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.
I’ve had the issue of women being treated as property, as if (some) men think we are here for their pleasure only, as if we are to be honored by your hey baby, how you doin’s as we go about our daily lives, but instead when we ignore you, tell you to fuck off or just keep walking the insults flow freely.
Instead of understanding that women are not chattel, we do not exist to please you… you revert to mental infancy and call us sluts, whores, bitches… ask if we think we’re too good for you, or won’t we just FUCKING SMILE, after all it was a compliment I paid you, damn why you have to be like that. The litany could go on forever but you get my point.
After a post by karnythia on creepy ass man following her and try8ing to intimidate her, and the story of the MTA passenger who just needed some help but instead was asked out for a date by an employee, this topic has boiled over in my head and needs to be let out.
I know men don’t understand that life is different for women, in that alot of us are raised to be leery of unknown men, especially ones that approach us on the street. It’s something that keeps you safe and can save your life, because you never know when a dude is just trying to be a harmless flirt or a serial killer or rapist. I know its harsh, but you (men who think you’re doing us a favor by hollering on the street)don’t know our lives, our stories, what kind of baggage we’re carrying around.
That woman whose arm you try to grab so you can “talk to her” could be a rape survivor, she could be on the way home after being laid off from a job, or getting some other bad news. She could not be smiling because she just found out her grandmother died or she failed a test, or for any number of reasons. You never know what a person has going on in their head, and presuming that she should give you the gift of her smile, her time just because you’re a man is pretty damn arrogant.
Thinking that women should be honored because you deign to throw some two bit line our way on the street, or talk about us as if we’re nothing more than walking tits, ass and vagina’s put on display for your approval and usage speaks volumes about how little you know about women or the real world. I don’t speak for all women, but I think anyone with a shred of self-respect wouldn’t bother with a trifling ass man who thinks the way into a womans heart is to talk about that ass, and how you’d give her what for.
Men, at least the men who think that this is a GOOD IDEA and women should be grateful for your attention… realize we don’t owe you a motherfucking thing. We don’t owe you our time, our energy, our bodies or our smiles.
Lastly, posted this in a comment to an earlier post of mine and it needs to be seen, and reposted far and wide.
I found this online… and it’s about as concise as I can be about the total racial fail found around friends internet spaces lately.
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!
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?
For those folks offended by Dr. Lowry’s words… I can’t change that you are offended that is your right but there’s nothing I can do about it. Don’t come crying to me with your offense at it. If you are so bothered, then take it up him. I’m just giving you some context so you can think about just why you might be offended. I’d posted this in my livejournal but after comment flames I decided to not even try there any more.
For your rememberance, the quote is:
“[W]hen black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right.”
That is NOT, I repeat and repeat again, is NOT, based on race. Lowry was not talking about white folk, or Asian folk, or Native Folk, or Latino folk. It was NOT ABOUT RACE. That bit? Is based on a popular saying among black people in the 50s and 60s about colorism. It was popular when my mom was a kid, and it was a mean thing. Long story short? It was talking about black people’s variant skin tones and the preference of lighter tones over darker ones. It went as such:
“If you’re white, you’re alright. If you’re red, get ahead. If you’re yellow, you’re mellow. If you’re brown, stick around. If you’re black, get back.”
Basically? The darker you were as a black person, the more you sucked. It’s the kind of shit spawned by the pencil test and the paper bag test and all that other shit that people used to make light skinned black folk think they were better cause they were light. And Dr. Lowry? was playing on that. That’s what the laughter was about.
The closing benediction as given by Reverend Lowry on 20 January 2009 after the swearing in of Barack Hussein Obama as the 44th President of the United States.
God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou who has brought us thus far along the way, thou who has by thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path, we pray, lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee, lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee. Shadowed beneath thy hand may we forever stand — true to thee, O God, and true to our native land.
