Provocation, Appropriation, and That Blackface Clitoridectomy Cake

Here’s an idea for truly provocative art. No more male artists, black or white, speaking for African women. No more ever-more-graphic ever-more-voyeuristic art on the suffering of African women. Stop using the female African body as raw material to be worked – unless you happen to live in one. Then, notice that African women are making their own work about their lives and struggles. Look. Listen. Learn.

Shailja Patel, ‘The missing ingredient in Sweden’s racist-misogynist cake’

h/t Blind Man With A Pistol

Related:  T.F. Charlton & Ako Jacintho debate the meaning of the installation — on multiple levels; how Jonathan Pitts-Wiley stopped worrying & learned to love the blackface clitoridectomy cake.

Today In The Annals of Stupid Backlash Tricks

Flash: Aggrieved Daily Caller Ex-College Republican thumbsucker (is there any other kind?) has a megasad cuz his bike was stolen (if stats hold true, by a blackity-blackblack black kid!), causing him to boldly and ham-fistedly declare:

“I am Derbyshire! (Burp.)”

Roy Edroso:

Judge must be over 30 by now, but apparently he’s never been robbed before, because this has caused him to turn against all black people, and to relinquish the “white guilt” that once made him watch Norman Jewison movies.

Perhaps sensing that even ordinary racists would be disgusted with his whining, Judge invents wimpy liberal friends beside whom he can look butchly Politically Incorrect. Unfortunately, this is how the gentleman essays to roll:

Hearing the kumbaya song from my liberal friend, I immediately thought of a phrase Piers Morgan had recently used…

I think Jesus just carried his Smirnoff Ice into the next room.

Also: Trigger-happy Bernie Goetz wannabe George Zimmerman decides the only way to set the record straight!!!1 (and help pay mounting legal bills) is to resurrect teh Geocities, express his sincere gratitude to the proud supporters who vandalized a black cultural centre on his behalf, & implicitly (if perhaps inadvertently) give the side-nod to Koran-burning Fla Islamaphobe icon Terry Jones.

(Oh, and, as per a Zimmerman family proxy, apparently Holder totally <3s the NEW BLACK PANTHERS, because he’s, well, not Derbyshire, if ya catch my meaning).

Sheesh.

If white people were black people (and vice versa) we’d have a deluge this AM of self-righteous black folks tut-tutting on teh cablez (‘this is why you can’t have nice things’, etc).

Thankfully (for white folks), structural racism isn’t a zero sum game.

Not at all.

Update: Gosh, Judge sure didn’t display all that much ‘guilt’ prior to his recent purported epiphany:

Now, if you read Judge’s past writings, his white guilt does not seem to have exerted an especially strong pull:

no one would have the guts to tell the truth. It was not Asians or whites or Indians who were wilding in Georgetown. It was black teenagers. Illegitimacy and fatherlessness in black urban areas like Washington, D.C. has created an entire class of youth who have been weaned on gangster culture and have absolutely no impulse control. …

That was the old, encumbered-by-white-guilt Judge writing. I’m a little frightened of the new version.

Also, this previous  ZOMG EPIPHANY from Judge, re: why it’s ok — nay, absolutely vital — for decent Christian cycling enthusiasts to passionately hate pro-choice women (shorter: babiez > bitchez).

h/t Steve M.

Meet the NEW New Civil Rights Movement (Fox News Stylez)

Hey, remember when Faux News used to merely employ dog whistles in its race-baiting wingnut agit-prop?

Good times.

Now they rock Les Paul Customs plugged into Marshall stacks that go to eleven (TO ELEVEN):

A Fox Orlando affiliate decribed Neo-Nazis as “a civil rights group” on a television broadcast and online. The group of Neo-Nazis, known as the National Socialist Movement, has been conducting armed patrols of the streets of Sanford, Florida, the town where Trayvon Marting was shot dead.

