Help end violence against women and girls – today

By Guest Contributor Rob Fields, cross-posted from Bold As Love

Please support the international effort to end violence against women and girls.

This Tuesday, September 28, please check out the film Tapestries of Hope, which is filmmaker Michealene Risley’s documentary that exposes the horrors of the rape and sexual abuse of thousands of young girls in Zimbabwe by men who believe it will cure HIV/AIDS.  It focuses also on the work of Betty Makoni, Zimbabwean child rights activist and a 2009 CNN Hero, who works to shelter, educate and empower these female victims through her Zimbabwe-based Girl Child Network.

In addition to having the film screened simultaneously in more than 100 theaters around the country, the other goal of this event is to raise awareness for the International Violence Against Women Act and encourage folks in the nationwide audience to contact their congressional representatives to urge them to support it.  The bill is a bipartisan initiative led by Senator John Kerry and others and, according to a press release, “is the first comprehensive legislation aimed at ending violence against women and girls worldwide.”

The simplest thing you can do to support this effort is to write to your representative now.

The Tapestries of Hope site has other suggestions for ways you can get involved.

Finally, Facebook will will be interviewing the director on Tuesday at 2pm PST, and you can watch the interview and ask questions right from your Facebook account via this link.

Check out the film’s trailer here.

Shout out to Kevin Powell for the heads up on this.

Wrong Man For The Job: The Racialicious Review of Outsourced 1.1

By Arturo R. García

Based on the pilot episode, Outsourced has the potential to be something rare: a show that’s pissing off people on both sides of an issue, but in reality is too bland for its’ own good.

As things stand, it mostly pussyfoots around its’ premise: Todd walks into work one morning to find out the novelty product call center he’s supposed to lead has been shifted to India – no city is named on the show’s website, by the way – and staffed by locals.

Now, there’s comments on the show’s page expressing offense that a) the network would air a show about Americans losing jobs to “those people;” and b) that South Asian actors would willingly take part in a show that reduced them to Funny Minority backdrop roles for yet another clueless American character. Somewhere in the middle of both stances, there’s room for a comedy that can address both sides of the issue. But so far, this doesn’t look like it’s gonna be it.

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links for 2010-09-27

  • "Gamers indulge in this out-of-body experience every time they pick up a controller.  Unfortunately, it also describes how gamers feel when they are bullied by other online gamers. 

    "Gamers are misusing the live online communication feature on Sony's Playstation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360 by shouting racial slurs and life-threatening attacks.

    "Online attacks have become so intense that they cause people like 21-year-old Kender Massillon, a third year accounting student from Orlando, to refrain from gaming online.

    "'Go kill yourself nigger,' include one of the many racist remarks he has received."

  • "There is an incredible new study out, which confirms the inherent weakness and actual dangers of colorblindness as a way to challenge racism. According to the researchers from Northwestern, Stanford and Tufts, taking a colorblind approach with young children — such as instructing them to “focus on what makes us similar” rather than dealing constructively with difference and challenging bias directly — actually reduces the likelihood that those young people will recognize discriminatory behavior when it occurs, or seek to do something about it."
  • "Not surprisingly, attitudes varied from group to group. Respondents with higher incomes tended to still believe in the dream more than those with lower incomes. Similarly, the college educated were bigger believers than the less educated. Independent voters believe less than either Democrats or Republicans, and Americans who live in the West are significantly more likely to believe than those in the Rust Belt. Reflective perhaps of varying levels of expectations — or sense of entitlement — nonwhites are more likely to believe in the dream than are whites."
  • "In 1970 Psychology Today published a board game where players were divided into white and black, and had to make economic progress while competing with each other. Based on Monopoly, the idea was to demonstrate how the odds were stacked against black people in society by having different rules for each race in the game."
    Whites started out with $1 million, blacks with $10,000 and each race had different opportunity decks. While whites could buy property in any part of the board, blacks were limited to certain areas until they had accumulated at least $100,000 and were outright banned from property in the ‘suburban zone’.
  • “'It is unbelievable that a person holding such a responsible position can make such a statement,' said J. Anand, vice president of a New Delhi travel agency. 'Hygiene is hygiene, whether it is in India or anywhere else. I feel embarrassed by that statement.'”
  • "While applauding the sale of local produce in stores, farmers' market supporters say the main point is for farmers to sell freshly harvested goods directly to shoppers, which they say is more profitable than using stores and distributors as middlemen. Farmers generally earn money at markets, and the ones where they don't quickly disappear. Most markets charge a small fee to participate; a farmer's profit margin there is typically around 90%, compared with about 10% on sales to a supermarket. Farmers have to pay for transportation and other expenses when they sell at a market and take time away from the farm."
  • "First, I cannot help but wonder if this explains the disconnect between Black women and our bodies – the fact that a large number of us went out of our way to stop paying attention to our bodies because we were too busy trying to make ourselves less appealing to harassers. Furthermore, I notice that there’s a lot of discouragement during the ages where young girls are supposed to be learning about and understanding their bodies… to do exactly that. I wonder if we are, in a roundabout way, encouraging harmful behavior in our daughters because we are trying to discourage male attention… and beyond that, sexual harassment and assault?"
  • "A "fearsome" muscle-bound Hell's Angel called 66-year-old Keith DeGroot a "fucking Jew" and knocked his eyeglasses off. So "Cockney Keith" broke the guy's skull with his walking stick. This glorious underdog victory will cost Keith 18 months in jail."

