on medication. Now, it is back. I can cry. I can dream. I feel like a million bucks.

Taking medication might have been necessary for me AT SOME POINT (though it is debatable) but now I do not need it. I feel like I am free now. I feel like I can be me. I feel like I can fly!

Having an Ecological Disaster - Call Kirk Cameron

I found the following link over at Shakesville and it cracked me up so much I had to share it with you.


Who says nothing funny happens on a Wednesday.

There is a transcript for those that need it. 

Montel Williams Ticketed For Drug Pipe Possession

Let me start out by saying that Montel is a douche on many levels, but his personal choices have nothing to do with his recent citation.  Williams has MS and is therefore living with a disability.  He uses medical marijuana to deal with the chronic pain. Those who have been legally prescribed medical marijuana for chronic pain are not bound to enter into drug rehab programs or be held liable by the law.
The Milwaukee County sheriff's office says the Transportation Security Administration found Williams had a pipe commonly used for marijuana as he passed through a security checkpoint Tuesday.

The sheriff's office says Williams paid the $484 citation and was released to continue his travel. (source)
Marijuana's characterization as a gate way drug, totally ignores the fact that for many it functions as a legitmate medicine to make life easier.  It is ridiculous that he was fined, when it is common knowledge that this man has a disability. How was the public served by fining him almost 500 dollars for medicine he needs to function?  Would it better if Williams were curled in a fetal position, trapped in his home, unable to interact with the public?

Conversations with a Student-Teacher of Color

Itoro Udofia is an artist and writer living in Amherst, MA. Currently, she is attending graduate school to study social justice and education. Her work focuses primarily on the African Diaspora, black womanhood, identity, solidarity, and love. She hopes to continue using art as a tool for social justice. 

I have decided that teaching will be my life’s work. I’m happy to say that I am on my way there as I train to be a teacher. I find that choosing to teach in today’s public schools—which are rapidly becoming an increasingly standardized and militarized space—has become a political decision. So many questions come to mind: How does a teacher resist these structures as well as work within them? Are our students ready to go out into a world where increasing hostility and secrecy have become the norm? As a teacher, what are the tools I will give my students to think critically about their lives and deconstruct larger society? And my more political question: How can I encourage my students to go beyond the classroom and organize to challenge supremacy in all its insidious forms?

I have learned that the road to understanding these answers is a messy process. All the while, some parts are quite basic. For example, as a teacher who wants to see a more just world, what does Community in the classroom mean? What does teaching students to stand in Solidarity mean? And what exactly are the political, economic and social connections that make us all essential to the emancipation of human beings?  I think of my professor who once gave one of many a lecture. She raised a point that has become a principle of mine, “I will affirm the best of human experiences and oppose the worst of human actions.” For the many who have attempted to live by this statement. Well…it’s pretty said and messy done.

I am a teacher of color in a playing field where about 83% of the current teachers teaching are white women. Also, I happen to be teaching with an all white staff and faculty (not really a surprise with the exception that most of the staff of color are custodial workers) and primarily white working to middle class students (with a sprinkling of students of color). Furthermore, in my teaching program I am the only visible person of color.

I find that as a teacher of color, especially as a black woman, I am usually at the center of my white students (and really all the white people I encounter) fears. Not only have I had to hear racist statements from the students, I also hear how white teachers (mostly self-proclaimed liberals) reproduce the same very thoughts and actions they seek to untangle. And there lies the arrogance of supremacist thinking, and the many contradictions of being in this struggle.  My days are often filled with amazing hostilities and headaches, with little to no support. Fortunately, I love the labor. Of course there is no pure place where this work can be done and I too am working to decolonize and sort out my own thinking. And yet, there is a longing for something else.

I love to teach and I love the students but there is a lingering question: “How much can I stomach?”  Doing this work in this particular area has brought many questions, yearnings and contradictions to the surface. I believe that white people, especially young white students need this social justice work more than ever. I am not sure if I should be the one doing it (but someone has got to do it). That is why I am often perplexed when I hear the majority of white teachers seeking to go out and teach poor black and Hispanic youth. I have seen many “well intentioned” white teachers carrying a sentiment that this population is the source of the problem. As a teacher I have seen that white supremacist thinking must be liberated from itself and if people (especially white people) are looking for a place to start, please start at home and you may find you have your work cut out for you.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tucker Carlson Gives Faux Apology

