By Guest Contributor Wilfredo Gomez, cross-posted from The Feminist Wire
I recently returned to my alma mater to encounter a rather peculiar and interesting narrative about my legacy. While interacting with former teachers, classmates, and current students, stories were told about the years I spent at the school. One person told a story about how I played varsity basketball during my last year of high school, never having played a single minute. I trained in silence, dedicating time and effort for three years, being overlooked until I finally got my break. I rode the bench and never paid attention to the games, as I was too focused on academics and trying to get somewhere. But in the last game of the season with 15 seconds left on the clock, the captain of the team called a time out and requested I join the team on the court. With the clock winding down to zero, I was told to stand in the corner and wait for a pass.
That pass was delivered as promised and the defense collapsed on me, forcing me to hesitate and give the ball up. The ball came back my way where I dribbled to my left and took a shot over the outstretched arms of two defenders who may as well have been giants. While a blur, the shot went in as time expired, the only two points I scored in my career, and fans rushed the court emptying the stands, lifting me up in celebration of my presence and shot. I was the team’s good luck charm. Another person told a story about how I was confined to a wheel chair and they had fond memories of my racing up and down the hallways as I moved from class to class. They recalled my playing basketball, not playing, and leaning over to my fellow teammates saying that I was headed somewhere. One would think that if these narratives were to have gotten out to the public, they might have attracted the attention of ESPN. These recollections of heroic feats and athletic persistence were only partial to the narratives of the legacy I have left behind.
By Guest Contributor Amina Jabbar, cross-posted from Muslimah Media Watch
Growing up as a queer-identified South Asian Muslimah and a survivor of domestic violence, I’ve occasionally felt that merely existing was, in and of itself, an act of rebellion. But I’ve been fortunate. I’ve not only survived, but thrived, now living the life of a resident physician.
I can’t take all the credit for where I am because, simply put, I’m standing on the shoulders of giants. Through my life, I’ve consistently found media depictions of Muslim women and others engaging in daily acts of resistance to subvert and redefine the predominant discourses about Muslim women. These people and stories form a series of lessons to which I give credit for the awesome trajectory of my life. Here, then, are my seven lessons for a Muslimah’s guide to rocking the world.
Lesson #1: Our commitment to social justice reflects our commitment to faith.
It’s easy, I think, to get lost in the textual analyses of faith alone. The Qu’ran and hadiths are, after all, rich, deep, and complicated. But in an incredible interview on Vimeo, Amina Wadud makes a distinction between being a servant of God and an agent of God. She talks about how her focus on the Qu’ranic meanings alone wasn’t enough; that being an agent implies an obligation to actively live in ways that are consistent with principles of social justice. Wherever and whenever there is injustice, we’re obligated to challenge the status quo.
Lesson #2: Some principles are worth being unwaveringly unapologetic about.
Our social and political positions may not always be popular. In general, I’m all for compromise but, occasionally, there are principles that are and should be “non-negotiable.” With the non-negotiables of life, even when the going gets tough, there should be no sidelining, shifting, or redrafting of the message. Easy to say, difficult to do. But Fanta Ongoiba, executive director of Africans in Partnership Against AIDS in Toronto, makes it look slick. Sexual health and HIV remain hushed, tabooed topics within many Muslim communities. Ongoiba’s work , recently honored by the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, provides real space and fills a real need, no matter the response from religious leaders. As a Toronto Star article put it, “at an international conference, one sheik called her a ‘troublemaker,’ a label she embraced” and to which she also responded “ I’d prefer to be a troublemaker to wake you up.”
But our failure did not begin the day Florida decided to prosecute you for standing your ground; we did not fall short in the aftermath of a sham of a trial and the horror of a 20-year sentence. We, and by we here I am specifically talking about men, failed you long before you said enough to abuse. We have failed to create a culture that repels violence against women, which shuns and denounces every instance of domestic violence. We failed you in 2009 when your husband was arrested for abuse. The system has failed you over again. And we have failed in not holding that system accountable, in demanding a system that actual works to create a environment. In 2010, your husband said, “I got five baby mamas and I put my hand on every last one of them except one. The way I was with women, they was like they had to walk on eggshells around me. You know they never knew what I was thinking or what I might do. Hit them, push them.” Reading this hurts me because it is further evidence of our failure. We rear men who think this is ok, who are empowered to abuse. Where were we then? Where was the criminal justice system that is so concerned about protection and safety? We have failed you and for that I am sorry. Read more…
Black Folks Don’t (BFD) is back for a third season–this time tackling environmentalism. The series, directed and produced by Angela Tucker, explores the myth and reality of things black people allegedly don’t do. This time around BFD will explore feminism, NRA membership, plastic surgery and more. Racialicious alumna Andrea Plaid is part of the BFD season three team, so you know it’s bound to be good!
By Jeannie Chan
Previously on TWD, we’re reminded of why the Governor hates Michonne with such a fiery passion. We begin the mid-season finale with the Governor holding court in his new camp. He’s giving his new family his Braveheart speech and tells them that he has leverage and will use them to get access to the prison. No one will have to die if his plan goes well. Yeah, right.
Hosted by Jeannie Chan
This week, we complete the Governor’s story arc and find out exactly what he’s been up to before catching up with Team Prison in real time. Rob Errera joins me, Carly Mitchell, Nicole Norkin, and Ken Hywnn to discuss his shenanigans.
By Arturo R. García
Since we didn’t have a first-run episode of Scandal last week — something about a holiday? — this is a good time to stop and cast our best guesses for this coming Thursday’s mid-season finale. A few questions to get us started, based on our last visit with our group of antiheroes and villains:
- We got the first glimpse of the reunion between Olivia and Mrs. Pope. Will we finally get to hear what she could have done to “merit” being thrown in a secret underground prison — by her husband?
- Cyrus’ plan to offer up James as bait for a scandal seems to have worked too well. Even if James didn’t fall into the arms of Daniel Langston, what’s the fallout likely to be? And how much does Sally know about her husband’s activities?
- Quinn earned her burn notice less than a week after becoming a spy. Worst of all, now she’s apparently going to be on the wrong end of a Huck interrogation. What’s the odds Charlie intercedes and sets up a fight for the soul of “Robin”?
- To the chagrin of most of America, Fitz made his biggest pitch yet for keeping Olivia — her own White Hat House out in the boonies. Problem for him is, Mellie knows (if not about the house, then about their latest tryst). How willing is Mellie to upend his re-election bid by arranging for Olivia to join the team?
- Who’s the clubhouse favorite for the death pool this season? My money’s still on Harrison, given the sudden amount of attention he’s been getting, with Jake a close second; somebody will have to “pay a price” for all this B613 business.
Racializens, the floor is yours. How do you see this show taking us into the winter break?
About This BlogRacialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable
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