We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we’ve shared this day. We pray now, O Lord, for your blessing upon thy servant, Barack Obama, the 44th president of these United States, his family and his administration. He has come to this high office at a low moment in the national and, indeed, the global fiscal climate. But because we know you got the whole world in your hand, we pray for not only our nation, but for the community of nations. Our faith does not shrink, though pressed by the flood of mortal ills.
For we know that, Lord, you’re able and you’re willing to work through faithful leadership to restore stability, mend our brokenness, heal our wounds and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor or the least of these and from favoritism toward the rich, the elite of these.
We thank you for the empowering of thy servant, our 44th president, to inspire our nation to believe that, yes, we can work together to achieve a more perfect union. And while we have sown the seeds of greed — the wind of greed and corruption, and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption, we seek forgiveness and we come in a spirit of unity and solidarity to commit our support to our president by our willingness to make sacrifices, to respect your creation, to turn to each other and not on each other.
And now, Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance.
And as we leave this mountaintop, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will.
Bless President Barack, First Lady Michelle. Look over our little, angelic Sasha and Malia.
We go now to walk together, children, pledging that we won’t get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leave us alone, with your hands of power and your heart of love.
Help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid; when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.
Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around — (laughter) — when yellow will be mellow — (laughter) — when the red man can get ahead, man — (laughter) — and when white will embrace what is right.
Let all those who do justice and love mercy say amen.
REV. LOWERY: Say amen –
REV. LOWERY: — and amen.
AUDIENCE: Amen! (Cheers, applause.)
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.
Ok, I woke up and it’s not a dream. Well it is a dream come true for so many people who never thought they’d live to see this happen. I called my mom and she was in tears. My great Grandmother wasn’t able to vote until she was 50, my Grandmother wasn’t able to vote until her 20′s. My mother and I never had to wait to exercise our right to vote.
I’m just… I still don’t have coherent words at how much it thrills me to have seen this history, been a part of this history. I did not give my time but I did give my money and my heart to then Senator Obama. I did what I could to follow and help in the minor ways I could. Those of you who did more, who phone banked, my boss JK who not only donated, but got his daughter involved by canvassing with her in Indiana just two days after returning from a two week tour in Thailand and ferried people to vote in IN yesterday. To those of you who gave of yourselves to make this happen, I thank you.
To see people turn out in droves to make this happen, to see people wait hours to cast their ballot swelled me with pride and joy. To see so many young people get out and vote, take an interest in the Democratic Process makes me burst with pride for the future generations of this country.
For those who supported McCain, my sincere condolences that your candidate lost. Not a slap in the face, not a jeer because it won’t help anything. It won’t help to heal the rifts this country has suffered for so long. For those that continue to spew the hate, the ridiculous rhetoric that likely cost McCain the election I’m sorry for you. For those that honestly believe the lies that we will be handed over to Iraq, and our money will be stolen in the night to share amongst the less fortunate like a modern William Tell tale… I honestly feel sorry for you and hope that you find your way back to reason soon. For anyone who thinks that election was “stolen” wake the fuck up. There was a 2-1 victory in the Electoral College and McCain conceded gracefully; despite the classy booing of his supporters. Because no matter your hate and vitriol it will not change the fact that Obama, President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama is our next leader and there is no need for hate and divisiveness at this time in our nations history.
My fellow Americans (and those watching from overseas) I’m proud of my country, proud of my fellow citizens who made history along with me and who made their voices heard for change. The picture below says so much about this week in history.
I’m glad to be able to say YES WE DID.
I’m a life long democrat, that shouldn’t surprise anyone here. My bit on the lack of support for McCain is so people can understand this isn’t a knee jerk, OMG he’s a Republican so I can’t support him reaction. It’s a reaction to his platform, or rather a lack thereof.
