All good things must come to an end

February and Black History Month are over! My limited exposure to the media meant I didn’t have to deal with too much stupid BHM crap this year. Must remember this strategy next time around.

First thing, I want to thank all of the guest bloggers and essayists who contributed to ABW last month. Your contributions were everything I hoped for and more — you’re all amazing and talented folks.

On the guest blogger front, I’m happy to announce that Karynthia will be joining us as a regular political blogger. She’ll usually post on Mondays, though if this election continues to bring the crazy, you might see her even more. Nora will remain a contributor as well.

Due to the awesomeness of the author essays, I am going to make them a regular feature. I might use different themes each month or stick with the history thing, I’m not sure yet. Suggestions are welcome.

I must say, though last month was awesome, was also one of the busiest on this blog in a long time. I loved it, but I am ready for a break. So here are some links to tide you over this weekend:

If you’re interested in more discussion, debate, and musings from creators (not just of fiction, but of art, comics, television, movies, etc.) then I highly suggest you look over the Race Around the Net list compiled by digital_femme on LJ. It’s an excellent place to start if you’re looking to read and learn more.

You may have noticed links to Black News Junkie on some posts. BNJ is sort of like Digg for black blogs. It’s a good place to see what folks on blogs are talking about, you can vote on interesting stories, and you can submit your own blog posts to it. Right now it only drives a bit of traffic, but as more people use it, it will benefit both bloggers and readers more. Go make an account!

For those of you interested in children’s literature written by and about black folks, check out the festivities over at The Brown Bookshelf. Every day in February they highlighted an author or illustrator and there is a lot of good stuff over there.

A few weeks ago I got an email about, a new website headed by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. It’s a bit like a Huffington Post, but with African-American concerns at the fore. It’s also more news magazine-like with the various bloggers only being one component. So far I find it interesting and entertaining in equal measure.

Besides the blogs and news, there’s also a section where you can start your genealogical search and get your DNA tested to see where your origins lie. Now I am aware that this process isn’t perfect, but I am rather interested to see if there’s something in my background I’m not aware of or if I can find out from what region of Africa some of my ancestors hailed from. Still, until I have a few hundred dollars lying around doing nothing, I will just have to wait.

Last and least, here’s the stupidest Black History Month thing I came across on the Internets:

Walgreens Sort of Celebrates Black History Month

Walgreens BHM

Is this a cotton-picking joke? We’ll never know. What crazy stuff did you all find/hear about?


Just want to take a moment to, again, thank all of my guest bloggers and essayists for their contributions. Last week saw more content than the ABW has seen all at once in a long time. So before we dive back in to the thoughtful posts and insightful discussion, I want to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

Last week Naamen started us off with his post on why he doesn’t like to admit he supports Obama.

Karynthia hoped that Super Tuesday would result in a clear front-runner for the Democrats — no dice. So, sadly, the long national nightmare where we’re told that black women have to choose between voting their race or their gender continues apace.

Angry Black Bitch had much the same complaint, and spent the day yelling at her television because ALL women of color are being horribly dealt with by the media.

Sokari posted a wonderfully insightful review of THE LIONESS OF LISABI that you must read.

And frequent guest blogger nojojojo kindly asks, again, for Black people to stop embarrassing us.

Saturday saw the first of many posts by black authors on the subject of history. I wasn’t aware of S. Renee Bess‘ work until I contacted her for this project, but now I’m eager to read her fiction!

Tomorrow we resume with the guest blogging and Friday there will be more author essays. Read, comment, enjoy!

Linky Carnival

Since was a little messed up this weekend some of you may have missed a post or two.  Never fear, I am here to point you toward all the angry black goodness.

First, there’s my review of Acacia (fantasy… with brown people!  omg) and an excerpt from my interview with the author.

Next, my rant about Stargate: Atlantis.

Then a post about the last season of CSI and the stupidly racist storyline that would not die.

Also worthy of a look, the 16th Erase Racism Carnival at Alas, A Blog, which is full of links to things I kept saying “I should blog about that!” and never did.

Finally, the People of Colour SF Carnival 2 which is equally wonderful and chock full of good links.  I also neglected to mention the first People of Colour SF Carnival, and that was bad of me.  Especially since it is so awesome.

Speaking of neglect, I realized today that I never, ever linked to this piece I did for Racewire.  Arg!  It was a while ago, too.  I really need to stop being such a flake.

Anyway, go read and comment and such.  Also, I declare this an Open Thread for any random thing you all want to talk about.

May 2007 Erase Racism Carnival

Welcome to the 12th Erase Racism Carnival! Sorry this edition is a little late. We had a few issues to deal with at ABW Central this weekend.

