I have a new motto: "It might be good for you to walk a mile in someone else's shoes, but you should ASK before you take their shoes."
Check out the Tumblr discusion, here
. That Tumblr, "Oppressed Brown Girls, Doing Things" is very good, and among other things satirizes white feminist attitudes towards brown women. Apparently there was a young white non-Muslim woman, who wore a hijab for a couple hours (with some friends) because she heard from a friend that hijabiis get mistreated. She was shocked by the results of their social experiment, and now she's trying to draw as much attention to it as possible. I'm guessing this is USA but not sure.
I dunno if it's a bad idea to do such an experiment for your own education; I would certainly ask around first. But then if you make a big story, all about you? Without talking to any hijabiis about their experiences? Without bothering to seek out activists, writers, and resources for supporting Muslim women (with or without hijabs) near you?
I don't even know how much of the problem is the individual actors, and how much is a mainstream culture that somehow thinks "social experiments" are so cool that a white non-Muslim should be the mouthpiece for Muslim women of color. I've seen it before, though--crossdressing cis people speaking for trans people, people using blackface, a guy gets a book deal because he pretended to be gay for a year (and needed "protection" from being hit on in bars), ...
And people wonder, why do Others angrily say "hey! You took my shoes without asking, and now everybody thinks you're so important for wearing them"?
From the Tumblr conversation:
Please note, they’re always trying to find out if PoC are telling the “truth” and when we are, they’re SHOCKED. Not at our experiences, but simply that we were telling the truth.
We’re all liars until a White person also tells them, or they pull a stunt like this, and even then, it’s only an isolated incident, isn’t it?
I'm new to the community. Thanks for admitting me! If you're American, today is an especially important day to reflect on and attack white privilege. Especially if you know and can influence anyone in law enforcement or the justice system. Today is a good day to share these links, or related ones you find on your own, to all your friends especially the white ones.
Today, a South Asian friend of mine published a poem about being brown in a post 9/11 world
. It is a very powerful poem, and I encourage you to read it. He's mentioned, in another piece of his, the experience of being a ten-year-old in his school right after 9/11/2001, singing the US national anthem, feeling very American, and having a white classmate come up to him to say "Why did your people do this to us?" It's horrible. I don't know if that happened in my school.
If you have time, it would also be good to read this: a satirical piece, using whiteness to show the ridiculousness of blaming a whole people for the actions of some who look like them; but it also has good information about how people of color have felt pressure to apologize for each other's actions. On Behalf of All White People, I'm Sorry
I was talking to my friend's roommate, recently. Apparently a friend of his got arrested, and jailed for an 8-year sentence, for a crime (kidnapping) that happened in the middle of the night on 9/11 last year. There is a picture of the perpetrator, clean-shaven, driving in his car; the accused had a full beard and looked nothing like the perpetrator. But they were both brown-skinned, and apparently the 9/11 tenth anniversary date was used against the accused. Yes, unfair stuff like that happens in trials all the time; as a white queer activist I see this especially when it comes to injustice against queer people of color.
No, I am not sure exactly what to do. How do we fight this kind of suspicion? But I believe social change happens on a cultural level, and attitudes can be shifted if enough of us do the right pushing: to that end please learn, educate, and speak out against the narratives that criminalize people of color, and the prisons that do violence against their inmates. If you don't know anything about the "prison-industrial complex", start learning now. I would love for there to be a conversation and feedback here. But I don't want to overload one post with my avalanche of links, so that's all for now.
I found this
today and thought it was really interesting and really well worth a look at. It looks at two very similar (and horrible) cases in the UK.
One featured a number of white teenage girls in Rochdale who were systematically exploited and abused by a predominantly Asian gang. One featured a number of white teenage girls in Derby who were systematically exploited and abused by a predominantly white gang.
One case made the papers for months, with a lot of analysis about what was 'wrong with the Asian community' and how it could have happened. One barely made the local news. This article looks at why.
The comments aren't open yet, and won't be until tomorrow morning, but I suspect they'll be horrific; this is a BME journalist writing about racism in the Guardian. It's never pretty. I sometimes, however, think those comments are worth looking at just to remember how much defensiveness there is out there, and how quickly that can turn into pretty aggressive and blatant racism in and of itself.
