Saturday, March 12, 2011

Drop It Like It`s Hot

Hello everyone.  Thanks again for an interesting round of conversation this week.  It inspires me to see so many adding their various points of view.  This week it is March Break in Canada and so I cannot guarantee that the posting will be regular.  It is hard to blog with Mickey Mouse and the Musketeer's in the background, or whatever cartoon the kids are into.  I will however do my best to keep the schedule as regular as I can.

I am currently looking for two new bloggers to join the team as a regular contributors.  This is currently not a paid position, and the bloggers must be willing to write one post weekly or bi-weekly.  I am specifically looking for someone who is  Lati[email protected] or First Nations.  I have gone through the archives, and found that there is a distinct lack of posts that focus on the issues these women face. In the interest of making sure that all marginalized women are represented in this space, this erasure simply cannot continue.  If you fit the bill and would like to join the team, please e-mail me two samples of your work, along with a short note, as to why social justice is important to you to womanistmusings (at) gmail (dot) com.  As usual, those who wish to contribute to the open guest posting policy, can use the aforementioned e-mail address to send in their piece.  Please include a three line bio and an image that represents you.

As usual, below you will find a list of 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 you link behind in the comment section.

Laying Some History on You: Chinatown 1906
Sandra Bullock Wants to be a Latina
#66 Fascinating Women: Madame C.J Walker
Thank you Mr. Lincoln. I think
Acquittal of the 'Negress' Minnie Gaines
Surviving Abuse with Disabilities
The Acceptability of  Transphobia in Radfem Communities Remains Under Hot Debate at I Blame the Patriarchy
Is Michelle Obama's Wal-Mart Endorsement a Healthy Idea?
To ALL the Marriage Pushers
oh god gender and queer presentations
Ask an Abortion Provider
Race Complicates Living Decisions
Let's Talk about Sex(ual Violence).
What's Homophobia? Is it really a phobia?
Single Mothers And The Hypocrisy Of Mike Huckabee
Women's Memorial March Honours Victims, Families 
working class mami love
Today's Metro on sex work and coerced sex at work
It does still matter if you're black (or white)
Fuck Hipsters
International Women's Day 2011- Where Do Transwomen Fit in
The 'Congressional Theater' of Peter King's Muslim Hearings
What Does Asexuality Mean To You?
Gran Torino Actor Reveals Behind the Scenes Racism

Friday, March 11, 2011

It's Friday and The Question Is.........

I have been thinking a lot about power recently, and how we can circumvent gate keepers to make our dreams come true.  I have recently embarked on a new project, which I will be updating you all on soon, that I am very excited about.  Here's a hint, those of who love everything urban fantasy and by that I mean vamps, werewolves, fae, necromancers etc., are going to pleased. This week's question is all about possibilities and being positive. How have you sought to use your power in positive ways to create opportunities that seemed impossible before, or to create a change in your life or that of someone else? Many of us are marginalized in someway, but we are not disempowered because our mere existence is resistance.

Re-Membering Ties; Re-Forming Bonds

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, I read Houria Bouteldja’s essay on Decolonial Feminism And The Privilege Of Solidarity and came away with agreeing with most of it, though there are some big problematic themes hazed over — like the ‘question’ of Islam and feminism co-existing (hint: this shouldn’t take consideration) or even the notion of ‘decolonisation’ mentioned many times in the essay, making it seem as if a ‘decolonial’ state of being is indeed possible (without using time-bubbles that too!) that there will be a time when colonisation will be washed clean from under our skin or given the radical left Maoist thrust of the website, the essay doesn’t mention ‘rescuing’ Marxism from Marx’s colonialism — but all of this disappeared as I read the speaker subverting the concept of ‘solidarity’ — physically and viscerally – by standing in solidarity with White women, which was her way of disrobing White feminists of extending ‘sistersong’. I read, “Solidarity with [insert nationality here]” and impulsively liked how ‘solidarity’ as a privilege was reverted, like Caliban cursing at his master¹, the act of reversing roles was more important than focusing on what she actually implied. Considering the speaker is an activist, her goal was to level the uneven power dichotomy of ‘solidarity’ when practiced by White (Imperial) feminists and possibly for her solidarity ‘ends’ there, and not in likening herself to any White feminists. All of this I knew and acknowledged as I read the essay for the first time; I’ll admit that the Calibanian instinct didn’t die away even after days. So for a while, I started believing that solidarity is a desirable concept when disrobed of imperial and neo-colonial intent and action, even prioritised theory over action so to speak, forgot that my dusty skin cannot be cataloged either way quite this easily.

