My @C2E2 Schedule!

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April 21

You Have Died From Exposure: The Importance Of Compensating Geeky Marginalized Creators Jennifer Cross [M], Michi Trota, Suzanne Walker, Ariela Housman

“Do It for the Exposure!” “Aren’t you just grateful to have this opportunity?” Too often, marginalized creators are thrown these adages as compensation for their hard work and creativity in lieu of financial redress like their privileged counterparts. We will be discussing the importance of equal compensation for equal work, the benefit of outreach, and how it’s led to opening the geek culture markets for creators & consumers who don’t look like or think in “mainstream”.

April 22

 Behind The Parable And The Power: A Celebration Of The Black Women Creators Of The ‘Verse Jennifer Cross [M], Mikki Kendall, Keidra Chaney

The ladies from A Black Nerd Girl’s Journey and More Than Warriors And Weather Witches are back! This year, we’re going to celebrate the black women behind the pages and productions of our favorite stories from the ‘Verse. We will laud the history of their influence, analyze how far we still need to go, and hopefully hear from the audience how their favorite black women creators have inspired them to pursue their own geeky paths.

4:15 pm Room S405a

How to Twitch safely as a POC/LGBTQIA/Female ID’d Streamer with Brandon Stennis UGRGaming and Coco_The_Louder

5:15 pm Room S503

April 23 

Reblog, Retweet, Resist! Hashtag Movement and Fan Activism presented by Racebending.com with Gabriel Canada, Michi Trota, Mikki Kendall and me

1:30 pm Room S405b

I’m fed up

I thought about writing out my thoughts on all the killings and shootings of our people instead of a long thread of tweets. However, I’m not doing that for two reasons.

One) it’s like the second I talk about one person’s murder by cops, another occurs in hours if not days and it’s exhausting emotionally, physically to wake up to the same news, same situation, same cycle of victim blaming of the newly murdered and sympathy for the killer in blue.

Two) When I share my thoughts, my pain without fail someone takes it as some academic lesson, some object lesson on racism instead of hearing out their friends pain about another black life taken. They share it as a lesson to other white friends who don’t get it. My pain is not a soundbite, it’s not a handy lesson to pass around to show how woke you are.

It also happens without fail someone will whitesplain back what I’ve said or try to play devil’s advocate when I speak from my heart. That usually happens more on twitter than here but it’s irritating and hurtful that people who follow me would rather turn someone’s very real hurt into an academic circle jerk on whether the things I’ve said are valid because they don’t see it in their lives.

I’ve got filters upon filters on Facebook, and a private, locked twitter. That’s where I’ll be having a lot of these conversations or venting going forward because my pain over more black murders isn’t there for people who don’t get it and thank me for sharing on breath, yet continue to be clueless and hurtful in the next.

.@sammusmusic’s new EP Infusion is so damned important

Watch Sammus Music’s video below, then come back to this tab. Trust me, I have reasons.

 

This song is …it’s so fucking important to me. It’s about getting therapy, and as a black woman hearing this from another black woman, it made me sob when I heard her sing this at GX3. I’ve struggled, hell I still struggle with a lot of issues and I was afraid, discouraged from seeking help by my mother for so long.

It wasn’t until some friends spoke openly about therapy did I even consider it and then it still took me years to take that step. I needed it, absolutely, positively and it made a difference. Granted it wasn’t the lay on the couch and tell me your problems BS that some people think therapy is; nor was it group disclosure of our issues and whatnot but it was there and I got the help I needed. To be honest, I need to go back to therapy but as of this writing I don’t have a day job or resources to get low cost or free sessions. [that was not an invitation to send me recommendations in comments. I’ll take that info from people I know well and when I ask for them thanks.]

I digress, this post is about the love I have for Sammus’ music, her artistry and her words. She’s so powerful and I’m so glad I found her music via a friends podcast and I’ve never looked back since.

Another song, released on the same day Infusion was released is Mighty Morphing.

 

I’m not one thing.
I’m not two things.
No, I’m not three things.
I’m not four thing.
I am more things than I’m reporting,
So let’s not force it because I might be morphing

This song, it encapsulates so much of what I have felt as someone who doesn’t fit a lot of stereotypes of black culture; I’m not what people ‘expect’ as it were. Whatever the fuck that means, I feel weird even typing that out because what people expect black women to be is never accurate. We’re all so varied, with different interests, experiences, and lives. Just this song got under my skin, and soothed my heart because I wish this song was around when I was younger, hell even five, ten years younger.

I’m so glad Sammus is here and that she’s getting the recognition she deserves. I’m glad she’s making music for girls and women like us who love games, anime, who prosper even when others try and tell us when we don’t belong in these spaces that we’ve always been in and will not leave.

Thank you for 1080p, Mighty Morphing, Motherbrain, and all the music you’ve gifted us with Sammus.

For those of you reading this, please support her work, so she can continue to grace us with her words and wisdom. So other girls and women can see in 1080p without years of static keeping their vision sharp.

 

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.

Black is… black ain’t…

Black is beautiful, just so we are motherfucking CLEAR. Black ain’t “less desirable than other races”,

“inherently less attractive than other races”

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So… we are in the throes of yet ANOTHER online storm about black folks. Black women’s looks, black women’s bodies, black fathers and the old ass trope of omfg black folks are on the internet too!?! How about that has been dragged out and beaten again for what its worth. (A hint – Not much). I tried to be eloquent and wordsmithy, but you know what? Fuck it, I’m sick of being polite about people telling me how I should feel about how I look.