I’m a reasonable, intelligent person(and if you don’t agree THIS isn’t the place to argue that point) and I vote based on who I think will do a better job. I support Obama because he’s had an answer, a laid out plan for what he would do as President. Again, I don’t think he’s a Messiah or has all the answers. No one person can turn around the cesspool that government has become. McCain seems to be using the same catch phrases over and over without ever really explaining his position. All I hear from him is I’ll work for Vets, I’ll keep taxes where they are, we must stay the course in Iraq until we have victory, Obama is dangerous and not ready to lead. He’s never stopped people from claiming that Obama is an A-Rab or has ever talked directly to the Senator in debates. When pressed to repeat some of the negativity in his ads, he turned it back on poor me, they are lying about me and that guy who called me out hurt my feelings, wah.
I’ve got no clear picture on just WHAT McCain would do to reverse the economic downturn we’re in, he wants to keep the war going, he has not said HOW he’d get Bin Laden, just that we’ll stay the course until we win. That’s all well and good but how do you plan to do that McCain? If he’d picked Lieberman as a running mate, and truly stuck to his label of Maverick I’d be a lot more concerned about Obama’s chances next week. As it is he’s picked a woman to capture the vote from disenfranchised Hillary supporters who think with their gender instead of their brains. But as time has gone on, its clear this woman is an opportunist who is willing to toss the party and McCain under the bus so she can step up in 2012 and run.
There isn’t enough space to list all of the things that are wrong with Palin as a VP pick so I’ll give you a few. She is not family focused, she does not understand foreign policy, thinks being next to Russia is a qualifier for knowing about the world, just got a passport last year, exonerated herself and her husband on charges of misconduct as if that is even legal, used Alaskan taxpayer money to fund her family’s travel alongside her on gubernatorial duties, thinks only small towns are the REAL AMERICA and that folks in big cities don’t get it. She questions peoples patriotism if they come from big cities, the folksy you betcha’s are the nail in the coffin. Trying to appeal to the common man with Joe the plumber, Joe Six Pack, etc are condescending to me as a citizen who gets up and goes to work every day.
My other problem with McCain/Palin is that instead of addressing the issues and really hammering the Obama campaign on what they claim are his weaknesses, they are instead just singing the same tune of he’s not American enough, he’s socialist, he’s going to “spread the wealth around” like the bogie man is hiding under our beds that will suddenly jump up and give us all money O_o?! Granted, that selective memory is coming back to bite McCain/Palin; Palin is on record as being proud of the Socialism of Alaska, how they could give back to each man, woman & child in Alaska because they like to spread the wealth. Hmm, forgot you said that Gov?
I want a President that is going to spend the time to address issues. I want them to be able to remain calm, cool and collected. McCain is not that person. Palin cannot wink or you betcha, golly darnit her way out of a G8 summit or arms treaty. I don’t trust either one of them to deal with our allies in a way that will help this country, and I honestly am TERRIFIED of the idea of Palin being thisclose to the Presidency if McCain drops dead.
I’ve had enough of the government treating the country as their personal playground, of them treating the constitution as a whiteboard they can edit as will with no regard for what we, the people want and need from our government.
I urge you to vote next Tuesday, I urge you to do the right thing and Vote for Change.
Inland GOP mailing depicts Obama’s face on food stamp
08:54 PM PDT on Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The latest newsletter by an Inland Republican women’s group depicts Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama surrounded by a watermelon, ribs and a bucket of fried chicken, prompting outrage in political circles.
The October newsletter by the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated says if Obama is elected his image will appear on food stamps — instead of dollar bills like other presidents. The statement is followed by an illustration of “Obama Bucks” — a phony $10 bill featuring Obama’s face on a donkey’s body, labeled “United States Food Stamps.”
The GOP newsletter, which was sent to about 200 members and associates of the group by e-mail and regular mail last week, is drawing harsh criticism from members of the political group, elected leaders, party officials and others as racist.
The group’s president, Diane Fedele, said she plans to send an apology letter to her members and to apologize at the club’s meeting next week. She said she simply wanted to deride a comment Obama made over the summer about how as an African-American he “doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills.”
