Thursday, May 16, 2013

Yes, GLBT People Need Protection Under the Law

I was reading Jezebel (don't judge me) when I came across the story of yet another bigoted bakery who refused to make a cake for a couple who are getting married.
An Oregon bakery owner, Pam Regentin of Fleur Cakes, has refused to make a wedding cake for two brides-to-be, Erin Hanson and Katie Pugh, soley because they are gay.

"I mentioned Erin in passing," said Pugh of her future wife, "And said a 'she' in passing too, in the email. A few days later she called back… and verified it was a same-sex marriage." That's when Regentin refused to bake the wedding cake the couple had requested, with a lovely, "Not from my kitchen." When pressed by a local reporter, Regentin stated, "I believe I have the liberty to live by my principles."
So apparently, Regentin stands behind her right be a bigot despite the fact that what she is doing is outright illegal. According to Oregon's 2007 Equality Act, Regentin cannot discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.  I can only hope that the couple who were denied a wedding cake will sue this bakery into the stone ages.  In this space, I don't need to talk about the damage of homophobia because regular readers are well aware of how oppression hurts marginalized bodies but I would like to address the following comment which I read on Jezebel on their piece about this heinous incident.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New Jersey Teens Create a White Girl Club

I recently came across a story about a group of teens who created a White Girl's Club. The club  became so popular that it quickly spread to other schools. Apparently, a group of these young women showed up at school on PI day wearing shirts identifying them as members of this club with a teachers permission no less. The teens communicated using instagram and twitter.  
 Another Franklin High School club member commented the club members aren’t offending anyone and tells others to “stfu.”

When another girl commented that the postings were offending people, a club member responded that they weren’t offending anyone.

“You’re choosing to take offense to statements that weren’t about you in the first place,” a club member responded.
Twitter postings by this student included comments such as “Al Sharpton ain’t gonna save your ass now” and “Sometimes I wonder if I crossed a line, but then I remember I’m white and I can do whatever the (expletive) I want.”That same girl sent out a tweet saving “Africa this way” with a arrow pointing down. (source)
Thankfully, the school board is disbanding the club and demanding that those involved get counseling.  The local NAACP is apparently going to investigate the club.  There are some parents speaking out about the club itself, but I am more interested in the parents of the teens involved in the club itself.  You see, attitudes like this don't just develop over night; they are carefully nurtured for years and represent a society which uplifts Whiteness in every agent of socialization.  The families of these girls in particular let them down because they didn't not confront their White privilege and in fact encouraged them to believe and promote their undeserved White privilege.

A White Girl's club is certainly not needed anywhere in North America.  Unsurprisingly, many of the comments on the linked article seek to defend the teams by claiming hypocrisy citing the possible intervention of the NAACP.  A group dedicated to the advancement of Blacks is seen as racist by many of the commenters. Groups like the NAACP can only be deemed problematic by those refuse to admits the historic privilege which Whiteness has lived with for centuries and how this privilege has negatively impacted the lives of POC.  They absolutely refuse to acknowledge that ongoing inequalities exist and claim that the pendulum has swung so far that Whiteness is now in fact systemically under attack.

 In recent years, we have seen an upswing in students wanting to form clubs to support Whiteness, which suggests that youths are being taught that Whiteness is under threat. What they perceive as a threat is actually a fear of a loss of privilege.  The irony is that this loss of privilege is largely in the mind because Whiteness still exists with massive social power and White people can always count on the colour of their skin to grant them access, opportunities, power, and wealth, relative to POC in the exact same circumstance. These children are being taught that they will not be able to benefit from their Whiteness like generations before them.