This is a very media-heavy edition, mainly because media issues are very interesting to me. The summer movie season is starting to heat up and this season’s television shows are coming to an end, allowing us to examine them completely. There’s plenty to talk about in the realm of literature, too. So, get comfortable, grab a drink, and settle in. There’s a lot of great stuff to read.

Writing and Reading

In the past month, there’s been a lot of talk on this blog about diversity in the Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror genre. It started with a post by my guest blogger, N. K. Jemisin, called No more lily-white futures and monochrome myths.

Speculative fiction (SF) has been, historically, one of the most racist genres in American literature. Oh, it hasn’t had as many Stepinfetchits or Uncle Toms as the mainstream, but there are few more powerful ways to wrong a people than to wipe it out of existence, and this is precisely what countless SF novels have done. If the crew of the Space Navy Vessel Whozimawhatsit is all white; if a vast medieval epic spanning several continents contains no chromatic folk; if the scientific accomplishments of ancient nonwhite empires are dismissed as alien leftovers; if China is the only continent toasted by an invading space warship; all of this is a kind of literary genocide. (Yes, genocide.) And it’s something that SF has not only done well for years, but continues to do.

Author Tobias Buckell weighed in:

…I keep seeing the same repetition. Someone says SF/F isn’t diverse, people respond by chanting “Hopkinson, Butler, Delany, Barnes” like it’s a magical phrase that dispels the +10 diversity attack spell.
Is the cadre of writers in the field diverse?

This could be a larger societal issue, an issue of fandom, the technical nature of SF/F, or that readers don’t see their faces in SF/F and don’t read it and therefore don’t write it, whatever your theory is (and I’m making no accusations or forwarding theories of my own here, that isn’t the point of this particular entry), it still doesn’t change the fundamental fact that is not a racially diverse field.

One way to address this issue is to encourage diversity in fiction markets, particularly the top tier markets. I offered some suggestions on how editors and publishers could achieve this:

  • Make sure a wide range of people know that your magazine accepts unsolicited submissions by reaching out and posting notifications in venues frequented by non-white and non-male individuals.
  • Put your money where your mouth is. Publish more stories by established authors that feature non-default people and non-default settings so that newer authors (and readers) will see your market as open to diverse views and ideas.
  • Update submission guidelines to very clear statements of what the market is looking for or lacking.
  • Get creative with ways to attract more diverse subjects, settings, characters, and writers.
  • In the fiction selection process, think carefully about the stories you choose. Publish stories that reflect a true balance (but don’t lower your standards to do so).

Some editors are listening, so we’ll see what may come.

Matthew Cheney over at The Mumpsimus gives a detailed analysis of a story in the latest issue of Weird Tales.

The question (problem? issue?) of how Third World countries get represented in First World fiction is one that has interested me for some time, mostly because I’m hyper-aware and perhaps hyper-sensitive to my own status as a First World reader.* My ideas about such representations have run quite a gamut over the years, and continue to shift and change almost daily.

Today, my thoughts returned again and again to Will Ludwigsen’s story “Faraji” in the April/May Weird Tales…

The central failure of the story is in its representation of Africa. The story is set in the future, it seems, or at least an alternate present, because there is a “President Russell” in the U.S. By not naming the African country where the narrator is imprisoned, the story unfortunately plays off of “Dark Continent” stereotypes that set all of Africa up as a mysterious, primitive, and brutal Other. It could be argued that the narrator is someone for whom the continent is, indeed, that, but I think such an argument utterly misses the point. The point is: Why tell this particular story in this particular way at this particular time?
Africa in such a story is not a place at all, but an idea, and that idea is the same damn one that Conrad and so many lesser writers used. There is a difference between setting a story in “Africa” and setting it in a particular place at a particular time. There is a difference between using the idea of “Africa” as a prop for your plot and actually writing about Africa. I think those differences are vital, particularly when writing about places that have suffered so much stereotyping in First World readers’ minds.

There is a lot to chew over in that post, and many more good points than I can quote without making this carnival far too long.

Novelist PL Logan talks about examining prejudices in the context of the writing life:

The reason why it’s important to get at your prejudices (your ‘isms’ if you like), other than the part about everyone else being able to see them, is that unless you plan to write solely about someone exactly like you, you’d better be able to understand the Other (those who are Not You), at least a little.

If you can’t even understand the person sitting next to you on the bus or on the freeway or at your school or job, how in the world can you understand someone living in the fourteenth century, or in Tau Ceti, or in the Unicorn Kingdom?