So many people have waxed eloquently on this topic that I’ll give you links and such… but for what my 0.02 is worth; I’m so fucking sick of being told that I’m not beautiful or attractive or worthy of love and affection because I’m “strong” or career focused or “the strength of the family.”. I’m really fucking sick of the idea that everyone gets a say in how I feel about myself as a black woman. I’m tired of everyone getting to hold up the brown paper bag to check my blackness, and worthiness of having a say in racial debates because I’m fair skinned and obviously “not really black.”

I’m tired of pseudo scientists speculating on the attractiveness of myself and the bounty of black women everywhere. Who the fuck decided that this guys opinion was worth anything to begin with? I don’t even know what an evolutionary psychologist is, do you? Someone explain what that means and then you’d better have a really, really good reason as to why some “evolutionary psychologist” gets a say on black bodies and beauty. I’ll be here, so when you get a clue, come holler at me. Until then, all these faux pop psychologists and arm chair thinkers can shut the fuck up about our bodies, our beauty and everything else in-between.

I leave you with some great articles and a repost of a lovely image snagged from the Angry Black Tumblr.

You Keep Saying Black Women are Ugly Worthless Whores and We Refuse to Believe you by Karnythia

Racialicious: Repeat Offender: Satoshi Kanazawa’s Other Greatest Misses

Angry Black Tumblr: The Article is now gone, but more thoughts

Angry Black Woman: Initial post on this article; noting original title was “Why are Black Women Ugly?”

ABW: Screencap of the article in question, after the title was changed.

In Honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day… “What Would Martin Do?”

In honor of today’s Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, I’m sharing the winning essay in the American’s for Democratic Action’s contest: What Would Luther Do? I’m pleased that the winning essay is by my good friend Joy E.

Remember, that even though Dr. King is immortalized for his “I Have a Dream” speech, Dr. King’s legacy is more than one speech, more than one action. Read Letters from a Birmingham Jail, and his other works. See the whole man, not an idealization remembered once a year for stirring words. Remember his actions, his humanity and most of all that the Dream he had is not yet realized, not so long after his assasination and we have a long way to go until it is realized.

To answer the question of How Long? The answer is still Too Long and a Long way to go…

First  Place – Joy E. of Chicago, Illinois

If Martin Luther King, Jr. could visit our country this January, he would see a nation much changed and yet the same. Imagine King catching a bus in downtown Montgomery. Perhaps he would select a seat in the front, next to someone tired from a long day’s work for little pay. Through the bus window, he might see dilapidated schools and foreclosed homes. If he were to open up a newspaper, he would read of another war with no end in sight. If King returned to this country of sweet promise and bitter disappointment, he would once again take up the struggle of the poor. King would organize against the interlocking evils of racism, militarism, and poverty. And he would invite us to join him.

In the 43 years since King’s death, we have not fulfilled his dream of equality. Poverty is rising. Health care is out of reach for too many Americans while our military budget grows. Ours is a political landscape that King understood all too well.

In his speech Beyond Vietnam, King decried the way the war on poverty was abandoned for the war on communism. Today we still choose fighter jets over unemployment benefits. The soldiers who fight and die in our army are still overwhelming our nation’s poor. If he were here today, King would say again, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

King cried out for the poor of Vietnam recounting American’s role in their history. “We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village,” he said. “We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon.” Today, King would similarly mourn the poor people killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. He would point out that we once supported the Taliban, the mujaheddin, and Saddam Hussein – over the protests of Iraqis and Afghanis. We remain the enemy of the poor in Iraq and Afghanistan and everywhere our government supports the rights of corporations over the rights of poor people.

King wrote, “I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values…When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” But that world revolution is still alive today and brings hope even to our country.

In Iraq, Afghanistan, America, and around the world, millions of poor people are building a nonviolent movement for a peaceful, just future. We should not need to Dr. King to entreat us to join the right side of the world revolution. The poor are calling us to join them. Just as King heeded their call, may we see their cause as ours.

Repost of: Navigating Through this Post Racial Society; via Neo_Prodigy on LJ

Reposting from Neo_Prodigy on LJ.

Navigating Through This Post-Racial Society

Neo_Prodigy once again nails something on the head so hard it howled for mercy that has been milling around in my head regarding the reaction to Lebron’s leaving Cleveland and how Lebron’s non-decision overshadowed the news of the cop that was convicted of the lowest possible charge in the murder of Oscar Grant.

Long post is long but worth every damn word and graphic within.

Where Oscar Grant Meets Lebron James

This post shares some cold hard fundamental truths about this society.

Two black brothers with two very different stories, yet the underlying message of “white people own, operate, execute, and enforce this shit” could not be clearer. In the same country where video evidence of a white police officer murdering a black civilian can result in an involuntary manslaughter conviction, is it really any surprise that a white (basketball) owner feels so entitled to a player’s black body that he would resort to name calling and tantrums?

The days of literally owning our bodies are over, but the remnants of our time under white supremacy linger. Dan Gilbert’s bitchfit over losing his most prized possession, while excellent fodder for late night talk show hosts and bloggers, is nothing compared to the pain Grant’s family and our community experiences as we add another name to the ever-growing list of brothers and sisters slaughtered by those ordered to protect and serve. Malcolm X’s words are still new: “You don’t stick a knife in a man’s back nine inches and then pull it out six inches and say you’re making progress.”

It also reiterates a point “afro_dyte” made in the past: that the unquestioned assumption that a Black person’s body, a Black person’s space, a Black person’s time (or other POCs for that matter), has no innate value (save the value White people give it), which makes it impossible to violate.

