Rachel Ray is a Jihadist Militant

Hmmm, so how today should I fight racism, even when its not against me? I guess I can start with this blog.

Enter the term “Jihadist Scarf”. You know, the kind Rachel Ray has been affronted for, the common white and black checkered scarf that has been all the rage lately. Ray appeared in a Dunkin Donuts ad last week wearing a Hatta (Or Kafiyya depending on where you’re from) and was confronted by the media, who said she supported terrorists. She says she’s innocent, saying that these very same scarves were sold at Urban Outfitters last year, and they were until an Israeli group demanded that they pull them from the shelves or they would be threatened with both violence and boycotts. Now, they are demanding that Rachel Ray be pulled from Dunkin Donuts. I find it mildly humorous to say the least (and if Dunkin Donuts was even relatively decent I would make it a point to eat/drink there). I go to a pretty liberal college and know exactly what the scarves mean, and have been given one from both Palestine and Saudi Arabia as gifts for working with the two student groups. As far as I know the scarves are more of a sign of Arab solidarity, in particular Palestinians, in much the same way that Brazilians and Puerto Rican’s wear their flags. Besides, who would have guessed that DONUTS were central to American politics?

Do terrorists wear these scarves? Sure. But terrorists wear all kinds of clothes. Kim Jung wears a grey oversized cat suit, and Vladimir Putin apparently missed the sign that says No Shirt No Shoes No Service. Hey, even George Bush wears a cowboy hat. Seriously, do a Google image search of the word terrorist, and none of the top results (except ironically a doctored picture of Bush) have this particular scarf in the cache. So I find it somewhat hard to believe that this is a universal sign for terrorist, oh wait a minute here’s one… oh no he’s Brazilian, (wrong shade of brown).

Also lets not forget how Jihad has been transformed into a bad word in this country, without anyone actually knowing what it means (we really do need better education in the country, at least to teach people how to think for themselves and research information… insert prObama slogan here). A Jihad is a spiritual journey, it’s supposed to be a deeply personal one, full of introspection and self examination, not a bomb yielding maniac’s path to heaven. But things like facts don't matter anymore. The United States has created a very clear image of what they consider a “Jihadist” “the enemy”, “a terrorist”. These are big scary Arabs who want to kill us for our freedom (who incedently include Persians because we cant tell the difference… insert anti-Hillary slogan here), who live 500 years in the past, cast the first stone (literally) and even though they don’t own or know how to operate cell phones, can make bombs from them. And you know what’s even scarier???? OMG everybody be terrified, our enemy wears, wait for it… a scarf.
(they’re pretty comfortable I might add.)

I just find the situation frustrating. I like to rock my Hatta, it goes with everything and I don’t mind taking an educated stance on an issue. If you ask me why I wear it I can tell you (for a different post). But at least I know what it is and the message that I’m conveying. But now it feels like if I wear it, I might get shot, but wouldn’t that make the shooter a terrorist? Oh wait no because he’s shooting at me (who has no WMD) because I have on a scarf. Hold on I’m confused, who’s the enemy, the person with the gun or the scarf? Nevermind…

Will there ever be justice? I guess the only silver lining to this cloud is that all these hipsters in their SB Dunks, big glasses, skinny pants and terrorist scarves are going to wake up next week and freak their parents out when they go home for holiday. The irony of the situation is that none of these politicians’ kids who rock these things even know why daddy’s mad, and probably won’t care. That in itself is a victory. Gotta love the ignorant majority, because their Urban Outfitting shopping selves are the next generation, they don’t care about silly little things like “jihadist scarves”. They’re hot. And they match.
MAN do we have some work to do.


Teaching Race/Teaching Whiteness

Cross-posted from The Blog and the Bullet.

Ann, from Feminist Law Professors, gives us a link to an article on whiteness and teaching in schools:
This Article argues that whiteness operates as the normative foundation of most discussions of race. Legal educators often overlook the role of whiteness in the law school setting and in law more generally. Identifying and understanding whiteness should be an essential component of legal education. This Article considers reasons why legal education rarely addresses this normative role played by whiteness.


