Month: May 2009

May 29, 2009 / / muslim

Compiled by Latoya Peterson and Fatemeh Fakhraie


Rolling Ruminations has hosted a blog carnival on White Privilege and the Muslim Ummah. As regular readers know, it gets kind of heavy around here when we start discussing the intersection of race and religion. True to form, the carnival featured a range of opinions. Our favorites are below.

Ginny – Hesitant Thoughts On White Privilege

As a blind white Muslim, I just plain give up in trying to understand how I’m supposed to navigate the complex world of race, disability and religion, because no matter what I do or say, it’s always going to be viewed through the fact that I’m white, and thus everything else is seemingly minimized and seen as an attempt by me to gain some kinda street cred with POC, because “hey I’ve been discriminated just like you”, when that wasn’t even my intention, and I wouldn’t even try to say as much! Because the fact that I had to testify in a court of law to being sexually assaulted, or the fact that I had to give a detailed deposition regarding employment discrimination, or the fact that there are certain websites that are not accessible to me has nothing to do with race, and is a completely different type of discrimination altogether. Yes, I experience white privilege, and I’m sure I do so in ways I don’t realize. However, I don’t think other forms of discrimination should be passed off as nothing, though at the same time, I don’t think that they should be held up as ways that whites “understand” people of color. I’d not go so far as to say that. Because I’ll tell you right now that sighted people will never understand what it’s like to be blind. So as a white person, I can’t tell you what it’s like to be black, or anything else for that matter. All I can tell you is what it’s like to be a blind white Muslim who benefits from white privilege but doesn’t always understand how. And I’m struggling with that. This whole race thing is hard for me to understand, I’m white but I don’t know what that means, only what society tells me it means. I’m supposed to have some kinda privilege, I’m supposed to be on the upper echelons of my society but I don’t feel like it most of the time. Most of the time I feel less than, second best, not as good as. I’m made to feel that I have to work twice as hard, go twice as far, do twice as much. But oh, I’m white, so I’m supposed to have some kind of privilege. And maybe I do, it’s just hard for me to realize what or where that privilege lies.

Read the Post Link Love: The White Privilege & the Ummah Carnival

May 29, 2009 / / art

by Guest Contributor jbrotherlove, originally published at jbrotherlove

I haven’t been a very good cinephile lately. And by “not very good” I mean I haven’t attended any films in this year’s Atlanta Film Festival. In addition to being very busy at work in the past few weeks, I attribute the oversight to a combination of procrastination, lack of Atlanta friends who are passionate about independent film (Boo!), and confusion over my AFF membership status (holla at a brother, Charles).

However, I did manage to get over to the newish Starbucks in Midtown Promenade (off Piedmont Park) to attend the festival’s Diversity On Screen panel, part of their Coffeehouse Conversations series. The panel was moderated by journalist and author Gil Robertson. Author Ronda Racha Penrice, Felicia Feaster (The Atlantan), Ryan Lee (Southern Voice), and Will Hong (TurnerAsia) rounded out the panel.

In general, the panel agreed that the state of diversity in film (race, sexual orientation, gender, age, etc.) is improving. But film lags far behind television and digital/internet in terms of portraying characters and stories with complexity (Hong). Read the Post Notes from AFF’s Diversity On Screen panel

May 28, 2009 / / asian

by Guest Contributor Czerina Salud, originally published at the Huffington Post

Alec Baldwin’s apology over his Filipina-mail-order-bride comment hit the web this past Wednesday. While there were over 400 comments posted to his blog, a strikingly relevant voice was missing from this discussion. Sadly, the discussion was missing (what seems to me, a Filipina-American woman) an essential voice in this public dialogue — that of a Filipina woman.

So I’m throwing my two cents in because it pains me to see this voice under-represented in this discussion. It feels like you are that troubled kid in the room everyone is talking about but no one is talking to.

Nowhere is the invisibility of the Filipina woman in this dialogue more evident than in the endless comments to Mr. Baldwin’s post that unbelievably condone his behavior from both sides of the Pacific:

“Regarding Alec Baldwin’s comments on ‘mail-order brides’ — it was a joke!” — weber1633

“As someone from the Philippines, the apology was a nice gesture, but there was no need.” — Biboy Hernandez

“Frankly, I think it’s ridiculous that you even had to apologize; I don’t personally know anyone, including any Filipinos, who found that offensive.” — lz1982

Oh really?

Read the Post If Hello Kitty Had A Mouth She’d Be Screaming By Now

May 28, 2009 / / academia

by Guest Contributor Cheryl Lynn, originally published at Digital Femme

*Warning: Spoilers Ahead*

“Baby, you can fall down in the mud, but you don’t have to wallow in it.”

“I’m tellin’ you. It ain’t easy.”

Two sayings. Two grandmothers. Both mine. Both true.

One more saying. This one’s true too.

“This won’t kill me. I won’t die here.”

Martha Washington. The Black Reality.

Like my grandmothers, Martha Washington grew up in a hostile environment–America. More specifically for Martha, she was raised in an alternate version of the Cabrini Green Housing Development, which existed as a cordoned off area of Chicago intended to house those that the government deemed to be undesirable. The Green was relegated to those who were black and those who were poor. As a child, Martha received substandard housing and substandard healthcare. She attended school in a decrepit building outfitted with exposed pipes and outdated school supplies.

But what did Martha need with a decent education? To her country and to her government, she was simply fuel for a brick and mortar Ouroboros. Like her father before her, she was raised to live and die in the Green. Nothing more than a lump of coal to keep society’s dirty engine running.

Funny things happen to lumps of coal when you apply enough pressure. They get hard, durable and sharp enough to cut anything.

Read the Post Trinity: The Black Reality

May 27, 2009 / / LGBTQ
May 27, 2009 / / sports

By Guest Contributor G.D., originally posted at PostBourgie

girls

Malcolm Gladwell has caught a lot of flak for his piece last week on how underdogs win, and perhaps rightly so. His central point, though — that the outgunned can have a fighting chance at success if they ditch convention and play to their strengths — is one worth considering, and given the resilience and tactics of the insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq, is a topical one, too.

But in making his point, he goes to some weird places. The framing device for this story is a not-particularly-talented eighth grade girl’s basketball team at Redwood City in the Silicon Valley. There are only two decent players on the squad, and their coach is a TIBCO software executive named Vivek Ranadivé, an Indian emigré who had never seen or played basketball before he arrived in the States. The upshot of that background is that he didn’t have any preconceived notions about the right way to play basketball. So instead of having his players run back on defense after a score or an opponent’s rebound and wait to be picked apart by more skilled players, he instituted the full-court press. His team proceeded to beat up on and frustrate teams with better players, and found themselves in the national championship game. Obviously, the press can make up big gaps in talent.*

But one of the things that raised the eyebrow of my blogmate and fellow sports junkie blackink was the problematic way the Redwood City Girls were described, versus the way their ‘talented’ opponents were characterized.

Read the Post Race and the Full Court Press

May 26, 2009 / / politics

by Latoya Peterson

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Sonia Sotomayor is officially Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court.

Some scattered thoughts:

1. Damn, I hated this process. Adam knocked it out of the park over on Tapped deconstructing the worst of the foolishness.

Jeffrey Rosen admits that he hasn’t “read enough of Sonia Sotomayor’s opinions to have a confident sense of them,” and he adds that he hasn’t “talked to enough of Sonia Sotomayor’s detractors and supporters to get a fully balanced picture of her strengths.” Still, he’s comfortable putting into print anonymous evaluations of her character and intelligence, concluding that she’s possibly “not that smart.” Matthew Yglesias notes that “you don’t see a lot of dumb kids growing up in the South Bronx and winding up at Princeton.” What Matt doesn’t understand is that Sotomayor’s journey from BX to Princeton proves that she’s not that smart, because everyone knows that minorities only get to the Ivy League by not being white.

Read the Post Open Thread: On Sonia Sotomayor