The Fox Orlando affiliate, WOFL, aired a shockingly uncritical report of the group’s activities. The Fox reporter introduced the group by saying, “There’s another civil rights group in town.” She also conducts an interview with the group’s leader, Jeff Schoep, without challenging any of his claims about the nature and mission of the group. Watch it (via Little Green Footballs):

Related: Pam Spaulding (h/t) has screen caps galore re: FAUX35’s wacky White Power jamboree (to ELEVEN).

David Banner on the Shooting of Trayvon Martin: “We Have to Get Some Type of Legislation Now.”

Gulf Coast hip hop impresario David Banner drops some straight knowledge re: Trayvon, race, and class in the US of A in this BlackEnterprise.com interview:

“The fact [is] we have to get some type of legislation now.

“What do we want to see implemented to make sure this doesn’t happen again because y’know American culture, now that we’ve seen this happen it’s going to take something two-times as bad as this to even get peoples attention.”

h/t Colorlines

Read This Now: “To be active is the difference between freedom and submission.”

by matttbastard

Renee brings the awesome with this passionate, inspiring must-read post on patriarchy, culture, and ‘the cycle of victimology':

While I am certainly not in the position to judge another on the coping mechanisms which they employ to survive our racist, patriarchal culture, I do know that we need to be conscious of why we take on certain labels and how the interpretations of others impacts our decisions.  Allowing another to discern and control what the issues that effect our lives  entail is nothing more than a form of submission in the guise of owning victimology.

We are more than what someone does to us.  Each day when we wake, we make small decisions that have the potential to lead to great change.  It is because we have been understood as powerless that these actions continually fail to merit the respect that they deserve.  We can actively choose not to participate in conversations in which we have been declared unwelcome, or we can kick the door down and demand our voices be heard.  This is not the action of a militant, but the actions of a person that refuses to be the eternal victim so that others may patronize our struggle.  To be active is the difference between freedom and submission.

DJ rewind:

We are more than what someone does to us.

Yes, that.

As they say, read the whole damn thing.

Go on, read it.

Now.

Go.

h/t Sarah

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers.

On Diversity, The New York Post, and Cartoons That Just Aren’t Funny, Man.

by matttbastard

My partner-in-crime, Sarah Jaffe, is on deadly point re: cartoonist Sean Delonas and the now-infamous New York Post race fail:

Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post said on MSNBC (at about 3:55 of the video) that the problem might’ve been caught if there was better diversity in the workplace. For example, I’d be willing to bet that many of the people who defended the cartoon on [Newsarama blogger] Caleb’s post [link added--mb] were white. I’m not trying to beat up on anyone for being white–I’m white. But the thing is, being white, we simply don’t deal with racism the same way. This is what diversity does: it provides multiple viewpoints, multiple frames of reference for the same subject. This doesn’t mean controversial subjects should be avoided at all costs, but that fraught images like this one can be examined from different perspectives, and that perhaps a better critique of the stimulus package could’ve been produced.

Exactly so. And it’s not simply mainstream/right-leaning media outlets that could greatly benefit from a more diverse selection of voices.  Check out this wanktastic basket of white liberal fail at Mother Jones (yes, that Mother Jones) from some douchebucket named Daniel Luzer (“It’s pronounced Loot-zer”), who says that Al Sharpton should just, like, STFU “because the cartoon isn’t offensive, unless you’re an ape.”

Luzer digs his trusty shovel in deeper:

This cartoon has nothing to do with the ethnicity of Obama’s father and everything to do with the fact that the stimulus bill is messy. So messy, in fact, that it could have been written by a chimpanzee.

[...]

You many not even get the cartoon at all (stimulus=monkey?), but that’s understandable because it’s not that funny; it’s just not racist either. Sometimes a joke about monkeys is, well, just a joke about monkeys.

