Saturday, March 26, 2011

WOC Are More Than A Footnote Bitch Magazine

Being a leisurely Saturday morning, I slept in and decided to enjoy my morning green tea while reading the latest issue of Bitch Magazine.  What a terrible way to start the day.  In the latest issue, there is an article called MOTHER HUCKSTER: How the mommy blog became a brand by Sarah McAbee.   I have written about mommy blogging from time to time on Womanist Musings.  I have written repeatedly about the fact that despite my motherhood, this label is denied me.  No matter how much things have changed, the fact that I have two kids and have been a mother for ten years, still makes me a useless breeder in the eyes of Whiteness.

(okay folks, strap on your seat belts, because I'm about to fucking blow)

The entire article is about how White mommy bloggers like Dooce aren't taken seriously, even though they are definitely a brand worth millions. 
Despite the complexity of these blogging powerhouses, the mainstream media seems content to categorize them as just, well, moms.  Not professional bloggers, not businesspeople, not brands in and of themselves.  Despite all the potential and power in these women's blogs and the hundreds authored by other women for whom "mother" is just one in a list of identifiers, mommy bloggers - especially those who haven't hit the big time yet - are often confined to an easily caricatured realm.
Oh the poor White women, never mind that amazing Black mommy bloggers are working in obscurity because of racism. How are these rich White mommy bloggers managing, only being able to take home millions of dollars a year?  Can you believe that when they are on Oprah, or The Bonnie Hunt Show, or Good Morning America, that they are asked to make a cake? When, oh when, will White motherhood be taken seriously?  Say it with me everyone: White women's problems.

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.

I am currently looking for one new bloggers to join the team as a regular contributor.  This is currently not a paid position, and the blogger must be willing to write one post weekly or bi-weekly.  I am specifically looking for someone who is  [email protected]  I have gone through the archives, and found that there is a distinct lack of posts that focus on the issues that Latinas. 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.
a mom brains brain grows after birth
White People Stink
Open Letter to Western Feminism
Living Stealth After Public Transition
Black Shame
Founder Worship  
My Inbox This Morning at Gays.Com
Louisiana Law Forces Many Forces Many Sex Workers to Register as Sex Offenders 
The Origin of the Term Baby Mama
Language and Academia
America's Ugly Secret - The Long-Term Unemployed
Black Folks, Class, and the Truth: Notes From A Mixed-Class-Breed
Having a conversation about slut shaming with your primary school schooler
Cum Stronger - The Problem With Black Porn 
Sky Sport magazine hails rapist Mike Tyson as a 'legend'
Is Feminism Un-African?
We cannot name ourselves without Othering ourselves in the White Gaze
Obligatory Smiling  
Go After the Privilege, Not the Tits: Afterthoughts on Alexandra Wallace and White Female Privilege

Friday, March 25, 2011

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

This week's question comes from our newest contributor, Daniel

TGIF! I know I’m happy about the weekend coming up! I get to ask the Friday question this week, so tell me. When you go grocery shopping, what aisle do you go to first? Is it some sort of odd compulsion or just a habit when you have to do your errands?

Small confession time. I love chips and snacky things. The first aisle I go to is that long tiled road of chips and dips and other confections. I love veggie chips, Doritos, Jax Cheese Puffs, Salt and Vinegar chips, Kettle chips, ANY SORT OF CHIP GIVE IT HERE! Even if I go to the store with an intent on buying a specific item (like, ingredients for a cake), I ALWAYS go to the chip aisle and contemplate what I’d like to snack on.

Best things to go with chips are Pepsi and Captain Morgan, or just a Pepsi and Lime. Cheers to you folks, and hope you have an equally good Friday and happy weekend!

A Conspiracy Of Silences.

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.
A couple of weeks ago, the lady I buy my bi-weekly magazines from near the railway station started talking to me. The caste system is so pervasive¹ that all we’d ever exchanged over the past three years is, “Has [x] magazine come yet?” — from me — and she’d say, “No Madam, no one reads this one, so I have to send out a special order for you” and we’d smile at that gesture, but that would be all. So two weeks ago, when I went to the stall after a few weeks of absence, somehow, she asked me about my plans after graduation and I mentioned something about going out of Mumbai and before I knew it she was telling me about her daughter; how she wants to study further but doesn’t have the means. I’d seen her daughter a few times, helping out around the stall, I’d thought she was around my age, but it turned out she had two years to graduation. That day, I put this newspaper lady in touch with a couple of activists who worked specifically with underprivileged Hindu girls — the newspaper lady’s family came from a challenged economic background, but as Hindu Brahmins, they occupy higher shelves of the caste system. I don’t particularly like these activists and their goals but knew they’d help these two women out. Yesterday, I come to know the daughter rounded up about nine more girls from similar economic backgrounds but from varying castes which of course, the activists couldn’t stand for and helped only the Hindu girls. As people, we are constantly choosing and prioritising one over another, even if we don’t want to; build-ing and break-ing communities and spaces, they always carry with them little parts of us we show and hide. I didn’t want to approach these activists at all for their restricted goals, but by reaching out to them six more girls benefitted. However, the three that get left behind, their silences roar the loudest.

