This is a personal blog. I talk sense and nonsense.
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Using feminist causes for propagandistic ends should not be confused with genuine feminism…since it undermines efforts to reach gender equality in two ways.

First, it perpetuates conflict through stereotyping and emnification, conflicts in which women often suffer disproportionately. If we are following global affairs critically, we should be conscious of these dynamics and find ways to promote women’s human rights without contributing to war propaganda. Second, pointing fingers at “Them” blinds “Us” to ways in which our own institutions and policies also perpetuate harmful gendered practices. Too often the media spotlight on barbaric foreigners closes the space for feminist activists on the home front to press for greater gender equity at home. And simplistic narratives of bad men oppressing women in foreign lands obscure the complexity of these practices – which implicate and affect men as well as women – and too often substitute for exploring efforts at change.

Charli Carpenter on that BS story about ISIS and FGM that was circulating last week

I think this commentary also applies to much of the western conversation around head-covering by Muslim women.

An excerpt from Rick Perlstein’s forthcoming book “The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan recounting the treatment of Vietnamese refugees who had fled to the country that had necessitated their escapes in the first place. (via digby)

Sounds familiar.

If you google ‘Eric Garner’ I guarantee you that almost every article by major media outlets will list some or all of the following: Garner’s height, weight, his (alleged) past criminal history, and that the police supposedly thought he was “illegally” selling cigarettes. And all this information will be in the first few paragraphs.

Here’s what most corporate news outlets won’t make so readily available (you may have to dig for it): precisely how many officers ganged up on Garner, their complete police histories, any crimes they may have committed in their personal lives, and not even the names of all the involved officers are listed. And you may or may not have read that Garner clearly said he couldn’t breathe at least six times, and that multiple witnesses said Garner had just arrived on scene and broken up an altercation.

The media is hardly objective and they begin covering for the police and victimizing the victim very early on. These lopsided “facts” and seemingly minor omissions is only the beginning. Wait until it goes to court. Then you won’t believe how much news outlets, the police and defense attorneys will demonize Mr. Garner.

Unless you’re Black. Then this is an all too familiar pattern.

From Emmett Till to Rodney King to The Central Park Five to Oscar Grant to Amadou Diallo to Sean Bell to Trayvon Martin to Renisha McBride to Jonathan Ferrell to Jordan Davis to Eric Garner and so very many others…even though we’re always unarmed, there is never a shortage of disproportionately White juries eager to conclude that the act of merely existing while Black is always sufficient justification for inflicting brutality, imprisonment or murder onto any unfamiliar Black bodies

Seems like it’s always the same old song and dance whenever Black people seek justice from the system made to imprison us: Criminalizing BlacknessWhite people may commit crimes, but Black people are always viewed as criminals.

(via odinsblog)

(via truth-has-a-liberal-bias)

Women And People Of Color Get Punished For Hiring To Increase Diversity, White Men Get Rewarded →

Female executives who value diversity were thought to be less warm and competent, and people of color were also thought to be less competent. White men, on the other hand, were given increased marks for warmth and ability when they sought greater diversity.

The researchers also conducted an experiment to test these ideas,…When women advocated for other women, they were seen as colder, and when people of color advocated for people like them, they were seen as less competent. “People are perceived as selfish when they advocate for someone who looks like them, unless they’re a white man,” said David Hekman, one of the study’s authors.

Well shit, isn’t that convenient. I guess it’s up to the white man to save us from the white man.

dailydot:

Whitewashed ‘Exodus’ cast sparks a Twitter riot
Remember when Noah’s screenwriter explained that everyone in his movie was white because it was “mythical,” and because white people are apparently universal stand-ins for the human race?
Directed by Ridley Scott, the forthcoming Exodus: Gods and Kings stars Christian Bale as Moses, Joel Edgerton as Rhamses, and Aaron Paul as Joshua.

Why is everyone so mad? They found some dark-skinned people to play the guards and other servants /s
I bet they’ve tried to burn every last copy of the casting sheets for this.

dailydot:

Whitewashed ‘Exodus’ cast sparks a Twitter riot

Remember when Noah’s screenwriter explained that everyone in his movie was white because it was “mythical,” and because white people are apparently universal stand-ins for the human race?

Directed by Ridley Scott, the forthcoming Exodus: Gods and Kings stars Christian Bale as Moses, Joel Edgerton as Rhamses, and Aaron Paul as Joshua.

Why is everyone so mad? They found some dark-skinned people to play the guards and other servants /s

I bet they’ve tried to burn every last copy of the casting sheets for this.

(via racebending)

latinorebels:

No explanation needed.

latinorebels:

No explanation needed.

(via electrodaggers)

bard-of-raging-boner:

I was really fucking annoyed when they cast whiney white boy Christian Bale to play Moses in Exodus (2014) and even whiter Australian white boy Joel Edgerton to play Rhamses.

