Thursday, December 8, 2011
A letter written by FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg states, "I reviewed and thoughtfully considered the data, clinical information, and analysis provided by CDER, and I agree with the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research that there is adequate and reasonable, well-supported, and science-based evidence that Plan B One-Step is safe and effective and should be approved for nonprescription use for all females of child-bearing potential." The possibility for all women to have access to Plan B was one step away from being instituted and the secretary believed otherwise and due to FDA having to respond they sent the complete response letter to Teva today. Plan B One-Step will remain on the market and will remain available for all ages, but a prescription will continue to be required for females under the age of 17.
This misconception that having Plan B over the counter will somehow make young girls all of a sudden more interested in sex is a ignorant view on the issue at hand and seems to be the true motive in why the secrertary believes younger women shouldn't have the opportunity to the emergency contraceptive. The view of society to believe that just because someone young is requesting Plan B means this girl is promiscuous is not appropriate. You never understand why this person may have felt the need to select this type of contraception. It takes a lot of confidence and strength sometimes for men and woman to even buy these barrier methods and then to be judged when they build up this courage is not acceptable. When condoms are for sale for all ages why cant Plan B be? It is just as safe and effective as other barrier methods, additionally an important saftey net for when "Plan A" methods (like condoms or the pill) fail. Contrary to popular belief it is not our place to justify why someone should be denied access, whether we fear they may begin to abuse the pill or not.
Tylenol, Advil, Benadryl, and Robitussin are all more dangerous than Plan B and yet they are on the market for all ages, over the counter. With this in mind, what is the point in denying access to Plan B? I am totally astonished by the act of denying this access without any legitimate reasoning. There is a clear double standard in place here: women have rights and limited access to reproductive health services but still are hindered by the misconception that young women shouldn't have access to these pills because being a sexually active young woman is still looked down upon. It saddens me that this still occurs but I write this post in hopes that things will change.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Los Angeles protesters are asking the courts to address the reason they are being deprived of public forum. On Monday, November 28th a complaint sent that protesters felt they were unconstitutionally being deprived and wanted their access granted.
According to CNN Wire Staff, the city police are forming an anti-camping provision for the protesters due to all the chaos the protest is causing. At the opening of Twilight there were so many people on the sidewalk camping out the street had to be closed. A city council member stated, "Each of these 'camping' events is highly publicized in the media, takes place in highly-trafficked areas and could not possibly be an unnoticed and unintentional exception to enforcement of the municipal code." With all the protesters outside of Occupy Wall Street getting their stories out why would the actions of these people against the system be denied the same right to get noticed. These protesters are not only demonstrating within their first amendment rights, but they feel they have been forced to do so. Authority telling these protesters they cannot perform such acts, or that they are being outrageous, is their opinion, and doesn't matter. They aren't taking into consideration the pain these people are going through and the detrimental effects this denial of access has been to them.
With all the other problems that L.A. has going on the only one they care about is the fact that people are being peacefully disobedient to unjust laws. They are portraying these actions for a response which authority is giving them. However they are attending to the issues that are not at hand as in how dirty the parks have become or how many people are in the way instead of thinking WOW that is a lot of people out there maybe we should do something. The primary concern is not about the people as it should be, but instead they are worried about just getting the people out of the way. They are not protesting so that you say let's move them but so that you say let's help them. With anybody being subject to getting arrested, the allegations of health and safety issues and the police rallying to get rid of these people soon cities will have to get further involved, what would you do to make history when they come for you? This movement is outstanding and for so many great reasons they deserve to get what they wish and if it ends we are all in danger injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere- Martin Luther King Jr.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
For those of you who don't know, this picture was taken during the NYC SlutWalk, although the person holding the sign was not the original creator of the sign. Now I could very easily write a whole analysis on this, but I think there are plenty of great ones already written out there. Check out this AMAZING post on Racialicious if you're in the mood for a breakdown of some key issues around this sign.
But I want to hear from you. What are your reactions to this? Let's have a real conversation about our feelings, our struggles with this, our reactions to all of the other dialogue out there about this, how we can begin to heal...All that jazz.