Megatrouble’s Super Like a White Man? Searching for the Black Superhero in Comics and Film is a thorough examination of the subject, well worth taking the time to read.

Does the superhero genre of film and comic books speak to people of color? While comics have explored race and superheroes with more nuance, the films lag behind in their portrayals of African Americans. I am entertaining the idea, of course, that a “superhero” does not have to be white and male. My motivation for writing this essay, then, is to stretch the notion of what a super or action hero should look like. Because “hero” is ingrained with a specific image–an American white male, usually a firefighter, infantryman, or doctor–we need more diverse models for heroism.

Thomas Sowell has an interesting article on Bookstore Ghettoes that, oddly enough, has nothing to do with genre fiction. Unless you count ‘being a black author’ as a genre.

If Rachael Ray had been black, there are bookstores where her cookbook would not be displayed in the same section with all the other cookbooks. It would be displayed off in a special section for black authors.
The notion of honoring black (“African American”) writers with a special section in bookstores is just one of innumerable fashionable symbolic notions that ignore consequences.

In other situations, the negative consequences of mindless symbolism can be far more serious.

Movies & Television

Pam Noles has an excellent post about the casting decisions surrounding the film adaptation of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. Quoting the New York Times:

When [HBO] broadcasts its two-hour adaptation of the book… at its center will be a new character: a man who was part Sioux, was educated at an Ivy League college and married a white woman.

“Everyone felt very strongly that we needed a white character or a part-white, part-Indian character to carry a contemporary white audience through this project,” Daniel Giat, the writer who adapted the book for HBO Films, told a group of television writers earlier this year.

Pam goes on to say:

Can we guess the cultural composition of “everyone” in this case? See, this pale and monolithic “everyone” needed a protagonist for their adaptation of Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee… one of the touchstone works about the expansion of the West from the point of view of the people who lost out big time.

And the question that always floats to mind around here when I see these types of stories? Is the contemporary white audience truly as dumb, ignorant and xenophobic as the green light guardians at the Hollywood gate assume them to be? (To be honest, quite often my answer is yes. But lots of times my answer is no…)

…it comes down to we’ll never actually know if the contemporary white audience is not being given enough credit as long as the overwhelmingly pale Hollywood People who make the decisions continue to pull this crap.

Well said.

M H Ayinde gives us an interesting take on a possible interpretation of Spider-Man 3‘s use of dark vs. not-dark Spidey.

During the course of the movie, Peter Parker does indeed seem to be transformed into a strange stereotype of a black man. He becomes a sexual predator. He plays jazz piano. He struts down the street while classic soul plays, Shaft-like, in the background. He hits women, and he has to battle his own raging anger. Sounds like a black stereotype to me.

If Spider-Man’s suit had turned some other colour when he was “evil”, I might not have cared so much. But it turned black and, unfortunately, the connotations are far to obvious to be ignored. Aside from this, throughout science fiction and fantasy, dark is used as a lazy shortcut to mean something bad. How many dark lords are there? And even the word itself is used when a writer is stumped to come up with something more creative – the usage of the word really is a prime example of that old literary transgression: telling rather than showing. If we are told something is dark, we know it is bad, without ever needing to be shown why.

In Keep Your Grubby Paws off My Likeness, Lo offers a different take on media representations of minorities:

…being “underrepresented” in TV shows and commercials means that corporate America hasn’t learned how to exploit you yet. If you watch a TV show or a commercial and you find absolutely nothing in common with anyone, you have no desire to be like any of the people that you see; you are in a good spot.

You have an opportunity to have a future. A future not tainted by subliminal messages.

I’m not sure I agree with her thesis, but it’s an interesting view.

Kevin on SlantTruth takes a look at a few movies and TV shows and what they reveal about America.

New Jack City – Black culture in its entirety. Notice all the Hip Hop played in the movie? This is all that is wrong with the United States of America.

The Godfather – Definitely not white culture in its entirety. A socio-economic metaphor for the difficulties involved in making it in the U.S.

The Blogosphere

Donna, at The Silence of Our Friends, comes to an uncomfortable realization about discussions concerning race on the Internet (and, really, anywhere):

My mistake was thinking that white liberals who blog and especially white feminists were ignorant about the way society and culture affect people of color, if you explained it, then they would be more supportive of our ideas and causes. It took me awhile to see that unity and solidarity were only for their ideas and causes and that for the most part it is all about them. This is what both Nezua and BA are talking about in their posts and how they are rejecting those who are users for only their own goals. I’m not so dense that I didn’t figure out long ago that this is true for a few, but I didn’t want to see the bigger picture and how true it is for many.

