The Beautiful Struggle

Body Image

Since I'm the Educational Development officer for this student activist org. I'm apart of at San Francisco State University I always need to keep myself attuned to the needs of the membership. We've done workshops on immigration, the Third World Liberation Front SF State student strikes, an upcoming one on white privilege, and a workshop in November on the basics of the capitalist system. However I've been noticing among the membership issues on body image. Specifically people being influence by white mainstream (fascist) standards of beauty. So for next semester I'm going to get a hold of some fellow radicals to put on a workshop on white supremacist beauty standards and how it effects women of color and others in this American society.

Does anyone out there have any resources and blogs, blog posts, books, articles, etc. that they could share with me. You can contact me here. Thanks.


Erase Racism Carnival Oct. 2007 Edition

This months Erase Racism Carnival is up at Kill Bigotry:

The 20 posts have been divided into 4 categories: 1) Our Criminal (in)justice System; 2) Quotes that Made you Run to your Computer; 3) A Trip around the Color Wheel; and 4) A History of Violence. Finally, although tedious, I thoroughly enjoyed the process of being informed and enlightened by so many of you. — MODI


Ethnic Cleansing, San Francisco, and White Supremacy

Last week I read a very good and interesting article (originally published at BlackAgendaReport.com) in the The Bay View a Black owned and operated newspaper based out of Bay View Hunters Point (the most predominate Black neighborhood in the city) which tackles issues effecting the Black community in San Francisco, the Bay Area, and the nation. As the author was writing about gang injunctions imposed on the Latino and Black communities in the Filmore and the Mission district he stated:

Not surprisingly, the City Attorney's injunction list did not include the Downtown Gang, also known as the AWDG (All White Downtown Gang). These gang members virtually control all public policy in San Francisco, including who will live in the City and who will not.

How does one identify members of the Downtown Gang? Well, for starters, like members of all gangs, the AWDG hang out together: at museum galas, society do's, first nighters at the opera and the symphony, parties in Pacific Heights, winter in Tahoe and so forth. But the best way to ID them is to use the old-fashioned follow-the-money method. Pick a politician, check out the big buck contributors and then see whether the politician's policies benefit private sector profit or the public good. It doesn't take a Sherlock Holmes to find a political spear carrier for the AWDG and then the AWDG member who owns and supplies the spears.

This is a very good explanation of describing white privilege and white supremacy in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as in the nation, all one really has to do is follow the money.

The author wrote how when mayor Gavin Newsom was in trouble with his Green Party opponent during his run for mayor, the AWDGs closed ranks:

Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi hit the phones. Republican businessmen rushed to the fore. George Shultz, a Republican flush with new found Bechtel riches from Iraq, opened his wallet, as did the heirs to the Getty oil fortune, who were Newsom's original sponsors. Republicans Charles Schwab and Donald Fisher wrote checks. The Swig and Shorenstein families, real estate developers who had underwritten the activities of local Democrats for years, dialed in their dollars.

And, of course, Newsom won and policies favored by the AWDG continue to flourish during his regime - like the onslaught to quickly privatize the shipyard property, regardless of the health of the residents during construction on this toxic site or the fact that no one in the neighborhood will ever be able to live in the new housing units. In 2006, Lennar Corp. was cited multiple times for failing to monitor and control asbestos dust during the grading phase on Parcel A. Oddly enough, the project was never shut down to correct any non-compliant operations.

Finally, several local African American neighborhood organizations went to City Hall this year to protest this continuing contamination and request that the City red tag the site until safety measures could be enforced. Their request fell upon deaf ears.

Meanwhile, the AWDG, not content with securing a financial stranglehold on future development of public lands, continues to target existing public housing for privatization.

One reason why white people are so blind to their privilege is obviously because one can't really see what one already has. So in order to show someone their privilege you have to break it down in terms they can understand. In this article we can see how white privilege and white supremacy effects whites and people of color in this city. The real movers and shakers in politics are those who (obviously) have money. These people can pump in money to start up "grass-roots" organizations, fund lobbyist groups, wine and dine city officials and supervisors, fund TV, newspaper, radio, and internet ads, as well as gain important spots on the local and national news because of this so called "buzz" their money has generated around a certain issue.