Ready? GO! Let's have the convo in the comments section.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Zainab Alhusni was only 18 years old when she was brutally dismembered and mutilated by Syrian security forces. She had left her home early last month to buy groceries and her family never again saw her alive. She was whisked away to coax the surrender of her activist brother, and ended up beheaded and dismembered, a neighbor, activists and human rights groups say. As said by CNN, reporter Her older brother, Mohammed, became a well-known activist in the family's hometown of Homs in western Syria, often leading the demonstrations against embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and treating the wounded. "Protesters would carry Mohammed on their shoulders so he could lead the chants," Fares said. "He was very loved by everyone. The protesters even had a chant they would say for him, using his nickname: 'Abu Ahmed, may Allah protect you!'"
Due to her bothers disobedient behavior in the eyes of the officials she was had the wrath taken out on her. In what way did she deserve such dehumanizing acts to occur to her. why was she the victim of a hate crime. They were demonstrating on her the things they hated about her brother and all who rose up against the government. Several days after Zainab disappeared, security forces called the family and offered to meet them in a pro-Assad neighborhood where they would trade Zainab for her activist brother. On September 10, the family says, Mohammed was wounded in a demonstration. He came back to his loved ones a corpse. The family believes he was tortured to death. The ferocious Syrian government crackdown against dissenters began in mid-March when anti-government protests unfolded. The number of people killed over the past six months has reached at least 2,700, according to the U.N. human rights office. Some activist groups put the toll at around 3,000.
Zainab dreamed of owning her own tailor shop, so she could support her impoverished family, he said. But she never had a chance to fulfill that dream. Authorities forced Zainab's mother to sign a document saying both her daughter and her son had been kidnapped and killed by an armed gang, Amnesty International said in an online statement. The acts being demonstrated to people of Syria is demonizing and barbaric and should not be tolerated, how could we sit back and watch as such horrid acts occur whether they be here or there it doesn't matter. I blog about instances as these because it infuriates me to know such evil is still acceptable. I understand somethings are apart of people traditions and who am I to say what they believe in but when you are removing the rights of the people and treating them as tools, and property to be treated as you wish I must not hold my tongue. As Waleed Fares, a neighbor and family friend of Zainab said, "The case of Zainab Alhusni is not just for our town, or province, or even for the country of Syria. It is a human rights issue that should bring the attention of the world."
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Look, I've seen all of the dialogue about where the SlutWalk began, what it's become, what they're accomplishing, and what they could be doing better. But to be frank, I still don't know if I am personally all that comfortable with it. I love that feminism is catching on again, but I sometimes feel like you've got to be hip to enter some feminists spaces today...and I'm just not all that hip.
"We can't fight the patriarchy if we're busy fighting each other." So true. And I am not one to constantly "police" the spaces that I'm in...but I'm also not one who has the energy to "insert myself" into feminist spaces because of the invisibility/silencing of my various social identities. There's something off about the SlutWalks to me, something feels disingenuous...I really can't put my finger on it.
How do you feel about SlutWalks?
The SlutWalk in NYC is happening on October 1st, and I encourage you all to check it out and decide for yourselves.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Dark Girls: Preview from Bradinn French on Vimeo.
The film seems to take a multidimensional approach to understanding why people feel the way they do about dark skin, using examples from popular culture, psychology studies, personal testimonies of internalized, intra/interpersonal, institutional and ideological oppressions, and others.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Shweyga Mullah worked as a nanny for two of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's grandchildren. When she couldn't keep one from crying, Aline, the wife of Gadhafi's son Hannibal, poured boiling water on her head. When Mullah was found her attacker and husband had fled the scene and she was left with bruises, scars and much patchwork to be done. Even though the burns were inflicted three months ago, she was still in considerable pain. The wounds and pain she feel can never be erased, but she rejoices at the fact that she is loved by god and have been blessed to have people support and help her. The Libyan health Minister, Naji Barakat stated "I think it's a crime against humanity," which indeed is true, this is absolutely disrespectful, immoral and completely degrading to any human to disregard them in such a way. She is only human and she cannot control the emotion of a child at all times. Sometimes children cry and if you cannot stop it does it mean we go around burning those who help us when we are in need. This act of dehumanization completely aggravates me and I refuse to see this SURVIVOR not see JUSTICE.