And sometimes a privileged hotshot straight outta Columbia J-School is simply a clueless tangle of unexamined privilege and egoverridden certaintude. But, hey, thanks for explaining to us dumb apes what is and isn’t ‘racist.’  If there’s one thing every (needlessly!) aggrieved negro needs it’s a walking whiteboy encyclopedia of TRUE bigotry to calmly and rationally tell us to, um, chill the fuck out, man.

Me and my elevated blood-pressure are simply overcome with gratitude.

DJ rewind:

[B]eing white, we simply don’t deal with racism the same way.

Rewind, my selekta:

[T]he cartoon isn’t offensive, unless you’re an ape.

Yeah, that.

Related: Bil Browning and Erica C. Barnett note that Delonas has a longstanding history of being an “equal-opportunity asshat”, as Barnett aptly dubs him–so much so that GLAAD has compiled an ongoing dossier of his greatest defamatory hits.

Barnett wins the intertubes for the day:

So, for the record, here’s a (presumably noncomprehensive) noncomprehensive list of groups Delonas hates/considers worthy of mockery: the womenz, the gays, the blacks, the fatties, the handicapped, the oldsters, and the blind. Given that list, I’m thinking Delonas’ only audience is, what, angry white male misanthropes with body anxiety and mommy issues?

Yeah, AKA the core subscriber base of the Murdoch Post.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Dream a Little Dream Redux

by matttbastard

A dream fulfilled? Perhaps that’s just a bit presumptuous, as Rev. Dr. Leslie D. Callahan observes, noting that today, as in Dr. King’s era, “black people [in America] have statistically twice the bad and half of the good things in life.” Tony Campbell chimes in with an additional note of caution, reminding us that “the inauguration of an African-American male is a good first step towards Dr. King’s goal; but it is NOT the dream itself” and advises that we not conflate Obama with Dr. King because the President-elect “is a politician and Dr. King never wanted to be one.”

The politician and the activist

But the sentiment expressed by USian people of colour in that CNN/Opinion Research poll is indicative of the heady optimism surrounding the impending inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama II, soon to be the 44th president of the United States of America. And I believe that if Dr. King had lived (oh, if he had lived) to witness this moment, he too would have been bawlin’ like a baby alongside Jesse Jackson on that fateful night in Grant Park; that he would have celebrated his 80th birthday by doing what he dedicated his life to (and made the ultimate sacrifice for): serving his community.

800px-lyndon_johnson_and_martin_luther_king_jr_-_voting_rights_act

So, on Wednesday, we can start preparing ourselves for the disappointment that, for a number of reasons, the chattering class has declared to be all-but-inevitable (and that some plan to intentionally cultivate and further by any means necessary). But today? Today is a day of remembrance, tomorrow, of celebration– for both the (likely fleeting) realization of American history’s long-delayed promise and the triumph of possibility redefined to perhaps boundless margins.

Yes, you damn right we did (and, even though we’re starting to drown the public commons with ridiculously overwrought superlatives, I still think it feels like the fucking end of Star Wars).

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

matttbastard at GlobalComment

by matttbastard

The fine folks @ GlobalComment have graciously published an opinion piece written by yours truly on the recent fatal shooting of BART passenger Oscar Grant.

A sample:

Cold. Blooded. Murder.

What else can you call what occurred on New Year’s Day in Oakland? A BART officer caught on tape shooting transit passenger Oscar Grant in the back, while Grant lay flat on his stomach, restrained, prone and defenseless. Kinda difficult to argue self-defense, or ‘excited delirium‘ (or whatever they’re calling it this year) when the victim isn’t even facing his assailant (let alone upright) and the cause of death is a police-issue lead projectile that sliced through flesh and bone without prejudice.

So, what next?

To have that cruel cliff-hanger of a question answered, head on over to GC and read the whole damn thing.

Go.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Even in the Age of Obama, Flying While Brown is Still Hazardous

by matttbastard

The more things Change™, the more they stay the same:

Officials ordered nine Muslim passengers, including three young children, off an AirTran flight headed to Orlando from Reagan National Airport yesterday afternoon after two other passengers overheard what they thought was a suspicious remark.