Historically in this country money has flowed from and through the hands of white people with very little trickling down to people of color and those of the underclass. While wage gaps have decreased for some ethnic groups compared to whites, the reality is is that wealth is still in the hands of whites through property, the stock market, trade, etc. Carlo made a good point by using Monopoly as a metaphor. Everyone in the game who passes go collects $200, therefore equal pay, yet those who make the real money and wield the real power are those who own most of the property on the board, collecting the big bucks on every turn as other players land on their property.

Those who effect and shape policy in San Francisco are those who wield the money. Those who wield the money (because of past and present day injustices) are white people. As whites in this city systematically try to gain more capital and create more benefits for themselves people of color get effected by these policies. A capitalist wants to make a profit in land redevelopment. Well than redevelop the cheapest and least cared about part of the city, the Filmore, a Black neighborhood. When the Filmore was bulldozed down hundreds of Black businesses, businesses which generated income for the Black community, were destroyed. In their place came high end apartments and expensive cafes. What happened to the Black community was of little interest to the white politicians at City Hall, the white media, and the white population in the Bay Area. The only way it was looked at by whites was a "redevelopment" and a "rejuvenation."

This of course continues to this day. But before I ramble on any more I recommend you all read the article.

Image From:
Public Broadcasting System (PBS)

a girl like me

A powerful featurette of a documentary about young Black girls dealing with identity in America. The study Kiri re-creates is painful to watch.


Erase Racism Carnival Call for Posts

If you have a post that you would like to submit to this months Erase Racism Carnival being held at Kill Bigotry! you have until Oct. 17th to submit it.


South Asians and Deportations in a Post-9/11 America

Found a good article on New American Media on the detention and deportation of South Asians in relation to "terrorism" concerns. Unlike some of the stereotypes of South Asian immigrants as being rich and getting jobs in the high tech and medical fields there are many South Asians struggle just to get by while working low wage jobs (especially in California) and these deportations hit many families hard.
The fear of possible detention and eventual deportation looms large in the minds of many immigrants in America today. For South Asians in America, the experiences of detention and deportation, exacerbated in the wake of Sept. 11, continue to take a significant toll on families.

South Asians in America are still experiencing the impact of government policies implemented after Sept. 11 that led to an unprecedented number of detentions and deportations. The names and descriptions of these post-9/11 policies differed -- the Alien Absconder initiative; “voluntary” interviews of 3,000 immigrant men from certain countries; and special registration – but their impact was alarmingly similar in nature.

Detentions and deportations of South Asians, predominantly men, have resulted in broken families and displacement of homes and businesses. In the post-9/11 environment, the largest number of detainees were from Pakistan. After special registration (the policy that required nonimmigrant males 16 years and older from certain countries to register with immigration authorities) ended, 13,000 of the nearly 83,000 men who complied were set to be deported, and 35 percent of those were of Pakistani descent...(Read More)



I've been pretty busy with school, my student org I'm involved with, and my union work. While I haven't been blogging on here all that much I have been blogging (almost daily) on my blog The Ghost of Tom Joad on my issues with UPS management and my union work. I do plan on blogging about a recent article in my school newspaper (where I used to take pics at) and on the O'Reilly "I can't believe Blacks have manners" incident.


White Privilege

Jenn, from Reappropriate, has a good blog post about white privilege:
Too frequently, I am charged by my White friends with “over-racializing” the world. “Why must it always come down to race,” they wonder. ”Aren’t I perpetuating racism when I notice race?” Taking it a step forward, they accuse me of being racist against Whites for pointing out White privilege.

How do you communicate to someone who is White that their race matters? By definition, they are the “unracialized” in this country, and are never faced with their race and how it privileges them. How then can they comprehend how race fundamentally colours the experiences of people of colour? A cheesy analogy arose out of Monday’s discussion which is nonetheless somewhat poignant: if a negatively-charged chloride ion and a positively-charged sodium ion are hanging out on the outside of a cell. The cell’s membrane has a channel that allows only negatively-charged ions to move into the cell, and so chloride is able to pass in and out of the cell freely; to chloride there are no limits, and so the concept of the cell (as a bounded space) is an abstract concept alone since chloride doesn’t experience the boundaries of that cell and its borders are subsequently invisible.

To sodium, however, it seems the cell as a place it cannot enter, since there is no channel open to it. The cell is defined by sodium’s inability to enter it, and so it is able to sense not only where it can, but also where it cannot go (which, for science folks, draws in the analogy of the equilibrium potential for sodium compared to chloride).

White privilege is a similar conundrum...