Tag Archives: race

#BlackGirlsMatter

I’m working on updating an older paper on high school feminism for publication, and stumbled across this report released in February of this year by the African American Policy Forum (AAPF) called “Black Girls Matter: Pushed-Out, Overpoliced, and Underprotected.”

Having heard about yet another murder of a young black transgender woman murdered in Florida this year, I wanted to give myself a refresher on this important study analyzing the intersections of gender, race, class, and age that shape young black women’s identities.  What can we learn from some infographics today?

Lesson 1: As exemplified by schools in New York, black girls are disciplined significantly more than other racial populations in proportion to their numbers of enrollment.

Lesson 2: Black girls are fifty-three times more likely to be expelled in New York City and ten times more likely to be expelled in Boston than white girls.

Lesson 3: Black girls are six times more likely to be suspended than white girls in New York.

And what about the rest of the fifty states?  What’s all of this lack of education and overpolicing do to impact the lives of young black girls across America?

Stereotypes that black girls are dumb, immodest, or belligerent cause young black women to struggle emotionally and economically.  In the words of Thahabu Gordon describing her experiences as a young African American girl,

“As long as I was ‘respectable,’ I was better than more urban girls. By seventh grade, I had internalized those concepts and avoided hanging around black girls who exclusively listened to rap and weren’t afraid of enthusiastically expressing their opinions. I was conditioned to think I was better than them. You would never have caught me in a tight dress or short bottoms because I was trying to distance myself from being volatile and hypersexual—aka, ‘that black girl.'”

Without full access to education, black girls become a nearly minuscule portion of the the black faculty, black STEM majors, black graduate students, black undergraduates, and black professional students that go on to be entrepreneurs, political leaders, and scholars.

By the way, there’s a real shortage of black girls represented in the world of infographics online…I’m going to work on this.  #BlackGirlsMatter

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On the table, 7/19

Boy has it been a weekend!  Let’s get you caught up on some interesting discussions:

  • Our Headliner – WOMEN’S WORLD CUP!!!

Read more:

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Gay Rights:

  • Julie Watson from The Huffington Post reports, “About 200 active-duty troops and veterans wearing T-shirts advertising their branch of service marched Saturday in San Diego’s gay pride parade with Ameri Firstscan flags and rainbow banners, marking what is believed to be the first time a military contingent has participated in such an event in the U.S…” [Read on]

  • David Siders from The Sacramento Bee reports, “Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation requiring public schools to teach students about the contributions of gay and lesbian people, making California the first state to adopt such a measure…” [Read on]

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I was never really into Harry Potter, but for some of my friends and family members, this is the end of an era.  I, however, can’t wait to share some of these adventures and their heroines and profeminist heroes with my children.

  •  Ms. Magazine – “Hermione Granger and the Fight for Equal Rights” by Amy Borsuk

“Hermione offers much for a generation of girls to admire, beginning with her unmatched, encyclopedic knowledge of spells, potions and magical history, which is crucial to Harry’s survival throughout the series. She also holds her head high in the face of attacks on her appearance (she catches flak for her frizzy hair and her large teeth) and her stigmatized status as a Muggle-born witch (her peers taunt her with the slur “Mudblood”). Her loyalty and devotion to her best friends keep the golden trio–Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and her–together until the very end. It’s no wonder fans have serenaded her as the ‘Coolest Girl in the whole wide world’…” [Read on]

Read more:

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  • “Banking While Black”

Read more:

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On the Table, 7/11

Some of these items I’ve been meaning to share for months and am just cleaning out my favorites folders.  Sorry for their belatedness.

According to a 2011 report from the U.N’s Food and Agriculture Organization, “32 percent of world fish stocks are estimated to be overexploited, depleted or recovering and need to be urgently rebuilt.”

With conscious consumers starting to take note, Kristofor Lofgren, owner of the Portland restaurant Bamboo Sushi, says his strategy is to overwhelm them with proof that his seafood is actually harvested properly, because, frankly, sushi often isn’t. And even when it’s not from an illegal vessel or an overfished area, there’s still massive waste: As much as half of all fish caught never even make it to the table…. [Read on]

Read more: Looking for sustainable sushi in your neighborhood?  Use these sites to score some earth-friendly sushi.