This came in the context of an excellent post about White POC – “those who are harmful to us collectively and are as self-serving as many white people.”

…there are POC who will tell white people what they want to hear in order to get ahead, and there are POC who have been socialized and acculturated to believe in the all-American racist stereotypes. [...] This is the unfortunate person we hear about when white people want to contradict our truths with their “NDN, black, asian, latino etc friend” who thinks that racism isn’t a problem and that we’re just making a mountain out of a molehill. [...] It’s also what we are talking about when white people tell us “Not you. You’re one of the good ones.” They mean we are assimilated and they notice we are white POC, or as Archie Bunker says, “You’re a credit to your race.” A white POC will think this is a compliment, instead of seeing it as an extension of racism.

In a sort-of related essay posted on Jesus’ General and other blogs, nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez, The Unapologetic Mexican, writes about The True Front of Progressivism:

SOMETIMES YOU WONDER if blogging is a component of Real Change, done for distraction, provided as a social experience, or is just a game. And of course, it is all these things at different times. In their better moments, blogs can affect people and their views profoundly, just as a Great Book might, when dropped into your hands on a crucial day.
But we are all selective. And we all have blind spots. That is why situations like JC’s here are good. He has many guest bloggers, and they all bring their points of view. He does not edit, he does not pressure, he does not in any way censor inflammatory posts, and he lets the Whole work its business when he brings in those voices. This is a good way to avoid blind spots and evidence of a true progressive nature in action.
Yes, I burn hot, as many of the “brown blogs” do. Just as the feminist blogs do. Just as the anti-ablist blogs do. But change and truth are not lukewarm entities or processes, and nobody has to agree with all I write. I am sure JC doesn’t, and I’m sure Glenn Greenwald doesn’t, but they both read and blogroll me. It doesn’t mean we haven’t had rough moments, adjusting viewpoint pangs, or disagreements. But—to me—it means they earn the name “progressive” if only for their effort and willingness to move outside the mainstream boundaries. [...] I have plenty of exposure. I am happy at my place, and happy to guest post here, and happy that my words get out there.

I am not happy, however, to see how contained these points of view and discussions are in the “mainstream” blog world. My point is that there are many who are connected to this struggle. You want to talk about race? You want to talk about eliminationalist rhetoric? You want to talk about LEFT vs RIGHT….but that leaves no room for others, does it? Is there only Left and Right? Is it really so simple?

An excellent, excellent post.

News and Current Events

Jenn and James at Reappropriate take exception to something Pat Buchannan wrote about the mass killing at Virginia Tech. They decide to take him on point by point, delivering a solid smackdown:

James: While I concur with your point about safety in classrooms, the most insulting part of this argument, to me, is that America already has an ongoing experiment where we allow thousands of unregulated, uncontrolled small arms to infiltrate small, closed-in populations. These small arms contribute to thousands of unsolved and ignored homicides every year. We call this experiment the inner city. If you want to know what happens when everyone gets to carry a gun, go to the hood.
Jenn: While it is important to remember what it’s like to be a 1.5-genner, and the isolation that such an identity entails, the association of Seung Cho’s actions with all Korean American immigrants is ludicrous! The 1965 Immigration Act opened this nation’s gates to countless talents and skills from around the globe; we can’t conflate one person’s actions with an entire race of people, based solely on skin colour and pathway to citizenship.

In We Are All Criminals, Brownfemipower keeps the real issues surrounding the immigration debate up front:

Right now, although anti-immigrant aggression still centers on economics (the dirty spics are stealing jobs/making us pay for their welfare), the driving force behind the debate, the issue that really triggers the debate, is the “war on terror.”

Some of the first anti-immigrant organizations in the U.S. to capitalize on anti-Arab “war on terror” policies were the hate organizations the Minutemen Project and the American Patrol Report. Both organizations were classified as hate groups by the U.S. government pre 9-11. [...]But all of this was conveniently forgotten by politicians, government officials, and universities in a post 9-11 world.

Rachel (of Tavern fame) feels that Racism is the Problem and Shooting the Messenger Promotes Racism, a reaction to a news story about a teacher disciplined because of something published in the school paper she oversees.

The article in the May issue of the Blazer included anonymous comments from students questioning the intelligence of blacks and expressing disapproval of interracial dating.

Some of the anonymous quotes accompanied an editorial by a student staff member who called those attitudes appalling.

Rachel says,

It is difficult from the article to tell if the administrators were more concerned about how black students would feel after reading the bigoted comments or if they were more concerned about how it would make their school look. But if school administrators think that these types of comments are not made on a regular basis, they need to get real. Racial abuse is not uncommon in schools; bigoted remarks are also common. They may be said only amongst racial peers or close friends, but they are there nonetheless.
Should these students and their advisor be punished for exposing racism? Should we shoot the messenger or attack the message? I think we should attack the message without white washing it, and punishing the messenger only puts a lid on the problem.

We, As Individuals

One of the reasons I love this carnival is that it never fails to bring home to me that Erasing Racism is not just the work of groups of people, but of individuals. People who live in the world and do individual things with other individuals to combat and eliminate racism. Whenever I find the world too overwhelming and it’s problems insurmountable, I remember that I don’t have to take on the world, I just have to deal with what surrounds me every day. With that thought, I leave you my final carnival offerings:

MissProffe muses on one of the side-effects of being a teacher of color:

We chatted about TOCs being role models – not just for students of color, but also for majority students – at a predominately White independent school. S.G. remarked how there is added pressure on TOCs to project a positive image with respect to appearance (dress) and manner (language).
Is it fair that my colleague and I must cross every proverbial T and dot every proverbial I in the words we choose and in the clothes we wear? No. However, Life isn’t fair, and This Life presents a double-standard for people of color, regardless of our level of education, an impeccable wardrobe, or ability to speak the Queen’s English.

And finally, Rachel S. writes about Things You Learn About Race From a 7 Year Old on Alas, A Blog:

A few weeks ago my partner’s son B was here for the holidays, and as usual he and I spent a great deal of time together. I’m often curious about when and how kids learn about race, and I always observe how B discusses race. He is a dark skinned black child, and I am a very fair skinned white person, which makes it fairly obvious to any on-looker that I am not his biological mother.
B: “Were [those people looking at us] because I’m black and you’re white? They want to know if you are my mommy.”

Rachel: ”Why do you think that?”

B: (very matter matter of factly) “Because black kids have black moms.”

Rachel: “Can black kids have white moms?”

B: (laughing at what he thinks is a joke) “Black kids can’t have white moms.”
I found it interesting how conscious he was of other people looking at him and me. He very clearly connected it to race.
These are the kinds of issues that frequently come up in mixed race families. They are also faced by monoracial families even if they don’t realize it. …I do wonder if it would be different if I was the black one and he was white. Given that we live in a fairly rich area, where many upper middle class and upper class white parents have women of color as their nannies, it is not too uncommon to see black and brown women taking care of small white kids. However, a white women taking care of a black child is almost unheard of, which is why we probably get some many stares.

Thanks to everyone who submitted (even those I could not include) and everyone for reading. Don’t forget to submit posts for next month’s Carnival, hosted @ white anti-racist parent.

Also, if you’re interested in reading more stuff about race in the SF/F genre, keep an eye out for the People of Colour SF Carnival. The first one is due out next month.

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Politicians Are Stupid and Racist – Early April Edition

More of a link roundup than anything else. I don’t have much to say about these news items beyond the title of this post.

Karl Rove Raps

There are few things more pathetic than old white men rapping, dancing, and aping ‘ghetto’ black people. One of the things that is more pathetic: old black men who join in.

Newt Gingrich calls Spanish the “Language of the Ghetto”

“The American people believe English should be the official language of the government. … We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto,” Gingrich said to cheers from the crowd of more than 100. (click for video)

What the hell does Newt know about the ghetto, anyway?

Also, if Spanish is the language of the ghetto, then English must be the language of hypocritical adulterous windbags. I’m going to learn Italian.

Required Reading List

I’ve decided that I definitely need a Required Reading List to point people to when they come to this site. I’ll include the posts on White Privilege and Racism and Hair, but I’d also like to point to some posts off site, too. I’m looking for posts that explain basic concepts or rebuttals to the most common arguments of stupid/racist people. Are there any posts from your blog or one of the blogs you read that you feel qualifies? If so, pop it in the comments. And no matter when you come on this post – a week, a month, or even a year from now – if you have a suggestion, please give it. I’m sure the Reading List will always grow.

Link Roundup and Open Thread

My folder of links to share with you all is getting rather full. I guess that means it’s time for a link roundup. It’s a little long, so I put it under a jump.
Continue reading

Link Roundup and Breathing Space

Lordy! Yesterday I submitted the Barack post to reddit because I wanted people to witness my funny. About 3 hours after I did that the post had generated something like 500 hits. I get about 350 hits on an average day, and 500 is a good day overall. So it was neat to have one post generate that all on its own. Then it become 12:01am in Greenwich Mean Time and the counter reset to 0. The hits just kept coming. And coming. And… around 8am Eastern today I cracked 6,000 hits. [ETA: as of 12:00pm my counter is threatening to to go past 8,000. Even I find this kind of ridiculous.]

