"racism"
Friday, April 4, 2014
"Still, one of the things that liberal people of color whisper to other liberal people of color when no one else is listening is that white liberals can be worse than white conservatives. Between the paternalism, the #whitesplaining and the refusal to accept that acknowledging racism and supporting civil rights does not mean that you have done the deeper structural and psychic work of disengaging from white supremacy, sometimes white liberal people who seem like friends turn out to be enemies. Or maybe frenemies.
[…]
Liberal political commitments do not make one’s race politics above reproach, because such arguments traffic in the fallacy that racism only happens if it is intentional.
But good white liberals have a long history of unintentional racism. I think of Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Next year is the 50th anniversary of the famed Moynihan Report that advanced the Tangle of Pathology thesis about the absence of black patriarchs and the dominance of black matriarchs. That report has done untold damage to black communities, but Moynihan, a liberal senator, meant well. The report was supposed to compel the creation of a broader social safety net and the creation of employment opportunities to help black families. But it mostly created a national narrative of black pathology.
Stellar intent doesn’t excuse shoddy execution."
My white liberal frenemies: When Twitter exchanges reveal untrustworthy allies (via ethiopienne)
Friday, March 21, 2014

So my school is trying to ban The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and I, being angry about this, emailed Junot Diaz about it. His response reads thusly:

thebloggerformerlyknownasellie:

Subject: Re: The Banning of the Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao at West Essex Regional High School

Ellie
i just got this email. im in japan. sorry for the delay.

im troubled of course by any censorship. but im heartened by you and your peers strong defense of the book and of your right to read art, free from outside interference.

take one passage out of the bible in context and one could argue the book is all about promoting any sort of deviance.

part of the issue is the parents seem to misunderstand the role of art. this happens a lot in society where we have very little arts education. and the reason why this is beyond troubling is that arts education has dwindled every year in the US due to budget cuts and the instrumental market logic that rules education these days. and when there is art taught parents and outside groups are so threatened they attempt to disrupt it. which is a heartbreaker since art’s goal is never to corrupt or demean but to put people in touch with their human selves—being human is not about being perfect or pure—its about being vulnerable and weak and vulgar and yes it also involves sex. but for your argument never forget: art has among its many aspects a transgressive function. it says the thing that a society fears to say, hates to say and wishes no one will say. what people who push censorship are really pushing is to create a silence. they want no questioning of “the way things are” and the reveal a profound mistrust of their youth and of the people who teach them.

but to speak most specifically about the sexual content of the book.

this is a novel that charts that most nightmarish of American traumas: the trauma of rape inflicted on black female bodies as an outcome of the plantation and post-plantation logic of white supremacy. Yunior doesnt describe the DR as a plantation by accident; he’s pointing out to how the DR is not only the basis but the continuation of the forces that forged the Americas—the enslavement and sexual domination of black bodies. a history that so few of us like to touch. a history that exists mostly in silence.

this is a novel that charts the consequences of sexualized colonial violence (the rapeocracy of the plantation and post-plantation) on the colored bodies of entire communities: the women, the men and even children of the survivors. the titular character oscar is the child of a rape survivor but not just any rape survivor—his mother Belicia is explicitly raped inside the plantation regime of trujillo by his agents. flashforward twenty years and one immigration and you have oscar’s body and psyche, like lola’s body and psyche, impacted by this violence and its aftershocks even though neither of them lived it directly. this is called the intergenerational transfer of trauma. oscar and lola are prototypical americans, shaped by a violent history they know very little about. their history is our nation’s history. think about it: is oscar’s problem with girls and the sexual intimacy they represent an outcome of him being fat and a nerd or is it an outcome of the unprocessed history of rape in his family?

put most simply, if a reader cant deal with the book’s sexual content, a reader is definitely going to be unwilling to confront the central problem of colonial sexual violence in the novel. it’s the taboo around talking about sex that helps make the silence around rape so charged, so potent, whether its in our american context or a dominican one. the narrator of the novel yunior is attempting to break all these silences in the book with is language and his descriptions not simply because he wants to push button but because if those silences are left intact the stories of his people, of lola, oscar, belicia, abelard, of our American nations, will never be heard. and the rape power of the plantation will continue to live. to end it we must first speak the words. but to speak the words, to violate the ban against the silence that power demands—to speak Voldemort’s name if you will—requires courage and trust—which young people often have in greater quantities than adults.

i hope this helps. and good luck with this.
un abrazo
j

Friday, February 28, 2014
"Northerners indulge in an extremely dangerous luxury. They seem to feel that because they fought on the right side during the Civil War, and won, that they have earned the right merely to deplore what is going on in the South, without taking any responsibility for it; and that they can ignore what is happening in Northern cities because what is happening in Little Rock or Birmingham is worse. Well, in the first place, it is not possible for anyone who has not endured both to know which is “worse.”

