Category Archives: Racism

Giving thanks for abuse, igorance and Stockholm Syndrome

I love my family just as much as anyone. They’re typically there if I really need them, and it’s not like I was beaten as a child or left in the rain. Yet we have our skeletons in the closet.

Abuse—physical, emotional, or verbal—is just as American as white bread or apple pie. I was reminded so this year when Thanksgiving was an unmitigated disaster.

I’ve found that as I get older and grow into my own opinions and personality that I move closer and closer to the place on the family tree labeled “black sheep”. I shudder to think what would happen if they knew I was bisexual. Which is why I don’t tell them.

While driving to my grandmother’s house tonight, my mother cautioned me to “keep my negativity to myself”. Which means the following topics are off limits:

  • My ambition to be a prosecuting attorney. I cannot talk about going to law school in anything but vague promises and ideas. When someone asks me why I want to go, I cannot tell them it’s because I want to give battered, raped, or abused women the opportunity to have someone defend them that actually gives a shit about the reality of their lives. The topic is never broached though, because everyone assumes I’m going to law school because I’m materialistic and like money. I don’t bother to correct them.
  • Politics. My anger at how the fat cats responsible for the downturn cannot be expressed. My thoughts on the war are not wanted. My opinion of Obama, Clinton, or Bush are unnecessary. Anything even remotely carrying the stench of civil rights is offensive.
  • My father. The times that I spend with my father on vacation or at his house are off-limits. I am not to talk about the “chicken raiser” or Texas in positive terms. Even if my time there was mostly positive.
  • My school work. The really interesting legal philosophy I read is boring. Statistics about the composition of jailed populations are “wrong” or “incorrect beliefs”. My university is “brainwashing me with liberalism”.
  • Dating and Family. My want of children with or without a male spouse is disgusting. I infer, probably correctly, that my real sexuality would be abhorrent. My exasperation with unwanted chivalry and Nice GuysTM is offensive.
  • Myself. “Don’t talk about yourself” was asked of me explicitly. Nobody wants to know about you. Your opinions are offensive. After the above list, this point is inferred, and stating it is all but unnecessary.

Basically, my role at Thanksgiving is that of the mute female. I must help, as the other female family members do (my grandmother, my mother, and my aunt) with the cooking, cleaning, setting the table, and clearing it. I am, however, not allowed to express my opinions or anything about myself because it is distasteful. I cannot tell my brother, my uncle, my grandfather, or my two younger male cousins to get up and get their own damn cranberry sauce.

The rules outlined above are only for me, however. My mother, aunt, uncle, and grandfather may express any and all of their opinions about those “goddamn unions”, “stupid Mexican kids in schools getting free lunches”, and “fucking poor people buying shit at Christmas they don’t deserve because of their inferiority they do not have a lot of money”. They have lovely conversations about how marvelous Israel is too, and no mention is made of the Palestinians. If they are mentioned, they are “terrorists” or “security concerns”. Racist jokes may also be exchanged.

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“Oh great, now we’ve got a n****r, a Jew, and a bitch”

That was the quote I overheard in elevator last week. Sometimes I feel like I’ve stepped into this bizarre wormhole that transports me to Stupid Land. Well, this week was a very long and tedious foray into this—hypothetical or not—realm.

Turning on the radio all week was a chore. Our local NPR station was very interested, as most of the nation was, in the rumors that Hilary Clinton was about to be nominated for Secretary of State. I was less than happy for several reasons:

One: I like Clinton, don’t get me wrong, but the mere mention of her name seems to inspire the most vile verbal projectile vomiting in even the most mundane of social conversations. I almost wish, in moments of weakness, that I lived in a Clinton-less world where I never ever had to walk down the street and hear people utilize every gender slur on the book to complain about a female politician they irrationally hate. The daily reminder that no matter how powerful I might become, my genitalia will always be the most pertinent topic is irritating.

Two: If I manage to tune out the sexist bullshit, there’s still the undertone of completely inane political commentary. If you don’t know shit about politics, please don’t pretend you do whilst your eyes roll back into your head and you froth at the mouth with the force of your asinine opinions. Clinton isn’t conservative, nor is she considerably more “hawkish” on foreign matters than Obama. For all the uproar about Clinton’s original support of the Iraqi Occupation (because it’s not a war), Biden was originally more vocal than her. Nobody seemed to give a damn when Biden was tapped for the VP role, even though his legacy is lengthier than Clinton’s, and his penchant for Middle Eastern clusterfucks has been more frankly expressed.