NPR Exec Told The Truth About The Tea Klux Klan-What's The Problem?

This is a guest post from the ever fabulous Monica of TransGriot

James O'Keefe strikes again.  This conservafool was the spark that got ACORN's federal funding yanked and eventually killed the organization, and now he's seeking to do the same to NPR.

NPR exec Ron Schiller was caught on hidden camera saying this.

"The current Republican Party is not really the Republican Party. It's been hijacked by this group that is ... not just Islamophobic but, really, xenophobic. They believe in sort of white, middle America, gun-toting — it's scary. They're seriously racist, racist people."

So what's the problem?    He told the truth.    How many racist, Islamophobic and xenophobic signs did we see at Tea Klux Klan rallies?   How many white middle aged peeps did we see at these rallies waving Confederate flags?    How many Tea Klux Klan members were openly displaying guns or using gun laced rhetoric at these Tea Klux Klan rallies?

Women are heroes

"In peacetime women are discriminated ... In war time they are targets."

French street artist JR's TED award-winning project "Women Are Heroes" is pretty special for any day of the year.

The idea is so simple on paper, and yet so arresting in its execution. JR's team took photos of women living in conflict zones from Kanya and Nairobi to Brazil, blowing up the black and white portraits to plaster them on train cars and on shop walls and the stairs of the communities where the women lived. The photo-posters, which capture women in goofy and dignified and joyful expressions, change the landscape of the neighborhoods temporarily, and also demand locals to see women in a new light. (source)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sometimes I'm a bitch, but then who isn't?

I think that my two greatest personality flaws are that I have an incredibly long memory, and I don't forgive easily.  I don't lose my temper easily, but when someone pisses me off, you better believe that every opportunity I have to press their buttons I will.  With some, it is easier than others, but regardless, it is absolutely pleasurable.  It is even more pleasurable, when the person in question is a hypocritical, irritating ass, with delusions of grandeur.

I have read the fine print, and you have been weighed, measured and found wanting.( No worries readers, I am not engaging in yet another blog war, I am just having my say.) Honestly, they are tiring and certainly not worth the energy that it takes to participate in one.  I have never pretended to be anything other than what I am.  If you have been following this blog for awhile, then you probably have a good sense of who I am, what is important to me and why.

I have been called a bitch because of my snark and my willingness to twist the knife.  I never promised anyone a tea party, but I do however find it interesting that when I called someone a bitch, it was considered hostile and anti-woman, but the same label applied to me is unproblematic.  It's a good thing I have developed a thick skin and words like bitch mean nothing to me.  You see, you can only hurt me if I care about you and quite frankly I don't give a damn about the person this post is aimed at and her little pack of worshipers.

Accusation after fucking accusation.  One of my favorites is that I attempted to speak for all women of colour, when I took a stand about Juneteenth last year. Heaven forbid that I have a fucking opinion outside of the pantyliner (yep that was intentional)  and attempt to make myself heard. When I wrote at the Guardian and the White feminists pitched a fit, then it is suddenly okay to bud your nose into my business and pretend that solidarity existed. Fuck, if I were that desperate for friends, I'd find a prison inmate penpal first. There is nothing radical, or original about you, and deep down even you know that. 

So here it is, I am going to be who I am going to be, and I don't give a fuck.  I have never asked for, nor wanted your acceptance.  When you drag up shit from the past, that includes my name and then you don't bother to put it into the correct context, you are damn right I am going to defend myself.  In short, don't start none won't be none bitch, cause I am badder than you want to be already. Now run back to tumblr and cry about how mean I am, because I promise you, if you even breathe my name and I come across it again, you can bet I will answer you back with more of the same. The world does not revolve around you, no matter how much you believe it does, and I promise you, that there is always a bigger fish in the sea.

