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

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.

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links for 2010-11-02

  • "So far, Haley has used her race and gender as a way to position herself as a Republican party outsider—a good place to be in a year when the party insiders have been nothing but a disgrace. A story she likes to tell, of being disqualified from a beauty pageant as a child because she could be neither the black queen or white queen, emphasizes that’s she’s neither (and, of course, draws attention her looks, without which it seems hard for Republican women politicians to gain prominence). Subtly implied by this story is the suggestion that both blacks and whites received her with the same degree of animosity—that perhaps black South Carolinians are just as racist as whites are, a common refrain in the Tea Party victim storyline, though one not borne out by Haley's own background."
  • "Fennell says the Pike County Railroad Co. defied topography, efficiency, cost and even its own surveyors' advice to build a wide bypass.

    "At its peak in 1865, the town had about 160 residents. After the bypass was built in 1870, New Philadelphia declined and reverted to farmland. By the 1890s it was gone.

    "'The last explanation standing,' Fennell writes, is that the railroad, based in slave-trading Hannibal, Mo., 'did not want to see New Philadelphia thrive. … This is an instance where racial ideology leads to a net loss for everyone.'"

  • "Personally, I’m a little surprised to find that this is the second television project I’ve heard about in the last few months that involves an African-American producer attempting to put Asian-Americans into the spotlight, the first being Tyrese’s 'K-Town' reality television project. I don’t know what, yet, to make of this apparent trend, but I think it may speak to a need for our community to keep independently funding media projects that attempt to promote Asian Americans in a more varied and diverse light."
  • "'If you'll excuse me, I have to put on my headdress,' [Griffin] said. 'I bet Joan Rivers has never had to say that.

    "Comment:  Anyone who isn't an ignoramus never had to say that.

    "Spare us any comments about how the headdress was part of Griffin's comedy routine. Or how she was satirizing our ignorance about Indians. I've already dismissed those excuses as invalid."

  • "Creative people are 41 percent more likely to watch AMC's Mad Men than non creative people, according to psychographic ad targeter Mindset Media as picked up in Ad Age.

    Fans of the 1950s-set advertising drama are also 124% more likely to be liberal."

“Not All Cultures Are Equal:” Presente.org Asks Us All to Go Vote

This new video from Presente.org explains who exactly is voting on November 2nd:

The video quotes Glenn Beck saying that Obama “has a deep seated hatred for white people;” Rush Limbaugh saying his Barack the Magic Negro joke was “funny” and “brilliant;” Fox Business anchor John Stossel arguing that private businesses “should be allowed to discriminate;” Alabama gubernatorial hopeful Tim James leading off his ad with the line “This is Alabama, we speak English;” Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann railing against the idea of “multicultural diversity” by saying “it sounds good in theory,” but “not all cultures are equal.”

Presente notes “They have a vision for America that doesn’t include of all of us.”

It’s an important thing to remember.

Quoted, Election Day Edition: Adrienne Maree on Being an American Revolutionary


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.” Continue reading

On Forcing Myself to Vote

by Latoya Peterson


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. Continue reading

links for 2010-11-01

  • "Yeah. I went to all white school where I dealt with racism. There was a point–when I was a kid–where I said I wanted to be like Luke Skywalker, with blond hair and blue eyes. My mom right there told me to never be ashamed of who I am."
  • "I think that neither men nor women in the Black community have more responsibility than the other to eradicate harmful gender roles. Balance is necessary for healthy relationships. When Black men presume male privilege as their “rightful” place in our relationships and Black women support this male privilege as a result of seeing themselves as the lesser gender, this situates both men and women culpably affecting substantive change. When we begin to see ourselves as necessary components of a complete circle then there is no need for one person to dominate another. It is domination within our relationships that has us imbalanced."
  • "This question is important, given that some TV channels and newspapers are in the process of brazenly inciting mob anger against me. In the race for sensationalism the line between reporting news and manufacturing news is becoming blurred. So what if a few people have to be sacrificed at the altar of TRP ratings? The Government has indicated that it does not intend to go ahead with the charges of sedition against me and the other speakers at a recent seminar on Azadi for Kashmir. So the task of punishing me for my views seems to have been taken on by right wing storm troopers. The Bajrang Dal and the RSS have openly announced that they are going to 'fix' me with all the means at their disposal including filing cases against me all over the country. "
  • "Since they began arriving in the city in large numbers in the 1940s, Puerto Ricans have made their mark in many realms, including business, culture and politics. Some of those political leaders — including Representative José E. Serrano, who has represented the South Bronx for two decades, and Fernando Ferrer, the former Bronx borough president — strongly disputed the study’s conclusions that Puerto Ricans are any worse off than other Latinos.

    “'When it comes to Puerto Ricans, there are so many studies that always try to paint the glass as half-empty,' Mr. Serrano said, though he acknowledged that the group faced unusual challenges. 'Puerto Ricans are American citizens who are treated by a lot of people as if they are not American citizens.'

    "Others said the new report would come as no surprise to anyone who had tracked statistics over the years."

  • "A high school where some students played the Internet game "Beat the Jew" will receive a new tolerance curriculum, officials said.

    "The annoucement comes five months after officials a La Quinta High School in Riverside County disciplined students for playing the game.

    "The game, which gathered participants via Facebook, is a complicated contest of tag, in which 'Jews' are taken, blindfolded, by car to a place off campus and have to make their way back to base while pursued by 'Nazis.

    "Organizers had put up a Facebook page announcing the game that was 'friended' by some 40 students, of which seven participated."

The Orientalism of Nicki Minaj

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.

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