Category Archives: politics

White Privilege & The Republican Ticket

Yes I’ve been gone for a couple weeks school and work have combined into a maelstrom of kicking my ass. I’m gonna try and get back on the horse of posting even if it’s just links and not original posts – although I want to try and do at least one  original post a week. Now these are two links about the way that white privilege is affecting the election and especially the republican ticket.

The first one is the much linked “This Is Your Nation On White Privilege” by Tim Wise. I’ve always had an political crush on Tim Wise and this just solidified it.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you’ll “kick their fuckin’ ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.

Read the rest of the essay at Tim Wise’s blog!

Really fantastic – go read it now.

And be sure to check out his follow-up “Explaining White Privilege to the Deniers and the Haters”

The second link is to a blog called Raving Black Lunatic and the post “Just A Reminder” where he name checks the Wise article above and discusses the linguistic racism at work with Sarah Palin.

Every time she said “doggone it,” or “darn it” or “aw shucks” I got a little more angry and frustrated. And it wasn’t just because her voice reminds me of a Minnesotan on crack.

Listening to her spew colloquialisms, I wondered if a “plain-speaking” black person would be considered a legitimate presidential candidate. You know, a black person who said stuff like “fo’ sho,” or “girl, please” or “that ain’t right.”

Really good stuff, check out the whole article.

That’s all for today but hopefully I’ll have an original post for y’all pretty soon.

9.11

I’ve been going back and forth on what to post today. Actually that’s a lie I’ve been going back and forth trying to decide whether to censor what I want to post or not. I’m going with not.

I think there’s a way in which 9.11 is remembered like the Oklahoma City Bombing never is. Which if you recall until 9.11 was the biggest terrorist act on American soil. And I think a lot of that has to do with it being foreign brown folks rather than an American White Man which makes it scarier somehow. Now having said that both acts were horrible and I mourn for the tremendous loss of life but we should never forget the politics that surround 9.11

So I’m reposting a poem Ani DiFranco wrote about 9.11 called:

Self-Evident (you can listen to it read here)

yes,
us people are just poems
we’re 90% metaphor
with a leanness of meaning
approaching hyper-distillation
and once upon a time
we were moonshine
rushing down the throat of a giraffe
yes, rushing down the long hallway
despite what the p.a. announcement says
yes, rushing down the long stairs
with the whiskey of eternity
fermented and distilled
to eighteen minutes
burning down our throats
down the hall
down the stairs
in a building so tall
that it will always be there
yes, it’s part of a pair
there on the bow of noah’s ark
the most prestigious couple
just kickin back parked
against a perfectly blue sky
on a morning beatific
in its indian summer breeze
on the day that america
fell to its knees
after strutting around for a century
without saying thank you
or please

and the shock was subsonic
and the smoke was deafening
between the setup and the punch line
cuz we were all on time for work that day
we all boarded that plane for to fly
and then while the fires were raging
we all climbed up on the windowsill
and then we all held hands
and jumped into the sky Continue reading

Still Swamped – Links!

I still have a lot of balls in the air so I have links for you guys today!

First the story of a mother who found herself the subject of a Child Services investigation because there had been an accusation that her autistic daughter was being sexually abused by a man. The evidence for this accusation? Well it seems the educational assistant who works with little Victoria went to see a psychic.

One Memphis officer has been fired and another now riding the desk after they beat a Transwoman in a holding cell because she wanted to be called by her given name and no “he-she”. It’s all on video and from what I hear pretty graphic (I can’t bring myself to watch it yet), she’s beat in the face with handcuffs, sprayed with mace and another officer holds her arms while one beats her and finally when the nurse enters she goes directly to the officer. Trangriot has more.


So Nightshade books released an anthology called Eclipse: One in which the authors were pretty much 50/50 men and women but no women’s names appeared on the cover. There’s was a valid outcry over this. Check out Coffee And Ink’s breakdown of the panel on it that occured at WisCon this year. This includes the fact that at the panel people were told the second volume would be different because of the respondents, the excuse for the first cover being that the men were just more famous.