Oh, and if you were wondering why I didn't name you, the answer is - it wasn't worth the fucking bandwidth to do so.  Good luck on your future book deals LOL, maybe you will finally learn that time does not stand still, and we all have to move on someday.

P.S Here's that quarter I promised you.
It's Canadian, because our money is worth more right now.  Don't say I never do anything nice for you.

Update: on the post "and yeah, exposing somebody’s tumblr as a way to “get” them? sooooo not cool".  (Hint: nothing on the internet is private and you should know that) The author proves that lying and in fact lying badly, is yet another one of her talents.  She didn't ask for money to see daddy dearest, she was raising funds to go to a wedding because her "spirit needed it."  Never would I have picked on her for attempting to reconcile with a family member, but truth is not something this woman traffics in.  The timing of the fundraiser was also suspicious, because it came right after another popular blogger raised money for a new computer, which BTW was actually deserved because she is a great writer and adds something to the world, unlike the pain in the ass who will not leave me alone. Will there ever be a a time in your life that you stop twisting the truth? It seems that you enjoy playing martyr so much, that you are willing to be deceptive to accomplish your goal. And finally asshat, you can't ban on blogger, but not to worry, I don't make a habit of reading your puerile nonsense. 

Update 2:  It took me sometime, but I finally found the proof of the self indulgent asshole's lies.  It seems to me, that someone wanted to attend a wedding in Portland... correct me if I am wrong but that is in Oregon. It seems that she decided not to attend Little Lights Wedding, but the money came in handy to help her through an illness. Yep, just like I said a TERRIBLE FUCKING LIAR -- explain that one away.

Also, you shouldn't just make up lies about someone's education because it you think it makes you look like more of a martyr.  It's interesting how telling the truth makes one a bully.  Canadians are a diverse people which means we don't have to walk in lock step.  Finally, Womanists work to uplift WOC, but we never promised to suffer fools if you catch my drift.


I Guess 'The Man in the Mirror,' told Chris Brown that his Penance is Done

At last years tribute to Michael Jackson, at the BET awards, Chris Brown got choked up and started to cry singing Man in the Mirror.  There was much debate as to wether the emotion he displayed that night was real.  There more cynical amongst us (yep, that includes me) feel that it was a crock of shit.  Since it became public knowledge that Chris Brown decided to add woman beater to his repertoire, he has been more concerned with saving his career than paying for his crime. He has often times been evasive and down right belligerent, when he is reminded of what he has done.  Responsibility for one's actions is something that Breezy B has yet to learn.

Abusers like Brown don't just hit one time and then change their ways.  Abuse become a pattern, a way of life, and the fact that he was raised watching domestic violencem means that he has already identified the oppressor rather than the victim.  The pattern of abuse is very hard to break and even men that receive counseling often end up re abusing. While there is no guarantee that Brown will hit another woman, there is also no guarantee he won't.  We need to remember that most often, domestic abuse goes on for year and in some cases ends in death.

That said, Chris Brown has once again proved, that he still has not internalized any tangible lessons from his conviction due to physically battering Rihanna.

The Reality of Gay Muslim Marriages

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.

During our professional relationship and later, even during our courtship, the Hubby and I followed what many may see as a strict adherence to Islamic gender interaction. Islam teaches that men and women should follow certain rules of decorum when interacting with the opposite sex. These rules include protecting each others' chastity by modest dress, lowering one's gaze, avoiding khalwa, or seclusion with a marriageable partner and avoiding any physical contact. The underlying reason for the maintenance of chastity is to protect people from approaching zina or pre/extra-marital sex -- one of the biggest sins in Islam.

