Tag Archives: links

Links – 2009-01-12

Global Voices Online – Korea as a Multicultural Country

A daily newspaper, Hankyoreh, which is categorized as a progressive newspaper (or sometimes left-wing) introduced a series of articles, ‘Multi-Culturalism is Our Future.’ [KR] Korea, where one culture and one ethnic group are emphasized, currently has a population with only 2 percent foreign residents –1 million population. The newspaper article brings a netizen’s complaint and other responses following his (or her) opinion.

The Washington Post – A Gentler Way to Relax Hair

In recent years, some manufacturers, including Colomer USA, the maker of Creme of Nature, have been listing at least one “certified organic ingredient” in their products, including their sodium-based relaxers. The French company Phyto markets its PhytoSpecific line as a “non chemical relaxing system” and charges about $60 for a tub of its straightener, more than triple the price of a traditional relaxer. According to the company, the Phyto relaxer uses a substance called guanidine carbonate derived from mushroom salts as its straightening agent.

“I think it’s great for black women. Now there are so many choices,” Coney said.

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Links – Weekend Edition

Kabobfest – First Poll on US Opinion on Gaza: Democratic Politicians Ignore Public Opinion

In one of the more interesting analytical writings on the American (non-)debate on the Israeli assault on Gaza, Glenn Greenwald considers how alarmingly out-of-step Democratic politicians are with their party’s rank-and-file views. He cites the first poll on American public views of Israel’s attack. While there is a general tie between those supportive and opposed, Democrats are against Israel’s onslaught in Gaza by a significant margin.

The New York Times (Op-Ed) – The Evil Behind the Smiles

Western men who visit red-light districts in poor countries often find themselves surrounded by coquettish teenage girls laughingly tugging them toward the brothels. The men assume that the girls are there voluntarily, and in some cases they are right.

But anyone inclined to take the girls’ smiles at face value should talk to Sina Vann, who was once one of those smiling girls.

Merced Sun Star – Hollywood, Race, and the Age of Obama

As “Crash” was earning plaudits (and a Best Picture Oscar), any number of much knottier and more daring movies were being ignored by viewers entirely. Spike Lee’s “She Hate Me” (2004), a freewheeling, vastly underrated consideration of, among many other things, white America’s anxiety about black male sexuality, managed to earn only $366,000 at the domestic box office – by far the lowest-grossing movie of the director’s career. Alan Ball’s brazen and compelling “Towelhead” (2008) – a portrait of a Lebanese-American girl molested by a white neighbor, who also has an African-American boyfriend – died a similarly quick death.

Even more mainstream efforts have had trouble connecting. The movie I tend to regard as the most important one made this decade about race relations is a knotty romantic comedy-drama called “Something New” (2006), about a black woman (Sanna Lathan) who believes she can’t find a decent black man to date and who eventually decides to go out with a white man (Simon Baker). Its mixture of tenderness and severity, cynicism and hopefulness, proved consistently arresting – and yet it pulled in only $11 million.

New York Times (Op-Ed) – Bleeding Heart Tightwads

Liberals show tremendous compassion in pushing for generous government spending to help the neediest people at home and abroad. Yet when it comes to individual contributions to charitable causes, liberals are cheapskates.

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Links – 2008-12-08

Richard Rodriguez is featured in a provocative interview for Salon on Why Churches Fear Gay Marriage:

You said recently the real issue behind the anti-gay marriage movement is the crisis in the family. What do you mean?

American families are under a great deal of stress. The divorce rate isn’t declining, it’s increasing. And the majority of American women are now living alone. We are raising children in America without fathers. I think of Michael Phelps at the Olympics with his mother in the stands. His father was completely absent. He was negligible; no one refers to him, no one noticed his absence.

The possibility that a whole new generation of American males is being raised by women without men is very challenging for the churches. I think they want to reassert some sort of male authority over the order of things. I think the pro-Proposition 8 movement was really galvanized by an insecurity that churches are feeling now with the rise of women.

Monotheistic religions feel threatened by the rise of feminism and the insistence, in many communities, that women take a bigger role in the church. At the same time that women are claiming more responsibility for their religious life, they are also moving out of traditional roles as wife and mother. This is why abortion is so threatening to many religious people — it represents some rejection of the traditional role of mother.

In such a world, we need to identify the relationship between feminism and homosexuality. These movements began, in some sense, to achieve visibility alongside one another. I know a lot of black churches take offense when gay activists say that the gay movement is somehow analogous to the black civil rights movement. And while there is some relationship between the persecution of gays and the anti-miscegenation laws in the United States, I think the true analogy is to the women’s movement. What we represent as gays in America is an alternative to the traditional male-structured society. The possibility that we can form ourselves sexually — even form our sense of what a sex is — sets us apart from the traditional roles we were given by our fathers.