Hey George Lopez Where is Your Apology to Wendy Williams?

Dancing With The Stars is no stranger to controversy.  It seems every season someone crosses the line.  This time, comedian George Lopez decided that fat phobic and transphobic attacks constitued the basis of critique. 

The Conquest of our Bodies

 Dan Waters is a snarky 22 year old queer biracial wonderment who is part White, Portuguese, and Native American (Wampanoag-Kiowa). He currently lives in Massachusetts, and plans to become a Lawyer. That is, if he can survive Algonquin language classes and polyamorous dating right now! He also identifies as Two Spirit, and prefers male pronouns, but cherishes his female body that he was given graciously by the Creator. He blogs at Identity Exposure.

Note on terminology: I use Native American, American Indian, and Indian interchangeably. There really seems to be no consensus even amongst ourselves what we want to be called, and I personally feel that as long as you don’t call me Red, prairie nigger, or Chief, I think things will be fine.

Many Native women remember the gruesome stories and woodcuts that depict violence against Native Americans, and even more untold torture onto Indian women and children. Women were fed to war dogs alive, sometimes to be raped and eaten (yes, eaten) for show. The mercy granted on children was that there was typically a priest would be there to baptize them, and then they were put in a pile to either die from exposure, or set on fire, or even more food for the dogs. If anyone wants to try and dispute this, please go ahead and read anything written by the monks and priests that accompanied them (most notably, Rodrigo Rangel for De Soto’s journeys, or Bartolom√© de las Casas works). This isn’t just the ramblings of a “crazy injun”.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

White People Are Still Individuals Right?

Okay, right after the prop 8 fiasco one of the things I heard from the White LGBT community was a complaint that they gave us Obama, and we denied them their marriage.  Outside of that context, so-called liberal White folks have reminded us how grateful we should be because they gave us Obama, even while patting themselves on the back as being supposedly anti-racist because the voted for him.
A federal prosecutor told a jury Monday that a man and two friends were racists so upset when Barack Obama was elected president in 2008 that they burned down a predominantly African-American church just hours after the voting ended.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Smyth gave his opening argument on the first day of the trial of Michael Jacques, 26, in U.S. District Court.

"We are here today because of racism," Smyth told the 16 jurors, including four alternates. "We are here today because of the depth of their intolerance."

Jacques and two co-defendants, Benjamin Haskell and Thomas Gleason, were charged with using gasoline to set the Macedonia Church of God in Christ in Springfield on fire in the early morning hours of Nov. 5, 2008. The building was under construction at the time. A few firefighters were injured, but recovered.
Authorities say all three men, who are white, confessed to setting the fire. Haskell, 24, of Springfield, pleaded guilty to civil rights charges and was sentenced in November to nine years in prison. Gleason, 23, who lives on the same street as the church, pleaded guilty last year, awaits sentencing and will be testifying against Jacques.

Smyth told jurors that all three men confessed during videotaped interviews and there is also incriminating audio recordings.
Smyth said Jacques and his friends frequently used racial epithets to describe blacks. The prosecutor said Jacques and Haskell trained a dog to "get" black people, and Jacques was upset that his sister was having a baby with her African-American boyfriend and didn't want a black child in his house.

Levinson told jurors that they will hear bad things about Jacques, but that doesn't mean he set the fire.
"You're going to hear a lot of things about him that you're not going to like," she said. "You've got to keep in mind that Michael Jacques is charged with the crime of arson, basically. He's not charged with being an all-around bad person."
Uh huh tell me again how White folk were happy to give African-Americans Obama.  What about another myth about how post racial the world is and that there are places in the U.S. where White privilege does not exist.  I'm a big girl, I can take another fairytale.

Thoughts On Drag Queen William Bellie's Vagina Song

GLAAD award winner, Improv & Stand Up Comedian William Bellie has a song that is burning up youtube.

Introducing Dan Waters, Womanist Musings' Newest Contributor

Dan Waters is a snarky 22 year old queer biracial wonderment who is part White, Portuguese, and Native American (Wampanoag-Kiowa). He currently lives in Massachusetts, and plans to become a Lawyer. That is, if he can survive Algonquin language classes and polyamorous dating right now! He also identifies as Two Spirit, and prefers male pronouns, but cherishes his female body that he was given graciously by the Creator. He blogs at Identity Exposure.

