Links – 2008-11-24

Ennis of Sepia Mutiny opines on What Obama’s Victory Means:

What does this mean for desis? Well, not much in some ways. We’re still a small group, and we’re not going to get singled out for ponies and party favors.

But I think, for the first time, we’ve been truly seen and recognized. Obama knows both South Asia and South Asians. We aren’t just some weird American fringe ethnic group to him. He has called himself desi, cooked dal, and travelled in the desh.

His campaign drew upon desis not just for topics to do with South Asia, but for every day campaign issues. The director of my local Obama campaign office was actually a Ugandan Desi ABD whose father was born in Jinja. One of the core staff members in the office was a desi female, one of the Patels from Kentucky.

I am hopeful that under an Obama administration our background will not be seen as a liability or as something intrinsically un-American. And that, to me, is change that we sorely need.

Queenemily has a wonderful piece on Questioning Transphobia titled “How to Mourn:

Today most of all, we remember those who were killed. Because we die violently, unmemorialised, and are mocked after our deaths.

Because the world sees us disposable, less than human (and who can mourn that?). Many of the dead lost their lives because they were trans women of colour, doubly disposable. Racism is killing our sisters every bit as much as trans misogyny is.

Who would mourn a thing, a that, an it?

Few will respect our lives as they were, and few will mourn them, and they must be mourned. Their lives were meaningful, their names and genders were real and important, and they lost their lives from hate.

Alternet posts a fascinating tale of reproduction and rights currently unfolding in India:

Across India, the tale of baby Manhji has made headlines and gripped the nation’s attention. Born to a Japanese father and surrogate Indian mother, the two month old is caught in legal limbo. In a way, she has three mothers but none who will raise her, and she cannot return to Japan with her father due to complications of Indian law.

The saga began when Japanese citizens Dr. Ikufumi and Yuki Yamada were unable to conceive a child of their own. They obtained an egg from an anonymous donor and then travelled to India to locate a surrogate mother. In November 2007, the fertilized embryo was implanted into Pritiben of Ahmedabad, and the Yamadas began the nine month wait for their child.

The couple’s dream of completing their happy family was dashed when Ikufumi and Yuki divorced just one month before Manjhi’s birth. Apparently wanting a complete separation from her old life, Yuki took the additional step of disowning the newborn.

Quite simply, Indian laws have not kept pace with the recent trend of reproductive tourism. The law traditionally favors the mother over the father in a custody battle; in Manjhi’s case, the courts have been unable to make a clear statement on who is to be deemed the baby’s mother. The biological mother who donated her eggs remains anonymous, the intended mother has severed ties, and the surrogate mother’s responsibility ended at childbirth.

The second obstacle is that Indian law requires Ikufumi to adopt his own child because of the circumstances under which she was born, yet because he is a single father, the law has also rendered him ineligible. Without re-marrying, he cannot claim the child that he intended to raise with his former wife.

To complicate matters even further, a Rajasthan-based NGO has stepped into the picture, claiming that Manjhi’s status is that of an “abandoned child.” Due to the child’s uncertain legal status, and because the father is unable to become her lawful guardian, Ikufumi’s efforts to take the baby to Tokyo fit the Indian profile of child trafficking.

Bitch points us toward an IFC Media project covering how the news actually gets made, featuring the nerdilicious Gideon Yago. There’s also a related NY Times article:

Mr. Yago, 29, may seem too young to be disillusioned about journalism, but his seven years spent at MTV News and his contributions to CBS News would suggest otherwise. In an interview last week, he said he had watched “news stories that were super-relevant get the kibosh because Purina had bought the first hour of the morning show and they wanted to do a profile on fat cats.” He added, though, that the practices examined on the program are not only ones he has witnessed personally.

Asked if he has become a journalistic cynic, he responded, “That, my friend, is the understatement of the year.” He then quoted a line from the 1987 film “Broadcast News”: “You’re lucky if you can get out while you could still cry.“