4-5-12 Links Roundup

Kyung Chan Kim, a pastor at the Richmond Korean Baptist Church and head of the Northern California Korean Christian Association, expressed condolences to the families of the victims, but was quick to distance the community from the violence.

“I’m very sorry to the victims of the shooting, and I’m very sorry that it happened in a Korean Christian school,” said Kim. “However, this kind of incident can happen regardless of place. I don’t think it’s just a problem within the Korean community.”

Such statements are exactly what Jonathan H. Lee, chair of the Department of Primary Care and Community Medicine at the San Mateo Medical Center, warns against. Lee, who is Korean American, says members must take stock of to what extent this tragedy reflects something within their own community.

“There is a racial overlay to this,” said Lee, noting that both the shooter and the university were part of the Korean American community. “Koreans are implicated… [but] the reaction of the Korean community is probably going to be to find an explanation that doesn’t require them to go inward.”

Outraged by the violence and stereotyping that sanctioned this terror, journalist Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1931) and educator Anna Julia Cooper (1858-1964) cultivated what feminist scholar Patricia Hill Collins has called “a recursive relationship between … intellectual and political work.” In their respective 1892 publications Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases and A Voice from the South. By a Woman of the South, Wells-Barnett and Cooper educated white American men about how the suppression of blacks’ economic success and political activism was the true reason for most lynchings of black fathers and sons–rather than the spurious claim that they raped white women. The authors urged white American women to recognize how ending racial and sexual violence and gaining suffrage and other political rights were complementary rather than exclusive goals. They participated in and helped organize interracial campaigns and boycotts in order to publicize lynching atrocities and press for a national anti-lynching law.Similarly, as Koritha Mitchell writes in Living with Lynching: Afrincan American Lynching Plays, Performances, and Citizenship, 1890-1930, black women writers of the Progressive Era, such as Angelina Weld Grimké (1880-1958) and Georgia Douglas Johnson (1880-1966), created lynching plays to help black audiences survive the destructive effects of the mob on their homes and families.

By confronting a somnolent nation with the consequences of bigotry and fear, then stirring citizens into action, African American feminists have stood our ground, turning acts of violence and victimhood into opportunities for empowerment and advocacy. We’ve worked within black communities to develop anti-racist and anti-sexist strategies. We’ve claimed what Collins calls in Black Feminist Thought an “outsider-within” position “whose marginality provides a distinct angle of vision” on the politics of power and authority. This has enabled us to save our lives and communities by calling out the people, perceptions and policies that mask or deny the realities of African Americans’ experiences.

“Obamacare is a cancer in our government and we’re going to rip it out!” Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin told the crowd.

Faith and Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed declared that “Obamacare is a dagger aimed at the heart of religious freedom.”

“From the taxpayer funding of abortion that is allowed under this legislation that has been extensively documented by the National Right to Life Committee, to the rationing of care by the Independent Payment Advisory Board that would lead to the sequestering across the board of funds under Medicare and ration care to seniors, to the elderly, to the infirmed and to the disabled, to the Obamacare mandate on religious charities that would force them to fund health care services that violates their conscience and that offends their morality and which undermines the teaching of their faith,” Reed explained.

“There have long been African-American intellectuals,” said Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., whose new genealogical show, “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr.,” debuted last Sunday on PBS.

“The difference with my generation and those after is that there are more of us in the spotlight,” Gates said. “With my PBS specials, I drew a record 25 million viewers. I wouldn’t have been able to do that without the platform I have.”

“It’s good to see black intellectuals do well,” he said. “We as a people are a whole range of things, and we’re finally starting to see that reflected in the media.”

Because there is a growing number of prominent and successful people considered blerds such as President Obama, Gates and astrophysicist and PBS star Neil deGrasse Tyson, TV viewers are starting to see more and more blerd-type characters on their favorite comedies and even children’s programs.

As Mallika Dutt of Breakthrough has written of her work with the “We Belong Together” coalition in Alabama, “the ‘war on immigrants’ is not a parallel crisis–it is a direct affront to women’s fundamental human rights.”

Take, for example, the fight on Capitol Hill over approving an expanded version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which I wrote about last week. Plenty of people, not all of them Republican senators, have called Democrats’ proposal to include protections for immigrants and GLBTQ people a cynical move, meant to pressure Republicans to extend support to populations whose rights they normally attack so they will be forced to reject it.

This, I admit, was my own first response. But the plausibility of the claim is more alarming the more one considers it. Plenty of us simply found it more probable that Democrats would advocate for immigrant or GLBTQ survivors in order to provoke Republicans than that they would act in good faith to protect those people. This clearly reveals where the lines in the “War on Women” have been drawn.

“Lots of Americans feel directly connected to the women’s rights issues that are happening,” says Ai-Jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers’ Alliance (NDWA). “We have a lot of work to do to make them understand that they are also directly connected to the immigration rights issues that are happening.”

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