  • Fish2Fork.com which rates restaurants that serve fish for quality and their sustainability efforts.
  • The Green Restaurant Association at DineGreen.com which is a national non-profit organization that provides a convenient and cost-effective way for restaurants, manufacturers, distributors, and consumers to become more environmentally responsible.

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The well-documented “other-race effect” finds that people are less likely to remember a face from a racial group different from their own. Northwestern University researchers set out to determine what causes this rift in perception and memory by using electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings, which measure brain activity, while participants viewed photos of various faces.

The researchers found that brain activity increases in the very first 200 to 250 milliseconds when seeing both same-race and other-race faces…. [Read on]

Read more:

  • Time“They All Look the Same: How Racism Works Neurologically,” by John Cloud on a similar study out of the University of Glasgow which notes that humans are “remarkably skilled at facial recognition: we can differentiate family members and friends from strangers in far less than a second.”
  • Check out The Hapa Project – a book and museum exhibit organized by artist Kip Fulbeck which explores the intersections of race, ethnicity, and identity.  When asked, “What are you?” how people of mixed race answer?  It’s pretty neat.

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  • And your clip for this “On the Table” is of two fabulous female comedians – Tina Fey and Ellen DeGeneres:

It’s kind of glitchy.  AND some of the good stuff is in the second half, which is here!  And part 3 is here!

Read more:

  • Check out Tina Fey’s new memoir Bossypants about her life so far as a mother and female comedy writer.
  • Ms. Magazine‘s Natalie Wilson provides some commentary of the interview here.  For example, Wilson states: “While Fey focuses on feminist issues relating to sexism in the workplace and in politics, DeGeneres is more of a comedic lesbian activist. While she has noted she doesn’t wish to be an activist or spokesperson for the LGBTQ community, she often publicly denounces heteronormativity and uses her show as a platform to promote LGBTQ rights….” [Read on]

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Thing Three: Dr. Seuss, Rap and Racism?

Check out the original article for some Seuss images and sweet rhymes from author Aaron Retica. Happy Belated Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

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There is nothing more ridiculous than the cultural insights you derive as a parent, at least the kind that come to you when you are reading “The Foot Book” or “The Sleep Book” for the 107th time. I am not the first to notice that Dr. Seuss’s rhymes sound good declaimed in hip-hop-style. Try it with the opening lines of “The Sleep Book.” Try it and you will see.

The news
Just came in
From the County of Keck
That a very small bug
By the name of Van Vleck
Is yawning so wide
You can look down his neck.

It’s Dr. Seuss’s birthday today. Seuss is the guardian angel of Reading Across America, which brings millions of parents into classrooms on March 2 to read with their kids. Just this morning I sat in my younger daughter’s fifth-grade class, listening to “Happy Birthday to You!” The rhythms of Seuss’s verse kept me thinking about his influence on rap, because Seuss was the dominant voice for younger readers throughout the period when the rappers who created the music were growing up.

Run D.M.C. acknowledged Seuss’s influence in “Peter Piper,” the first song on their crucial 1986 record, “Raising Hell,” suggesting that they were now usurping his crown.

Philip Nel, Seuss’s biographer, notes that “both Seuss and rappers have used poetry as a medium of dissent,” although I think I’d give the edge to the rappers, “The Butter Battle Book” notwithstanding. Seuss’s propulsive verse is friendly to a number of other declamatory styles, including the preacherly tradition, captured most spectacularly in Jesse Jackson’s reading of “Green Eggs and Ham” on “Saturday Night Live.” The Seuss-rap stew is also exploited by the L.A.-based comedy troupe Half Day Today in its pleasing “Cat in the Hat” rap, which imagines the Beastie Boys as figments of Seuss’s imagination and lets us know that Seuss himself

Looking into these connections, doing research, in fact, on Seuss’s avant-garde sympathy for African-Americans (long before the rise of the civil rights movement), I discovered something that surprised me, even though it has been written about before — I think I may have been reading “The Foot Book” when the news broke. During the Second World War, Seuss drew dozens of cartoons for the left-wing tabloid P.M., in which he nobly advanced positions that were anti-isolationist, pro-integration and philo-Semitic, while at the same time publishing a series of caricatures of the Japanese and Japanese-Americans that are revolting to look at now. I understand that we were at war — my grandfather served on a hospital ship in the Pacific and never dropped “Nips” from his vocabulary — but contextualizing Seuss’s cartoons only removes some of their viciousness.

