Slurs are violent. They enact violence. They bring up violence. Slurs are used to dehumanize people, against their will.
“ You can’t say “I don’t do politics”, because silence is a political statement. ”
Tariq Ramadan (via uniteforpalestine)
Saying things like “we’ve gone from white hoods to business suits” is one way to seem to speak to contemporary racism’s less vocal, yet still insidious nature. But it does a disservice to the public understanding of racism, and in the process undercuts the mission of drawing attention to contemporary racism’s severity.
It wasn’t the KKK that wrote the slave codes. It wasn’t the armed vigilantes who conceived of convict leasing, postemancipation. It wasn’t hooded men who purposefully left black people out of New Deal legislation. Redlining wasn’t conceived at a Klan meeting in rural Georgia. It wasn’t “the real racists” who bulldozed black communities in order to build America’s highway system. The Grand Wizard didn’t run COINTELPRO in order to dismantle the Black Panthers. The men who raped black women hired to clean their homes and care for their children didn’t hide their faces.
The ones in the hoods did commit violent acts of racist terrorism that shouldn’t be overlooked, but they weren’t alone. Everyday citizens participated in and attended lynchings as if they were state fairs, bringing their children and leaving with souvenirs. These spectacles, if not outright endorsed, were silently sanctioned by elected officials and respected members of the community.
It’s easy to focus on the most vicious and dramatic forms of racist violence faced by past generations as the site of “real” racism. If we do, we can also point out the perpetrators of that violence and rightly condemn them for their actions. But we can’t lose sight of the fact that those individuals alone didn’t write America’s racial codes. It’s much harder to talk about how that violence was only reinforcing the system of political, economic and cultural racism that made America possible. That history indicts far more people, both past and present.”
I was speaking out of irritation at the ignorant comments that were being made at Las Vegas’ First Black Film Festival, and someone I know made this lovely little comment so I had put my two cents in. Some arguments I made were grammatically unsound (that very last sentence, yikes), but whatevs. It’s 10 PM and I have to go to bed.
theres so many grown ass adults on this website who spend all their time screaming at young teens who are impressively insightful and educated wrt social issues, way moreso than i was when i was a teen. honestly i think i would be a way better person right now if i had started learning about SJ when i was 13-15 like some of you are, and when i see you guys speaking with remarkable elegance + coherence on issues that i had essentially zero understanding of at your age, it gives me a lot of hope for the future. kids who are committed to fighting oppression are such an inspiration, please dont let some 30 year old asshole tell you shit
The True Meaning of Anarchy
In a recent New Yorker profile, former Brand Nubian member Lord Jamar took shots at Kanye West and openly queer rapper Le1f for straying from the genre’s alleged macho roots. Le1f, you may remember, made his network TV debut on Letterman last month wearing a kilt. “This started with the alpha males. And now it’s being given to the beta males to try to flex their shit,” Jamar said.
Le1f responded on his Facebook page:
dear Lord Jamar,
Choose your battles. If the whitening of rap is a concern to you, please leave my name out of it. If you think being gay is the same as being white, you are as ignorant as your enemies. I’m darker than you. I’m african. I’m a black man and I experience all the same racism you do, if not more, on top of homophobia, including from black men just like you. Are you proud of being a hateful member of a majority? Rap started out as a creative response to oppression, and no matter my outfit, I know oppressions you will never understand.
It’s a perfect response.
I once told a joke about a straight person.
They came after me in droves.
Each one singing the same:
Don’t fight fire with fire.
What they mean is: Don’t fight fire with anything.
Do not fight fire with water.
Do not fight fire with foam.
Do not evacuate the people.
Do not sound the alarms.
Do not crawl coughing and choking and spluttering to safety.
Do not barricade the door with damp towels.
Do not wave a white flag out of the window.
Do not take the plunge from several storeys up.
Do not shed a tear for your lover trapped behind a wall of flame.
Do not curse the combination of fuel, heat, and oxygen.
Do not ask why the fire fighters are not coming.
When they say: Don’t fight fire with fire.
What they mean is: Stand and burn.”
