By Guest Contributor Marly Pierre-Louis
I’m an activist and, one way or another, wherever I am, I always find my way to movement work, or it finds me. So when my partner and I uprooted our lives in Brooklyn for him to pursue a job opportunity in Amsterdam, I was excited to get involved. I figured since we’d be living here for the indefinite future, might as well jump in the mix. What were the issues? Who were the oppressed? And what were they fighting for? I met with organizers and did my research. Initially, I was disappointed at what seemed like a lack of collective struggle and as a result a lack of movement work. I didn’t detect a culture of resistance. But surely there was conflict in a society that celebrated a figure like Zwarte Piet.
In fact, there’s been more activity than ever before concerning Zwarte Piet, particularly in the last couple of months. In the Dutch mythology, every year Sinterklaas, more of a religious figure than our Santa Claus, rolls through the Netherlands from his home in Spain. Accompanying him are his servants known as Zwarte Piets or Black Piets. These characters are white adult men and women with their faces painted Black, red lipstick, gold hoop earrings and a black curly wig. Zwarte Piet is clumsy, subservient and unintelligent; a regular coon. In October, Quinsy Gario, a prominent anti Zwarte Piet activist who was arrested in 2011 for protesting the Sinterklaas parade (Trigger Warning: Police violence) while wearing a T-shirt that read, “Zwarte Piet is Racisme (Black Piet is racism)”, publicly denounced Zwarte Piet on a popular Dutch talk show, as racist and hurtful. Dutch Twitter went MAD, and an ugly, racist underbelly of the worst kind was revealed:
(Trigger Warning for pictures under the cut)
By Andrea Plaid
Even as the Drop The I-Word campaign and their partners celebrate the good news about the Los Angeles Times and the Denver Post dropping the i-word, US hospitals are quietly dropping off undocumented immigrants who need life-saving long-term health care in the countries they emigrated from in order to keep down costs.
According to both NPR and Huffington Post, these healthcare facilities have sent about 600 people back under the system of “medical repatriation” in the last five years. Under this, the hospitals put the stabilized, and usually unconscious, patients on a chartered international flights–which the facilities are willing to pay for–back to their former home countries.
By Andrea Plaid
Happy 2013 from Tumblrville! How quite a few of the R’s Tumblizens kicked off the new year is <3ing and reblogging this bit of news from People, via Disgrasian:
Vogue Italia, the magazine known for taking a stand against anorexia and promoting the use of black models in fashion, made another statement this week, putting an Asian woman on its cover for the first time.
Fei Fei Sun On Vogue Italia’s cover. Image via People.
Chinese model Fei Fei Sun covers the magazine’s January issue (out worldwide Monday), a celebration of the multicultural, border-free facets of fashion. Editor in chief Franca Sozzani, who works as a Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations’ Fashion 4 Development Project, chose Sun for the honor.
The kicker about Sun’s cover is, says the celebrity magazine:
According to the Daily Mail, French Vogue was the first European magazine to put an Asian model on its cover–Chinese supermodel Du Juan, in 2011. And while both British and American editions of Vogue have featured Asian models in spreads, neither has selected an Asian woman for its cover…yet.
Color us unsurprised here at the R. And check out who and what else (un)surprise us on the R’s Tumblr!
By Guest Contributor Keisha Wiel, cross-posted from Anthro Meaning People, Dope Meaning Awesome
I wasn’t going to originally post anything on Zwarte Piet but, after seeing discourse after discourse on the holiday of Sinterklaas, I decided to write about it. Ah, where to begin.
I celebrated Sinterklaas as a child. Since my parents were from the Dutch Caribbean, we would go every December 5th to the Dutch consulate in New York City and eagerly sit with the other children (we were usually the only children of color) while Sinterklaas handed out our presents. And, of course, to accompany Sinterklaas, this saintly white man who represented a bishop, were his ‘helpers’ or Zwarte Pieten (Black Petes). These would usually be men, or women, dressed up in blackface with an Afro wig and bright red lipstick. The legend goes that if you’re bad, Zwarte Piet will take you in his burlap sack to Spain. So naturally I was mortified of Zwarte Pieten (Black Petes) as a child. You mean to tell me that this dude who dresses flamboyantly and has this jet black makeup on his face is going to collect me and ship me off to Spain with him? OH HELL NO!!
As I grew up and learned about Golliwogs and minstrel shows, I started to notice a pattern. This beloved holiday that I celebrated as part of my ‘heritage’ seemed to overlap a lot with blackface in America. The similarities are undeniable.
By Latoya Peterson
Like so many other nations, the political landscape in Ghana is dominated by men. An African Election takes a look at the key players in the battle for the highest office in the land–but aside from a few brief comments from Hanna Tetteh, the election is yet another boys’ club. But that doesn’t mean that women aren’t on the scene.
Racialicious and National Black Programming Consortium’s AfroPoP.TV couldn’t think of a better way to wrap up our tweet-up series than to bring the tweetversation back to democracy…and how the one in Ghana affects the women in that nation. We asked our very wonderful guest tweeter, Ghanaian feminist Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah, to offer her insights about Jarreth Merz’s documentary and its portrayal of women, the election the documentary chronicles and the policies women’s groups agitated for in the Women’s Manifesto For Ghana, the struggles that Ghanaian feminists still face to ensure gender equity in the nation, and her own place in the larger matrix of feminism.
An excerpt of the tweet-up after the jump.
We hope the logo hasn’t thrown you off, Racializens. It’s our big reminder that Jarreth Merz’s documentary on Ghana’s 2008 election, An African Election, premieres next Monday, October 1, on PBS’ WORLD Channel. The movie begins at 8:30PM.
We’re also thrilled by the pre-premiere panel line-up! Scheduled to appear are:
They will discuss the parallels between the voting issues that faced Ghana during that momentous election and the voting issues that marginalized, disenfranchised people are facing in the US during this presidential election. The panel starts at 8PM on on the same night and channel.
To gear up for the Big Night, we’re having a tweet-up–our last, alas–today at 11AM EDT (4PM in Ghana). Our guest tweeter is Ghanaian feminist Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah, who works as the Communications Officer at African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) and co-runs the incredible blog Adventures From The Bedrooms Of African Women, a which collectively gathers information and discusses safer-sex practices and sexuality with African women and progressive African men. She’ll give her on-the-ground perspective on whether Ghana’s 2008 election affected the lives of women in the nation.
Check it all out!
An African Election: African Feminisms With Minna Salami and Yaba Blay
What Votes Count? On Voter Fraud And Intimidation [An African Election]
The Right To Information: A Building Block Of Democracy
An African Election: Pan-Africanism and Ghana’s 2008 Election With Dr. James Peterson
An African Election: A 21st-Century Ghanaian Politics Primer With Dr. Benjamin Talton
An African Election‘s Jarreth Merz On African Stereotypes And Ghanaian Politics
An African Election Takes Over Racialicious