In my Twitter feed yesterday I found a link to “Privileged Musings: 40 Things People Need to Stop Saying”, an article at Womanist Musings. The intent of the piece is narrower than the title suggests, in that it’s primarily concerned with discussion in that community rather than more generally, but I was interested in it anyway since it concerns regulation of expression.
Overall the list is concerned with statements defending or perpetuating prejudice, arguments that have been addressed numerous times before (or are just inane). However, it doesn’t explain what’s wrong with them, even briefly, which is a mistake for two reasons: one, it would make the list much more useful and effective; two, writing such explanations would have made clear which things on the list were questionable, as some of them certainly are. [more...]
This is amazingly ridiculous: “Tennessee Jumps on the Anti-Sharia Bandwagon”. That’s right, Tennessee State Senator Bill Ketron has introduced a bill that essentially equates the practice of Sharia law with treason. While it might not pass, and if it did pass it would pretty clearly not be Constitutional, it’s really sad that it’s even been proposed. [more...]
In addition to the immigration law that Arizona recently passed, there’s another gem, an apparent attempt to outlaw ethnic studies.
My personal favorite quotation on this subject is from Representative Steve Montenegro: “They shouldn’t be taught they’re oppressed”. He presumably means that nobody in the US should be taught that they’re being oppressed since he’s sure there’s no oppression—rather than being against actually teaching the oppressed about their oppression, but one never knows. He also says “We’re trying to prevent the promotion of victimology”, which might seem reasonable unless you think that exploitation and prejudice based on ethnicity are prevalent, in which case it again sounds more like “we don’t want the exploited to learn that they’re exploited”.
Apart from the specifics, the bill also reflects a struggle over political control of public education; the individual school district presumably has a political makeup that supports the ethnic studies program, while the state as a whole does not, and so the state as a whole is trying to enforce orthodoxy on the topic.
Serena Williams was recently fined $82,500 by the International Tennis Federation for the actions leading to her exit from this year’s US Open. The ITF fine is in addition to the $10,500 she was fined by the USTA soon after the incident.
The fine from the ITF is the largest ever in tennis, and there’s significant controversy over the whole affair. I’ve read quite a few claims that racism and sexism are key drivers for the decision to fine her so much. I’m somewhat skeptical of those claims. [more...]
It can be so easy to forget how widespread views like this are, although in fairness Brian Kilmeade’s two co-hosts don’t seem to share his zeal for race purity:
I particularly like how he cites marrying Italian and Irish as being the opposite of race purity. At first I thought he meant “pure Americans” marrying Irish or Italian people, but he might have meant that it’s especially bizarre to mix those two specific races. (With a name like “Brian Kilmeade”, I suspect some Irish background is likely.) Either way, it also seemed very likely that his citing of “Italian and Irish” mixing was a lighthearted attempt to cover for his actual concern, which was probably mixing “white” with much darker skin tones.
Regardless of what he was concerned with, seeing “racial purity” espoused on contemporary television, even Fox, was rather shocking to me.
The leader of the Free French forces, Charles de Gaulle, made it clear that he wanted his Frenchmen to lead the liberation of Paris.
Allied High Command agreed, but only on one condition: De Gaulle’s division must not contain any black soldiers.
—Mike Thompson, “Paris liberation made ‘whites only’”, BBC News, 6 Apr 2009
I’ve been reading a lot about this recently. I’m not sure why, although some of it is due to looking around for info around when I was coincidentally writing up my Fantasy World Sketch. Some of it is due to just happening to run into the edges of a larger discussion taking place mostly on LiveJournal. [more...]
Here’s one number that might surprise some people: whites voted for McCain 55% to 43%. (Note: I don’t buy into the suspect concept of “whiteness”, but this kind of breakdown is still significant given how many people categorize themselves, and others, this way.) [more...]
“You know, if you were a slave in the old South, what did you get as a slave? You got free room and board, you got free money, and you got rewarded for having children because that was just, you know, tomorrow’s slave. … Can I ask a question? How’s that different from welfare? You get a free house, you get free food, and you get rewarded for having children. Oh, wait a minute, hold on a second. There is a difference: The slave had to work for it.”
—Jim Quinn, The War Room with Quinn & Rose, 6 Nov 2008
I know that idiots like this go on the air just to spew controversial inanities that both outrage others and sit well with their base, but still. (Via Media Matters.)
Race and gender are both deeply significant in this election, but the narratives covered by the media don’t deal with what’s really going on. I certainly don’t believe that Barack Obama’s election would mean that America has taken much of a step towards eliminating racism in reality—it means something, and is potent symbolically, but the true effects of this country’s endemic prejudice would remain, and might face even fewer challenges given the symbolism. (The “we have a black president so there’s obviously no race problem” attitude would be prevalent, I suspect.) Similarly, I doubt very much that Palin’s ascension to the Vice Presidency, or even the Presidency itself, would truly challenge the dominant gender roles in this culture. As precedent I cite Margaret Thatcher, who as far as I can tell did almost exactly nothing positive in that regard for the UK. In any case, Arthur Silber once again delivers, dissecting the current operation of both race and gender.
Just over forty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out against the Vietnam War. In doing so, he made clear the connection between war and economic exploitation, and exposed the hypocrisy of those who applauded his nonviolent stance on civil rights demonstrations while also applauding violence against the Vietnamese. [more...]