Tag Archives: links

Links – 2009-03-20

Compiled by Fatemeh Fakhraie and Latoya Peterson

A high school in Pennsylvania banned students from wearing the keffiyeh after an escalation of tensions between Jewish and Muslim students. After a few days, the high school rescinded the ban.

Speaking of clothing issues, Urban Outfitters has done it again with new levels of offensive appropriation: the Allah bracelet. Uh-huh.

Ghostface Killa releases a track in support of Rihanna and victims of domestic violence.

ABC has given the green light for a sitcom pilot based on Firoozeh Dumas’ book Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America.

GetReligion discusses Tyler Perry’s black female demographic.

Danish students will be getting some diversity in their literature classes: a new textbook will focus on literature that comes to Denmark from its immigrants’ countries of origin, including Somalia, Croatia, Iraq, etc.

Ali Eteraz looks at the Pakistani diaspora and its issues.

The Boston Globe looks at the dangers of losing “ethnic media.”

The Root also discusses the changing face of newsrooms in their “Broadsheetless in Seattle” piece.

For Tahirih Brown, an editor at the Seattle P-I for more than five years, newspapers have reduced their opportunities for non-white journalists.

“When I started in journalism in the early ’90s, the big change was diversity—making the newsroom look more like the community they were covering,” she said Tuesday night, at the raucous P-I farewell at Buckley’s, the paper’s unofficial watering hole. “And I feel that in the past couple of years, that’s kind of gone by the wayside. There are some stories that just aren’t going to ever get told because of a lack of diversity in newsrooms in general.”

KABOBfest takes a look at Arabs in Hollywood: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The discovery of the remains of Cleopatra’s sister sheds new light on their ethnicities.

Links – 2009-03-12

The American Prospect – NAACP Takes a Stance Against Prop 8

The NAACP has been walking a tightrope on gay rights. Polls show that African Americans overwhelmingly oppose gay marriage, but much of the high-level leadership of the nation’s oldest civil-rights organization opposes legal efforts to deny gays the right to marry. Last week, the national office of the NAACP leapt into the fray when it sent a letter to California legislators urging them to support legislation that would repeal Prop. 8. After meeting with the National Black Justice Coalition, a black LGBT-rights group, and the leadership of the California State Conference, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond and NAACP President Ben Jealous agreed to come out publicly in support of repealing Prop. 8.

Newsweek – Man Bites Slumdog

I still ask myself how I finally broke out. Jamal, the slumdog in Danny Boyle’s award-winning movie, did it the traditional cinematic way, via true love, guts and good luck. People keep praising the film’s “realistic” depiction of slum life in India. But it’s no such thing. Slum life is a cage. It robs you of confidence in the face of the rich and the advantaged. It steals your pride, deadens your ambition, limits your imagination and psychologically cripples you whenever you step outside the comfort zone of your own neighborhood. Most people in the slums never achieve a fairy-tale ending.

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What is the Cost of Racism?

Excerpted by Latoya Peterson

Over at Resist Racism, there are two excellent posts up discussing the damage racism does to white people.

The first talks about a loss of empathy:

I often think that one way racism does serious damage to white people is by stripping them of their empathy. Privilege has long taught them that white is right. White people are given constant, regular reinforcement that their opinions are superior. They receive validation for their viewpoints. And they typically live in environments in which they do not have to pay any attention to people of color.

Subsequently, when people of color talk about racism, white people are quick to issue denials. Not only do they deny that the opinions or feelings of other people are valid, but they deny even the right to have those opinions. Look at some of the comments people made after Miley Cyrus’ racist “slant-eye” gesture. Remember the one about the rabbits?

    What about kids who hold up their fingers and do bunny ears in photos? Should rabbits start holding town meetings to cry racism??

Translation: Asian Americans complaining about racism is as ridiculous as if rabbits began to talk. In other words, Asian Americans are not fully equal. They are being equated with rabbits. And who would imagine that rabbits might dare to bring up racism?

The second discusses critical thinking skills:

Another way that racism harms white people is by denying them the ability to develop their critical thinking. This is due in part to the constant, regular reinforcement that white is right. White people are raised in an environment in which they are regularly assured of their superiority. Their experts are white, like them. And they often live in segregation, thus denying them the opportunity to be exposed to other viewpoints.

