Tag Archives: imperialism

Racialicious Crush Of The Week: Ainee Fatima

By Andrea Plaid

Some folks choose online names–be it a blog title, a Twitter handle, a Tumblr URL–of an attribute they want to aspire to. Then there are those whose monikers fit exactly what they are. Ainee Fatima’s Tumblr name fits her perfectly–she is, indeed, a Badass Muslim Girl.

Ainee Fatima. Photo: courtesy of the interviewee.

Ainee Fatima. Photo: courtesy of the interviewee.

She’s an award-winning spoken-word poet, a woman who makes her Muslim community her priority, and a cartoonist with a scathing wit–and she’s folded of these into her 21-year-old life-in-progress. We caught up with each other between her classes, where we chatted about femme feminism, Gloria Steinem, and “smelling white feminism.”

1) OK, Ainee, that comic of your smelling white feminism had me on the floor screaming in laughter! What inspired that? And are you planning to continue the comics?

Thank you! Well, earlier that day in my Race and Ethics class, we were categorizing traits or groups of people who were considered the Majority and Minority groups in America. We ended up with the Majority containing Race: White, Gender: Male, Sexual Orientation: Cis Heterosexual, Religion: Christian, Class: Middle-High Class. Then, my teacher proceeded to ask which of these categories are the most prevalent in Western society. One of the boys kept insisting that gender was the hot topic, another girl was saying that race was the most prevalent issue.

But the thing is, we can’t really discuss race without discussing class or gender and that’s what intersectional feminism is all about–fighting more than one cause at a time because it’s more than just women’s rights. The thing is, the stigma attached to being white in general is a privilege, which doesn’t really make it a stigma at all. Once you delve deeper into feminist theory, you’ll encounter resistance to whiteness. I mean, try having a Black president only to have people call him the n-word, mention his Arabic middle name and wish for his assassination, or any of the other daily microaggressions that people of color face.

Spark Summit published an article talking about how race is a feminist issue, but not only race–sexism, homophobia, and any other type of discrimination. It’s something that is often forgotten early feminist movements actually excluded women of color just to gain a wider audience, as the article says.

I think that a great way to make the idea of intersectional feminism even more prevalent is with the comics I made: it’s humorous and light-hearted but always packs a punch in the message–and yes, I do plan on making more!

It’s Complicated: DJs, Appropriation, and a Whole Host of Other Ish

by Former Special Correspondent Wendi Muse

Diplo

I’ve been following Diplo for some time, observing his work with appreciation, other times disappointment, and sometimes both at once. Back in the early days, when he was throwing warehouse parties in Philly, and later profiling DJs from around the world on his Mad Decent podcast (now a full-on record label and official site), Wesley Pentz was brazenly admitting to pirate-everything, right down to the clandestinely operated podcast itself. There was something refreshing and almost alluring about the nature of backpacking around the world with a passport and a tape recorder. Often considered a modern-day, musical Columbus, though his reputation for “discovering” new musical worlds would be one that would soon bite him where the sun doesn’t shine, Diplo made a name for himself by appropriating a variety of music and presenting it all with chameleon-like efficiency.

Some of you may know him for his production work on MIA’s first, albeit bootleg, album Piracy Funds Terrorism, a mashed up, remixed set of tracks which would later find themselves cleaned-up and repackaged on the official studio album Arular, or later for the Clash and Wreckx-n-Effect sampling “Paper Planes.”

However, he ultimate climax in Diplo’s fame has been in recent years, arguably months, with his promotion for Blackberry…

…and his collaborative work with UK producer Switch (producer for M.I.A. and Santigold) for the dancehall outfit Major Lazer.

But this month, Diplo’s spike in popularity came from a place slightly removed from his music by way of scathing criticism by a DJ named Iceberg Venus X. You see, much like other forms of appropriation (see: imperialism, colonialism, and popular use of cultural artifacts), a backlash always follows. Continue reading

Why Haiti Matters: Part 2 The Anatomy of a Crime as a Synecdoche for Global Poverty and Injustice [Essay]

By Guest Contributor Shannon Joyce Prince

Read “Why Haiti Matters Part 1″ here.

Ou konn kouri, ou pa konn kache – You know how to run, but you don’t know how to hide.

Synecdoche is a figure of speech in which one tells of the whole by evoking a part.  In my original piece “Why Haiti Matters,” I said that one reason the nation matters is that it is the world’s teacher.  Haiti’s poverty and misery are the result of a mammoth crime that is two hundred years old and continues to this day, but the crime that destroyed Haiti is not exceptional.  By studying the historical and contemporary situation of Haiti in detail, we can learn how poverty and injustice worldwide are created, perpetuated, and framed by powerful and wealthy individuals, organizations, corporations, and governments.

Dye mon, gen mon – Beyond the mountain is another mountain.

I mentioned in my previous essay that after the slave uprising that brought Haiti independence, the US helped force Haiti to pay 150 million francs to France as reparations to Haitian slave-owners for their loss of property.  That act and its repercussions merit a detailed description because the mechanics of them reveal how poverty is created.  Since Haiti’s former slaves didn’t have money to pay the reparations, they had no choice but to take out giant loans from American, German, and French banks.[i] Haiti’s “debt” to France was so great that it took nearly a century and a half to pay – and contributed to a century and a half of Haitian poverty.  For example, in 1900 80% of Haiti’s economy was spent on repaying its debt.  The debt, eventually lowered to the still exorbitant level of 60 million francs plus interest, wasn’t paid off until 1947.  The total amount Haiti paid, in today’s currency, equals billions.  Having to devote such vast resources to paying back its debt left little money for Haiti to meets its needs which caused the multifaceted and extreme misery Haiti suffers today.  The country was so poor when it finished paying back France that it had to continue borrowing (often from those same countries who victimized Haiti in the first place) just to survive, and paying back those debts resulted in further poverty – a vicious circle.

The mere idea of slaves paying reparations to slave-owners is unspeakably evil.  Haitian slavery was a brutal system of forced labor, sexual assault, maternal and infant mortality, torture, displacement, eradication of culture, separation of families, beatings, horrendous living conditions, rampant disease without healthcare, malnutrition, outright murder, and murder by premature death from the above mentioned situations.  The average life expectancy of a Haitian slave was only 21 years.[ii] Haitian plantations were concentration camps.  Haitian slavery meets the 1948 UN Convention on Genocide’s [iii] definition of genocide – that this fact has gone unrecognized is a travesty and a tragedy.  Yet again, the situation is not anomalous.  The enslavement of Africans on the Middle Passage and throughout the Western hemisphere, the conquest of American Indians, the deaths of ten million in the Congo under King Leopold, and other sufferings of the colonized and enslaved are unrecognized genocides – history notes far too infrequently white acts of barbarism against non-whites or labels such acts and their details incorrectly.

Continue reading