Queer Women of Color Still Face Racism During Pride, Among Other Things (Repost from Spectra Speaks)
In response to mainstream prides everywhere, including both the racism and sexism that pervades the larger gay community, Queer Women of Color and Friends (QWOC+ Boston) hosts OPTIONZ — in its fifth year — tonight, a highly anticipated annual pride party specifically created to provide a space for lesbian, gay,bisexual, transgender and queer women of color and their friends, supporters, and allies during pride. But as excited as I am about QWOC+ Boston’s work in ensuring that we — women of color — are celebrated and visible during pride, that this is not the main subject of my post. If you follow QWOC+ Boston, you may have noticed on Facebook or any of our other social media channels, that our OPTIONZ party needed to be relocated to a new venue.
The reason for the venue change is that, last-minute, the previous venue, Caprice Lounge, presented me with some new terms: “No Hip Hop music, because of issues we’ve had in the past.”
Now, QWOC+ Boston has had a long-standing relationship with Caprice; we’ve been hosting events at their venue for the past three years. The reason, they gave, for the new policy was due to some recent violence that ensued after a Hip Hop show they hosted. Besides the fact that we’ve never had a single fight break out at a QWOC+ Boston event, it seemed ludicrous that the management had decided to villainize an entire genre of music based on a one-off incident. Something else that really pissed me off is that after informing us that we could not play Hip Hop at our party, we were offered a slew of other genres we could play as substitute including… (wait for it)… Rock music. So while we’re on stereotypes, it’s okay to play angry white man music, but not angry black man music? Wow.
Racist stereotypes aside, I was also only told that we could not play Hip Hop music on Tuesday (just two days before our event), which also seemed shady and manipulative. There had been no mention of this during our earlier communications. So, despite the fact that they’d been pushing for a large venue deposit to be made and incessantly trying to get me to sign a contract that would guarantee them two thousand dollars from the bar (of which I’d be liable if it was not met), I’m just floored that they had the audacity to limit whatever kind of music we played at our party.
So, guess what I said? HELLLL NO!
Okay. Not exactly in those words. I needed to be realistic. Despite the outrage expressed by community members after I’d relayed the incident — including the collective push for us to say goodbye to Caprice, I wasn’t sure it would be possible to find another venue, not during one of the busiest seasons of the year — weddings, graduations, prides etc — with just TWO days to go before the event.
So, rather than be seduced by the opportunity to give Caprice a self-righteous middle finger — and run the risk of having to cancel our pride party altogether — I told the event coordinator at Caprice to send me the contract with all terms laid out; I would look it over and get back to her. In the meantime, I reached out to other venues comparable in size, and after just one day of mass emails and phone calls, I got lucky.
Market Lounge was big enough to accommodate us. Moreover, they weren’t going to charge us an arm and a leg to use the space (since they had no competing events during our event time). In fact, they seemed excited about getting the business of over 150 pride-ful peeps on a Thursday night. We had struck gold! Or so everyone thought…so the applause began.
Great decision. Excellent. Yay for saying no to racism! But what I didn’t tell people, was that the new venue had a similar (albeit less overtly racist) dress code policy; a variation of the all too familiar Boston ‘dress code’ which goes something similar to “No hats, no sneakers, no do-rags, no athletic wear… women in dresses/skirts, men in collars etc” was prominently displayed on the wall by the entrance to their establishment. Here’s the picture on the right.
Making a decision based on who was less racist seemed impractical, so we went with this new venue because they were responsive, accommodating of our group last minute, the management agreed to not enforce their dress code policy during our event, and most importantly, they weren’t going to charge us an arm and a leg to bring them business (vs. Caprice that was essentially trying to make us pay them to go against our ideals).
Here’s the thing folks… I’ve been an event organizer for over five years, and I know first hand that most — if not all — downtown club venues have similar racist policies intended to keep “those people” out of their clubs. It doesn’t take a genius to note that these policies are overtly racist. In fact, as you read through the banned items of clothing, you’re almost expecting to come across, “No Black People,” towards the end of the list.
Venue policies are a stark reminder of Boston’s deeply rooted history with racial segregation, but racism isn’t the only issue queer women of color have to deal with.
If I turned my nose up at every venue that had a racist policy, homophobic and/or sexist staff etc, QWOC+ Boston would never have succeeded in pushing the physical boundaries of our community and creating new safe spaces for LGBTQ people of color in the manner in which we have. I daresay our willingness to push through the discomfort of so many tough, frustrating, awkward interactions has created more “ally venues” today for LGBT people of color — and the larger gay community as well as evidenced by a number of organizations / producers hosting events at venues after we’d done so successfully — than if we immediately walked away whenever we faced policies we didn’t agree with.
But this is not to say that we should ignore blatant signs of discrimination. There are venues that I’ll never send a dime of business (and LGBT organizations that I simply refuse to work with) until they’re willing to meet us halfway on the issue of white privilege/racism, male privilege/sexism etc. However, if we are to charter new territory, we must be patient, and more importantly, we must learn to speak the language of the gate keepers. In this case, that means knowing how to use money to send a message.
You should know that once I told Caprice that I was moving the party to a new venue, they came back with an O.K. to play whatever we wanted. This made for a great opportunity to explain that we would NOT be working with them this time around. And whereas, the loss of business may not result in the dissolution of their policy, the owner will remember that he lost a big event — a pride event, big dollars consumed at the bar, ouch — because he dared to broach the subject to the queer women of color who had been repeatedly giving him business for the past three years. (Incidentally, we first worked with Caprice during the second year of OPTIONZ, because we were in a similar situation; the venue we’d been in talks with slapped us with a racist dress code last minute, and wouldn’t budge on enforcing it. Caprice opened their doors to us then, and we’ve been working with them since. Isn’t it ironic, that the venue that has been the most flexible and easy to work with as far as hosting QWOC+ events, is the one being villainized for being racist today?)
I keep going back to the strong push I felt from our community to say F-U to Caprice and stand against racism, and can’t help but wonder if another ism or form of discrimination would have been met with the same level of engagement (and anger). What if I told you that via my work as an event organizer, I’d run into minority-owned/run venues with similar racist music / dress code policies? Can we remind ourselves that in women’s spaces /feminist circles, there is still so much language riddled with homophobia and transphobia? Shoot, I still pray for the day when sexism will be met with as much anger and outrage as racism from Boston’s LGBT community, when the political war being waged against women (via Planned Parenthood funding cuts, the GOP redefining rape etc.) will be treated as seriously by QPOC as they do AIDS/HIV prevention.
It’s easy to call out isms when the perpetrator is perceived to be a straight white man — the icon of patriarchy, which most of us can relate to wanting to take down. But the reality of being a queer woman of color is that you’re burdened with calling out offenses and violations against multiple facets of your identity, and forced to reckon with the harsh truth that your allies in one arena can be your oppressors in another.
Activism, for so many of queer women of color, is a constant negotiation of which ism to address. We don’t have the luxury of snubbing everyone that offends us, or we would have no where to go. We can’t — and shouldn’t have to — fight everyone. As a direct consequence, for queer women of color, standing up for what is ‘right’ in the face of racism, sexism, transphobia, xenophobia — all issues that significantly impact our community — can sometimes mean drastically limiting access to resources that we need as a community. So, whereas we should never compromise our ethics (as in this case — for the sake of a good party), QWOC+ Boston’s work isn’t just about one event, not just about today. I don’t think that I speak out of turn when I say that we all work our asses off so that tomorrow can be better, for everyone.
So, as we march, rally, dance, and speak out during pride, let us not forget those of us who are marginalized within the gay community, those of us who don’t have the luxury of approaching “Equality. No More. No Less,”, per the 2011 Boston Pride theme, as an isolated single issue. Most of the time, I hear louder, more aggressive forms of activism (against one kind of ism) encouraged and celebrated. But today, I feel humble as I reflect on the patience and perseverance that must have been maintained by my mentors and predecessors against so many injustices, that have enabled me to come this far. I celebrate you. I salute you. And I wish you all a happy pride.
*waves from the ThinkGalacticon 3 ConCom*
Hi all, here is my hey, you should come to the nifty local con post, better yet, you should be on panels and volunteer post!
So ThinkGalacticon 3 is happening July 8-10 at Roosevelt University. We have the fabulous Hugo and Nebula nominated Nora K. Jemisin as our SFF Notable Guest.. We also have the awesome Adrienne Marie Brown as our Activist Notable Guest.
So, what do you need from little old me you might be asking? Well, we can always use Volunteers. we also still need the following ConCom positions filled (from the website):
* accessibility coordinator
* sustainability coordinator
If you would like more information and are interested please email us! [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Volunteer refunds: Those who work 4 hours or more get $20 or half-off, which ever was lower. Being on panels counts as volunteering. There will be volunteer forms at the registration desk. We will put up more information on volunteering soon.
We also need programming suggestions! You can suggest programming here Don’t be shy! If there’s something you want to suggest for a panel, go on and suggest it!
If you are going to be at Wiscon, what a coincidence! We’ll be there too! There’s going to be a ThinkGalacticon party, and we’ll be taking registrations as well.
Lastly, local authors if you are interested in doing a reading at TG3 or if you would like to have a vendor’s table at the Bazaar, please let me know via comment here or email at tdepass [at]gmail [dot] com. My role on ConCom is Event coordination, so if you have any questions regarding events during TG3, I’m the person to poke at.