This also puts in perspective some wank I endured online a few years back. A few years back I spoke out on offensive tropes concerning gay men and demanding better on a writing forum and a condescending white woman rolled on to my blog and made with the trolling. After asking her to leave and then being forced to ban her, I found out later that she made some friends-locked post and all of her buddies came over and began flaming my blog. After tearing each and everyone of them a new asshole, they pulled some Rosewood shit in crying that the Negro Savage was being meeeeeeeeeeean to the poor innocent white woman. And what was interesting was when I called them out on how wrong they were for flaming my blog, my personal space in the first gawd damn place, they acted nonplussed because I was getting all “uppity.”

More than the usual sense of entitlement, ignorance, arrogance, and just grade-A bitchassness, there was something about that whole troll situation that got under my skin and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what it was. While I dealt with trolls before this was unsettling. A bunch of white folks acted under the assumption that a POC’s space and time had no value save what they gave it and therefore they felt completely justified. IE, in spite of the fact they were wrong about the whole argument and situation, in all their white privilege, they felt entitled to roll into my home unannounced, unwelcomed, take a steaming shit in the middle of my living room and get outraged because I refused to wipe their asses.

And then they wonder why the Negro savage gets all Negro and savage.

Mel Gibson’s Racist Rant

And clearly someone’s Nazi ass didn’t learn his lesson from last time.

White Peepul: The Following Video Is A Surefire Way To Wind Up On The Back Of A Milk Carton”

A couple of points:

1. There IS a difference between being accused of being a racist and committing a racist act.

2. Being called on racist activity IS NOT more offensive than the act itself.

3. Just because you aren’t intentionally doing something racist or bigoted out of malice or hate DOES NOT mean that your actions aren’t racist, hurtful and destructive. Intent does matter but only so far as whether or not I’ll forgive you and try to educate you or whether I just throw up my arms and walk away shaking my head, less I risk catching another assault charge.

4. Just because you say something bigoted in a polite or diplomatic manner does not negate the fact that you are saying something bigoted. Too many times I’ve seen folks pull this shit. Whether you’re screaming “Fuck you nigger!”, “Faggot!” or justifying institutional oppression with “The police are well within their rights to racially profile blacks and Latinos because numbers show they’re the only ones committing crimes” or “Publishers/Media Execs are totally justified in whitewashing or making with the gay erasure because they don’t generate sales and it’s all about numbers,” you’re still saying something bigoted (and for that matter inaccurate) and others are well within their rights to get outraged and call you out on it. And speaking of calling out, that’s right Scans Daily, I’m looking at you, yet again.

5. When you do say bigoted shit, you don’t get to get mad or dictate the terms of the discussion or police people’s reactions because someone is outraged over something bigoted you said.

As a friend of mine once stated, “When it comes to race, a lot of people (including people of color) assume – if not outright state – that White is a lack of race, an empty ethnicity, the default, normal, invisible. As a result, when it comes to matters of race, Whiteness becomes impartial, objective, unbiased, rational, common sense. I’m sure you can imagine how this plays out in racial discourse. Whiteness is positioned as true and therefore right. Of course, no one thinks that consciously (duh!), but it often comes out in how, in a weird sort of way, White people seem to act like they’re only White when the topic of discussion is racism and not every waking moment of their lives. And this confuses the shit out of me because that’s like a straight person acting like they’re only heterosexual when the issue of gay marriage crops up. Or a man acting like the only time he notices gender is when people bring up sexism. To which the only prudent response is to disengage before the intensity of delusion makes your head explode.”

Lost In Translation

H/T to heavenscalyx for the following:

Addendum: In the second panel in the top right, the other more prominent translation is- All my friends are white. All the men I fuck are Black. But the only men I even remotely consider for a serious meaningful relationship are white.

heavenscalyx also recently made some excellent points on Racefail that I think eloquently sums up a lot of what we’re witnessing:

What none of my fellow People of Pallor seem willing to suggest out loud (so, of course, I’m going to do it) is that it’s probably no coincidence that RaceFail has happened so vividly in the post-Obama-election world.

Because, really, isn’t it the same fundamental fear that motivates the Tea Baggers and the Birthers and even the various extreme white supremacist groups that causes all these white folks to drop their pants on the Internet?

Fear takes the filters down. Fear makes even reasonable people unreasonable. Add extra fear — the fear that they really haven’t come so very far after all — in the hearts of white people who consider themselves broad minded liberals, or at the very least, educated and “color blind”, and the filters really come a-tumblin’ down to let out all the defensiveness to cover the shame and embarrassment.

Because I have no doubt that on some level, people are ashamed to realize that there’s a corner of their minds that doesn’t believe that “all men are created equal.” They push that knowledge down, cover it up with stuff, and hope no one notices this pile of ugly baggage in the corner.

This artificial Fear of the Other is programmed into us by our society and culture — that’s what institutionalized racism (and sexism and homophobia) IS, after all: the fear that the oppressed people will do to the privileged folk just what the privileged folk have done to them. It is, I daresay, practically impossible to excise. Further, I believe that there isn’t a person in this country who is without it, no matter what they may claim.

The only way to beat the Fear of the Other and all its horrible, devastating consequences is to be aware of it, to pay attention to it, and fight it by not letting it win, by consciously trying to keep it from getting its sticky little tentacles into less formed minds, and by keeping a constant monitor on our interactions with others.

Originally posted on tanyad @Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment here, or there

On the anniversary of Michael Jackson’s passing…

I wrote this note last year when Michael Jackson passed and instead of trying to come up with something else, I think this still stands, and for those of you that weren’t fans, didn’t like his music that’s fine. No need to disrespect those that are fans and who still mourn the loss of their idol.