While I was away last week, Tucker Carlson, of Fox News decided to declare that Michael Vick should have been executed for his role in dog fighting.  It was almost enough to get me out of my sick bed to rant.  It seems that Carlson has taken some heat for his inappropriate words and has decided to issue a faux apology.
“This is what happens when you get too emotional,” Carlson said. “I’m a dog lover, I love them and…I know a lot about what Michael Vick did…I overspoke. I’m uncomfortable with the death penalty in any circumstance. Of course I don’t think he should be executed, but I do think that what he did is truly appalling.”
So he excuses calling for the excution of a man by saying that he is a dog lover.  Wow, clueless racist pig shit.  I am a dog lover and as I write this, Ms. Sookie is curled at my feet, because I refuse to allow her to fulfill her dream of becoming a 60 pound lap dog.   I will never approve of the abuse of animals, but I recognize that humanity deserves to be respected as well.  No matter how much I love my dog, I would never dream of suggesting that she is the equal to, never mind worth more than a human being.

I am sick to death of the animal rights movement using its supposed love animals as an excuse to attack people of colour.  The fact that Carlson couldn't even utter the words I'm sorry, or acknowledge that he went as far as suggesting execution because Blacks are viewed as disposable bodies, is reflective of the movement's continual engagement in racism. We already know that Blacks are over represented on death row because of race and class and that the threat of execution has been used to pacify Black bodies (think Mumia), so what's one more right?

Why Don't Women Go Gray

There is a post up on Black voices that shows the supposed hottest Black men going gray.

 I went to check it out, because I am always open to a little eye candy.  When I read the following, my enjoyment stopped:
How do men seem to get more handsome with age as women scramble to the doctor to get rid of every little wrinkle? Ladies and gentlemen, take note: going gray can be hot, and more and more celebs are shelving their boxes of Just for Men and embracing age.
Are they fucking serious?  Have they never heard of a little thing called sexism and ageism?  Women in Hollywood are making the decision to avoid walking around with obvious age markers because their careers depend on it.  How many great roles are there for women in their 40's or 50's? Women in that age bracket are often forced to play roles far older than what they are, and it is seen as acceptable and yet we have had stars like wife beating Sean Connery and Harrison Ford playing action heroes well into their senior years.  Somehow that is not seen as ridiculous claptrap.

It does not take courage for a man to look his age, because even in an area that is highly dependent on physical beauty, like film or music industries, patriarchy still reigns supreme.  Men are still expected to stay trim and in shape to play the sexy lead, but the expectations upon them come nowhere near those placed upon women.  Men are even more likely to get recurring character roles like Steve Bushemi (Empire Boardwalk) than women are to get a single part.  Bushemi can concentrate on working on his craft, but can you imagine for one moment a woman looking like him not being forced to do things like fix her teeth or even out her skin?  Where is the female equivalent to a Bushemi?

Time to Gloat

I am sure you Americans are probably still trying to forget the way that the Cannuck men and women owned Olympic hockey.  Before the games, I warned everyone that this was our game being played in our house, but still many unrealistically got their hopes up (yeah I'm talking to you Monica).  We all know how that ended don't we. 

The world juniors are currently being played in Buffalo N.Y.  Last night team Canada played the U.S.  Can you guess what happened?  Go on guess.  Well, team Canada once again opened up a beaver loving can of whoop ass and defeated team USA 4-1.  I guess y'all didn't see much by the dawns early light eh? We didn't even have to call on the Canadian geese to do a fly by poopie. LOL

Spark of Wisdom: Stop Sheltering Children From LGBT People

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. 

The holiday season has come and, generally, left now (though in our family it tends to linger on for a few weeks until you feel a vague need to strangle people with tinsel and doing some truly unpleasant things with mistletoe)

I can honestly say that, once I reached the age of about 13, Christmas was never really a holiday I enjoyed per se. To me the first word that appears in my mind when thinking of this season is "duty" owed to the family to be there, grit my teeth and play nice.

On the plus side there was no annual Christmas disaster this year. The oven didn't die Christmas morning. The fridge didn't explode, the freezer didn't defrost and absolutely nothing was set on fire (no! Really! Nothing. This is perhaps the first time in the history of Christmas that we haven't considered calling the fire brigade. We should mark it on the calender we should).

