Posts Tagged ‘racism

02
May
09

DISNEYLAND!

so, as many of you already know, I drive Blake to and fro Disneyland every friday. as a thank you, she bought me a ticket about a month ago. before yesterday I had only been to Disneyland three times; the first time was a very awkward trip with Serena when she was engaged to Robert and right after I started dating Alex. the other two times were with my sister and my nephews.

Blake pretty much knows everything there is to know about Disneyland, so I knew I was going to be getting the most possible out of my day. we got there around eleven and stayed until 12.04am. due to fatigue and sensory overload, I was a little woozy for the first couple hours, but I didn’t let that slow us down. I tend to fare none too well at theme parks, as a rule. normally I’m tired because I woke up early, it’s entirely too much movement for me, and the unusual smells and close contact with a TON of random people and hustle n’ bustle usually throw my body into shock until I adjust. I’ve been known to faint.

anywho, besides having a fuckin AWESOME time, a few interesting things happened to me/us while we were there.

upon our first trip to bathroom, I encountered a creeper. I was in my stall, doing my thing, when all of a sudden a camera appears from under the wall between my stall and the one next to mine! holy inappropriate batman! since I noticed it right away, I had time to make a stern face at it before it disappeared. thinking the person next door would see that I was onto them, I assumed that would be the end of that ridiculousness. however, the camera reappeared! so I made another stern face! by then I was done, so as I was collecting myself I hear from the offending stall, “wtf?! *random name* where are you?!” then, from the stall on the other side of me I hear, “I’m over here!” then, from the first stall, “are you in the stall right next to mine?” this is when I interject, “NOPE!” and walk out to wash my hands. RIDICULOUS!

when we were on the Monsters Inc ride in California Adventure (which I hadn’t been on and is way cute and fun!) I got called “young man” and then my hair was insulted by the person occupying the Roz position at the end of the ride. silly.

the geniuses of Disneyland had the wherewithal to capitalize on swine flu by bottling what I presume to be generic hand sanitizer in “Disneyland” bottles and selling them for what I can only imagine is a ridiculous price. we saw them everywhere on the belt loops of children and the knapsacks of their panicky parents. as a precaution, Blake and I did wash our hands slightly more than usual, and every time someone sneezed I couldn’t help but whisper “swine flu!” faux-alarmingly.

while we were in line for Thunder Mountain was probably the most colorful part of the day (despite the fireworks!). we had been in line for at least fifteen minutes, moderately canoodling throughout, nothing too heavy. I’m not into uber pda in front of strangers (as we all know, I have no such issue in front of people that I do know, which is why most of my friends have heard me having sex). anywho, as Blake and I were closing a quite sizable gap that had been created in line when the large choir group in front of us moved up, I felt a forceful hand on my shoulder yanking me backwards. I assumed that this was the result of someone in a dire situation trying to get somewhere with the quickness, so I did not resist. however, as I turned towards the grasp, I was met with a middle-aged white man who began yelling “hey! hey!” in the general direction of Blake, who stopped moving upon realization that someone was yelling and I was not right behind her. once he decided he had our full attention, he not-so-kindly removed his hand from my shoulder and began yelling, “look, I realize you guys are ‘together’ or whatever, but NOT in front of my kids!” his “kids” were in fact two 13ish year-old boys who couldn’t look more disinterested in what was happening. at this point, I interrupted his rant about our impropriety and informed him that his homophobia was absolutely not my problem. as he continued on his tirade, I began to think about how unbelievable it was that he dared to lay his hands on me. then, I got really mad. I took a firm step towards him, reminded him again that his homophobia was not my problem and informed him that he needed to get away from me and that it is completely unacceptable that he touched me, and that he’d better not to do it again. I did all of this without swearing and barely raising my voice. upon realizing that I was not a teenager and that I was not even remotely afraid of him, he retreated. I made sure Blake was ok (which she was) and then she informed the kind Disneyland worker that the guy behind us in line had just grabbed me and started yelling at us. the Disney employee apologized to us profusely and moved us into the fastpass line. wooow. what really blows my mind is that someone thought it was even slightly okay to put his hands on someone else. let alone to start yelling. excuse me. tap me on the shoulder to get my attention. tell me politely that you disapprove of my “lifestyle” and ask me to knock it off with your kids around (to which I would politely reply that your homophobia is not my problem, but because you were polite, I would make an effort to be “less outwardly gay” for the rest of the line). DO NOT grab me, with some sort of self-appointed authority and begin yelling at me with any air self-righteousness. competely unacceptable. he was really lucky to have caught me at one of the peaks of happiness of my day, otherwise there may have been both swearing and yelling accompaning one of my rage blackouts. but, I mostly found him ridiculous, and a poor excuse for a decent human being. so I continue to laugh it off.

I made the conscious decision to suspend my critical awareness for most of the day so that I might enjoy the park and so as not to drive Blake completely insane. however, an exception was made for It’s A Small World, because it’s just too much! I had to ride it because they made new additions that Blake insisted I see, so I told her there was going to have to be commentary afterwards and she agreed to the terms. I try not to overload Blake with my “cynacism” as a general rule; especially while we’re in her happy place. since most of the earlier rooms of the ride were for the most part unchanged (the “European”, “Asian”, “Arctic”, and “Central and South American” areas) I didn’t pay much attention to them and instead focused on the newness of the “African” room and the last two rooms (Blake remarked afterward that she was going to show me something in the room right before the Africa room but I was “all over Africa already” with my critical outrage face on). whereas most of the aforementioned rooms were represented overwhelmingly by puppets of people, the “African” room was not. rather, a man on a camel and some others denoted Northern Africa. where one would imagine to see people from Central Africa, there were instead puppets of animals; jungle and savannah animals. towards the end of the room, there was a circle of dancing African women, darker than the fellow on the camel on the beginning of the room, but very few men of the same color. hm. the second to last room depicts what one immediately recognizes as “cowboys and indians”. presumably, this is a room for the United States. one side has a big red barn with three white farm boys and a blond girl sitting on a haystack. the other side, has a white man on a horse wearing a cowboy hat and a row of standing Native Americans, almost entirely women. the final room has everyone “represented” in the same clothes we saw them in earlier, only now everyone is dressed in white. in fact, the entire room is white. the entire world has come together peacefully under a cover of pure whiteness. wooow.

it was surprisingly humid and overcast all day. which was kind of nice because I didn’t get sunburned, but simultaneously kept me in constant fear of getting cold. a little after 8pm, roughly an hour before the fireworks extravaganza was expected to begin, it started to drizzle! there had been a slight breeze all day, so we were already a little worried about the likelihood of the fireworks going on and when it started to almost rain, we got really worried. when we started making our way towards a primo fireworks viewing position, Blake asked a kind Disney fellow what the likelihood was, in light of the slight rain. he told us that the rain was actually no factor whatsoever and the only thing to worry about was the wind. he said there was an 87% chance the fireworks were a go. we waited for the announcements. fifteen minutes to scheduled firework time, the fireworks might not happen announcement came on. expecting to hear this announcement again ten minutes later, instead we heard the fireworks are happening announcement! knowing they would at least start them, we were immediately pleased. the rain stopped, and the air stilled, and the fireworks went off without a hitch. 🙂 magical.

we rode everything we intended to, and even got another pass at Big Thunder Mountain, this time sans [overt] homophobes. 🙂 although, apparently the teenaged boys in front of us kept looking back at us. I told Blake they were probably just looking at her boobs. when I kept getting curious looks from youngsters all day Blake told me it was because I was wearing cool sunglasses.

Blake took me on the subs for the first time because I love fishies! it was easily our longest wait, and I had to close my eyes for the jellyfish part, but it was excellent!

all in all we had a fantastic day. exhaustive, but wonderful. I don’t know how she does that every friday.

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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.

05
Nov
08

heartbroken.

there just isn’t another word for it.

Prop 8 hasn’t officially passed yet, but it’s much closer than I expected, and the margin is certainly the inverse of what I expected. I expected to be filled with hope, not despair, not utter sadness.

it was significantly easier for me to ignore the inherent homophobia of the situation when I thought it was coming primarily from Mormons outside of my homestate. it was another opportunity for me to roll my eyes at the “religious crazies”, as I like to call them.

they had a material advantage and a rhetorical advantage. apparently, millions of dollars to spare and the usual “protect the children” slogans, the constructions of “natural” and “historical”, plus the always highly influential religious angle.

all of these things were increasingly difficult for us to combat. refuting lies, offering sound arguments, attempting to symbolically inundate anywhere near the same level, pandering to people’s sense of morality. these were huge projects, and I think we faired very well in the face of evil.