Now, the definition of “approach” has a wide spectrum of interpretation of course – with some saying this means intercourse, heavy petting, kissing, dating, touching, talking, masturbation, looking or developing feelings for anyone that might pique your interest. Sexual urges are controlled through restraint, fasting or by getting married. Sexual exploits, ballroom dancing, intimate gazes and flirting should only ever be performed with one's spouse. There’s even reward in the sexual act, but only as long as it’s performed within the bounds of marriage.

Of course, sexual freedom with one's partner is just one reason Muslims marry. The other, most important reason is the spiritual aspect. Marriage in Islam is so important, that it is seen as fulfilling half of one's faith.

Did You Know That Bloggers Who Act Like Men Do Better?

I subscribe to Pro Blogger, because it occasionally has interesting tips, when they are not trying to sell you something.  This morning, I came across a piece entitled, He's a Rogue ... That's Why He Blogs So Well. Can you guess what's coming?  Far too many are quick to ignore the fact that ISMS feature prominently in the discourse that occurs everyday on the internet.  Many spaces are simply not safe for marginalized bodies, and few can be bothered to take the time to adequately police their comment section.  The hierarchy of bodies also determines which blogs are successful enough to earn a living for their editors in chief, as well as which bloggers will be considered credible.  It also determines whose blogs lead to mainstream success.

No matter which niche you examine, you will find that it is lead by dominate bodies.  Many of these how to blogs, have a tendency to ignore this fact, to attempt to sell a one answer fits all solution.  I have asked Darren via twitter, if he has any suggestions for social justice bloggers, and he has honestly said no. I can absolutely respect that; however, the continual suggestion that there is a simple pattern to follow to suddenly become an A list blogger, continues to appear on his blog.  Here are a few tips from  Graham Phoenix of the blog male eXperience:

Coming to Awareness Often Comes With a Click Moment

Daisy is a hippie grandma, feminist, vegetarian and lifelong activist, living in South Carolina.  She blogs at Daisy's Dead Air

Back in the 70s, the old Ms. Magazine had an informal sort of "essay department" in which women wrote in describing their "click" moments.

The "click" moment was the second it all came together for them; the moment they "got it"--a feminist epiphany.  The concept of the "click" was that you could take a mental photograph of the moment and preserve it.  Your woman-centered awareness was frozen in time and place, like a Polaroid snapshot.

Some "click" moments:

:: One young mother was shocked when her little girl said, "I don't want to be *anything* when I grow up.  I'm going to be a mommy instead!"

:: One professional woman lovingly described the house of her dreams, which she had finally saved up to buy at long last... only to be informed by the bank that she had a wonderful husband who would buy such a lovely house for her.  (note: she didn't have a husband)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Precious Knowlege Affirms the Necessity of Ethnic Studies

TUSD's ethnic studies program has proved it's worth by the fact that the students who participate are more likely to finish high school and go onto college. The state has charged that the program radicalizes students and encourages anti-American thinking.  The truth of the matter is that to be successful, students of colour need to know their history, and to think critically from a very early age. Society tells these students that they are not worthy and are completely disposable.  Once the history of colonialism and racism is revealed to them why is it unreasonable for these students to be angry.  Once again this is another example of the fact that anger is only considered an appropriate response from Whiteness.  Whiteness is more than willing for kids of colour to fall behind, than admit that it has a history of crimes against people of colour. Part of being American, is admitting America's history and colonialism, it is not anti-American to learn and perpetuate the truth.  To that end, the feature documentary Precious Knowledge has been created.

Hypocrisy Thy Name is PeTA

Mike Tyson has been convicted of rape and his ex wife Robin Givens, has alleged that he beat her repeatedly.  Tyson has been working had in recent years to attempt to rehabilitate his image.  When it comes to abusers I don't believe in second chances and this is especially true in the case of Tyson who continues to deny the violence that he has engaged in.  In the boxing ring he was equally brutal and at one point actually went as far as to bite off a piece of Evander Hollyfield's ear. He has repeatedly said that when he enters the ring that he becomes an animal however, I believe that the animalistic nature of his personality is a constant.  It pains me to associate the word animal with a MOC, but when it comes to Iron Mike, that is exactly what we are dealing with.  He is a product of society and his story is quite indicative of what happens when we treat Black boys as disposable beings, to be ignored and cast aside.