This was not only a horrific act to put someone through, but as well not the only time that this Aline had portrayed such hateful behavior towards servant of the Gadhafi household. As said by CNN, A man too frightened to reveal his name led CNN reporters to another one of Hannibal Gadhafi's properties, a gated, high-walled villa-like house, where the man said more abuse was meted out to staffers. This masked man stated, "Shweyga is not the only one," describing a Sudanese man who was also scalded with water after he burned an undershirt he was ironing, "Foreign staffers bore the brunt of the abuse." Another woman describes basically a prison cell that she had stayed in as a care giver to the family. This behavior is a form of discrimination, hatred, racism, and enslavement. These people were not given proper meals, dormitory or respect and that is the worst thing you can do is disrespect someone. I feel the most sympathetic to all these beings and wish nothing more than happiness for all of them.
Back at the burn hospital, Mullah faces months of recuperation and surgery. Her story generated enormous public response. So far, people have donated more than $16,000 dollars for her care. CNN is making sure that she receives proper care to be eligible to return home to her family. This relates primarily to the Women's Center because not only is it an act of violence against a woman, but against multiple workers because of their race and against servants in general because of the stigma attached to how people treat lower level classed workers. As an activist and advocate for the Women's Center this relates extremely to our mission of advocating for a violence, harassment free environment, as well creating an anti-racist, non-sexist queer-affirmative space for all to feel free, but I cannot ever truly feel free knowing in the world such acts are still occurring. I pray that all the places in the world like us fight as diligently to stop these acts.
Friday, September 2, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
And I also love that they write awesome Back-to-School Survival Guides! Follow the link to read in its entirety, but I just had to highlight a few of my favorite tips:
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
This month's Bad Asses are....MY AMAZING BOSSES for making the NYU LGBTQ Student Center a totally amazing place to work! I know you may be asking yourself why is this person trying to suck up to her bosses? Well that is a silly question because they probably won't read this, so there.
But in all seriousness, New York University was recently named the most LGBTQ-Friendly Institution in the US! The Princeton Review released it's annual ranking and once again NYU placed first, followed by Standford. Honestly, I'm not sure what criteria was used to earn NYU this ranking, but I know that my supervisors have definitely contributed greatly to campus climate. I love this work! Check out all the schools on HuffPo!
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Monday, August 8, 2011
Let's say that Obama isn't re-elected...who then will speak for the issues you care about? Will this person have enough pull to actually win a primary or an election? What if we are so divided that an uber-conservative is elected? I know what a lot of queer folks are waiting for: inclusive federal Employee Non-Discrimination Act, and marriage. But where should we place our efforts, in a Republican, an incumbent, or a president who has kept a small percentage of his promise. As much as the tides have seemed to turn in this country, if Obama wants a second term, there is no way he will legalize federal civil unions or ENDA.
Obama isn't perfect. No politician is. But I'm hoping that the change I was promised will come in his second term. And if he doesn't do it on his own, you bet your ass I'll be there rallying and protesting and causing a ruckus... because he'll have no excuse. No second term to worry about. It'll be his chance to be the president I voted for.
I have hope, do you?
Thursday, July 28, 2011
When I was Queer Peer Services Coordinator at the Ramapo College of New Jersey, I organized what we called Queer 101 Panels for various social issues classes. These panels basically consisted of 3-5 students with some sort of LGBTQ identity that would answer whatever inquiries their audience had. Having served on at least 50 of these panels myself, I learned rather quickly what kinds of questions non-queer people had for me and my community. I've answered anywhere from "How old were you when you knew you were LGBTQ?" to "How do lesbians have sex?" Upon panel after panel, I realized that everyone had a unique story, and that I never grew tired of hearing them.
I decided to conduct and record my own Queer 101 Panels in South Africa! I began with hotel staff, moved onto queer peer educators at the local LGBTI community center, and finally ended with a group of university students. I thought I would hear some radically different stories, but in truth all of their stories sounded so familiar. Aside from the obvious difference Apartheid tended to cause such as understandings of race, many of their narratives seemed as though they were slightly different versions of stories I heard many times before.
Their voices seemed to play on repeat. The struggle to identify their own sexuality. The anxiety around coming out to the family. The physical, sexual, and emotional abuse that seems to occur far too often in the LGBTQ community. Their many struggles with religion and spirituality. Their difficulty to find a safe and welcoming space to call home.
Their experiences have touched me deeply, and all I've wanted to do the past couple of days is to find more and more people to tell me their stories. But alas this South African journey is coming to a bittersweet end. What I take with me is that no matter how different a place may seem, we are all inevitably connected through basic human experience. Perhaps this experience is connected even more so when queerness is taken into consideration. Perhaps queerness occurs without borders! I consider everyone I've met a member of my queer community, and I'm so touched to have found a home here in South Africa. I'm incredibly honored to have been able to meet so many wonderful, courageous people, and I know this journey is only the beginning!
