By Andrea Plaid
Whole Foods, the grocery-store signifier of the “personal is political” and social responsibility, has been busted for some sketchy business practices antithetical to its progressive hype, like union-busting as well as maintaining low wages and failing to support farmworkers.
Let’s add language surveillance to that list. From NBC Latino:
Two employees at a Whole Foods Market store in Albuquerque say they were suspended last month after complaining about being told they couldn’t speak Spanish to each other while on the job.
Bryan Baldizan told The Associated Press he and a female employee were suspended for a day after they wrote a letter following a meeting with a manager who told them Spanish was not allowed during work hours.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Baldizan, who works in the store’s food preparation department. “All we did was say we didn’t believe the policy was fair. We only talk Spanish to each other about personal stuff, not work.”
He said Whole Foods officials told them about company policy and issued the suspensions.
Ben Friedland, Whole Foods Market Rocky Mountain Region Executive Marketing Coordinator, said the Austin, Texas-based company believes in “having a uniform form of communication” for a safe working environment.
“Therefore, our policy states that all English speaking Team Members must speak English to customers and other Team Members while on the clock,” Friedland said in a statement. “Team Members are free to speak any language they would like during their breaks, meal periods and before and after work.”
Friedland said the policy doesn’t prevent employees from speaking Spanish to customers who don’t speak English nor does it prevent them from speaking Spanish if all “parties present agree that a different language is their preferred form of communication.”
Whole Foods Market spokeswoman Libba Letton told the AP that in addition to safety reasons, the policy is in place so employees who don’t speak Spanish don’t feel uncomfortable.
By Andrea Plaid
This video from vlogger Hart has had me ROTFLing all week. I came for the watermelon, stayed for the message, and got life from the saxophone, Hart’s mom, and Hart’s dimples. Just…just watch it.
Check out who and what else is giving Racializens life on the R’s Tumblr!
This commercial is a huge step for interracial families like mine who want to be seen in public together and maybe eat some heart-healthy snacks. But it also validates the existence of biracial and multiracial people. Often we’re treated like exotic flowers, who should feel complimented when people say stuff to us like, “All biracial women are so beautiful” or “I would kill for your skin.” One of the hardest things about growing up the way I did is feeling like you need to choose one racial identity over another just to fit in. The fact that strangers constantly ask you to identify yourself (forcing you to put yourself in a category) makes you feel conspicuous and gazed upon. You catch strangers looking at you. You know what they want to ask you. You know that they won’t leave you alone until you give them a rundown of your heritage.
So, this is just a stupid commercial about Cheerios but it means a lot to me. It shows interracial families and their children being normal and cute, not something to gawk at or to question. Hopefully this commercial will lead to even more positive representations of not just interracial families, but all kinds of non-traditional families.
– Meagan Hatcher-Mays, “I’m Biracial, and That Cheerios Ad Is a Big Fucking Deal. Trust Me.” via Jezebel
By Guest Contributor Victoria Elisabeth Garcia; Originally posted at Bold As Love
Ancient, Ancient is a fierce, challenging, and occasionally perplexing swirl of a book by emerging speculative fiction author Kiini Ibura Salaam. The winner of the 2013 James Tiptree, Jr. Award for science fiction and fantasy that expands understanding of gender, Ancient, Ancient is a collection of thirteen stories, three of which are original. Though her short fiction has previously been published in Sheree R. Thomas’s groundbreaking Dark Matter anthology series and elsewhere, Ancient, Ancient is Salaam’s first book-length publication.
Salaam’s stories employ magic and time travel, spacecraft and prophecy to explore deeply human questions about motherhood, sex, identity, and inequality. Written in lush, precise prose and deeply rooted in feminine experience, they evoke feelings both hauntingly familiar and disorientingly alien. Though readers who are not frequent consumers of science fiction may find a few of the stories rather opaque, the book as a whole is a joy and a revelation. Adventurous souls willing to journey beyond their comfort zones will be well-rewarded.
The collection begins with “Desire,” a commanding and deeply physical piece about Sené, a hunter-gatherer woman worn out by hard work and childbirth, who learns to reclaim the erotic power of her body. Full of crocodiles, longing, and animal-bodied gods, the story hums with passion and poetic intensity. Its sonorous, folkloric tone is makes for a compelling and satisfying read.