As part of his rehabilitation, he is attempting to race pigeons for his new reality show on Animal Planet.  Interestingly enough, someone murdering his pigeons in his youth, lead to the first street fight that he won.  There is no doubt in mind, that despite his extremely twisted nature, Tyson has always had a love of pigeons.  That love however, is under attack by the organization I love to hate PeTA.

PETA says it plans to protest outside of his Nevada home and issued the following statement:

"If Mike Tyson truly loved birds, he would fight for their protection -- not force them into a 'race' that tears them away from their families and subjects them to injuries, exhaustion and death," said PETA Vice President Lisa Lange.
Pot meet kettle. Let's begin with the fact that PeTA seems to be intent upon attack Black men.  Even though Michael Vick paid for his crime and lost millions of dollars in the process, they continue to harass him.  Every attempt Vick has made to regain what he lost, PeTA has been right there to protest.  It seems that PeTA believes in lifetime sentences for animal abuse. I wonder if they are aware that the recidivism rate is as high as it is because society will not give former convicts a second chance.  I suppose that as long as people of colour continue to be over represented in the penal industrial system it really does not matter.

Love Me Love My Cooking

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

There is nothing I hate more than a person who does not appreciate a meal that I prepare for them. I KNOW I am a good cook. I have gotten too many compliments about my food to NOT take pride in my ability to throw down in the kitchen. One of my favorite boasting points in my life is the fact that I was chosen to be on the editorial board of a cooking magazine, and several of my recipes have been published over the years (Pork Chops Pizzaiola, Chicken and Rice, and Crock Pot Chicken and Sausage). So, nothing makes me more pissed than someone insulting my cooking skills.
Call me old fashioned, but cooking for someone is the primary method I use to let them know that I really care. If I really am feeling a man I am seeing, the first thing I do to show him how I feel is cook him a nice dinner. I always joke around and say that I think one of the reasons my ex and I were together for so long was because of the Tupperware containers full of home cooked food that I would bring to his house every time I saw him. He once told me he would NEVER eat West Indian food cooked by someone who was not West Indian. Of course, once he tasted my oxtail and beansand my salt fish with onions, he changed his tune on that issue. My friend Henrietta tells me my Macaroni and Cheese is the best she ever had, and that is saying a lot because she comes from a family of great cooks! I like to experiment in the kitchen, and I love cooking different world cuisines… Indian, Mexican, Italian (of course), Chinese, etc. Not claiming that my dishes are “authentic” (well, other than the Italian ones) but I know they taste  DAMN GOOD!

Big Business has Abandoned the 'Gold Voice' Ted Williams

When Ted Williams became an over night success, corporations and the media, were quick to jump on the bandwagon to support him.  It did not take long for his life to quickly spiral downhill.  The Smoking Gun did an expose that featured his criminal history.  The media was quick to round up his family.  It began with his mother saying that she hoped that "he didn't disappoint her again", and then he had an altercation with his daughter.  Of course, Dr. Phil was quick to offer him help, but not until he ripped apart his life on national television, so that he could get his own ratings boost. While drug rehab centers can help a drug addict clean up his act, total rehabilitation will still depend on how the patient lives his life after his rehab stint. Making money off of Ted Williams had always been the goal, and when it appeared that his sobriety was not as he original claimed, it became a race to see who could drop him first.
[I]n the aftermath of his troubled second chance, Williams is still making minor appearances—the Los Angeles Times reports he was recently at a milkshake shop—but Kraft hasn't brought him back, his TV ads have been pulled, and the Cavaliers' job offer has been reneged. He's been abandoned almost as quickly as he was embraced, and for nothing more egregious than any other common celebrity infraction. (source)
When the sponsorship deals first became public, I said that these offers were not about a true second chance, but about capitalizing on this man as quickly as possible.  Is it really surprising that a man who has a history of drug abuse and homelessness, cannot be cleaned up and put on display like he a trained dog?  Helping Williams, requires a real commitment and that is why these companies were more than happy to jump ship as soon as they could. Not being an A list celebrity like Charlie Sheen, Williams descent was shorter and not seen as entertaining.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Would It Kill Jezebel to Write a pro Children/Parenting Piece?

