Provocation, Appropriation, and That Blackface Clitoridectomy Cake

sarah_baartman_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.

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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).

Holiday Weekend Link Round-up (Or, Yes, I WAS too lazy to write something original. Deal.)

What you should be reading this holiday weekend, in lieu of spending quality time with your family/loved ones (like yrs truly will be a little later):

– Open ass, insert head: Dave, Cathie, Dawg, pale_, jj, Peggy, and Orwell’s Bastard, on the latest iteration of ‘Progressive Bloggers [sic] journey to the centre of their colons’ (solidarity w/ DAMMIT JANET!)

– Dave Weigel continues his superlative reporting from Sanford, Fla on the killing of Travyon Martin (and more)

– Re: John Derbyshire’s modest proposal that –wait for it–Libruls R teh Real Rayyyycists (let me show you how by being extremely racist — just like teh libruls!), what TNC said:

Also see Dawg, Elspeth Reeve, Josh Barro, John Holbo, Maureen O’Connor, Rob Farley, Scott LemieuxCharles Johnson, and the readers of National Review who, contra Starburst Lowry, boldly declared en masse: ‘We are all Derbyshire‘ (doh!) Despite the strong show of solidarity from NRO’s lumpen commetariat, alas, Derb was a bit too airhorn to remain employed by an outlet where dogwhistles are industry standard. So long, and thanks for all the proud racism, rank misogyny, and generally icky douchetasticness, Derb.

– Speaking of apologists for racism (ok, so Derb is more of a cheerleader sans panties — yeesh, talk about naked enthusiasm), law prof Darren Hutchinson takes on Shelby Steele and other black conservative intellectuals who, over the years, have firmly established a cottage industry on the right flogging long-dead hobbyhorses re: civil rights and the not-so-subtle affirmation of white supremacy. No surprise said usual suspects are now concern-trolling Trayvon supporters. Also, this:

– And finally, the less said about this, the better:

Happy holidays from bastard.logic.

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

Facts vs. Narrative, Utoya Edition

by matttbastard

Norwegian journalist Magnus Nome was in the good ol’ US of A when self-styled counterjihadist crusader  Anders Breivik decided to escalate his murderous fantasies about Eurabian conquest from Outer Wingnuttia into the real world.  Thankfully, CNN, Fox News et al were ready to provide informed, accurate, up-to-the-minute coverage of events on the ground:

The news coverage over the following days taught me a lot of interesting new ‘facts’ about the innocent nation of Norway.

1. Apparently we don’t lock our doors at night. Wrong. We do.

2. There is no public debate about immigration. Wrong. Immigration generally, and Islam specifically, have been high on the agenda for more than a decade.

3. We’re all white. Wrong. Norway has become an increasingly diverse society since the early 1970s: almost a third of Oslo now has non-Norwegian origin, more than one in ten being Muslim.

4. Owning a gun is practically illegal. Wrong. Hunting and sport shooting are popular recreational activities, and Norway ranks high in gun ownership.

5. The Utøya victims were all white, and the terrorist did not kill any Muslims. Wrong. The victims reflected a diverse Norwegian society. Several of the dead were Muslims, several were of African or Middle Eastern ancestry. This information was available. It is extremely disrespectful to airbrush them out of the story to make it more coherent.

As they say, read the whole damn thing, especially if everything you know about Norway — and about Anders Breivik & far-right nationalism in Europe — was learned via teh cablez.

Image: apgroner, flickr

Obama’s Citizenship & Race: Separated at Birth?

It never ceases to amaze me how eager some white liberals are to divorce race from political analysis when it comes to Obama. Bob Somerby of the Daily Howler (who seems to have settled nicely into his blogospheric role as the curmudgeonly Luddite uncle who refuses to replace his black and white TV with a flat-screen plasma because, goddammit, a 10″ Zenith was good enough for Al Gore back in college) has been relentless in his contention that wingnut animus towards the 2nd blackest president ever is simply par for the course when you’re a Dem. Even Birtherism is merely a burden that anyone with a ‘D’ following their name must bear.

Brendan Nyhan approvingly quotes:

Bob Somerby of The Daily Howler objects to the liberal conventional wisdom that, as the New York Times put it, “It is inconceivable that this campaign [birtherism]… would have been conducted against a white president”:

We think it was a remarkable statement because somewhat similar campaigns already have been conducted against white candidates. A somewhat similar campaign was conducted in 1988 against Candidate Michael Dukakis, for instance. After that, strains of the same ethnic/nativist cards were played against Candidate Kerry in 2004.

Somewhat similar except, well, they aren’t — unless one can recall a protracted disinformation campaign against either individual questioning their bloody American citizenship (rather than, eg, their patriotism, a more common line of attack faced by the left) that managed to drive the news cycle for well over 3 years. Nyhan himself acknowledges that Obama’s “unique” life circumstances have driven the way conspiratorial attacks are framed, before trying to use Chester A. Arthur as a counterexample of a white president who also faced baseless attacks on his citizenship. Which is true, except, as again noted by Nyhan, those attacks were framed in the context of Arthur’s Irish identity.

In the 1800s.

(No need to apply, natch.)

So, um, yeah,  nativist attacks against a member of a marginalized ethnic group clearly prove that race isn’t really a factor when it comes to Birtherism.

Look, no matter how many counterarguments are offered, one shouldn’t discount the fact that Obama’s ethnic identity affects the tone and tenor of attacks being leveled against him, and how said attacks are received by the general public (without twisting one’s contentions into Gordian-like contortions, that is). From the beginning, race has influenced how we frame this issue (much like Clinton’s identity as an ex-’60s radical boomer fed into the still-lingering divide of an America embroiled in the Culture Wars, or W’s class background and swaggering anti-intellectualism shaped how he was portrayed and perceived, both by supporters and detractors). To point that out isn’t to label any and all critics or criticism racist (though, obviously, some are), but, again, to try and properly contextualize.

Political opportunists jump on any and all opportunities; for some, Obama’s racial identity presents an all-too-tempting opening for baseless attacks that, if leveled against, say, Ronald Reagan or Jimmy Carter, would hold no traction.

On a less analytical note, it’s frustrating to be constantly lectured about what is and isn’t ‘racist’ by those who, quite frankly, have no lived experience with racism, merely in abstract. For many of us, this isn’t an intellectual exercise. When we see Obama’s citizenship in question on a mass scale, we recall all the myriad times some cluelessly earnest soul has asked us where we’re from originally (because apparently dark skin in a normatively white culture instantly screams ‘other’), an all-too familiar suspicion that, through Birtherism, has now been magnified to ridiculous proportions.

Yes, based on past history, any Dem holding the keys to the Oval Office would likely be subject to a dishonest scorched earth smear campaign by the GOP and associated right-wing partisans. But that doesn’t mean Birtherism is simply par for the course. Obama is being attacked because he’s a Democratic POTUS and because he’s a scary person of colour with a funny name.

It’s not an either/or proposition.

(x-posted)

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