Members of the party, all but one of them U.S.-born citizens who were headed to a religious retreat in Florida, were subsequently cleared for travel by FBI agents who characterized the incident as a misunderstanding, an airport official said. But the passengers said AirTran refused to rebook them, and they had to pay for seats on another carrier secured with help from the FBI.

According to Kashif Irfan, one of the passengers removed from the flight, “five of the six adults in the party are of South Asian descent, and all six are traditionally Muslim in appearance, with the men wearing beards and the women in headscarves.”

Entirely coincidental, I’m sure.

Even so, AirTran went into full spin mode following the incident:

AirTran spokesman Tad Hutcheson agreed that the incident amounted to a misunderstanding. But he defended AirTran’s handling of the incident, which he said strictly followed federal rules. And he denied any wrongdoing on the airline’s part.

“At the end of the day, people got on and made comments they shouldn’t have made on the airplane, and other people heard them,” Hutcheson said. “Other people heard them, misconstrued them. It just so happened these people were of Muslim faith and appearance. It escalated, it got out of hand and everyone took precautions.”

Yes, it “just so happened” that the people kicked off the plane for making “comments they shouldn’t have made” were scary brown people wearing scary Muslim clothing.

Ahem.

If you buy that load of frozen high-altitude airplane waste , well, I also have some prime TWA stock available for purchase at a fabulous price.

Vanessa @ Feministing isn’t buying:

The fact of the matter is that if “these people” weren’t of Muslim faith and appearance, this wouldn’t have happened.

Gee, ya think?!

Oh, and what were these comments that were so inappropriate that the plane just had to be evacuated and the FBI called in?

CNN:

“The conversation, as we were walking through the plane trying to find our seats, was just about where the safest place in an airplane is,” [Inayet] Sahin said. “We were (discussing whether it was safest to sit near) the wing, or the engine or the back or the front, but that’s it. We didn’t say anything else that would raise any suspicion.”

The conversation did not contain the words “bomb,” “explosion,” “terror” or other words that might have aroused suspicion, [Atif ] Irfan said.

“When we were talking, when we turned around, I noticed a couple of girls kind of snapped their heads,” said Sobia Ijaz, Irfan’s wife. “I kind of thought to myself, ‘Oh, you know, maybe they’re going to say something.‘ It didn’t occur to me that they were going to make it such a big issue.”

Hah–never underestimate the potential overblown idiocy of jittery airline passengers in a full-on post-9/11 ethnic panic state (“ZOMG TERRORISTS IZ GUNNA BLOW UP THE PLANE–LET’S ROLL!!!!1″) Still, I’m rather astounded at how remarkably sanguine the family is about the entire farcical (if infuriating) situation. Can’t say I’d be so reserved if I somehow found myself sitting across from the FBI, all because I dared to inappropriately express completely understandable concerns over flight safety (while being brown, scary and clad in funny-looking religious garb).

But don’t think a lack of righteous outrage means the family is rolling over:

“Really, at the end of the day, we’re not out here looking for money. I’m an attorney. I know how the court system works. We’re basically looking for someone to say… ‘We’re apologizing for treating you as second-class citizens.'”

“We are proud Americans,” Sahin said. “You know we decided to have our children and raise them here. We can very easily go anywhere we want in the world, but you know we love it here and we’re not going to go away, no matter what.”

Aziz said there is a “very strong possibility” he will pursue a civil rights lawsuit.

“I guess it’s just a situation of guilt by association,” Aziz said. “They see one Muslim talking to another Muslim and they automatically assume something wrong is going on.”

Libby Spencer lays out the bottom line:

If we allow ourselves to diminish our humanity and toss our common sense out of fear of terrorism, then [the terrorists have] won without lifting a finger.

Signed. Off.

h/t The Obscure Store and Reading Room

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers