Links – 2009-01-12

Global Voices Online – Korea as a Multicultural Country

A daily newspaper, Hankyoreh, which is categorized as a progressive newspaper (or sometimes left-wing) introduced a series of articles, ‘Multi-Culturalism is Our Future.’ [KR] Korea, where one culture and one ethnic group are emphasized, currently has a population with only 2 percent foreign residents –1 million population. The newspaper article brings a netizen’s complaint and other responses following his (or her) opinion.

The Washington Post – A Gentler Way to Relax Hair

In recent years, some manufacturers, including Colomer USA, the maker of Creme of Nature, have been listing at least one “certified organic ingredient” in their products, including their sodium-based relaxers. The French company Phyto markets its PhytoSpecific line as a “non chemical relaxing system” and charges about $60 for a tub of its straightener, more than triple the price of a traditional relaxer. According to the company, the Phyto relaxer uses a substance called guanidine carbonate derived from mushroom salts as its straightening agent.

“I think it’s great for black women. Now there are so many choices,” Coney said.

Kabobfest – Palestinian Holocaust Museum

(Warning: Graphic Images, may not be advisable to view at work.)

IslamOnline.net’s Palestinian Holocaust Museum features online exhibits of the many Palestinian children killed, along with their names, photographs, their ages, causes of death, their favorite hobbies and dreams. They are now updating it to include the children killed in the current Gaza massacres. Please visit.

Sepia Mutiny – Flying While Brown…Again

It took me a while to get to posting this up because frankly, this is a dime a dozen story. In 2008 alone, the Transportation Department reported 87 cases of complaints alleging discrimination by airlines and only four were security related. Flying while brown stories happen all the time. I’m tired of blogging about stories like this and that these incidences are still happening. These stories are a part of our lives on the margin and being brown. I’m not implying that we should stand by the wayside and merely accept the injustice. Which is exactly what Mr. Irfan didn’t do. Instead he got organized.

Resist Racism – FWM

So two teenage girls reportedly heard members of a Muslim family discussing the safest place to sit on an airplane. They reported it, and the husband and wife got yanked off the plane for questioning. [...]

I once had a white guy try to have me arrested because he said that I was “breaking into cars” when I was on my way home (dressed in business wear, I might note). All I could think was how glad I was that the officer was black.

Yahoo News – 240,000 to man forced to cover Arab T-shirt

An airline passenger forced to cover his T-shirt because it displayed Arabic script has been awarded 240,000 dollars in compensation, campaigners said Monday. [...]

Jarrar, a US resident, was apprehended as he waited to board a JetBlue flight from New York to Oakland, California, and told to remove his shirt, which had written on it in Arabic: “We will not be silent.”

Alternet – Some Latinos Trace Their Their Jewish Roots

Wendy Martinez Canelones grew up Catholic and Seventh-day Adventist. But she always felt drawn to Judaism. She once had a vivid dream of herself embracing a blue volume of the Torah. She tears up recalling the dream.

Eventually, she found out why. While studying her family history, she found that she is a descendant of Jews who were killed during the Spanish Inquisition.

New York Times – Ex-Prostitutes Say South Korea and US Enabled Sex Trade Near Bases

In one of the most incendiary claims, some women say that the American military police and South Korean officials regularly raided clubs from the 1960s through the 1980s looking for women who were thought to be spreading the diseases. They picked out the women using the number tags the women say the brothels forced them to wear so the soldiers could more easily identify their sex partners. [...]

“The more I think about my life, the more I think women like me were the biggest sacrifice for my country’s alliance with the Americans,” [Jeon] said. “Looking back, I think my body was not mine, but the government’s and the U.S. military’s.”

‘Aqoul – Gaza: A Modest Proposal

At risk of delving into the Israel/Palestine issue, where people too often yell, scream throw things, and put words into my mouth, I’d like to see what the denizens of Aqoul think of this idea for a cease-fire in Gaza, and where to go afterward, which is part of a larger plan to eliminate conflict by addressing socioeconomic inequalities, and which would also address other conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Jezebel – In America, We Value Most Lives

Kalynn Moore has just learned that officials in New Jersey have called off the search for her son Bashere, who died shortly after his birth and was thrown out with the hospital’s trash. [Fox, Fox]

The Kitchen Table – Cost, Value, and Lives

What kind of world do we live in when we hear of police shooting an unarmed black man, who is already restrained, and think “that doesn’t surprise me.” I no longer want to be desensitized to such violence that I am not capable of feeling outrage and profound anger at such injustice. But I think that is where too many of us are.

