Thursday, March 3, 2011

Long Weekend

Hello Readers,

I am starting to feel a bit burned out and so I have decided to take a long weekend to recharge my batteries.  I am going to spend some time with my family, read and just generally take the long overdue break that I need. Drop it Like it's Hot has already been scheduled so please drop by and check it out. Have a good weekend everyone and I will see you all on Monday or Tuesday.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What Does It Mean When a Gay Couple Embraces?

People can look at the same image and see very things.  Last night, Sparky and I had an interesting conversation about the following image.

I believe when he looked at it, he thought about how gay men interact, as well as some of the preconceived ideas that come with gay couplings.  When I looked at the image, I thought about inter racial relationships and the way they are portrayed in the media.  As a person in an inter racial coupling, I know that race is under constant negotiation, and so who is pictured embracing who, makes a big difference.  What are your thoughts when you look at this image?

Hump Day Giggles

Okay people, you are officially half way through your work week, if you work a traditional Mon-Fri 9-5.  Right about now, you are probably already wishing for your weekend, and starting to think that it is all downhill from here.  To that end, may I suggest a mid-week break to cheer you up until the weekend gets here.

Via Radical Hott Off Notes

Minister Farrakhan Refers to Lesbians and Gays as Swine and Attacks Rihanna

Minister Louis Farrakhan has been a controversial figure for a very long time. Speaking Sunday at the annual Saviours’ Day convention at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Farrakhan used the event to continue his record of misogyny and homophobia. He also inexplicably stated that he believes that Church of Scientology's mission is "civilizing White people." He further went on to assert, "that white people were created from blacks 4,000 years ago on an Aegean island by a black scientist."

Minister Farrakhan seems to be incapable of making a speech without making an attacking historical marginalized groups . According to the Chicago-Sun Times:
[He] criticized the sexually charged performances of popstar Rihanna, saying they were “filthy” and that people who enjoyed such antics were “swine,” a description he also applied to homosexuals and lesbians. He also criticized immigrant Muslims in the Chicago area for moving to white suburbs and being patronizing toward black Muslims.
Minister Farrakhan is a very complex man.  He has often made amazingly insightful commentary about White supremacy and the role that it has played in oppressing people of colour.  As a Black woman, I find it hard to ignore these thoughts, even though his brilliance is absolutely tarnished by his continual forays into promoting homophobia, as well as misogyny.

Dear Food Network: Black people are not simply “dipped in chocolate”

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 watch the Food Network all the time, simply because I REALLY love food. I particularly enjoy the “reality” shows like “Chopped”, “Next Food Network Star” and “Food Network Challenge”. The cooking shows are not as much my cup of tea, simply because I do not like most of the hosts, nor do most of them cook the sort of food I enjoy preparing (comfort food). I do really like to watch Pat and Gina Neely though. I love their style of cooking, and they so obviously adore each other that it makes me all warm inside to see them together. And, it is (unfortunately) so rare that Black love is depicted on television that is just seems extra special to see the Neelys and their family.

The two have a lovely back story (they dated in high school, went on to marry other people, then came back together at their reunion and ended up married) , they are very affectionate, and seem genuine. They are always using little pet names for each other and expressing their devotion to each other and their daughters. Can you tell, I REALLY like this couple?

Anyway, for Valentine’s Day, the Food Network had a series of specials scheduled throughout the weekend. Most of the shows related to that ever popular Valentine’s Day staple, chocolate. They showed commercial after commercial advertising their “Dipped in Chocolate” weekend.. hosted by the Neelys.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Irritation of the Day

Okay, I don't get whiny that often, but I feel that there is a space for that sometimes.  My pet peeve today involves my beautiful dog Sookie.  I cannot drink a cold liquid without ice.  Even if it comes directly from the fridge, I put ice cubes in it.  Apparently, I am not the only person with a love of ice cubes.  Every time I put down my drink, the dog goes into a complete mission impossible mode and sneaks up quietly on it, fishes out the ice and makes a dash to the corner to hide.  Even if I give her, her own piece of ice before I sit to have my drink, invariably I will see her crouched down waiting for me to drop my guard, so that she can have my ice.  I have tried to train her out of this, but apparently get the ice cube is her favorite game.  Yes, I am writing this after being robbed once again.