Lastly, please register for TG3! It’s affordable even in this economy! You can get registration info from this embedded link
Keep in mind this author is not making wide brush strokes over all Americans, nor are they assuming we’re all idiots, racists, and never have gone further than our own back yards. They raise the points below after reading the stupid shit posted on the internet by people who think they KNOW THINGS.
If you feel the urge to come at me for re-posting this, bring a good argument because frankly I don’t have the energy or desire to fight with someone over a re-post. Don’t like the article? Then comment to the original poster.
A Guide: How Not To Say Stupid Stuff About Egypt
The past few days I have heard so many stupid things from friends, blogs, pundits, correspondents, politicians, experts, writers that I want to pull my hair. So, I will not beat around the bush, I will be really blunt and give you a handy list to keep you from offending Egyptians, Arabs and the world when you discuss, blog or talk about Egypt. Honestly, I would think most Progressives would know these things, but let’s get to it.
After reading some of the articles outlining the actions, words and implied threat in the words bandied about since Barack Hussein Obama was elected as the 44th President of the United States, and culminating in the shooting deaths of six people, and critical injury to Congresswoman Giffords the fear I have about President Obama living through his term has returned one-thousand fold. Reading the following timeline from the Coalition to Stop GunViolence (h/t to ErikTheDane for the link) I’m terrified, not just for our POTUS but for any elected official that does not fall under the ideology of those who feel as if their country is being “taken from them” and their liberties being snatched from under them.
The people who bandy about careless words, reload, be armed, second amendment solutions ad nauseum and the media that does not hold their tongues, instead blast their hateful, careless rhetoric over the air, the internet and radio waves. That is partially what has fueled over two years worth of incidents, hate speech, and violent fantasizing by the far right. Read the article, see the time-line of the breakdown of civility, honest discourse and understand where this sense of loathing, disenfranchisement and breakdown of common sense, and ability to disagree without going to the extreme.
As you are an adult, I leave it to you to draw your conclusions from this time-line’s noted incidents, to the climate of simmering hatred and vitriol we are drowning in, and it seems that no one is willing to clean the pool of the detritus of hate and lack of logic. I just wish the people peddling hate would use this tragedy as a much needed wake up call and try, honestly try to put the brakes on the out of control freight train they’ve piloted for the last few years.
The Wrath of Fools: An Open Letter to the Far Right
Monday 10 January 2011
by: William Rivers Pitt, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed
To: Palin-lovers, Fox “News,” the “mainstream” media, and the Far Right, et al.
From: William Rivers Pitt
Date: Monday 10 January 2011
Re: The blood on your hands
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords isn’t much older than I am. She served in the Arizona State House of Representatives, and the Arizona State Senate, before being elected to three successive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. She once described herself as a “former Republican,” and is today considered a “Blue Dog” Democrat, meaning she holds a number of conservative political positions. This is not terribly surprising, given the generally conservative political bent of the state she has served for the last ten years. She was married four years ago to a space shuttle commander who had served as a Naval aviator, and who flew 39 combat missions in Desert Storm, before volunteering for astronaut training.
Last Wednesday, she was sworn in to her third term as the Representative for Arizona’s 8th congressional district. One of her first acts in the newly-minted 112th Congress was to read aloud from the House floor, in response to the Republican Party’s recitation of the Constitution, the following lines: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
She returned to Arizona not long after to assist in the implementation of that most vital of Constitutional principles, calling together a meeting of her constituents in a peaceable assembly so the citizens she represents could petition the government for a redress of grievances. Among the gathered crowd were a number of her staffers, a judge, and a nine-year-old girl named Christina-Taylor Green who was born on September 11, 2001.
And then all Hell broke loose.
A man named Jared Lee Loughner waded into the group and fired a bullet into Rep. Giffords’ skull at point-blank range, before turning his weapon on others in the crowd. Christina-Taylor Greene, who would have celebrated her tenth birthday on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, was shot in the chest and killed. The woman who brought her to the event was also shot. Gabriel Zimmerman, who served as Rep. Giffords’ director of community outreach, was also killed. He was 30 years old, and was recently engaged to be married. U.S. District Judge John Roll, who had served on the bench for twenty years, was also killed. Dorwin Stoddard, a church volunteer, died after putting his body between his wife and the hail of bullets. His wife was also shot. Two of Rep. Giffords’ constituents, Dorothy Morris and Phyllis Scheck, were also killed. All in all, 31 shots were fired before several brave souls tackled Loughner, disarmed him, and wrestled him to the ground.
At the time of this writing, Rep. Giffords is lying in a hospital bed in critical condition. The God you Bible-spewing frauds love to flog the rest of us with must have been in that supermarket crowd with her on Saturday, with His hand on her shoulder, because it is nothing short of a full-fledged miracle she survived at all. Doctors are actually cautiously optimistic that she will survive, though the degree to which she will ultimately recover is still sorely in doubt. She can respond to simple commands, according to her doctors, and is marginally able to communicate. If she survives her wound, it is wretchedly certain her life will never, ever be the same.
I just thought you should know a few things about the people you helped into their graves and hospital beds this weekend.
You false patriots who bring assault rifles to political rallies, you hack politicians and media personalities who lied through your stinking teeth about “death panels” and “Obama is coming for your guns” and “He isn’t a citizen” and “He’s a secret Muslim” and “Sharia Law is coming to America,” you who spread this bastard gospel and you who swallowed it whole, I am talking to you, because this was your doing just as surely as it was the doing of the deranged damned soul who pulled the trigger. The poison you injected into our culture is deeply culpable for this carnage.
You who worship Jesus at the top of your lungs (in defiance of Christ’s own teachings on the matter of worship, by the way) helped put several churchgoers into their graves and into the hospital. You who shriek about the sanctity of marriage helped cut down a man who was about to be married. You who crow with ceaseless abandon about military service and the nobility of our fighting forces helped to critically wound the wife of a Naval aviator who fought for you in a war. You who hold September 11 as your sword and shield helped put a little girl born on that day into the ground.
You helped. Yes, damn you, you helped.
The “mainstream” media is already working overtime playing up the “Disturbed loner” angle with all their might. There is no doubt, from the available evidence, of Mr. Loughner’s transformation into a disturbed individual. But here’s the funny part: all the crazy crap he spewed, about the gold standard (a favorite of Glenn Beck, the master of Fox “News” fearmongering…so he can sell his gold scam to suckers) and government mind control and everything else before going on his rampage, is straight out of the Right-Wing Insanity Handbook. His personal YouTube ramblings were a mishmash of right-wing anti-government nonsense…the kind that attracts sick minds like Loughner, the kind that only reinforces their paranoia, the kind that finally pushes them over the brink and into the frenzy of violence that took place on Saturday. The kind that the likes of you have been happily spreading by the day.
He did not act alone. You were right there with him. You helped.
I’m talking to you, “mainstream” media people, who created this atmosphere of desperate rage and total paranoia out of whole cloth because of your unstoppable adoration for spectacle, and ratings, and because the companies that own your sorry asses agree with the deranged cretins you helped make so famous and powerful. It was sickeningly amusing on Sunday to watch Wolf Blitzer bluster and bluff on CNN about how the media owns no responsibility for this disaster. It was like watching a ten-year-old try to explain how a lamp got broken while he was running through the living room, but no, it wasn’t him. It was, in reality, a pathetic display…but that is what you generally get whenever Wolf is on your screen.
“Mainstream” news personalities like David Gergen and John King bent over backwards warning people not to blame Sarah Palin and her ilk for this calamity. It was a sick man who did this, they said. Bollocks to that. I hate to break this to the “mainstream” media know-betters, but words matter. When people like Palin spray the airwaves with calls to violence and incantations of imminent doom, people like Loughner are listening, and prepared to act. The “mainstream” media lets it fly without any questions or rebuttal, because it’s good for ratings, and here we are. Words matter. Play Russian Roulette long enough, and someone inevitably winds up dead.
Remember the run-up to the Iraq invasion, and the subsequent occupation? “WMD everywhere, al Qaeda connections to 9/11, plastic sheeting and duct tape because we’re all gonna die!” was the central theme of the majority of your broadcast schedule for years…until it was all proven to be a lie. You helped the liars, you were the liars, but you knew that. You also got your spectacle, and the corporations that own you got paid a king’s ransom, so everyone was happy, except the dead.
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Tell me this is any different, I dare you. For the spectacle, the ratings and the pleasure of your owners, you ran names like “Sarah Palin” across the sky in lights, even after she should have faded into well-deserved obscurity, and helped this blister of right-wing rage fester until it finally burst. This was your show, and in perhaps the most wretched irony of all, I would bet all my worldly possessions that your ratings are through the roof right now. You got what you wanted. I hope you are pleased.
And yes, I’m talking to you, Sarah Palin, you unutterably disgusting fraud. You pulled it off your ridiculous website, but it’s out there: you put cross-hairs – literally, cross-hairs – on Rep. Giffords, you blithered about “reloading” instead of “retreating,” and you made this country more stupid and violent with every breath you took. Well, congratulations, you failure, you quitter, you inciter of mobs. You put the cross-hairs on her, and someone finally pulled the trigger. Run from it all you like, Lady MacBeth, but this blood will never be washed from your hands.