I was moderately prepared for people’s blatant ignorance and confusion, and especially their apathy.

but I was completely unprepared for this level of homophobia. the fact that people apparently have no qualms with not only excluding people from something most consider a fundamental right, but actually removing that right from them. taking a step even further, to no longer say “IIIIIIIIII don’t think I’m ready for you to have this just yet, let’s wait. I’m pretty sure you’re a whole person, but I want more proof”, but now to say “I have found you lacking, so I’m taking this away from you. we are not the same. you don’t deserve what I have. your family is not as important or respectable as my family.”

I think we lost a lot of votes (about 300,000 that we really could have used) to people that got sucked into lies. people that could have been swayed if they had a close friend voting no, or just someone to explain to them that what the people on the radio and tv were saying were lies. “all that stuff about elementary schools… it’s a lie. that stuff about churches getting closed down… big big lie.”

but this doesn’t change the fact that those people voted yes because they were scared. because they were worried about their kids. because they were homophobic. because, maybe they were on the fence, and maybe they didn’t really like the sound of voting yes, but at the end of the day, homophobia won. other people’s, religious zealots that don’t even live here’s homophobia won. the same homophobia that we all encounter every day, however indirectly.

the same homophobia that we all will encounter more so, most likely, after tonight.

one step forward. two steps back.

PS. in Arkansas, gay couples can no longer (could they really before?) adopt children. uh. no steps forward, five steps back.

24
Oct
08

THAT.

so, yesterday Nikki and I had just finished getting tortilla express and were en route to Aldrich to meet up with Jenny for our Thursday picnic before class when what I think may have been one of the atheists (of the Atheists, Agnostics and Rationalists club at UCI) approached us and said we should “go hold [our] sign over by that guy that’s talking”. our sign of course was a Get Up Vote Down 4 & 8 lawn sign. naturally curious, we followed her line of sight to Colonel Sanders aka the christian fundamentalist that’s like 300 years old with the bow-tie. [I’m sorry I’m ageist.]

we, and several other individuals, including Andy, listened to his prattle for awhile. I can’t remember what exactly he was saying (I’ve done a lot of drinking between then and now), but I’m sure it was horrible. after a while he took a break and “Sister Pat” took over. Sister Pat liked to preach her gospel of bigotry and hatred a little more aggressively. whereas the Colonel had been sitting in his little chair, holding his creepy little skull, Sister Pat liked to walk around the circle that formed around her, clutching her bible and waving her shaky fundamentalists hands a la invoking the lord to instill fear of the devil in us or something. I don’t know. she was a freaking NUT.

anyways, she yelled about a lot of things; women/whores/feminists, sex, masturbation, Jews, Asians, Whites, “whoremongers”, Muslims, Obama and other democrats, sodomy, abortion, divorce, drugs, and of course, the gays.

some memorable assertions:

“we come to Irvine expecting to find intelligence because Asians study.”

“Obama is a Muslim, because his dad’s a Muslim and you’re born into religion.” at this point she proceeded to racially profile a poor innocent Brown man walking by (who I recognized as a fellow from my War on Terrorism class who, as of last quarter, was in MSU) and harass him into claiming Muslim faith and then tried to get him to say that people are born Muslim. he said “people aren’t born into religion”, but then his friend kinda said that people are kinda born Muslim so then she got bored and moved on.

“if you do drugs, you hate your parents.” and, you’re going to hell, for sinning against your body. or something. if you masturbate, you’re sinning against your body too. but then she said that “everyone masturbates, and anyone that says they don’t is a liar”. then she said most people masturbate, and that “all gay people masturbate” and they’re sinning against their bodies and going to hell. or something. obviously, it was very confusing.

“Asian girls can wear skimpy outfits because they’re so small. but you White girls that wear these skimpy outfits are whores because you’re too curvy!” she actually called Stephanie a whore, among other things, which was OUTRAGEOUS. and grounds to have her kicked off campus, probably. too late now though. damn. she also talked about how rampant female sexuality (my words) threatens boys’ virginity and by extension, everything. after she finished asking Stephanie if she was a “working girl” she noticed Nikki and I standing there in all our androgynous glory. Nikki and I were both a little fancy yesterday, which I think made Nikki look slightly more like a girl than usual and made me look slightly less like one. she started calling me “young man” but I don’t engage in rhetorical battles with fundamentalists of any kind when I can avoid it, so I was unresponsive. then, she stopped, pointed at me, looked at Nikki and said,

“is THAT a boy?” then, she looked at Nikki a little closer and said, “wait, are YOU a BOY?!” needless to say, this was priceless. I mean, I’ve gotten called sir before, tons, but “THAT”?! ridiculous.

goddamn public universities. I think I got sunburned standing out there, too.




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