Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Vampire Diaries Season Three: Episode Eleven: Our Town

It seems that "our town," is made of teen angst, love triangles, serial murder and founders day worship, and this basically makes it just another day in Mystic Falls. It seems that the big plan is to drag out the opening of Klaus' family coffins.  To keep us interested however, we learned this episode that there is an extra coffin.  Seeing as how his brothers, sisters and father, are all accounted for, someone significant must be in the extra coffin, and Bonnie believes that whoever is in that coffin has the power to kill Klaus.  Since Klaus' mother is dead, I believe that the person in the extra coffin is the witch friend of Klaus' mother.  Who do you think it might be?

Alright straight into the angst shall we? The love triangle between Elena, Stefan and Damon is still running strong.  This week there was the suggestion that despite all of his bravado that Stefan might still have very strong feelings for Elena.  When Stefan threatens to kill Elena, by driving her off the same bridge that her parents died on, Klaus is resistant to believe that he will turn her into a vampire and says to Damon, "love like that never dies."  Okay people, say it with me, awwwww.  After Klaus capitulates in order to ensure that Elena will live, because she is the key to him making more hybrids, Stefan stops the car.  (Don't you wish they would just stop putting Elena in peril when there is zero chance that she will do us all a favor and disappear from the show?) Elena is visibly upset.  She later attacks Stefan and asks how he could do this to her, and he answers that he has lost everything, and that he knew when he left town that he had lost her for good.  When she asks him if he is trying to make her hate him, he says that he no longer cares what she thinks of him.  Nothing like lovers games: go away, come back, go away, come back, go away, come back.

Why or why is Elena even talking to Stefan?  He is supposed to be the so-called good vampire, and yet she has witnessed the corpses he has left behind, as well as seen the long list of his victims.  Just that night he threatened to kill her violently, and forced his blood down her throat (note: blood transfer this way is a metaphor for semen and rape), and yet she is still concerned with whether or not he might love her.  This absolutely disgusts me, and doubly so because this crap is aimed at young women.  Violence is not romantic, no matter how much the abuser claims to love you, and there is no doubt about it, Stefan is a violent, abusive murderer.

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Drop It Like It's Hot

Hey everyone, thanks for another great week of conversation.  I think that there were some really great conversations that challenged a lot of what has become normal discourse.  Please remember, we cannot always agree but it is important that we stay respectful and committed to listening to each other. Talking at each other, rather than to each other, get us nowhere.

I am still looking for new contributors.  Though I can write about a myriad of things, we all learn best from the people directly negotiating a particular ism.  I am particularly looking for someone to discuss fatphobia and class critically but I am very open to other ideas. Please be aware that womanist musings also has an open guest posting policy, so please feel free to submit a piece or a cross post from your blog.  You can reach me at womanistmusings (at) gmail (dot) com

Below you will find a list of posts that I found interesting this week.  Please be aware that a link does not necessarily mean an endorsement of the article, just simply that I found something about the piece interesting.  Please be aware that I don't read the comment sections so read those at your own risk.  Well start spreading the love, and when you're done, don't forget to drop it like it's hot and leave your link behind in the comment section when you are done.

MARS Canada doesn’t want to be affiliated with homophobia / transphobia.
Diaspora Diaries: No to the Black Box
 Male “Feminist” Hugo Schwyzer
Casual to Deadly: Anti-Asian American Racism
Building Effective Anti-Trafficking Efforts: Drivers as Allies
2012: The year of Black people as subjects 
Help Us Raise Funds for "Ajijaak" Ojibwe Storybook! 
“Graphic” anti-abortion ads will air during Super Bowl
Rape, Redefined
Human Trafficking of Immigrant Transgender Women: Hidden in the Shadows
The right to be ugly
A Freshly-Hatched Tone Argument
Books: Why I Wrote ‘Koontown Killer Kaper’ by Bill Campbell
Michelle Obama Is So Over This Angry Black Woman Thing (Video)
‘It Did Not Start With Stonewall’ Resurfaces After Five Years

Friday, January 13, 2012

2 Broke Girls and the Freedom to be Offensive

2 Broke Girls has turned out to be a smash hit for CBS since it first premiered this fall.  The show essentially revolves around the relationship between the ever so sassy and street smart Max, and the now broke heiress Caroline.  They become friends after Caroline is hired to work at the same restaurant as Max, which is owned by Han Lee.  The show seems to pride itself in being offensive, in the effort to promote girl power 2.0.