I’m talking to you, Sharron Angle, you walking punch-line, who talked about “Second Amendment remedies” being necessary if you didn’t get your way on health care reform during your failed Senate campaign.
I’m talking to you, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity, and Bill O’Reilly, and Michael Savage, and Ann Coulter, and Laura Ingraham, and to every other right-wing tripe-spewing blowhard blogger and Fox News broadcaster. I hope you are proud of yourselves, because this is the day you get to reap what you have been relentlessly sowing since you were forced to encompass the unmitigated outrage of a Black man winning the office of President of the United States.
That’s right, I said it. Anyone who thinks good old-fashioned American bigotry and racism are not the core motivation for a vast majority of these so-called “revolutionaries” should get their heads examined. You’ve heard of the “elephant in the middle of the room?” Well, this is the burning cross in the middle of the room, and no amount of spin will douse those flames.
I’m talking to you, Koch Brothers. Your money to create and spread this disease was well-spent; you now have one less Democrat in the House to worry about, at least for the foreseeable future. Congratulations, you un-American sacks of filth.
And I’m talking to each and every one of you who listened to these traitors and believed the nonsense they spewed at you for no other reason than to pick your pockets for campaign/organization contributions. I’m talking to you who wore your silly fatigues and carried your badly-spelled fact-deprived signs to protests with pistols on your hips and rifles on your shoulders. You who threw bricks through the windows of politicians you disagreed with. You who shot out the windows of Rep. Giffords’ office not even a year ago.
You worked very hard to create exactly this atmosphere in America, and now it has come to be. We have entered the age of the Wrath of Fools, and we now must again exist in an America where the word “assassination” has become all too relevant.
You helped this happen. You.
You know it. I know it. Have the guts to admit it, even if only to yourselves.
I know many Republicans and conservatives, and consider them to be dear friends. The single most influential person in my life (aside from my mother) was a rock-ribbed conservative Republican, and there is no person I respected more than him. I do not count these people, and those like them, among those whom I address here. They are as sickened and repulsed by you as I am.
This is not the end of the story, but is just the beginning. The good people of the United States of America, the true patriots, have finally seen you with your media-painted masks ripped off. They have seen what comes to pass when hate, venom, ignorance and violence goes unchecked and unanswered. You have been exposed, and the fact that it took such an unimaginably horrific act for that exposure to take place only increases the fierceness with which you will be answered. You will be repudiated, not with violence, but with the scorn and rejection you so richly deserve. Spin it as you will, scramble all you like. You are found out, and you have nowhere to hide.
Oh, P.S., if anyone reading this is operating under the delusion that the overheated right-wing rhetoric that went a long way towards almost getting Rep. Giffords killed, and had a strong hand in putting six people in the ground, is some sort of new Obama-era phenomenon, well…
“I tell people don’t kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus – living fossils – so we will never forget what these people stood for.”
- Rush Limbaugh, Denver Post, 12-29-95
“Get rid of the guy. Impeach him, censure him, assassinate him.”
- Rep. James Hansen (R-UT), talking about President Clinton
“We’re going to keep building the party until we’re hunting Democrats with dogs.”
- Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX), Mother Jones, 08-95
“My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building.”
- Ann Coulter, New York Observer, 08-26-02
“We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too. Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors.”
- Ann Coulter, at the Conservative Political Action Conference, 02-26-02
“Chelsea is a Clinton. She bears the taint; and though not prosecutable in law, in custom and nature the taint cannot be ignored. All the great despotisms of the past – I’m not arguing for despotism as a principle, but they sure knew how to deal with potential trouble – recognized that the families of objectionable citizens were a continuing threat. In Stalin’s penal code it was a crime to be the wife or child of an ‘enemy of the people.’ The Nazis used the same principle, which they called Sippenhaft, ‘clan liability.’ In Imperial China, enemies of the state were punished ‘to the ninth degree’: that is, everyone in the offender’s own generation would be killed and everyone related via four generations up, to the great-great-grandparents, and four generations down, to the great-great-grandchildren, would also be killed.”
- John Derbyshire, National Review, 02-15-01
“Two things made this country great: White men & Christianity. The degree these two have diminished is in direct proportion to the corruption and fall of the nation. Every problem that has arisen (sic) can be directly traced back to our departure from God’s Law and the disenfranchisement of White men.”
- State Rep. Don Davis (R-NC), emailed to every member of the North Carolina House and Senate, reported by the Fayetteville Observer, 08-22-01
I could go on, and on, and on, and on, but you get the gist.
Most Disrespectfully Yours,
William Rivers Pitt
Like the rest of the country, I’ve been watching the coverage of the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords at a local Safeway in Arizona. Like others I’ve watched pundits, the local blogger and everyone in between postulate on what motivated the shooter(s)*. I’m horrified at the loss of life, of a nine year old girl who was on the scene because of her interest in the political system, and a judge who stopped by in support of his colleague. I’m also moved by the words, thoughts and analysis of so many people online, who have stopped for a moment and put some thought into what they are saying and bringing some sense to the table in this maelstrom of chaos brought on by this senseless act of violence. I’m no wordsmith, but I do want to throw my digital two-bits in on the subject of words and the power they carry. My words here are not meant as an indictment, sanction or anything of the sort but they are meant to be taken, read, re-read and hopefully they will put some food for thought on the stove today.
First, we (as in anyone who has uttered an unthinking word about someone of an opposing viewpoint, be it political or otherwise) must stop the hate speech. We must stop being so careless with our words, only to be forced to swallow them after tragedy occurs. It’s far too easy to say “Well I didn’t meant THAT!” THAT being whatever act has been done by one or more members of the society; especially if they are in any way encouraged or easily swayed by rhetoric, and the lull of a final solution to what they perceive as a problem in their worldview. Second, It’s far too easy to use words laced with violent intent, and ASSUME that every single person that your words reach will be able to discern between the verbiage you toss about and your actual INTENT. I would hope that the people tossing about such hateful words so carelessly regardless of where they stand in terms of religion, politics, anything would remember the basic lesson of speaking. Do not assume anything about your audience, speak to them as if you are bringing new information to the table and they are learning from you.
Third, call out those that continue the pattern of hateful and violent speech against anyone they are not in sync with. Keep events such as the shooting in Arizona in the back of your mind, the Kennedy Assassinations, the murder of Dr. King and everyone who has taken a bullet because they dared to have a differing opinion than what another portion of society holds. Remember the lives lost over the years because someone felt that they held the key to solving the worlds problems in their hand via violence. Especially if their motivation does wind up being traced back to words said in the media freely and with no regard as to how they are going to be perceived, taken and used by those that may not be able to tell the difference between the reality we inhabit and the reality they inhabit. We must also think about those that have mental illness, those that just may not be well in any sense of the word and how a message such sent by a politician urging people to remove a Congresswoman, dressing in fatigues and inviting them to shoot M16′s? What about a message sent by using a map with bullseyes on it to target your opposition?
(Image posted for reference, and the fact that Palin should not be allowed to scrub this from her sites in the chance that people will forget. The memory of the internet is long)
There is so much power in what we say, the way in which we say it and in this day and age the method of delivery can get your message out there for good or ill in seconds. I repeat, we all need to take what has happened as a lesson in meaning what you say, and saying what you mean. Be clear in your speech, right in your intent and for the good of all of us, consider the places your words will reach, the ears they will fall upon and the minds they will touch. I say this to you politicians, friends, teachers, educators, loved ones, celebrities, sports figures. All of us are responsible for the words, the intent and messages we put out in the world every moment of every day. No one should be afraid to do their job because they could be shot down.
None of us should be afraid to disagree with someone out of fear of retribution by another, or by the person we’ve disagreed with. We really need to wrangle our words, think about their perception once they are out in the ether of the internet, others minds, hearts … this event is already changing how public servants will think about their jobs, how they serve and I’m sure many will rethink public office if merely dissenting with the opinions of others can earn you a death sentence.
Many others have covered this topic with more clarity and more eloquence than I can. I leave you with their words and I urge you to share their words, and think very hard about your own the next time you engage in conversation, especially one in which you plan to disagree with someone about the topic at hand.
Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment on the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Giffords
Cabell Hankinson Gathman:Discussion of an assassination: ableism & the failure of sociological understanding
Letters from Titan: Words Matter
Views Across the Pond: Lessons learnt – The Shooting of Gabrielle Giffords
Join the Coffee Party Movement: On the shooting in Tucson today
Huffington Post: GOP Senator, Rhetoric must be toned down
This will be brief and entirely ineloquent because I am sick and cannot brain well. In short, disinviting E Moon as GOH is NOT FUCKING SILENCING HER! Reposting her own words for the world to see is NOT BULLYING HER! All these people whinging about how evil the mean brown people are, how they wheedled the comcon into disinviting her to be GOH need to just shut the fuck up, as in NOW.
I’m tired of people crying about Moon being silenced, and persecuted and all that other bullshit. She shat on the living room carpet, threw a blanket over it and continued to act as if there was nothing there. Her continued silence, refusal to discuss the issue and then the concom taking a while to make up their minds while staying conspicuously quiet is the issue.