But the story’s not over because the Table of Contents for the second volume has been released and there’s only one woman that I see. The excuse is of course that whole genderblind defense: “I don’t see gender I see good stories” which of course not only ignores subconscious prejudices but implies that women just don’t write good Science-Fiction. Bring into it the fact that this volumes is supposed to focus on more Science-Fiction than Fantasy and it reinforces that old stereotype of “Men write Sci-Fi, Women write Fantasy” which is of course complete bullshit. Check out some links.

Gender blind, right…

A scenario for you

And for a little perspective a post theangryblackwoman wrote over a year ago: How To Promote Diversity in Fiction Markets


Many of you will recall my post about Marriage Equality and that one of things that bothered me the most was that there were no dissenting voices in this debate, no one who stood up to say that marriage is not a cure-all and in fact is a bit of a fucked up system. Well I started to find some dissent.

In “Marriage Isn’t My Golden Ticket” Miriam Perez points out the way this issue has eclipsed everything else and draws attention away from important issues.

In “Why This Queer Isn’t Celebrating.” AngryBrownButch addresses the way that already marginalized groups within the queer community are becoming even more marginalized by the mainstream face that is being presented by the community.  

Finally “Why One Queer Person Is Not Celebrating California’s Historic Gay Marriage Decision” by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore (who I now want to be my new best friend) breaks a lot of the issues I’ve been struggling to verbalize down.

That’s it for today, enjoy the links.

 

 

 

Too Much Going On – Short Links

I have a lot going on today and for the next couple of weeks plus it being Monday makes me feel even more stressed and out-of control so for today’s post I have a list of short links that I thought y’all would find interesting and can read instead of my insightful commentary ;)

Whose Feminism? over at Racialicious by Guest Contributor Thea Lim where she discusses her feelings of anger and betrayal toward some of the white feminist blogosphere and grassroots movements that ignore any discussion of race. I think it puts into words what a lot of Women of Color are feeling right now toward the feminist movement.

Oregon Public Broadcasting has the first in a series on Umatilla women, their tradition of root gathering and the threats to this tradition. Anna King actually talks to women of the Nation instead of talking at them which makes this a much more rounded article than the usual ones on Native folks.

A woman in Canada shaves her head to raise money for a Cancer org and finds herself fired from her waitressing job. This is all about this man (and the patriarchy itself) trying to control women’s appearances. It such bullshit and I’m glad the community is up in arms about it but – and perhaps this is just me being cynical – but I wonder would they be half as up in arms if this was her personal choice and not about raising money for Cancer?

Worried about angry white women voting for McCain? Well you probably shouldn’t be. Jill over at Feministe breaks down the point lead that Obama holds over McCain in regards to women overall. But as most of us know the media’s never really cared for any women but white middle-class ones and among that group McCain is beating Obama (but only by the small margin of 6 points).

An experimental new Alzheimer’s drug/treatment may stop the build up of protiens that damage brain cells.

Homophobic judge in Spain forced to marry gay couple after years of putting off performing any marriages between folks of the same sex.

Guest Contributor Alex Alvarez has two recent posts over at Racialicious that are really eye-opening. First, New Study Shows that Latino Teens Are Pregnant Suicidal Junkies where Alex questions who they consider Latina/o and how they decided it which is an important factor that’s not been brought up. Secondly, Our Genes Don’t Match with “Brown Pride” Clothing discusses the conflation of the term Latina/o with the chola/o subculture in the media and with clothing marketed to the Latina/o community in particular.

Finally on an environmental note, the first beaver dam in England in over 800 years.

Marriage Equality: Yay for California but My Overall Reaction to Marriage is *shrug*

By now you’ve probably heard about this bit of news, this morning the CA Supreme Court has overturned the ban on same-sex marriage in my state. The conservatives are already pushing to get something on the ballot in November to re-ban it.