Three: I prefer Obama over Clinton on foreign issues. I do think that she is a tad more hawkish than him, and that his popularity overseas is exactly what the country needs to move back into the good graces of the rest of the exasperated world. I actually like Clinton more when it comes to domestic issues. From her fervent support of gay rights, abortion, and the women’s movement, there isn’t exactly any huge points of contention. Obama, on the contrary, has shown that he is willing to compromise domestic civil rights in the name of “bipartisanship” and to win debates held in evangelical churches. Ideally, I’d like to see Clinton stay in the Senate, or even await a Supreme Court nomination (am I the only one that remembers that she was a lawyer at one point?) rather than serve as the Secretary of State. Ironically, I like Clinton on domestic, and Obama on foreign. I get to see them do the opposite.

Four: Talk of the betrayal of “change”. Look, morons, Obama’s message of Change wasn’t about appointing Yes Men to his cabinet. He has selected extremely qualified individuals with long political legacies and their own opinions. This is a good thing: it prevents the kind of military/industrial coup that characterized the last eight years. Are there better choices? Yes. Do I really truly have reason to be irrationally upset? Hell no. Obama’s picks are competent. All of them could even be President themselves if the unthinkable happens. Part of “bipartisanship” is listening to dissent within your own party. The day that the Democratic party is more willing to play nice with Republicans and social conservatives (shudder) rather than people they actually agree with 80% of the time, is the day that our country goes in the shitter. More than it has already.

Finally: Quotes like the title of this post. Of course, I had to suffer through the same unbearably sexist primaries you all did. Then I had to sit through more stirring of the pot when Clinton’s name was back on the table. Now I got to put up, for the next four years, with assholes complaining about Jews, Blacks, and Women. Goddammit. Look, if you really truly hate women, everyone whose skin doesn’t meet your fascist criterion of whiteness, and those assholes that you claim killed your fictional savior, you can just keep it to yourself. Bigotry isn’t cool and trendy. Shut up and sit down.

Most importantly, I really hate living in a world where someone can say that kind of shit in public and people don’t look at him like he smells like fecal matter, at the least, or punch him in the face, at the most. The morons I shared an elevator with all kept their mouths shut, and three in the corner giggled, including his admiring friend.

The world is really fucked up when people look at people that correct these wankstains, like me, with less understanding than the very pits of human excrement from which such idiocies spew.

In conclusion, I missed two memos: (A) the one issued on November 5th wherein racism was confirmed dead and (B) the one issued at some point where we are instructed to giggle demurely at racial epithets lest we be those poor socially inept fools who correct racist upstanding Americans who express their bullshit opinions in public.

Honeymoon is over.

Didn’t take long, did it? Sometime after midnight on November 4th, the fervor died down. The night was quiet, but my mind was not. Over and over, I turned over questions in my head: have we accomplished anything?

No, we haven’t. No, we can’t.

President-Elect Barack Obama is more valuable as a symbol than a flesh-and-blood president. November 5th dawned bright and clear, and with it all the inequalities, abuses, and horrors of the day before. None of that had been washed away. None of that had been lessened.

Some of it had been worsened. California voters used their irrational hatred to take away the rights and happiness of a minority they despise. Arizona voters kept a sheriff that has wrongfully killed prisoners, violated the federal and state constitutions, and uses tax payer money to fund his crusade of racial profiling rather than doing anything to reduce the skyrocketing crime in our poorest urban centers.

Democrats now control the Congress, Senate, and White House. So? So what? What has that changed? Nothing at all.

Need I remind anyone that Obama’s health care plan is even worse than the shitty choices we already face? Do I need to explicate the fact that his stance on a woman’s rights to bodily integrity are so porous that I could park a jet in the holes? Must I really sit down and explain the fact that nobody seems to give a flying fuck about the majority of the population— the working and lower classes, women, homosexuals, and the population of the rest of the goddamn world?

You know, I’m really quite glad that McCain lost. I truly am. But that doesn’t make me happy. Not in the slightest. It means that my standards are so low that I can still feel hope or good about this stupid nation for a couple of minutes while the majority of our population—and basically the entirety of the rest of the world—suffers for the selfishness and hubris of the American ruling class.