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Links – 2008-11-24

Ennis of Sepia Mutiny opines on What Obama’s Victory Means:

What does this mean for desis? Well, not much in some ways. We’re still a small group, and we’re not going to get singled out for ponies and party favors.

But I think, for the first time, we’ve been truly seen and recognized. Obama knows both South Asia and South Asians. We aren’t just some weird American fringe ethnic group to him. He has called himself desi, cooked dal, and travelled in the desh.

His campaign drew upon desis not just for topics to do with South Asia, but for every day campaign issues. The director of my local Obama campaign office was actually a Ugandan Desi ABD whose father was born in Jinja. One of the core staff members in the office was a desi female, one of the Patels from Kentucky.

I am hopeful that under an Obama administration our background will not be seen as a liability or as something intrinsically un-American. And that, to me, is change that we sorely need.

Queenemily has a wonderful piece on Questioning Transphobia titled “How to Mourn:

Today most of all, we remember those who were killed. Because we die violently, unmemorialised, and are mocked after our deaths.

Because the world sees us disposable, less than human (and who can mourn that?). Many of the dead lost their lives because they were trans women of colour, doubly disposable. Racism is killing our sisters every bit as much as trans misogyny is.

Who would mourn a thing, a that, an it?

Few will respect our lives as they were, and few will mourn them, and they must be mourned. Their lives were meaningful, their names and genders were real and important, and they lost their lives from hate.

Alternet posts a fascinating tale of reproduction and rights currently unfolding in India:

Across India, the tale of baby Manhji has made headlines and gripped the nation’s attention. Born to a Japanese father and surrogate Indian mother, the two month old is caught in legal limbo. In a way, she has three mothers but none who will raise her, and she cannot return to Japan with her father due to complications of Indian law.

The saga began when Japanese citizens Dr. Ikufumi and Yuki Yamada were unable to conceive a child of their own. They obtained an egg from an anonymous donor and then travelled to India to locate a surrogate mother. In November 2007, the fertilized embryo was implanted into Pritiben of Ahmedabad, and the Yamadas began the nine month wait for their child.

The couple’s dream of completing their happy family was dashed when Ikufumi and Yuki divorced just one month before Manjhi’s birth. Apparently wanting a complete separation from her old life, Yuki took the additional step of disowning the newborn.

Quite simply, Indian laws have not kept pace with the recent trend of reproductive tourism. The law traditionally favors the mother over the father in a custody battle; in Manjhi’s case, the courts have been unable to make a clear statement on who is to be deemed the baby’s mother. The biological mother who donated her eggs remains anonymous, the intended mother has severed ties, and the surrogate mother’s responsibility ended at childbirth.

The second obstacle is that Indian law requires Ikufumi to adopt his own child because of the circumstances under which she was born, yet because he is a single father, the law has also rendered him ineligible. Without re-marrying, he cannot claim the child that he intended to raise with his former wife.

To complicate matters even further, a Rajasthan-based NGO has stepped into the picture, claiming that Manjhi’s status is that of an “abandoned child.” Due to the child’s uncertain legal status, and because the father is unable to become her lawful guardian, Ikufumi’s efforts to take the baby to Tokyo fit the Indian profile of child trafficking.

Bitch points us toward an IFC Media project covering how the news actually gets made, featuring the nerdilicious Gideon Yago. There’s also a related NY Times article:

Mr. Yago, 29, may seem too young to be disillusioned about journalism, but his seven years spent at MTV News and his contributions to CBS News would suggest otherwise. In an interview last week, he said he had watched “news stories that were super-relevant get the kibosh because Purina had bought the first hour of the morning show and they wanted to do a profile on fat cats.” He added, though, that the practices examined on the program are not only ones he has witnessed personally.

Asked if he has become a journalistic cynic, he responded, “That, my friend, is the understatement of the year.” He then quoted a line from the 1987 film “Broadcast News”: “You’re lucky if you can get out while you could still cry.“

Links – 2008-11-18

Reminder: Happy Hour in DC tonight at the Chi-Cha Lounge. Fun starts around 5:30.

Women’s eNews talks about the Global Gender Gap:

The economic, political and educational gender gaps have shrunk globally, with equality between women and men improving in more than two-thirds of 130 countries analyzed in the annual Global Gender Gap Index. The Nov. 12 index was released by the World Economic Forum, a Geneva-based development think tank.

Worldwide, women’s health and life expectancy, however, keep worsening.

Alternet asks “Is the Turban Effect the new Bradley Effect?”

The first is “The Turban Effect,” published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology by a team from the University of New South Wales in Sydney. It suggests that simply noticing someone is a Muslim increases aggressive tendencies on the part of non-Muslim Westerners.