But it’s okay, they have hired an actor who is a POC and of African descent, which is good because Exodus takes place in Africa. It’s all good guys.

image

Isn’t everything really okay and not racist now? Right?

(via racebending)

I once attended a symposium on journalistic ethics where the keynote speaker, a well-known journalist, talked about journalists’ special role in society as guardians of democracy. Because of this, he said, journalists are sometimes allowed to do certain things that other citizens are not, such as intrude into people’s private lives. This is much like doctors who are allowed to cut into people or soldiers who are allowed to kill, he explained.

Then he offered another analogy: it’s like police who “have the right to beat people.” I sat in the audience, momentarily stunned. I nudged a friend next to me. Had he actually said that police have a right to beat people? Yes, she said, I had heard it right.

I looked around at an almost completely white and generally middle-class audience in the auditorium of the private college where the symposium was being held. No one seemed too upset by what he had said.

The speaker went on to say a lot of other reactionary things. Later, during the question period, I went to the microphone, intending to focus on another stupid point he had made.

"But before I get to my question," I said, "I want to say that it seems to me that anyone who can say that police have a right to beat people is presumptively excluded from discussion about ethics of any kind."

The audience squirmed, unsure of how to react. The speaker winced but never responded to my challenge.

Later, during the reception, I talked to a colleague who was unclear what point I was trying to make. Surely, the speaker just misspoke, he said; what the speaker meant to say was that in certain situations, police have a legal right to use force, sometimes even deadly force.

Yes, I understood that, I replied. But my point was that he used the phrase, "the right to beat people.” The language reflects his relationship to power. No one who comes from a class of people subject to being beaten by police would ever think of using such a phrase. Only people who don’t have to worry about being beaten would make the “mistake.” Beyond that, I argued, it’s not implausible that the speaker and lots of other folks like him are glad they live in a world in which police sometimes beat people; it keeps the “dangerous classes” in line.

"Try to imagine if he were black, even a black person with a professional career and a middle-class life," I said. "Think of how different interactions with police are for black people. Do you think he would have said that?"

My colleague shrugged and said I was overreacting to an admittedly careless, but harmless, choice of words on the speaker’s part. The colleague turned, never really understanding what I thought was a simple point, and headed off to talk to someone less contentious.

I was left standing there, full of anger, wanting to scream, and feeling incredibly alone.

I looked around and realized that all around me were people just like me - white, middle-class, educated academics or professional journalists. And I hated them. I don’t just mean that I was frustrated with them. At that moment, I hated them. Not just the speaker, but all of the nice middle-class white folks in the room who were too polite to say anything, to hold the speaker accountable. I even hated the three or four white people who had come up to me after the talk and thanked me for speaking up. I bit my tongue and didn’t ask them the obvious question: Why didn’t you speak up too, instead of leaving my comments to hang in the air, to wither and die without support?

Imagine if the vast majority of Germans refused to apologize for the Holocaust and instead denied that it happened or argued that it wasn’t so bad, taught white-washed, revisionist history to their children, and continued to engage in a sanitized, less overt form of concentration and ethnic cleansing.
That’s basically what white Americans have been doing to African Americans.

Imagine if the vast majority of Germans refused to apologize for the Holocaust and instead denied that it happened or argued that it wasn’t so bad, taught white-washed, revisionist history to their children, and continued to engage in a sanitized, less overt form of concentration and ethnic cleansing.

That’s basically what white Americans have been doing to African Americans.

(Source: kemetman, via misandrica)

Black entrepreneurs and Jane Jacobs

Has anyone read Jane Jacob’s The Life and Death of Great American Cities? I know there are many who have issues with Jacobs’ methods and conclusions (some of which have actually led to the kind of gentrification she opposed), but whenever I see stories like this about Detroit, I can’t help but be reminded of some of her theories about urban renewal.

First, there’s her argument that it’s usually longtime residents who themselves gradually rebuild and revitalize areas that have been long neglected by the state and private financing. But neighborhoods bootstrapping their way up in this manner usually don’t making tons of money for guys in suits (slum lords or financiers)—they’re just becoming nice, affordable places where working class people can live and work and support each other.

So these places are already recovering by the time outside investors and developers come in because, let’s face it, rich people aren’t going to spend millions on a totally hopeless situation. The small business owners described in the link above are people who have stuck it out and have helped provide stability and investment to their communities.

But I wouldn’t be surprised to find that many of the black business-owners interviewed have had an impossible time getting mortgages or loans, even though they’ve demonstrated they have the grit, desire, and ability to succeed no matter the obstacles. Why wouldn’t you invest in such people? Yet

Many, particularly those who have kept their businesses going on shoestring budgets, feel excluded from conversations about Detroit’s revival and overlooked when it comes to getting access to funds and resources.