It really would be nice if we could finally have a show that empowers one group of marginalized people, without actively attacking others, but suffice it to say, 2 Broke Girls is simply not that show. Earl is the cashier at the restaurant, and only appears on camera to say one or two sarcastic lines and occasionally dole out advice like a wise sage negro should. As bad as the weekly reduction of Earl played by Garret Morris is, he is trumped by Han Lee played by Matthew Moy.

Now that we live in a post racial world, it certainly not appropriate to point out racism, or limit the right of White men to enjoy ironic racism.
But a session to promote the series deteriorated into an uncomfortable and messy clash between reporters and executive producer Michael Patrick King, who grew agitated with repeated questions about the continuing controversy concerning the show's lone Asian character, the owner of a diner who speaks in broken English.

Even though King had been expecting questions about the character Han Lee (Matthew Moy) since it has been an issue since the series premiered, he became increasingly defensive as the session wore on, making what amounted to a flat joke about the Irish heritage and sexual orientation of one reporter who continued to press him about whether CBS had asked him to make Han more dimensional and tone down his ethnicity.

The producer's combative demeanor ultimately cast a sour note over what should have been an upbeat session. (source)
This reporter just was not willing to play nice.  He spoiled the fun by putting Michael Patrick King in a foul mood.  He had to expect that they would go on the attack.  When it is framed as a joke, racism isn't racism anymore.  Haven't comedians been repeating this for months now?  The real problem isn't that Han Lee is racist character, because he evokes Charlie Chan, and fits the stereotype of the perpetual foreigner, nope, the problem is that people of colour simply cannot take a joke when aimed at us.  Isn't it time we all recognize how much pain we cause, when we even remotely suggest a White man might be acting in a racist manner?

Promoting Black Feminism in Pop Culture

April Scissors is a writer and cultural critic. She works to explore and uncover the historical and present implications of faulty representations of people of color, women, and other marginalized groups in politics, popular culture, and media. Find more of her work at and on 89.5fm in Chicago where she is a frequent guest and contributor.  

In an anti-racist feminism course, my then-professor presented us with Allan Bérubé’s essay, “How Gay Stays White and What Kind of White It Stays.” She asked how feminism presents a similar paradox. As someone who once identified as feminist and then became disenfranchised by the white privilege I saw in many parts of the movement, I reflect on that question often. For me, one of the greatest spaces that highlight the importance of answering that question—of how feminism stays white—is the pop culture feminist blogosphere. In that space I’ve noticed the eagerness to not only crown some pantsless pop divas as feminists, but also simultaneously admonish the thought that other female artists (also pantsless) could ever don the “F” badge.

Beyoncé’s debut of “Run the World (Girls)” last summer was almost overshadowed by sudden cries of “IS BEYONCE A FEMINIST?! SHE SAID GIRLS RUN THE WORLD! SHE’S LYING!” I even fell into this trap by responding to the noise, though Beyoncé has always been vague about how she identifies. Most notable of those dissenters was vlogger Nineteen Percent who kindly laid out all of the reasons why girls do not, in fact, run the world. What was missing from a number of these “Beyoncé is not a feminist” critiques (including my own) was the positive and empowering relationship many Black women have with King B, which plays an important role in some people’s brand of feminism. These critiques that played out online in larger pop feminist spaces seemed to have been looking at Beyoncé as feminist from the perspective of a feminism that strictly relates to gender and patriarchy, rather than gender, patriarchy, and race—among other things. I believe when feminism tethers itself to the former and ignores the intersectionality of the latter, it becomes “white”—because only whiteness as a particular social construction affords the privilege of ignoring the complexities of possessing fluid, simultaneous othernesses.

