“Recent studies on literacy reveal that black males are fast becoming one of the most illiterate groups in our society. Many incarcerated black males live most of their adult lives in prisons. In past times, prison has been a location where many black males discovered books and reading for the first time in their lives. Conservative forces in our nation want to deny all prisoners access to books, claiming that reading is a luxury and not a right. Depriving prisoners of the right to read is deemed deserved punishment. That anyone should wish to deny access to literacy in our nation threatens the future or democracy.”—
bell hooks, in her book “Teaching Critical Reading” (via bowfolk)
this is some serious shit because i come from a background where my father was not only able to expand his literacy but go to college through prison. this was a key to him becoming socially mobile. before 9/11 when cori checks were everywhere and you can’t do shit if you’ve been convicted of a felony. it is clear that when given these tools, many people can make the most of them. so they are trying desperately to take it away (see the latest attack on what books prisoners can read and the attempts to remove all libraries save legal books, which are legally required)
“Social justice is about destroying systematic marginalisation and privilege. Wishing to live in a more just, more equal world is simply not the same thing as wishing to live in a “nicer” world. I am not suggesting niceness is bad or that we should not behave in a nice way towards others if we want to! I also do not equate niceness with cooperation or collaboration with others. Here’s all I am saying: the conflation of ethical or just conduct (goodness), and polite conduct (niceness) is a big problem.”—» The Revolution Will Not Be Polite: The Issue of Nice versus Good Social Justice League (via lookoutsideyourself)
“So if you – the oppressed – hurt someone’s feelings, you’re just like the oppressor, right? Wrong. Oppression is not about hurt feelings. It is about the rights and opportunities that are not afforded to you because you belong to a certain group of people. When you use a racist slur you imply that non-whiteness is a bad thing, and thus publicly reinforce a system that denies POC the rights and opportunities of white people. Calling a white person a racist fuckhead doesn’t do any of that. Yes, it’s not very nice. And how effective it is as a tactic is definitely up for debate (that’s a whole other blog post). But it’s not oppression.”—» The Revolution Will Not Be Polite: The Issue of Nice versus Good Social Justice League (via lookoutsideyourself)
“To prevent Africans and Native Americans from uniting Europeans played skillfully on racial differences and ethnic rivalries. They kept the pot of animosity boiling. Whites turned Indians into slavehunter and slaveowners, and Africans into “Indian-fighters.” Light-skinned Africans were pitted against dark-skinned, free against enslaved, Black Indians against “pure” Africans or “pure” Indians.”—William Loren Katz, Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage, p. 13 (via a-lostbird)
“It is common, among the nonpoor, to think of poverty as a sustainable condition - austere, perhaps, but they get by somehow, don’t they? They are ‘always with us.’ What is harder for the nonpoor to see is poverty as acute distress: The lunch that consists of Doritos or hot dog rolls, leading to a faintness before the end of the shift. The ‘home’ that is also a car or a van. The illness or injury that must be ‘worked through,’ with gritted teeth, because there’s no sick day or health insurance and the loss of one day’s pay will mean no groceries for the next. These experiences are not part of a sustainable lifestyle, even a lifestyle of chronic deprivation and relentless low-level punishment. They are, by almost any standard of subsistence, emergency situations. And that is how we should see the poverty of so many millions of low-wage Americans - as a state of emergency.”—Barbara Ehrenreich Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America (via infinitelyawkwords)
“And so, if we can hang on, it will be in the twenty-fifties that the manners and meanings of the Obama era will be truly revealed: only then will we know our own essence. A small, attentive child, in a stroller on some Brooklyn playground or Minneapolis street, is already recording the stray images and sounds of this era: Michelle’s upper arms, the baritone crooning sound of NPR, people sipping lattes (which a later decade will know as poison) at 10 A.M.—manners as strange and beautiful as smoking in restaurants and drinking Scotch at 3 P.M. seem to us. A series or a movie must already be simmering in her head, with its characters showing off their iPads and staring at their flat screens: absurdly antiquated and dated, they will seem, but so touching in their aspiration to the absolutely modern. Forty years from now, we’ll know, at last, how we looked and sounded and made love, and who we really were. It will be those stroller children’s return on our investment, and, also, of course, a revenge taken on their time.”—“The Forty-Year Itch: What Mad Men Shows About American Pop Culture” (via downlookingup:sylvysparrow)
I was doing an interview once, and this guy goes, “So you must be pretty psyched about all this ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ stuff?”
And I was like, “Um, yeah, I am.” I have no idea why though. I had nothing to do with that movie. It’s just some people that kind of look like me are in this movie that everyone loves, and winning Oscars and stuff.
And then I was like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Are white people just psyched all the time?” It’s, like, “‘Back to the Future’! That’s us! ‘Godfather’! That’s us! ‘Godfather Part II’! That’s us! ‘Departed’! That’s us! ‘Sunset Boulevard’! That’s us! ‘Citizen Kane’! That’s us! ‘Jaws’! That’s us! Every fucking movie but ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and ‘Boyz n the Hood’ is us! We are white people! Suck our dicks!”