I wasn’t going to write anything about this decision at all. There’s been much rejoicing by my friends but personally and frankly the news gets a shrug from me. Not because I don’t believe in marriage equality but because I don’t believe in marriage at all. So let me explain, but first a disclaimer.

What follows is my personal opinion and not a judgment on those who are married or wish to get married…

Why are you against marriage, it’s just love? Do you hate love?*

I think marriage is an archaic institution that was and still is  to a large degree about ownership. When a man and a woman marry the woman takes the man’s name, why? No, really why? If it was just about having the same name it would be just as useful for the man to take the woman’s name but that’s not the case. In fact even today if a man wants to take his wife’s name it may take him two years and a lawsuit to do so. Renaming someone, even with their agreement is staking a claim, it’s the loss of half your identity to prove what exactly? It’s only in the last 50-60 years that the idea of marrying for love really came into vogue. For the most part marriage has been about property rights, heirs and power.

For me the history of marriage is the history of a system of oppression and ownership of women. This is not a legacy I want any part of because even though people argue that it’s changed I think that building on a dark history only legitimizes that history. Plus I just don’t understand the need for outside validation in my personal relationships. If I want to be with someone then I’m with them until I no longer want to be. I don’t want/need to be legally tied to someone.

But what about the benefits?*

Well I don’t think those benefits should be tied to marriage at all. Because what about those who maybe want those same benefits to go to that friend they’ve had for over 30 years? Maybe a lot of this comes from the fact that I’ve never seen that much difference between romantic relationships and close friendships except for the absence of sex (and really that depends on the friendship). I think the idea that you have to be in a romantic relationship with someone to feel that sort of closeness is a societal construct that we’re all taught to buy into from childhood. What if I want all those benefits from marriage to go to my best friend of 5 years, how is that relationship and love less valid than a marriage of two people who’ve known each other for six months? What if I want my elderly sick mother to share those benefits? Or what if I have more than one partner? What if I’m in a stable loving long term relationship that involves three people? What if I’m polyamourous and seeing two people that I love equally and each of those people is seeing someone else and on and on? I just see marriage as another hierarchical institution that places those who dare fall outside the “norm” once again on the bottom rung.

Those people are freaks! Real love involves two people!*

There are those who would argue that it’s just between a man and a woman. And others who would say that that man and woman have to be of the same race. Love is for everyone.

But isn’t this a move in the right direction?*

Well not for me because I haven’t seen any of the discussion of the above issues, anywhere. I expected a little criticism somewhere on the web but it’s no where to be found and that actually makes me a little sad. But perhaps everyone is just caught up in the happy right now which I can understand and criticism will come later. About the push for marriage equality in particular well I see it as another way for LGBTQ organizations to assimilate more into the mainstream leaving behind the “freaks” and “weirdos” that used to be celebrated by the movement. Again playing into that structure where two people who get married are then considered better or more happy than those who don’t want to get married (like me) or those in the situations I pointed to above who still won’t be able to provide those same benefits to someone they love.

But we can’t just let anyone get married, god wouldn’t like that!*

And that’s another issue I have with marriage, the lines are blurry. It’s a religious institution, it’s also a governmental classification and the lines get blurred so that god is often brought up. Setting aside my personal religious feelings, there’s a little thing called separation of Church and State so personally I could not care less about what your god would and wouldn’t like. If you want to have a religious ceremony with all the pomp involved that’s your choice and more power to you. If your church chooses not to recognize certain unions well that’s their business but I’m talking about the government recognizing it and that’s something entirely different.

Well what do you want?*

I personally would like to see a shift in language, the abolishment marriage and the creation a new classification that would allow people to give those special benefits to anyone they would like, friends, family, multiple partners. I’d like a true kind of equality that would allow me more choice in who I give rights over myself to and that isn’t based on something with such a horrible history. You can’t build a perfume store on top of a landfill ’cause eventually that stench rises up.