What happens in a culture of white supremacy? White people assume that they are the experts. Even in the absence of any history, education or knowledge.

The most blatant example of this is when a white person (typically a white man) is pontificating about a subject and is challenged when a person of color expresses an opinion. The white person will assume that the person of color knows nothing about the subject and will strive to “correct” him or her. I’ve had this happen when a white person who was not in my field was speaking with authority about something in my field. They never assume that you might actually be knowledgeable on the subject, nor do they assume that you might have professional credentials. (I’d also note that this is a very common experience on the part of people of color. And I recently heard a anecdote about this happening to a writer of color with a white man who was discussing her book. Only he didn’t know she had written it.)

It does not cross their minds. This is racism.

Go check them both out. Just make sure you read “We’ve heard it before” and “Racism 101” before commenting.

Longform Links – 2008-02-26

by Latoya Peterson

Here are a couple items I’ve come across in my internet reading.

Valleywag: Was an ‘Anarcho-Transexual Afro-Chicano’ Behind the IM Worm?

Yesterday’s ViddyHo worm, which spread over Google Talk and Gmail, has been linked by some to Hoan Ton-That, a San Francisco software developer. A very San Francisco software developer.

Ton-That owns the domain name viddyho.com, now offline, which hosted a form asking people to log in with a Google account in order to watch a video. The ViddyHo worm then seized control of their chat and email accounts and sent contacts a disguised link.

Even if Ton-That had nothing to do with ViddyHo, he (or she? how am I supposed to respect this person’s deeply nuanced personal concept of gender without hearing explicitly the gender narrative he or she has constructed around a completed sense of self?) would still be an interesting character — a classically quirky yet herd-following San Francisco Web-software entrepreneur. His Twitter profile describes him as an “Anarcho-Transexual [sic] Afro-Chicano American Feminist Studies Major.”

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Links – 2009-02-23

Restructure turns an eye to “What PoC Do: Restrain Ourselves“:

The people who say these things appear to think that racism occurs rarely, and that when a non-white person complains about allegedly “trivial” instances of racism, it means that she is like a young child who hasn’t yet learned that not everyone in the world is obligated to be nice to her. In reality, however, I have experienced racial microaggressions since childhood, and I am well aware that the world is not a safe space for people of colour with respect to race. I point out racism not because I’m noticing it for the first time, but because I want to bring it to the attention of others who have grown up shielded from the daily realities that people of colour have to endure. I point out racism because I want to point out injustice, not because I am some selfish oversensitive child who wants the world to revolve around me and my feelings.

Instead of “I’m offended!”, I tend to say, “That’s racist!” However, this method has its own problems, because although you are not calling someone a racist, the accused perceives it that way, that you are personally attacking their character. Calling someone racist, they argue, is an ad hominem and therefore not a valid argument. They say that you are characterizing them as a bad person so that anything they say is characterized as illegitimate. They make it all about them instead of about the action being criticized. They claim that they are being silenced if I use the word “racist”, so that I even considered using the terms “racialist” or “racial discrimination” instead to make the criticism more acceptable. Sometimes I did this, until I realized that even if you use a less offensive word, they still became defensive because they could not accept the idea that racism isn’t over, or that they could be racist (adjective, which is a different concept than being a racist, noun). I also realized that I was bending over backwards as to not hurt their feelings, instead of the other way around, the latter being the illusion that they maintain through repetition.

Lisa Zhu attended an open casting call for Avatar:

[C]asting director Deedee Rickets advised prospective extras in Friday’s Daily Pennsylvanian article “to dress in traditional cultural ethnic attire. … If you’re Korean, wear a kimono. If you’re from Belgium, wear lederhosen.” Unlike the original series, which features almost exclusively Asian cultural influences, Shyamalan’s version will depict the four worlds as “ethnically and culturally” different, according to Rickets.

Alas, my Korean ancestors failed to leave me any kimonos – or saris for that matter – and my authentic Belgian lederhosen happened to be in the wash at the time. So, clad only in a mundane sweatshirt and pair of jeans, I looked around the room. There were about 50 to 60 people in this particular group (more aspiring actors were waiting in line outside), and they were all listening intently to Rickets.

“We’re trying to create these four different nations so we’re looking for different skin tones, and features, and bone structures,” she said. As she spoke, I counted about a dozen small children – as well as two grown men – who were wearing karate outfits. Another handful of prospective extras wore traditional Nigerian outfits (most at this particular casting call were African American), but the vast majority thankfully had on boring, contemporary Western clothing.

