“There is nothing quite like the misery one feels listening to a 35-year-old [Palestinian] man who worked fifteen years as an illegal day laborer in Israel in order to save up money to build a house for his family only to be shocked one day upon returning from work to find that the house and all that was in it had been flattened by an Israeli bulldozer. When I asked why this was done — the land, after all, was his — I was told that a paper given to him the next day by an Israeli soldier stated that he had built the structure without a license. Where else in the world are people required to have a license (always denied them) to build on their own property? Jews can build, but never Palestinians. This is apartheid.”—Edward Said (via thepeacefulterrorist)
[U]ntil Obamacare, the truly wealthy in our society, that passive income crowd that dodged the top tax bracket by getting their compensation in capital gains and such, was EXEMPTED from the Medicare portion of FICA.
This tax (2.9%) went up .9% for incomes over 250k under PPACA. .9%’s not that bad, of course, but for those living on passive income, the hit is much larger.
Until now, this law, they were exempt from that tax.
Now they’re not…
And now, to add insult to that injury, [the wealthy are now] subjected to that dastardly Medicare tax (which, unlike the Social Security portion of FICA, doesn’t cut off at $106,000, or $133,000, or whatever it is this year).
3.8% of $20,000,000 is $760,000 dollars in taxes. That has to sting that generational wealth plan Romney was hatching.
Imagine the hit the Kochs and the hedge fund guys are taking. The 25 top hedge fund guys in 2009 averaged $1Billion each…3.8% of a billion? Get your calculators out: mine says that means about $38,000,000 in new taxes for these guys.
So if they spend a few million trying to kill it, who could blame them, right?
The oldest and largest association of scholars of American culture and history, on Wednesday endorsed a boycott of Israeli academic institutions
The executive body of the American Studies Association (ASA), the nation’s oldest and largest association of scholars of American culture and history, on Wednesday endorsed a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, calling them complicit in a “multi-tiered system of oppression that has denied Palestinians their basic rights.” The American Jewish Committee (AJC) denounced the boycott decision as “despicable.”
The resolution to shun Israeli academic institutions was approved unanimously by the 20-member national council, which has urged the ASA’s 5,000 members to adopt it as policy.
“This complicity has been extensively documented, and manifests through direct research and production of military technologies — as with the Israeli Institute of Technology (Technion)’s partnerships with Israeli weapons manufacturers … and Tel Aviv University’s development of weapons systems used by the occupation army in committing grave violations of human rights,” the ASA wrote in a news release.
First published on 8 Nov 2013. Updated on 8 Nov 2013.
American queer feminist pornographer and activist Courtney Trouble established the term ‘queer porn’. Her award-winning work embraces all desires, all bodies, and a sex-positive ethos through her company TROUBLEfilms and website IndiePornRevolution.com (previously NoFauxxx.com).
You started your website NoFauxxx at 19. What pushed you to jump into the world of porn? I was working as a phone sex operator, sometimes up to 40-50 hours a week. The work was great, I was making a lot of money for a young person in a small town. But the majority of that job is pretending to be someone that I’m not – straight, fit, ‘standard’, and of course take on a thousand different fetishes and sexual personas - whatever the customer desired. I started a photography project to document my own sexuality and desire, and kind of created this idea of a phone sex or porn star caricature that was all me – who would you be if you were a porn star? Without faking anything, what would your porn look like? That’s where No Fauxxx came from and it’s the mission behind most of my work to this day! NoFauxxx still exists, but on its tenth birthday I changed the name to IndiePornRevolution.com to reflect what the project has become.
You coined the term ‘queer porn’ as a genre in the mainstream industry. What is queer porn and why do we need it? I see queer porn as an art and activism venture, to create queer erotica with a solid political goal of raising the level of positive visibility of the queer community and all of its sub-sections. What I was trying to accomplish with the term ‘queer porn’ was to take the idea of queer as an umbrella term (for gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, fluid, gender non-conformist, etc) and use it to deny the concept that porn has to be segregated. Having lots of different kinds of porn in the same place reaffirms that our human sexualities don’t belong in boxes. I like to challenge my audience to find new things sexy, and maybe that attitude can transfer to how we treat people we think are ‘different’ in our daily lives.