Many of them feature drawings of Hitler and General Tojo that are far more savage in their depiction of Tojo, including one in which Hitler and Tojo are imagined carved into Mount Rushmore. But the most startling and upsetting of these cartoons, which was published on Feb. 13, 1942, shows a long line of Japanese-Americans, an “honorable fifth column” spreading from California into Oregon and beyond, with each smiling person waiting to pick up a package of TNT. They are, a caption explains, “waiting for the signal from home.” It does not help Seuss’s cause when we learn that President Roosevelt signed the executive order authorizing internment a week after this cartoon came out, although of course the planning for relocating Japanese-Americans was long under way.

It turns out that Asian-American educational groups protested against Seuss being chosen as the patron saint of Reading Across America for precisely this reason. Nel’s comprehensive biography and two art books about Seuss’s war efforts do a fine job of looking at Seuss’s work as a whole, but it is still deeply disturbing to see the otherwise-estimable Seuss engaged in this kind of propaganda, illustrated with figures that don’t look that different from those who populate his children’s books.

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A look inside America’s poorest county

So the story is pretty interesting, but head over to the comments and you’ll be AMAZED to see all the classist, racist commentary – over 4000 comments.  People don’t want to admit that poverty is a race, ethnicity, and gender issue as well…
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Where nothing is harder to find than a job: A look inside the poorest county in America – AP

Nomaan Merchant, Associated Press, On Sunday February 13, 2011, 8:54 pm EST

ZIEBACH COUNTY, S.D. (AP) — In the barren grasslands of Ziebach County, there’s almost nothing harder to find in winter than a job. This is America’s poorest county, where more than 60 percent of people live at or below the poverty line.

At a time when the weak economy is squeezing communities across the nation, recently released census figures show that nowhere are the numbers as bad as here — a county with 2,500 residents, most of them Cheyenne River Sioux Indians living on a reservation.

In the coldest months of the year, when seasonal construction work disappears and the South Dakota prairie freezes, unemployment among the Sioux can hit 90 percent.

Poverty has loomed over this land for generations. Repeated attempts to create jobs have run into stubborn obstacles: the isolated location, the area’s crumbling infrastructure, a poorly trained population and a tribe that struggles to work with businesses or attract investors.

Now the tribe — joined by a few entrepreneurs, a development group and a nonprofit — is renewing efforts to create jobs and encourage a downtrodden population to start its own businesses.

“Many, many people make these grand generalizations about our communities and poverty and ‘Why don’t people just do something, and how come they can’t?'” said Eileen Briggs, executive director of Tribal Ventures, a development group started by the tribe. “It’s much more complicated than that.”

The Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, created in 1889, consists almost entirely of agricultural land in Ziebach and neighboring Dewey County. It has no casino and no oil reserves or available natural resources.

Most towns in Ziebach County are just clusters of homes between cattle ranches. Families live in dilapidated houses or run-down trailers. Multicolored patches of siding show where repairs were made as cheaply as possible.

Families fortunate enough to have leases to tribal land can make money by raising cattle. Opportunities are scarce for almost everyone else.

The few people who have jobs usually have to drive up to 80 miles to tribal headquarters. The nearest major population centers are Rapid City and Bismarck, each a trip of 150 miles or more.

Basic services can be vulnerable. The tribe’s primary health clinic doesn’t have a CT scanner or a maternity ward. An ice storm last year knocked out power and water in places for weeks. And in winter, the gravel roads that connect much of the reservation can become impassable with snow and ice.

Nearly six decades after the reservation was created, the federal government began building a dam on the Missouri River, but the project caused flooding that washed away more than 100,000 acres of Indian land. After the flooding, the small town of Eagle Butte became home to the tribal headquarters and the center of the reservation’s economy.

“There are things that have happened to us over many, many generations that you just can’t fix in three or four years,” said Kevin Keckler, the tribe’s chairman. “We were put here by the government, and we had a little piece of land and basically told to succeed here.”

But prosperity never came. The county has been at or near the top of the poverty rankings for at least a decade. In 2009, the census defined poverty as a single person making less than $11,000 a year or a family of four making less than $22,000 a year.

Eagle Butte has few businesses and the handful that do exist struggle to stay afloat. The town has just one major grocery store, the Lakota Thrifty Mart, which is owned by the tribe. There’s also a Dairy Queen, a Taco John’s and a handful of small cafes. There’s no bowling alley, no movie theatre.