"[W]hen Lacy auditioned for the Oakland Raiderettes a year ago, she made the squad. And the Raiderettes quickly set to work remaking her in their image. She would be known exclusively by her first name and last initial — a tradition across the NFL, ostensibly designed to protect its sideline stars from prying fans. The squad director handed Lacy, now 28, a sparkling pirate-inspired crop top, a copy of the team’s top-secret “bible” — which guides Raiderettes in everything from folding a dinner napkin correctly to spurning the advances of a married Raiders player — and specific instructions for maintaining a head-to-toe Raiderettes look. The team presented Lacy with a photograph of herself next to a shot of actress Rachel McAdams, who would serve as Lacy’s “celebrity hairstyle look-alike.” Lacy was mandated to expertly mimic McAdams’ light reddish-brown shade and 11/2-inch-diameter curls, starting with a $150 dye job at a squad-approved salon. Her fingers and toes were to be french-manicured at all times. Her skin was to maintain an artificial sun-kissed hue into the winter months. Her thighs would always be covered in dancing tights, and false lashes would be perpetually glued to her eyelids. Periodically, she’d have to step on a scale to prove that her weight had not inched more than 4 pounds above her 103-pound baseline.
Long before Lacy’s boots ever hit the gridiron grass, “I was just hustling,” she says. “Very early on, I was spending money like crazy.” The salon visits, the makeup, the eyelashes, the tights were almost exclusively paid out of her own pocket. The finishing touch of the Raiderettes’ onboarding process was a contract requiring Lacy to attend thrice-weekly practices, dozens of public appearances, photo shoots, fittings and nine-hour shifts at Raiders home games, all in return for a lump sum of $1,250 at the conclusion of the season. (A few days before she filed suit, the team increased her pay to $2,780.) All rights to Lacy’s image were surrendered to the Raiders. With fines for everything from forgetting pompoms to gaining weight, the handbook warned that it was entirely possible to “find yourself with no salary at all at the end of the season.”
Like hundreds of women who have cheered for the Raiders since 1961, Lacy signed the contract. Unlike the rest of them, she also showed it to a lawyer.
ON JAN. 22, Lacy T.’s attorneys filed a lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court alleging that the Raiders fail to pay their cheerleaders minimum wage for all hours worked, withhold pay until the end of the season, require cheerleaders to cover their own business expenses, don’t provide lunch breaks and impose fines for minor infractions — all of which, according to the suit, constitute violations of the California Labor Code.
The provocation was unprecedented. When pro football’s first cheerleaders took the field in the 1920s, rah-rahing on the sidelines was a volunteer position, usually occupied by local high school and college cheerleaders interested in performing on a bigger stage. But as TV began to outpace radio, more and more teams stocked their sidelines with flashier — although still unpaid — performers. In 1972, Cowboys GM Tex Schramm upped the game. He’d seen Bubbles Cash, an artificially augmented local stripper, make the news after cameras caught her shimmying in the stands with a stick of cotton candy, and he wanted similar assets at his games. So he replaced his cheer director — a local high school teacher — with a Broadway choreographer, dismissed his squad of coed teenagers to make way for a team of (barely) legal women in stomach-baring tops and began paying them a meager salary. By 1976, they’d become a trademark part of a franchise. That year, Super Bowl X marked not only the end of the Cowboys’ season but the beginning of modern professional cheerleading: 73 million viewers watched as one cheerleader turned to the camera and winked, launching the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders as bankable stars of team-approved posters, calendars, public appearances and reality TV. These weren’t just cheerleaders; they were what Schramm called “atmosphere producers.”
But even as collective bargaining has caused players’ salaries to skyrocket, cheerleaders are still treated with the expendability of borrowed college students. Of the 26 teams that employ cheerleaders, only Seattle publicly advertises that it pays its squad an hourly minimum wage. The tenuous position of NFL cheerleaders is exacerbated by the fact that six teams don’t fork out any cash for squads. The Packers occasionally employ the services of a local collegiate squad. Other teams, such as the Lions, Browns and Giants, rely on unofficial squads willing to finance themselves through public appearances and calendar shoots for the opportunity to dance in a high-profile setting.”
“ America has a problem. And it isn’t a gun problem. Guns are merely instruments or tools- nothing more. The problem America has is deeper than just the availability of guns. America has a sickness in its soul. A sickness driven by self interest, selfishness, self aggrandizement, and greed. ”