One middle-aged black woman, clad in a denim jacket and black slacks, raised her hand. “Are you at a disadvantage if you didn’t wear a costume?” she asked, evidently concerned about her “non-ethnic” outfit.

“Absolutely not!” Rickets reassured her. “It doesn’t mean you’re at a disadvantage if you didn’t come in a big African thing. But guys, even if you came with a scarf today, put it over your head so you’ll look like a Ukrainian villager or whatever.”

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Links – 2008-02-12

Compiled by Latoya Peterson and Fatemeh Fakhraie

Two items involving the KKK to lead this off. First, over at Rachel’s Tavern, Rachel posts a video of Klu Klux Klan member Owen Wilson discussing his apology to congressman John Lewis.

In two steps back news, Renee brings word that PeTA has decided to dress up like Klan members to protest the AKC.

Does this outfit remind you of anything? PETA will stop at nothing to push its agenda no matter who it marginalizes, no matter who it hurts.

The associated press reports,

    “Crowds gawked at a table set up outside Madison Square Garden on Monday afternoon, where People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was protesting the start of the Westminster Kennel Club show. PETA contends that the American Kennel Club promotes pure-breeding of dogs that is harmful to their health.
    “Welcome AKC Members,” read a banner hanging from the table — with AKC crossed out and KKK written above it. Two PETA protesters dressed as Ku Klux Klan members, while other volunteers handed out brochures that read: “The KKK and the AKC: BFF?”
    “Obviously it’s an uncomfortable comparison,” PETA spokesman Michael McGraw said.
    But the AKC is trying to create a “master race,” he added. “It’s a very apt comparison.”

The amount of insensitivity it takes to dress up like the KKK and attempt to draw a link between the breeding of animals to the terror that blacks have lived with for generations can only be described as the audacity of whiteness.

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Links – 2009-01-27

Compiled by Latoya Peterson and Fatemeh Fakhraie

On Amreeka, a Sundance film that examines the lives of Arab Americans.

What distinguishes the film from others is its sense of humor. Laughter, not tragedy is the watershed of Munah’s life. “I wanted to tell a story that’s lighthearted,” Dabis said. “There’s a side to the experience that’s funny, that’s all about family. The film is really about the larger struggle for belonging that applies to everyone. It’s about a woman who is trying to start a new life and a kid who desperately wants to fit in and distance himself from his family.”

The International Herald Tribune describes Kabul’s growing interest in skateboarding:

Among those who look forward to his visits is Maro, an elfin 9-year-old girl who was terrified of skateboarding at first.

“It gives me courage, and once I start skating, I completely forget about my fears,” she said.

Maro’s glittery Mickey Mouse shirt indicated middle-class status. She stood out from the street children in muddied clothes who shared the skate space. Because the sport is so new and unusual here, Percovich said, it may help mend the country’s deep social and ethnic divisions. Continue reading

Links – 2008-01-19

Complied by Latoya Peterson and Fatemeh Fakhraie

Sarah Jaffe writes for Global Comment about our Superhero President: The Commodification of Barack Obama

Obama has become something you have to have a piece of–a commodity for sale, sometimes on eBay to the highest bidder, other times for the bargain price of way too much for whichever tacky design was slapped on some material that will last long enough for your kids to sell it back on eBay twenty years from now.

Middle East News reports Israel bans Arab political parties:

Arab Israeli politicians warned of rising anti-Arab sentiment in Jewish public opinion, vowing Wednesday to appeal a majority decision by the Knesset Monday to disqualify Arab political parties in Israel’s from running in the Jewish state’s upcoming elections.

The Yahoo Group NatNews provides an action alert – “Native Americans Outraged Over Twilight Fraud”

With the commercial success of Twilight, Hollywood is abuzz with agents molding, fitting, and pushing their celebrity actors to pass as Native Americans.

“The Twilight Series is one of few commercial films, a script, and a story with Native American roles.” said Lydia Ponce. “It is a sad day to see that the big power agents are marketing Filipino and Asian celebrity actors to play Native Americans. These are such rare opportunities. When films like Twilight knowingly and willfully select non-Native American actors to play Native roles, it sends the message that we’re not good enough to represent ourselves.”

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