The reason why huge amounts of money are suddenly pouring into Detroit after decades of private sector neglect is that rich, white people have figured out they can make money from the city. And those people are not interested in providing small mortgages at affordable terms to small, black-owned businesses or to long-term homeowners:

"I think, for the most part, black-owned businesses are not getting a piece of the pie," bookstore owner Janet Jones told The Huffington Post. "What about people who have been doing the hard work of living and working and having business in Detroit for the last 20 years?"

Outside investors aren’t interested in making sure people like Jones succeed since they can’t make a lot of money from her success.  They are interested in the huge profits that can only be made from huge redevelopment projects.

Here’s what Jacobs had to say about “cataclysmic money”, which she characterizes as “money [that] pours into an area in concentrated form, producing drastic changes” that tend to sweep away the local diversity:

All three kinds of cataclysmic money have been involved…as they often are in city decay. First the withdrawal of all conventional money [e.g. mortgage redlining]; then ruination financed by shadow-world money [e.g. criminal and borderline-criminal money]; then selection of the area…for cataclysmic use of government money to finance renewal clearance. This last stage makes possible cataclysmic re-entry of conventional money for financing renewal-project construction and rehabilitation. So well do these three different kinds of money prepare the way for each others’ cataclysms that one would be impelled to admire the process…were it not so destructive…

She characterizes the cataclysmic money that poured into East Harlem back in the ’40s and ’50s as a form of internal ‘foreign aid’, which makes a sick sort of sense given how the area had already been cut off from normal methods of investment and growth:

For it was as if East Harlem…had been decreed a backward and deprived country, financially apart from our normal national life. Even the branch banks were closed down throughout an area of more than 100,000 people and thousands of businesses…

Eventually, much as the generosity of a rich nation might well extend massive aid to a deprived and backward country, into this district poured massive “foreign” aid, according to decisions by absentee experts from the remote continent inhabited by housers and planners. The aid poured in for rehousing…More than 1,3000 businesses which had the misfortune to occupy sites marked for housing were wiped away, and an estimated four-fifths of their proprietors ruined…Virtually all of the unslummed population which had hung on was rooted out and dispersed to “better itself.”

According to Jacobs, cataclysmic money is, at best, not helpful to up-and-coming neighborhoods, and, at worse, helps destroy any progress locals have made in these places. What such neighborhoods need is “gradual money” or the typical sort of investments in the form of smaller mortgages and loans that people who live pretty much anywhere else enjoy. Such investments help maintain the diversity as well as the economic vitality of urban neighborhoods and contribute to the gradual, steady growth of cities.

It’s deeply frustrating that people like Janet Jones aren’t getting a shot at the redevelopment money that’s pouring into Detroit right now. It’s not just inherently fairer, but it makes economic sense to prop up established entrepreneurs like her as well as up-and-coming locals because those are the people who are going to stick around even after the flood of government and private money eventually dries up (and after the white people run out again for whatever reason). They represent the local energy that can rebuild Detroit from the bottom up and ultimately ensure long-term stability rather than short-term profiteering and equitable growth rather than the enrichment of one small class of people.

BTW, I’m clearly not an expert in this stuff, just interested. I would suggest you check out Ta-Nehisi Coates if you want beautifully written, well-researched discussions about unjust U.S. urban housing and economic policies and their devastating effects on the black middle and working class.

One of the devastating weaknesses of university learning, of the store of knowledge and opinion that has been handed down through academic training, has been its almost total erasure of women’s experience and thought from the curriculum… What you can learn [in college] is how men have perceived and organized their experience, their history, their ideas of social relationships, good and evil, sickness and health, etc. When you read or hear about “great issues,” “major texts,” “the mainstream of Western thought,” you are hearing about what men, above all white men, in their male subjectivity, have decided is important.

— Adrienne Rich, “Claiming an Education" (pdf), a commencement speech given at Douglass College, 1977

(Source: kawrage, via socio-logic)

Female voters in the US have been called “soccer moms” and “security moms”. In 2004, single women were “Sex and the City voters”. Now – because apparently women can’t ever just be “citizens” or “voters”, or more likely because conservatives prefer to call us names instead of delving too deep into women’s issues – we are “Beyoncé voters”. Bow down, bitches.

Most single ladies would generally be thrilled with a comparison to Queen Bey in any way, shape or form, but the cutesy nicknames for politically-engaged women need to stop. Surely pundits and the political media culture can deal with the collective electoral power of the majority voting bloc in this country in some better way than symbolically calling us “sweetheart”, complete with head pat.

Jessica Valenti: Nick-naming women ‘Beyoncé voters’ is exactly why we don’t vote Republican (via guardian)

The Republican who coined “Beyonce voters” was using the term to describe “single ladies” who wanted access to birth control and benefits from the government. It’s basically their new version of “welfare queen”—a dogwhistle largely meant to denigrate non-affluent women of color.

(Source: jessicavalenti, via cognitivedissonance)

GOP congressman who warned about unvaccinated migrants opposed vaccination →