”—Aziz Ansari, “Are White People Psyched All The Time?” (via ceedling)
“There are not two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual … Only the human mind invents categories and tries to force fact into separated pigeon holes … The sooner we learn this … the sooner we shall reach a sound understanding of the realities of sex.”—Alfred Kinsey (via thissinkingboat)
I don’t know how many of you are aware of some of the diversity- related issues that have occurred recently, but with the recent “Racist Olympics” and refusal to release the Northwestern Diversity Report, things have come to a standstill.
Various student groups (not nearly enough in my opinion) have come together to dialogue about tangible steps to take toward shifting the mentality of Northwestern’s culture. Many of us think that this campus is one of perfect tolerance and progressive liberal arts, and it’s not. We engulf ourselves in a culture where racism is okay, because no one thinks that they’re doing any wrong.
We need to begin to hold ourselves accountable for things like this, or else we will get no where. I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve stood by while my friends make incredibly racist remarks, or actions, even when I’ve said something about it, the same thing happens again.
Tonight there was a forum of students representing several groups across campus in an attempt to see what we can do this week to call attention to this issue. There was a lot of talk of why these incidents keep happening, and how groups should be working together to co-sponsor events, but it wasn’t until the very end that any substantial plans were made.
If you don’t think that diversity is an issue on campus, I’m sorry, but that opinion is wrong. There’s a culture of ignorance and passivity that needs to end here and now. If you care about making the campus more inclusive, and more knowledgeable beyond straight academics, here are steps that you can take:
Spread the word on Facebook. Put the link to Post-Racial NU or to the Diversity Petition. If you think you can’t make a difference, people will listen. And if you feel so inclined, you can change your profile picture to the “I Am A ____” photo.
Attend NU Senate! Evidently, the majority of people who go are within ASG, or groups that aren’t particularly well known for taking diversity initiative. Many plan on going tomorrow, April 25, to let the senate know of our demands and to reiterate the discussion that was held tonight
Continue dialogue with others about diversity on campus, if the message can reach even one person, then it’s progress.
Help with flyering! Flyers will be available in the Black House (1914 Sheridan Rd), anyone can stop by to grab some. Post them on sidewalks, classrooms, your dorms, etc.
I know it may seem like this is an overreaction, or a case of hypersensitivity, but if no one calls attention to the issues on campus, they’ll never be fixed. We have to acknowledge our faults so that we can become better, not for national rankings, or administrative benefits but four ourselves. This culture is toxic, and unless we engage others in conversation, we’ll remain in this endless cycle.
Northwestern, amazing collegiate institution as it is, has this teeny problem with horribly ignorant white kids fucking up everyone’s shit. It’s only my Freshman year, and these seemingly isolated events have been happening far too frequently for my own personal feelings of comfort, safety, and inclusion. The thought of three more years of things like the “Racism Olympics” is far too frustrating.
But they’re not isolated incidents, and they’re not carried out by isolated pockets of the population. There aren’t monsters walking around campus doing committing terrible acts of blatant racism and ignorance. We have a populous of generally good people who’ve been misguided for their entire lives and socialized into a brutal, patriarchal dominant hegemony of heteronormative whiteness. We have a broken culture, pure and simple. In this school and this country.
Whether or not you’re affiliated with NU, please reblog this and spread the word. And everyone be sure to sign the Diversity Petition above! Not nearly enough people have spoken out.
“I want to live in a world where little girls are not pinkified, but where little girls who like pink are not punished for it, either. We can certainly talk about the social pressures surrounding gender roles, and the concerns that people have when they see girls and young women who appear to be forced into performances of femininity by the society around them, but let’s stop acting like they have no agency and free will. Let’s stop acting like women who choose to be feminine are somehow colluders, betraying the movement, bamboozled into thinking that they want to be feminine. Let’s stop denying women their own autonomy by telling them that their expressions of femininity are bad and wrong.
Antifemininity is misogynist. What you are saying when you engage in this type of rhetoric is that you think things traditionally associated with women are wrong. Which is misogynist. By telling feminine women that they don’t belong in the feminist movement, you are reinforcing the idea that to be feminine and a woman is wrong, that women who want to be taken seriously need to be more masculine, because most people view gender presentation in binary ways. This rewards the ‘one of the boys’ type rhetoric I encounter all over the place from self-avowed feminists who seem to think that bashing on women is a good way to prove how serious they are when it comes to caring about women and bringing men into the feminist movement.”—Get Your Anti-Femininity Out Of My Feminism by s.e. smith (via albinwonderland)
Buoyed by Mitt Romney publicly expressing that “All moms are working moms,” House Democrats introduced legislation that would revise Clinton-era welfare laws and allow stay-at-home mothers to be compensated for taking care of their young children without worrying about falling into abject poverty.
Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) and a number of prominent House Democrats, including female Reps. Gwen Moore (WI), Barbara Lee (CA), Lynn Woolsey (CA), Janice Schakowsky (IL), Rosa DeLauro (CA), Carolyn Maloney (NY), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), and Laura Richardson (CA), introduced the Women’s Option to Raise Kids (WORK) Act, a bill that would allow stay-at-home mothers to raise their children three years or younger and continue receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits, on Wednesday.