 

Now all that politically radical rambling (that will probably get me in a bunch of arguments and trouble) being said I know none of this is likely to happen anytime soon. Understanding that, am I happy that an institution I don’t particularly like is being widened in definition? Of course as I stated above I think everyone should have the right to be recognized as having a valid relationship with someone of their choice. I think this is a victory but I think it’s a relatively small one and I’m gonna wait to jump up and down with joy until I see some movement towards true freedom.

*All of these are questions I’ve actually recieved in discussions on my view on marriage. 

 

White Liberal Feminist Imperialism & Torture

*If you want more info on the white liberal feminist imperalism that’s splattering all over the feminist blogosphere, here are a couple more links for you. Again I encourage people to click on the links in each article.
Brownfemipower, Amanda, and Thieving WoC’s Efforts: Publicity or Plagarism???

Feminism and Appropriation

This has not been a good week for woman of color blogging – Acoording to some folks this one includes some comments from Marcotte herself which basically have consisted of her whining about how it’s all a personal attack. I don’t have the constitution to actually look right now but if y’all wanna check it out and report back to me, feel free.

*Daily Kos has a post which includes a memo signed by Dubya allowing torture. There’s been a lot of talk about how he was insulated from the decision in a effort to protect the resident from rightful censure, well that was a lod of lies and BS. WARNING! – The comments contain pictures of torture performed by America which may be triggering for some.  They’ve been altered so they read “Autorized by the President of the United States of America” w/ Dubya’s signature across the bottom. Powerful and if you can stomach it look at what our government is doing in our name.  

 

The HRC Is Made of Fail!

Most of you probably heard about the ENDA bill and how transfolks were taken out of the wording and how HRC (Human Rights Campaign) backed that bill instead of the Trans-inclusive one. Well there have been a series of protests by transfolk and allies at all HRC dinners since about October 2007. Tomorrow the protest is in Houston so what does the HRC do? They call the Houston PD! OK, so besides trying to violate someone’s first amendment rights this is such a position of privilege I can’t even wrap my mind around what they thought they were doing.

Really they should know (and do know) about the antagonistic relationship that exists between GLBT folks and the police, especially transfolks who’ve repeatedly been harrassed by police all over this “great land”. The HRC called the police. They called the enforcement arm of a government that has never been the most accepting of those who step outside the bounds of what they deem as “right”.

In this case it turned out okay but what was the HRC expecting to happen is my question. When we have repeatedly seen police forces that do not care about not only GLBT folks but POC which guess what? Some GLBT folks are. This is not a rant against the police, really it’s not, I’m sure there are some great officers of the law across this country, and in fact I know a few that I really like. That however does not erase the history of abuse of power, cover-up, attacks and sexual abuse that is the history of interactions between the police and GLBT/POC folks.

This simply reinforces my  thoughts on the HRC, that they are primarily and organization for the rights of: white, male, high socio-economic level gays. Sure there are some other people thrown in for flavor but I’ve been to an event organized by them before and really it’s nothing more than a bit of tokenism, to let everyone know they are all about diversity, really they are!

As my friend Joyce is fond of saying: My eyes roll forever.

 

 

Dreams and Links

My weekend was troubled by dreams that I hardly remember including gaining hundreds and hundreds of pounds but looking the same so that when I stepped on the scales they tipped out at 1,000 pounds. And even though I looked the same feeling the weight of societal shame for weighing so much. Another dream involved me shaving my head without knowing why and then feeling this intense sadness whenever I saw my shorn skull.

Odd and disturbing dreams if only because they disturbed me much more than they should have.

So I have links to share, most that are political.

So something that hasn’t really hit the American news yet is the protests that are happening in Egypt. Fauzia, who is currently in Egypt breaks it down over at Feministe and wonders at why the U.S. is so interested in “liberating” and “sharing democracy” in such places as Afghanistan and Iraq but has no interest in doing so in Egypt, who happens to get the most U.S. aid in the world after Israel. For my part it’s because they’ve bowed to us and provide us with what we need. The second Egypt said “No” to something the U.S. really wanted we would be in there “spreading democracy” before you could say: Weapons of Mass Destruction. Keep in mind Fauzia is not actually supporting or calling for the US to come into Egypt but pointing out the fallacy of believing that our gov’t is actually about “spreading democracy” as opposed to getting all it can like a spoiled child on X-mas morning (at least that’s how I interpreted it).