I’m sick of people throwing tantrums in the Wiscon LJ comm about how meen this was, and rude, etc etc to disinvite Moon and stamping their feet and saying they aren’t coming now because the Con obviously isn’t for them.
GOOD, I don’t want my con experience ruined by whiny ass people who think its all about them and can’t see why Moon’s screed was so damn problematic. Also, if you can’t realize how much her words hurt our Muslim sisters and brothers, then I suggest you revisit Civics class, Privilege and Classism as well as Racism 101.
Many, many other people have said their piece on why the whole issue and how it was handled is problematic. See the wiscon, karnythia, yuki_onna, nojojojo and K. Tempest Bradford sums up my feelings perfectly with You People are out of your Goddamned Minds
So, it’s not news about the whole emoon Islamaphobia post that is now shut down by the author. It isn’t news that many fantastic people have written their piece about her idiocy Link Roundup @ karnythia’s LJ and some great posts on this by Asim are here, here, here and response to the Wiscon concom not rescinding her GOH invite is here and now comes the decision by Wiscon to keep her as a GOH. That discussion and the fallout over her remarks is now overshadowing the fabulous Nisi Shawl as 2011 GOH, and it pisses me off that this RaceFail redux 2010 edition is ruining the con for so many before people have even booked tickets to attend.
The whole situation reeks of hatred, vitriol, over the top uber patriotism that we were all treated to immediately following 9/11. I can understand the position that the Wiscon concom must be in, to have to deal with yet another race fail type thing and not just by a panelist or attendee, but having to deal with such remarks by one of the incoming GOH’s has to be hell to deal with. I concede that it’s not an easy discussion… but, and there’s always a but… allowing her to remain GOH, and trying to frame it as a teaching moment does two things in my head (and this came up in conversation with karnythia this evening.
1. It puts the onus for teachable moments on the attendees, to task them with making others understand when they are at the con of their own reasons. I don’t go to cons to be on the hot seat for explaining and teaching others, if I wanted that I’d be on panels (not like panels are all about teachable moments, but you get what I mean I hope!) and I don’t want to spend my time that could be spent at panels, socializing and having a good time at con turn into being a walking ask me board, or the token (fill in the blank) that you can ask questions you may not ask others.
2. The fact that she deleted all the comments and shut down any chance of discourse on that post tells me quite clearly that there is NO INTEREST in dialog or learning from what has happened due to her post, her words that are now out there on the internet for eternity. I don’t see why allowing her to remain GOH is supposed to be some great opportunity for dialog when it’s clear that there is no interest in her part and anyone attempting to dialog will likely be labeled as one of those mean people who just won’t let it go, or just won’t see what she really meant, and stop being so mean to her! [that's my assumption, since most online interactions about race, and privilege usually go in that direction]
It also makes me feel as if the con does not care about the people that were hurt and offended by her words. The people she painted in such broad strokes as barely civilized and should be grateful for being allowed on the hallowed ground of the USA. I think because she is a professional writer, I think more care should be taken with what you say, online, in text and have the realization that once your post it out there, it’s out there. Considering all the discourse I’ve seen on this issue alone, people have long memories and they won’t forget her words just because the con is next May.
I know I won’t forget this whole chain of fuckery, hate, racism and Islamaphobia that is rearing it’s head, and making me rethink Wiscon. It makes me wonder if the concom holds to the values they espouse and if anything will make them take notice of how this has damaged how some people may think about Wiscon, how it may influence people to skip the con altogether instead of giving any money to an organization that would have her as a GOH, well nothing outside of money. If people start canceling their registrations or skip it all together, would that send a message that is loud and clear or would it be chalked up to those oversensitive people who undoubtedly refuse to dialog, even after all this programming was created to address the issue…
I could go on, but that’s veering off into rant territory and I think this post is barely cohesive as it is because I’m pretty rageful at the disregard for any people who would attend Wiscon, and for those that don’t feel safe now and are already planning other things in place of attending Wiscon.
I’m still on the fence about attending, but I’ll have to climb down one side or the other soon.
Just got linked to this post about a new film on trans-racial adoptions. It’s called Neither Here nor There, How far she’s come. It’s chilling to read the bits about how the adoptive mother grills her new “daughter” on English to the point where the girl is exhausted and asks to go home in Chinese. It’s disgusting that this woman who seems to have adopted Chinese daughters as trophies of her “goodness” & color-blindness rather than trying to actually help these young girls from any sense of doing what’s right for another human being. It will premiere in the US in PBS on August 31 and I’ll be watching.
I find it telling that the girl lose all of her Chinese, and is constantly compared to the other little girl that this woman has adopted. I’ve got a lot of opinions on trans-racial adoptions most of which are not particularly pleasant or thoughtful. But one constant seems to be that I come across folks online that adopt babies and children of color and/or not of their nationality as trophies of their goodness, color blindness and look at me saving those poor brown folks, giving them a “better life” albeit one modeled on the “norms” of white, American and forgetful of their roots.
Granted, not everyone that adopts outside of their race/nationality has such ulterior motives or means well, 9/10 of our reality is perception not truth. All I can base my perceptions on is what I see. Too often I see white women who adopt brown and other non-white children, with no thoughts as to what that child will deal with when they are older, when the differences between “mommy” and the child can no longer be swept under the rug. Or what they will do when that child comes home after being called a racial slur for the first time, or worse if they witness racism committed against their adopted child and they have no coping mechanisms to pass on, no advice since they’ve never had the honor of shopping while black, or driving while black or having so many assumptions made on your intelligence, abilities, etc because of the color of your skin and all the baggage that comes with it.
It’s a heavy burden to bear and I wish people would weigh the luggage they are going to take on when they adopt that poc/non-white child along with the idea that they are doing their part by “saving these poor kids” from their poor roots. In my humble opinion, it would help everyone be prepared for what will come as these children grow up in a society that is anything but post-racial and color blind despite having a black POTUS.
Bah, I’m getting rambly and unfocused but I hope you got my point. If not feel free to say so in the comments.
Keep it civil or I’ll boot you so fuckin fast your head will spin away like the Tardis.
…and thus I will say what has been brewing in the back of my head for months. The vitriol against President Obama shows that this country was not ready for a black president. Yeah, I said it. The fact that these whackjobs are coming out of the woodwork with no fear of reprimand for threatening the President, or in th…is case hoping for his assassination shows this to be true. Had a white democrat won, I really doubt we’d be seeing such an ugly side of the US’s denizens.
What this idiot apparently didn’t know is that:
Forell may think he’s protected by the First Amendment when it comes to his tweets, but the law begs to differ, specifically 18 USC Sec. 871:
Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits for conveyance in the mail or for a delivery from any post office or by any letter carrier any letter, paper, writing, print, missive, or document containing any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States, the President-elect, the Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President of the United States, or the Vice President-elect, or knowingly and willfully otherwise makes any such threat against the President, President-elect, Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President, or Vice President-elect, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
Sam Gustin at DailyFinance is reporting that the Secret Service is now investigating Forell’s tweets, with Secret Service spokesperson Max Milien stating: “We are aware of the actual posting and are actively investigating.”
This saddens me, but does not surprise me in the least. People thought I was being overly dramatic when I talked of hoping that Obama survives his first term. Now, maybe with whackjobs like this advocating that the POTUS is killed off, people will listen to me.
I’ve been watching the utter lunacy unfold around the health care reform bill, debates in DC and both those who support and oppose the changes. I’ve seen the teabaggers accost a man with Parkinson’s disease, conservative nutjobs say that Obama is using an 11 year old boys tragedy for sympathy and as a ploy? We’ve also had some pundit suggest that Senator Reid’s wife get put down because of her recent injuries.
I really wonder what the hell is wrong with the people who are so vehemently against healthcare reform? Are they rich enough to endure injury and medical bills without insurance? Do they have money stashed away in case of emergency, enough to cover unexpected surgery or an extended hospital stay? I’m going to go with a resounding NO. I’m thinking the people who are out in the street screaming about “their tax dollars going to the undeserving” and acting as if the government is siphoning money directly out of their checking account don’t seem to understand that their tax dollars go toward services they may never use, but also towards roads, tollways, schools, and other public services that they use every single day, but would howl to the heavens if they had to suddenly start paying for their mail to be delivered, or their garbage to be taken away.
I’m not sure why these folks can’t see that they could be one medical emergency away from ruin, and healthcare reform, if it existed would help them not be in financial ruin due to sudden illness, a prolonged stay or the toll even a sudden death can take on a family due to funeral expenses. It seems as if they are so focused on not letting illegal immigrants have healthcare, and making sure no one can have an abortion on the governments dime, that they have lost (or to be frank, they never really had a grasp on the issue to begin with) the focus of healthcare reform. The point is to give ALL AMERICAN’S health insurance, not just the ones they deem worthy of being/remaining/regaining their good health.
Yes, I think a good portion of the teabaggers ire is racially driven, since they seem to have come out of the woodwork once Obama was elected and sworn in. You’d have thought the End of Days was upon us with the way they keep going on about wanting a return to the good old days, and wanting “their country” back. No one has stolen your country, no one has moved you to a point in time where whites are disenfranchised and out in the street and blacks are suddenly the majority. Their insistence on pushing back against the President’s (non-existent) Socialism and Communism are making their idiocy plain for everyone to see as well as their racist reasoning for their actions. When you call Congressemen Nigger and even spit at them, your racist ass is showing for the world to see.