What makes your porn ‘feminist’? For example, is it free of practices like facial cum shots and gagging? Actually, you can find gagging and facial cum shots in my porn. I think what makes my porn feminist is that I am a feminist and that I utilise feminist theory in my work - but that doesn’t limit me to soft core. I don’t direct my performers the usual way - I let them direct me. If someone really wants to do a facial cum shot, that’s something that I respect and will allow. I myself like a little bit of gagging and rough sex so you’ll see it in my performances - but I usually say something before hand that shows the audience my consent. I do that a lot with more taboo subjects, but I don’t think that feminist porn has to stay away from taboos. I think it’s important to embrace our fantasies as feminists.
Some things that I do to let people know that my work is feminist is pull back to a wide shot so you can see both partners in full instead of always showing the often objectifying shot of bodies without heads. I show the whole picture. And I never end a scene with a cis male cum shot. If I’m shooting straight porn, there’s often plenty of sex after the man orgasms. I think that’s my chance to have a teaching moment with the men in my audience – it doesn’t have to be over at that point. I think finding moments to really visually empower the performers in the scene or empower the audience is where porn can become feminist. I like finding creative ways to share my ideas – things that make you think about how you have sex and how you can make it better for everyone involved.
What are the different things that you think motivate someone to become a porno artist? In the queer porn scene, a desire to explore one’s sexual identity or represent themselves within the industry can be a great motivator. Many of us are active sex workers in other fields, and porn is an easy gig that can give you exposure if you’re also a stripper, escort, model, BDSM professional or webcam model. Queer porn can be an important side gig for a sex worker who has to play it straight and narrow in their day job – you can get paid to do your job and be yourself. It can be a nice break from your usual gigs, you know? I think money is a real strong reason that many people get into porn – and in queer, indie, and/or feminist porn I think you’ll find a lot of people who would gladly do it for free, even if just for the chance to express themselves, tell a story, or have a particular kind of sex! (Though, any porn gig can and should pay you, even if you’re just doing it for fun.)
What practices would you like to see abolished? As a strong believer in free speech I don’t think I can say that anything in porn should be abolished. I do wish that a performer’s desire to use safer sex barriers was more widely respected in the mainstream industry – I think a lot of work could be done to help protect the workers beyond the hoops they go through themselves to stay safe on set. A lot of producers care more about their profits than the safety of their performers. Not all of them, but a few. There are still a few dark corners in the industry and that’s to be expected – until sexuality is more acceptable in our society there will always be black market operations willing to exploit our (performer, producer and consumer) own shamefulness.
What’s your stance on bareback porn, given the recent revelations of HIV infection? My stance has not changed given the recent outbreak. I don’t think that barriers should be mandatory, but I do think that respecting a performer’s preferences should be mandatory. I think it should be illegal to not provide and accept the use of barriers on a porn set if requested by a performer. I think workers should be able to use protection and have regularly tested co-workers without being shamed or threatened with blacklisting by the company they are working for.
I also think that education on prevention should be way, way more prevalent in the industry than it is now. There is nothing in place to teach new performers or producers how to spot and prevent STIs, and I can’t say that our high schools here in the US are doing much to educate people either. It’s clear that the current standards are not working. I’m against government involvement in this issue, but I do have to wonder what the industry could have done to prevent this government interference. The gay porn industry is largely condom-only and that has been self-regulated. I think the straight porn industry could easily follow suit and make some new rules for themselves.
My production company is mostly safer sex by choice, it’s part of my mission statement to normalise and eroticise the use of safer sex barriers and I will be keeping it that way. I’m proud of the work I’ve done to promote the use of safer sex tools in the queer community. It’s not about turning porn into sex education – it’s about understanding that porn can set trends in society’s sex lives and we should be starting good trends.
Name five people you’d love to direct in a gangbang. (This is our update on the dinner party question.) Fleetwood Mac.