Around the Internet – Don Lemon’s Disclosure, Avatar Remix, Blackness as a Problem, G33k and G4m3r Girls, Black Tea Party Candidate

by Latoya Peterson

Monday videos!

Via Pam’s House Blend, Don Lemon revealed a painful truth on television while covering the Bishop Eddie Long scandal. (The Bishop is accused of manipulating young men into sexual relationships with him.) Media Bistro explains:

Lemon had just played a soundbite from the lawyer of one of Long’s accusers about how the bishop allegedly got close to one of the young men in his church.

    Let me tell you what got my attention about this and I have never admitted this on television. I’m a victim of a pedophile when I was a kid. Someone who was much older than me.

Lemon’s admission led to an audible gasp from one of his guests. “I’ve never admitted that on television and I never told my mom until I was 30 years old,” Lemon said later in the segment. “Especially African-American men don’t want to talk about those things.”

Looking at this week’s schedule, I’m not sure Arturo or I will have enough time to delve into this, but it is amazingly important, and we will host a discussion about this next week.

Via & For the Love of Fashion, this video on model Anais Mali, which is heartbreaking in its simplicity. Mali is bubbly and full of life, with gorgeous photos and a heavy love of designer gear. But the casting folks in Paris just say straight up “You’re black? This is a problem.”

From the tips pool comes this video on Avatar Remix – A.V.A.T.A.R. (Anglos Valiantly Aiding Tragic Awe-inspiring Races). It’s a mash up of Avatar – and other films with very similar themes.

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On Supporting, and Not Supporting, Molly Norris


By Thea Lim

I heard about Molly Norris for the first time last week, on Fatemeh’s blog. Fatemeh wrote that she had signed a petition in support of Molly Norris, and gave this reason:

I was unhappy to read that “Draw Muhammad Day” creator Molly Norris had voluntarily gone into hiding. While I thought the concept of “Draw Muhammad Day” was ridiculous and viewed it in the same light as the South Park episode that supposedly depicted the prophet, I recognize that Norris’ intent wasn’t to be offensive or malicious. In Islam, intentions count for something just like actions, and no one should be punished for simple naïveté. It’s atrocious that Norris has received threats and feels unsafe enough to go incognito.

I have to say that after doing a little bit of reading about Norris, “Draw Muhammad Day” and the outpouring of support for Norris, I am finding it difficult to be as generous as Fatemeh.

When Fatemeh writes that she supports Norris, what I understand is that Fatemeh supports Norris’ right to live a life free of violence and threats.  That, I find entirely reasonable – I too support Norris’ right to safety, as I support anyone’s right to safety.  But what I am struggling to understand is exactly what all the other people who say they support Norris, are actually in support of.

