Casting Out: Exploring the Racialization of Muslims

by Special Correspondent Fatemeh Fakhraie

I just finished reading Sherene H. Razack’s Casting Out: The Eviction of Muslims from Western Law & Politics (2008). And I gotta say, it blew me onto my ass.

Razack is the author of several books, including Looking White People in the Eye: Gender, Race, and Culture in Courtrooms and Classrooms, and her work in race theory definitely shows in Casting Out. She uses plenty of theory and excellent cross-racial examples to illustrate that what’s currently happening to Muslims in the West (racialization that results in “the expulsion of Muslims from the political community, a process that takes the form of stigmatization, surveillance, incarceration, torture, and bombing”) has happened to other groups before.

She first argues that Muslims are racialized through “race thinking”, which “divides up the world between the deserving and the undeserving, according to descent.” The racialization of Islam and Muslims is something the editors and I have been wanting to address on Racialicious for awhile, but I haven’t quite known how to begin; Razack’s book provides the perfect springboard.

Islam is represented in mainstream media as South/West Asian brown-skinned people who are bearded and turbaned or veiled and hidden: this racializes Islam.

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Indigenous Feminism and Cultural Appropriation

by Guest Contributor Jessica Yee

Last year, a friend of mine told me that actress Juliette Lewis started up a band and that their sound was seriously a rockin’.

I was like “Really? Cool!” since I’d always appreciated the versatility Lewis demonstrated in her acting craft with movies like “The Other Sister,” “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?” or even “Old School.”

Off to Google I went searching for her website, when I came up with this image:

Oh no, not again.

Another appropriator.

A quick glance at their website and various other fan photo materials reveals even worse.

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Racialicious on NPR

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

I, along with Jim Collier of Acting White, and Shay Riley of Booker Rising were on News and Notes yesterday to discuss how some conservatives are saying Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin is out of her league and want her to bow out of the race for the sake of the GOP. Also, we weighed in on the way a Fox News TV host and a handful of financial analysts are blaming blacks and other minorities for the current economic crisis.

Click here to listen

ETA: I didn’t have time on the show to respond to Jim’s last point about Gwen Ifill’s upcoming being a “gimmick” designed to “enrich” her and her publisher, so I’m going to do it here.

Am I the only one who finds it hilarious when people who write/speak/teach about race get attacked for wanting to make money off of it? I’ve seen everyone from Tim Wise to Damali Ayo to myself be accused of this.

Um, newsflash people: race activism is not exactly the most lucrative field in the world. And neither is book publishing. And when you combine those two things as Ifill has done in her upcoming book — a book about race —  that’s a real recipe for non-wealth.

Quoted (WTF Edition): Anonymous Source on Female Rappers

It wasn’t always like this. From 1998 to 2003, female rappers such as Lauryn Hill, Eve, and Missy Elliott were among the genre’s most bankable artists. But nearly all of their successors — including Lil Mama, Kid Sister, Ms Dynamite, and Jean Grae — have struggled to connect with listeners. And it’s harder than ever to launch new talent. ”Hair and makeup is killing female hip-hop,” says a source. ”The grooming cost to break a female rapper versus a male rapper is 10 times as much per appearance. That tends to have an adverse effect on a record company’s willingness to even entertain a female rapper.”

—- From “BET and VH1 Present…Awards Shows Without Women,” Entertainment Weekly

(Thanks Carmen!)

Only Muslims Can Be “Terrorists”

by Guest Contributor Jesse Singal, originally published at

Over the weekend a disturbing story ran in the Dayton Daily News:

Baboucarr Njie was preparing for his prayer session Friday night, Sept. 26, when he heard children in the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton coughing. Soon, Njie himself was overcome with fits of coughing and, like the rest of those in the building, headed for the doors.

“I would stay outside for a minute, then go back in, there were a lot of kids,” Njie said. “My throat is still itchy, I need to get some milk.”

Njie was one of several affected when a suspected chemical irritant was sprayed into the mosque at 26 Josie St., bringing Dayton police, fire and hazardous material personnel to the building at 9:48 p.m.

Someone “sprayed an irritant into the mosque,” Dayton fire District Chief Vince Wiley said, noting that fire investigators believe it was a hand-held spray can.

According to fire dispatch communications, a child reported seeing two men with a white can spraying something into a window. That child was brought to the supervising firefighter at the scene.

There’s one word that’s conspicuously absent from this account: “terrorist.” If spraying a chemical irritant into a room full of civilians isn’t a terrorist act, then what is? Continue reading

Everybody Get A Buddy!: The Racialicious review of Heroes 3.3

by Arturo R. García, also published at The Instant Callback

*Warning: Spoilers Ahead*

Team-ups and ties that bind dominated “One Of Us, One Of Them,” as the episode stirred the pot with enough questions answered before heading toward the next set of plot points.

Stirring things up the most was, as ever, Mrs. Petrelli, as she uses “motherly” persuasion to maneuver Sylar into being Mr. Bennet’s new Company partner, citing a need for “structure” so he can rehab and kick that pesky dome-slicing habit. His first day at school, er, work, is a mixed bag: young Gabriel gets a nice new suit and saves Noah from fear-fueled Knox, flame-throwing Flint and sonic-powered Jesse (freshly separated from Peter), but – naughty, naughty! — Gabe can’t help but help himself to Jesse’s power, landing him back in his room at Level 5. For now.

In California, Claire’s biological mother, pyrokinetic Meredith uses harsher methods to get her point across. While “training” Claire: Hot Mom uses her powers to choke Claire into admitting she wants to be a heroine mostly to get revenge on Sylar for upending her nerve endings during last week’s premiere. Possibly out of shame, Claire subsequently runs away with a stack of Company files. Will she ask Daddy Noah or Actual Daddy Nathan to be her senpai? Continue reading