Self-Publishing: Sometimes the only Gate that's Open

'Lock The Gate Master Brand' photo (c) 2011, Lock The Gate - license:

The review blog All Things Urban Fantasy recently published a piece regarding their refusal to do reviews of self published books.  The author of the post said that she has had negative experiences with authors who have reacted unprofessionally to critique.  She further went on to cite amateurish covers, as well as grammatical and spelling mistakes in the books. Obviously we believe that the owner of each blog should have autonomy over their own spaces and so we respect the right of the owners of All Things Urban Fantasy to place limitations on which books they will cover however, in our space, our policy is quite different.

At Fangs for the Fantasy, we accept all books with the only requirement being that they fit our specified genre (and we have been known to bend that - albeit not often).  If the book has a protagonist of colour, a GLBT protagonist, or a strong female character it is more likely to end up on the top of our to read list.  Together, Paul and I negotiate a number of marginalizations and such, we want to see ourselves reflected in what we read.  We further recognise how important is to children who come from historically marginalised youth to see positive representations of themselves.

Publishing companies, just like any social organizations, have inbuilt biases.  This means that privileged people are far more likely to get publishing deals and books that support a narrative in which historically marginalised people are either erased or subject to negative portrayals are more likely to be published.  The idea that traditionally published books are simply a marker of professionalism are missing the fact that agents and publishers act as gate keepers and like all gate keepers their role is to support the active oppression and silencing of historically marginalised people. As reviewers contributing to the attention a book receives, our reviewing police can risk enabling the gate keepers or becoming gate keepers ourselves

Rachel Manija Brown, author of All the Fishes Come Home to Roost, and Sherwood Smith, author of Crown Duel and a great many other novels for adults and young adults published a piece Publisher’s Weekly this past September about the suggestion that they should remove a gay character from a book that they had written.
An agent from a major agency, one which represents a bestselling YA novel in the same genre as ours, called us.

The agent offered to sign us on the condition that we make the gay character straight, or else remove his viewpoint and all references to his sexual orientation.

Rachel replied, “Making a gay character straight is a line in the sand which I will not cross. That is a moral issue. I work with teenagers, and some of them are gay. They never get to read fantasy novels where people like them are the heroes, and that’s not right.”

The agent suggested that perhaps, if the book was very popular and sequels were demanded, Yuki could be revealed to be gay in later books, when readers were already invested in the series.
This is an example of gatekeeping in action. You’ll note that the agents issue was not with elements of the story but simply the fact that the authors dared to have a gay teen and one whose relationships matched that of their heterosexual counterparts. I know that there are those who will argue that there is already some gay representation in the genre (though erasure is far more likely to be the norm), but to that I must point out that the addition of a gay character does not necessarily mean that the role is affirmative in any way.  What we tend to see are the gay best friends or gay uncles who are usually celibate and fulfill every trope associated with gay men.  These men love to shop, they sashay, are limp wristed  and catty, and practically fart unicorns and fairy dust.

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

"306" Short Gay Film

The following is a short film directed and produced by film maker Elliot London.  It is set in Chicago and follows a day in the life of one man, without a single word being said.  All the information that you need is communicated through facial expression and the poses of the actors body.  For 11 minutes it keeps you guessing.  I have certain ideas about this film but I am more interested to hear yours.

The following video is NSFW because it contains nudity and graphic sexual contact.

"306" Short Gay Film from Elliot London on Vimeo.

Striking a Pose (Women and Fantasy Covers)

Every Thursday on my urban fantasy blog, Fangs for the Fantasy, which I write with Paul, AKA Sparky, who is always wrong, we do cover snark.  We have examined thinks like:
As you can see, the over riding theme in the above list is the sexualization of women on book covers.  Part of what makes this trend so aggravating, is that these books are largely written by women, to appeal to a female audience.  We know that authors normally have little to no control over the covers of their work, but does not mean that we should avoid pointing the ridiculous twists and turns that traditional publishers engage in, in order to turn a profit. For the life of me, I cannot understand why they believe that reproducing the straight male gaze, to represent work geared towards women, is a selling feature. If anything, I believe that women buy these books in spite of the covers rather than because of them.