I caught snippets of the memorial online yesterday because the feed kept crashing out on me. I thought it was touching and heartfelt from those people who knew and loved him as friends & family. Like I said before I haven’t been a huge fan since his last major hits and while I remember his glory days… and the days of being accused of molesting those kids…

I took a step back and thought about the fact that no matter what I think of the man, he was still someone’s father, brother & son before he was a musical icon. He has a family that will mourn him in private once the media circus abates and once he is laid to rest. I do think its rather poor form to spew such vitriol upon the man’s memory before he’s even buried or a cause of death is determined.

For those folks that hated him because of his conviction in the kangaroo court of public opinion, that’s your prerogative and your belief. I never made up my mind because I never knew the man, my opinion doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things and I didn’t want to add my voice to the millions decrying him and what he was accused of because none of us really knew what happened in his life, or to him as he grew up.

None of the people who fall on either side of adoration or condemnation ever knew Mr. Jackson, and even if they did none of us lived through what he lived through. None of us ordinary folks know the pain and tribulation of being a child star and the toll it must take on someone thrust into the spotlight at such a young age. These same people who are so quick to say HE DID IT! or HE’S INNOCENT will never know, and can never understand what this man endured for his 50 years on this planet.

There’s always going to be speculation, media prying into his life, his estate, the lives of the Jackson family and his children. There’s always going to be the pundits who stand about and shout from the rooftops about this sick, perverted man or the musical genius that he was. But at the end of the day, another human being’s light has been snuffed out too soon, another family has lost a member and three children are without their father. That is what I want people to think about before they are so fast to condemn the legacy of a musical icon, an enigma and someone that no one ever seemed to understand in life, let alone in death.

Fat shaming and concern trolling in Why are black women so big?

So there is an article out there called Why are Black women so Big!? The author of this little gem wrote a piss poor piece, basically saying all black women are fat asses that simply eat too much. She does not take into account the various factors of weight gain, and the struggle to lose the weight. Initially the picture that accompanied the article was Eddie Murphy in a fat black woman suit, in Norbit.

I called this out, in the following comment:

You know, the fact that you used a picture of a man in a black woman fat suit as some caricature and lame attempt at sensationalism immediately invalidated any point you thought you were making. The next time you decide to fat shame and concern troll, actually find a picture of a fat black woman to make your point.

Oh, that’s right you really didn’t have one to begin with so you used lazy writing to get people’s attention to a shoddily written “article” and then began the bashing. Next time, try some actual writing instead of trotting out the same old tropes used to shame women into being, or damn near killing themselves trying to become the “ideal”.

I go back to the article later and the photo has been changed to a photo of Jill Scott in Why did I get Married?  The fact that the author of this “article” changed the picture without so much as an acknowledgment of her invalid attempt at caricaturization of fat black women into a cartoon villain, something to be feared possibly and definitely made fun of I could have at least given the article a once over without the side-eye. Instead, anything this person could have said fell on deaf ears, her feeble attempt at a point lost in the winds of lazy writing and sensationalism. I looked over the comments, now totaling over 350 and I was appalled that the author was resorting to attacking people in comments, further destroying any shred of credibility she could have had.

I found the following response to many of the comments by the editor of this online publication, the FreshXpress. Editor Sean Walton Jr. puts forth the following statement:

I posted this on Twitter earlier:

“No disrespect was intended… it was one writer’s opinion and attempt to start a conversation on a subject that does warrant attention. We’re a community built upon a foundation of open dialogue and debate. The thoughts expressed represent thought in the community. While we dont take a stance on too many topics as a website, our writers do. Through the dialogue sparked, we hope to promote understanding. So no disrespect was intended, and hopefully the resulting conversation was productive and people grow from the discourse. We’re not into too much censorship. You can censor the message, but that doesn’t stop people from thinking the way they do. We’d rather tackle the topic head on, and see what comes from it.”

That being said the author had an opinion she wanted to share with her community, and get your thoughts on it as well. While her opinion was not well received, she articulated her view and why she felt that way. Was it “well-written and thought out”, etc.? That is for you to decide (as many of you already have). What is “well-written”? An article written at a level where only graduate school educated folks can read? Or an article written where everyone can understand her message, read through it, and provide feedback? Point being its all relative.

The bottom line is that our thoughts in the black community are diverse, as are our approaches to expressing those thoughts. You may not like the author’s approach to tackling this subject, nor her words used, nor her message. But that doesn’t stop her from feeling the way she does, and clearly there are many others who feel the way that she does. To NOT post this article, which was not blatantly offensive on the surface, would be to censor true thoughts and feelings in our community. But to post it… thats tackling the issue head on, bringing the debate to your face, in all its uncomfortable glory, and allowing you to “school” the author (and commenters) on your perspective, and hopefully everyone can grow from the entire process. If nothing else, you at least understand how other people feel. Because the reality is that clearly some people do feel this way.

To say we’re “better than this post” is appreciated, and duly noted as we continue to grow as a publication. At the same time, it alludes to us being “better” than the author’s opinion, and thats just not the case. For all we know, her opinion could be the majority in her community, amongst her friends, or even in our community as a whole. The fact remains that only an elite few actually speak out and voice how they feel. So the 100+ commenters on this blog who disagreed with it… for all we know there were 500 people who agreed. And maybe 300 of them had their opinions changed by the resulting conversation. Or maybe they didn’t. We don’t know. But what we do know is that while this post may have been very uncomfortable it forced us to address issues that wouldn’t have been previously addressed and discussed on this level, whether it be the problem of obesity in the black community, the lack of empathy we hold on issues affecting each other, or just the general attitudes we bring to each other.

Avoid it if you want to. But the author and people who feel like the author aren’t going anywhere unless we confront these beliefs and discuss them head on. Or, you can refrain from it. Either way, if we’re not an open forum and community (both as an online community and black community in general) we’re not doing each other any favors.