Hey Womanist Musing readers and fellow bloggers! I’m Dan, a newbie blogger that the great Renee gave the opportunity to become part of the team and larger family. I hope to bring a lot of insightful posts that make you go “Hmm!”, and sometimes take off your glasses (if you have any) and go, “My God…”

As you can tell I am a bit of a joker, and my snark is a means to communicate my disdain directed to things like corporate greed, patriarchy, and racism. I am biracial, Native American and white (I am also Portuguese, but I’ll get into the politics of how it’s white but not kind of at my own blog called Identity Exposure, but some might find that too mushy compared to the hard-hitting stuff I plan to give Womanist Musings). Because I am snarky, I have grown a fondness of Womanist Musings and the tone of snark and whatnot on posts. I think it may be a match made on Earth.

Some may be wondering, hard-hitting stuff? Really? Pray tell. I like to write critiques about popculture, media, politicians, feminist topics, Queer things (I identify myself as Queer), and Native issues that span from forced sterilization to land rights and even tribal politics. I also enjoy discussing polyamory, sexuality, gender norms, How I Hate Twilight™, and real life incidents where I am THE REAL LIFE INJUN™ (yes, also a tm), and transgender things. I can’t promise that there won’t be moments of my alter-ego Lusty Eaglefeathers coming out and discussing how something fetishizes Native Americans. I also can’t promise that I won’t name-drop a great book I just read, because I love to read and amazingly haven’t become part of a book club yet (probably because I refuse to reread Twilight for the sake of the book club…)

As with most introductions with open minded people, I like to disclose that I am Two Spirit, or transgender to some (I use this word because it is more familiar to most Western groups, and does in part explain what I experience/identify with). I am female bodied, and I am not planning on transitioning for quite some time if at all. I’ll probably depend on how ridiculously rich I get or if I don’t have any kids. I prefer male pronouns and I am also Queer by identity and that really means that I appreciate dating people. I respect partners’ sex and gender identity. However, I’ve noticed that I tend to date mostly male-identified or male-bodied people. This will be something to discuss on my mushy blog.

So that is me, folks! I hope to be writing for WM weekly, and I appreciate any and all feedback. Hate comments and mail will just fuel my big ego, and make me feel famous. Yes, I secretly have a big ego. The only thing I will not tolerate is hate speech and flat out name calling. That isn’t cool, nor is your momma jokes.  Thanks folks! Bye!

Serena Williams, When is Sexy Transgressive

Serena Williams and actress Rileah Vanderbilt, recently made a commercial for the video game, Top Spin 4.  The ad was deemed too sexy but was released on youtube anyway.  Some are complaining though it never got any television play that it pushes the boundaries too far because the two women are in fishnets heels, black body suits that leave nothing to the imagination, looking like dominatrices.

 (Be Forewarned this Video is NOT SAFE FOR WORK)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What Are The Responsibilities of POC in the Public Eye?

I have increased my reading of urban fantasy (yes it's possible), because of a project that I am working on.  I realized that I had not read a lot of work in the genre specifically by POC.  This is why I read The Fledgling last week.  This week, I have started to read the work of Marjorie Liu.

Juan Williams is Scared of Black Men

Well, now that Juan Williams has a contract with Fox, I suppose he has to compete with the other resident house Negroes. You know, I retract that statement, because house negroes were in an impossible situation that often meant life or death for them, whereas; Williams is selling out for money. That makes him the lowest of the low.

He recently appeared on The O'Reily Factor with Dr. Caroline Helmand, who is a professor, at Occidental College.  They were originally to discuss New York Congressman Anthony Weiner's rant, when the conversation shifted to the NPR.  The following is the transcript.
Helmand: "I happen to agree with Schiller that your comments were bigoted. I think that if I were to say that I clutch my purse every time I walk by a black man that might resonate with a lot of Americans. It might be the truth but it's a bigoted statement. I certainly wouldn't have fired you but I do think there was some truth in that video that we don't get to talk about because we are afraid to have actual discourse in this country."
Williams: "I can't believe that you just said that. You think that simply saying what you think is evidence of bigotry that all of a sudden it's as if you were walking by a black man that would mean if you were bigoted if you were somewhat nervous. Let me just tell you, with the amount of black on black crime in America, I get nervous and I'm a black man. So, I mean, wait a second..."
Helmand: "There we go again, Juan. I would find that to be racial profiling that's a bigoted comment."
Williams: "That's a bigoted comment?"
Helmand: "Yes it is. Just like your comment about Muslims."
Williams: "I'm the father of black young men and I'm saying that if you saw a couple guys walking around looking like thugs down the street late at night, you're saying 'Oh, I'm not going to think it through.' Caroline, I think you are way off base."