But a few entrepreneurs are trying to break the cycle of failure, with mixed results.

Stephanie Davidson and her husband, Gerald, started a plumbing-and-heating business in 2000 with a single pickup truck. Eventually, D&D Plumbing started to grow, and they hired several employees.

But the reservation economy, which was never strong, has been hit hard by the economic slump. Many customers don’t have the money to pay for work upfront, and the Davidsons have struggled to get contracts in new construction, such as a nearly $85 million federal hospital being built to replace the aging clinic.

They’ve laid off employees and filled empty space in their building by adding a bait shop and then a deli. Nothing has worked.

“People think you’re a pillar of the community because you have a business, and that part of it is good,” Stephanie Davidson said. “We don’t feel that way right now because we’re having such a tough time.”

Nicky White Eyes, who owns a flower shop on Main Street, says there are days when she doesn’t sell a single flower. Most of her business comes from families who get help from the tribe to buy flowers for a relative’s funeral.

“We’re getting by with nothing extra,” said White Eyes, who said she hasn’t taken any salary in the months since she quit another job to run the shop full-time. “But no, I have too much heart in it to let it go quite yet.”

The nonprofit Four Bands Community Fund has invested in both businesses and people in Eagle Butte. The group teaches residents basic financial skills — how to open a checking account, how to save money on a budget and how to develop credit.

“You have the most complicated little world here,” said Tanya Fiddler, Four Bands’ executive director.

Without a viable private sector, federal money permeates every part of life here. The federal government pays for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education and the Indian Health Service, three of the reservation’s largest employers. Businesses rely on the federal money that comes into the reservation.

Federal stimulus dollars are paying for the new hospital, which will create about 150 permanent jobs when it opens this year. Other federal contracts bring sporadic jobs, too.

One tribal success story is Lakota Technologies, which has attracted call-center and data-processing work and trained hundreds of young people since it started more than a decade ago. The company now employs a handful of tribal members on a State Department sub-contract, even though most of its cubicles remain empty.

But other businesses owned by the tribe have run into trouble. Last year, a buffalo-meat processing company was sued by a rancher in federal court. The lawsuit accused the company, Pte Hca Ka Inc., of not delivering on contracts. A federal judge ruled against Pte Hca Ka for $1.1 million when it did not respond to the lawsuit.

Keckler, the newly elected tribal chairman and a former business owner, has pledged to try to fix the problems. He said previous officials have rejected overtures from outside investors because they feared the loss of tribal control or the risk of losing their positions.

“It’s difficult for us to get people to come here and have faith in us as a government,” he said. “We just had a new election, and there was discussion about, ‘Oh, people want to give away things.’ Those are kind of the issues that we have.”

Still, there are small reasons to hope.

Later this year, the tribe will start to receive payments from a $290 million settlement with Congress related to the farmland that was lost to the Missouri River flooding. The tribe will receive annual interest on the settlement money starting this fall. This year’s payment could be as much as $75 million, according to one tribal estimate. A Department of Treasury spokeswoman says the final amount hasn’t been determined yet.

That money can be used for infrastructure improvements, economic development and education.

Raymond Uses The Knife, a rancher and tribal councilman, wants the reservation to be “accessible for other companies to come in and invest their money right here.”

“We have to attract business. Regardless of how much money we have, we can’t set up our own businesses,” he said. “We also have to realize that we’re all not experts.”

Meanwhile, groups like Tribal Ventures and Four Bands continue to look for ways to bring in jobs and help those who are fighting the decades-old obstacles here.

“You can have all the heart you want, but you have to have actual cash and resources,” said Briggs, of Tribal Ventures. “All those things play a part in our being able to basically use our greatest asset, which is our people.”

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

While I love flowers (all ones, not just roses), I worry about all the gas and pesticides that go into making and sending them from Mexico to my door.

And I’ve never been one to straight up and eat a box of chocolates.  I like one piece of dark chocolate.  That is all.

And stuffed animals?  What am I 8?

Might I suggest you make your own edible body paints?

Oh yes.

At Budget101.com you can get a couple of different recipes that literally help you make some from scratch.

But instead of reading the directions I got the bright idea that I would buy vanilla pudding mix (which I found out later was bright yellow) and mix in various colorful fruits (because food dye is kind of bad for you).