You’re the 2013 BBW (Big Beautiful Woman) Fanfest Director of the Year and your work includes women of all sizes. How important to you is it to see bigger women in porn? I wrote a few zines and ran an online community about being fat before I started making porn, so it’s always been part of my internal politics to create awareness around fat positivity, self esteem, and fat sexuality. If anything, my desire to include people of all sizes in everything I create has been around since the beginning. Wanting to represent fat sexuality in feminist or indie porn was one of my main reasons for starting the No Fauxxx project. So, I guess you could say – it’s very important to me to see bigger people in porn. It’s essential that we include all kinds of human bodies in erotic art and expression. It’s important to find ways to include all humanity in any kind of documentation of our society, which I do think feminist or indie porn does in most forms. I strongly believe that if there’s someone like you in the world, then there are people who like you in the world, and want to see you when they search for any kind of entertainment or media.
What do you prefer, performing or directing queer porn? For me, it’s important that I do both. Being a performer severely informs my ethics as a director. I know how I would want to be treated and taken care of on a set when I am there to have sex on camera, and I do my best to utilise that knowledge to set up the sets for my sites and moves that star other performers. I have learned a lot about myself as a porn performer, and can attribute my experience as a sex worker to having a stronger sense of self, particularly around my gender and my sexuality. The first pornography I ever created was of myself, and I believe the relationship between creator and model is symbiotic for me. It’s so connected that I question my interest or ability to produce or perform if I were to ever retire from the other. My overall work would certainly shift.
You’ve been working in porn for 11 years and won a stack of awards, from 7 AVNs (Adult Video News), pretty much the Oscars of porn, and five Feminist Porn Awards including Hottest Dyke Film for Lesbian Curves. What keeps you motivated? While the nominations and awards do keep me motivated to create films and longer projects, it’s the online community around IndiePornRevolution.Com, QueerPorn.TV, and CourtneyTrouble.Com that keep me motivated. I get probably the best fan mail of anybody I know. According to my fans, I have saved lives and inspired a generation of queer youth to be themselves, to be rid of any shame surrounding their queerness. I’ve helped people find their bodies, discover erogenous zones and sexual desire, be more sensitive and accepting of other people, and build stronger connections with their own identity. This is huge for me. I know it sounds ultimately silly, childish, or overly optimistic but I think that I may have been put here to change the world for the better and I take my work and it’s ability to inspire positivity very seriously.
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Studies show that it can cost more to be female.
”We found that 35 percent of women use one or two products daily, while17 percent use three or four products a day.
Meanwhile, the majority of men (54 percent) don’t use a single productwhen getting ready in the morning.
Our results did show a little bit of parallelism when it comes to the more “low maintenance” range, with 33 percent of men admitting to using one to two products each day, just like that 35 percent of women.
But 7 percent of women use up to 6 items compared to a mere 1 percent of men — turns out guys really aren’t so high-maintenance.
Studies have found that women also face sexual prejudice in the market, with companies charging an unjustified markup for products marketed towards females. On average women pay $151 billion in extra fees and markups that men don’t have to pay. ( "Why Women Pay More") In 2006, the Consumer Federation of America reported that women were 32 percent more likely than men to get saddled with costly, high-interest subprime loans.
A short study of whether it is more expensive to be a man or a woman, compares the differences in spending for grooming and beauty products. Of course in general, men pay more on dates. However, women pay more for grooming. Women buy three times as many products as men, and pay over three times as much for these products (source).
Women tend to pay more at the hairdresser and the dry cleaner. They also have less success in negotiating discounts for white goods, furniture and vehicles. Women are likely to pay more to service their car as they are seen as less knowledgeable and vulnerable.
Since we all know men are paid more, we can deduct that in most families the men spend more - but who has more living expenses? And who has the most disposable cash? This then leads to the question of what is a necessity and what is not. A very difficult question. Still, it seems many men afford a lot of discounts and leeway for price negotiation that is not as available to women.
“Porn is about male fantasy. The fantasy is that women like everything you do to them, as man.
So how does this translate into real life? Women spend a lot of time and energy trying to please men. We learn early on that we are being looked at – that we are to be looked at. That we are performers. It took years before I actually started enjoying sex. YEARS. I think what I enjoyed most about sex, when I was younger, was the feeling of being desired. The actual sex part was super boring for the first while.