Anyway, for the link phobic, the text of the article is beneath:( Read more...Collapse )
I'm not entirely sure whether what I have to say just now is going to be debunky enough, but I'm in a kind of shock, because of personal circumstances that may be about to radically change.
Today Theresa May, the Home Secretary and Minister for Equalities and Women (ha!) briefed MPs on immigration rule changes that will be announced by the Government next week. No word yet on when they intend to roll this out.
Here is the article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jun/08/immigration-rules-couples-stark-choice( (Link averse types, see under cut)Collapse )
Two things come to mind:
1. This will fuck LGBT (mainly gay, but I could foresee trans related complications relating to GRCs and marriage equality, and hate laws against trans people in other countries, possibly) couples who are binational where the other country outlaws homosexuality or doesn't recognise gay partnerships for the purpose of immigration.
2. This will fuck women. The average women's salary in the UK is well under the minimum cited by May; women of colour make even less on average than white women and of course there is a race gap in pay for everyone regardless of gender in the first place.
3. This will fuck people of colour and people from "suspect" countries (Yemen and Syria, and Palestinians, are mentioned but it will be for all non-EEA countries) extra hard, like all immigration related policies in the UK currently do. Enforcement measures are always more rigorously and regularly enforced against BAME people and people from certain countries.
4. As terrified as I am by this new policy, because it directly affects me, I can already see the LGBT community here uniting around a couple like the one I'm in- white, British/American, cis lesbian, not disabled, middle class... meaning that the effects on multiracial couples, or trans people, or disabled people, or people from former colonial countries including current Commonwealth countries will be ignored and will probably go unaddressed, meaning it'll continue to be much easier to chip away at their rights.
I thought I'd post it though because it is a really vitally intersectional and scary as shit thing for loads of people- the article says 60% would be affected.
Tonight in Chicago folks will be gathering for an event
at the Center on Halsted to discuss the ongoing problems of racism, classism, and transmisogyny in Boystown, Chicago's gay district. The event was prompted in part by the recent emergence of the When In Boystown Tumblr
. (That will take you not to the blog itself but an article about the blog.)
On the event page someone linked to Darnell L. Moore's piece Post-Whiteness, which is about why the entire idea of post-whiteness is a busted concept. I think this quote from the second-to-last paragraph explains why this is an important topic for our community to think about:
Whiteness travels in stealth; it is supplemented by what anti-racist feminist Peggy McIntosh, writing on White privilege, unforgettably names the "invisible knapsack." The fact is: that "knapsack" has been quite visible in the lives of native and non-white Americans. It has only been invisible to those who carry the weightless knapsack on their backs. Indeed, the burden of the sack is felt by everyone but the bearer.
A friend of mine posted this on G+ and it was good enough that I wanted to share it. It is a really nice geek friendly way of trying to get the concept of privilege across without provoking the rabid cheetah on steroids response.
It does have failings - for some reason it does mention race, gender and sexuality, but doesn't mention class - and it is very geek centric, but I thought it was definitely worth passing around.
I just learned a new term today, and as an immigrant living in Denmark, I live constantly with this phenomenon.
Anyway, this excellent site provides lots of fuel for discussion and seemed very very appropriate for this community. http://www.microaggressions.com/
I know "hipster racism" or "ironic racism" has come up in this community before, but West analyzes some of the subtypes I do not recall seeing addressed here before:A Complete Guide to Hipster Racism
In particular the idea of "recreational slumming" was new to me.
As usual, don't read the comments, unless you are prepared to see all kinds of denial and other infuriating nonsense.
Apparently this has gone viral so I imagine you'll be hearing about this elsewhere, if you haven't already. This is so awful that I feel like apologizing for even bringing it to your attention. Like, those could have been a few more hours or days without knowing about the racist cake thing, you know? :(
Basically--correct me if I have details wrong--the Swedish Minister of Culture, supposedly well-known for her anti-racist activism, participated in a performance piece on World Art Day at a modern art museum in Stockholm.( Cut for disturbing, even in summary formatCollapse )