I don't read Jezebel often, but when I do, I am always prepared to read some kind of failure or erasure.  It seems to me, that feminist spaces are quite content to belittle parenting and motherhood.  Rarely do we read anything that supports a woman's right to mother, and instead we are inundated with the importance of the pro choice argument.  I fully support a woman's right to choose, but I cannot help but wonder when it is going to be acknowledged that choice also means choosing to mother. 

Jezebel decided to report on a study published Psychological Science University of Waterloo researchers write:

"Many people believe that to be truly fulfilled in life, it is necessary to experience the joys of parenthood. Children are considered an essential source of happiness, satisfaction, and pride. However, the idea that parenthood involves substantial emotional rewards appears to be something of a myth."

I would like to know how one quantifies love?  What scale do we use for the measurement, and how do we know for certain that parents are faking or over stating what they feel? 

Maraget Hartmann was so determined to push this study, that she actually wrote the following: "The parents who only read about the high cost of spawning were more likely to talk about the emotional satisfaction they receive from parenting." No human being spawns, we reproduce and that is a bigoted term to apply to parenthood. So Hartmann just happened to come across a journal article that upholds all of the negative connotations that they have been so guilty of perpetuating in the past.  Jezebel is anything but a pro mother, or pro child environment, and so how can I, or any mother read that article and see this as nothing but an attack.

Spark of Wisdom: Can Something be Homophobic and Funny?

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.

Humour is not an excuse or justification

I'm going to poke at something now that has had me thinking. In particular, a line a friend of mine said lately when she was confronted by a sexist joke.

"Damn it, I can't be angry because I laughed."

And I think I disagree with this sentiment. I question the idea that something that is funny - or amusing - cannot be offensive. I also think that it's not helpful to assume the two can't go together.

It is commonplace to argue that "that's not funny" because it's offensive (now, sometimes it isn't. Sometimes it's just plain vile, or sometimes we're just so outraged and sickened by it, that the very idea of it being funny is boggling to us). And it's awkward, because sometimes we use it even when we don't believe it - even when we are tempted to crack a smile. Because we have an idea that somehow, if it is funny, it is not offensive. How many times do we hear "it's not offensive, it's just a joke! It's funny!" It's like if we concede the humour then suddenly all the problematic elements disappear by magic "aha, the marginalised person has SMILED! Their arguments are now invalid! Bring on more of the prejudiced jokes!"

International Woman's Day: Why Are we Celebrating?

I originally wanted to do a series about women that we hold in high esteem, but I didn't get enough contributions.  As I began thinking through the entire concept of the day, I have come to realize that I feel about International Woman's Day and Women's History Month, much the way I feel about Black History month.  It is another case where we celebrate an additive.  There should be no need for this month or this day to exist, but it does, because women are still far from equal.  If you are a marginalized woman, the trip to equality is even longer than those who are White, Cis, Straight, middle/upper class and TAB. 

I also believe that in many ways, International Woman's Day is divisive.  As I have been reading through various blogs, I have noticed that Black blogs are focusing solely on Black Women, Disability Blogs are focusing on disabled women, many feminist blogs are writing about feminists with a token inclusion of various marginalized women, etc. This is not inclusive; it basically comes down to every woman for herself, while we claim to celebrate womanhood. Intersectionality should mean that we recognize that there are women who are lesbians and White, or disabled and Black, or Trans with class privilege. No one body can represent womanhood, but when we divide into various corners, we fail our sheroes by claiming a singular identity for them.  I have for instance, seen Harriet Tubman mentioned on many Black blogs.  She is continually referred to as the Black Moses who ran the underground railroad; however, too many see fit to ignore the fact that she was a disabled woman.  Admitting that a shero had to deal with other marginalizations does not reduce her, it elevates her accomplishments.

Hari Kondabolu on Racism vs. White Guilt

This is a guest post by Gus, otherwise known as Allison McCarthy.