The Pushback Blog comments on Andrew Sullivan’s take on Prop 8:

On the first point, the logic is absurd; if the voting preferences of African-Americans in one state can be used as a proxy for the voting preferences of African-Americans in all states, then, by Sullivan’s reasoning, we can also safely say that Prop 8 revealed the seething homophobia in a huge swath of the population: the over-65 community (61 percent voted “yes”), Latinos (53 percent voted “yes”), and middle-class voters (54 percent voted “yes”). Indeed, by Sullivan’s reasoning, most communities in the United States are brimming with “seething” homophobia.

Afrobella’s got another great discussion going on Prop 8, in her Love not H8 post. The comments are an interesting volley between those for and against gay marriage.

Shygirlj sends in this link from CNN:

A jury awarded $2.5 million in damages on Friday to a Kentucky teenager who was severely beaten by members of a Ku Klux Klan group because the Klansmen mistakenly thought he was an illegal Latino immigrant, the Southern Poverty Law Center said.
Jordan Gruver, then 16, was targeted and beaten by Klan members, his lawsuit alleged.

The jury found that the Imperial Klans of America and its founder wrongfully targeted 16-year-old Jordan Gruver, an American citizen of Panamanian and Native-American descent.

Rob Schmidt sends in this interesting tidbit buried in a Slate article (emphasis mine):

A report from the pro-gay National Black Justice Coalition attributes President Bush’s 2004 reelection in part to the near-doubling of his percentage of the black vote in Ohio, which he achieved “by appealing to Black churchgoers on the issue of marriage equality.” This year, blacks in California were targeted the same way.

The NBJC report paints a stark picture of the resistance. It cites surveys showing that “65% of African-Americans are opposed to marriage equality compared to 53% of Whites” and that blacks are “less than half as likely to support marriage equality and legal recognition of same-sex civil unions as Whites.” It concludes: “African-Americans are virtually the only constituency in the country that has not become more supportive over the last dozen years, falling from a high of 65% support for gay rights in 1996 to only 40% in 2004.” Nor is the problem dying out: “Among African-American youth, 55% believed that homosexuality is always wrong, compared to 36% of Latino youth and 35% of White youth.”

Jasmine sends in an article on Danny Hoch, who has apparently declared war on gentrifiers:

Although the characters in “Taking Over” range from a real estate developer to a young man whose family is being kicked out of its apartment, the pro-gentrification characters (who are, not coincidentally, white) are inevitably less sympathetic than those being pushed out by the neighborhood’s transformation.

During earlier workshop runs, Mr. Hoch said, many upper-middle-class audience members told him they felt excluded or alienated while watching the show, particularly when the more hostile characters were onstage. “And my response to that is: That is a good thing, embrace that, because that is what all of my characters who are getting displaced are feeling.”

Links

Jenn at Reappropriate has an interesting perspective on Palin and Bipartisan feminism.

Angry Asian Man points us toward this Complex post on “When Hollywood Rips Off South Korea.” I agree with AAM, as a J.S.A. remake makes no freaking sense. I’m also kind of shocked at the My Wife is a Gangster remake with Queen Latifah. I’ll go borrow Hae’s copy of that one and try to put together a post on that.

Safiya Outlines posts on what not to say about mixed race relationships.

Stereohyped reports that Obama is creating a new office in the White House:

Barack Obama’s transition co-chair and friend Valerie Jarrett confirms that plans are underway to create a White House Office of Urban Policy, which will help to coordinate federal efforts to aid large cities (aka “fake America”).

The Education and Class blog has a link to an interesting study on why qualified low income students do not enroll in college:

With these students — who are disproportionately low-income or students of color — schools are doing their part: These students have taken a college prep curriculum and gotten decent grades.

But, because of the high costs of college, inadequate information about financial aid and loans, and guidance counselors responsible for hundreds of students, these students are not applying for or enrolling in college.

There are so many ways that low-income kids are left behind.

The Nation reports on infighting among the MSNBC anchors.

Monica Roberts at Transgriot posts her TRANScending Gender Keynote Speech.

Nordette at Blogher writes about the Obamas and the Huxtable Effect:

Yes, many Americans enjoyed the The Cosby Show and many African-Americans wished they were the Huxtables, but speculation about whether or not the Huxtable family influenced America’s love affair with the Obama family, seems to focus more on white acceptance of the Obamas and the belief that the Obamas and the Huxtables are post-racial or universal.

Hyphen points our attention toward a study that uncovered a glass ceiling in the workplace – for Chinese Americans:

According to a press release about study:

    Chinese Americans, one of the most highly educated groups in the nation, are confronted by a “glass ceiling,” unable to realize full occupational stature and success to match their efforts, and that on average, Chinese American professionals in the legal and medical fields earn as much as 44 percent less than their white counterparts
    .
    The study was done by the University of Maryland Asian American Studies Program with support from the Organization of Chinese Americans.