I recently came across a post by author Jim C. Hines, in which he takes the time to point out the ridiculousness of this trend, by reproducing some of the stances that are common in urban fantasy.  I love it when men do this, because it helps to highlight the sexism in these images.  No one would ever dream of posing a male in the positions that are commonplace for women on book covers.

Calling Someone a Feminist is Not Necessarily a Compliment

I love the blog The Crunk Feminist Collective, but I recently came across a post that I found disturbing that feel I need to respond to.
I’m a feminist. Sometimes it feels like I live breathe, eat, and sleep feminism. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I’m just feminist enough. A while ago, I made the mistake of calling another like-minded individual a feminist. I don’t even remember what they did to merit the honor, but I sure do remember their reaction. They actually got offended at the fact that I called them a feminist. Wait. Stop. What?

I was taken aback by the negative reaction. I didn’t even know what to say or where to start. I apologized for offending them and we both went our separate ways. I still think of them as a closeted feminist. This made me realize that I need to be prepared. Should the opportunity present itself again, this is what I will say:

“Relax. I wasn’t trying to offend you. Me calling you a feminist was a fucking compliment. Why? Well, for starters your actions showed me your amazing strength. In spite of the patriarchal/political/cultural/societal structure that fails and oppresses you daily, I saw you fight back. I was impressed. So impressed that I called you a feminist. That was some real feminist shiiiiiit.

So, the next time you want to go on and be offended because I called you a feminist, please check yourself. You’re a fucking feminist. Deal with it. Don’t do feminist shit if you don’t want to be called out. Stop fighting it. Join the movement (willingly). We fight for you. We will fight with you. We believe in you. We will believe with you. We SEE you. We will always see YOU.” (source)
I probably would have let this go, had I not come across a piece on Transadvocate exhorting trans women to take on the label of feminist, despite the history of transphobia engaged in for decades by feminists.  Monica of Transgriot, responded by talking about the issues faced by transwomen of colour. I have written several posts about why I am not a feminist, since starting Womanist Musings almost four years ago. 

I remember how excited I was when I first became a feminist.  In my early years, I was hyper aware of gender imbalance in my own family, and that coupled with my experiences inside of the Pentecostal and Seventh Day Adventist faith, left me feeling extremely disillusioned.  At one point, I had even stopped believing in God, because I saw no place in the doctrines that I was raised in for gender equality.  It is thanks to feminist theologians that I can declare myself a believer in God today.  I was so excited to find a group that affirmed by beliefs and gave me back my religious faith.  I thought that I had found a home for life, and it is only over time that I discovered the various ways in which feminism can be exclusionary. 

Not My Mosque

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.
There is a mosque on a popular downtown street corner. A nondescript red brick building with blueish trim on the windows. Upon closer inspection, you might see Islamic calligraphy in the form of “Allah,” “Bismillah,” or the mosque’s name etched into glass frosting — giving just a hint that this former bank property is now a place of worship for Muslims.
I am not a part of this community — in more ways than one.
I have never attended a Jummah Friday prayer, a lecture or an event here. I’ve never been to their fundraisers, BBQs, bake sales or open houses. I’ve never been to their sessions for converts, Arabic lessons, or Qur’anic recitation 101 for women. I don’t even know if they hold these types of events or services. I cannot, with any certainty, speak to the experience of women who see this mosque as central to their community and faith.
Yet I pray here all the time.
In convert years, I am older than this mosque — but we grew up together. For 10 years this mosque has been a resource for Muslims in the downtown core, travelers, and people like myself who just need a place to pray.
Whether because it’s conveniently located to my place of work, or because it’s right next to the Toronto bus terminal — I’m here with surprising frequency.
But I could never make it my home.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Daughter of the Disappeared

Hernan Zenteno

I came across the story of Victoria Donda, a young woman who learned that she had been kidnapped and her identity changed at birth at Broadsnark.  It is a story that you really need to read, and so rather than waiting for Drop it Like it's Hot on Saturday, I am going to get you started and you can finish reading it at Marie Clare.