Since I have had the opportunity to vent, feel free to share you recent pet peeve in the comment section.

Get Down With Your Bad Self: Kids Rock Freestyle

As you know, from time to time I come across youtube videos that demand to be shared.  In this one three extremely talented boys of colour show us what the next generation of freestyle looks like. Enjoy!

Oh You Can Walk Now

I have been going to the same bank branch for years and so they have watched as my body morphed, as I adjusted to being disabled.  The majority of the time I am outside of the house, I use my scooter because I become fatigued easily and walking in a few short blocks, is enough to send pain shooting throughout my body.  Last week I had to go the bank and my friend offered to give me a ride, because the weather conditions would have made it difficult for me to negotiate my scooter, even though the bank is only a few blocks away from where I live.

He dropped me off in front the bank and I limped in with my walking stick.  I went up to a cashier and her first words to me were, "wow you can walk now."  I have to admit that my first emotion was downright irritation.  The moment someone sees a mobility device, it is assumed that you are totally paralyzed and heaven forbid you stand for a second to stretch your legs. The ability to stand or even walk a few blocks is not evidence that a disability does not exist.  There is such a thing as a range of motion, but because disability is far too often defined by able bodied gatekeepers, it creates a false construction of what it is to be disabled.

There Are More Sites of Oppression Than Gender

I normally love reading Sociological Images, and so I was really surprised, when I came across a post that failed to recognize that there are multiple sites of oppression, in favor of centering gender as the prime location of oppression.  To demonstrate the complete domination of male stories, Frequency’s Anita Sarkeesian, which

Starting in 2009 is The Hurt Locker which although directed by a woman is still all about men
Slumdog Millionaire – men
No Country for Old Men – need I say more
The Departed – is about men
Crash – is an ensemble
Million Dollar Baby – is interesting because it’s pretty equally a story about a man and a woman
Lord of the Rings – men
Chicago – is woman centered
A Beautiful Mind – men
Gladiator – is about a man who fights other men
American Beauty – man
Shakespeare in Love – man
Titanic – is from a man’s perspective
The English Patient – man
Braveheart – man
Forrest Gump – man
Schindler’s List – man
The Unforgiven – is about men on horses
The Silence of the Lambs – is about a man who eats people, and this is interesting because although Jodi Foster’s character plays a pretty big role in the film, you would never describe it as a movie about an FBI agent who… you would describe it as a movie about Hannibal Lecter.
Dances with Wolves – man
Driving Miss Daisy – is about a man and a woman
Rain Man – is about a man and his brother
The Last Emperor – man
Platoon – man
Out of Africa – is woman centered
Amadeus – is about a man
Terms of Endearment – is woman centered
Gandhi – is about a man, albeit a pretty extraordinary one
Chariots of Fire – men
Ordinary People – is about a family
Kramer vs Kramer – is about a couple
The Deer Hunter – men
Annie Hall – is about a man and his love life
Rocky – is about a man who fights other men, again.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – man
The Godfather, Part II – men
The Sting – is about two con men
The Godfather, Part I – men
The French Connection – is about men
Patton – men
Midnight Cowboy – is a man
Oliver! – is a boy
In the Heat of the Night – is about men
A Man for All Seasons – man
The Sound of Music – is woman centered
My Fair Lady – is another interesting one because it’s pretty equally about both a man and a woman’s story
Tom Jones – man
Lawrence of Arabia – is so male centered that there aren’t even any female speaking roles in it
West Side Story – is about both a man and a woman
And finally in 1960 is The Apartment which is from a man’s perspective

schizophrenia.  He is eventually forced to acknowledge that he is not doing top secret work for the government, but has actually had a very serious and sustained break from reality.  The movie ends on a high note when Nash is given the Nobel prize in Economics.

Spark of Wisdom: Gay Only Spaces

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

Recently, there have been a series of cases in the UK, where straight people have tried to hang up straights only signs and make gay free zones. In particular, there have been several court cases with hoteliers deciding to run straights-only establishments to deny service and accommodations to gay visitors.

And, in addition to the Christian groups and MPs banging the homophobia drums, inevitably people have turned round and glared at gay bars and similar gay spaces. And I sigh, I do, because it's not the first time.