    An interesting point the authors bring up is that Chinese Americans are split evenly between “poorly educated recent immigrants from China and a more settled, acculturated, educated and prosperous group of older immigrants and second generation Americans. These earlier arrivals came mainly from Taiwan and Hong Kong.”

An op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer explores “environmental racism” aimed toward Philadephia’s Chinatown community:

City officials required an environmental impact review and took almost a year and a half considering plans for the original proposed site of a Foxwoods casino on the riverfront in South Philadelphia. But the new site, near Philadelphia’s Chinatown, is being fast-tracked, without meaningful input from the people most affected. There is an obvious disparity of process and transparency.

Why does Chinatown have to deal with more of a burden than the rest of the city or state? The casino could bring in hundreds of cars per hour, air pollution and congestion, petty and organized crime, and increased gambling addiction in the Asian community. While catering to the concerns of other neighborhoods and Foxwoods, city officials are not doing their part to represent Chinatown.

This type of economic development is built on the backs of a community of color that has been neglected at best and exploited at worst.

Links – 2008-11-14

Miriam Makeba has passed on.

My girl Veronica has a great piece for the Women’s Media Center called Larry Summers is Not the Change I was Expecting:

After his departure from the Harvard presidency he faded from the limelight. This week his name, along with New York Federal Reserve Chairman Timothy Geithner, has been bandied about as secretary of the treasury in the incoming Obama administration (can I just say how amazing it is to say that? The Obama administration!). Could the man who sold America on change seriously be considering appointing a man who suggested that Malia, Sasha and all of our daughters have a genetic disposition from not being able to math? Sadly yes.

As the head of the U.S. Treasury, Larry Summers would be in charge of advising on economic and tax policy in this country and abroad. This is a man who believes that women’s inability to do math has MORE impact on the lack of women in science and engineering than discrimination. The lack of women in science and engineering is important to our economy in at least two ways. First, our country is sorely in need of scientists and engineers. The fact that women represent just 12 percent of the science and engineering workforce (cited from Obama’s Change.gov website) means that we are underutilizing women’s skills in this area—a fact that Summers just might take issue with because you know, we can’t do math.

Over on Good Girls Don’t, a thoughtful post titled “Thinking Critically About Activism.” It’s specifically geared toward sex work, but can be applied to any kind of movement:

In talking with a professional community organizer, I learned that having an attainable goal isn’t enough. You also need small steps toward achieving that goal. Small goals along the road to the bigger goal. Protests and letters to the editor are not enough. You need to map the paths of influence in politics and start attacking those in power.

I don’t think I realized how important these clear, strategic actions are. I come from an activist background of mayhem, essentially, creating chaos to shake people up. All this does is piss people off. I knew this, but I wanted to piss people off. Now I want to actually effect change.

This process is going to involve unpleasant interactions. It is going to involve talking to anti-prostitution activists, to academics and scholars, to members of the legal system, to politicians. These people have resources and legitimacy. Talking to them is not going to be pleasant. They will have all kinds of uninformed and derogatory stereotypes about sex work. But these stereotypes won’t change until activists sit across from them at the table.

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Links – 2008-11-10

M. Junaid Levesque-Alam blogs for WireTap about Equality Deferred.

Lost in this celebration, however, has been any serious treatment of the Arab and Muslim question. Obama was ceaselessly and openly pilloried by conservatives as a foreign, exotic, unpredictable quantity, not only because he was of mixed racial heritage, but also because he was wrongly said to be Muslim and Arab. And while the Obama campaign fought firmly and intelligently to overcome voters’ fears about electing an African-American, they rarely took the extra step of condemning the anti-Arab and anti-Ihttp://www.racialicious.com/wp-admin/post-new.phpslamic caterwaul of their opponents’ campaign.

Ralph Nader asks if Obama will be an “Uncle Tom,” gets called out by Fox News. Bint Alshamsa offers video and a bit of commentary.

2008 Voter Turnout was about 62.5% of the electorate.

The NY Times follows up with Pennsylvania voters in The Transformation:

A lot of people in Levittown needed the five months between the primary election and Tuesday to get used to a new idea. After Mrs. Clinton’s defeat, followed by a financial crisis that shook Americans to the core, they came to terms. If Mr. Obama’s race had been a factor, they eventually had to weigh it against other concerns.

“For a long time, I couldn’t ignore the fact that he was black, if you know what I mean,” Mr. Sinitski, the heating and air-conditioning technician, told me. “I’m not proud of that, but I was raised to think that there aren’t good black people out there. I could see that he was highly intelligent, and that matters to me, but my instinct was still to go with the white guy.” Continue reading