Category Archives: violence against women of colour & indigenous women

**TRIGGER WARNING** “I Say It’s All Good When It Really Ain’t:” Rape as Respectability?

By Guest Contributor R.N. Bradley

Image via madamenoire.com

“He so fine, he could rape me so good.”

Pause.

Yeah. You read that correctly. To borrow from my southern roots, I got “thowed off” when my student put this in the atmosphere while talking about black women’s sexuality in a multicultural space like hip hop.

Thowed. Off.

It happened in class about a month ago, and I have yet to find the words to ease the levels of high anxiety and horror that I continue to grapple with after hearing this phrase. Part of me recoiled like the 9-year-old little girl I talked about here; part of it was me as a grown woman angry at the fact that rape is contextualized and dismissed as a spectacle. By no means is this quick commentary intended to be a polished discussion of rape and blackness in the popular imagination. Instead, is more sporadic and “off the dome.”  It has no shaped trajectory but accentuates the messiness of rape discourse that currently exists in (black) American popular culture.

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“Your Women Are Oppressed, But Ours Are Awesome”: How Nicholas Kristof And Half The Sky Use Women Against Each Other

By Guest Contributor Sayantani DasGupta

I just saw the most problematic image on Facebook. It was a photo of four blonde female pilots in combat gear with the caption, Hey Taliban, look up in the sky! Your women can’t drive, but ours CAN!

Despite the issues I have with militarism, or this country’s campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, I’m all for cheering for female pilots (yea, bada&& flying ladies!). What I can’t just can’t stand by and let slide is this “your women are oppressed, but ours are awesome” rhetoric, a rhetoric which only illuminates how–both actually and metaphorically–racism, xenophobia, and imperialism so often play out on women’s bodies around the world.

To me, this photo represents how blithely and blindly women from the Global North allow ourselves to be used as (actual and metaphorical) weapons of war against women from the Global South. In fact, that offensive caption isn’t significantly different from comments I’ve been hearing this week like, “These are countries where women have very little value.”

Sadly, the place where I’ve been hearing such phrases isn’t on some conservative TV program or website (where I think that all-woman pilot photo originated), but rather, on the PBS film Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women, a well-publicized neo-liberal “odyssey through Asia and Africa” hosted by everyone’s favorite white savior New York Times reporter, Nikolas Kristof.
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Super-Predators, ‘Wilding,’ And The Central Park Five

By Guest Contributor MK, cross-posted from Prison Culture

On April 19, 1989, a young woman who was jogging through Central Park in New York City was found badly beaten. She had also been raped.

I have written briefly about the case before in comparing it to Scottsboro. However, I want to return to it today because I just saw the trailer for Ken Burns’ upcoming documentary about the case and it brings back terrible memories for me.

I was living in New York City at the time of this incident. I was 17 years old, a senior in high school. My school was across the street from Central Park and I was terrified. Just a few months before, I had been sexually assaulted (not in the park) and now I was certain that I would be targeted again.
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Meanwhile, On TumblR: FLOTUS Obama’s Speech, bell hooks, And The Equestrian

By Andrea Plaid

Since we launched the R’s “blue light district” back in January 2012–I affectionately call the Tumblr this because I work on it from the backend, which shows up on the screen as blue–we’ve been steadily growing: right now, we have 3,379 of you hanging out over there reading, liking, reblogging, and commenting  on what we’re curating, from all-Black Shakespeare troupes to cosplayers of color to our ever-blue Racialicious After Hours (NSFW).

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Quoted: Gabby Douglas’ Interview With Oprah Winfrey

Gabby Douglas (l) and Oprah Winfrey. Courtesy: Comcast

“I was the only African-American at that gym,” Gabby went on. “I definitely felt isolated. Why am I deserving this? Is it because I’m black? — those thoughts were going through my mind.”

Gabby appeared on Oprah’s show Sunday with her mother, Natalie Hawkins, who recalled how her daughter told her about the cruel treatment on several occasions.

When Gabby was 14, her mother said, she reached her breaking point.

“She said, ‘I’d rather quit — if I can’t move and train and get another coach, I’d rather quit the sport,’” Hawkins said.
- New York Daily News

Racialicious Crush Of The Week: Joy Harjo

By Andrea Plaid

Joy Harjo. Courtesy: keeperofstories.blogspot.com

 

Reading that wordsmith/musician/teacher Joy Harjo’s memoir just dropped brought back that crush with capital-L life I had in my undergrad days : all dewy-new to the adult world, pretty effin’ cocky about what I thought I already knew and wanting to gooble up more ideas from new books and new people, and seeing middle age as sunset-colored horizon meeting the ocean, all lovely and over there.

Harjo was one of the writers in my 4-year degree days who, if you didn’t read her, you knew of her because her name and/or the titles of her writing dropped from almost every Women’s Studies major’s mouth, cropped up in anthologies by feminist writers of color, and compiled by professors in (what the folks at my university) called their “Kinko’s books.” (“Kinko’s books” were copies of individual articles, poems, essays, analyses, etc. college profs compiled and constructed with bookbinding famously associated with mega-copy shop Kinko’s, now known as FedEx Office. The compilations have been since ruled to infringe on authors’ intellectual property.)

Now that I over here in the beginnings of my middle age–realizing that I don’t know everything and being pretty OK with that, still trying to navigate Life’s waters,  and seeing my youth as storm-clouds of not-so-lovely and quite happy that it’s back there–I revisited Harjo’s most famous work, “She Had Some Horses.” Her poem does what quite a bit of literature does well: it navigates life with you, sometimes as compass, sometimes as lodestar, sometimes as anchor. An excerpt after the jump; the rest of the poem is here.

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Excerpt: The New York Times On The Female Poets Of Kabul

Meena lives in Gereshk, a town of 50,000 people in Helmand, the largest of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. Helmand has struggled with the double burden of being one of the world’s largest opium producers and an insurgent stronghold. Meena’s father pulled her out of school four years ago after gunmen kidnapped one of her classmates. Now she stays home, cooks, cleans and teaches herself to write poetry in secret. Poems are the only form of education to which she has access. She doesn’t meet outsiders face to face.

“I can’t say any poems in front of my brothers,” she said. Love poems would be seen by them as proof of an illicit relationship, for which Meena could be beaten or even killed. “I wish I had the opportunities that girls do in Kabul,” she went on. “I want to write about what’s wrong in my country.” Meena gulped. She was trying not to cry. On the other end of the line, Amail, who is prone to both compassion and drama, began to weep with her. Tears mixed with kohl dripped onto the page of the spiral notebook in which Amail was writing down Meena’s verses. Meena recited a Pashtun folk poem called a landai:

“My pains grow as my life dwindles,
I will die with a heart full of hope.”

“I am the new Rahila,” she said. “Record my voice, so that when I get killed at least you’ll have something of me.”

Amail grimaced, uncertain how to respond. “Don’t call yourself that,” she snapped. “Do you want to die, too?”
- From “Why Afghan Women Risk Death to Write Poetry,” by Eliza Griswold

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Meanwhile, On The TumblR: Remembering Twenty Victims Of Hate Crimes

Top Row (l-r): Bella Evangelista, Agnes Torres Sulca, Amanda Gonzalez Andujar, Chanelle Pickett, Angie Zapata

Second Row: Emonie Spaulding, Deoni Jones, Duanna Johnson, Myra Chanel Ical, Gwen Araujo

Third Row: Rita Hester, Sanesha Stewart, Paige Clay, Ruby Ordeñana, Robyn Browne

Fourth Row: Stacey Blahnik Lee, Taysia Elzy, Victoria Carmen White, Venus Xtravaganza, and Tyli Mack.

All trans women. All killed by hate crimes. This work was done to recognize them, and it’s one of the many works Andrea Plaid curates for us every week on the Racialicious Tumblr.