P.S. I am not able to post my final documentary on youtube because of the safety and security of the people I interviewed, but if you are my facebook friend expect to see the final film soon! See everyone in the States!
Monday, July 25, 2011
Racial interaction happens on two important levels in schools:
1. Student to student
2. Staff to student
While many schools have changed drastically in terms of racial demographics, many schools still contain a majority. The schools in the townships that we have learned about have been primarily Black, while more expensive less accessible schools schools in more suburban areas continue to educate primarily White students. I'm curious as to how students make sense of their identities and interactions with those of other races when placed in a school where there are only a handful of people who look like them in their peer group. Unless the teachers are comfortable facilitating difficult conversations around race and reconciliation, will Apartheid simply become a history lesson rather than a recent system that affects current systems like education and the economy?
I use the word "staff" as opposed to educators in the second category of interactions for a reason. Race matters for educators and support staff. We visited the Oprah Winfrey school (no we didn't see Oprah despite my prayers), and I couldn't help but notice that while a majority of students were Black, there were very few Black teachers or administrators. In fact, the staff that was painting one of the dormitories were entirely Black. One of the tour guides of another group was commenting on how she preferred White teachers because Black people in South Africa weren't as educated or talented. She was Black.
My tour guide expressed that she wished she has more White students in her peer group because she was told by a few White students that she had met from a different school that the Black Economic Empowerment Act was reverse discrimination. Oprah's school is technically for those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, so there were only a few White students. This does somewhat fit the national populations considering there are far more Black people living in poverty than White. My tour guide didn't really understand that the school she was attending, and other programs like it, are more so to rewrite the systematic wrongs of Apartheid policy. Even though those policies went away, it will take decades for the system to function more equally. To call Oprah's school or the Economic Empowerment Act reverse discrimination is to completely ignore historical wrongs.
I couldn't help but wonder how students at Oprah's school found mentors. Personally, I tend to seek out mentors that I have similarities with. Aside from Oprah herself, I was having a lot of trouble finding successful Black women with whom the students could look to for guidance. How many of those teachers and counselors really understand the students' struggles? And is success being defined as being more acceptable in White spheres? I wonder if that one tour guide would feel the same way about teachers in South Africa if she had more experiences with Black teachers in Oprah's school.
I have a lot more about staff-student interactions, but I need a little more time to process a recent experience. Until next week, but in the meantime please posts reactions and thoughts in the comment section!
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Even though slavery and Jim Crow segregation laws ended several decades ago and Apartheid ended only two decades ago, they both have had long lasting impacts. These impacts can be seen both on interpersonal and institutional level. Institutionally, schools are still incredibly unequal in terms of resources and quality of education. Schools with majority Black learners in the townships produce significantly less matriculating students than those with primarily White/Afrikaans learners. The one university program we visited in Soweto had a fairly diverse mix of students at the BA level, but diversity was lacking when I looked at the racial makeup of the MA students and professorial staff.
The poverty disparity in terms of race is also incredibly visible in almost every area we've been in. To be fair I haven't seen every part of South Africa, but after having visited Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, and several townships I feel as though I've observed a fair amount of the major areas. But I didn't realize just how unequally wealth is distributed here until I found myself shocked in Durban to see White people asking for spare change. For the entire trip, up until this past weekend, I had only seen Black faces on the streets asking for food or money. I didn't realize how desensitized I was to the racial background of , to a certain extent, until I was in a more urban area where the population wasn't as homogeneous as the townships.
In many communities, there is also a distrust and lack of emphasis on the importance of education. The affects of an inoperable government and education system are still evident. Even though in theory everyone has access to some form of education now and the system is compulsory until grade ten, our observations show that students are held to the same expectations nor are they provided with the same affirmations. A course called Life Orientation is offered at many secondary schools, and is meant to provide practical life skills. It was discussed in my class that many White students are taught how to be good bosses/employers, while many Black students are taught how to be good employees. Expectations definitely affect performance and aspirations. If those who educate you tell you, either implicitly or explicitly, that you can only amount to subservient professions, you may begin to believe it.
Some of this may sound a bit bleak, but I have to ask myself, is it really all that unfamiliar?