On Prisons, Borders, Safety and Privilege: An Open Letter To White Feminists is a very interesting essay by a white feminist that deconstructs her own privilege and the privilege of the movement even as the movement talks of intersectionality and inclusiveness. A call I’ve heard often from white feminist women, of how to get more Women of Color involved in the movement. Well, this letter breaks down the co-opting of our words/experiences and ignoring of news that matters to us as People of Color and why we tend to be wary of “feminist” movements and spaces because for too long “feminist” has equalled white. 

As a bit of a counter-point but also agreement to the above Angela Davis has an essay Locked Up: Racism in the era of Neoliberalism. Neoliberalism is something I’ve railed against for a long time, Neoliberalism or as I’ve called it in the past, faux-liberalism is easily spotted by it’s ignorance of real issues that face most People of Color and pointing to the small segment of People of Color who’ve “made it big” as evidence that racism is over or on the severe decline. Such as “Well look at Condeleeza Rice, there can’t be sexism or racism because she made it!” and bullshit of that type. It refuses to look deeper than the surface because the people who engage in it don’t want to deal with their own culpability and privilege. Angela works out what Neoliberalism favors and the way it ignores the prison system which is in severe need of intense, intense restructuring if not abolishing.

Rage inducing and abusive in the extreme. An appeals court has decided that the word rape can be banned from rape trials because it is inflammatory. This of course requires women who’ve been sexually assaulted and their attackers to refer to these heinous acts/attacks as “sex” or “intercourse” while on the stand, which makes it sound consensual. Beyond this the jurors aren’t even allowed to know of the banning so the survivor is forced to make it sound like consensual sex in front of those who don’t know she’s being forced to use such language. This is a horrible and disgusting ruling that is obviously sexist at it’s root, because as quoted over at feministing “Is the word rape truly more inflammatory to a jury than the word robbery?”  Get the full story and all the background of it over at Feministing.

La Chola has a wonderful post entitled Remembering… that many can relate to. Laced with a truth that’s ignored by the mainstream, it is beautiful. It is a story, it is a poem and  it is everyday life.   

So in Sci-Fi news Battlestar Galactica has returned and despite the problems with the series including: Boomer’s rape, Boomer’s naked Tai Chi, the black man in the cage, the black man in chains, the absence of queer characters for three seasons and then the spectacular fucking it up in the TV movie Razor, the absence of storylines for most of the POC characters (except Boomer & Helo), the abundance of annoying useless Apollo man pain, despite all of that it is still one of, if not my very, favorite Sci-Fi show on TV. Which says a lot about the state of Sci-Fi TV than anything else but also the show does deal with such issues as occupation, genocide, biological warfare, etc. in a very interesting way.  The first episode of the fourth season made me happy except for the moments with Gaius which deserve a post of their own. Anyway there’s a discussion thread over at Feministe, if you want to talk about it or feel free to comment on this post with your theories and deconstruction of the show.

 

 

 

 

 

Obama’s Preacher

There’s been a lot of talk in the media over Obama’s minister (I don’t know the right word, I don’t go to church) but none of it to date has acknowledged the truth of Wright’s statements. He exposed the ugly underbelly of race that exists in this nation and yet no one wants to discuss that part of it. Unlike most white people I don’t have the luxury of ignoring race as an issue. I am a black man until the day I die and trust, the idea of me as a black man is not behind us and will not be behind us in my life. Especially because white people react to truth…well the way their reacting to Wright: ‘Oooh, he’s scary.’ A lot of this reaction comes from the subconscious knowledge that black people (and people of color in general) in the West have a right and reason to be angry. It’s not an arbitrary anger it’s an anger based on over 200 years of history that ignores that this country was built on the backs and with the sweat and death of people of color, not just the slavery of Africans, but the Chinese who built the railroad that crosses this country, the Latino/a population that we all want to kick out of the country now because their illegal but who’ve historically been forced into horrible conditions to pick fruit that ended in your grocery store and a thousand other contributions that routinely go unacknowledged. This is not even getting into the really violent nature of racism in this country, not just in the past but today.