Hump Day Giggles

I don't know about you, but around noon this time every week I am always in need of a little cheer.

In video #1 Emerson really does not know what to think when his mother blows her nose.

In video number 2 a baby laughs as his father rips up his job application rejection letters.  It kind of makes hearing no not feel  so bad.

 Don't worry, the work week is half way over.

The Street Harassment Experience in a Fat Body

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 have a confession to make. As embarrassing as it is to admit, particularly in this forum, I feel like I have to share, particularly after watching the recently posted video regarding street harassment. I am just going to come right out and say it. For all of the women who experience cat calls on a regular basis while walking down the street, I have something to tell you. I am envious.

Yes, I understand that for you, being the object of public harassment is painful. And, I am sure I would feel totally different if it were happening to me on a regular basis. But, I have to be truthful....when I hear your stories, I often wish it were me.

See, I am used to another sort of harassment on the street. I am used to being called out for being the fat girl. I am accustomed to dirty looks and stares because I do not fit into the standard image of beauty in this society. I have been screamed out from moving vehicles. I have been given the finger and called all sorts of names. I have had soda thrown at me from a car window. Because I have the audacity to go out in public in a fat body.

When I was growing up, anyone who called out to me on the street was doing so to spew some cruel invective about how ugly I was, and how it disgusted them to see me out in public. Some people would make crashing noise with each step I took, as if I were Godzilla destroying a city. Others would yell out that I reminded them of Roseann Barr, or, if I was wearing my purple shirt, the would sing “I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family....” at the top of their lungs.

Pole Dancing For Jesus

Yes, you read the title of this post correctly.  It seems that there are a group of women who take free pole dancing lessons as part of worshiping God in a small Texas town.  If this were happening in New York but the fact that it is happening in Texas home of the bible belt is absolutely astounding to me.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Chris Brown Keeps it Classy and Has a Violent Tantrum

I suppose when Chris Brown looked in the mirror before he threw a chair at it, the man in the mirror said, once a violent woman beating new age Ike turner, always a violent asshole.  Following an interview in which he was once against asked about the restraining order against him, that he hopes to have lifted, Brown threw a fit in the dressing room of Good Morning America.

The Importance of Where Your Money Goes

I admit that I got caught up in the Whitesome and Delightsome Twilight phenomenon.  I even went out in the pouring rain (something painful for me because I have fibromyalgia) to get the last two books.  I pretty much devoured them in one week.  After I was done, I put the books on my self and didn't think about them until I learned that Stephenie Meyer tithes.  As a person who has attended church in the past I know that it is the practice to pass the collection plate, but it did not occur to me that for Meyer tithing is not the token five dollars but ten percent of her earnings.  This means that by buying those four books, I indirectly gave money to the Mormon Church.  This is something that I have been talking about privately to friends for quite sometime.  Each time I think about it, I get so angry because the Mormon Church is one of the last organizations I would ever consider supporting with my heard earned money. 

Enough - homophobia is not a gay-on-gay problem

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.
 Look, I like me the schadenfreude pie, I really do. It's sweet, it's tasty and it's so sinfully good.

And yes, when an anti-gay politician/religious leader/arsehole is outed then I have me a happy dance. Not because he is outed and not because he is gay - but because that is an enemy disarmed. And these people do too much damage for me not to celebrate their downfalls, even while I pity them,

But - do you know what? All homophobes are not gay.

And when anyone says something homophobic and does something homophobic, it is not the time to jump up and say "that guy must be gay."

Because homophobia does not originate in the gay community. And straight folk do not get to pass the buck and decide that all this homophobic bullshit is coming from our own community.

Mommy Said Share the Salad

This past weekend, my little Mayhem discovered blue cheese dressing.  In the last three days, he has eaten almost an entire bag of carrots by himself and is steadily gazing at the celery.  Yesterday afternoon, he came home from school to discover that his brother had eaten the last pear, and went into total meltdown mode.  Last night at dinner, I ended up in the role of arbiter, because both boys wanted to finish the salad on our dinner table.  The unhusband was made to promise that he would buy another bag of carrots and a few more pears.  Until the pears are replaced, they will divide up the apples between themselves and I will be lucky to get one.