When Victoria Donda learned that her supposed father was accused of being a notorious torturer in Argentina and that her true parents were political prisoners, she soon unraveled a web of family secrets and lies.

By Mei-Ling Hopgood
On a cold, gray August day in 2003, Victoria Donda, a 26-year-old law student, got a call from her friend Isaac. "We need to meet. It's urgent," he said. The petite Argentine was having a hellish week. Her father had tried to kill himself and now lay comatose with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. She had barely left his side since, even to shower or eat. Now, her head spinning from lack of sleep, her dark eyes swollen and red from crying, Victoria raced from the hospital to a nearby café to meet Isaac.

Earlier that week, the Argentine government had publicized allegations that her father, along with other ex-military officers, had taken part in Argentina's military dictatorship in the 1970s. He was accused of interrogating and torturing prisoners; he'd tried to commit suicide the night the news broke. Entering the café and sliding into a seat by the window, Victoria desperately hoped that Isaac, a friend from her volunteer work, would tell her the charges had been a huge mistake. Instead, he just looked at her, his eyes welling up behind his thick glasses.

"Negrita," he said, using a term of endearment for the black-haired Victoria, "you are the daughter of a couple murdered during the dictatorship. The people who raised you aren't your parents," he continued. She'd been kidnapped, and her identity had been changed at birth.

Victoria froze. She knew about the "children of the disappeared" — everyone in Argentina did. During the country's horrific military regime, from 1976 to 1983, thousands of ordinary people were killed, tortured, and "disappeared." The government claimed they were dangerous dissidents, but many of the victims were idealistic students and activists, and some of the women were pregnant. Their infants, delivered in jail, were stolen and given to conservative citizens who supported the dictatorship. These new "parents" raised the babies as their own. Now, 20 years after the end of the regime, humanitarian groups were trying to reunite the children of the disappeared with their biological families. At human-rights rallies, Victoria, a budding activist, had stood shoulder to shoulder with women whose pregnant daughters had been jailed. Distraught, decades later, these women were still searching for their grandchildren. She'd never dreamed she might be one of them.

Victoria grew up as Analía Azic, the daughter of Juan Antonio Azic, a retired coast guard officer turned grocer, and Esther Abrego, a housewife, in a middle-class suburb of Buenos Aires. An outspoken tomboy who was fiercely protective of her younger sister, Carla, and her sickly mother, Victoria was often sent home from Catholic school for talking back to the nuns. But her father never got angry: She was his "little princess." She loved spending the weekends selling apples and zucchini with him at his grocery store.

"I trusted my father like any daughter would, but we were especially close," she says now, sipping maté, a traditional South American tea, from a wooden gourd on the couch in her Buenos Aires apartment. Her mother, who loved to sew, made many of her clothes, including a favorite pink-and-white sundress. Victoria's childhood was idyllic.

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The Ability To Support Hopes and Dreams

'Guitars  - 020' photo (c) 2010, momentcaptured1 - license:
For Christmas, Destruction very much wanted a guitar. He has a beautiful singing voice, which he inherited from his dad, and wanted to be able to accompany himself. He chose the guitar because it is a portable instrument.  From a very young age, Destruction has always been very arts inclined. He loves to cook, draw and sing.  For him, playing the guitar is just another step in the evolution to become who he is.