Unfortunately, there were clueless relatives apace. One in particular was my cousin and her children. I have an instinct here to say "well meaning" but I'm going to squash it, for I am sorely tired of the automatic attempt to lessen or mitigate homophobia (and that's a post for another time)

See, she made it clear that she'd be referring to my Beloved as my "friend" and would like everyone else to do so too because she thought her 7 and 5 year old children were just "too young to understand."

Now, I was polite and didn't say "damn, your kids don't understand love? That's awful!" which I think was wonderfully restrained of me, but I also absolutely refused to edit my marriage or accept other people doing so. This didn't go down well, as you can imagine.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Black Women Once Again Targeted By Pro Lifers

Let me say from the very start that I absolutely 100% support of the right of women to choose.  Motherhood is very hard work and the children that are born deserve our complete commitment to raising thoughtful, responsible, caring human beings. This task is of course multiplied when one is a member of a marginalized community.  Despite the social narrative that Black women are welfare queens living high on the government hog, pro life campaigns continue to shame us into giving birth to children.

The Danger of a Single Narrative

Though we talk a lot about intersectionality on this blog, I have recently seen two examples in which this was completely forgotten in favour of the single narrative.  JuJube wrote a post in which she talked about the fact that she spoke in a form of slang that she believed would help to ingratiate herself with the Black community. This is clearly racist behaviour, and a Black male friend of hers informed her of this.  Instead of understanding the role that race played in his response to her choice of speech, many in the comment section chose to privilege gender and suggested that it was sexist of him to believe that he had to right to supposedly silence her.

Just before Christmas, I wrote a piece about how disability effected my ability to celebrate. I spoke about the pain that cooking for my family would cause me and asked people to think about how everyday actions are different for the disabled.  Many comments took the opportunity to point out that I would be doing the bulk of the labour and chastised my spouse for his inaction.  I was absolutely shocked, until I realized that once again all people saw was gender.  Suddenly, it was okay to ignore the various times I spoke about his terrible cooking or the fact that household duties are divided 70/30 in my home, with him doing 70% of the labour. 

One of the greatest issues with feminism in my mind is the idea that gender is the single greatest impediment to the lives of women.  Gender as the paramount site of oppression creates a single narrative that excludes things  like, race, disability, class, sexuality etc.,  It sets up a monolithic woman and assumes that all women have the same experience based in gender. Not only does this erase many of the isms, it is counter to the idea that women have fallacies and agency.  

Sometimes there is no other side

Matt Kailey is a transman living in Denver, Colorado, and an author, public speaker, and trainer on transgender issues. He blogs at Tranifesto. In his ideal world, no one would be equal to anyone else – everyone would just be equal.

When President Obama selected Pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at the presidential inauguration, much controversy ensued. Gay and lesbian groups, aware of Warren's anti-gay stance, complained. Obama defended his decision by saying that he wanted to present “a wide range of viewpoints.”

The central argument of the gay and lesbian community at the time was that the desire to deny equal rights to a particular group of people was not a “viewpoint.” 

Of course, this issue was debated into the ground two years ago, and we've all moved on, but the fact remains - sometimes there is no other side.

Although I would support moral relativism in far more instances than I would oppose it, a viewpoint is inherent in the concept. If something is not inherently “right” or “wrong,” but is subject to debate based on the circumstances, then that something, whatever it is, lends itself to a viewpoint. There are sides to the debate.

But there are some situations that only have one side - those that have to do with the worth and value of people.

I'm Back

Hello everyone.  It has been about a week since my last post.  About a week before Christmas I started to feel really run down and instead of heeding the warning signs, like a fool I went full steam ahead.  By Christmas day I had what I thought was a pretty nasty cold with a bad temperature as well. Still determined to ensure my family had the day I wanted them to have, I pushed ahead.  When I awoke boxing day, I felt like I had gone 12 rounds with a heavyweight and lost.  My body hurt in places I didn't know I had and my cough was louder than Sookie's bark.  I suppose you could say that my body forced me into the rest that I was unwilling to take before the holidays.  I happy to report that though I still have a bit of a stuffy nose and achy fingers, I feel much better.  I am not sure what the posting pace will be, as it still hurts to type, but I am going to try and get things back on track.  Please accept my apologies for not putting up a post  explaining my absence and a heartfelt thank you to all of you who wrote e-mails filled with concerned.  Well, who's ready to cause some trouble?  Full steam ahead.