I grew up in urban areas where the faces of those living in poverty were almost entirely the same color. The school districts New Jersey are also segregated along the lines of class with large implications of race. School districts had unequal resources and student achievement suffered greatly. the majority of students in colleges are White, especially for upper-level degrees. Granted, the disparities are more striking in South Africa because the majority of the population is Black and not White, but both countries suffer from distorted representations in higher education.
Of course the countries are different, especially in terms of recent past versus distance past of government-sanctioned racism, but as I spend more time here I become more and more shocked by just how similar our current systems are.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
I've heard the word “Caucasian” used a few times on this trip to describe White people, and it triggers me. According to 19th century anthropologist Blumenbach, White people originated in the Caucus region and are considered the most beautiful, intelligent, and superior race. The Caucus region was also fabled to be the birthplace of mankind even though we know that the human race originated in Africa. There were also sub-racial groups within each of these categories. In fact, according to Blumenbach, the white race included Egyptians and other north Africans, known as the Hamitic race. You may be saying to yourself "why is this a bad thing, he's saying that some Africans were as superior as whites?" Well, the Hamitic race was added as a sub-group mostly to explain the great historical civilizations of Arabia and Egypt. Blumenbach needed a way to separate "good and intelligent" Black people(Hamitics) from he viewed as the animalistic Black people of southern Africa(Negroids).
How has this way of thinking impacted our lives? Colonialism, slavery, the holocaust, Apartheid all seem to come to mind. Blumenbach's work still echoes today. Genocides, racial purity, race wars, racism, and the imaginary notion of reverse racism are especially prevalent amongst the current debate about the Black Economic Empowerment Act in South Africa and immigration in the States. And while the race may not be a scientific or medical truth, discrimination based on race is a very real truth.
All of this emphasis on race makes me reflect on my own racial identity. My ethnic identity is Italian, Jamaican, and Indian, but I've always called myself brown in terms of race. Jamaica is made up several different ethnic groups. While 90% of the population is Black (African in origin resulting from the slave trade), there are also substantial White, Indian, Chinese, and Arawak populations on the island. After slavery was abolished on the British island, there were huge amounts of indentured servants brought over from the other British colonies and protectorates. Chinese and Indian workers would finish their mandatory years of servitude and then set up families and communities of their own. These lines and separated communities have continued over the decades resulting in only 7% of Jamaica being multi-ethnic. So apparently my father's mother was black but his father was Indian.
Why does any of this matter? Well as someone who has constantly felt lost in their ethnic identity and having very few mirrors in my family to identify with, I have always found some refuge in being knowledgeable about why I look the way I look. Why my skin is an ambiguous brown instead of a clearer shade of definitely this or that. Why people will forever ask me "what are you?" Why the texture of my hair comes as a surprise. Being in mono-racial spaces makes me uneasy at times. With the participants on this trip seem somewhat segregated by race, and I feel forced to be two different people in one space versus the other, rather than my whole self in both spaces.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is calling for fresh volunteers in a months-long war with rebels attempting to end his 42-year rule - and women of all ages are answering. At the training facility in Bani Walid, women are training to "defend Moammar and the country," said Sgt. Faraj Ramadan, a woman who is training other women to properly handle weapons. "They train to use it, assemble it and take it apart, and to shoot," she told CNN recently. "They were trained and got excellent scores."
Women who attended the training would graduate at the end and are then fully eligible to prepare for combat no matter what the age of the women. Is this an attempt at making women equal or to kill them off. Is it a chance to save their government or to return to the conditions they had before. No matter what the reasoning women are fully interested in this opportunity and they are training in the thousands.
A woman, who did not want to identified, fresh from the front lines, attended the graduation of former trainees. She was still wearing a cannula in her wrist."Do not underestimate any woman in Libya, whether old or young," the woman said. "The woman is still able to perform more than you think."
Women from in and around Gadhafi's stronghold of Tripoli have been traveling south to a training facility in Bani Walid to practice with weapons, a common sight in a country where young girls receive military training in schools.As NATO's airstrikes crossed the 100-day mark and rebels continue to fight to oust Gadhafi, he is tapping everything and everyone in his arsenal to hold on to power and to fight to keep him in power. Check the video to see these women in uniform.
Comment and tell how you feel about this issue.