I left the following in response to his comment above. I think I’m done with this conversation, as it’s gaining me nothing and just aggravating the hell out of me after a long day of work. As Karnythia often warns, don’t read the comments! You’ll just get angry.

You know, if the article had been written higher than a 5th grade reading level, and if the author had not used a caricature of “the fat black woman” by using a picture of Eddie Murphy in a fat suit, I could have possibly taken her article seriously. If the author had not responded to comments in such a base and ghetto way, insulting women, calling them hippos etc then perhaps her article could have been taken seriously.

Any author postulating that ALL FAT BLACK WOMEN ARE THAT WAY BECAUSE THEY OVEREAT apparently  failed to pay attention in the community, to the fact that many folks are obese because good food costs money and often in our communities we can access the liquor store, Walgreens and fast food before we can access grocery stores, and are able to learn healthy eating habits.

There are many factors as to why women are obese. It’s lazy writing to point fingers, shame women and drop every single fat black woman into the bucket of you’re a lazy cow that over eats. This publication does not service the community by promoting articles like this that read more like a slam letter because the author had a bad day, is mad at someone or they just didn’t feel like doing the research required to cover this topic.

It pains me to see anyone get paid to write such drivel, and for the publication to instead of copping to its mistake, defend the authors lackadaisical writing and tell people that this issue won’t go away. Trust me, as one of the women the author oh so eloquently calls a “hippo”, I know I’m fat and I also know what I can do to change that, and it’s not as simple as putting down the chicken leg and going for a walk. That sounds like the privileged knucklehead I had the misfortune of taking a class with last year who kept spouting such idiocy, but they were barely 20 and hadn’t really been out in the world so I could forgive them more easily than I could forgive the author of this “article”.

In closing, I think its pretty telling that the author changed the photo associated with this “article” but does not even acknowledge that she’s done so. Good luck to this publication, as it seems you’re going to need it with such quality authors on your staff.

My smiles are not for you, random man on the street

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.

On Caster Semenya… (xposted from my LJ)

As usual has Karnythia has written this topic up much better than I can but I had to get my two cents worth out there…I’ve not said a lot about Caster Semenya and her treatment by those who apparently couldn’t lose gracefully but attacked her “questionable” gender because she beat other runners in the 800M category. Apparently because she looks “mannish” the losing coaches decided to contest whether or not Caster is even female, and she was subjected to Gender Testing. Mostly because I couldn’t believe that in this day and age a young lady would be subjected to such testing because she was too good.

I admit my ignorance about such things, and I didn’t even know athletes could be forced to undergo such testing if a competitor coach/trainer/other sports folks demand it. Besides the fact that its humiliating to have your gender puzzled over in a public forum, this has now become an international media circus that has thrust a young woman into the public spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Instead of being celebrated for her performance, she has been mocked, derided and stripped of the dignity all people deserve by having her medical issues trotted out for the world to see.

I don’t care if Caster is cisgendered, intersexed or whatever she feels the need to call herself, but being forced to prove she’s female to satisfy a sore loser’s ego is wrong, wrong, beyond wrong. She is not public property to be examined to everyone’s satisfaction. She is being treated as Sara Baartman was back in the days of slavery. Baartman or Hottentot Venus as she was also known was treated as a literal specimen and freak show by those who could not believe that she was human because of her differences from Europeans of the time.

I feel that Caster is being treated to the same freak show mentality of an overly-curious public that seems to think they have a right to know her medical history and how dare she keep such things from the public. News flash, no one has a right to know about your medical history and splash it all over the news, or even spread it as idle gossip with friends and family.

What really took this over the edge for me is that Caster was not informed of the results of the tests before it was leaked to the media. Let give you that one more again; Caster was NOT INFORMED OF THE RESULTS BEFORE IT WAS LEAKED TO THE MEDIA. Someone’s fucking greed and treatment of another human being as a curiosity was more important than medical confidentiality.

Now Caster is under a suicide watch and if this young lady kills herself, her blood will be on the hands of everyone involved in this debacle. Especially the greedy, heartless bastards that leaked her results before she was informed of them.

For those who want to support Caster and send words of encouragement, you can contact her via one of the agencies below: (list courtesy of LJ Community Blackfolk )

Women’s National Coalition
E-mail: women@womensnet.org.za
Tel: +27 (0) 11 429-0000/1
Fax: +27 (0) 11 838-9871
Postal address: P O Box 62577, MARSHALLTOWN, 2107
Physical address: 31 Queen Street, Newtown, JOHANNESBURG
2001

Women’sNet
Physical Address: 31 Quinn Street, Newtown Johannesburg, South Africa
Postal Address: PO Box 62577, Marshalltown, 2107
Phone number: +27 11 429-0000
Fax: +27 11 838-9871
Email:women@womensnet.org.za

Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa
Queen & Vermeulen Street, No. 66 Regent Place Building, Pretoria, 0001
Pretoria
South Africa
Telephone: (012) 304-5199
Fax: 086 535 1477

U.N. – Division for the Advancement of Women
Address: 2 UN Plaza, DC2-12th Floor, New York, NY 10017, USA
Fax: +1-212-963-3463
Email: daw@un.org
Website: http://www.un.org/daw

Gender DynamiX South Africa
info@genderdynamix.org.za
+27 21 6335287

Gender DynamiX
Saartjie Baartman Centre
Klipfontein Road
Athlone

Postal Address
PO Box 347
Athlone
7760
South Africa

Intersex SOUTH AFRICA
PO Box 12992
Mowbray 7705
Cape Town, South Africa
Tel: +27-(0)21-447 6290
Email: coordinator “at” intersex.org.za

For those that want to make their displeasure known:

International Association of Athletics Federations
17 rue Princesse Florestine
BP 359
MC98007 Monaco
Tel: (+377) 93 10 8888
Fax: (+377) 93 15 9515

International Olympic Committee
Château de Vidy
1007 Lausanne
Switzerland
Tel : (41.21) 621 61 11
Fax : (41.21) 621 62 16

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?

*~*~* wild unicorn herd check in: “If you identify as a POC/nonwhite person and you read or watch scifi or fantasy, give yourself a name check in this thread.

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!

Promotion Post – Verb Noire

**DISCLAIMER: THIS POST IS NOT AN INVITATION TO POST YOUR THOUGHTS ON RACE FAIL 09. WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT? GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND**

As some of you who have been following RaceFail 09′ know… one good thing has surfaced from this fiasco. [info]verb_noire is a new press started by [info]karnythia & [info]thewayoftheid. Those of you on my f-list that would consider submitting works, the submission guidelines will be up this week.

The mission statement is:

To celebrate the works of talented, underrepresented authors and deliver them to a readership that demands more.

What does that mean? That if you’re a talented writer with an awesome, original story about a POC girl/guy/transgendered character, there is a place for you. And that if you’re a sci-fi/fantasy fan who has grown tired of the constant whitewashing of these genres, there is a place for you, too.

Now that isn’t to say that we will accept ANY ol’ manuscript as long as it features a POC protagonist, because we will NOT. What we’re looking for is quality, soul and PASSION, something that will resonate with readers for years to come.

“Everyone has a story.” These words have driven my professional career for the last decade. These words are also the driving force behind this project, because I believe that EVERYONE has at least one good story in them, and that story demands to be shared with the world.

The rough part, of course, will be funding. In the next few days, you will be seeing a crazy amount of “Donate” buttons on the sites of friends, family and other folks down for the cause. Please click on them and spread the word, if you’re so inclined. 🙂

Other folks are promoting Verb all over the place and I want to add to the voices saying hey you! Awesome writer who thinks your voice will never be heard? Come here, check this out and submit your work to folks who won’t try to mainstream it into a shadow of itself.

[info]telesilla is also promoting [info]verb_noire at this post Go read it!

And even though they have surpassed their fund raising goal, it will keep money to keep this venture afloat and viable. So please if you can: A donation button is at Verb Noire

A note to those who want to claim.. but I didn’t know it was racist!

racism-101-for-cartoonists

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?

We did it, we did, we did. Thoughts on watching history unfold…

I’m so proud right now. So damn proud of our country, it’s people and of our new President. Yes, it was so good to hear “Do you, Barack HUSSEIN Obama …” and not have them skirt the issue of his middle name. It was good to hear him swear his oath to this country and it’s people. Hell, I’m not going to lie, I’m ecstatic that we are seeing the beginning of a new era today and ending 8 years of oppression based on lies, fear mongering and hate.

Now, the party will go on for a couple of days and we’ll all revel in a new era. However, the real work needs to be started. It needs to begin and continue with the people who mobilized to put President Obama in the Oval Office. This work does not rest solely on his shoulders or Vice President Bidens’ but on every single person in this country.

Whether you voted for him or not, President Obama is now our leader. I would hope that those of you that spent so much time hating, disbelieving and being obstinate in your views of this man, his ideals and the ideals of the party he is with can put aside that hatred to achieve the greater good. Which is restoring this country to the great nation it once was. I’m not saying the US is down for the count now, but we’re going to need some crutches for a while.

I ask those of you who are on the “other side of the aisle” to put down your animosity, your vitriol and join with your brothers and sisters in rejoicing today, and every day that we are starting with a new administration. One that says here, this is what I did today… that says I need you, the people to help me get to the mountain top.

If you cannot do that, it’s your loss and I honestly feel sorry for you. This nation was not built on the ideals that party loyalty means lack of patriotism or less love for this country because we don’t share the same ideals or values. We are all American’s and we all must work to redeem this country in the eyes of each and every person who has suffered, each person lost to war, hate, lack of money, education, poverty … the list goes on.

I do not come to admonish those who do not join me in cheering our new leadership, I come to offer the olive branch of our common humanity and ask you to join me in working together for a better day, month and years to come.

I’m off to celebrate more watch the parade and I hope you can do so with joy in your heart and hope for our future.

Context for those people offended at Dr. Lowry’s comments during benediction

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 inaugural benediction as given by Reverend Lowry

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.

AUDIENCE: Amen!
REV. LOWERY: Say amen —
AUDIENCE: Amen!
REV. LOWERY: — and amen.
AUDIENCE: Amen! (Cheers, applause.)
END.

President Obama’s Inaugural speech 20 January 2009

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama, with First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha at his side, acknowledges the crowd after being sworn in as the country’s 44th President. (Tribune photo by Terrence Antonio James / January 20, 2009)

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often, the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land–a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today, I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America–they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit, to choose our better history, to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted–for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things–some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions–that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act–not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions–who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them–that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works–whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account–to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day–because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control–and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart–not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: Know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort–even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus–and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West–know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment–a moment that will define a generation–it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends–honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism–these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility–a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence–the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed–why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to [the] future world … that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive … that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet” it.

America: In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

MLK on the possibility of a black president

Thorswitch has an excellent post on Dr. King’s vision for a black president that aired on the BBC.

From the Orlando Sentinel:

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. predicted the United States would have a black president, but his timing was a bit off. He saw the milestone coming a lot sooner.

You can see a clip of King’s prediction on “BBC World News America” at 7 tonight.

King talked to the BBC‘s Bob McKenzie in 1964. McKenzie asked:

Robert Kennedy, when he was attorney general, said that he could imagine the possibility of a Negro President in the United States within perhaps 40 years. Do you think this is at all realistic?”

