Month: November 2010

November 3, 2010 / / activism

By Guest Contributor Asia al-Massari

The first time I strapped into a snowboard, I was twelve years old. I remember being the only girl in my younger brother’s group of friends, and we all took turns hitting a little jump we had built using the lid of a trash can. The first time I ever went to a resort, I noticed something else. I was the only Arab there. This is something I became used to, being the only brown girl on the mountain. I remember going into the demo center, cash in hand, ready to pick out my very first board. A board that would be all mine, ridden only by me. No more rentals, no more borrowing boards from guy friends that were much too big. All mine. I bought a Burton “Clash” board and the rest was history.

To say I’ve been a loyal Burton customer ever since is a huge understatement. If it had that little bent arrow logo on it, it had to be mine. I felt a loyalty to the brand. They were the only company at the time that made women-specific bindings, that made clothes that fit my awkward body. I liked the message the company propped itself up on. Burton prided itself on being about bringing snowboarders together, creating a community, being inclusive. Being Arab-American, I was having an extremely rough time with being included in post-9/11 American Society. I was an outsider now. And Burton was about creating a community of outsiders. I could finally belong again. I could finally go back to “normal”, back to what I remembered, back to being human.

Read the Post Race + Sports: Burton’s Jeremy Jones Has A Problem With Me

November 2, 2010 / / Uncategorized
November 2, 2010 / / activism
November 2, 2010 / / Quoted

wonder_woman

i feel challenged by Grace [Lee Bogg’s] latest thinking, that a new “more perfect union” is ours to envision and embody, and i think we have to believe that no one can run this country, community by community, better than those of us with clear visions and practices of justice and sustainability. if we believe that, then we must take on the responsibility of bringing our visions into existence – through our actions, not just our words.

the second thing that has made me reconsider this is a conversation that happened at web of change. it was hosted by anasa troutman and angel kyodo williams, and i wasn’t even there, just got to debrief how powerful it was with several participants afterwards. one of the key components was the idea of being able to say that those things that offend us at the deepest level, which seem inhumane, which give us feelings of shame by association – we have to step up to say “that is not our America.” Read the Post Quoted, Election Day Edition: Adrienne Maree on Being an American Revolutionary

November 2, 2010 / / activism

by Latoya Peterson

getobamasback

When I was fifteen years old, taking the updated version of Civics class, my teacher impressed upon me the utter importance of participating in a democracy. This is both a right and a privilege, he noted, explaining that with every right came with a responsibility that must be fulfilled.

To ensure our right to a trial by jury of your peers, one must agree to serve on a jury. So when I was called for jury duty, I groaned internally, but went happily, knowing that I was playing my small role.

Similarly, the right to vote comes with the responsibility to exercise those rights, less they be taken away. So, ever since I was 18, I have gone to the polls.

But this year was a fight. I had a great conversation with Erwin de Leon on the Michael Eric Dyson show where he talked about wanting to vote, dreaming of voting, but being denied that kind of civic participation because he was not a citizen. When Erwin mentioned how he pleaded with his friends to care enough to vote, and remembered how the Philippines has a very different relationship to voting than America.

As he spoke, I flinched inwardly. I believed every word he said. Knew it. But I was still struggling with the idea casting my ballot this year. Read the Post On Forcing Myself to Vote

November 1, 2010 / / Uncategorized

By Guest Contributor Jenn, cross-posted from Reappropriate

Nicki Minaj is hip hop’s newest “it” girl — so why does it seem like her schtick has been done before? Oh, that’s right, because it has.

Minaj is a caricature of Lil’ Kim, taken even farther to the extreme than even Kim would find comfortable. After ditching the rainbow-coloured wigs of her early days, Minaj has fully adopted the hypersexualized, “poseable Black Barbie” look that Kim made famous. Like Kim, Minaj bares skin to sell shitty music to kids who can’t remember the good stuff: a close listen to her music reveals the uninspired, nonsensical lyrics, pedestrian sing-song hooks, and excessive reliance on Auto-tune that has come to characterize hip hop music today — something I like to call “The Drake Effect”. No wonder Kim is furious: Kim was actually a talented lyricist who, for better or for worse, found a way to sell her music to a sexist music industry. To her credit, Kim was a (perverse) representation of sex-positive feminism, which becomes clear when one juxtaposes her hypersexualized style with her lyrics. Minaj, on the other hand, is the Barbie doll who, in one song, craves the love of a man she compares to Eminem.

And I think I love him like Eminem call us Shady
When he call me mama, lil mama, I call him baby

That would be a sweet thing to say, too — if Eminem weren’t the poster-child for recovering drug addicts and domestic abusers right now.

The feminist in me is practically climbing the walls: are we really okay with the idea that two of the most popular female hip hop artists of the last several years — Lil’ Kim and Nicki Minaj — are glorifying themselves as life-sized Barbie dolls? I mean, the bimbo and body image issues alone are enough to make anyone shudder — and we haven’t even scratched the surface of the icky, RealDoll factor. Someone pass me my Queen Latifah.

Read the Post The Orientalism of Nicki Minaj