I made a purple one out of blueberries, a yellow one with pineapple, a blandish yellowish pinkish one with strawberries, and a baby poop green one with a super food drink and a lime.

Now that I’ve done all this hard work, I’m going to give you some sound advice: the whiter the original thing, the better your colors.  Obvious right?

So, use marshmallow cream, or whipped cream, white frosting,white cake mix…all of which you can make yourself if you really want.  Then, those food dyes or fruit juices you add will really make them pop.

You can also make it together in your birthday suit and be sure to shower together afterward because you gonna be dirty!

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Now, on to the news:

Sara Haskins on online dating for all the single ladies!  Also see her hilarious video on how giving diamonds has become an imperative in heterosexual relationships.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

Ms. Magazine offers several suggestions to make your Valentine’s Day more feminist, but this one is my favorite – become politically active!

How about joining a political campaign in honor of Valentine’s Day?  Saint Valentine was arrested for marrying couples against the wishes of Emperor Claudius II, so what better way to honor the day than to continue fighting for the right to marry?

Celebrate Freedom to Marry Week, which concludes on Valentine’s Day, by adding your voice to those supporting the freedom to marry or by asking Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. You can also join or organize a marriage license counter action on Valentine’s Day to protest Prop. 8.

Be part of a global movement to end violence against women and girls by attending a V-Day event–”The ‘V’ stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina.”

 

You can even buy something from the V Day store if you really want. And yes, even men can support V Day too.

 

You can always send a Planned Parenthood Valentine’s Day e-card to your special someone. February 14 is also National Condom Day, so take part by being safe and using one.

 

And finally, didn’t think I could touch on race, gender, class, or ethnicity in a Valentine’s post?  Think again.

Lisa Wade from Sociological Images recently posted an assort of old Indian-themed Valentines, all which enforce stereotypes of natives as war-like, men as powerful, and women as passive.  All from Native Appropriations and the Vintage Valentine Museum.

 

“I’d never squaw’k if you’d be my Valentine” (1950s or ’60s)

 

 

“I want to be the CHIEF” (1940s or ’50s)

“I’m hunting for you, Valentine” (1941)

 

 

 

 

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Here Comes Everybody: America’s Most Inclusive and Confusing Museum Is Proposed for D.C.

From ArtInfo.com

The National Mall in Washington, D.C. is host to more than a dozen museums, which showcase art and scientific ephemera from a profusion of cultures and eras. Plans for a new National Museum of African American History and Culture are underway and the possibility of a Latino museum looms on the horizon.

[I’m going to add that advocates are vying for funding to build a National Women’s History Museum as well in DC, yet their proposals have been continuously rejected.]

And now it seems that another institution celebrating an aspect of our national heritage is looking to move into the neighborhood. According to the Washington Post, the New York-based Coalition for the National Museum of the American People, under the leadership of retired federal employee Sam Eskenazi, is campaigning for the establishment of an institution that would tell the tale of immigration to the Americas — from travelers arriving 20,000 years ago to people landing on American soil today. Yes, a museum of everybody.

The coalition — which claims on its Web site to have garnered the support of some 130 ethnic and minority organizations and 50 notable scholars — is calling for Congress to appoint a bipartisan commission to investigate the possibility of establishing a museum to tell the history of how 200 centuries of migration formed a nation. This commission would look to gauge whether the proposed museum would fall under the governance of the Smithsonian or not, which would dictate its location and funding. Eskanazi, however, is confidant the museum could be funded by private donors and not taxpayer dollars. After all, it would have a lot of constituents.

According to Eskanazi’s site, “the Museum’s mission would be to advance and disseminate knowledge about the story of the making of the American people and to challenge visitors to reflect upon moral questions that are raised by that story as well as to take pride in it.” The museum would do this by introducing individual immigrants, telling the story of where they came from, why they left their home country, how they got to America, where and among whom they settled, how they became American, and how they left their mark on the nation. The “four chapters” that would frame these stories would be: “the first peoples come” (20,000 years ago-1607), “the nation takes form” (1607-1820), “the great in-gathering” (1820-1924), and “still they come” (1924-present).

A former public affairs director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Eskenazi began working on a proposal for the National Museum of the American People in 2007, but a bill put to Congress in 2008 to create a study commission did not advance, leading Eskenazi to form the coalition in 2009. The coalition claims that the institution could open in 2018 if approved.

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