“It was strictly an attempt to point out the outrageousness of his statement. I really don’t want to go into it any further,” Fedele said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “I absolutely apologize to anyone who was offended. That clearly wasn’t my attempt.”
Fedele said she got the illustration in a number of chain e-mails and decided to reprint it for her members in the Trumpeter newsletter because she was offended that Obama would draw attention to his own race. She declined to say who sent her the e-mails with the illustration.
She said she doesn’t think in racist terms, pointing out she once supported Republican Alan Keyes, an African-American who previously ran for president.
“I didn’t see it the way that it’s being taken. I never connected,” she said. “It was just food to me. It didn’t mean anything else.”
She said she also wasn’t trying to make a statement linking Obama and food stamps, although her introductory text to the illustration connects the two: “Obama talks about all those presidents that got their names on bills. If elected, what bill would he be on????? Food Stamps, what else!”
Club Member Cries
Sheila Raines, an African-American member of the club, was the first person to complain to Fedele about the newsletter. Raines, of San Bernardino, said she has worked hard to try to convince other minorities to join the Republican Party and now she feels betrayed.
“This is what keeps African-Americans from joining the Republican Party,” she said. “I’m really hurt. I cried for 45 minutes.”
The Obama campaign declined to comment. It’s the campaign’s policy to not address such attacks, said Gabriel Sanchez, a California spokesman for the campaign.
The newsletter prompted a rebuke from another African-American member of the organization, which is well recognized in the community for its philanthropy and efforts to register and turn out voters in the Rancho Cucamonga and Upland areas.
Acquanetta Warren, a Fontana councilwoman and member of the women’s group, said the item is rude and requires a public apology.
“When I opened that up and saw it, I said, ‘Why did they do this? It doesn’t even reflect our principles and values,’ ” said Warren, who served as a Republican delegate to the national convention in September and is a regional vice chairwoman for the California Republican Party. “I know a lot of the ladies in that club and they’re fantastic. They’re volunteers. They really care — some of them go to my church.”
Warren forwarded an electronic version of the newsletter to the California Republican Party headquarters, where officials also were outraged Wednesday and denounced the illustration.
Hector Barajas, the party’s press secretary, said the party chairman likely will have a conversation with Fedele, and Barajas will attend the statewide California Federation of Republican Women conference this weekend in Los Angeles to handle any news media there to cover the controversy.
Obama in Turban
The newsletter is not the first such episode Barajas has had to respond to this week. The Sacramento Bee on Wednesday posted an image it said was captured from the Sacramento County GOP Web site that showed Obama in a turban next to Osama bin Laden.
It said: “The difference between Osama and Obama is just a little B.S.” The site also encouraged members to “Waterboard Barack Obama,” a reference to a torture technique. The Sacramento County party took down the material Tuesday after being criticized.
Mark Kirk, a spokesman for the San Bernardino County GOP chairman, said he expects Chairman Gary Ovitt to also have a talk with Fedele and to attend the group’s local meeting next week to discuss the issue with members, although the county GOP has no formal oversight role over the club. Kirk said these kinds of depictions hurt the party’s ongoing efforts to reach out to minorities.
“It’s very damaging and we’re going to take steps to correct this,” Kirk said. “Unfortunately, I don’t know what you do to correct ignorance like this, but we will do what we can.”
Assemblyman Bill Emmerson, R-Redlands, and state Sen. Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga, both criticized the illustration as inappropriate and irresponsible.
Dutton pointed out that his wife, a member of the club, is of Mexican heritage and has battled criticism that the Republican Party is not the party for minorities. The club’s newsletter undercuts efforts to rise above racism, he said.
“Bias and racial comments and even suggestions are frankly what weakens us as a people. I think we as Americans need to rise above that,” he said.
Emmerson said he was extremely offended and sickened by the newsletter.