This makes me a sorry piece of human waste. Because I bought it. I smelled the shit, I put in my mouth, and I lied and said it tasted good.

It didn’t taste good. No we can’t.

Our environment is nearing the breaking point every second. Millions in our own country have nothing to wake up to the next morning but insurmountable poverty, bigotry, and the ugly fact that they will never stop paying for who they are, or who their ancestors were. Billions in the rest of the world celebrate with our new President-Elect, because we have broken them. We pat ourselves on the back like the self-entitled fucks we are, and we all don’t seem to give a damn that while our new president might not like warfare as much as our last president, he still supports the American hegemony over the entire globe. He still voted to redistribute billions of dollars made on the backs of hard-working Americans and even harder-working exploited foreigners to a bunch of greedy bottom-dwellers who celebrate an economic downturn of their own making with another yacht.

He’s still a part of the American ruling elite, no matter how dark his skin or how foreign his roots. And he will operate within their parameters, or else. He will do their bidding, or else.

And we will smile. The rest of the world, because they are broken beyond repair, will too. The 1% will have their cake, eat it, and the 99% will thank them for the priviledge of being used as footstools.

November 4th: a day in which it looked like a lot was done, and maybe it was, but not nearly enough.

Political cartoons that don’t suck

Update: If you thought that the name Barry Deutsch sounded familiar, that’s because he is the owner known by the penname “Amp” of Alas, A Blog, the very same person who sold his domain in 2006 for money to a review site (link obviously NSFW) for hardcore, racist, “teen”, misogynistic pornography. Is there a single male feminist-ally that isn’t a scumbag? After Kyle Payne and Alas, I’m beginning to think not.

Know what I can get behind? Political cartoonists that know what’s up like Barry Deutsch. Unlike Barry Blitt, his cartoons run the gambit from feminism to racism and war while displaying a shocking amount of sensitivity and political insight. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had more political cartoons like the above instead of this:

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Race literacy: what differences make a difference?

I found this awesome race literacy test at the California Newsreel website, where I discovered that despite the brillance of the points raised in the test, it was self-scoring. Hopefully to give it the audience and look it deserves, I reformatted it with the quiz-making site Helloquizzy. Go ahead and take it!

Hopefully tomorrow when I’m more awake, I’ll be able to do a longer post about the things I learned with this test.

Failing at Irony and Alienating Your Allies: The Liberal Dude’s Guide to Satire

So I open my blog reader and the Huffington Post. What do I have the pleasure to find?

Oh Christ, who’s the genius behind this?

I know this might be rocket science to liberal dudez who think things like rape are funny, but this really tasteless and poor excuse for satire is not inducing anything but my gag reflex. You know you fail at irony when your art work is indecipherable from the message of those you intend to mock. While I was sleeping, someone decided that mocking the Republicans by depicting the Obamas with racist stereotypes was effective and funny. I can imagine a bunch of balding upper-class white dudes giving each other congratulatory back slaps around some editor’s desk at The New Yorker, engaging in mutual masturbation inflation of their over large egos as their wit goes to press.

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Invisibility

Cross-posted at Female Impersonator

A huge topic in Feminism is the claim that minorities and women are invisible in our society. The default “human position” is male. When reading something in which the author is not specified, the average American assumes that the author is male. If the author is female, of color, or homosexual, we praise it as a “fine piece of work by X minority”. In short, a white man can publish a book and be praised for his contribution to academia, while a woman, person of color, or any other minority is primarily identified by that minority specification, not their accomplishments. Their contribution is something that belongs to a collective, whereas a white male’s work is attributed solely to him, not to his unstated group membership.

Being a Feminist, I abhor when the majority subconsciously classify the words of a “minority” as representative of that minority group. It creates this sort of “otherness” in which we are all hyper-aware of race, gender, and sexual orientation because it seems to be known as the most important facet of one’s identity.

However, when this identity is not stated, we simply assume that someone is a straight white male. Perhaps we might think the tone is sufficiently feminine, and then we consider that the author is a woman. Unless a piece of literature specifically alludes to homosexuality, race, or religion, we assume that the author is heterosexual, Christian/Atheist, white, and usually male.

I, just as much as the rest of you, am equally guilty. I subconsciously make distinctions of “otherness” when reading something by a woman, a homosexual, or, for instance, a Muslim. I make insensitive comments even about my own gender unknowingly because I grew up in a society that counts privelege and many different bigotries as a standard part of socialization.

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