I remember when I was pregnant with him, that the unhusband had hopes and dreams of doing up his skates and watching his boy take to the ice to play hockey.  As it turns out, sports are just something that Destruction is simply not interested in, and so rather than force him into a role that he did not desire, we decided to support him in his choices. For Christmas, we bought him an acoustic guitar and arranged for lessons.  We also purchased a few stylized pencils, and a few sketch books so that he continue to work on his sketching.  This week, I finally found him an instructor to help him improve the quality of his sketches. As I watch him labour to perfect the two crafts that he is interested in, I cannot help but smile.   He dreams about the pictures that he will draw when his skills are stronger, and the songs that he will play once he has managed to perfect chord progression.  He has this freedom because his father and I are determined to encourage his natural inclinations, rather than force him into a box, which is what happens to so many children. I have even thought about learning the guitar myself, so that we can take this journey together.

As we watch our boy blossom, the one thing that keeps coming to mind, is the fact that we have the money to support him.  We are a working class family, and while we have always been able to feed, clothe and shelter ourselves, money has at times been tight.  Even still, I recognize that we have class privilege.  Had it not been for the fact that I had a good paying job before I got disabled, we would currently be living in poverty, just above the national poverty line in fact.  Disability for a parent with two children is 1400 dollars per month, and that amount is not even enough to pay for my mortgage, let alone buy food or clothing, and pay utilities. 

I don't know what my son will become in the future, but I do know that no matter what he dreams, his father and I will do our best to support him. We are only able to do this because of the little class privilege that we have. When I was in primary school, there were two bands, and this gave children the chance to learn an instrument, regardless of their parents class position.  There were also several sports teams that one could participate in.  Today, in my child's school, thanks to budget cuts, there are no bands, and no sports teams to speak of.  The ability of a child to participate in extra curricular activities, is solely dependent on the financial resources of their parents. Sports, arts, and music have been deemed extras, despite the obvious positives that this adds to one's life.  This means that children living in poverty have no opportunity to learn these valuable skills, and potentially discover a life's passion or gift.

My youngest son Mayhem, has informed me that he intends to learn the piano.  I have started to look on kijjji for a used piano for him.  If this is a desire that he continues to express over the course of the next year or so, we will purchase a piano for him.  Fortunately, I took piano lessons for years and am able to get him started on my own. Eventually, if he continues to play, he will surpass what I am able to teach him and we will get him an instructor.  This again, is another sign of my class privilege.

Not Even George Lucas Has an Easy Time Getting Money For a Film When It Has an All Black Cast

'Lucas' photo (c) 2007, Joey Gannon - license:
For people of colour, a trip to the cinema usually means paying our hard earned money to see a film with few Black actors that reflects a White perspective.  As much as I despise Tyler Perry, his films are some of the few in which can be certain to see an all Black cast.  Movies that star marginalized people, and tell our history are notoriously difficult to fund, because there is the belief that Black films aren't marketable. Even for the amazingly brilliant Malcolm X, directed by Spike Lee, Lee had to depend on support from Black celebrities to bring the film to market. If said movie attempts to tell the history of a marginalized community, one can be certain that a White protagonist will be found to frame the story around eg., Dances with Wolves, Amistad, Ghosts of Mississippi etc,.  

George Lucas appeared on The Daily Show to discuss the difficulty he had getting funding for Red Tails which stars Cubing Gooding Jr., and Terrence Howard Baby Wipes, and is directed by Anthony Hemingway.  It is a large budget movie, with an all Black cast, directed by a Black director, about the Tuskegee Airmen.  Though a film has already been produced about the Tuskegee Airmen, one movie cannot possibly encapsulate what the bravery they displayed in the face open hatred and a brutal war.

Stuff Cis People Say To Trans People

As I promised yesterday, as I come across these videos I am going to post them on the blog. I simply cannot get enough of these series because they are all about historically marginalized people speaking their truth and talking about the everyday bigotry that they face. For those who are tempted to point out how they would never say the things mentioned in this video, can I just say, if it's not about you, then don't make it about you.

Update: For those that are interested, I have found a trascript for this video at Questioning Transphobia.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Your discomfort is your 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.   

“I’m uncomfortable” is being added to the list of many many many many phrases that cause me grey hairs.