I know Negroes who prefer the South and white Southerners, because “At least there, you haven’t got to play any guessing games!” The guessing games referred to have driven more than one Negro into the narcotics ward, the madhouse, or the river. I know another Negro, a man very dear to me, who says, with conviction and with truth, “The spirit of the South is the spirit of America.” He was born in the North and did his military training in the South. He did not, as far as I can gather, find the South “worse”; he found it, if anything, all too familiar.

In the second place, though, even if Birmingham is worse, no doubt Johannesburg, South Africa, beats it by several miles, and Buchenwald was one of the worst things that ever happened in the entire history of the world. The world has never lacked for horrifying examples; but I do not believe that these examples are meant to be used as justification for our own crimes. This perpetual justification empties the heart of all human feeling. The emptier our hearts become, the greater will be our crimes. Thirdly, the South is not merely an embarrassingly backward region, but a part of this country, and what happens there concerns every one of us."
James Baldwin, Fifth Avenue, Uptown (via ethiopienne)
Thursday, December 5, 2013
flavorpill:


If your first exposure to black people is through rap music, chances are you might be in a little over your head. That’s certainly what happened to me and my friends at our Jewish private school when I was growing up in Los Angeles. We didn’t really know what to do with rap, so we tried to take its power away by changing the way it sounded. One of the ways we’d do this was to pretend rappers spoke “properly,” just like we did. “I enjoy big pimping and spending cheese”… you get the picture. Needless to say, even though I loved rap music a whole lot, this was insanely racist. I outgrew this phase, thankfully, and began to try to see rap on its own terms. So you can imagine my horror upon seeing this same concept being celebrated by the suddenly-huge Respectful Rappers Tumblr.
Respectful Rappers has blown up in all the ways Tumblrs generally blow up these days — a little BuzzFeed here, a little A.V. Club there, and suddenly you’re getting thousands of Tumblr notes for each piece of content you churn out. And what is Respecftul Rappers’ content? Imagine Feminist Ryan Gosling, with pictures of rappers laid out over re-imagined lyrics. There are a handful of white rappers featured, but the majority are black — and what matters here is that this Tumblr’s content does is ridicule black speech.
Not that Respectful Rappers will admit this. Instead, its stated goal is to imagine what would happen “[i]f rappers were a little less angry and misogynistic.” On the latter point, our society as a whole is still insanely misogynistic, and rap exists within that society, so sure. There have been many fascinating discussions throughout the years about misogyny within rap, like bell hooks’ interview with Ice Cube in Spin 20 years ago. But Respectful Rappers is not a part of these discussions, because unlike hooks’ interview, it starts with the premise that rappers are dumb.  

David Grossman, The “Respectful Rappers” Tumblr Everyone Loves Is Racist and Stupid

flavorpill:

If your first exposure to black people is through rap music, chances are you might be in a little over your head. That’s certainly what happened to me and my friends at our Jewish private school when I was growing up in Los Angeles. We didn’t really know what to do with rap, so we tried to take its power away by changing the way it sounded. One of the ways we’d do this was to pretend rappers spoke “properly,” just like we did. “I enjoy big pimping and spending cheese”… you get the picture. Needless to say, even though I loved rap music a whole lot, this was insanely racist. I outgrew this phase, thankfully, and began to try to see rap on its own terms. So you can imagine my horror upon seeing this same concept being celebrated by the suddenly-huge Respectful Rappers Tumblr.

Respectful Rappers has blown up in all the ways Tumblrs generally blow up these days — a little BuzzFeed here, a little A.V. Club there, and suddenly you’re getting thousands of Tumblr notes for each piece of content you churn out. And what is Respecftul Rappers’ content? Imagine Feminist Ryan Gosling, with pictures of rappers laid out over re-imagined lyrics. There are a handful of white rappers featured, but the majority are black — and what matters here is that this Tumblr’s content does is ridicule black speech.

Not that Respectful Rappers will admit this. Instead, its stated goal is to imagine what would happen “[i]f rappers were a little less angry and misogynistic.” On the latter point, our society as a whole is still insanely misogynistic, and rap exists within that society, so sure. There have been many fascinating discussions throughout the years about misogyny within rap, like bell hooks’ interview with Ice Cube in Spin 20 years ago. But Respectful Rappers is not a part of these discussions, because unlike hooks’ interview, it starts with the premise that rappers are dumb.  