A woman in Utah gave birth to twins. When one was stillborn, she was arrested and charged with criminal homicide based on the claim that her decision to delay cesarean surgery was the cause of the stillbirth.
After a hearing that lasted less than a day, a court issued an order requiring a critically-ill pregnant woman in Washington, D.C. to undergo cesarean surgery over her objections. Neither she nor her baby survived.
A judge in Ohio kept a woman imprisoned to prevent her from having an abortion.
A woman in Oregon who did not comply with a doctor’s recommendation to have additional testing for gestational diabetes was subjected to involuntary civil commitment. During her detention, the additional testing was never performed.
A Louisiana woman was charged with murder and spent approximately a year in jail before her counsel was able to show that what was deemed a murder of a fetus or newborn was actually a miscarriage that resulted from medication given to her by a health care provider.
In Texas, a pregnant woman who sometimes smoked marijuana to ease nausea and boost her appetite gave birth to healthy twins. She was arrested for delivery of a controlled substance to a minor.
A doctor in Wisconsin had concerns about a woman’s plans to have her birth attended by a midwife. As a result, a civil court order of protective custody for the woman’s fetus was obtained. The order authorized the sheriff’s department to take the woman into custody, transport her to a hospital, and subject her to involuntary testing and medical treatment.
“You know how boys complain about being “friendzoned”? Well we experience this totally legit thing called being fuckzoned. It’s when boys want to have sex with you but they never seem all that interested in getting to know you”—
“I had a very tame and mild love scene with Jon Hamm. It was like heavy breathing and making out. It was hardly a sex scene… I think that it’s great for this young girl to actually take control of her own sexuality. Well, the MPAA doesn’t like that. They don’t think a girl should ever be in control of her own sexuality because they’re from the Stone Age. I don’t know what the f**k is going on and I will openly criticize it, happily. So essentially, they got Zack to edit the scene and make it look less like she’s into it. And Zack said he edited it down to the point where it looked like he was taking advantage of her. That’s the only way he could get a PG-13 (rating) and he said, ‘I don’t want to send that message.’ So they cut the scene!”—Emily Browning on censorship of female sexuality in film referencing the movie sucker punch. So you get a harsher rating showing a woman enjoying sex than showing a woman being raped. (via octoberland)
“Those with less opportunity
are fighting for their position
trying to find their place
But those with privilege
are hitting triples
when they were already born on third base”—Sy Stokes in his spoken word poem The Black Bruins about institutional racism on UCLA’s campus (via skyliting)
“One young woman, who got in a heated argument with a men’s rights activist at a protest in Canada, was subsequently dubbed as “little red frothing fornication mouth” by AVFM and had all of her private contact information published by MRAs. She received hundreds of elaborate threats of violence. One anonymous commenter invited her to “enjoy being anally defiled.” Another gloated: “I would actually cum cutting that bitch’s throat.” Another outspoken feminist told me personally that she had to get the FBI and the state police involved when AVFM targeted her. Authorities found the threats she received so credible that they advised her to leave home for two weeks, taking her husband and young child with her. Increasingly, men’s rights activists target women offline as well. Last month, members of the organization Men’s Rights Edmonton hung large “wanted”-style posters of a professor all over the University of Alberta campus, calling her a bigot. Her crime? She was involved in the university’s anti-rape campaign.”—
Some examples of how “men’s rights activists” are threatening and intimidating feminists. There is absolutely no justification for this kind of behavior, and I urge all anti-feminist men (and anti-feminist others) to at the very least not stoop to the level of threatening atrocities or publishing someone’s personal information. I may not agree with your points of contention when it comes to the feminist movement, but that will never cause me to harm you or your family. AVFM and similar MRA groups need to be stopped, for the safety of society as a whole.
Private prisons sue states for millions if they don’t stay full
State run prisons are no better. When they get too empty the unions representing guards start getting nervous, and with just a few phone calls, probation officers start kicking in doors and giving felons violations on bullshit like having an unauthorized savings account or “possession of a weapon” for having kitchen knives. I did time with men who got caught up in these round ups, their stories are always ignored by these pieces about “private” prisons. The next time someone talks to you about “prisons for profit” remind them that ALL prisons are for profit, and all of them need to be closed down.