King said: “Well, let me say first that I think it is necessary to make it clear that there are Negroes who are presently qualified to be president of the United States. There are many who are qualified in terms of integrity, in terms of vision, in terms of leadership ability. But we do know that there are certain problems and prejudices and mores in our society which make it difficult now. However, I am very optimistic about the future. Frankly, I have seen certain changes in the United States over the last two years that surprise me. I’ve seen levels of compliance with the Civil Rights Bill and changes that have been most surprising. So, on the basis of this, I think we may be able to get a Negro president in less than 40 years. I would think that this could come in 25 years or less.”

While MLK was a bit more optimistic than RFK, given the state of race relations in America at the time, I find it a bit surprising that they would have thought an African-American could become President in such a relatively short period of time. Personally, I didn’t think I’d live to see it happen – though I’m as happy as I can be that I am, especially since it’s a man I think has the potential to be an excellent president (and not just in comparison to Bush – that’s a benchmark just about anyone with a pulse could clear.)

I’m finding myself, tonight, feeling like I’m holding my breath. There’s no doubt that there are any number of miscreants and – to borrow a phrase – “evildoers” who do not want to see “President Obama” become a reality, and while I don’t think anything will actually happen, there’s still a part of me that’s concerned that someone may try to disrupt the proceedings or – worse – assassinate Obama.

It’s a bit like it was when the calendar changed over to 2000 – so much worry over whether the computers of the world would keep working or not, yet when the day came – I think largely due to the fact that there’d been so much concern expressed about the possible problems and people took the time to try to prevent them – really, nothing happened. And that was pretty much what I expected – I had a bit of doubt, but no serious worries that anything major would go wrong. I seem to be in much of the same mindframe for tomorrow – that the knowledge that someone, somewhere is going to at the very least WANT to try something – will have prompted the Secret Service, FBI, DC police and/or whomever else might be of assistance to have the absolute best security plan in place and have been working to track down any threats they may have become aware of – so that when the time comes, our new President will be safe, the inauguration will happen without trouble, and we can finally start moving out of the shadow we’ve been under for the last 8 years.

Tonight, though, all I can do is ask that Odin, Thor, Frejya, Tyr and the rest of the Aesir and Vanir will place Obama under their protection, give him the strength, the wisdom and the sense of justice he’ll need in the coming years, to be the great leader he has the potential to be.

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I have a dream… and this year it’s coming true

mlk09

I usually give a nod to Dr. King for all of his achievements and place in history… but this year is special to me. Special for the fact that tomorrow instead of another Dream Deferred, we get to see a Dream Realized by so many people.

I wrote before on waking up after election day to realize that yes, we did and it wasn’t a mere dream. I repeat this sentiment today as I see the excitement mounting in DC, hear from friends who are there to bear witness to history in the making.

I’m sure that pundits all over are readying speeches, remarks and such linking today’s holiday and the history en route tomorrow as President Elect Obama becomes President Obama. I’m sure other folks more skilled with a digital pen and wordsmithing will wax rhapsodic on 20 January 2009 for ages to come but for me, I’m pleased to see the dream realized; to see a man rise from the roots of his community to the top most branch of the government he has served for so long.

I salute you Dr. King for all you have done, for laying down the foundation for President Obama to step up tomorrow and start fulfilling the promises laid on the campaign trail, to the people and to his daughters and other children of this nation that will live with the legacy of his presidency be it great or failure.

President Obama, once you have sworn the oath and stepped into the oval office… I charge you to remember and honor those of us who helped you get there. Those of us who called, campaigned, helped you hurdle over road blocks to get to the new address you’re taking up tomorrow.

We the people see you, and are waiting to see what you can do for this great country and we hope that you can continue to keep the dream and hope alive while reminding us that Yes, we can every day you are in office.

Cheers Mr. President, now get to work!

Is racism dead?

The Chicago Red Eye asked if Racism is Dead today. I don’t know what news they have been reading, or what world they have found themselves in, but after reading the following stories I’d have to answer them with fuck no Racism IS alive and fucking well in this “post-racial” America.

First is the story of the guy gunned down in a BART station by a police officer. Then the officer just fucking resigns rather than face the investigation into his actions. To add insult to injury, BART officials apologize a week later and are sorry. Now, Oakland residents are rioting because of the shooting of this young man.

Then there is the story of Robbie Tolan, who was shot by a police officer who didn’t identify himself and claimed Tolan and his cousin had stolen his own car. The officer roughed up Tolan’s mother when she came out to check on the commotion. He had just signed a minor league contract and is the son of Bobby Tolan and was scheduled to start camp soon. Instead, he’s in the hospital with a bullet in his liver and his career is over before it had a chance to begin. The Houston police claim there was no racial profiling in this case, but why the fuck would they accuse a man, who’s standing in his own driveway, unarmed of stealing his own car and pull their gun on them?

Hmm, when you live in an affluent suburb, you are well off and you don’t fit the profile of the neighborhood that’s why. Even if the car was stolen, there was no need to shoot an unarmed man … it seems like the police don’t even give a fuck any more. They are shooting first and asking questions later.

Post-racial era my ass.

An open letter to white activists, re: Proposition 8

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.

[info]sparkymonster: Brown People Did Not Pass Prop. 8

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.

Racialicious roundtable on Proposition 8

More links at Alas, A Blog

And as [info]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 [info]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. [info]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.

YES, WE DID!

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.

On why I’ve never been able to support McCain/Palin & chose Obama/Biden

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.

Anyone who thinks racism is dead needs to wake up.

