Racialicious Links Roundup 2.28.13

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Tuesday pledged to review disciplinary cases of fired cops who believe they’ve been wrongfully terminated, so long as their claims “appear to have substance.”

The pledge was inspired by at least six ex-LAPD officers who asked the officer’s union to urge the chief to relook at their cases in wake of his reopening accused murderer Christopher Dorner’s case.

Dorner blamed the LAPD for ruining his life after the department fired him in 2008 for falsely accusing a superior officer of misconduct. In a now-famous online manifesto, Dorner said he was treated unfairly during LAPD’s disciplinary process. He later allegedly murdered Monica Quan, the daughter of the attorney who represented him during the process, as well as her fiance, Keith Lawrence in Irvine.

After Dorner’s death during a standoff with San Bernardino sheriff’s deputies in a mountain cabin, Beck pledged to continue his review of Dorner’s case, hoping to prove that the system is fair.

The thing is I feel like Black women spend an inordinate amount of time on Facebook & Twitter rebuffing ignorant acts of racism & sexism. I’ve grown weary of venting and posting and retweeting dumbasses to put them on blast. It’s time to take a different approach. I feel like action is necessary for me to survive in a society that cares less and less about me. I mean who in their right mind could call a child such a heinous and monstrously dehumanizing, not to mention sexualized word? Who!

The Onion has since apologized, but believe me that is not enough! The time has come for us to stop getting mad and get smart. This kind of anger rooted in smarts and strategy is rooted in Audre Lorde’s fantastic essay: “Uses of Anger.” Before social media I wrote letters, made phone calls and would fax the press & politicians. Recently I was reminded of the potency found in that agency by fellow writer dream hampton who went to DC to do this. Tweets are cool and they are effective to a certain extent, but it seems if we want more than an apology (and we do) it’s time to start writing letters again. It’s time to call folks out, point fingers and make a ruckus and that especially goes for women who may look like us.

So it broke my heart when I saw The Onion’s “joke” calling Quvenzhané Wallis one of the most hateful words you can call a girl or a woman in the English language. On top of being sad and appalled for Wallis and her family, I also couldn’t help but think of my daughter and the inevitable day that she will hear that word directed at her for the first time.

I obviously don’t speak for everyone, but it’s safe to say that I’m not the only black person who feels a particular affection for Wallis. She’s charmed many with her lively and precocious personality. For black audiences specifically, there’s a sense of connection and identification with her, even feeling protective towards her. People baffled by the vehemence of the reactions to The Onion’s tweet perhaps don’t get this context, or the particular implications of the slur for young black girls. For many, seeing Quvenzhané Wallis succeed and thrive in an industry that is especially hostile to women of color is deeply personal.

We all get that this was meant as a joke, that the writer doesn’t actually revile Quvenzhané Wallis. I can see thatthe intent was perhaps to send a message about the vicious scrutiny of girls and women in the public eye. What he or she (let’s be real, probably a he) was really thinking, however, is entirely beside the point. What they did was call a girl a gendered and sexualized slur. What they did was send the message, yet again, that girls and women are open game when it comes to sexual jokes and jokes about our bodies, and that it’s extra funny if the target is a very young girl.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The next link carries a TRIGGER WARNING

TWO Republicans running for Congressional seats last year offered opinions on “legitimate rape” or God-approved conceptions during rape, tainting their party with misogyny. Their candidacies tanked. Words matter.

Having lost the votes of many women, Republicans now have the chance to recover some trust. The Senate last week voted resoundingly to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, the 1994 law that recognized crimes like rape, domestic abuse and stalking as matters of human rights.

But House Republicans, who are scheduled to take up the bill today and vote on it Thursday, have objected to provisions that would enhance protections for American Indians, undocumented immigrants and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth, among other vulnerable populations.