Now that it’s not cool anymore to explain the differences between groups based on their ethnicity or race, and it’s not yet cool to think that institutionalized racism might be a fucking thing, people are turning to “culture” to explain why black people are still way poorer than whites, why they’re the most imprisoned, why their academic performance lags behind. The argument goes, white people aren’t responsible for problems in the black community, black people are. They’ve built a culture that values criminality, material goods, sex, drugs, and fun-having more than making grades or holding a decent job or staying out of prison.
This neatly explains all the problems anti-racists claim are indicative of lingering racism (or, very prevalent sneaky racism), and shifts responsibility from whites to blacks. It also avoids the speaker revealing themselves to be racist. It trades on the idea that everyone is equal, with equal ability and potential. But, like most racists’ attempts to co-opt anti-racist rhetoric, it falls hard because of a cynical lack of respect for the concepts.
At first blush, the culture argument has a pretty progressive attitude. As I said, it uses anti-racist language and ideas to look well-meaning, right-minded, and egalitarian. Blacks have the same capacity for success, the same brain chemistry, and so on. It works on the assumption that classical racism (ie, “blacks are inferior”) is factually wrong. The thing is, you’ll often see this argument being used to discredit anti-racist efforts: By trying to be mindful and kind to poor disadvantaged black people, you’re not holding them to the same standard you would whites. The phrase “soft bigotry of low expectations” sometimes comes up in this culture argument, and does a good job of encapsulating the basic sentiment.
“Soft bigotry of low expectations” was a buzz-phrase used by George W. Bush to sell No Child Left Behind. To justify NCLB’s rigorous standards, he said it was racist tonotapply them across the board, because, what, do you think black kids can’t do it? The phrase has been adopted as a format for snarky article titles and, more pertinently,as a bolster for the “black culture” argument. What it’s saying is that to be truly anti-racist, little dear, you have to treat everyone equally (in this case, meaning no special programs, affirmative action, outreach, etc.) and have the same expectations for everyone. It’s like colorblind racism: shut up about race, stop worrying about race, practice what you preach, and everything will be fine. But both of these positions rely on the pie-in-the-sky notion that blacks and whites are already on equal footing.
A recent study finds that poverty changes how your brain works. Being poor, preoccupied with clawing your way out of poverty, worrying about how you’re going to pay the bills, pay for groceries, pay for things more well-off people take for granted, imparts a 13-point IQ loss. This, say the authors, is equivalent to losing a night’s sleep or being a chronic alcoholic (add this to people who actually are alcoholics, and despair). It leads to a tighter focus on basic needs, impairs decision-making, and hampers the learning process. For people living in low-income areas, it would beunfairto hold them to the same standard. This isn’t to say someone from these areas can’t succeed or excel, but simply to point out that it’s ridiculous toexpectthem to be as upwardly mobile and successful as people in a better position.
This entire article is pretty perfect so far. [emphasis mine]
The examples below are only illustrations of some of the ways people still benefit from racism:
Your name. If it sounds Irish, Polish, French, Spanish, Belgian, Norwegian — no problem. Our names, if they sound “black”, are often reasons to toss our resumes without even calling us. If we resort to our initials, or names that do not “sound black”, then you can see the surprise on the interviewer’s face when they encounter a non-white face. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t pick your name, your parents picked it. It doesn’t matter that you don’t think it’s fair (and it’s NOT) that a Rebecca will get looked at before a Tamika; a Bobby before a Kwesi. You’re still benefitting from racism just by not being a person who can be identified as not-white by the name on your resume.
Your pay. PoC, on average, get paid less to do the same job as anyone white (or white passing)
The jobs themselves: Carnival’s failboat is a prime example. White-looking people get the good, customer interacting jobs, the ones that pay the most. PoC get the jobs that involve bussing tables, cleaning toilets, garbage, etc, and have to hope their meager pay is supported by generous tips. But any hotel or office building can shows the same breakdown.