Inland GOP mailing depicts Obama’s face on food stamp

08:54 PM PDT on Wednesday, October 15, 2008

By MICHELLE DeARMOND
The Press-Enterprise
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.

Special to The Press-Enterprise
An Inland Republican women’s group sent out a newsletter showing this fake $10 “food stamp” with Barack Obama’s face on it.

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

Race & Politics herein, read and comment at your own peril

Warning – hateful image at the head of this & linked post, in case it would bother anyone

A thoughtful post on a hateful image done by a McCain supporter by karnythia

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:

Is she just that clueless? Wait, I just answered my own question

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:
Continue reading “Is she just that clueless? Wait, I just answered my own question”

My thougts on the election… Senator Obama, history

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.

Text of Obama’s Nomination acceptance speech

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. Continue reading “Text of Obama’s Nomination acceptance speech”

Rightwing Swiftboating v2.0 – or let’s derail Obama 08′

Media Matters has found the Obama swiftboating strategem

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.

Swiftboating

Swiftboating

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.

Sly Fox by Nas… best commentary on Faux news I’ve seen in a while

Excellent commentary on Faux news:

Lyrics are not safe for work!

For context:
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”

Continue reading “Sly Fox by Nas… best commentary on Faux news I’ve seen in a while”

Hey New Yorker, it’s called Doing it WRONG

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.

Continue reading “Hey New Yorker, it’s called Doing it WRONG”

Ask not what your country can do for you… via Kung Fu Monkey

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:

Continue reading “Ask not what your country can do for you… via Kung Fu Monkey”

What do whites fear about blacks?

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.

Is this racially insensitive? Evocative of the animalistic oversexed black man?

  • LeBron James’ Vogue cover called racially insensitive

  • Vogue's April Shape Issue
  • The cover of Vogue’s April Shape Issue features Lebron James and Gisele Bundchen. (AP Photo / March 13, 2008)
  • |The Associated Press

    10:57 AM CDT, March 25, 2008

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.

“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.” Sen. Obama’s speech

I havent had a chance to watch his speech yet, but I am impressed by the text that I’ve read. I’m saddened by those who would demean his great words and twist them into a parody of hatred and classicism that isnt even mentioned in this speech. I think no matter the results of this election, this speech will be remembered as other great oratories of our history are now oft repeated and used to teach lessons to those of us who will listen.

I hope that the politics of hate will cease and that this election can be salvaged before we wind up with another 4 years of fear mongering.

“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.”
Continue reading ““We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.” Sen. Obama’s speech”

Bloggers for Obama! – Editorial by Karnythia

A great place for well thought out, interesting and thought provoking blog posts concerning Senator Barack Obama. Good stuff! Go read I say.

Bloggers for Obama

Good stuff, I snagged the link from comments in a thread at Karnythia’s LJ and here’s the article that Bloggers for Obama linked to that Karnythia wrote:

Karnythia’s Editoria

Full Article below:

Racism in my feminism? You don’t say… 
By Karnythia

Hillary Clinton: Bow to the man, and take the vice presidency. Let our country heal. You will run in eight years and be unstoppable as a visionary world leader. You must pass through this filter first though: bow to the man.

Now, I’ll bet reading that made you want to reach for a hammer right? You’re thinking “What kind of sexist BS is this?” and possibly questioning my sanity. You’re right. It is sexist and I would sound insane if I were typing something like this with any serious intentions behind it. Of course it would be even more ludicrous if this was actually being widely disseminated and had people agreeing with it, but that’ll never happen right? Right. Except…something like it is being disseminated and people are agreeing with it. The message is a little different though. It actually reads

Barack Obama: Bow to the woman, and take the vice presidency. Let our country heal. You will run in eight years and be unstoppable as a visionary world leader. You must pass through this filter first though: bow to the woman.

Continue reading “Bloggers for Obama! – Editorial by Karnythia”

Richard Wright’s Native Son – Discussion

 Native Son (Paperback Ed.)

I’m reading Richard Wright’s Native Son for our quarterly book club at Uni. We’ve had one meeting so far and it was pretty good. We touched on topis such as Bigger’s lack of emotion, sense of responsibility, the way he lives in a dream world where everyone has all the stuff whites do. Or rather where he has all of the things that whites do, there’s no mother or sister who is harassing him to take a relief job, and there’s no one to keep him down. The fight he gets into with Gus when they are “late” for their planned robbery etc…

We meet again in a couple weeks, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the discussion. If you’ve read the book, what are your thoughts on it?

White supremacist group sues Jena, NO

December 19, 2007

 

White Separatist Group Sues Town of Jena, La., Over Parade Rules

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.

Continue reading “White supremacist group sues Jena, NO”

Webchat on Black Greek life… is it still relevant?

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. Continue reading “Webchat on Black Greek life… is it still relevant?”

I can’t believe this article…

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”).

Continue reading “I can’t believe this article…”

From today’s Diverse Issues in Higher Education – Jena6 Protests & more…

From Diverse Online
Current News
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.”


 Continue reading "From today’s Diverse Issues in Higher Education – Jena6 Protests & more…" 

In lieu of real content some linkage for you peeps

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]

KittieKattie posted an excellent essay on that one black kid and Overt Racism being less than a generation away

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

Recommended reading – Unbowed by Wangari Maathai

Unbowed_Wangarri Maathai hardcover

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
(REAL NAME)
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.
Continue reading “Recommended reading – Unbowed by Wangari Maathai”

Take action on this… swiped from LJ comm on race issues

Dear friend,

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.

http://www.colorofchange.org/jena/?id=1748-211171

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.”

Continue reading “Take action on this… swiped from LJ comm on race issues”

How racism hurts… literally?

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. Continue reading “How racism hurts… literally?”