Under current law, raising children at home does not allow women to qualify for TANF funds.
“When I want to know what misogyny is, I don’t ask a man. When I want to know what racism is, I don’t ask a white person. When I want to know what homophobia is, I don’t ask a heterosexual. When I want to know what transphobia is, I don’t ask a cisgender person. When I want to know what ableism is, I don’t ask an able-bodied person. The contours and definitions of oppression are best articulated by the oppressed.”—Son of Baldwin
“What we didn’t hear about was a how an African-American women who in the course of protecting herself from an abusive husband who beat her while she was pregnant, shot a gun that she legally owns into the air. No one was hurt, but she is now looking at 25 years. Yes indeed, you read that right, facing 25 years.. Her name is Marissa Alexander, she lives in Florida, is a mother of 3 and everyone should know her name and her case.The person who prosecuted her case is Angela Corey, the prosecutor in the George Zimmerman case.”—
There are more African American adults under correctional control today — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.
As of 2004, more African American men were disenfranchised (due to felon disenfranchisement laws) than in 1870, the year the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified, prohibiting laws that explicitly deny the right to vote on the basis of race.
A black child born today is less likely to be raised by both parents than a black child born during slavery. The recent disintegration of the African American family is due in large part to the mass imprisonment of black fathers.
If you take into account prisoners, a large majority of African American men in some urban areas have been labeled felons for life. (In the Chicago area, the figure is nearly 80%.) These men are part of a growing undercaste — not class, caste — permanently relegated, by law, to a second-class status. They can be denied the right to vote, automatically excluded from juries, and legally discriminated against in employment, housing, access to education, and public benefits, much as their grandparents and great-grandparents were during the Jim Crow era.
“To achieve equality we have to challenge all forms of bigotry. In previous generations it was socially acceptable to be overtly racist and sexist, but today it is largely not acceptable. Comments like “that’s gay” and “retard” are used to dehumanize people and violence like gay bashing is “easier” to carry out when you don’t acknowledge the humanity of your victim.”—“That’s Gay”: Everyday Acceptable Bigotry (via sociolab)
POC is a Political Identity. It is not a cultural identifier, a racial identifier, or, for the most part, a personal individual identifier. It is a rejection of the divide-and-conquer rule of Whiteness. It is a handy footnote descriptor for anyone non-white regardless of their literal melanin count.
POC is also a self-desciptor for POC; a term designed to replace the white man’s descriptors for us as Coloured or Non-White. A term which makes no reverence to Whiteness as Non-White does, nor carry the stigma of Coloured.
”—xtremecaffeine dropping truth bombs all over my dash, (via pengaling)
black people have been told that they are ugly ever since the first white man raped and pillaged the first african village and brought africans into slavery. since then hair has been a big issue of beauty in the black/african american community. ever head mention of “good hair”? when someone says that someone has “good hair” it means that they have straighter, more caucasian hair. especially back before the civil rights/”black is beautiful” era of the 60s and 70s black women especially were urged, if they didn’t have “good hair”, to straighten their hair to look like white/caucasian hair. (of course, when i say “back in the day” i just mean that it was possibly more pervasive then; it is still very pervasive now and a lot of women go through a lot of work, time, and money to have their hair straightened rather than leave it in its natural state.) so hair has always been a big deal. when folks started wearing afros back in the 60s and 70s that was radical because instead of hating their bodies and trying to adhere to white standards of beauty they were reclaiming their own beauty and saying, no! i come from africa, and this is how i look, and that’s beautiful, and i don’t care what dominant (read: WHITE) america thinks! that was radical and liberating and very important to many people in the black community—it was very important to the evolution/formulation of black social consciousness and identity as well as it was very important for the individual’s sense of self-love.
with regards to dreads specifically, white folks often talk about dreadlocks as if they were dirty, which only perpetuates the white racist stereotype of black people as dirty, unkempt, uncivilized, animal-like, etc. i personally don’t know much about rastafarianism, but besides even that, the wearing of dreadlocks is, for many people of african descent living in the Diaspora, a symbol of resistance and struggle and very much a part of black culture and identity and has very much been rooted in a political statement against such racist stereotypes and against adhering to white standards of beauty.
considering all this, you may begin to see how black people might view white people wearing dreads not only with suspicion but with contempt as it is a fraudulent appropriation of a culture and history of resistance by the very people who have upheld and benefitted from the oppression of black people! when white people wear dreads it’s like a slap in the face to that whole history of oppression and resistance. it dilutes the potency of the message and strips away the power—out of the hands of black people—that such a statement originally made against white supremacy and the status quo. which is, when you think about it, typical; we white people have been making quite a cushy living off of taking everything away from black people and other people of color, so why wouldn’t we, after we’ve taken everything else, take this as well, the very fruits of thier resistance against us taking everything away from them. honestly, it makes me sick.