But I’ve been trying to talk about race with white people most of my adult life and while I still do it and always will I realize that it’s not my job to fix your racism (or to even educate you, I might volunteer at times but I am by no means obligated). It’s your job. You should be talking to each other, dealing with each other and I should be expending my energy making bridges and coalitions with other oppressed peoples, looking inward to my community and my communities allies instead of outward towards whiteness. So in the interest of talking amongst your self please follow this link to read Tim Wise break down the whole Obama/Wright thing.  Link goes to the wonderful blogger TransGriot’s reposting of the essay.

Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama and the Unacceptability of Truth
Of National Lies and Racial America

Here’s just a little taste:

For most white folks, indignation just doesn’t wear well. Once affected or conjured up, it reminds one of a pudgy man, wearing a tie that may well have fit him when he was fifty pounds lighter, but which now cuts off somewhere above his navel and makes him look like an idiot.

Indignation doesn’t work for most whites, because having remained sanguine about, silent during, indeed often supportive of so much injustice over the years in this country–the theft of native land and genocide of indigenous persons, and the enslavement of Africans being only two of the best examples–we are just a bit late to get into the game of moral rectitude. And once we enter it, our efforts at righteousness tend to fail the test of sincerity.

Anti-Torture

Blog Anti-Torture

Since I just posted yesterday about immigration I decided that I would tie this into the blogging for anti-torture. Because everyone should know that torture is not only a monstrous act that makes us monstrous as a country for condoning it, it’s also a false act. When you torture someone you’re not getting the truth, you’re getting someone in so much pain that they’ll admit to whatever you want them to admit to. It’s an act/tool for those more interested in closing the case and mollifying the public than those who actually want to catch someone whose done something wrong.

Now I’m talking about widening our definition of torture. Everytime we (as in the global community but the West in particular)  turn away a request for sanctuary because we don’t consider being female and hated persecution (America specifically) or being queer and hated persecution (the recent drama in the UK) or being Of Color and hated persecution I(America, again) we are condoning the acts of whatever nation they are trying to escape from, and we are torturers. We are forcing these human beings back to an environment where they are hated, treated horribly and everyday must deal with the fear that they will attract the wrong attention and be killed, that is torture. When we limit immigration from countries going through economic/political troubles but allow mostly white people from the affluent west as many entrants as they please we are a part of torture. Every time we see “ethnic cleansing” (a more sanitized term for the wholesale slaughter of a people) and do nothing, we are a part of torture.

Yes, the physical act of torture is horrendous and flatout evil (and we are committing it everyday in the West) but torture is more than a physical act it’s also an emotional one, it’s filling someone with fear. We in the West talk a good game but when it comes to actually sticking our necks out time and time again we show that we couldn’t care less about what is happening in any place besides our country and even here we only care for certain segments of the population. When we decide to consign someone to a horrible life somewhere else and then profit off how bad that life is (*cough*NAFTA*cough*) we are not just torturers of individual but global torturers profiting off the pain and fear in others and then blocking their attempt to escape that situation.

Realize that by actively doing this or passively accepting this that you are a part of a system that continues to profit off the suffering and pain of those we view as less than (women, People of Color, queer folks, differently abled folks, those of lower socio-economic status, etc.). Acknowledge your part in this and then do what you can to change the world. It can be something as small as writing a blog, writing a letter to your congressperson, taking a day off to participate in a local protest or the larger tasks of taking it upon yourself to organize a protest or create a group dedicated to improving conditions. Everything you do count but if you do nothing, then your just being willfully blind and at that point…well you know exactly what you are.