Stuff White People Do

Cross-posted from The Blog and the Bullet.

Changeseeker blogs:
...last night, thanks to a comment by Professor Zero, I discovered a new blog called Stuff White People Do. The author is smart, right on the target, introspective and clever.


...if you haven't read Macon D. over at Stuff White People Do yet, then let me send you on over there post haste.

Just recognize that you're probably gonna be there for a while.

Language & Inequality

One of the things that I really hate is when people say, "That's gay." I've been seeing a lot of people online (men in particular) saying that quite often lately. Hardly can I ever enjoy a video of the Lakers getting schooled big time or my favorite group on America's Best Dance Crew tearing up the dance floor without people saying stuff like, "OMG! Tehy r FAGS," or "they're so GAY!" This isn't something I haven't encountered before of course, but I've been seeing a lot of this nonsense these days (some of it from folks who claim to be working towards racial justice) and I've had it.

Oftentimes when I confront those folks about the issue, they respond, "I don't mean 'gay' as in ACTUAL gays. I use 'gay' to describe something that sucks." And that's exactly the point! They're using gay as synonym for "shitty." That's like saying, "I hate this shirt. It's weak and stupid. It's so ASIAN."

I also hate it when people say things like, "Be a MAN," or "Don't be a pussy," in other words, "Don't be some spineless, weak coward, LIKE HOW WOMEN ARE!" I dare them to say that to the important women in their lives to see how much they'd appreciate that (assuming that those women haven't internalized that self-hatred).

One might rebut, "But Carlo, you're taking this too seriously! They're JUST WORDS LOL!" Yeah. No I'm not. Words aren't "just words." Language is impacted with cultural values. I'm sure if people used you as an example to describe how much something sucks you'd be pretty upset.

In her discussion of how language is used to maintain systems of inequality, Tracy E. Ore writes the following:

Language is ideological, reflecting the values that are important in our culture... The power of words lies in the fact that the members of a culture share their meanings and valuations... In maintaining cultural values, roles, norms, and ideologies, language maintains inequality.

Sometimes shedding light on how this type of language demeans gays and women gets through to people and makes them try to break the habit. Other times pointing out how they're being homophobic/sexist doesn't get through because they're admittedly homophobic/sexist. When that's the case, it depends case by case how one wants to go about addressing that.

But to those of you who claim to be advancing the movement for racial justice but continue to use this kinda language and perpetuate this kinda thinking -- cut that ignorant, biggoted shit out.



Hip hop activists attacked and arrested for daring to hold the NYPD accountable

Cross-posted from The Mustard Seed.

Jack blogs:
I’ve been wanting to blog about this since I heard about it last week, but Vivir Latino and illvox and Racewire and a bunch of other folks have gotten to it already…

Obstruction of justice and resisting arrest should really be renamed the Activist Charges, since they seem to be what all of us are threatened with whenever we’re arrested for either protesting or observing the cops and holding them accountable for their actions. The latter seems to particularly piss the cops off. I know this from personal experience, having been pepper sprayed along with other community members and seeing two friends being violently arrested for doing just that - questioning police actions, asking for badge numbers, taking pictures of their activity. All the charges against the two people arrested were dropped. Three members of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement’s Cop Watch were arrested while videotaping an arrest in Brooklyn in 2005. All charges against them were later dropped. When the cops went on a bike-confiscating frenzy in the East Village last summer, two people who dared to observe and question them were arrested. It happens over and over again.

Click on these links to hear some of Rebel Diaz's music.

Image From:


Fuck Obama ! كس أمك يا أوباما

Via my comrade from Egypt Hossam:
From AP…
A young Muslim woman said she and another woman were refused seats directly behind Barack Obama — and in front of TV cameras — at a Detroit rally because they wear head scarves.
Hebba Aref said Wednesday that she and Shimaa Abdelfadeel were among 20,000 supporters who gathered to see Obama on Monday at the Joe Louis Arena when the groups they were with were separately invited by Obama campaign volunteers to sit behind the podium.
But Aref said the volunteers told members of both parties in separate discussions that women wearing hijabs, the traditional Muslim head scarves, weren’t included in the invitation and couldn’t sit behind the podium.
Aref, a 25-year-old lawyer, said a member of her group was told by a volunteer that she could not invite Aref because of “a sensitive political climate.”
Hopefully I'll blog more on this latter.


Fuck LA Unified School District

The Los Angeles Times reports:
Students and fellow educators are rallying behind a fired Jordan High School teacher they say was sacked for encouraging political activism among her students.