The flip side of this coin are those who hear about this incident and immediately wonder what Oscar Grant was doing wrong, operating under the assumption that he is at fault. They assume that Grant was in the wrong place, at the wrong time, doing the wrong thing. Or some assume that the police must have operated under the most dire threat to their lives, not possibly imaganing a scenario in which the police could and would operate from a position of bias and racism. This rose-colored view is equally problematic to me…but again, that is where too many of us are.

Shameless Blog -Gold Standard 2009

Santogold is the nickname of Santi White, a Brooklyn-based singer and songwriter who released her first self-titled album in 2008. For a while she was being hailed as “the new M.I.A.” which I think is now the officially recognized term for “brown girl who isn’t doing rap or R&B”. Okay, she’s a bit like the British musician with Sri Lankan roots and mad style, but she’s even more like, well, Santogold.

White herself addresses the kind of pigeonholing that women of colour face in the music industry, calling out critics for formulating descriptions of her music based on what they expect to hear from a young black woman from Brooklyn, rather than what her music is actually like:

    It’s totally racist. Everyone is just so shocked that I don’t like R&B. Are you shocked that Good Charlotte isn’t into R&B? Why does R&B keep coming into my interviews? It’s pissing me off. I didn’t grow up as a big fan of R&B and, like, what is the big shocker? It’s stupid. In the beginning I thought that was funny. I’m an ‘MC’, I’m a ‘soul singer’, I’m a ‘dance hybrid artist’. And some guy said I looked like Kelly Rowland! I just thought it added to the mystery, because there was so much wrong stuff being written about me.

TransGriot – Why Some Black GLBT Peeps Hate the “Q” Word

Some of that dislike of the ‘Q’ word is fed by negativity to the racism that Black GLBT people found greeting them in ‘queer’ spaces. We also have our own created terms such as SGL (same gender loving) that became popular in the 1990′s or the ‘in the life’ one that dates back to the Harlem Renaissance and some of us are more comfortable with because they reflect our cultural heritage.

‘Queer’ has also become in the Black GLBT community a synonym for white, wealthy, privileged gay male. You also have to look at the reality that many Black GLBT peeps live in the Deep South, which is not exactly the most welcoming area at times for a GLBT person.

Wiretap – (Video) Oakland Residents React to Grant Shooting

Oakland residents express their dissatisfaction, both at the failure of the BART police authority to reprimand the accused officer in any way, and at the media’s one-sided coverage of the following protests.

Jezebel – The Trouble With Prince Harry

Harry, who has already found himself in trouble for being photographed in a Nazi Halloween costume in 2005, is now facing criticism from the Ministry of Defense, as well as his fellow soldiers, for his crass remarks, which include referring to a fellow soldier as “our little Paki friend,” and shouting “”Fuck me, you look like a raghead,” to a soldier who happened to be wearing a camouflage cape. Harry is also being criticized for mocking the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army—his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth.

New York Times (via Resist Racism) – Latinos Recall Patterns of Attacks Before Killings

Attacks like the one Mr. Orellana reported have drawn new attention since Marcelo Lucero, another Ecuadorean immigrant, was stabbed to death on Nov. 8 near Main Street. Prosecutors say seven 16- and 17-year-old boys, mostly from neighboring Medford, were attacking Mr. Lucero when one of them rushed at him with a knife. The attacks were such an established pastime that the youths, who have pleaded not guilty, had a casual and derogatory term for it, “beaner hopping.” One of the youths told the authorities, “I don’t go out doing this very often, maybe once a week.”

That was not news to Latinos in Patchogue, who say that regular harassment, muggings and assaults have had them living in fear — 11 men told The New York Times of 13 attacks, nine of them in the past two years.

But the Suffolk County police said it was news to them.