It’s a good damn thing WordPress is hosting this blog.

There are many, many comments on that post. Though I am happy to say that the amount of crazy I got thrown at me is not as much as I would have expected considering the numbers we’re talking. Still, I think a post on the difference between afro-centric and white supremacist is in order.

Just not this week.

I’m going to take a breather. I need to, considering how I flew off the handle completely last night. So instead I’ll amuse you (or piss you off) with this Link Roundup and Open Thread.

First, commenter and Christian healtheland has invited anyone interested in continuing the discussion of Christianity to his blog. Since he was nice enough to create an open post for us, we should take advantage of the opportunity to spread chos for Xenu! Hahaha But seriously, let’s be adult (unlike me).

That Black Stuff

Over on you can still watch Tavis Smiley’s State of the Black Union. (You may have to search around a bit to find it, there are no direct links, as far as I can tell.)

I haven’t had a chance to explore it throughly, but the Encyclopædia Britannica Guide to Black History looks like it might be an interesting place to start learning about history you aren’t aware of. It’s not comprehensive, nor exhaustive, nor definitive – just sayin’.

Crazy Stuff White People Do

I don’t give Shannon enough link love, and I really should. She provides many a good link for my education and amusement. This one points to some craziness about ‘reverse profiling‘.

Racist Faces / Reverse Racism appears to be a blog by a white person trying to work her way through some feelings and thoughts on race. I stumbled upon her via StumbleUpon, and I’ve only read a few entries, but the site looks like it might be worth exploring and watching.

Why Does the Truth Hate America?

US military tells Jack Bauer: Cut out the torture scenes … or else!

While 24 draws millions of viewers, it appears some people are becoming a little squeamish. The US military has appealed to the producers of 24 to tone down the torture scenes because of the impact they are having both on troops in the field and America’s reputation abroad. Forget about Abu Ghraib, forget about Guantanamo Bay, forget even that the White House has authorised interrogation techniques that some classify as torture, that damned Jack Bauer is giving us a bad name.

You’ll notice that’s a newspaper. The New Yorker ‘broke’ the story in the US.

When I saw this on AngryBrownButch I very nearly stabbed my monitor:
From yesterday’s headlines on Democracy Now! -
~FEMA Gives $3 Million to Restore Jefferson Davis’ Home
~New Orleans Public Housing Residents Fight For Homes

I know, that’s messed up. From the blog:

While structurally viable public housing is being demolished (to make way for what, and for whom, we must ask), and while the low-income Ninth Ward still looks much like it did directly after the storm (though I hear the tourist-friendly French Quarter is looking quite well these days), and while thousands upon thousands of people remain scattered and displaced, FEMA is making sure that a monument to man who was at the fore of one of the darkest times in american history is fully restored.

Click the link for more and for the actual articles.

New to the Blogroll

There are a few new additions to my blogroll, including:
Rachel’s Tavern
The Hathor Legacy
Tiny Cat Pants

You might also find my Technorati favorites interesting. But so far StumbleUpon is my favorite way to find new ways to waste time things to read.

And Now for Something Completely Different

Superman and Obama
The peeps on LJ Blackfolk had a caption contest. My favorite: Obama/Kent ’08

And finally:
Ben & Jerry’s + Stephen & Colbert =
Stephen Colbert ice cream

Okay, Open Thread! If we can keep the comments in the Barack Post about the Barack issue at hand, that would be helpful. Want to fling some shit at me about being black and angry, do that here.

Link Roundup

Sorry no roundup yesterday. Life intruded upon blogging!

First and foremost: The 5th Erase Racism Carnival is up at Black Looks. As always with carnivals, there are very interesting and informative posts you should read.

I don’t have a lot to say on the Clinton Blogger Lunch controversy. I mean, most people have said what I feel already. I’m not at all shocked about the side issue of that one woman’s breasts, but sometimes I look at the internet and fear for the future of the human race. Anyway, I’m quite sad that I’m not a famous enough blogger to be invited to such a lunch (though I appreciate vegankid mentioning somewhere that I’m an example of some of the good black bloggers in the blogosphere. I am honored) because I am one of those black people that still has an irrational love for Bill Clinton. Yes, I know, he did some shitty stuff as President and is still doing shitty things now, apparently, but… I can’t explain myself. I will say that I have no time for Hilary at all.