But I digress a bit, I was going towards the point that the people the Teabaggers and staunch Rethugs are trying to deny healthcare to are not all illegals and poor, undeserving people. They are young people,that have only minimal coverage via their university or their parents insurance that will cut them off at 22 or 23. These are folks who are suffering from the economic downturn and have lost insurance after losing a job. Even those that may have insurance but it’s coverage is minimal, and often times things are refused coverage being cited as “pre-existing” conditions or there’s always a loophole that some penny pincher finds to deny someone coverage and they can be destroyed by one medical emergency. I give these examples not just for their truth, but because I know people who are in these situations. A friend is now facing bankruptcy and fiscal ruin before 30 due to one ER trip, surgery and then back-pedaling by her university insurance on covering any of her care. Another has been uninsured for years, but dealing with chronic pain, and has to deal with the rather poor treatment of healthcare staff should she run out of medication and needs to seek out more; they have treated her as if she must be an addict, when she simply is in pain and needed help.
Another young woman I’ve come to know of is suffering to the point where she can’t even bathe or dress herself without assistance, but SSI refuses her claims, saying she is able bodied enough to hold several jobs. How blind can our system be to such people? How blind can these people who claim to be such great patriots and arbiters of justice be to see that these are the people that would suffer along with their “enemies” of America that they claim would just suckle from the government teat of free healthcare for all at the cost of their “tax dollars”! What they fail to realize, they have no control, and never did have any direct control over where their tax dollars are spent. As far as I know, all my tax dollars could be funding a neighborhood school that I’ll never utilize, or for a highway in Iowa that I may never drive over, but that doesn’t mean I should be out protesting in the street about not using “my tax dollars” for schools or roads I may never use. It’s stupid, and shows an astounding amount of ignorance on the part of those that would deny their fellow Americans a shot at being healthy, even if they never are sick a day in their life.
In closing off this ramble, I really wish those that oppose healthcare reform would actually take a moment and read through what is being proposed instead of hearing my tax dollars supporting others, that I deem unworthy of basic needs like health, and well being. It sickens me that there are those that would deny another person the right to good health because they refuse to educate themselves on healthcare reform and on what it could actually do for them. See Michael Moore’s Sicko, (and here’s a link to the fact file regarding the films topic) and look up the ways in which companies profit of your poor health before you complain about reforming our broken system; and if you have decent insurance, be very grateful you do have it. Be so grateful that you help pass healthcare reform instead of obstruct it.
Now I’m off to see if reform finally will begin to happen or if the obstructionists will get their way and keep the system broken.
I’ve been watching and reading about the “debate” on national health care that’s going on in the US as someone who’s waiting for it to boil out of control or for someone to actually have a debate and stop screeching at the top of their lungs at every opportunity.
I’ve seen the folks who are disrupting meetings no matter what side they land on be it pro or con. This is not the way to get your point across people. It makes the opposing side look at you sideways and secretly signal for security to sweep you out the door.
I titled this the privilege of having health insurance because I was gobsmacked at how much drugs cost when you don’t have insurance yesterday. I say gobsmacked because I’m not someone who has to take meds constantly or has had serious medical issues in the 36 years I’ve been on this planet. I recently decided to get back on the Pill and I’ve always had insurance so I’ve never thought much of the $10, $15 or even $20 co-pay that I’d shell out every month. This time around I switched to Seasonale, a 3 month on, 1 month off extended cycle Pill and the first time I got it the pharmacy gave me the Generic Quasense. That only cost me $35, I went on my merry way for the next 90 days.
This time I asked for the name brand because of side effects and had to shell out $65. What stopped me cold was the cheerful information at the top of the prescription bag telling me I’d saved $195.00 because I have insurance. I had to text my partner because I just could not believe something as essential as a contraceptive could cost so much for an uninsured woman. Who the hell can afford to shell out $256 every three months in this day and age? Maybe a married woman, but she’s likely to have insurance from her job or her spouses job. The average person who is uninsured likely does not have that kind of money for medications, what the hell is wrong on this country when pharmaceutical companies can charge that kind of money for medication that is essential to some women.
But this makes me wonder about the woman who needs the Pill to stave off Fibroids, regulate her cycle or other reasons that aren’t purely for contraception. What about the woman who’s barely making a living wage from a job that may not offer insurance or may not cover something like contraceptives? What about the woman who may need to make the choice that month between the Pill and the electric and gas bills?
It sickens me that the drug industry has gotten to the point where they can charge such outrageous sums of money for drugs that the public needs. As for drugs the public wants, that’s a whole other story. When I read that triple digit number on my pharmacy bag, it firmly cemented the need for health care reform in this country. Those that want to keep the status quo are probably the ones benefiting the most from it.
If you haven’t made up your mind on this issue, I ask you to look into what it costs people who have no insurance for care or medication. Think about what you have and how lucky you are to have it; but also think about how it can be better for everyone in this country to be able to get health care when they need it and not only those with the privilege of being a card caring insured member of society.
For all the people who think POC Fans of Sci Fi didn’t exist until the internet? GTFO of my sci fi you dumbasses
Stolen off LJ from kittie_kattie
I have a new level of non existance: Apparantly PoC didn’t start getting into sci-fi/fantasy until the interent showed us the way. Seriously? What the fuck is that shit?
I am particularly wanting shoutouts from people who do not live in the US and who have still managed to read genre fiction.
I’m tired of people trying to render us invisible unless they have been given a memo about our existences.” ~ delux_vivens.
I’ve failed to effectively discuss RaceFail 09′, and I’m thoroughly, entirely past fashionably late on discussing it, but the sheer stupidity of the idea that POC weren’t fans UNTIL the internet astounds me. Well, not in that I can’t believe it way, but in the someone actually let that come out of their mouth and actually thinks its a plausible explanation? Here’s a newsbite you silly people, just because you don’t see it? Doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Just because you don’t see alot of people of color at conventions doesn’t mean that we are not fans of Sci Fi, etc.
Learn a lesson and realize your validation means fuck all to us. We have been existing and will still exist whether or not you realize it, see it or acknowledge it. I was raised on Star Trek original series, Battle Star Galactica, read comics till I fell asleep, dreamt of traipsing amongst the stars well before some of you probably were around. Stop thinking that if you say something enough its going to become true. Stop thinking we need your hey, I see you there kind of validation to go on with our daily lives.
We don’t need you to co-sign on the fact that black folks like something other than hip hop, malt liquor, soul food and blaxpoitation films.For the last time WE DON’T NEED YOU OR YOUR VALIDATION TO EXIST!
Did I mention how much I love Kate Harding? Well I do, because I got this link to Feministing’s article on just how creepy that new show I want to save your life is.
I keep seeing the ads for this show everywhere, and frankly it disgusts and creeps me out. This guy is following these women around, watching everything they do, eat, etc and correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that stalking someone?
These women aren’t obese, or honestly all that fat. The woman in the adverts I’ve seen around town seem to be average. Not particularly skinny but not omg you’re gonnna diiiiieee fat either.
I’m so sick of the idea that women are community property to be molded into others image of what’s acceptable, normal and desirable. I’ll be happy when the fashion industry burns to the ground for perpetuating these unattainable “norms” that only silicone, plastic surgery and starvation can achieve.
For the edification of the few dumbasses who still want to claim.. but I didn’t know (insert phrase/imagery/well known historical fact) had a racist connotation! Really!!!! Here’s some facts for you:
1. Watermelons + black folks = RACIST IMAGERY Saying you had no idea? Makes you out to be a dumbass racist, or at the very least a total dumbass who doesn’t know any history.
2. Monkeys + black folks = RACIST IMAGERY For example.. the now infamous Delonas cartoon in that rag the NY Post
3. Calling a grown man or woman boy, gal, or anything other than their names… racist you fuckwads. Example: McCain calling Obama “That One” during the 2nd debate
4. Wearing blackface… NOT OK, NOT OK, NOT FUCKING OK. It wasn’t ok when it was an accepted form of “entertainment” and it sure as fuck isn’t OK now. Just don’t do it (I’m looking at you JAPAN)
5. Tossing around images of Nooses, bonus points for throwing in the words lynch, lynching, lynchmob. In case you need an example.. the photoshopped piece that went around suggesting a “solution” to the Obama problem.
6. Lots of verbiage that should just stop being used. Nigger obviously, porchmonkey and its variants… coon, coon dog, and the phrase knowing your place. Doing it for a laugh or trying to say well black say it why can’t I will get you a bitchslap for your troubles.
Anything I’m missing?
Yes… I heard about the NY Post editorial cartoon. Not posting at length since I’ve said what I’ve got to say all over the internets yesterday. I also don’t want to even conceive of what kind of arguments could be had over it here. Instead I give you what I sent the Post:
To whom it may concern at the NY Post:
I’m sure I’m not the first or last person who will write in outrage over the Sean Delonas depicting a chimpanzee being shot. All I can say without devolving into filth, flarn and filth is that you and your papers higher ups should have known better than to let that garbage sit out for the world to see. You can defend it to the end, and claim it was in reference to the chimpanzee attack in Conneticut all you like, but when the words in the panel talk about signing the stimulus bill, which has NOTHING to do with the animal attack? You’ve failed to be able to use that as an excuse. I’m sure there are Post readers who are defending this trash, but honestly can you not do a simple equation to see where this outrage is coming from? Blacks have been compared to monkey’s in the past, our President is black and he just signed a stimulus package. Hmm, can you see what I see now defenders of this garbage? I’m not going to waste my time trying to persuade you folks at the Post, but I do hope you realize that you have failed to be edgy, relevant or even amusing with this pitiful attempt at political satire. Try again, and try using someone with a higher intelligence quotient than a chimp. It might be funny.