Here in Minneapolis, a growing number of Native American women wear red shawls to powwows to honor survivors of sexual violence. The shawls, a traditional symbol of nurturing, flow toward the earth. The women seem cloaked in blood. People hush. Everyone rises, not only in respect, for we are jolted into personal memories and griefs. Men and children hold hands, acknowledging the outward spiral of the violations women suffer.

Meanwhile, On TumblR: The Quvenzhané Wallis Edition

By Andrea Plaid

Quvenzhané Wallis. Photo: Koury Angelo for milkmade.com.

Quvenzhané Wallis. Photo: Koury Angelo for milkmade.com.

After Hollywood and the press unapologetically–and The Onion apologetically–showed their asses to actor Quvenzhané Wallis on her big night at the Oscars, even more people showed their love and support for the young one. PostBourgie’s Brokey McPoverty says this about Hollywood’s refusal to even pronounce Wallis’ name:

Refusing to learn how to pronounce Quvenzhané’s name says, pointedly, you are not worth the effort. The problem is not that she has an unpronounceable name, because she doesn’t. The problem is that white Hollywood, from Ryan Seacrest and his homies to the AP reporter who decided to call her “Annie” rather than her real name, doesn’t deem her as important as, say, Renee Zellwegger, or Zach Galifinakis, or Arnold Schwarzenegger, all of whom have names that are difficult to pronounce–but they manage. The message sent is this: you, young, black, female child, are not worth the time and energy it will take me to learn to spell and pronounce your name. You will be who and what I want you to be; you be be who and what makes me more comfortable. I will allow you to exist and acknowledge that existence, but only on my terms.

 

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Faltas De Respeto: Lupe Ontiveros And Soledad O’Brien Get Slighted

By Arturo R. García

After nearly a week of protests, Lupe Ontiveros will take her place among Hollywood’s dearly departed.

Fox News Latino reported that Ontiveros will be included in an online memorial gallery put together by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

But that’s likely only a partial salve for her being excluded from the televised tribute shown during Sunday’s Academy Awards.
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The Scandal Roundtable 2.15: Boom Goes The Dynamite

Hosted by Joseph Lamour
(Spoiler Alert in the introduction if you haven’t seen episode 2.15.)

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Image via ABC.com.

Kendra hit the nail on the head last week when she said:

“…Fitz is behind the Jigsaw-creepy camera setup Jake has in his apartment, once again marking Fitz as The Worst. Just. The. Worst. Ignore what your Thursday night Facebook feed tells you; none of this is romantic, and it’s worrying to see it interpreted that way by fans of the show. Olivia and Fitz are undoubtedly the show’s main couple–maybe even the Endgame Couple–but, until Fitz shows some major growth as a decent human being, we shouldn’t be rooting for it. Especially now that it’s moved from sexually abusive to outright stalking and privacy invasion. Unfortunately, the writers haven’t given viewers a viable, interesting alternative, so for those who are here for the romantic drama Olivia and Fitz’s “relationship” is the only place to turn.”

I know it’s this type of drama that drives soapy procedurals like this, but it’s so unusual to see this type of thing with a person of color in the lead, so it leads to all sorts of emotional confusion–for me at least. Let’s see if T.F. Charlton, Jordan St. John, and Loree Lamour agree.
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Meet The Chiefs

By Guest Contributor Caleb Borchers, cross-posted from Uni Watch

Over the last few months, the issue of Native American imagery in US sports has been a hot topic in the Uni Watch community. Sadly, that discussion often devolves into heavily stereotyped positions and name calling. I often feel for writers like Paul, because his fascinating and nuanced position quickly is flattened out. What follows is my attempt to add another data point or scenario to the discussion.