Anyway, the posts on this subject have been linked all over. If you somehow missed it or missed the parts of the discussion that don’t have to do with slutty interns with breasts, here are some posts to start with:
Sometimes It’s The Best You Can Do
the internet, racism and women of color
Bill Clinton Lunches With Whites. Also, Firedoglake sucks.
Linear Writing is a Hoax (And Definitely Not a Good Argument)
Of Boobs and Bulges
BTW – Scalzi, I realize Dr. Helen is your friend, but she needs a verbal smackdown. Really. That woman has serious issues.


Speaking of controversies involving white bloggers… Andrew Heavens is upset:

I have been outed as a white non-African (see the comment near the bottom headlined ‘Strike’). Photographic evidence of my whiteness has been posted.

This is all part of an incredibly tiresome “controversy” about the skin colours and ethnic backgrounds of people speaking at a blogging conference in Grahamstown, South Africa today and tomorrow.

Sokari, the cause of his upset, sets out to upset him more:

Race, ethnicity are always so, oh, INCREDIBILY TIRESOME, so DREARY for white people. I mean it really is just a fucking pain in the backside. After all we live in a world of multicoloured rainbows with like minded people just trying to get along and here comes one African woman who lets pigs fly and takes issue with big white chiefs standing in for their “coloured” sisters/brethren. STOP IT – STOP talking about colour, race, white, black, ethnicity, nationality. Mr English journalist blogger is tired of the CONTROVERSY around skin colour and ethnic background at a conference on blogging in Africa?

It gets better, go read.

Speaking of lunch…. Stereotypes Ruined My Lunch:

So I’m in the kitchen area eating, and I notice people in the workplace all gave me the same silly look as they said hello and passed by. Then, I thought about it: I’m eating my leftover fried chicken with a heightened sense of urgency. It was good, too, so I was punishing that poor dead fried greasy bird. All of the folks that walked by were probably thinking to themselves “I KNEW IT! I knew they all love fried chicken!”

You see what stereotypes have done? Made me think WAY too damned much, when all I wanted to do was get full and take a nap. Can’t even enjoy my lunch for fear that I’m going to enhance stereotypes and screw it up for the rest of the black people of the world!


Remember Senator Allen, the Macaca guy? How he whined and complained that people were calling him racist, but he’s not! He loves the brown peoples! Well, it seems that his craziness is getting more bizarre. Allen’s mother is probably Jewish, and he’s been trying to keep this secret for some time. Why? Because his friends in the KKK might not want to play with him anymore. I mean, really, are we surprised?


Via Think Progress:

Harvard professor and conservative author Harvey Mansfield recently published a book called “Manliness.” Some gems from Mansfield, collected by

As the weaker sex…women are “not in a position to ask for something directly. They’re either obliged to smile a lot and persuade, or make a scene.”

“To resist rape a woman needs more than martial arts and more than the police; she needs a certain ladylike modesty enabling her to take offense at unwanted encroachment.”

“In my experience it is difficult for a man who is attracted to a woman not to find her cute, rather than intimidating, when she gets angry.”

I think you all know my thoughts on this dipshittery.

Slightly related: The project of dominance

In an article on masculinity, Robert Jensen states that “…we can see that the short-term material gains that men get are not adequate compensation for what we men give up in the long haul — which is to surrender part of our humanity to the project of dominance.” He’s talking about the “dominant concept of masculinity.” It’s a great read. It’s interesting to read the comments on the article at AlterNet. It seems that a lot of the commentors are men who are afraid/unwilling/resistant to the idea that they might lose privileges.


Finally, Molly Saves the Day has a post where folks can come by and ask her questions about feminism. Amanda on Pandagon decides to do the same. She answers many of the questions in a separate post. The one I find most interesting:

What exactly is choice feminism and why does it tend to be considered a Bad Thing?

“Choice feminism” is a derogatory word that feminists use to describe it when a woman wants her patriarchally approved compliant behavior to be declared perfectly independent of social influence, even when it is obviously not. Choice feminism never defends rebellious choices. The most common form of it is, “Feminism is about having choices and therefore my decision to submit to my husband/get breast implants/totter around on high heels and giggle is beyond analysis.” We’ve all invoked choice feminism out of misplaced guilt about our personal unwillingness to analyze our own choices. The cure for choice feminism is to understand that no woman is an island and nobody is perfect and only by asking hard questions can we even begin to imagine alternatives.

Read the rest.

Also, Open Thread!

Saturday Link Roundup


Google opens up 200 years of news

The web-based tool allows users to explore existing digitised newspaper articles spanning the last 200 years and more recent online content.

“The goal here is to be able to explore history as it unfolded,” said Anurag Acharya, an engineer at Google and one of the team behind the project.

“It’s fascinating to see how people’s attitudes and emotions have changed through time.”