"This is our version of ethnic cleansing.”

I wrote a blog post over at my blog the Mustard Seed on the rising fascism and racism in Italy:

Well, the neo-fascist state of the new center-right government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has wasted no time in manipulating the public’s fear and racism of “illegals” in his decrees of the removal of undocumented workers from Italy and new initiatives from the police force to expel immigrants and actually make it a criminal offense to come into the country without proper papers.

I couldn’t believe what I was reading when the Times (U.K.) reported:

This week’s assaults on Roma shanty towns by scores of youths on scooters and motorbikes wielding iron bars and throwing Molotov cocktails were sparked off by the capture of a 17-year-old Roma girl who last weekend entered a flat in Ponticelli and tried to steal a 6-year-old girl. Chased by the mother and neighbours, she had to be rescued by police from being lynched.

The city erupted in fury, with local women leading the marches on the Roma camps to the chant of “Fuori, fuori [Out, out]”. Night after night young men — allegedly acting on the orders of powerful local clans of the Camorra, the Naples Mafia — have set the sites ablaze, blocking attempts by the fire brigade to put out the fires, with exploding gas canisters completing the destruction. The women jeered at the firemen, shouting, “You put these fires out, we start them again”. (Italics mine)...(Read More)


GTA: The White Boys' Fantasy

With the release of the latest installment of Grand Theft Auto, Ive decided to stand on my soapbox for a moment. Bear with me.

When the second version came out I stopped playing GTA after my brother showed me that you can have sex with a prostitute to regain health, then kill her to get your money back. It was done, I would never pick up a controller to that game again. {Now I can go into a rant about gender politics, but this isn’t the space.}

GTA IV was released April 29th and I did want to see how the graphics have evolved, game play has changed, and very aesthetic things about the game. More out of curiosity than wanting to play (Gran Turismo has been a little slow lately). A friend of mine sat and showed me all the various attributes of the game, trying to convince me that I’d like it, trying to convince me that there was a moral to this story. So I sat and I saw that you can watch hours of tv, collect all types of guns, cars, women, you could walk into almost any door, you can go shopping, shoot police, talk to bums, shoot crackheads, carjack people and whatever else you might want to do. The game was completely interactive. It reminded me of something. What was that game… oh yeah The Sims.

Critics claimed that games like The Sims would encourage people to stay home and not interact with the real world because the game play was so realistic and interactive that they’d never have to leave, meaning that this digital world had become their real world. But The Sims only appealed to a certain group of people and was rarely violent (I only saw changes when people created their own bots) and most of them stayed local to their computers anyway. But it made me think, who was the world of GTA appealing to?

GTA is nothing more than a suburban White boys’ fantasy. You get to drive around in a neighborhood that you’d never actually go to, let alone live in, with people you’d never actually want to meet, do things you’d never have the balls to actually do, all at the expense of the people being mimicked in the game. Let’s be honest, GTA makes people of color look completely ignorant, deserving of the consequences and unappealing, all while being entertaining. I’ll admit that it is hard to separate yourself from the game play and take a hard look at what is going on in front of you. A Russian, is driving around the hood, killing people, tearing everything up and in effect getting away with it.

The sheer number of sales is the obvious indicator of the purchasing market of GTA. The numbers tell you there just aren’t as many Black people purchasing the game as White people. And truthfully, the true hood brothas out on the street are too busy being on the street living GTA rather than playing it. So like the consumers of rap music (whom this game is catered to) it only leaves one group.

Is the game a flagship of interactive video game design? Yes. Is the game well thought out and entertaining? Yes. Is the game a meditation on the inner city struggle? Not really. Mostly the game is insulting and degrading. So yet again, I’m left to play the faceless tracks of Gran Turismo, because games like GTA continue to reinforce the structural types of racism that I thought we were attempting to destroy.

Depends on who you ask I guess.