Your fashions: Your hair, whether it is curly, fine, thin, short, or long, is still considered appropriate for work. It’s getting to the point where even anime colours are not looked askance at anymore. Our hair, when not abused with chemicals and heat, is usually considered “political” if we wear it in a natural style. Or “unprofessional”. There are no less than 3 men on the supervisory and management teams at my job who cut off their locks because they knew that they would never progress with their ambitions unless they conformed to Corporate’s euro-style. That’s having to give up something with a cultural meaning to them in order to have a job they want and can do. I can’t count the number of women who, rather than go natural, have chosen to wear wigs to work, because either option is cheaper and less painful than bi-weekly trips to a hairdresser to chemically treat or heat treat their hair to make it look more like European hair. Little girls have been prevented from dancing in ballet class for having dreadlocks. They have been sent home from school for wearing “political” and “faddish” hairstyles.
Shopping: If your skin is light enough, you can walk into a store and be treated like a customer. When the clerk, salesgirl, or whomever greets you with a smile and a “can I help you?” they mean it. They hope to find something you’ll spend your money on. And they will let you get on with your browsing. Not us PoC. When we walk in, we are often told, “can I help you?” with that same smile, but with practice we have learned to see the apologetic wince in the body language that means "sorry, but my bosses tell everyone to shadow you in the store in case you’re a thief". And since a lot of white people, or white-passing people know this, the store gets robbed by the ones they’re not looking at. Doesn’t matter if you’re not really stealing. You benefit by being treated better just because of how you look.
Shopping: Walk into a drugstore, a Wal-Mart, a Target, or a supermarket one day and check how many products there are for “everyone” vs how many products there are in the “ethnic hair care and/or cosmetics” section. Doesn’t matter that you like shea butter too. You benefit in that all the products are assumed to be okay for you, and the products marketed to us are a niche. Diversity is an afterthought. In skin and hair and face, you benefit by being treated as the default and the first type any company considers when they choose to whom to market their product. Witness Dove’s indicating they have a product for “normal to dark skin”. Normal skin is normal — ie white. Dark skin is not normal.
Driving: The term “driving while black” is shorthand for the fact that police, if seeing a black person — particularly a man — driving a car they think he should not be able to afford — he’ll get pulled over on suspicion of having stolen it, or only being able to afford it through being a drug dealer. You benefit bybeing able to drive your BMW or Mercedes home without anyone assuming anything about you. Real drug dealers benefit by being able to drive their cars full of cocaine home without being bothered by the police.
Arrest: If you’re white, you can be as “fight the power” as you like. You benefit by the police being unwilling to knock around anyone white because you never know who has powerful relatives or friends. If you’re a person of color, you gotta go “yes officer” and loudly enough so onlookers can hear you cooperating; and you better do so politely and cooperate as noisily and clearly as you can, and you better pray somebody is videoing you, because if you sneeze, if you twitch, the police may decide you’re going for a gun and unload their entire clip on you.
Just existing: Trayvon Martin is a prime example. He was visiting his father in the complex, but George Zimmerman didnt know that. And didn’t care. He also didn’t care that the police told him to not follow the unidentified Person of Color walking home with his hands in his pockets and his hood up (like anyone might in the rain). Mr. Zimmerman was convinced he was protecting his neighborhood from hoods and thieves and just bad black kids. And a jury acquitted him even though he has a history of being violent, racist and abusive. He has people who still vociferously insist that he’s a hero who was fighting for his life against a thuggish teen (despite the fact that GZ outweighed Trayvon and had the gun). There are people who dispute what was said on the actual phone call that was played during the trial.
Your education: You can complain all you like about a Black History Month when there are History Months for multiple other White ethnicities and cultures. A quick google search will reveal them. That being said, the shortest month is given to Black People for their history. And our history is ignored entirely except during our month, even though there are Black and African people who have made significant contributions to American Industry, medicine, and countless other fields of study. You benefit by continuing to look good while the accomplishments of PoC (NDN and Latin@ and Asians) all get downplayed, glossed over, or flat out not mentioned at all.
Reproduction: The issue of “choice” aside, white or white-passing people benefit from racism in that you do not have to worry that some doctor will decide to do a tubal ligation on youwithout your permission. White or white-passing people are not generally put on anti-choice billboards implying that white people are genociding themselves as PoC are.