Access to such important primary documents as newspapers is a great boost to the study of history. Of course, it might also reveal that people in history were just as crazy and blind as people are now.


In Superstition isn’t the way, Angry Black Bitch has a revelation:

This bitch was driving along after lunch today…grooving to Stevie Wonder’s Very Superstitious , which was playing loud as hell in my Cabrio…and that shit made me think.

When you believe in things that you don’t understand, then you suffer .

Lawd, ain’t that the truth?

A bitch regularly volunteers in voter education and let me tell you…the masses are suffering from a severe lack of knowledge.

The removal of civics from the classroom was a bloody disaster for some and the political gold mine of the century for others.

And the belief in shit that you don’t understand is not limited by race, class, gender or location…and neither is the suffering that results.

Shakespeare’s Sister reminds us that Nothing we do matters if we don’t have fair elections:

“Malicious Code Can Be Easily Inserted into Voting Machine, Spread from One System to the Next, Resulting in Flipped Votes, and Stolen Elections…All Without a Trace Being Left Behind—Study Also Confirms that Voter Access Cards Can Be Created At Home to Defeat Security Protocols, Allowing Voters to Vote Multiple Times in a Single Election.”


25 ways to tokenize or alienate a non-white person around you

1. walk up to that black girl you barely know in the co-op and say “what do you think of the new (insert hip-hop artist here) album.”

2. ask one of the only arabs in your community to write the article for your newspaper on the situation in palestine.
a) then, after they write it, take their research, re-write the article and sign your name to it.

3. in a big group of many activists, say “how can we bring more people of color into our struggle.”

An old link, but something that came to my attention recently. When Harry Potter Book 6 came out, one of the minor characters (that rabid fans had been obsessing over) who had previously not been described suddenly turned out to be black. Fangirls lost their damn minds.


From Reappropriate:

Reuters is reporting that Madrid ‘s fashion week, a premiere fashion show, has stirred controversy by launching a ban on “overly thin” models, citing the promotion of unhealthy body image as leading to eating disorders like anorexia and bullemia.

Of course, what’s most fun about the article is not the ban on overly-thin models, but the modeling agencies’ response to the restriction. Cathy Gould of New York ‘s Elite modeling agency is quoted as coming to the defense of (get this) “gazelle-like” models:

“I think its outrageous, I understand they want to set this tone of healthy beautiful women, but what about discrimination against the model and what about the freedom of the designer[?]“


Modern-day Lysistrata: Colombian gangsters face sex ban (via BBC News).

Wives and girlfriends of gang members in one of Colombia ‘s most violent cities have called a sex ban in a bid to get their men to give up the gun.

ETA: The folks on the Feminist LJ community discuss this issue and, in the process, remind me why I stopped reading that comm and almost stopped being a feminist.

At The Shape of a Mother women post their stories about body image and pregnancy and share images of during and port-pregnancy bodies. Very empowering.

Shakespeare Sister shares with us the story of a woman who came home to an intruder and killed the fucker before he could kill her. I need a t-shirt with her name on it.

I keep forgetting to add Bitch | Lab to my blogroll and pimp that excellent blog. Consider it done.

Another blog I love: Screaming Into the Void by the very intelligent Amananta. Recent posts you should check out:

But Women Do it Too!

Whether by nature or nurture, the uncomfortable truth remains that the above scenarios would be strange indeed for us to hear of, yet they are acted out by men all over the globe every single day. The vast majority of soldiers, terrorists, killers, rapists, wagers of war, kidnappers, traffickers in persons, executioners, gangsters, hunters for sport, and armed robbers are male. It is a pointless rhetorical argument to say that if women had equal rights they would act just the same – since we have no concrete evidence of any society in which women had equal rights and respect, and certainly no statistics on how women and men’s crimes compare in such a (mythical?) society, to argue that women are “just as” violent as men is a hypothesis with no evidence to back it.

Simple Rules for Women to Follow to Avoid Trouble

I’ve realized all us feminist crazies have been unnecessarily complicating things in our ridiculous calls for “freedom”, which will, of course, just make us miserable. All we have to do to ensure we ladies have a happy, healthy, calm, peaceful, and long life is follow the following ten simple, clear, and completely uncontradictory rules:

1. Assume any strange man is a potential rapist or murderer in order to protect ourselves because that’s just good common sense…

2. Never assume that a man could be misogynistic and violent until he actually beats the crap out of you or rapes you, because if we do treat men as is they are potentially violent we have proven we are just man-hating scum…

That one is definitely a must-read.

Sexual Assault / Rape / Violence Done to Women

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