That’s all I got to say about it here. I’m not giving it any more press either by linking. Want to see it? Google is your friend.
Via LJ User slit
I find it curious that African-American women are all lazy unwed welfare-cheating baby-making machines and African-American men are all violent drug-abusing absentee fathers RIGHT UNTIL they are standing in the way of gay rights, at which point they become socially conservative homophobes who can’t see past their religious family values. If you’re going to scapegoat people of color for all the world’s problems, at least make your stereotypes consistent, ya know? C’mon.
First of all, as other people have amply demonstrated, Prop 8 was not lost by people of color, despite what Dan Savage and a whole lot of other people think.
Propositioning Privilege: The reality is that white people are not being blamed as a racial group for the loss because of the sense that queer=white and there is no racial investment that would benefit from an argument that pathologized whiteness as inherently homophobic in the way that white privilege benefits from pathologizing blackness this way. This is a great, comprehensive look at how both sides of the Prop 8 campaign were handled.
More links at Alas, A Blog
And as bias_cut shows, if it weren’t for people of color most of the gay marriage bans still would have passed and McCain would have won the election in a landslide.
Even acknowledging this, I don’t think it excuses the way No-on-8 campaign was run. I don’t live in California, so I can’t really speak to this outside of what I’ve seen on the internet, but I do want to say a few things about white Left movements, including but not limited to white queer movements, and how they (try to, sort of) do alliances with people of color. This has been brewing for me for a while now; it’s not a new problem and I know other people reading this have thought about many of these things so forgive me if it comes off as repetitious or preaching to the choir. I think it still needs to be addressed.
1. Think about how you use civil rights imagery. There are parallels there, and they should be drawn, but to compare the passing of Prop 8 with lynching and Jim Crow disrespects Black history. Even the Loving decision, which is the most obvious parallel (and one Mildred Loving herself endorsed) had a profoundly different history than the history of gays and lesbians. Angry Black Woman discusses the background on that decision and how it was frankly not a huge priority during the civil rights era: So I have to wonder why the No on 8 people chose to present this as a parallel of the African-American Civil Rights Movement. To my mind, this helped trivialize their desire to marry, particularly among older blacks who remember when being able to marry white people was the least of their worries.
I think for white people the relationship is clear: if it was wrong to discriminate against relationships on the basis of race, it should likewise be wrong to discriminate against relationships on the basis of gender. But sexual ‘relationships’ between races had been going on for generations; what made Loving historic for a lot of people was that it was finally talking about such relationships in the context of mutual consent and agency for both partners — as opposed to systemic sexual violence against women of color by white men and the lynching of Black men perceived to be pursuing white women. It wasn’t so much “yay! we get to marry white people! this is the best day of our lives!” :p Which is related to:
2. Think about how you talk about “sex” and “freedom.” White people tend to think of consent as an individual thing. Did she, singular, say yes? They’re not usually thinking of the three or four hundred years in which white men raped slaves and live-in domestic workers, or the women and girls today who are caught up in the sex trafficking industry. The right not to have sex was a lot harder to win than the right to have it, and I think a lot of folks (myself included) are skeptical of feminist/queer movements when they treat history as if it’s all “our sex lives used to be so repressed and limited but hurray now we’re free!” Add to that the number of Black men who’ve been falsely accused of raping white women, and there’s an additional layer of reluctance to sign up for a cause that makes more cops the answer to sexual violence and invests a lot of energy in saving white women from all manner of discomfort while having little to say about the imprisonment of Black men for the most petty of crimes. Reluctance especially when, again, white movements treat sexual violence solely as an individual problem (one man raping one woman) rather than a community problem (one race or nationality being granted total sexual agency under the law and another race or nationality just hoping and praying to stay the hell out of their way).
3. Think about how you talk about Black churches. For many white gays and lesbians, the church is a place of repression and silencing, and one of the first institutions they are ready to abandon when they come into adulthood. But the church has played a different role in black communities — Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and many many other civil rights leaders tied their work to religious tradition. Black churches have been a powerful source of progressive organizing in communities of color, as well as a source of emotional and financial support for people who are struggling. I’m not saying there isn’t more work to be done there, and I’m not saying religion played no role in getting people to support Prop 8. But to speak of African-American religiosity as if it’s the same thing as your white neighbor’s homophobic Bible-thumpin’ Leviticus-quoting Rapture-believing denim-jumper-wearing young-earth anti-science women-get-back-in-the-kitchen 700 Club brand of Christianity is to shit on the people who brought you school desegregation and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Black churches are potential allies, and indeed many religious leaders have already come out in favor of LGBT rights, but those alliances aren’t going to get very far if white Leftists keep talking about them as if they are forces of institutionalized oppression when in reality their role in American history has been precisely the opposite.
4. Think about how you talk about your neighborhood. I’m not going to go into the whole history of gentrification except to note that it goes beyond where any one person decides to locate. It’s about how you treat and speak about your community. Would the elderly want to live in your neighborhood? Not would they be welcome but would they actually want to? Would they have things to do? What about families with small children who are not part of your particular subculture or political community? Would you send your own kids to the local schools?
I know white Leftists and/or LGBT folks live all over the map and these issues aren’t germane to everybody, but “building community” seems to be something we value and devote a lot of time to without thinking about the impact it has and the message it sends to people outside “our” (actually quite insular) community. I’ve seen this come up a LOT, not just around Prop 8 but in general when the possibility of POC/queer alliances comes up.
5. Think about how you talk about other people’s neighborhoods. I saw a fair bit of No-on-8 people talking about their reluctance to canvass in “bad” areas. I am going to go out on a limb and guess these were pretty much all communities of color. As far as I can tell, the Yes-on-8 people weren’t complaining about this. Now to some extent that’s apples and oranges because queer and transgender people have different concerns about safety than straight people (even Mormons) do when they’re walking around in unfamiliar territory, but those concerns apply in white neighborhoods as much or more so and I didn’t hear anyone saying “I can’t doorknock in the suburbs or they’ll kill me.” I know when I hear someone say they won’t go into certain parts of the city, even someone else’s city, I feel like a wall just went up between us — even if I’d previously seen this person as a friend or ally — because that’s the kind of neighborhood I live in. And I’m white. So think about how that comes across. As delux_vivens and others have said repeatedly in the past few days, the No campaign didn’t ask for those votes, so it is disingenuous to express shock after the fact.
6. Queerness does not negate whiteness. Neither does communism, anarchism, or any other brand of radical politics. This one was hard for me when I was younger, because the force of what for the sake of brevity I’ll call Mainstream SocietyTM was so strong that I saw all people who were any brand of “other” as natural allies. To an extent, there’s value in that world view. In 1991 I went to a large demonstration in Chicago that was organized by CISPES, ACT UP, and the anti-war movement; the point was to solidify connections between groups that might otherwise seem disparate and single issue, to reject divide-and-conquer strategies of the Right, and to make sure our activist work was attentive to the interrelatedness of different forms of oppression.
But “interrelatedness” != “same as,” and at some point I had to confront how my work on Issue X didn’t give me an automatic pass on Issues Y and Z. Nor did it undermine the institutionalized benefits I’d received from growing up in a white family in a country where race matters very deeply. Over time I also realized how what I thought of as my “alternative” status was actually alienating to many people of color: that in many ways my flagrant disregard of Mainstream SocietyTM was the ultimate sign of white privilege. I could go around carrying a placard with my hair dyed three colors and clothes covered in safety pins, but if an African American woman my same age walked out of the house with so much as a rip on her sleeve or a scuff on her shoe she risked being pegged as a charity case and borderline illiterate. That was difficult for me to work out, because the way I presented myself wasn’t just a fashion thing — it was a rejection of mainstream beauty standards for women and traditional notions of gender. Appearance and self-presentation were politicized for me. I’m not saying we should all go around in pantsuits and business casual and try to be as safe and non-threatening as possible when talking about politics (don’t read me that way), nor am I saying there aren’t people of color who are also concerned about how these issues intersect (don’t read me that way either), but when I looked at this whole thing from the perspective of people who were already, inherently, considered suspect and outsiders, it made the issue much more complicated for me. I used to be all “get out there! mix shit up!” end of story. But when you can put on a suit and tie and put your daughter in her Girl Scout uniform and go to church to pray to Jesus and still lose your child in a directed attack because of who you are, it makes me a lot less critical of people who might be reserved about pushing the envelope, especially if they’re expected to do it in solidarity with people who’ve never shown much solidarity with them. Which brings me to:
7. Acknowledge your debt. This goes back to #1 and #3 above. If you’re going to present your issue (I’m thinking of Prop 8, but other stuff, too) as the outgrowth of the civil rights movement, then it seems smart to learn more about that movement and to get to know people who were involved in it. Civil rights weren’t gifts from enlightened white people, nor were they just part of the natural progression of history. They were earned with blood. Don’t be casual about that. Don’t bring it up only in the context of how it relates to your issue(s). And if you are going to ask for people to support your issue on principle, not because it benefits them but because It’s Just The Right Thing To Do, you might work harder to support their issues on principle, too. By “support” I don’t mean “agree with it in my mind”; I mean get out there and ask where you can be of service. In the case of California, there were at least two ballot measures that directly affected minority communities. I saw very few white activists write about these, especially compared to the number of straight POC I saw writing about Prop 8. ladyjax writes more about this: When white people roll up on Black folks about being oppressors, there’s some truth to it but that gets lost when people start to remember: ‘Hmm, that rally for (immigration rights, education, housing, etc. etc.). I didn’t see you there.’ … Sometimes the fight isn’t always about what you want but about reciprocation.