White Privilege At Its Finest

I was enraged to hear so much news coverage about the murder of Chris Wootton, a white fraternity student at UC Berkeley. Why? Because last fall, a dark-skinned Latino student, Rod Rodriguez, was confused for a gang member and murdered. He too was a UC Berkeley student. He and Chris were high achievers in school. Chris, however, was killed in a Saturday night drunken brawl, whereas Rod was visiting home and had been closing up at the barbershop where he worked. He often provided free haircuts to locals because they could not afford hair-cuts. He also was heavily involved in the Berkeley community, advancing racial justice through volunteer work.

Not only did the Chancellor of the university write a detailed email to all of the students about Chris Wootton's tragic murder, my mother called me all the way from San Diego saying she heard about it in the news. It was also significantly covered on the internet. Rod, however, was virtually unnoticed except by members of the ethnic communities on campus and in his hometown.

As enraged as I was, I only made a few comments to fellow students in my classes. Adrienne Johnson, however, wrote a piece to the main campus newspaper--The Daily Californian--who heavily covered the Chris Wootton murder in several detailed articles, and who had only given Rod a passing glance.

Adrienne succinctly puts it all into perspective:

Like many students, I was shocked and saddened by Chris Wootton's tragic death.

However, may I comment on the articles devoted solely to Wootton's death? I have counted no fewer than five full-length, prominently placed articles detailing this tragedy. I attended the forum on Sproul Plaza and found myself sandwiched between NBC reporters, TV crews and photographers.

May I also comment on your coverage of another, very tragic death of a graduating senior killed in very similar circumstances-Rodrigo Rodriguez Jr.? This past September, he was killed by a gunman who mistook him for another person. This story received little coverage; there was no community outpouring. I remember only one of very few articles, from Sept. 19, "Student Gunned Down in Hometown." Why, do you suppose, this is? Why would the Daily Cal cover Wootton's death-involved in a fight on frat row -and ignore Rodriguez's tragic victimhood? Could it have something to do with favoring a white frat boy over a child of immigrants? Favoring a science student over an American Studies major?

"Student Gunned Down in Hometown" is an inappropriate, insulting title in comparison with Wootton's article "Community Mourns Shocking Loss of Senior."

It is the Daily Cal's responsibility to inform the community when something of this measure occurs with fairness and equality. Just because Chris may have been more popular should not be reflected in his death's coverage. I feel that this is a grave error on part of the Daily Cal and this letter or a formal apology should be published apologizing to Rodriguez's friends and family.


White Supremacy Around the World

Sups, 2x readers? It's been awhile since I've posted anything here, but hopefully once summer rolls around I'll contribute more often. Anyway, I was sifting through my bookmarks when I came across some videos I was going to use for a presentation about white supremacy. They're all basically "skin care" ads for women. Notice any reoccurring themes?




And then here's a BBC News report I found about this phenomenon.

Image of Irony

I admit it, I like to browse "lol" pictures. Here's a great one.

You'd think that a lack of historical knowledge would be the only thing wrong with these people. You'd think that the irony of this ideology would end at race, ethnicity, culture, xenophobia.

...but no, I am proven wrong, it's much more than that. As much as I despise her hatred and ignorance, I have got to thank that lady for pushing the envelope of senselessness.

Political Picture - Protester
see more politics and fun!

Tongue-in-cheek, I can't help but say that it sounds like "...fecal." Might seem a bit forced to you, but it honestly jumps out at me.


Rejecting the Model Minority Tag

Cross-posted from The Blog and the Bullet.

A. R. Sakaeda blogs at the Chicago Tribune News Blogs:
When people talk about the model minority, "model" is code for never making other people feel uncomfortable about racism. "Model" means not being like all those other troublesome people of color. It means keeping your mouth shut and your eyes lowered. It means smiling brightly and nodding along. Yes, sir! Whatever you say, sir! It means never complaining.

Members of the model minority often are used to shame other people of color. They can do it, why can't you? If you would only have those same close-knit families. If you only valued education more. If you only worked harder. Racism is a thing of the past.