“Desire,” is followed by a smart and graceful trio of linked science fiction stories. In these, we meet WaLiLa and MalKai, a pair of mothlike beings who travel, incognito, among everyday human beings in order to collect a vital human essence that their elders need for survival. The first of the three stories, “Of Wings, Nectar, & Ancestors,” is a broad and ambitious piece. Blending club music and glow sticks with nonhuman thoughts and prayers, the story gives the reader a convincingly alien perspective on the limits of spoken language, the power of sex, and the cycle of life. In contrast, “MalKai’s Last Seduction,” the second story, is an intimate tale that focuses tightly on male-bodied MalKai’s erotic connection with Cori, a deeply closeted gay man. Earthy, sensual, and emotionally rich, it is a gorgeously rendered character study that just happens to include an alien. In the third story, “At Life’s Limits,” Salaam uses WaLiLa’s striking and unearthly voice to describe Lukumi religious practice, family conflict, and neighborhood life in Havana, Cuba. The result is an elegant and resonant tale about the hardening and softening of boundaries; between people, between nations, between human and nonhuman, between life and death.
By Arturo R. García
The debate regarding Doctor Who and race and gender reopened in a major way on Saturday when Matt Smith announced he will leave the show after this year’s Christmas special, meaning the search is on for the Twelth Doctor — an especially crucial role, according to series canon, since this would be the Doctor’s final regeneration.
Naturally, it’s not just showrunner Steven Moffat looking for a new Doctor, but fans and bookmakers. Continue reading »
Continue reading »
By Arturo R. García
When Mrs. Obama was roughly 12 minutes into her 20-minute remarks at a home in Northwest Washington, a woman at the front of a crowd of about 200 people began shouting for President Obama to issue an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity. But where Mr. Obama, more accustomed to such interruptions, typically waits in place for the protester to stop and perhaps acknowledges the complaint, his wife chose direct confrontation.
She left the lectern and moved toward the heckler. “One of the things I don’t do well is this,” she said, to loud applause. She said the protester could “listen to me, or you can take the mike, but I’m leaving. You all decide. You have one choice.”
The crowd yelled for Mrs. Obama to stay, with one woman nearby telling the protester, “You need to go!” Attendees escorted the protester out as she yelled further, at one point identifying herself as a “lesbian looking for federal equality before I die.”
The group’s co-director, Heather Cronk, confirmed to Buzzfeed Tuesday night that the group had planned for the protester, Ellen Sturtz, to be there, along with other members of the organization.
Sturtz specifically called for President Barack Obama to sign the Employment Non-Discrimination Act into effect with an executive order. The bill has been taken up in both the House of Representatives and the Senate but has stalled.
However, Sturtz’s response to being directly addressed by the First Lady was the source of the heaviest debate on social media Tuesday night:
Sturtz was escorted out of the room. She said in an interview later she was stunned by Obama’s response.
“She came right down in my face,” Sturtz said. “I was taken aback.”
Sturtz said she told Obama she was happy to take the microphone to plead her case, which, Sturtz said, appeared to fluster the first lady.
“I said I want your husband to sign the executive order,” Sturtz said. “Her husband could sign this order tonight and protect 22 percent of the work force in this country.”
On the surface, part of that response seems incongruent: Sturtz went to the event specifically to call Obama out, yet was “taken aback” when Obama responded to her. But, as more facts start coming in, let’s get the ball rolling and get everybody’s impressions of the encounter.
Update: I did a follow-up piece for Raw Story today, featuring both GetEqual’s rationale for engaging the first lady at the event and MSNBC contributor and Penn University professor Anthea Butler talking about the reaction online.
By Guest Contributor Ruth Hopkins, cross-posted from Last Real Indians
Before I head out the door, I watch Morning Joe on MSNBC. It’s part of my workday routine. This morning they were talking about the latest issue of the New Republic and its lead story entitled, “How the NRA is Going Down: This is How the NRA Ends.” Since the Newtown tragedy, Republican Joe Scarborough, the show’s host, is openly advocating for gun control. Still, Joe disagreed with the assertion that the NRA’s power and influence is eroding, especially in the wake of recently defeated gun control legislation.
In the midst of this exchange, John Heilemann, an author, journalist and political analyst who frequents Morning Joe (and who occasionally says things that make sense to me), said, “But who’s the SCALP?” John paraphrased this statement by saying, “who’s gonna pay the price for having voted the wrong way?” In other words, John was questioning whether any of the congressmen who voted against the recent legislation in question will be defeated next election specifically because they voted against gun control, i.e. who will be the “scalp” (defined in the dictionary as a “trophy of victory”) that gun control proponents win.
Mr. Heilemann made a perfectly rational argument. Unfortunately his archaic phraseology took me right out of the conversation. The moment he said, “Who’s the SCALP?” my mind immediately raced to the fact that my ancestors (the Dakota people) were hunted down and murdered in their Minnesota homelands in the late 1800s, when then-Governor Alexander Ramsey placed a $200 bounty on their scalps. Yes, you read that correctly. It was once government policy to encourage civilians to hunt down American Indian men, women and children (human beings), kill them, and rip the flesh from their skulls. Anyone who did so was rewarded handsomely for it. Continue reading »
Continue reading »
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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Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at email@example.com.
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