8. Stop assuming African-American support. Everything I’m saying here could fall under the umbrella of “don’t take people of color for granted,” but I wanted to say something specifically about what seems to be a common assumption — that African Americans, even more than other minorities and definitely more than white people, “should just understand” what gays and lesbians are going through “because it happened to them, too.” First of all, as I (and many others) said above, the parallels between the two movements are not nearly as clear as they’ve been made out to be. Second, to make this an issue of understanding or the lack thereof, rather than resentment at being ignored and trivialized or pushed out of one’s own neighborhood, isn’t helpful. But most of all, it misses the mother of all points, which is that Prop 8, like most everything that sucks, is overwhelmingly about white money and white power. Even if they voted yes in higher percentages, African Americans are not more guilty than whites, who funded this thing and got it done. Black homophobia isn’t especially galling because of their history in this country. White homophobia is especially galling because white conservatives have the resources and, my god, the energy to make defeating LGBT rights such a priority.
9. Stop assuming African-American NON-support. The flip side to the white liberal saying “there’s no point in asking for African-American support because we know we already have it” is the white Leftist saying “there’s no point in asking for African-American support because we know we’ll never get it.” Either because of beliefs about Black homophobia or (more charitably) beliefs about Black communities having more pressing priorities, it’s still a reluctance to form alliances. Over and over again, at least in blogs, I’ve been seeing black and brown women saying “no one approached us” or “we weren’t asked to help.” These are women who voted no anyway (if they’re Californian, or from one of the other states that had a ballot measure of this kind), but while doing so some have bitterly pointed out it’s another sign that people of color are being treated as silent foot soldiers in a movement while white organizers take over the leadership.
10. Finally, there are queer people of color! I almost didn’t include this because it seems too obvious to mention, but I don’t want the fact that I am addressing a white audience right now to be taken as a sign that I’m ignoring queer POC or that I’m painting the queer movement as exclusively white. That’s been another huge issue in this debate. (See Pam’s House Blend post about the treatment of Black gay activists after Prop 8 passed, The N-bomb is dropped on black passersby at Prop 8 protests and ask yourself with friends like these….?) I have much more to say about this, especially as it relates to the treatment of Islam by gay and lesbian activists because that’s where most of my attention goes anymore, but really it merits its own post.
What I will say is that I’ve read some excellent stuff lately (offline) about building alliances between queer communities and immigrants/people of color, and/or about addressing racism in queer organizing, and as much as I like it it still needles me that so much of it assumes an audience of white gays and lesbians, exclusively. Never straight people of color, and, well, the existence of LGBT people of color would ruin the whole argument so they’re just left out altogether. The assumption seems to be that white people can be educated about race but queer POC come from backgrounds so hopelessly homophobic that their only choice is to try to assimilate into a white queer community (who will try to be “more sensitive” but will ultimately still control and define the community’s agenda).
But when the argument is always framed that way — “I know y’all are good on gay and lesbian issues, but now let’s talk about race” — well, just who are you talking to there? I did it myself above, without thinking about it, by linking to the CISPES web site (in case someone doesn’t know what that is) but not bothering to link to ACT UP (because I assume anyone reading me has heard of that). That’s what I’m talking about. So if you’re trying to build alliances but are always assuming that your audience is already politicized around queer stuff but isn’t politicized around race issues, you are implicitly communicating your exclusion of people for whom it works the other way around, or who have been prioritizing both things long before they ever stumbled across whatever you’re on about at this moment. But again, a post in itself. This one’s long enough.
Why doesn’t someone stop his idiocy? He’s making IL a laughing stock and making himself out to be a total nuisance to the City and State.
I don’t understand the point of protesting the Cubs game, or any other sporting event because I’m missing the tie between the local sports teams and his dog and pony, poor us show he’s dragging hither and yon.
Good Gods, I wish he’d just shut the fuck up and DO something other than being a media whore.
Meeks takes school funding reform to Cubs game
By KAREN HAWKINS
Associated Press Writer
9:03 PM CDT, October 1, 2008
State Sen. James Meeks brought his message of school funding reform to the Friendly Confines.
One month after leading a two-day boycott of Chicago Public Schools, Meeks and his supporters protested outside Wednesday’s playoff game between the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field.
“We do not want the city of Chicago to pay more attention to the Cubs and the White Sox than they do to fixing our schools,” Meeks said in Wrigleyville, surrounded by hundreds of protesters wearing orange T-shirts that said “Save Our Schools.” “Our schools should be number one.” Read more…
Has this been on a news blackout? How is it that no-one has heard of this until now??
On Friday, September 26, the end of a week in which thousands of copies of Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West — the fear-mongering, anti-Muslim documentary being distributed by the millions in swing states via DVDs inserted in major newspapers and through the U.S. mail — were distributed by mail in Ohio, a “chemical irritant” was sprayed through a window of the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton, where 300 people were gathered for a Ramadan prayer service. The room that the chemical was sprayed into was the room where babies and children were being kept while their mothers were engaged in prayers. This, apparently, is what the scare tactic political campaigning of John McCain’s supporters has led to — Americans perpetrating a terrorist attack against innocent children on American soil.
to repeat: Muslim Children Gassed at Dayton Mosque After “Obsession” DVD Hits Ohio
Please, please, go to this link and read the whole thing. http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/9/28/203016/697/536/613742
It was reported in the Dayton Daily News, but not commented on in major media since. The DVDs —28 million of them— were inserted in newspapers in many swing states by a pro-McCain group. And so here we are. A country where hatred is distributed with the Sunday paper. Where children are maliciously attacked because of their religion and no one blinks. Thankfully, no-one died. This time.
I urge you to call or write any major media outlet you know of and disseminate this story. Also, I’m sure the people in Dayton Islamic Society and their members would appreciate a kind word.
26 Josie Street, Dayton, OH 45403 Tel: (937) 228-1503
Here is the email:
Here also is the email for the people that put this sick piece of trash into circulation.
Crossposted to my LJ and snagged with permission from the community obama_blackfolk
…and it’s re-posted here with her permission. A thoughtful piece on bi-prejudice.
Common misconceptions regarding bisexuality which anger me greatly:
(Homosexual – gay and lesbian; “you” – a general “you” and not anyone in particular.)
You’re really homosexual but afraid to admit it.
No. If you’re saying this, you’re effectively saying that bisexuality isn’t real. People used to say, and some still do, that homosexuality doesn’t exist, and lesbians are just afraid of penises or hate men, and gay men identify with their moms too much or something. Saying that self-identified bisexuals are really something else is precisely the same as expressing those anti-homosexual opinions.
You only date other-sex people because you’re afraid of social/familiar response, so you’re really straight.
And homosexual men have married women and homosexual women have married men. It didn’t make them heterosexual. That a person may be afraid to realize their sexuality means that there’s something they’re afraid to realize, not that there isn’t such a thing.
Bisexuals are more prone to cheating. If you’re attracted to both sexes, how can you be happy with just one?
That someone is potentially attracted to both men and women doesn’t mean that the person they love has to be both. It doesn’t take a bisexual to be attracted to characteristics which cannot all exist in the same person. Put in a rather ludicrous way, how can someone who’s attracted to both blondes and redheads stay loyal? The same way.
Self-identified bi people who only date one sex, usually the other one, do it to impress people or they’re a reason for some bi people to not identify as such.
Maybe some do it to look cool, but I think a lot of them are just afraid. Just like some heterosexuals are afraid to date someone they’re attracted to but who’s of a different social class or “racial” descent, or some homosexuals end up in relationships with other-sex people or avoid relationships at all.
And how can this be a reason for bi people to not say they’re bi? Only if they’re afraid that should they say it, no one will believe it. This isn’t because of the people suppsedely giving bisexuality a bad or false name. This is because of the people who think bisexuality isn’t real, or is always some sort of remitting homosexuality. (Sometimes it is. Not always.)
And even if those closeted bi people lay the blame on the other, scared bi people… Just because someone is of a certain group doesn’t mean they’re immune to holding prejudice against it themselves, implicit or explicit. If they were, then teens and adults of minority groups wouldn’t be more prone to depression, self-harm and such.
Don’t call me anti-bi! I have bi friends!
I believe you. I believe you have bi friends, I believe that you consciously hold pro-rights views, I believe that you have and will defend bisexuals and other minorities. I really do believe that you mean no harm.
