Posts Tagged ‘blacks

22
Mar
09

nuisance.

I love finding myself at gatherings with people completely unprepared to encounter someone like me. particularly when the people at these gatherings are the sort of people that think everyone else feels the same as they do about everything, by assuming everyone has the same or less life experience as them.

I ended up going over to a friend of a friend’s  house last night where I watched a Napoleon-complexed racist spend his entire evening trying (to absolutely no avail) to get into my bestfriend’s pants.

here, are some highlights:

stupid guy: yeah, I’m not racist. I have a lot of contact with black people. guess where I work. what’s the worst neighborhood in LA you can think of?
Brittany: Lennox.
me: *rolls my eyes* Watts. [I don’t know why I played this game. too much wine.]
stupid guy: Compton!
Brittany & I: uh…
stupid guy: yeah, I know, scary right?
Brittany & I: uh…
stupid guy: yeah, luckily enough my old truck was a piece of shit. I don’t want you to think my uncle is racist or anything, but he said my truck was so beat up “not even a nigger would steal it!”
Brittany: *shocked gaspy sound*
me: how is that not racist?

Brittany: ya know, D’s black [that’s me, and that’s a lie].
stupid guy: what? really? how black? you look Irish to me.
me: am I only allowed to be not-racist if I’m part black? are people only allowed to be black if they look black?

there was a lot more, but I can’t remember them. but, you get the idea. it’s the best kind of racism; when they think they’re not racist, and then they attempt to impress you with how not racist they are… by being racist.

12
Nov
08

post-Prop 8.

I’m happy to return to my more radical politics, but we’ll get to that later.

A few days ago, a 52% majority of Californians eliminated the right of same-sex couples to marry by passing Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment defining marriage as that between one man and one woman only.

Discrimination is officially written into the California Constitution. Thousands just lost a right many consider to be fundamental, along with many of the [heterosexual] privileges that come with it. 

Many of the queer community have responded by scapegoating the Mormon church (and the entire state of Utah) who spent millions of out-of-state dollars on a Yes on 8 campaign of lies and deception [and hatred]. Their campaign propagated the lie that same-sex marriage  would be taught in schools (and with it, acceptance of homosexuality as normal), to children as young as six. Also, that religious facilities, and by extension their affiliated charitable community organizations, that refused to perform same-sex marriages would lose their tax-exempt status. They used backwards and confusing slogans such as “Prop 8 equals less government” and “Prop 8 protects families”. They purposefully decontextualized statements made by politicians, namely Obama. They ran radio and tv advertisements on every available time-slot and station. They blanketed communities with signs and bought internet ad space on every website they could. They did all of this in multiple languages, and they did so subtly [and then not-so-subtly] for months.

It’s understandable why some people have reacted with overt hostility towards this group, but it is a displaced and inappropriate [and embarrassing] response. 

It’s also confusing. Frankly, I don’t understand why, under separation of church and state, any religious organization is exempt from paying taxes. Granted, many of these organizations provide invaluable resources for their communities–charity made necessary by the shortcomings of state-run social support [funded by TAXES], but the vast majority do so while pushing their faith-based agenda. This not only allows them to alienate [if not discriminate against] those who may not share their views, or those who may not enact them just so, but also allows monies that could, and arguably should, be going back into the government to be funneled into campaigns like this. 

Although the Yes on 8 campaign mystified the issue for some, it did not do so for the whole 52%. The Yes on 8 campaign worked because it tapped into the homophobia that the majority was already harboring. Homophobia and the system that perpetuates it is the scapegoat, not the Mormon church. If people were not homophobic, they would not care about their children learning that the marriage of two people of the same sex is equal to that of two people of different sexes.

Many queers have also chosen to scapegoat the Black community for the passage of Prop 8. Blacks turned out in record numbers to vote for Obama this year, and unfortunately, they also voted “overwhelmingly” yes for Prop 8 (70% voted Yes). The Latino vote, also, has received similar recognition (52% voted Yes).

The failure of one group to recognize the struggle of another is staggering, but not uncommon, nor unforeseeable. Is it really any wonder that a group traditionally mobilized from within the church turned out in favor of Prop 8? I don’t think so. Is it also surprising that some members of a group whose oppression in this country began with slavery and has yet to see an end (despite President-elect Obama) don’t consider the desire of some gays and lesbians to gain access to marriage a legitimate struggle?

Perhaps the failure of the gay and lesbian movement to include, if not at least reach out to, communities of color until the week before the election, all the while co-opting the struggle of the civil rights movement, specifically the politics of interracial marriage played a role as well. Comparing the assimilationist struggle of same-sex couples to gain access to marriage to a racial caste system, the effects of which still remain to be seen in white suburbs and urban ghettos, may have rubbed some the wrong way. Yes, they are similar, insofar as most of us alive today think it’s completely outrageous that two people couldn’t get married based solely on skin color, and at least 48% of us think it’s completely outrageous that two people can’t get married based solely on gender. But, queers were not enslaved, or disenfranchised (McCarthyism notwithstanding). The second-class citizenship of those of queer identity is not the result of American imperialism (although it is arguably an illustration of American fascism). 

The plight of gays and lesbians is unique. The “queer community” is arguably the most diverse imaginable. Sexual orientation cuts across lines of class, race, gender, background, ability, citizenship, location, religion, age, sex, politics. In a lot of ways, queers are an invisible minority. In some ways, re-framed, queers might actually be the majority. And yet, the struggle of this immensely diverse group of people is framed around the struggle for access to an oppressive patriarchal institution rooted in monogamy, heteronormativity, gender normativity, reproduction and capitalism. Because, for many, marriage is the means through which people access healthcare and like services, acquire and transfer property, start and raise a family. We live in a patriarchal system, and marriage is how we participate in it.

This is so because we allow it to be. We’ve allowed the separation of church and state to be little more than a myth in this country. We’ve allowed a religious morality to permeate every facet of our government and its institutions at the cost of equality. The only reason I can’t marry the person of my choosing is because other people’s religion has shaped my government. And the only reason I’d want to, is to gain access to things I should have anyway. We need to abolish marriage. We need serious structural reorganizing before we can start talking about equality in any sort of tangible way. We need to demolish the patriarchy.

And in the meantime, queers need to stop vying for things that are not solutions to our problems. Gaining access to marriage won’t stop homophobia. And gaining access to marriage won’t guarantee anyone healthcare. Queers certainly need to stop spewing hatred at religious groups, and need to resist the popular urge to fall back on blaming the Blacks for something (because, seriously, it’s old hat).

Our differences need to stop dividing us. We’re not all the same, but we all deserve the same.

We need to funnel our anger and frustration and momentum into making real change.

20
Aug
08

what do you mean “where is the black outrage over China’s involvement in Darfur?”

My feelings about The Progressive (progressive.org) go back and forth. I find most of the articles published on their site to be a little too narrow in focus and not as critical as they should be of wider trends. Basically, I accuse some articles of The Progressive to be guilty of the same things many accuse most mass media of; distracting from larger issues by getting people riled up about narrow issues that won’t be affected by anything less than major changes.

With that said, I’d like to discuss an article I found today entitled “Where is the Black Outrage Over China’s Involvement in Darfur?” (http://www.progressive.org/mp/whyte080408.html). 

The article revolves around what the writer identifies as African-American athletes’ apathy (as indicated by their involvement in the Olympics currently taking place in Beijing) regarding not only the genocide in Darfur, but the fact that China is a major importer of Sudanese crude oil (80% according to the article) who has failed to apply political-economic pressure to bring about a resolution to the conflict.

I can get behind this as an issue. The whole, China not using their economic power to apply pressure on Sudan to resolve the conflict thing. It’s horrible, but not surprising. 

Most of my issues with this article stem from the opening statement; particularly the phrase “the racial injustice of China’s support for Sudan”.

1. I, for one, hardly find China’s “support” of Sudan to be because the Chinese have it out for Blacks. I think anyone intelligent would recognize that if a country is getting 80% of one of its most crucial resources from one place, it does not cut ties. It’s business, first and foremost, and it’s politics, pure and simple. It’s ugly and horrific, but no less true. Where else is China supposed to get its crude from, the Middle East? And get into a huge mess that’s been in the making for centuries with the Europeans and the Americans? Doubtful. Speaking of, at least China hasn’t taken decades to destroy the civilian infrastructure of Sudan in order to steal their oil. At least they’re doing business in a civilized fashion and merely staying out of the countries affairs in return. If you compare China to the US, who’s more diplomatic?

2. I find it hypocritical for any American to point fingers at the Chinese for continuing to import oil from Sudan while America continues to import oil from the Middle East given the atrocious human rights record of that region as well. While China imports oil from Sudan, China also exports weapons to Sudan. This arrangement sounds, for lack of a better word, identical to America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Where is the Black outrage to China’s involvement? The same place as everyone else’s; hanging out with everyone’s outcry to pull-out of the Middle East and stop arms trade with Israel. 

3. I also find it hypocritical for any American that purchases anything manufactured by an outsourced American company in China to point fingers at China’s involvement with Sudan. To act as though America’s economy isn’t deeply reliant on China’s is ridiculous, ignorant and irresponsible.

Let’s expand my issues section to the rest of the opening sentence now that that’s out of the way; “African-Americans are greeting the Beijing Olympics with a deafening silence when they should be denouncing the racial injustice of China’s support for Sudan.”

It’s unfair to single out African-American olympians as the individuals responsible to speak out against the conflict. The situation in Darfur is not a race issue. It’s a human issue. The writer of this article repeatedly demands that African-Americans take a stand for their African brothers and sisters and asserts that, with the lousy treatment Blacks have historically received in America, they should feel more inclined to do so. The writer speaks of all African-Americans’ feeling of lineage to the continent, something I find to be a gross generalization of what are complex attitudes of a highly diverse group comprised of millions of people. 

I also feel the writer is underestimating the potentially huge diplomatic steps that can be taken from an event as multinational and tremendous as the Olympics. In a post-Bush world the US is substantially lacking in friends. It may be more advantageous for Americans to not denounce the dirty dealings of a country they are visiting when the country they are representing has equally (if not more) reprehensible activities going on. Americans are known internationally for being hypocritical when speaking about other nations’ wrong-doings due to ignorance of their own country’s political and economic activities. 

Now, while I have expressed my issue with the racialization of this article, let’s do discuss racism in America for a moment.

Ideologically, African-Americans are only allowed to be positive models of success in three ways; 1. as a comedian; 2. as a musician (R&B and Hip-Hop only, please); and 3. as an athlete. If you boil it down, that’s really just one way: as a performer. They can be models of success, but not positively: as a gangster. And, they can be positive models, but not of success: in the church (because ministers don’t exactly rake in the big bucks, but these are highly influential leadership positions). With the options so limited, is it enough to just make it to the top, to succeed in becoming a role model, in the face of such social adversity? Or is one obligated to speak out against social injustice whenever they see it? How does one become more obligated to do so just by virtue of being successful?




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