Posts in category Racism
Maya Angelou (April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014)
This phenomenal woman truly showed that when beauty is inside, it shines outside too.
(Quote from Huffington Post)
There are 400,000 children in the U.S. foster care system, 115,000-130,000 of whom are eligible to be adopted. With all the “pro-life” rhetoric we hear, where’s the moral outrage about their lives? Many of these children aren’t the “popular” kinds to adopt (i.e., healthy, white infants), but instead are older kids, or racial minorities, or they have disabilities or were victims of abuse.
Instead of protesting a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body & her own life, instead of protesting outside of abortion clinics & treating women’s personal healthcare decisions as if they’re fair game for public scrutiny … why don’t those who claim to be “pro-life” direct all this energy onto making sure children who are already born get loving families? Why don’t they adopt or foster children themselves (especially the harder-to-place kids)? Why don’t they advocate for gay adoption? Why don’t they stop supporting abstinence-only sex education (which has been proven to be highly ineffective) & minimize the number of unwanted children in the first place? Why don’t they protest against legislation that cuts funding for food & services for poor children?
Because if you ignore all of the above & merely want to outlaw abortion, you’re really not “pro-life” — you’re just pro-birth.
So sad about the tragedy in Connecticut. There are many social & psychological factors that may have led up to this horrific event — proliferation of guns, a culture that glamorizes violence, mental illness, & people who are just evil bastards. But simply speaking — it’s heartbreaking. Here’s a little something to consider today.
Face Your Shadows
If a religion offers justifications for sexism, racism, or homophobia, then maybe that belief system isn’t so moral after all.
The majority should not get to decide whether the minority can enjoy the same rights that they get to take for granted. This should be common sense.
… or that we shouldn’t complain about sexism here because women have it worse in other countries.
Almost everything we feel about others is subjective — remember this next time you’re rejected, insulted, etc.
When our rights are attacked; when we’re treated with condescension and our morals, maturity, and ability to make decisions about our own bodies and lives are questioned; when the definition of rape is twisted to benefit the rapist and punish women — well, damn right we’re going to take it personally! We’re going to defend ourselves against insulting, selfish, and paternalistic attacks against our humanity. We’re going to stand up against sanctimonious bullies who use religion and legal maneuvers to chip away at our civil rights. We’re going to vote for the people who actually respect our constitutional and moral rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And we’re going to question the integrity of those who are so willing to throw our rights under the bus. How dare you speak about freedom when you are so intent on attacking ours.
In this election, we had more on the line than you did. We had more to lose. And guess what? YOU built that. So hell yeah — of course we’re going to celebrate and we’re going to do a bit of gloating about how we prevailed.
We won. You lost. Deal with it.
This is pretty damn funny — Chris Rock’s special message to undecided white voters:
(This should say Barack just for consistency’s sake, but thought it was great nonetheless) …
Archbishop Desmond Tutu further explains the concept:
“[The African tribal philosophy of] Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity. We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity. … A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.”
Sex selective abortion is a controversial issue that the anti-choice movement has co-opted in an effort to end all abortions. Since female fetuses are typically the ones being aborted, anti-choice proponents have manipulated this to argue how abortion hurts all women — those having abortions and the unborn, future women that are aborted. However, what they fail to take into consideration is that sex selective abortions take place when a society devalues the female gender. The paternalistic attempts to eliminate a woman’s right to control her own reproductive health is proof that her choices, her decision-making ability, and her desires are not valued.
In countries such as India and China, sex selective abortions are much more common. They occur because of cultural and economic factors that favor families for having male children.
“We know that in Asian countries [a preference for sons] is the dominant cultural factor. The reasons are: parents think sons alone have the obligation to provide security to the parents in old age; undertake the responsibility of younger sibling’s education and marriage; bear the burden of family debt; perform the last rites for parents; bring in dowry; bring in return on investment made on their education; carry on the family business and protect the ancestral property.
But daughters are always considered as liability … since any investment on them, especially on education will benefit only the husband and the in-laws and heavy dowry has to be paid for them. Moreover, their entire marriage expenses are borne by their parents. The society does not accept the practice of parents living in daughters’ homes in old age. Hence even in the 21st century these reasons prevail and have caused aversion towards girl’s birth. Girl children are not allowed to be born through feticide or abortion and in poor families not allowed to live through infanticide.”
But the answer to ending sex selection isn’t to ban abortion. The solution lies in changing cultural attitudes in which being a female is a detriment.
“One unfortunate consequence of that ban could well be the increase in the number of newborn female infants killed, or worse still, chronic neglect of the unwanted girls. The effective measures would be … provide information and materials for effective contraception; … enforce measures for higher education of girls so that gender equity is achieved in education and employment matters. The last measure would help in treating girls as an asset than a liability. They can meet their expenses without depending on others. Economic independence for women is an effective tool to counteract [the preference for sons].”
This can not only be applied to the issue of sex selective abortions in countries such as India and China, but also to abortion rights everywhere.