Aaron Goldstein at The American Spectator writes:

Freedom of expression in America took another step closer to a slow death last week when the Seattle Weekly announced it would no longer be publishing the work of cartoonist Molly Norris because she had gone into hiding…I cannot help but wonder that if Norris had been more assertive in her own defense then others would have been more eager to stand beside her…So given the current political climate regarding Islam in America who among us could be the next Molly Norris?

James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal writes:

Where is President Obama? Last month, speaking to a mostly Muslim audience at the White House, the president strongly defended the right of another imam held up as a moderate to build a mosque adjacent to Ground Zero. The next day, and again at a press conference last week, Obama said he was merely standing up for the First Amendment. As far as we recall, it’s the only time Barack Obama has ever stood up for anybody’s First Amendment rights.

Now Molly Norris, an American citizen, is forced into hiding because she exercised her right to free speech. Will President Obama say a word on her behalf? Does he believe in the First Amendment for anyone other than Muslims?

Abigail R. Esman at Forbes writes:

Let me repeat: The U.S. government is suggesting that Ms. Norris change her name, strip away her past, possibly even change her appearance, because she has been targeted by Muslim extremists who are not amused by her work or her ideas. Rather than protect her, rather than defend her, rather than stand up for her Constitutional and democratic rights, declaring their intention to route al-Awlaki out and bring him (and others who are threatening her life) to justice, the American government, as it were, is itself in essence allying with him by taking away her freedom and her life.

Now listen. I will say this again: I emphatically support Molly Norris’ right to safety. I think it is terrible that she has to go into hiding, and I can only imagine the fear and distress that she is feeling right now.

But. I 100% do not support Norris’ right to mean-spirited mockery. I do not support anyone’s right to belittle, poke fun at, show insensitivity or thoughtlessness towards anyone else’s system of belief – but especially at Islam, seeing how it seems to have become some sort of Liberal American pastime to see who can make the most Islamophobic joke.  And this is while the rights of Muslims to pursue their system of belief is under attack, all across the Western world.

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Spies Like Us!: The Racialicious Roundtable for Undercovers 1.1

Hosted By Arturo R. García

It’s the new show we’ve gotten the most review requests for. But did Undercovers live up to the hype and the hope? So far, yes to one, and maybe to the other.

We’d known going in that Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw would be headlining the show as married spies-turned-caterers Steven and Samantha Bloom, and that they’d get called back into action. What I wasn’t prepared for – and this tells you a lot about Hollywood –  was how … well-adjusted these characters would be thus far.


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Facing Race 2010: Popularizing Racial Justice with Rinku Sen, Tim Wise, Van Jones, and Maria Teresa Kumar

by Latoya Peterson


Popularizing Racial Justice: Building Clarity, Unity and Strategy to Move us Forward.

Amidst a climate of racist populism, how do we popularize racial justice? How can we jumpstart the real race conversation and transformation needed? What are we learning and what do we still need to figure out? What analytical and strategic connections can move us forward together? Key leaders will weigh in on the discourse and direction we need. Moderator: Cathy Cohen, University of Chicago; Presenters: Van Jones, Center for American Progress, Maria Teresa Kumar, Votolatino, Rinku Sen, Applied Research Center, Tim Wise, anti-racist activist and writer.

links for 2010-09-25

  • ”‘Gangsta rap’ was a reaction of white journalism and never a description of the performers themselves,” says author and historian Cecil Brown. Noting that police brutality has long been a theme within hip-hop, he says, “This need to express one’s condition by using electronic technology is not different from using the medium of the work song to express slave oppression.”

    The controversy around gangsta rap fittingly began with its willingness to address police violence against African Americans. In 1989, in response to the N.W.A. song “Fuck tha Police,” the FBI notified police departments nationwide about the group’s planned tour dates and sent a warning letter to its label, Priority. In 1992, then-Vice President Dan Quayle criticized Tupac Shakur for anti-law enforcement lyrics on his “2Pacalypse Now” album, saying such content “has no place in our society.”

  • "The image of blackness flourishes, but how is the presence of diversity in the publishing world? We take the pulse of the industry. We ask which magazines have hired, who have they hired and what does that reveal about diversity in post racial USA? Black women may adorn mainstream magazine covers, but, there are no black people holding the top position of Fashion Director at any major magazine. What do you say that means for the fashion, beauty, lifestyle media in post-racial America?”