links for 2010-12-31

  • "'I absolutely could not believe the number of mistakes — wrong dates and wrong facts everywhere. How in the world did these books get approved?' said Ronald Heinemann, a former history professor at Hampden-Sydney College who reviewed 'Our Virginia: Past and Present.' The other book mentioned in the report was 'Our America: To 1865.'

    Heinemann added that the book 'should be withdrawn from the classroom immediately, or at least by the end of the year.'"

  • "A Facebook page has been set up by an ally of Sullivan publicizing the boycott of Bieber and several other pro-mosque celebrities. It has attracted nearly 500 fans.
    "Intrigued by the idea that Bieber would weigh in on one of the most polarizing political issues of the day, I began looking for his interview with Tiger Beat.

    "The magazine does cover Bieber obsessively ('Justin Bieber Dodges Dating Selena Gomez Question!' and 'Did Justin Bieber Grow a Mustache?' are two recent features). But I couldn't find any sign of an interview on Park51."

  • "The murals are part of a collection of eight works painted by George Beattie in 1956 depicting an idealized version of Georgia farming, from the corn grown by prehistoric American Indians to a 20th-century veterinary lab. In the Deep South, the history in between includes the use of slave labor.

    "'I don't like those pictures,' said Republican Gary Black, the newly elected agriculture commissioner. 'There are a lot of other people who don't like them.'"

links for 2010-12-29

  • “It’s like Eminem is a great, great rapper. But in part because hip-hop has a different relationship to black people then R&B, and in part because Eminem is the best selling artist of the last decade, I never lose sight of his whiteness. Teena Marie never crossed-over, and never seemed to much care about crossing over. There was no sense that she was—willingly or not—Elvising, and getting extra credit for being white. Part of that is her own aesthetic, and part of it was just the times. I’m sure, like any artist, she would have liked to have won a grammy and sold more. But as it was, Teena Marie sung pariah music for a pariah people. In doing so, she offered testimony, once again, that blackness, like all culture, is not biological.”
  • “She was lost in her thoughts, so I withdrew in to mine, suddenly remembering how shocking it was to see Denzel Washington and Sarita Choudhury fall in love and touch each other in ‘Mississippi Masala’, which I saw during my senior year of high school, back home in California. I had cut school to watch it with my best friend, one of the only other brown girls at my overwhelmingly-white school. We stared at the screen, wide-eyed and in shock as the credits rolled, 18 years ago.”
  • “The growth of online activism targeting blacks and Hispanics has been spurred in part by data showing that minorities are outpacing other racial and ethnic groups in the use of social media. Research by the Pew Internet & Family Life Project has found that minority Internet users are more than twice as likely to use Twitter as are white Internet users. And in the past decade, the proportion of Internet users who are black or Latino has nearly doubled- from 11 percent to 21 percent.

    ‘The Internet has ‘become deeply integrated within all activism. It’s not a distinctive, separate area. And it’s become more inclusive,’ said Wes Boyd, a co-founder of the liberal online activist group where Rucker once worked. ‘You can make these connections for much less money, and [the] technology helps strengthen and extend traditional networks.'”

  • “Once a purely black concept, its new home is a multicultural America determined to celebrate diverse histories, experiences and cultures. Part of Kwanzaa’s embrace by multicultural America is self-serving. Whereas black power uses Kwanzaa to connect black Americans with the continent of Africa, multicultural America uses Kwanzaa to sell products and consumer goods. Whereas black power expected Kwanzaa to liberate African-Americans, multicultural America has tried to use Kwanzaa as evidence of racial diversity and black inclusion.

    We should applaud Kwanzaa’s growth in American society, but we should also remain aware of a cautionary tale so often associated with holidays. Too much variation and too many usages will cause Kwanzaa to lose its original purpose. Just ask its neighbor, Christmas.”

links for 2010-12-28

  • "“What we’re seeing now in America is what has been sort of a quiet or informal empowerment of women,” said Shireen Zaman, executive director of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, a nonprofit research institute founded after the 2001 attacks to provide research on American Muslims. “In many of our home countries, socially or politically it would’ve been harder for Muslim women to take a leadership role. It’s actually quite empowering to be Muslim in America.”