Some Uni Watch readers may recognize my name in connection with rugby, particularly New Zealand rugby. That nation and sport have a special place in my heart. New Zealand is a nation with a fascinating history when it comes to the indigenous people, the Maori. The relationship between European settlers and the Maori people has often been sad and tragic. Still, there are ways in which New Zealand has better handled the issue than other places. A treaty between settlers and Maori chiefs, the Treaty of Waitangi, serves as the founding document of the country.
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Oscars Aftermath: Watch Best Documentary Short Winner Inocente And Read Our Live-Snark

By Arturo R. García

“Just because I’m homeless doesn’t mean I don’t have a life,” Inocente Izucar tells the viewer at the beginning of the short documentary bearing her name. The film, which won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short on Feb. 24, follows the young undocumented immigrant’s journey toward becoming an artist despite hiding her homelessness from her classmates.

“If people would find out, they’d probably make fun of me,” she says. “Especially at the school I’m going to right now. Most of the kids here are like, really rich.”

Directors Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine met the young San Diegan while researching a documentary about homelessness in the area, but quickly opted to focus their project around her.

“We want to thank this young lady who was homeless just a year ago and now she’s standing in front of all of you,” Sean Fine told the audience as the trio accepted their Academy Award. “She’s an artist and all of you are artists and we feel like we need to start supporting the arts. They’re dying in our communities. And all of us artists, we need to stand up and help girls like her be seen and heard. It’s so important.”

With a tip of the hat to Lalo Alcaraz, you can watch the documentary and follow Inocente’s story above. And below the cut, for those of you who follow us on Twitter, the collected live-snarking of the rest of the ceremony.

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Voices: RIP Trayvon Martin, One Year Later

It rained in Sanford, Fla., on Tuesday, just like it did exactly a year ago when Trayvon Martin died there.

The shooting death of an unarmed black 17-year-old at the hands of a part-white, part-Peruvian neighborhood watch volunteer in a gated community catapulted the central Florida city into headlines around the world and launched heated discussions about race and guns and Florida’s “stand your ground” law.

George Zimmerman, 29, faces second-degree murder charges in the case after invoking that law, which allows the use of deadly force in some life-threatening situations.

Despite the damp conditions Tuesday, a crowd amassed outside Sanford’s Goldsboro Welcome Center and the Goldsboro Historical Museum by midmorning. Museum curator Francis Oliver said she opened the welcome center a few hours early to accommodate the score or so of people who gathered to get a glimpse at the items memorializing the slain teenager.

There are crosses and flags, dolls and pictures of the teenager, Oliver said of the items showcased at the permanent memorial made from the items that initially cropped up outside the Retreat at Twin Lakes, the gated community where Trayvon was fatally shot.
- Marisa Gerber, Los Angeles Times

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Family, Race, Religion: The US Is Becoming More Diverse

By Guest Contributor Philip N. Cohen, PhD; originally published at Sociological Images

Trying to summarize a few historical trends for the last half century, I thought of framing them in terms of diversity.

Diversity is often an unsatisfying concept, used to describe hierarchical inequality as mere difference. But inequality is a form of diversity–a kind of difference. And further, not all social diversity is inequality. When people belong to categories and the categories are not ranked hierarchically (or you’re not interested in the ranking for whatever reason), the concept of diversity is useful.

There are various ways of constructing a diversity index, but I use the one sometimes called the Blau index, which is easy to calculate and has a nice interpretation: the probability that two randomly selected individuals are from different groups.

Example: Religion

Take religion. According to the 2001 census of India, this was the religious breakdown of the population:

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Diversity is calculated by summing the squares of the proportions in each category, and subtracting the sum from 1. So in India in 2001, if you picked two people at random, you had a 1/3 chance of getting people with different religions (as measured by the census).

Is .33 a lot of religious diversity? Not really, it turns out. I was surprised to read on the cover of this book by a Harvard professor that the United States is “the world’s most religiously diverse nation.” When I flipped through the book, though, I was disappointed to see it doesn’t actually talk much about other countries, and does not seem to offer the systematic comparison necessary to make such a claim.

With our diversity index, it’s not hard to compare religious diversity across 52 countries using data from World Values Survey, with this result:

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The U.S. is quite diverse–.66–but a number of countries rank higher.

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