Health: White and white-passing people will never have to worry about being told their conditions are a result of “ghetto booty”. Whites and white-passing people need not be concerned that their health issues will be scoffed at or ignored.
Entertainment: Whites and white-passing people can get any role in any film, play, or other medium they like. Jewish Henry Winkler played Italian Arthur Fonzarelli. The new TMNT movie has chosen a white actor to play the Japanese Shredder. PoC are relegated to the roles of villains, servants, and buffoons. And this is not a case of “they just chose the right person for the role”. Hollywood will advertise for casting calls, specifying they want “caucasian only” in so many words. They don’t offer the opportunity to anyone who isn’t white. And when PoC are cast in heroic roles, or roles that have previously been “white” roles, there is a huge hue and cry because those who are used to the privilege of being the first, the go to, are unhappy that they no longer benefit from that privileged position.
PoC usually show up in certain sports, and when they dare step out of their lane, they are mocked for it. Google “Jamaican bobsled team”. See how the Wiliams sisters are treated. Their response in victory is likened to making gang signs. White people can go into any sport they want and no one will question or challenge them for such audacity.
And oh, the reaction when a character is actually described in a book as dark skinned and then portrayed by a person of color. Look up the Hunger Games on Twitter, and the reaction to seeing one character as black, and all the white kids saying they no longer cared about her even though they cried for her death in the books.
And then there’s whitewashing. Stories that are about PoC, histories that have happed to PoC, are repackaged for the consumption of audiences by casting white performers in the main role unless you have a power player like Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Samuel L Jackson or Morgan Freeman to play the part.
In Devious Maids, some of the storylines were tossed as “unrealistic” because Latina women were having conversations that white writers felt sounded like “us talking with our friends”, and suggested instead that the Latina women “debate whether or not to date men in prison? I know that’s what Latinas talk about, just like it’s what black women talk about.” Look white, benefit by not being considered uneducated, and worthy only of a man in prison because all the men of your race are considered criminals.
Religion: Christianity in its many forms, as practised by white and white-passing people is another way in which white and white-passing people benefit from racism. Your sacred ceremonies and meaningful prayers are treated with respect. NDN people were forbidden from practising their religion until the 1940s. PoC churches, even now, in 2013, are treated as tourist attractions for white people with money. And voudoun and other PoC religions are treated as savage and incomprehensible.
City Life: Gentrification. By definition, it means “making fit for the Gentry”. The Gentry are those with high societal position, next-best-thing to royalty. So Gentrifying anyplace means pushing out anyone who isn’t as high, in order to make room for the gentry. That means building up corporate influence, and pushing out PoC from their existing and established communities. So in a gentrified community, whites and those who look white benefit at the expense of PoC.
Travel:Racial profiling is a fact of life for people of color. If someone “looks Muslim” or “looks Arab”, thanks to the security theater we embraced as a nation after 9/11, they get pulled aside. Women can be forced to drink their own breast milk to make sure it’s not some sort of dangeorus agent. Men can be removed from flights because speaking in Arabic frightens and upsets the white passengers. You benefit becausein the main, no one will suspect someone who looks white of being a criminal or terrorist out to kill God-loving Americans and destroy our Freedom. And that’s despite Timothy McVeigh, the Unabomber, and the Boston Marathon bombers, all of whom were white.
REAL LIFE Media Representation: So many examples. Indigenous women murdered and raped, but it never makes the news. Women of Color murdered and raped, but it never makes the news. Children of color, either sex, go missing or get kidnapped. It’s all but impossible to get an Amber Alert for them, never mind getting them news coverage. That’s why you often see missing child notices on Tumblr. The blogosphere is the only recourse people of color have to get the word out when we have harm happening to us. Local news stations don’t care. The press doesn’t care. The mainstream media doesn’t care. People who look white benefit by being considered important enough to look out for, to get upset about, to search for.