About 60 students rallied Wednesday at the Watts campus, while a colleague of the fired teacher said he and 15 other instructors planned to resign or transfer to other schools to protest the dismissal of Karen Salazar, a second-year English teacher.

The dust-up has gone digital as well. Salazar backers have posted videos on the website YouTube. The postings, which have attracted thousands of hits, intersperse music, outraged protesters and interviews, as well as statements from the outspoken educator.

"You embody what it means to be a warrior-scholar, a freedom-fighting intellectual," she told students through a bullhorn in one video. "You are part of the long legacy, the strong history, of fighting back."

[Hat Tip: Bambu's Rants]


What Do Gays And Undocumented Do For "Us"?

Image from Governing.com

I've been hearing a lot about how good gay marriages will be for California's economy. I am not comfortable with this simplification of the issue. It's like heterosexuals have found a way to justify gay marriage in pure economic terms. After all, how much harm can homosexuality do to California's heterosexual culture if it does so much good to California's economy?

Michael LIndenberger from Time reports,
A report released by the Williams Institute at UCLA law school says fully half of the state's 102,000 gay couples could wed in the next three years. UCLA law professor Brad Sears told TIME that the number is in keeping with experience in Massachusetts, where gay marriage is also legal, and Vermont, which permits civil unions. Another 67,000 or so are expected to arrive from other states, says Sears, the report's co-author. Those couples and their guests will spend some $680 million in tourism dollars, a welcome boost to a state whose hard-hit economy could use all the help it can get.

Justin Ewers at U.S. News & World Report also mentions the UCLA study, which predicts,
approximately half of the 103,000 same-sex couples living in the state will get married in the next three years. Nearly 70,000 same-sex couples from other states, they predict, will come here to marry...the combination of marriage license fees, increased state and local tax revenues, and the attendant boost in tourism spending by wedding guests is likely to create and sustain over 2,100 jobs in California...Even Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has thrown his support behind the court's decision, has said same-sex marriage will be good for the state's economy. "You know, I'm wishing everyone good luck with their marriages, and I hope that California's economy is booming because everyone is going to come here and get married," he told a gathering in San Francisco on May 21.

This kind of talk reminds me of the cost-benefit discussions of undocumented immigration. Like those claims that undocumented immigrants don't pay taxes, strain our health are and public education, and abuse our welfare system--these are all misleading and largely untrue, but they strongly support our country's anti-immigrant sentiment. They are based on the idea that undocumented immigrants bring us a little labor and lots of family.

In other words, undocumented immigration today is hypersexualized, feminized. Pure labor wasn't a problem when it was just the men coming to work on a seasonal basis, we happily incorporate undocumented male labor into our economy. Why not? It's pure gain for U.S. citizens; they work hard and don't demand rights because we keep them under fear through their undocumented status. But we resist children and pregnant mothers because they become our dependents. Immigrant labor brings wealth to our country, but immigrant children bring costs: they are a net loss.

On the other hand, gay marriage is being framed, in an economic sense, like the pure undocumented male labor that is good for California's economy. Gay marriage is about non-dependent adults. They work, they spend money.

It doesn't feel right reducing gay marriage to pure economic gain. I know there are people using this information as one of the pluses for heterosexuals to accept gay marriage, and I get that. But it's just weird, and how do gay people feel about this? The us/them mentality really stands out with gay marriage just as it does with immigration--what can "they" do for "us?"

I don't know, as long as gay marriage passes, its advocates should be happy. But the end result can't be the only thing that matters--it's good to at least take a good look at what measures are taken to get to that result.


Is Privilege Offensive?

Cross-posted from The Blog and the Bullet.

Liza Talusan blogs about a negative experience a friend had when his "Got Privilege?" shirt offended a white person:
Recognizing privilege, owning up to your privilege and then actively identifying ways in which we institutionally disempower those without privilege gives us tools in our toolbox. It helps us to call attention to ways in which we play into systems of oppression. It awakens our sense of responsibility and turns on the voice in our hearts to call for change.


Whiteness and Trust

Cross-posted from The Blog and the Bullet.

Macon D. blogs:
Unlike a lot of non-white people, most white folks think that the world sees them as trustworthy, reliable, and honest, unless they do something to prove themselves otherwise. White people can dress in a variety of ways or wear a variety of adornments or tattoos that will lower the level of trust other people are likely to place in them. What they rarely realize, though, is that their whiteness itself often provokes mistrust. And that it does so for some good reasons.

