Links – 2008-02-12

Compiled by Latoya Peterson and Fatemeh Fakhraie

Two items involving the KKK to lead this off. First, over at Rachel’s Tavern, Rachel posts a video of Klu Klux Klan member Owen Wilson discussing his apology to congressman John Lewis.

In two steps back news, Renee brings word that PeTA has decided to dress up like Klan members to protest the AKC.

Does this outfit remind you of anything? PETA will stop at nothing to push its agenda no matter who it marginalizes, no matter who it hurts.

The associated press reports,

    “Crowds gawked at a table set up outside Madison Square Garden on Monday afternoon, where People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was protesting the start of the Westminster Kennel Club show. PETA contends that the American Kennel Club promotes pure-breeding of dogs that is harmful to their health.
    “Welcome AKC Members,” read a banner hanging from the table — with AKC crossed out and KKK written above it. Two PETA protesters dressed as Ku Klux Klan members, while other volunteers handed out brochures that read: “The KKK and the AKC: BFF?”
    “Obviously it’s an uncomfortable comparison,” PETA spokesman Michael McGraw said.
    But the AKC is trying to create a “master race,” he added. “It’s a very apt comparison.”

The amount of insensitivity it takes to dress up like the KKK and attempt to draw a link between the breeding of animals to the terror that blacks have lived with for generations can only be described as the audacity of whiteness.

Middle East Online reviews The Uncultured Wars: Arabs, Muslims, and the Poverty of Liberal Thought, by Steven Salaita, which looks at anti-Arab racism in American liberal media.

Loretta Ross writes about the Hyde Amendment, which disproportionally affects poorer women and often women of color:

As an organization that represents both pro-life and pro-choice women of color, SisterSong believes that poor women should have the same rights and access as middle class women in making decisions about our bodies. But the Hyde Amendment and other federal rules prohibit federal funding for abortion services for poor women on Medicaid, for Native American women in the Indian Health Services, for women in the military and in the Peace Corps. As a first step, the Hyde Amendment should be repealed — immediately!

Oh brave new world… Erykah Badu and Jay Electronica twittered the birth of their baby. (Please do not disrespect Erykah’s Queendom in the comments. Word to OK Player.) (Via.)

The Washington Post has an interesting graphic called “The Red, the Blue, and the Gray” comparing Obama and McCain wins to Confederate and Union States.

But there is another striking parallel: Obama carried every state that Lincoln won 148 years earlier — and the percentage of the white vote that he received, or didn’t receive, in all the states that existed in Lincoln’s day suggests that 144 years after Appomattox, the legacy of slavery and the Civil War continue to cast a heavy shadow over the South.

Aziza Margari has some great thoughts on gender and authority to speak in the Black American Muslim community.

The BBC asks, “What if you had a racist friend?”

The Just Seeds blog has an interesting indictment of appropriation in advertising focusing on the Obey brand:

Fairey’s digging up of the visual elements of political history does more to hide that history than illuminate it. Fairey depends on the source of his work being perceived of as “authentic” or “real.” At the same time, he does nothing to let people know the images are taken from actual historical moments and struggles. I’m much less concerned with this tendency being labeled “theft,” than with the lack of attribution of the source material, or even acknowledgment that there is source material. Our society is pretty seriously fucked up, hundreds of millions are hungry, homeless or in prison, and those are just the most base of factors to judge the health of a community. The history of people struggling to change these things is important, and is largely removed from popular culture and public education. In order to create a better world, we need to have an understanding of the successes and failures of those that came before us. Unfortunately Fairey’s work simply skims the “cool” parts of these struggles off the top, and buries the rest back into the books he took the images from. For anyone that thinks I’m overstating my point, and believe people really do know where Fairey’s images are from, I’m sorry to say you are very wrong. I was recently in a room of University of California students (college students in one of the best university systems in the US), and not a single one of them recognized an image of Angela Davis, who teaches in the University of California system! Fairey’s work is not bringing attention to Davis, the Black Panthers, or any of the struggles in the Black community, but instead uses the image of a self-confident and militant Black woman to sell sweatshop-made OBEY winter caps at department stores.

Obama has moved to appoint a senior White House adviser for tribal issues.

“He’ll soon appoint a policy adviser to his senior White House staff to work with tribes and across the government on these issues such as sovereignty, health care, education — all central to the well-being of Native American families and the prosperity of tribes all across this country,” the first lady said.

Renee Martin has a piece up at GlobalComment about “fauxgressives“:

Everyone knows one of these people. You know the type that reads the coles notes, never the original books but thinks somehow that original thought is their expertise. You know the “it’s not sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, etc., because of the I-R-O-N-Y” person.

The East Bay Express covers an issue of discrimination by a community bank:

Oakland’s Community Bank of the Bay has apologized to one of its Muslim customers for refusing to serve her until she took off her headscarf. […] Here’s the weird thing: the Community Bank of the Bay was explicitly set up to provide microlending to nonprofits and low-income customers who can’t get access to credit elsewhere.

Erin Aubrey Kaplan continues earning her checks at Salon by examining Michelle Obama’s blackness for a white audience. This week: black hair moments.

Elle, PHD has an excellent piece up about why it does matter:

A symbol of a collective knowing: According to the National Black Women’s Health Project, 40% of us “report coercive contact of a sexual nature” by the time we’re 18. (Note that’s just what is reported.) And no matter our age, we are less likely than white women to report the assault, less likely to seek medical and psychological help […].

When her mother was asked what she had taught her daughter about sex, she replied, “Not to have it.” That is a response, I believe, rooted in the influence of religion in African Americans’ lives and a defense mechanism, an attempt to combat the persistent Jezebel stereotype that haunts black women. For example, in the first two minutes of this clip from “Luke’s Parental Advisory, Luther Campbell not only tells his daughter to abstain under threat of disease, but also explains to her how many partners will put her in “H-O territory,” delivering a double-threat of fearmongering and slut-shaming.

So, what happens when we do “have it?” How many of our parents tell us simply not to have it and leave it at that? I mean, there are plenty of people out there telling girls that having sex makes them “used” or “soiled,” that virginity is a gift, something that belongs to a future husband long before they’ve even met him. Once it is gone, they are dirty and have nothing to offer. They are less desirable as partners.

They are worthless.

(Thanks to readers jvansteppes, Rob Schmidt, ananser, InfodivaMLIS415, and LyraTorg for sending tips!)

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Fatemeh is currently finishing her master's degree. She currently runs a website dedicated to critiquing how Muslim women are portrayed in both Eastern and Western media.