Holding up Asian Americans as a model divides communities of color, making it difficult for us to see our commonalities.

[Hat Tip: angry asian man]


On Being an Ally: Admitting When You're Wrong

In honor of The Angry Black Woman and her call for a Carnival of Allies (which by the way I'm late for, the deadline was May 5th, oh well) I would like to briefly write a post on what it means to be an ally and on how being an ally doesn't mean you stop being racist and benefiting from white privilege.

In order to be an ally one has to, first and foremost, look critically at one's self and one's own privilege before one can start pointing out the ills in the greater society and in pointing out the racism of others. It's kinda pointless to go around pointing out the white privilege of others when one doesn't critically examine their own white privilege and how they got to the point where they are at right now.

Of course, this doesn't mean that you become like an Irish hermit and retreat to the hills and critically reflect on your self and fast for five years, you should still study how white privilege affects the broader society, how racism is institutionalized in this country, and one should always be aware and attuned to racism. However, first and foremost, at least in the beginning, one should spend time on being critical of their own privileges, male, heterosexual, white, class, etc.

And even when one does this, this doesn't mean that they are "cured" of racism. Racism in endemic in this society and whites are, in a way, stewed to perfection and marinated in this racism and white privilege and grow up thinking that white privilege doesn't exist and thinking that they got everything off of their own merit. This doesn't go away easy, and in my opinion, it never goes away fully. So one can be an ally and still be racist, hetero-sexist, classist, etc.

Case in point from my life. I recently incorporated a racist title in one of the my posts for The Blog and the Bullet without even knowing it. Why is that? Well, for one, even though I am a self-proclaimed ally and have been called an ally by others I can still be racist due to the fact that as a white heterosexual male I'm still not fully attuned to racism within society and within myself because I benefit fully from a white supremacist society and a heterosexist society and a sexist society. Despite my fight against white supremacy I can still be racist due to my privilege.

On The Blog and the Bullet I had posted a blog post by Phil Yu on a bunch of racist t-shirts being sold in Chicago, in....errrrr...."honor"? of Chicago's newest acquisition for their bench, Kosuke Fukudome. All of my posts on that blog are automatically cross-posted to the larger Alas, a bog, by Amptoons creator Barry.

The title for my blog post was "Horry Cow, That's Racist!" a play off of the slogan on the racist shirts in Chicago and on Phil Yu's catch phrase, That's Racist! Well, if Phil Yu was to blog on my title for that post he would most definetely say, That's Racist! Because despite me trying to do a play on words in that post it ended up being completely and utterly racist and offensive. The reason why it escaped my attention was because of my white privilege. Thinking it was only a play on words but not realizing how racist it truly was. I didn't pay too much attention to that post until Barry, a fellow white ally, e-mailed me to check out the recent comment thread on that post. And I did.

On the tread Tom Autopref rightfully pointed out:
The shirt really is obnoxious.

Hey … I can’t speak for Japanese or other Asian folks, but is the post title here problematic?

To which Katie replied:
Asian person here.

Yeah, I’d *really* rather not see the original slur repeated as the title of this post. Wow.

As well as Kai rightfully pointing out:
I found the original title, as well as the previous post title pointed out at Resist Racism, to be, yes, incredibly racist. Snickering at stereotypical Asian accents? Really? Unfortunately, these titles have forced me re-think my view of this blog, its authors and its commenting community.
I hope you see where I’m coming from. I’m sure it’s all been well-intentioned but I was rather stunned by the lack of consciousness on this front.
To which I replied:
Sorry for not posting this earlier. I never read the comment thread until now nor did I receive Barry’s e-mail (not sure why).

I sincerely apologize for that racist title. Kai made some great points in pointing out that reusing the racist slogan from those shirts in Chicago was, in itself, racist and hurtful and I apologize profusely for that error and for the title post. I essentially was playing off of the title on the shirt and on Phil’s catch phrase but it ended up being racist (not coming off as racist, but simply racist). And again, I apologize.