Barbara O’Connor, director of the Institute for the Study of Politics and the Media at Cal State Sacramento, said it’s imperative that people speak out about these kinds of depictions no matter how small the organization. She praised Raines for doing so.
“It’s a statement about what is civil discourse and can you get away with doing something under an organizational banner,” she said. “You have to cut it out at the root and the root is often small organizations that are local and they then become larger.”
Reach Michelle DeArmond at 951-368-9441 or mdearmond@PE.com
Warning – hateful image at the head of this & linked post, in case it would bother anyone
Well written post again by Karnythia. Once again articulating what is bothering me about the rage and undercurrent of kill him and race baiting being done by the extremists in the McCain bullpen. The fact that this blogger is claiming he didn’t know he was using racist, hateful, death threat imagery is utter bullshit.
It’s only 3 weeks till election day and as several people have said, I’m done worn out. I don’t know if my nerves or patience can keep me calm until the last vote is counted.
Keith Olbermann breaks this down for the folks:
Palin attempts to link Senator Obama to homegrown terrorism. Except as usual, she’s way off the mark.
Palin claims Obama is palling around with a known terrorist during a campaign stop in Ohio.
Problem with this assertion is that:
a.) Everyone knows that this man did the majority of his “radical terrorist” work when Obama was a tender 8 years old
b.) They have never been close, and haven’t really been in touch since Obama became a Senator in 2005
c.) “But that article concluded that “the two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers, whom he has called ‘somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8.’ “
d.) It’s obvious that she and McCain are grasping at straws for anything to tarnish the Senator’s image.
The full article is after the jump for those that don’t click:
I won’t mince words here. I do Believe in Change, I do believe in the message that Senator Barack Obama is bringing to the nation. I do believe that he can be that agent of change we need to move past the past eight years of war, recession, theocracy and tailspin we have endured as a country.
Let me take a moment to let you know, that no I do not think the good Senator is our next Messiah, I do not think he walks on water and can do no wrong. I do not idolize Barack Obama, and think that he is THE ANSWER for all of our nations ills. No one man or woman can snap their fingers and make it alright. No one man or woman can wade into the mess that is our current administration and sweep it all clean with a word or gesture.
I do believe that he can do it, with work over the 4 years of the Presidential term. He can do it, if people learn that first and foremost we are a nation of strong people, who are willing to do the work to bring America back to its greatness, not just a nation of whiners, not just a nation of “not my fault” irresponsible types but a nation that can band together to make a difference.
I do not believe that someone who does not support the Senator is automatically a racist, because that is just stupid. While I may disagree on choice of candidate, who am I to point the finger of you are racist just because you don’t agree with me? For those who can find fault in his policies, his past actions in Chicago, his relatively short term in Senate as reasons to not vote for him, I can respect that. I may not like it, but I can respect it.
For those women who feel slighted by the fact that Hillary did not make it to the Nomination by the party, suck it up will you? Would you let your bitterness and misguided anger over her loss let you vote for a man who has no regard for women, who called his wife a trollop and cunt when she jokingly teased him over his thinning hairline? Some champion of women’s rights you’re behind now that Hillary is out of the running. To them I do say, Your Whiteness IS showing.
All of that rambling was to state clearly that I support Senator Obama, be it with my time, money or just my heart and ballot come 4 November but I do so with a clear head and cautious mind that while yes, WE CAN do it with Barack, he is still a mere human and fallible. He is still a politician and as such can promise us the moon, but we must hold him accountable for those promises. We as a people must ensure that we get substance along with his style and that we hold his feet to the fire to make the change he has promised a reality and not empty words uttered along the campaign trail.
Link stolen shamelessly from angelsscream
Denver, CO (AHN) – Sen. Barack Obama’s acceptance speech as he receives the nomination to serve as the Democratic party’s presidential candidate for 2008; delivered to the nation from Invesco Field at Mile High stadium in Denver, Colorado.
To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation; With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.
Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest – a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours — Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.
To the love of my life, our next First Lady, Michelle Obama, and to Sasha and Malia – I love you so much, and I’m so proud of all of you.
Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story – of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren’t well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.
It is that promise that has always set this country apart – that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.
That’s why I stand here tonight. Read more…
The thematic structure of the right-wing
smear campaign against Barack Obama
As the means of communication have evolved, presidential campaigns have grown increasingly multifaceted, with each election featuring layers of complexity that were not present four years before. The most striking feature of the 2008 election may be the sheer volume and variation of the attacks being directed at Sen. Barack Obama. Though they come from many sources, arrive through a variety of media, and cover a wide range of subjects, a close examination reveals a unified thematic structure to these attacks.
Text only version.
Click on each bubble for more information.
As has been extensively documented, many of the criticisms Obama has faced are based on outright falsehoods. The truth is that he is a Christian, not a Muslim; he was born in the United States; he doesn’t refuse to recite the Pledge of Allegiance; he wasn’t endorsed by Fidel Castro; and so on. Other attacks are outrageous distortions with a kernel of truth at their core.
The diagram below shows how the seemingly disconnected attacks on Obama all drive in a similar direction. Each begins with some aspect of Obama’s history, family, personal characteristics, or beliefs. The attack then moves to one of three broad themes: that Obama is a Muslim or somehow foreign; that he represents a black radicalism more at home in the 1960s than today; or that he is a liberal elitist with a radical, even socialist agenda.
Some of the attacks touch on two or even all three of these themes, which is why they are represented in a Venn diagram. But all the attacks ultimately point to the conclusion that Obama is “not one of us,” as the expression goes — not Christian, not white, not mainstream, not even American.
Just as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth unleashed on the public a dossier of lies about John Kerry in 2004, this new campaign is on a mission to spread misinformation about a presidential candidate. We call it “Swiftboating 2.0″ not only because it is the latest model of a political smear campaign, but also because it shares features of “Web 2.0″ sites like Facebook and MySpace: significant portions of the content are generated by ordinary people and are spread from peer to peer. Swiftboating 2.0 combines these new information pathways with traditional media — books from conservative publishers, right-wing radio, and conservative pundits and strategists on television — to spread the smears as widely as possible and force them into the mainstream media.
To understand the attacks on Obama, one must acknowledge that they operate together, as one coherent, thematically unified campaign: Swiftboating 2.0.
Excellent commentary on Faux news:
Lyrics are not safe for work!
The story from the Huffington Post on how he tried to deliver a petition to Fox with 600,000 signatures and they refused to see him
Text after the jump for the link phobic
Rapper Nas Delivers Fox News Petition, Says Network Is “Scared”
I don’t even have any words for this… this bullshit. Note to the The New Yorker…
You’re DOING IT REALLY FUCKING WRONG HERE!
To see what I’m so livid about, go to this article in the Tribune.
Obama campaign slams New Yorker cover
The art satirizes right-wing portrayals of the candidate, magazine says.
Via spot on LJ, Kung Fu Monkey hits the bullseye on the so-called ousting of Hillary Clinton, the misogyny of the race and the twisting of the meanings of race and misogyny in the context of this presidential race.
The post can be found here
Full text after the jump:
This is an old forum inquiry on the Tribunes’s Exploring Race forum. The link to the actual question post is MIA (probably too old to find online) but the comments are there.
Here’s a link to the comments.
So, tell me what do you think whites fear about blacks if anything? But for my own sanity, stop using that PC bullshit African American terminology.
LeBron James’ Vogue cover called racially insensitive
- The cover of Vogue’s April Shape Issue features Lebron James and Gisele Bundchen. (AP Photo / March 13, 2008)
- 10:57 AM CDT, March 25, 2008
|The Associated Press
NEW YORK – When Vogue announced its April cover starring LeBron James and Gisele Bundchen, the magazine noted with some fanfare that James was the first black man to grace its cover.