Hari Kondabol: "I can’t be arrogant enough to say that comedy will lead to social change. It can aid in the process of changing people’s minds and at least questioning in a way that’s more comfortable. It can be less aggressive. I’m aggressive on stage, but I still need to make people laugh. Being around laughter is cathartic. For other people, it’s a moment of, “Man I didn’t think about that before. I’d never questioned that. I don’t want to, but I’m laughing so there’s something to think about.” I know enough people doing amazing activism, so I won’t say that what I do in stand-up is equivalent to organizing. I’m at least bringing certain questions up publicly with my art that generally are not brought up because I have experiences and perspectives that are relatively new to standup."  

Monday, March 7, 2011

Trans Prisoners in The U.K Win the Right to Dress According to Their Gender Identity

The rights of Trans prisoners is something that I have written about repeatedly because they are often subject to torture like solitary confinement for years.  The prison system is constructed for cisgender bodies and this often endangers trans prisoners and leads to terrible depression.
Transsexuals must be allowed access to items which help them adopt their new gender, the new rules say, such as medical prostheses and – in the case of those changing from male to female – padded bras and make-up to cover beard growth. 

"Transsexual people, particularly those who have not undergone surgery or extended hormone therapy, may use various items to assist with their presentation in their acquired gender," insists the guide.

"These can range from sophisticated prostheses to padded bras. 

"Regardless of their level of sophistication, access to them can only be restricted in exceptional circumstances. 

"These items may only be prohibited when it can be demonstrated that they present a security risk."
Any prison which attempts to stop transsexual prisoners from having such items could be taken to court for judicial review, the paper warns. 

"Both male to female and female to male transsexual people may use make-up to present more convincingly in their acquired gender. 

"Make-up that is vital to presenting in the acquired gender, such as foundation to cover up beard growth, may not be restricted." 

Unlike other male prisoners, transsexuals will not be expected to wear prison uniform if they are punished by being moved to the basic privileges regime. 

"Allowing male to female transsexual prisoners to wear their own clothes is not a privilege," it says.
"It may be helpful to explain this to other prisoners who are required to wear prison uniform." 

The document advises that suitable clothing can be ordered from the Additions mail order catalogue, if the inmate has enough money. Alternatively, friends and family can provide garments or nearby prisons could donate clothes, it adds. 

If a previously-male inmate has been through the legal process to obtain a "gender recognition certificate" as a female, then they are entitled to a place in a female prison unless there are security grounds for refusal, it says. 

If no certificate has been issued then a meeting should be held to decide whether the inmate should be in a male or female prison, it continues. 

"Before a prisoner is placed in custody, attempts must be made to determine which gender is recognised under UK law," say the guidelines which come into force on March 14. 

"This is a legal issue rather than an anatomical one, and under no circumstances should a physical search or examination be conducted for this purpose,"(source)

Donald Trump Plans To Add Homophobia to his Presidential Platform

Donald Trump has already shown the world how nasty he can be when he engaged in a very public feud with Rosie O'Donnell.  Each week on his show as arrogantly fires celebrities, it is clear that Trump is a man who loves power and the ability to wield it over others.  I was hardly surprised to find that power for trump means asserting all of his privileges over marginalized bodies.  Trump is considering a run for the president in 2012, proving that the Republican options can get worse. 
After indicating to the Des Moines Register that he will compete in next year's Iowa caucus should he decide to seek office, Trump was questioned on his stance concerning same sex marriages.

"They should not be able to marry," the Celebrity Apprentice star asserted.

Trump also admitted that he hasn't developed a "fully formed" opinion on extending medical and civil benefits to gay couples, but he added: "As of this moment, I would say no and no."

The TV personality has suggested that he will announce his final decision on whether to launch a presidential bid in the coming months. (source)
It seems that Trump plans on running on the I hate gay people platform.  If there was truly equality in this world, no one would be able to run for a public office and proudly  spout this kind of hatred.  He is isn't just against same-sex marriage, he basically calling for a ban on all rights for gay people. From his commentary, he isn't even doing it on religious grounds (not that would make what it said less wrong), his incentive is pure power and upholding his straight privilege. 