I’d like to thank Barry for pointing this out in another e-mail (in where he mentioned the previous e-mail that never got to me) and to Tom Autopref for originally pointing it out and for Kai as well.

As a white male I am obviously unaware, no matter how hard I try, of certain aspects of racism within this country, even if I try to be anti-racist there is no such thing as erasing one’s white privielge and raicsm and therefore anti-racist allies can still be racist despite striving to be anti-racist. So I again thank Kai and Tom for pointing this out to me and for Kai in making his very apt commentary on the racism of my title.

Being an ally doesn't mean you stop being racist and stop receiving white privilege and one shouldn't be shocked at being called racist despite their self-proclamation (or through the proclamation of others) that they are an "ally."

"I can't be racist! I'm an ally!" or liberal, or a democrat, or that you have a "friend," etc. Because the fact is, as my lapse in judgment has shown, that one can be racist and consider themselves to be an ally.

As an ally one should also expect, and be thankful for, confrontation from their other allies and from those whom they organize with if they perceive a certain aspect of racism, sexism, classism, hetero-sexism, etc. seeping through. As an ally one needs to be receptive to this and not simply brush it off as being "too sensitive," "not gettin' it," "misinterpreting it," etc., because that would automatically puts you in the camp completely opposite of an ally and you end up using the language of the oppressor to defend yourself instead of using the langauge of an ally and a self-critical person to correct one's self.

If one is an ally than one would truly show it when they do get called out; will you react defensively or will you self analyze critically? That's one of the tests. And when you do self analyze it doesn't mean you get a cookie; one shouldn't get rewards for doing the right thing.

Image From:


Straight People Are Not Gay? It's Less Obvious Than It Sounds

We define "gay" as "not straight," but never the other way around. It seems silly to say this, but by admitting that straight people are not gay, one can easily embrace a form of double consciousness.

Double consciousness is about understanding that anyone who is "different" is different from something that has been accepted as normal. What is accepted as normal in Western society is the white, male heterosexual. I say "accepted as normal" because it is only an idea that has been accepted as true in our society--but it is not a truth. It is not normal.

This is a picture worth a hard look:

The story behind this image hit me as a great way to illuminate the burden of double consciousness. This is the car of a homosexual white female, Erin Davies, whose car was originally silver. One day she found that someone had vandalized it by spraying the homophobic slur in red paint, and rather than have it removed, she left it on. Now you can follow her on her website fagbug.com.

Her decision to sport the hate crime was met with strong opposition and strong support as she journeyed across the country to document reactions to her car. She had even re-painted the hateful words after several people have anonymously attempted to remove the bright red message. Recently, she had the entire car professionally painted with the rainbow colors and the name given to her by the original vandals.

This car makes obvious the identity of difference. You would never find someone's car vandalized with the word "straight" because the straight identity is widely accepted as natural...which leads to the logical conclusion that gay is unnatural; false even.

What is normal? There is no normal, because when you say someone is different, it goes both ways. The "gay" is different from the "straight," yes. But the "straight" is different from the "gay" too.

I cannot end without emphasizing the importance of recognizing that double consciousness involves many differences all at once. In this case, we're only looking at a homosexual, white female--who is different from the straight white male and the homosexual white male. But it gets even messier when you look at a homosexual, black female for example.

We can't get stuck on singular terms. We've gotta see that everyone is made up of endless differences--we are all intersected by differences in class, race, gender, and more.


May Day, Class, and Race

Nezua has a good blog post on May Day:
For we—the centuries-strong, the been-here-all-along, the weak, the meek, the She, the black, the brown, the grown-up-from-this-ground, the despised and forgotten and the poor and ground down—are in this fight together. And it is a fight, look all around. A fight for equality, a fight for justice, and sometimes simply a fight for food and human dignity. And as long as we are divided and fighting over scraps and ladder rungs and tossed off politician-dung, there is no justice. So let us remember why it is that we stand here, why we stood up; let us loan one another our strength, and move side by side.