Sandra Lee’s Kwanzaa Cake and the problem with being inclusive

By Guest Contributor Tami Winfrey Harris, cross-posted from What Tami Said

Respecting and honoring all persons and their cultures is hard work in a society that privileges the majority culture. It requires honest acknowledgement that privilege allows some Americans to be knowledgeable and care only about their own beliefs and rituals. It requires dedication to learning about traditions beyond your own. And it requires resisting the temptation to see other cultures only within the context of your own. (i.e. believing Hanukkah is Jewish Christmas)

This all takes work. And, frankly, I don’t think most Americans wish to work hard at understanding other cultures. This time of year, the War on Christmasers balk at “Happy Holidays”–just a gentle acknowledgement that some Americans celebrate winter holidays other than or in addition to Christmas. But even the more evolved among us stumble, because rather than learning, say, what Winter Solstice or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa really are and what they mean to those who celebrate them, we prefer to simply be “inclusive.” And by “inclusive” I mean folks throw in a mention of these holidays from time to time during the season, usually conflating them with Christmas. Shove a Kinara or Menorah in the background of a talk show set or on a holiday graphic. Include other winter holidays in the consumerist frenzy that Christmas has become. And indiscriminately shout “Happy Kwanzaa” long before December 26.

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Bats In Their Belfry: DC Comics’ New Muslim Hero Angers Islamophobes

By Arturo R. García

Not to be outdone by the Council of Conservative Citizens, right-wing bloggers have found a new cause for umbrage: DC Comics’ newest member of the nascent “Batman Corps” is French, an Algerian immigrant, and – cue the melodrama – a Muslim.

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QUOTABLE: Tony Porter, ‘A Call To Men’

See collectively, we as men are taught to have less value in women, to view them as property and the objects of men. We see that as an equation that equals violence against women. We as men, good men, the large majority of men, we operate on the foundation of this whole collective socialization. We kind of see ourselves separate, but we’re very much a part of it. You see, we have to come to understand that less value, property and objectification is the foundation and the violence can’t happen without it.

So we’re very much a part of the solution as well as the problem. The center for disease control says that men’s violence against women is at epidemic proportions, is the number one health concern for women in this country and abroad.

So quickly, I’d like to just say, this is the love of my life, my daughter Jay. The world I envision for her, how do I want men to be acting and behaving? I need you on board. I need you with me. I need you working with me and me working with you on how we raise our sons and teach them to be men — that it’s okay to not be dominating, that it’s okay to have feelings and emotions, that it’s okay to promote equality, that it’s okay to have women who are just friends and that’s it, that it’s okay to be whole, that my liberation as a man is tied to your liberation as a woman.

Full transcript available at Restructure!

links for 2010-12-24

links for 2010-12-23

  • "Today, the problem I wish to address is the way Luisa managed to weed out every non-US African diaspora character. Put simply, she killed off all the black folks in my story. In her hands my black Colombian character Elizabeth becomes “a sizzling Colombian” (because we might as well employ cliched language in addition to de-Africanizing her); my mulatta Puerto Rican/Dominican character Usnavys becomes African American, non Latino, and ends up adhering to every stereotype of the fat-n-sassy oversexed negress “diva” that Hollywood has ever flung at the viewing public; and my Nigerian-British millionaire heartthrob, Andre Cartier, becomes Andre Carter, an East Indian by way of London.

    There is no discernible reason for these changes, other than anti-black racism."

  • "Attendees at Monday’s ball would like to believe that the unanimity of slaveowners and non-slaveowners during the crisis proves that slavery wasn’t the driving issue behind secession. But a closer study of the contentious debate over secession in late 1860 shows how “fire-eaters” used fear of emancipation to coerce and persuade whites of all classes into ultimately supporting secession. (Needless to say, the state’s black majority likely didn’t support secession either—though no one bothered to ask them.)"
  • "The shooting of Yegor Sviridov on 6 December has sparked the worst race riots Moscow has seen since the fall of the Soviet Union. The killing and beating of immigrants has increased, racist and anti-Semitic graffiti has proliferated, and the atmosphere is tense."

    "Russia has a growing racism problem, with nationalist feelings increasingly stoked by the government since the collapse of the Soviet Union left an ideological vacuum. Yet many are beginning to wonder why tensions have finally boiled over. There are the conspiracy theories that say the unrest was stoked by the government of Vladimir Putin to prove the need for his authoritarian rule.

    Others wonder whether nationalist groups are taking advantage of the weakened political climate following the dramatic firing of Moscow's veteran mayor, Yury Luzhkov, two months ago."