But the image is stirring up controversy, with some commentators decrying the photo as perpetuating racial stereotypes. James strikes what some see as a gorilla-like pose, baring his teeth, with one hand dribbling a ball and the other around Bundchen’s tiny waist.
It’s an image some have likened to “King Kong” and Fay Wray.
“It conjures up this idea of a dangerous black man,” said Tamara Walker, 29, of Philadelphia.
December 19, 2007
A white separatist group planning a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Jena, La., is suing the town, claiming officials are violating the Constitution by asking participants not to bring firearms, changing the parade route by one block and requiring the posting of a bond.
A white separatist group planning a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Jena, La., is suing the town, claiming officials are violating the Constitution by asking participants not to bring firearms, changing the parade route by one block and requiring the posting of a bond.
For anyone who may be a frat or soror at/alum of an HBCU. Any thoughts on this topic?
Diverse Web Chat
Please join us for an exciting Web chat discussion about the state of Black Greek Letter Organizations at 1 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Nov. 14. Read more…
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”).
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.”
Lauredhel posts about some breast surgery that isn’t breast surgery according to the docs who invented it.
2049live posted about the Twin Towers Alliance Interview [he's working on their site]
Karnythia posted some interesting thoughts about other IBARW posts she’s seen around the net
Angelsscream’s IBARW posts are all here
*All links will open in a new window
I’m almost done with this book, I highly recommend it to anyone who thinks that one person can’t make a difference. Doctor Maathai is an inspiration, and I’m glad I recieved this book. Makes a great gift too. Below is a review from Amazon that sums up what I’d like to say, but its much better written
A well written review from Amazon’s site:
Perseverance and hope, April 5, 2007
By Friederike Knabe (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) – See all my reviews
When Wangari Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, questions were raised regarding her choice by the Nobel Committee. Why should an environmentalist receive a prize that was identified with peace and human rights, voiced the critics. Reading Maathai’s memoir sets the record straight, and justifying her selection for the award. In this fascinating and very personal account, she paints a vivid picture of her life, embedded in the realities of Kenya before and since independence. Her experiences during the Moi regime, in particular, demonstrate the challenges a young educated woman confronted in the face of traditional prejudice as well as political oppression.
I just learned about a case of segregation-era oppression happening today in Jena, Louisiana. I signed onto ColorOfChange.org’s campaign for justice in Jena, and wanted to invite you to do the same.
Last fall in Jena, the day after two Black high school students sat beneath the “white tree” on their campus, nooses were hung from the tree. When the superintendent dismissed the nooses as a “prank,” more Black students sat under the tree in protest. The District Attorney then came to the school accompanied by the town’s police and demanded that the students end their protest, telling them, “I can be your best friend or your worst enemy… I can take away your lives with a stroke of my pen.”
How racism hurts — literally
FOUR YEARS AGO, researchers identified a surprising price for being a black woman in America. The study of 334 midlife women, published in the journal Health Psychology, examined links between different kinds of stress and risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Black women who pointed to racism as a source of stress in their lives, the researchers found, developed more plaque in their carotid arteries — an early sign of heart disease — than black women who didn’t. The difference was small but important — making the report the first to link hardening of the arteries to racial discrimination.
The study was just one in a fast-growing field of research documenting how racism literally hurts the body. More than 100 studies — most published since 2000 — now document the effects of racial discrimination on physical health. Some link blood pressure to recollected encounters with bigotry. Others record the cardiovascular reactions of volunteers subjected to racist imagery in a lab. Forthcoming research will even peek into the workings of the brain during exposure to racist provocations.
Scientists caution that the research is preliminary, and some of it is quite controversial, but they say the findings could profoundly change the way we look at both racism and health. It could unmask racism as a bona fide public health problem — just as reframing child abuse and marital violence as public health concerns transformed the way we thought about these ubiquitous but often secret sources of suffering. Read more…