You know how it goes. “I don’t hate gay people, they just make me uncomfortable..” “I’m not a homophobe, but when you kiss…” “I totally support gay rights, but you guys freak me out..”

And it’s not their fault precious! They’re just UNCOMFORTABLE. Can’t we understand that and just make allowances and give them some space? Can’t we just understand that it’s not hatred – it’s just how he was raised/what he believes/his age/his discomfort!

One of the many wonderful (please baste this word liberally with sarcasm) experiences to come out of these past holidays is a nice prolonged visit with Beloved’s parents (who I would call my in-laws but I expect doing so would cause much confusion and spluttering from them). I always feel off complaining about Beloved’s parents because they are, I have to admit, so much less problematic than my own mess of a family. I feel vaguely like I’m setting myself up for an argument when I’m already on the losing side – and since in arguments with beloved I Always win and am Always right (it is known).

But beloved’s parents are horrendously discomforted by me. At one point, I praised them mightily. I mean there was his dad, temple vein throbbing, face flushing, fists clenching just desperate, desperate to  tell me to get my filthy [email protected] self out of his house and keep my perverted hands off his son – but holding it in, locking his jaw and forcing those polite words out while his inner homophobe burst a blood vessel.  I praised this herculean effort back then. 10 years later and he’s still chewing on his anger and Beloved’s mother is still speaking to me like I’m the tax inspector come round for a surprise audit and it’s getting tiresome.

Asking How Many Oranges Slaves Picked Is not Apporpriate for Math Homework

Here we go again with yet another example of why Black children are forced to grow so much faster than their White, classmates.

Shit Girls Say to Gay Guys

As I find these videos, I am going to post them on the blog simply because they challenge those of us with privilege to think about the everyday problematic elements of our speech. I for one will admit that when I was younger, I did say some of things listed in this video.  It embarrasses me to see this now, but I take comfort in the fact that decolonizing one's mind is a lifetime journey.

With the slew of videos and posts that have been created to deal with bigoted language there has been a constant round of denial.  On yesterdays post about things White gay men say to Black gay men, the denial was disgusting.  Shit White Girls say to Black Girls also received its share of denial.  This shit has just got to stop.  Calling people liars because their lived experience makes you uncomfortable is a sign of your privilege.  It is not divisive for a marginalized person to talk about their lived experience and encouraging them to sweep it under the carpet denies the isms that they are forced to negotiate.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Things White Gay Guys Say To Black Gay Guys

'' photo (c) 2007, John Steven Fernandez - license:

I came across the following list on The Chronicle.  This is a site I believe you should check out, if you are not already reading it.  As a straight woman, I obviously cannot comment on the same sex aspect of these comments, but as a person of colour, I believe these incidents to be true.  As  a person who regularly negotiates multiple isms, I know that just because a person is oppressed in one area, does not mean that they don't run amok with their privilege in others.

 “Would you mind if I held you down and called you my little nigger boy while I fucked you?”

“You’re cute-ish. Two genes away from monkey cute.”

“I love fucking black guys…they’re like animals, you know?”

“This site is obviously not for niggers. Don’t you read?”

“Would you be offended if I called your cock “niggercock”…?”

“I don’t date black guys. Only for like sex and stuff.”

“Haven’t you taken the hint? We don’t take nigger gays on our site!”

“I can’t wait to come to Brooklyn and fuck you…you’re gonna like it when this sweet white daddy fucks the shit out of your black bitch ass.”

“Is it true all Black guys have big dicks?” *lowers eyes to your groin*

“Not to be racist but….I’m not really into Black guys, sorry.”

“I once dated this Black guy, he had this HUGE cock.”

“I feel that the black community is keeping LGBT people from achieving our full rights as citizens. It’s like the New Civil Rights Movement!”

“Gay is the New Black!”

“You’re really cute for a Black guy.”

“The f-word is just as bad as the n-word!”

“I love Beyoncé! Aren’t I, like, an honorary Black now?”