“An ideal feminist world would not be one in which abortions are free and common, but one in which women have greater control over pregnancy, and in which the circumstances that make pregnancies unwanted, have been transformed. Until then, in a hugely imperfect, unfair and sexist world, I believe feminists must defend women’s access to legal and safe abortions whenever they decide to have them – whatever the reason for their decision.”
Columbus Day is a national holiday observed on the second Monday of October and commemorated by inconvenient closing of banks and post offices, paid holidays for lucky employees, and appliance sales at Sears. Children learn that Christopher Columbus was a great explorer who sailed all the way across the ocean from Spain and heroically “discovered” America, a place that incidentally:
A. Was already “discovered” by the indigenous people who’d been there for generations.
B. Wasn’t even the place he intended to sail to. He meant to reach India, which is why Native Americans used to be known as “Indians” (i.e., The dude wasn’t even a good navigator.)
Those are just a couple of the less-damaging misconceptions. Here are a few brutal inconvenient truths about this great “discoverer” whom we still celebrate.
Christopher Columbus on taking advantage of the kindness and naivete of the indigenous people:
“They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance … They would make fine servants … With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want …
“As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts … [The Indians] are so naive and so free with their possessions that no one who has not witnessed them would believe it. When you ask for something they have, they never say no. To the contrary, they offer to share with anyone.”
Columbus’ treatment of Native American women and girls:
“Columbus and his men … used the Taino as sex slaves: it was a common reward for Columbus’ men for him to present them with local women to rape. As he began exporting Taino as slaves to other parts of the world, the sex-slave trade became an important part of the business, as Columbus wrote to a friend in 1500: ‘A hundred castellanoes (a Spanish coin) are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten (years old) are now in demand.’ …
“[Columbus’ crewmember, Miguel] Cuneo further notes that he himself took a beautiful teenage Carib girl as his personal slave, a gift from Columbus himself, but that when he attempted to have sex with her, she ‘resisted with all her strength.’ So, in his own words, he ‘thrashed her mercilessly and raped her.'”
Columbus’ way of disciplining those who disobeyed:
“… [T]he Taino turned out not to be particularly good workers in the plantations … they resented their lands and children being taken, and attempted to fight back against the invaders. Since the Taino where obviously standing in the way of Spain’s progress, Columbus sought to impose discipline on them. For even a minor offense, an Indian’s nose or ear was cut off, [so] he could go back to his village to impress the people with the brutality the Spanish were capable of. Columbus attacked them with dogs, skewered them with pikes, and shot them.
“Eventually, life for the Taino became so unbearable that, as Pedro de Cordoba wrote to King Ferdinand in a 1517 letter, ‘As a result of the sufferings and hard labor they endured, the Indians choose and have chosen suicide. Occasionally a hundred have committed mass suicide. The women, exhausted by labor, have shunned conception and childbirth. Many, when pregnant, have taken something to abort and have aborted. Others after delivery have killed their children with their own hands, so as not to leave them in such oppressive slavery.’Eventually, Columbus and later his brother Bartholomew Columbus who he left in charge of the island, simply resorted to wiping out the Taino altogether.”
The question is, if Columbus was such a cruel bastard, why do we continue to honor him with a national holiday? Here’s a likely explanation that could be applied to any form of oppression:
“… [T]he effort to caste his legacy as one of bravery and glory rather than brutality, rape, and murder is no accident. … [T]hose in power (read most often as those who are white and male) can only live with our privilege if we create a ‘culture of make believe,’ whereby we invent imaginary narratives of the brutality of our past to justify the position of power and privilege which we enjoy today. Without such narratives, we could not justify our current system!”
Happy Columbus Day! I heard that Best Buy has a great sale on white washing machines.
This woman defines what it means to have inner beauty …
During the Holocaust, Irena Sendler worked in the Warsaw Ghetto as a plumber. She courageously smuggled babies out of the Ghetto in her tool box and carried larger children in her sack. She also trained her dog to bark when the Nazi soldiers were near, which muffled the sounds of the crying children. She helped save more than 2,500 children until soldiers caught and beat her severely, breaking both of her legs. She survived & tried to connect any parents with their children. Sadly, most of the parents had been killed so the kids were placed into foster homes or adopted.
Read more about Irena here.
The iconic 1987 film “Full Metal Jacket” offers an example of how racist and sexist terms are created and spread throughout pop culture. The Vietnam War era film popularized a few unfortunate quotes: “me love you long time,” “me so horny,” and “me sucky sucky.” These quotes originated during a scene involving a Vietnamese prostitute bargaining with American servicemen. Regardless of the filmmakers’ intent, these quotes have lived on as ways to sexualize and demean Vietnamese and other Asian women.
See the scene here:
“That’s not sexist,” he says, as she strips on the screen.
“She showed a lot more in that men’s magazine.”
“She’s an object,” I say. “Irrelevant to the plot.
It’s about telling women, ‘Shut up and look hot.’”
But he likes naked chicks,
Is that such a sin?