Those teenagers who shot the Australian for fun because they wanted to see someone die? There were three of them, but you wouldn’t know by many news outlets, because the third kid was white. Oh, and although they’re all teenagers? The two black teens are being tried as adults. The white kid is getting tried on a lesser charge, and being tried as a juvenile. Looking or being white benefits you in that the authorities will always go softer on you than they will on any PoC because the societal narrative is that PoC are violent and dangerous.
The Boston Marathon bombers? Their photos were recoloredin several cases to make them look darker than white. And their friends ended up on trial too because they “wanted to be good bros” and not rat out their friend.
White and white passing people benefit like crazy in situations like this. Looking white means you get an easier punishment, people will make extreme stretching out of reason to protect you and help you, and anyone black involved will get penalized far more severely.
This may be a long post, but this is also only the tip of an iceberg.
A faculty member at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Shannon Gibney, received a formal reprimand for her handling of a discussion about structural racism in her Introduction to Mass Communication course.
According to Gibney inan interview with City College News, a white male student asked her, “Why do we have to talk about this in every class? Why do we have to talk about this?”
She claims she was shocked, because “[h]is whole demeanor was very defensive. He was taking it personally. I tried to explain, of course, in a reasonable manner — as reasonable as I could given the fact that I was being interrupted and put on the spot in the middle of class — that this is unfortunately the context of 21st century America.”
Gibney says another white male student followed the first, saying “Yeah, I don’t get this either. It’s like people are trying to say that white men are always the villains, the bad guys. Why do we have to say this?”
When Gibney attempted, again, to inform the students that they were mistaking a systemic critique for a personal attack, the students continued to argue. Eventually, she told them that “if you’re really upset, feel free to go down to legal affairs and file a racial harassment discrimination complaint.” This is exactly what they did.
Gibney is familiar with white male students taking discussions about structural racism as personal attacks, as it has happened before: ina 2009 incident, an editor of the school newspaper took offense at a similar discussion. In both that case and this one, Gibney received an official reprimand. After the latest accusation, the Vice President of Academic Affairs appended a letter to her file, in which he said he found it “it troubling that the manner in which you led a discussion on the very important topic of of structural racism alienated two students who may have been most in need of learning about this subject.”
“While I believe it was your intention to discuss structural racism generally,” he continued, “it was inappropriate for you to single out white male students in class. Your actions in [targeting] select students based on their race and gender caused them embarrassment and created a hostile learning environment.”
Gibney told lawyers at an investigatory meeting for an anti-discrimination lawsuit she and six other professors are filling against MCTC that the vice president’s words “have helped those three white male students succeed in undermining my authority as one of the few remaining black female professors here.”
There’s a lot of irony in this story. In the students’ subsequent freak out about feeling “singled out” about structural racism they went over her head and tried to get the professor fired…indicating structural racism.
So, yeah. I know you’re tired of hearing about rape culture. But I’m tired of my friends getting raped.
I know you’re tired of hearing about abortion. I am too. So stop trying to tell me what to do with my uterus, and I promise you won’t hear another word from me about it.
I know men and women are different from each other. I’m just tired of that fact being used to excuse the inexcusable.
I know you’re tired of hearing about income inequality. But fuck you, pay us.
This is how it works. We get mad, we fight, we get tired, we get mad, we start again. Rinse, repeat. Feminism isn’t without its flaws, and it doesn’t seem able to speak with one voice or crystallize answers on the darker, stickier aspects of human nature and sexuality. But if I may get Rumsfeldian for a minute, this is the army we have. The fight comes to us whether we seek it or not, whether we want it or not, and whether we are ready or not.
The thing is, rapists absolutely need one thing to operate. They need people to believe they are not rapists. Stranger rapists do that by trying to hide that they are the person who committed the rape. Acquaintance rapists do that by picking targets who won’t say anything about what happened, or by using tactics that, if the survivor does speak up, people will decide don’t really count as rape. If you want to do something about rapists, make sure people know they are rapists.
“It’s not accidental at all that children’s films challenging sexism are ALWAYS set in the distant past and usually involve conflicts that are not relevant or particularly value challenging to today’s U.S. audience (corsets and otherwise constraining clothing, arranged marriages, etc). These plotlines often situate sexism as a problem the modern world has solved.”—