David Grossman, The “Respectful Rappers” Tumblr Everyone Loves Is Racist and Stupid

can’t put my finger on what bugs me about the whole ‘lolol benedict cumberbatch reads r kelly, how delightfully incongruous’ thing going around the internet

o right it’s the fact we find it amusing to pretend such a posh white dude would ever speak like that; ho ho, let us all chortle together at the quaint dialect of the lower classes

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

queerqueerspawn:

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Angela Corey Is Under Fire

A post-verdict statement made by Angela Corey, Florida attorney general for the prosecution of George Zimmerman, came across to many viewers as callous and bizarre — Corey, who had just lost her case, spoke with a certain air of victory (more than one observer noted that the perceived satisfaction and attitude of gracious thanks was almost Academy Awards acceptance speech-esque) and what the Boston Herald’s Peter Gelzinis described as "the weird smile of an event planner."

That smile, accompanied by her key phrase — “This case has never been about race or the right to bear arms” (HAHA, k) — hasn’t improved the firestorm building against Corey right now. Shortly before the Zimmerman verdict came in, Corey personally prosecuted Marissa Alexander to the fullest extent of the law for firing a single warning shot at her abusive husband; both her case and Martin’s involved the invocation of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, which allows citizens to use “lethal force” if in life-threatening danger, and both Alexander and Martin were African American.

According to a March 2012 blog post on the website Justice4Juveniles (via):

In the five year period between 2006/7 and 2010/11, across the state of Florida, an average of 52 % of black male juveniles were tried as adults for crimes they had committed. Angela Corey tried an average of 70%. The same state over the same time period tried an average of 25% of white male juveniles as adults for crimes that they had committed, Angela Corey, on the other hand, tried an average of 18%.

These horrible statistics should be the driving force behind questioning Corey’s right to remain in her position — God knows we have no idea why Corey was smiling during her press conference, but tweeting about the above issues would be far more effective for progress than ragging on her makeup or her weight. If Corey were “conventionally attractive,” she’d still be morally negligible. I mean, just look at Ann Coulter. (Or don’t look directly at her, that’s fine too.)

‘Zimmerman Verdict: Angela Corey’s Smile Raises Twitter Questions’ [Digital Journal]

She was in a leadership position for the prosecution? This is fucking surreal.

(Source: thepoliticalfreakshow)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Are you shitting me?  How many people at AnOther Magazine had to say yes to this? How did Michelle Williams agree to this? Did no one realize L. Frank Baum was a proponent of Native American genocide, and that having one of the stars of the Oz movie pose as Native American was probably a bad move?
Edit: Looks like Jezebel already reacted to this. Written by a Native person.

Are you shitting me?  How many people at AnOther Magazine had to say yes to this? How did Michelle Williams agree to this? Did no one realize L. Frank Baum was a proponent of Native American genocide, and that having one of the stars of the Oz movie pose as Native American was probably a bad move?

Edit: Looks like Jezebel already reacted to this. Written by a Native person.

Monday, March 11, 2013
"Because even when people stop renting Crash on Netflix, its legacy is still with us. It’s in The Blind Side, but it’s also very much in The Help. I’m actually surprised there isn’t a single “white people solve racism” film in this year’s Oscar bunch—it’s so incessant, so culturally assertive, so eager to be green-lighted by all manner of white execs who want to show that they’re willing to cast black actors so long as their salvation is rooted in the extravagances of white privilege. Crash hurts my soul—but it’s also an incredible teaching tool. When I’m talking about the mid-2000s in class, twenty years from now, I’ll be able to point to it as a perfect crystallization of all America wishes it was and all it was not."
Anne Helen (via heroics)
Thursday, February 28, 2013

ianthe:

im flatlining

bye

Wednesday, January 2, 2013
"In a ‘post-race’ country like America where nothing and no one is racist, where people are more likely to believe in UFOs than in institutional bias, which does backflips to obfuscate the operations of white hegemonic power and therefore ensure its continuance, anyone seeking to expose white supremacy or battle it is in for some serious uphill. You will be attacked. You will be censured, usually by your own community. People will say that you are obsessed with race and that even mentioning white people in the context of white supremacy is itself racist. These days the average person doesn’t even have to be taught not to bring up white supremacy. Here in our country, as in Mordor, everybody knows not to say the dark lord’s name."
Junot Diaz, Facing Race 2012 (via artactivistnia)

(Source: )

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