Why does he care
If it’s not hurting him?
“I’m not racist,” she says. “I have a black friend.
I just don’t believe that the races should blend.
The illegals come here and steal all our jobs.
They need to learn English – they’re ignorant slobs!”
Being white makes you lucky –
No hoops to jump through.
Racism’s not bad
If it’s not hurting you.
“The gays force their beliefs and have lots of sex!
They’ll redefine marriage – who knows what’s next?
They flaunt their lifestyle, even during the day!
It’s like they’re all trying to turn our kids gay!”
Straights can get married,
Show their love with a gem.
If they’re blocking gay rights
It’s not hurting them.
“You can’t have an abortion, because I don’t agree.
I’ll make the decision – you’re public property.
You had the sex; in fact, you’re a slut.
So you will be punished. Now keep your legs shut.”
Women don’t own their bodies,
It’s different with men,
Having no choice is okay –
If it’s not hurting them.
“There’s a war on religion led by liberals and gays!
They’re persecuting us when we don’t get our way!
This nation is Christian! Your history tells lies.
Jesus is the truth!” (Well, it’s my truth in disguise.)
Church and state combine
When voting from the pew.
Legislating belief is fine –
If it’s not hurting you.
“The poor are just lazy – they don’t like to work.
They want us to pay while they get the perks.
Now, perks for the wealthy is the American way!
Tax breaks and loopholes let us keep all our pay.”
You don’t have to share
If the scale favors the few.
When the poor kids don’t eat,
It’s not hurting you.
You take for granted your freedom and rights
If you never have to struggle and never have to fight.
You can use your position of privilege and luck
To selfishly judge, because who gives a fuck?
It’s not your problem.
You don’t have a clue
What it’s like to be hurt
When it’s not hurting you.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure has just reversed its decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood “after a category 5 shitstorm threatened to completely taint the brand,” as Jezebel so eloquently put it. But the Komen brand has already been tainted by their hypocrisy — if they’re supposedly dedicated to women’s health, why would they make decisions that support a political ideology that threatens women’s health?
Yesterday, a friend defended Komen’s right to withdraw their funding, arguing that they’ve still done a lot of good with the millions they’ve dedicated to fighting breast cancer. It wasn’t my friend’s support of Komen in itself that bothered me. It was that my friend is gay, and he didn’t seem to recognize the harm in supporting a group that bends over to pressure from the conservative right.
Komen’s good deeds don’t erase their bad ones, just as the Salvation Army’s charitable work doesn’t erase their anti-choice and anti-gay “position statements.” Komen’s actions are part of an onslaught of right-wing conservative attacks on Planned Parenthood and abortion access in the past year. These are the same people who’d also fight to prevent my friend from getting married. In fact Karen Handel, Komen’s senior vice president for public policy and the one who’s been credited with making the decision to cut ties with Planned Parenthood, is also a bit of a homophobe. As the Metro Weekly reported:
During her 2010 Republican bid for Georgia governor, Handel supported defunding Planned Parenthood as well as outlawing gay adoption and criminalizing same-sex marriage statewide. In an interview with 11alive, an NBC affiliate, she was interviewed about her view on same-sex relationships:
Q: You have said that you are — you’re against gay marriage, right?
A: Mm hm. Absolutely. Marriage is between one man and one woman. And I’ve been very very clear about that. And the record is clear about any of the other issues like domestic partner benefits or anything like that. In fact in Fulton, I voted no on domestic partner benefits.
Q: Are you against civil unions for gays?
A: Yes. I think that’s not an issue that has come forward in Georgia. We have the constitutional amendment against gay marriage, and I don’t want to see any taxpayer funding going toward benefits etcetera for a couple that is not married. In our state and for me, marriage is for one man and one woman.
This isn’t a coincidence. There’s an interrelationship between all forms of oppression — those who’d oppose the rights of one minority will often oppose the rights of another. In this way, they truly don’t discriminate.
Throughout history, it’s taken more than just members of a minority group to fight for their own rights. It took more than suffragettes to fight for women’s right to vote. It took more than African-Americans to fight for Civil Rights. Today it takes more than homosexuals to fight for the right to marry whom they love. And it takes more than feminists to fight for women’s rights to make our own reproductive decisions.
We all need allies.
One hundred years ago, there were plenty of men who weren’t too keen on allowing women to vote — let alone run for office — a right that Handel now takes for granted. But there were enough male allies to turn the tide. It’s infuriating when those in positions of privilege fight so hard to deny minorities these basic rights. It’s depressing when others turn the other way and let it happen. But it’s a damn shame when fellow minorities throw each other under the bus by failing to recognize that we’re fighting similar battles. We all know what it feels like to have our rights determined by the majority. We’re in the same damn boat. None of us should be willing to let another one sink.
“First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.”
— Martin Niemöller (1892–1984), German Pastor, regarding political apathy
Harm against one is harm against another. We all must remember this … for the cure to oppression — no matter the type — is to fight it together.