Monday, June 27, 2011
If you don't want to watch the video, this comment from the youtube page for the video more or less sums up the director's main (ill conceived) point:
None of these "future leaders" don't seem to understand affirmative action. It's all right to cheat a student who worked hard for 12 years to achieve high grades to loose an education to a student with lower grades, but don't weaken their basketball team.
This is partially true, the people that they interviewed don't fully understand how affirmative action works... but neither do the filmmakers.
The Basics of Affirmative Action
First, lets get a major misconception out of the way: quotas are illegal. Schools do not have a certain number or percentage of students from various minority groups that they must admit. Instead, schools and employers set goals for inclusion based on what groups are not being represented, and then they set a time frame during which those goals should be met. However, they face no retribution of for whatever reason these goals are not met. [Source]
In this framework, affirmative action is not a plot to screw more qualified white students out of "their" place in an institution, but rather to keep the concept of diversity firmly in mind when creating a student body or a group of employees. To meet these goals some organizations employ a "points system" whereby being a part of an underrepresented group gets you a certain number of points... but so do your SAT scores, grades, references, your community involvement, and so on. Within this system being a member of an underrepresented group does not get you a free pass into a college or place of employment based on your race, but rather, it affords you a few extra points in light of the fact that (more likely than not) you have faced some amount of race or gender based discrimination in your life that has hindered your ability to get stellar references/grades/whatever.
Basically, affirmative action comes down to two major concepts: generating diversity AND acknowledging the uneven playing field that exists, and taking that into account when making decisions about people. [Click to learn the truth behind some more myths about affirmative action!]
So Why Shouldn't We Apply Affirmative Action to Basketball Teams?
Basically, if we lived in a world free of race and gender based discrimination, where everyone was afforded comparable resources and opportunities to succeed then, yes, affirmative action would be silly. But that is not the world we live in. In order to apply the concept of affirmative action to basketball, we'd have to make a compelling argument that white people are facing some sort of systemic discrimination that hinders them from achieving in basketball.Or, as the filmmaker so eloquently put it...
"How is like, academic ability really different from athletic ability. [...] I mean athletics is the same thing as academic ability."Although none of the people in the interviews made the final cut of this short film could answer the question, I can! Academic success is largely influenced by a student's environment. While raw academic ability can provide students with an edge, ultimately they need a strong and supportive background in which that ability can be nurtured to succeed. Children who grow up in poverty tend to lack that background: they don't go to schools with funding for fantastic teachers and up to date equipment and textbooks, they often go to school hungry and return to homes where . It just so happens, due to the social structures in place due (in part) to the United State's history of slavery and race-based discrimination against immigrants, that people of color tend to be disproportionately impacted by the cycle* of poverty.
This same argument can be applied to basketball. Players who can afford great coaches, nourishing food, the time to practice, and so on will have an edge over other players. Are white basketball players somehow systemically being denied these resources? If anything, given what we know about who tends to be impacted by the cycle of poverty, the opposite can be argued in terms of the big picture. White people are more likely to have access to these resources... so why, again, should they get a leg up when trying out for a basketball team?
All of this said, I think the affirmative action model could use some improvement... luckily I am not alone in that belief!
In this modern day and age many institutions and politicians are considering and experimenting with shifting to a model that focuses more on socioeconomic status. This makes tons of sense to me since people with money tend to have access to better resources (like homes in good public school districts, money for private schools, money for SAT tutors, the freedom to take an unpaid internship, and so on) not to mention the fact that they also have their basic needs (food, shelter, clothing) met, thus freeing their minds to focus on getting ahead rather than just surviving. Although people of color disproportionately tend to be forced into this cycle, systems that looks primarily at socioeconomic status are a viable way of ensuring that all people living in poverty get assistance in breaking the cycle.
At the end of the day, if affirmative action was simply about giving certain groups of people a leg up for no discernible reason, the video's argument would make perfect sense. Its not though. I'd challenge the directors of this film to point to the social structures that keep white kids from excelling at basketball (while subsequently putting black children in a position to excel at it.) If someone can convince institutions that the basketball field isn't equally accessible, then it would make sense to look at ways of leveling it... but until that argument can be made, affirmative action on the basketball court just doesn't make sense.
Crossposted at Imagine Today
Saturday, June 18, 2011
The glitterings seem to only be related in the sense that the first incident inspired other individuals to act independently, but the latest video of the glittering calls for people everywhere to join the "glitterati movement." While the first person to throw glitter was not involved with GetEqual, the organization is now asking for others to "Get Equal" with glitter.