This is not the first time we have seen such hateful rhetoric from someone who identifies as Republican.  What I would like to know is how a man who has had so many marriages, feels like he has the right to arbitrate the relationships of others?  It cannot possibly be because he values the supposed sanctity of marriage. Just like many rich, White heterosexual males, Trump is just interested in having another group beneath him in the social stratification. Gay people getting married or having things like medical benefits would in no way effect his life, but the fact that this would be a large step towards having the personhood of lesbians and gays respected and actualized, is more than his desire for power will allow.

From where I sit in the armpit of Canada otherwise known as Niagara Falls, I can do little to combat Trump.  I don't wish to interfere in an American election but I see no reason to support such a homophobic bigot.  The one thing that I can do it is to stop watching The Apprentice. I am sure that if enough people did this, his show would get canceled. Even though this would not directly hurt him, the idea of such a person having such a large platform with no respect for the rights of others galls me. If a shoddy reality show where he feigns concern for charities while promoting big business and clear hatred of the GLBT community is all he has to offer, I see no reason to spend five seconds of my life, bothering with him in any regard.  Donald, I suspect that this time, you are the one who will be fired.

The Origin of the Term Woman of Colour

Loretta Ross gives a much needed history lesson that was captured on video at, Western States Center's Groundwork reproductive justice and training and convening Jan 28, 2011.

White Children are too Delicate and Black Children are Forced to Pretend to be Slaves

I wrote an article a few weeks ago, about a White parent who was upset because his child,  had watched the movie Middle Passage in school.  He felt that the brutality of The Middle Passage was too much to show a nine year old child.  Many in the comment section agreed with assertion and felt that the movie would not encourage the children to learn.  At the time, I pointed to the continual assault against children of colour and the fact that they are forced to lose their innocence at a faster rate, as justification of normalizing this kind of education for young children.  I was accused of not understanding pedagogy, and creating two evils to counter the trauma of racism.  I really do believe that this a position born of privilege.  Black children continue to be subject to racism in and outside of the classroom and this is why teaching tools as movies, even when they are explicit, are a necessary teaching tool.

According to The Root:
Nikko Burton, a 10-year-old student at Chapelfield Elementary in Ohio, says he was humiliated by his teacher when she tried to demonstrate what it was like to be a slave on an auction block. Burton, one of two black students in his class, was chosen to be a slave. Students who were the "masters" inspected the "slaves" to see if they would be able workers.

"The masters got to touch people and do all sorts of stuff," Nikko said. "They got to look in your mouth and feel your legs and stuff and see if you're strong and stuff."
This fell under the category of diversity education. Imagine being humiliated like this in front of your fellow class mates because White children needed to learn about slavery.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Drop It Like It's Hot

Hello everyone,  I don't know why this didn't automatically post yesterday.  I am apologize to those of you who were expecting it.  Once again I would like to remind everyone of the open guest policy at Womanist Musings.  Please send in a three line bio along with an image that represents you and either a link to your blog or your original work to womanistmusings (at) gmail (dot) com.

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.

Losing to much: Eating Disorders in the Latina Community 
Taking the Womb out of a Woman
The Question: "Aren't glad that your mother didn't abort you?"
On The Thread of Being Wanted (trigger warning for descriptions of street harassment and sexual violence)
Stats on Hate Crimes Against Latinos Likely Under Counted Due to Deportation Fears
"Prey" Day Loans
Saturday Morning Cartoons
Cosmo Calls Selena Gomez a Cougar in Training
When Can I Stop Explaining?
Bare or the Bush: Off With The Pubic Hair!
Damned if you Lose, Damned if you Don't 
Decolonial Feminism & the Privilege of Solidarity
The problem with Charlie Sheen
Rally For Women's Health in Photos 
Talking Openly About Regret and  Emotional Suffering in a Pro Choice Context 
U.S.Lags  in School Lunch Makeovers, and We've Got Photos