I also know that implicit prejudice is real. “Implicit prejudice” is when an opinion or a reason that at first glance appear harmless really aren’t, but express a social bias so deeply ingrained that most of us don’t notice it anymore, even those of us with the most pro-rights views and best intent. If those of us who are aware of implicit prejudices still usually possess a whole posse of them, despite our best efforts.
So, no, you shouldn’t be called anti-whatever. You really aren’t. But maybe, that isn’t what that person was telling you; maybe something you thought was innocent and unbiased really isn’t.
So please, if you’re really everything you say you are and which I think you are, consider the possibility that some of your reasoning and ideas have their roots in biased commonly accepted opinions which you just never thought to doubt.
(Yes, of course y’all may link, repost or mildly rephrase and repost.)
Washington University in St. Louis is giving an honorary degree to anti-gay activist Ms. Phylis Schlafly founder of the Eagle Forum a right wing group opposed to LGBT equality and feminism. This woman has fought tirelessly against marriage equality even though her own son is gay, and she has said women should not work and believes they belong in the kitchen.
Take action by clicking to email the university on the post below:
After Look Both Ways, my rah-rah book about having a love life with men and women, was published last year, I was pummeled by dating rejection from folks I had never met (and probably never would), as in these choice words responding to a review: “I offer a warning to anyone who finds himself or herself the object of Ms. Baumgardner’s attentions: She appears to be incapable of sustaining any relationship,” and “I don’t presume to know whether Baumgardner is bi or gay, but based on this review of her book I wouldn’t date her.” One person just came right out and said, “Steer clear of bisexuals.” The prevailing biphobia was almost charming in its retro-ness, prompting me to wonder, Is it 1980? I mean, really, do people, especially gay women, still think it’s OK to hate bisexuals?
“Yes,” said my ex Anastasia at the time. “Next question.”
Skin, bits, issues and voting at Angry Black Woman. By the most awesome Karnythia
Karnythia is guest blogging at ABW. She has summed up my feelings on the election madness much better than I ever could. full text of the piece under the cut.
Supporters of a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Florida must gather 27,000 more petition signatures by February 1 to submit to the state’s election supervisors. The measure also seeks to ban polygamy and group marriage while defining marriage as an institution between a man and a woman.
Florida4Marriage has taken on the cause in hopes of getting the measure on this November’s ballot, the Associated Press reports.
The group felt confident it had already obtained the necessary 611,000 signatures needed, but two weeks ago a miscount by Miami-Dade County election officials was uncovered that left the group with too few signatures.
As a result, Florida4Marriage has now declared a “constitutional emergency.” The groups is requiring all signatures be delivered by overnight mail or in person to its headquarters in Orlando. Under a new law, petitions can no longer be delivered to local county supervisors of elections by individual voters, according to a press release by the group. Petitions can only be delivered by the official sponsoring committee of the amendment. (The Advocate)
So Wednesday we had Jen Marlowe speak on her both her works in Sudan and Darfur and her new film, Rebuilding Hope, a documentary film about South Sudan She is the co-author of The Darfur Diaries which was actually a film first then worked into a print format.
Ms. Marlowe is a wonderful woman who speaks with such depth and conviction about her works. But most importantly she gets “it”. She understands the interconnectivity of not just the situation in Sudan, Darfur, Iraq, etc but that these are not compartmentalized pockets of unrest that don’t exist in their own little silos and once one problem is “fixed” you just move on to the next and eventually things are good once again.
We were shown a clip from her upcoming film and then I was invited along to dinner with Jen, my boss Joe K, one of our AVP’s Carol M and my International Admission Colleague Toni C. It was a great night, because there was no pretense, but great conversation on topics from Jen’s ongoing work, how she got into the countries she’s been to film etc. On Joe’s work in Zimbabwe and experiences he’s had along the way.
All in all it was a wonderful evening, with great people. I’m glad I’ve met Jen Marlowe and even more glad that we were able to give her an evening with our students, staff and faculty to talk about the important issues she’s documenting, and helping to show people. I’m glad we had a good turn out and that people asked such good questions.
The first and most important question was “What can I/we do to get involved, to help?” and I loved Jen’s answer on this. I just wish I could remember it verbatim. But I do leave you with a link to the Blog that she and David kept while in South Sudan, filming “Rebuilding Hope”
More about Jen from the Darfur Diaries site:
Jen Marlowe is currently directing “Rebuilding Hope”, a documentary film about South Sudan and is writing a book and a play about Palestine and Israel. She is on the board of directors for Friends of the Jenin Freedom Theatre, and is a founding member of the “Rachel’s Words” initiative. From 2000-2004, she coordinated and directed a conflict transformation program in Jerusalem, creating and implementing co-existence programs for hundreds of Palestinian and Israeli youth. In addition, she worked in conflict resolution with youth in Afghanistan, and facilitated dialogue groups between youth from Bosnia-Herzegovina, India and Pakistan, and Turkish and Greek Cypriot youth. Her writing can be found online in The Nation, Alternet and Counterpunch
A follow up post just on the Rebuilding Hope project in a bit…
Obama issues 3-page memo defending gay-basher spokesman, explaining that McClurkin has no problem with “happy” gays
by makeprofilelink(“John Aravosis (DC)”); John Aravosis (DC) · 10/29/2007 02:12:00 PM ET
Discuss this post here: CommentmyCount(’8176134378288689317′);s (275) · digg it · reddit · FARK ·· Link
Obama’s campaign now says that McClurkin only wants to cure the unhappy gays. (The rest of us are, I guess, fine to continue trying to kill America’s children.)
The concert was to be the highlight of this outreach and while the crowd left excited, it was clear the campaign still regarded the controversy as complicated. Aides gave reporters a three-page memo detailing McClurkin’s and Obama’s views on gay rights that noted in capital letters “MCCLURKIN DOES NOT WANT TO CHANGE GAYS AND LESBIANS WHO ARE HAPPY WITH THEIR LIVES AND HAS CRITICIZED CHURCH LEADERS WHO DEMONIZE HOMOSEXUALS,” with quotes detailing those statements from the singer.
So David Duke’s only problem, per the Obama campaign, is that he villifies the happy Jews and the happy blacks?
Keep digging, guys. Obama keeps making clear that he hasn’t learned his lesson, he doesn’t understand what he did wrong, and he will continue to coddle those who attack our community so long as it wins him votes and money. His own staff admitted as much to the Washington Post:
Aides to Barack Obama’s who are concerned about his fortunes nationally cast his decision not to kick Donnie McClurkin off the program of a gospel concert the campaign was hosting as a principled decision, part of the Illinois senator’s constant rhetoric of bringing people together even if they disagree. Aides in South Carolina cited a more obvious consideration: despite the singer’s controversial comments in the past about homosexuality, which he has likened to a “curse” and said is a choice, he would be a big draw.
So how many votes and how much money is a bashed gay worth to Senator Obama?
And PS, according to the Washington Post, Obama let McClurkin emcee the event. So much for Obama’s disdain for McClurkin’s gay-bashing. They practically – no, literally – handed him the mic to do his damage.
Ok… I get “Diverse News in Higher Education” daily. Most of the articles are good and make sense for academia. But the article below made my brain itch. The gist of it is this: Dealing with and avoiding racism makes black folks crazy (sorry meant to say-creates “mental health issues”).
Jena 6 case isn’t perfect, but it’s clear
Dawn Turner Trice
September 24, 2007
During the civil rights movement, leaders were extremely picky about the people chosen to represent the cause. Before Rosa Parks was arrested for not giving up her seat in the back of that Montgomery, Ala., bus, for example, others had been arrested for similar infractions.
But Rosa Parks was different. She was the perfect person to illustrate to the world what was wrong with Montgomery’s segregated bus system. She had no criminal background. She was earnest, petite and well-spoken. Clearly, those who knew her knew that she was also strong-willed and feisty. But she was the perfect person to engender broad-based appeal.
Last week, a South Carolina newspaper reported that Rev. Jesse Jackson chided Sen. Barack Obama for not coming out more strongly in Louisiana’s racially charged Jena 6 case.
From Diverse Online
Protesters Stand Up For Jena 6 and More
By Tracie Powell
Sep 20, 2007, 04:47
A Black West Virginia woman was sexually assaulted, stabbed and tortured, with one of her White abductors telling her, “That’s what we do to niggers around here.” Hate crime charges are yet to be filed in the case because the penalty isn’t as stringent as state-level kidnapping, assault and rape charges.
Genarlow Wilson, a Georgia teen, was convicted of rape and received 10 years in prison for having consensual sex with another teen. The state law was later changed to make the crime a misdemeanor and a federal judge ordered Wilson freed, but the now 21-year-old remains in prison today.
Six Black teens in Jena, La., were arrested and charged with attempted murder for what amounted to a school-yard fight that resulted from months of racial tension that built up after Black students sat under a “Whites-only” tree at the town’s high school. Most of the charges have been reduced, but the teens still face years behind bars if convicted.
This isn’t the 1950s, these events all happened in the past year.
What is happening in Jena is not an anomaly, says Dr. Gregory Carr, assistant professor of Afro American Studies at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
“Many Whites believe that ‘the system’ is color-blind, which is true,” he says. “It cannot see beyond its own invisible whiteness.”