“I think homophobia has more consequences than racism.”

“Hey, sista gurl!” *z-formation snap*

“Ohmigod, her tracks are a hot mess!”

“I don’t date Black guys. I only have sex with them. Haha, I’m kidding! But, really!”

“Look at this heffa, here!”

“I like black guys, but only if they’re mixed. It’s just a preference, not racism.”

“Just because he wouldn’t let you and the other 34756345638475 Black guys into his club, doesn’t mean he’s a racist!”

“There were these Black guys in the library acting, like, you know, the stereotypical N-word!”

“Mmm, yeah, fuck this white boy-pussy with that big cock you big black daddy”

“EW, he’s colored!”

 What are your thoughts on this list?  How does it effect your ideas on the sexualization of Black men and the way that race effects how they are understood?

Editors Note:  Please be aware that this list is a compilation of two pieces on tumblr.  You can find it here and here.

He's Not Depraved

'Change, Freedom, Social Justice - Egypt Uprising protest Melbourne 4 Feb 2011' photo (c) 2011, Takver - license:

The moment I get on the phone to finally have an adult conversation, the boys seem to want my attention desperately.  This often includes requests to speak to the person I am talking to, loud antics, and occasionally commentary on the conversation that I am having.  Last night I was chatting with Sparky, about an article that we wanted to write for Fangs for the Fantasy

Because Sparky lives in England, there is always a constant stream of commentary about the fact that he is denied all good things Canadian.  Mayhem in particular is concerned about his lack of access to Tim Hortons, and so to soothe his delicate sensibilities, I informed him that because Sparky is deprived, that I took pity on him this summer and sent him some Timmys.  This seems like a pretty simple sentence right?  Well, what Destruction heard me say is that Sparky is depraved.  He then launched into a lecture about my homophobia, and why it is inappropriate to call a gay man depraved. I was obviously confused because I called Sparky deprived and not depraved.  It was an easy matter to sort out and I then continued with my conversation.

I have to tell you that I experienced yet another moment of great pride in my son.  I have seen him speak to others countless times about various isms.  Sometimes he has difficulty articulating why something is problematic, but he always tries.  This is the first time that he has taken me to task for my language.  Even though he didn't hear me correctly, I know that it took courage to speak to me about what he perceived to be a wrong committed by me, considering the power imbalance between us.

The fact that he felt confident enough to challenge me, tells me that we have done something right.  There are days when raising them this way is extremely exhausting.  Because I have empowered them, and encouraged them to speak freely, with the understanding that what they have to say is of value, means that I rarely get the last word in any conversation.  They always have something to say about everything, and they never tolerate being ignored or dismissed in any way; however, it is in moments like what occurred last night, that I realize that every moment of frustration and desire to run away and join the circus (btw, the baby says he's following me if I leave) is worth it.

The distinction between gender and sexuality

Biyuti is a Bakla Filipina living on stolen Algonquin land. He works to sustain and increase the biyuti of the world through decolonization and through her explorations of the intersections of race with queerness/gender. He also blogs at The Biyuti Collective.

It is a regular part of many Trans 101 discussions to highlight how gender and sexuality are separate and not the same thing (see here, here, here, and here). At all. What few people appear to realize that if this statement has any truth, it might only true in the Western discourse on gender and sexuality. Or, rather, that this is the context in which the statement makes the most sense and can be asserted with the most confidence.

Again, I'll repeat one of my axioms: gender/sexuality are socially constructed, but that constructions depend on the society. Different societies will have different constructions. This seems like a basic understanding, but since the West likes to think itself the centre of the universe, this is rarely emphasized as strongly as it should be. Even more rare are those who recognize the basic normative and imperialistic notion of asserting that all gender is distinct from all sexuality.

This is not my truth. Just as I do not experience my race as distinct from my sexuality/gender, my sexuality and gender intersect and overlap. Perhaps, they are even the same thing. I'm not quite sure and I'm not really concerned with working out the exact boundaries between the two (if they are even exist).