[Hat Tip: Not Like Crazy...]


"Me" and Consciousness

Who am I? To you, I mean. Who am I, to you? I sit here writing, assuming a sort of authority to write, spewing my words into the depths of the internet for anyone to find. I know who I am, but how does that come across in the internet?

I recently received an email attacking my "about me" section on my personal blogger profile. Weird, because it is senseless, I can't really understand it. But in spite of this, I was struck by the email because it seems to be less an attack upon the issues I discuss and more of an attack on me. It is about me.

Subject: Your opinion "about me"

I sort of do not understand the premise of your comments. How are you a citizen of the United States of America yet feel foreign and then state that you are for those who voices are silent. In America opportunity is greater than anything. For those who are supposedly “silent” with opportunity they speak. Cubans are silent because no matter how much they scream and cry and disapprove the have no opportunity to go nowhere. Its sad to hear that So, if someone bombed the united states of America whose side would you be on since you feel foreign? And you really do teach rhetoric. Seems like you would have more regard for the country that gave you the ability to speak as crazy as you’d like without repercussions. Regardless of our problems here the opportunities that are afforded to us give us the voice in and of itself so there is no silence.

Why do I have to explain myself to you? An honest question, not a biting one. On the one hand, I could say, "you don't know me." Thus forcing dialogue to a close. On the other hand, I could say, "here is my life story," and spend hours trying to explain myself in vain.

Here's the beautiful thing: the reason I shouldn't have to explain myself is because I'm not writing to prove myself (how could I when my idea of myself is constantly changing?). I am writing to explore my own consciousness as a Latina, but more importantly, to reach out to others with the hope that what I say might affect them in any way. So if my "opinion" about myself seems unpatriotic or something, then that's only because you have a very different idea of what is patriotic than me.

What's the point of blogging here, then? I write because consciousness (and double consciousness) is idealistically about infinite awareness. It is about never cementing oneself in ideas about the world and its people because the dynamics of such are always changing. Consciousness is to me a contradictory state--you acquire it by never accomplishing it.

You are conscious by always realizing that you do not know everything--that your consciousness must always be expanding because there is always something you are not conscious of. I don't know who I am to you, or who you are to me. I just love the fact that we don't have to know each other to rework our respective consciousnesses here on this blog.


Race & Class in Ethical Consumption & Sustainability Movements

Cross-posted from The Blog and the Bullet.

At the blog Vegans of Color, Johanna quotes a new anthology to be edited by Breeze Harper:
Rarely, if ever, has the status quo of these movements written about how [white] racialized consciousness and class status impact their philosophies and advocacy of animal rights, veganism, fair trade, ecosustainable living, etc., in the USA. Deeper investigations by academic scholars have found that collectively, this “privileged” demographic tends to view their ethics as “colorblind”, thereby passively discouraging reflections on white and class privilege within alternative food movements (Slocum 2006) and animal rights activism (Nagra 2003; Poldervaart 2001). Consequently, academic scholars such as Dr. Rachel Slocum feel that rather than fostering equality, “alternative food practice reproduces white privilege in American society”.

Ad she states:
The discouragement about reflections on white & class privilege has definitely been more than just “passive” from readers of this blog at times, especially lately, although obviously the passive discouragement is a big player as well. As one of my favorite LiveJournal icons says, “White privilege: you’re soaking in it.”


Saturday Beats: My World

More poetics from our Bay Area youth.

My World
The world I live in is full of pain and sorrow.
Praying and dreaming for a better tomorrow
but my prayers are not answered
and my dreams are crushed
because the system I live in
is just way too screwed-up.
There’s no way to control your fate.
You just live to fight and hate
and wait for the right chance
to keep your life straight.
Police and society try to put you down
for being Chicano and for being brown.
But I keep my head and I say screw this system
and screw these laws.
Screw the government.
I only believe in the ‘cause’.
The evil lives within,
so my life is full of sin.
It lives within my soul
and that’s why I feel so cold.
And I show no emotions and I shed no tears.
I show no remorse and I have no fears.
I’ve lived a screwed up life.
That’s why my heart’s like stone.
Happiness and kindness have all been thrown,
thrown away, far away – never to return.
The goodness within has all been burned.
The evil is done. There is no way to rewind it.
I’m searching for peace of mind.
I just can’t seem to find it.
Searching for light in the darkness where I reside.
But all I seem to find is iniquity and violence.
But I guess it’s all right
because after the violence
comes the silence.
-Isaac, Santa Cruz