I literally can't decide how I feel about throwing glitter on politicians. A part of me thinks it's hilarious and harmless and bringing much needed attention to some anti-queer happenings, but another part of me can't help but feel that it will ultimately hurt queer political efforts. Some folks are calling the glitter showers "glitter bombs" and categorizing them as assaults.
The latest glitter protester explains the reasons behind her actions:
Friday, June 17, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
|MacMaster with his Che shirt trying to get brown activist-street cred|
Daniel Nassar and other amazing activists and bloggers who are actually living in totalitarian states think otherwise. As reported, hoax-man Tom MacMaster kind of apologized for the lies, but in the end he feels as though he's brought light to an issue near and dear to his heart. He's even joked about writing a book about the entire process. Tom thinks he's doing the world a great justice by speaking for a group of people, but I wonder if he's ever spoken to Syrian LGBTQ folks about their needs.
Daniel Nassar has something to say to Mr. MacMaster:
Well said! Silencing those who are oppressed so that your own voice can be heard is not liberation. Rather, Tom has committed liberally-educated "do-good" work that he was only able to accomplish because he comes from a place of privilege. I hope he is held accountable for his actions, and if he decides to publish a book, it should primarily feature actual Syrian LGBTQ voices.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan recently went on a huge homophobic rant during one of his shows. Here are some excerpts (trigger warning):
-”All this gay shit is crazy”
-”Born This Way is bullshit”
-”Gay is a choice because God don’t make no mistakes”
-”There is no way a woman could love and have sexual desire for another woman”
-”Gays need to quit being pussies and not be whining about something as insignificant as bullying”
-”Gay is something that kids learn from the media and programming”
-If Tracy’s son was gay…he “better talk to me like a man and not in a gay voice or I’ll pull out a knife and stab that little n**** to death”
-Tracy said he “doesn’t f***ing care if he pisses off some gays, because if they can take a f***ing dick up their ***…they can take a f***ing joke.”
Did any of that sound like a “joke” to you? You may feel differently about it, but I think he really feels that way. From Comedy Central Roasts to a former Seinfeld cast member spewing out the “N”-word, comedians often get away with a lot more than other celebrities. How are we to hold comedians accountable when lines are clearly crossed? Thoughts? Reactions?
**Update** Tracy has issued an official apology for his rant. Is it too little too late?
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Gender is understood differently in different parts of the world.
Transnational gender experiences and identities are not meant for humor/entertainment! Meet the LadyBoys of Thailand:
This message goes out to The Hangover II and Uberhumor! Now don't get me wrong, I loved The Hangover II. While the plot was basically identical to the first one, the situations were way more ridiculous and absurd. I laughed out loud (quite embarrassingly so) for almost the entire movie, except for one section. One of the main characters sleeps with a dancer whom he believes is a cis woman. He later comes to find that she has a penis. Now the feminist in me would love to think that the writers of The Hangover II were trying to push the lines of the gender binary and beauty standards. But the realist in me knows that this plot turn was intended to add a gross-factor, as evident of the movie theater's collective reaction of "Ewwww....grosss...that's sick, ect...."
Along the same lines, the website Uberhumor (which claims to be the funniest site on the web), posted a set of pictures recently that asked their readers to "pick out the transsexuals from the girls." After clicking a link, it is revealed that all of them are "actually boys" and competitors of the Miss LadyBoy Pageant in Thailand. The joke is on the reader for thinking that any of these beautiful people were "real women." Get it? Hahaha (SARCASM).
Ladyboys are actually apart of a third gender category in Thailand, and are somewhat similar to the Hijras of India. While not quite equivalent to trans women in the states, they definitely blur the gender binary! But movie audiences and blog "test" takers are not going to see rich histories or vibrant culture. They're going to see a chick with a dick, and react the way their upbringing has told them to react, with disgust and fear. I don't see any humor at all in that.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Friday, May 27, 2011
But you have to admit that with the recent anti-choice billboards funded by white men and aimed towards communities of color seem awfully similar. It feels like white politicians and zealots dictating what communities of color should really fear: abortions and gay people.
Well I have one message to all those who use these political tactics:
We don't need you posting billboards or driving vans up into our communities pretending you care for our well being. As a matter of fact, trust all marginalized and oppressed communities to make their own decisions. Maybe you should be looking at the distribution of wealth in this country instead? That's the real threat to our well being.