My children have a privilege they don't even recognize - seven days a week they can be sure that there are always fresh fruit and vegetables in the house. A vegetable is offered every night at supper, and they will eat several pieces of fruit throughout the day.  They know that their food choices are healthy and are well aware when snack time comes that a fruit of or some yogurt is always a better option than cookies.

I have mentioned that I spend approximately 230 dollars a week at the grocery store every week and then probably another 50 dollars on incidentals like milk, or whatever else we run out of.  When I was growing up, my parents provided the exact same options for myself and my two younger brothers.  My mother would always push us to eat healthy, and we would do our best to avoid it.  As a child, I very much took these healthy options for granted. Now that I am paying the bills, I realize that healthy options cost money.  My children are able to eat fresh fruit and vegetables, because their father and I can afford it, and believe that a healthy diet is important.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Walking Home

The following video is about the street harassment WOC face and I believe it is well worth a few minutes of our time.  Street harassment is something that happens across racial lines, but to hear some women tell it, you have to be light bright and damn near White.

Congressional candidate Jack Davis Knows How To Reduce Black Unemployment

Let me start off this piece by saying, no matter how hard Whiteness works, or how much they invest in hoping that I will learn to hate my Latino brothers and sisters, it is a wasted effort.  Whiteness knows that if it can keep POC focused on attacking each other, rather than recognizing our common enemy, that we will never achieve full equality.  POC need to be aware that more than magicians traffic in slight of hand and misdirection.Western New York Congressional candidate Jack Davis recently decided to do a little divide and conquer, using his supposed concern for the high rates of Black employment.                                          
As a solution to the black unemployment problem, Davis suggested shipping inner-city black youth out to farms, while simultaneously deporting the illegal immigrants who are working there.

The comments were confirmed by several sources who attended a Feb. 20th endorsement interview with Davis:

"We have a huge unemployment problem with black youth in our cities. Put them on buses, take them out there [to the farms] and pay them a decent wage; they will work." (source)

You're Not Really Disabled

Since going public with the fact that I have a disability, I have written a lot about the difficulties that I have encountered with disableism, and people who are TAB. Today, I would like to shift the conversation to talk about the policing that can sometimes occur in disabled communities. I recently discovered that a former co-worker of mine who is also disabled, decided to declare that my disability is not real. I have not actually seen this woman in 3 years and she is making this determination by hearing from others that I now use a mobility scooter.  It seems that for her, only disabilities that mirror hers are considered valid. I must admit that upon hearing this, I was absolutely enraged. Honestly, what right does anyone have to decide the validity of someone else's disability.  Simply because I was formerly able bodied, does not mean that this is a status that I was able to retain. I think that I found it especially shocking, because this is the kind of attitude I expect to encounter with people who are TAB not disabled.

I spent much of the evening last night thinking about this, trying to understand where this attitude originated   It occurred to me, that there are Blacks who like to play blacker than thou and this is absolutely divisive.  It stems from self hatred and White supremacy.  It is highly likely that my former co-worker, did not realize that what she said was disableist, because she has internalized many of the negative stereotypes fostered by people who are TAB. The idea that there is a good crip and a bad crip keeps us focusing on each other, rather that surging forward to demand accommodations and subsistence levels of income through government programs.

Really Apple? LGBT People Can't Be "Cured" With an APP

It seems that  every time we turn around there is a new app and app that seems to suit every possible situation of need.  Over the course of time we have seen some apps that are highly offensive, but this one sinks to a new level of low.  Exodus International is an organization that  believes that LGBT people can change who they are - in short not only are they LGBT their beliefs fall under the category of a hate group.
No one is saying that the journey to sexual holiness and integrity is easy. It requires strong motivation, hard work, and perseverance. But hundreds of men and women have experienced a great degree of personal transformation–attaining abstinence from homosexual behaviors, lessening of homosexual temptations, strengthening their sense of masculine or feminine identity, correcting distorted styles of relating with members of the same and opposite gender. Some of these men and women marry and some don’t, but marriage is not the measuring stick; spiritual growth and obedience are.

Measuring change in sexual orientation, on the other hand, is complex and problematic. For one thing, not all professionals even agree on the definition of sexual orientation. But both retrospective (looking backwards in time) and prospective (observation in real time) studies have discovered that shifts in desire, fantasy and behavior from same-sex toward opposite sex can occur, and that the attempt to make these changes is not inherently harmful. (source)
I know that the internet is filled with a lot of misinformation, just look at the people who claim daily that White people can be subject to reverse racism -- Ummm yeah-- giving a large platform to these group of devoted haters is still disgusting.  It legitimizes their hatred and makes it seem as though they have something substantial to say. Just because they couch their hate rhetoric in the selective reading of the bible does not make them holy, or correct.