"Why are there gay bars and no straight bars?" "Why is there a gay community centre and no straight community centre?" "How come there are gay friendly hotels and no straight friendly hotels?" "Why do you need gay bathhouses?" 

Monday, February 28, 2011

When Does Personal and Parental Responsibility Come into Play With Teen Pregnancy?

March 8th is election day for Board District 1of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education.  Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte, is attempting to win a third term.  Living in Canada, I have absolutely no position on the election; however, I would like to discuss some of the political advertising that has been used to attack her. The following image came from Jasmyne Cannick's facebook page.

The sign was paid for by a committee of adults, who were once students under Marguerite LaMotte's leadership and it says:

Under your leadership, my school lost so much funding that me and my friends were left unsupervised and so there was no one to stop us from ditching. I ended up pregnant in the ninth grade and dropped out thanks in part to your leadership.  Thanks.  

As I said at the beginning of this piece, I have no position on how Ms.Lamotte performs her job, but I certainly do take issue with her being blamed for teen pregnancy.   For years, the right has fought against sex education in schools, free condoms, and most recently is attempting to end federal funding of Planned Parenthood.  How is one woman solely responsible for teen pregnancy, when every step along the way, any attempt to arm teens with the knowledge that they need to make responsible decisions, has been blocked.

What Do People of Colour Want Anyway?

When I wrote about the lack of defense, of Michelle Obama, on the part of White feminists, I was not surprised to have someone show up in comments, to point out two articles written by White feminists, as evidence to the contrary.  I answered back by simply saying, two articles does not constitute a defense.  No matter the space, and yes, this includes White feminist spaces, when Whiteness is held accountable for its actions, there is always someone who comes along to derail, or even question why Black people are not satisfied with the lackluster effort.

Blacks can vote now, that is, if they are not in jail behind some spurious federal charges.  People of colour have freedom of movement, unless of course they are in neighbourhood that is considered White and wealthy.  Whiteness is even kind enough to under educate them in schools that are falling apart or overcrowded.  I wonder how much learning is going to happen when Detroit, a city populated largely by people of colour when the class sizes increase?  I suppose we should be thankful that they stepped away from 60 kids in a class. There's even a Black president now.  All we have to do is ignore the continual racist attacks that have been aimed at him and his family.

Nothing that I have written in the last paragraph is new or even challenging, but for those who have failed to acknowledge the way that Whiteness works as a systemic force, it is shocking and a state of denial is quickly reached.  The spam section of this blog, is filled with people calling me a racist.  There are some who are so desperate for me to write about White racism while using the word some.  If I use the word some, they can imagine that nothing that I am writing applies to them.  Some gives them room to deny the role they play in maintaining White supremacy - after all, not ALL White people are bad.

A Tale of Three Weddings

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.

 I was reading a post by Tassja, a guest poster here at Womanist Musings, about feminist weddings. She has excellently deconstructed this whole concept in a post that I think is a must-read.

I wasn’t familiar with the “feminist” wedding concept, but that’s probably because I have ignored most wedding-related things for a while. I was married twice when I was female, with two very different weddings to two very different men.

The first time, I was twenty-four and, for some reason, couldn’t really speak my own mind. Although I was (and am) an atheist, I was married in a church of my husband’s choosing, by a very religious pastor of my husband’s choosing, with wedding songs that were my second choice because the pastor rejected my first-choice songs as being too secular.

I wore a white dress and veil, representing virginity – not because I was a virgin (that ship had sailed a long time ago), but because it was traditional. My husband wore a gray tuxedo. I took my husband’s last name, promised to stay with him until death do us part, and then divorced him three years later when the abuse got to the point to where it looked like death might part us sooner than I expected.

I’ll take a gamble and say that this was not a “feminist” wedding. I will say that it was a privileged wedding and also a privileged divorce, because I had the resources available to get out of a bad situation.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Do You Know This Woman?

ON FEBRUARY 2, 2011 

The deceased is a black female, about 5'8" tall, and weighs about 212 pounds. Estimated age is 20 to 40 years. The head hair is brown with black roots. The right nostril is pierced and contains a white metal stud with a clear stone. A yellow metal ring is worn in the left ring finger and contains small clear stones. There are no tattoos. One right lower tooth is lower down than the other teeth and one left upper tooth is higher up than the other teeth.