By Arturo R. García
At the end of last month, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson posted this missive on Twitter:
By Guest Contributor R.N. Bradley
“He so fine, he could rape me so good.”
Yeah. You read that correctly. To borrow from my southern roots, I got “thowed off” when my student put this in the atmosphere while talking about black women’s sexuality in a multicultural space like hip hop.
It happened in class about a month ago, and I have yet to find the words to ease the levels of high anxiety and horror that I continue to grapple with after hearing this phrase. Part of me recoiled like the 9-year-old little girl I talked about here; part of it was me as a grown woman angry at the fact that rape is contextualized and dismissed as a spectacle. By no means is this quick commentary intended to be a polished discussion of rape and blackness in the popular imagination. Instead, is more sporadic and “off the dome.” It has no shaped trajectory but accentuates the messiness of rape discourse that currently exists in (black) American popular culture.
By Arturo R. García
Fun fact: It wasn’t until this past weekend that I met my colleagues in the flesh.
Thanks to the internet, that’s not quite so weird to say anymore. But I can tell you that it felt great to hang and collaborate in person with Latoya, Andrea, Joseph, and Kendra–on top of contributors Tressie McMillan Cottom, T.F. Charlton, and Caitlin M. Boston–after four years(!) writing here, was a great turning point to reach in our association.
It was also, believe it or not, the first time I encountered not just many of our allies and collaborators, but our fandom in person; for whatever reason, it seems many of our Racializens are based out of the East Coast, so it was interesting to see that flicker of recognition for our work–and, thank goodness, appreciation for it–play out.
In a testament to both the amount of conversation the conference generated and how plugged-in of a constituency it attracted, Facing Race became a trending topic on Twitter both Friday and Saturday last week. At one point Tressie called the whole affair “TwitterCon.” And, over the course of the week, we’ll begin to do our best to retrace our steps for all of you, with Storifys, video, etc. And that’s just from the panels we were able to get to. There’s a whole host of signals out there just waiting to be boosted.
But this morning, at least, I’m going to enjoy the weekend just a little more. Big thanks to the Applied Research Center for putting this all together, and to our readers and supporters who were able to make it out there. If you weren’t, though, don’t sweat–we’ll catch you up soon.
By Arturo R. García
Sure enough, the re-election of President Barack Obama just got people mad enough to express themselves on Twitter in the vilest of ways. But a state-by-state analysis of the activity by Floating Sheep, a group of geo-coded data analysts, reaffirms just how sad some people in the South still are:
Given our interest in the geography of information we wanted to see how this type of hate speech overlaid on physical space. To do this we aggregated the 395 hate tweets to the state level and then normalized them by comparing them to the total number of geocoded tweets coming out of that state in the same time period . We used a location quotient inspired measure (LQ) that indicates each state’s share of election hate speech tweet relative to its total number of tweets. A score of 1.0 indicates that a state has relatively the same number of hate speech tweets as its total number of tweets. Scores above 1.0 indicate that hate speech is more prevalent than all tweets, suggesting that the state’s “twitterspace” contains more racists post-election tweets than the norm.
So, are these tweets relatively evenly distributed? Or do some states have higher specializations in racist tweets? The answer is shown in the map below (also available here in an interactive version) in which the location of individual tweets (indicated by red dots) are overlaid on color coded states. Yellow shading indicates states that have a relatively lower amount of post-election hate tweets (compared to their overall tweeting patterns) and all states shaded in green have a higher amount. The darker the green color the higher the location quotient measure for hate tweets.
The results? The three worst offenders–Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia–came from southern states.
By Arturo R. García
Journalist Mona Eltahawy was arrested in New York City Tuesday for defacing one of several Islamophobic posters paid for by right-wing radio Patricia Geller. Though the arresting officer never answered her question, Eltahawy was indeed charged–she revealed on Twitter that she was booked for criminal mischief, a misdemeanor.
Geller, who helped popularize the “Ground Zero Mosque” myth, has been shown by at least one study to be part of the dog-whistle playlists that make up much of the conservative airwaves.
And if you thought photographer Patricia Hall’s attempt to block Eltahawy in the name of “free speech” was dubious, you’re not wrong: Reuters columnist Anthony De Rosa pointed out that last month, Hall posted a bizarre photo essay trailing Muslims in Times Square asking, “Is Sharia coming to America?”
You might also recall Eltahawy gaining attention earlier this year for “Why Do They Hate Us?,” her cover story for Foreign Policy magazine:
Name me an Arab country, and I’ll recite a litany of abuses fueled by a toxic mix of culture and religion that few seem willing or able to disentangle lest they blaspheme or offend. When more than 90 percent of ever-married women in Egypt–including my mother and all but one of her six sisters–have had their genitals cut in the name of modesty, then surely we must all blaspheme.
By Andrea Plaid
Of course, when I think of this week’s Crush from the standpoint of my childhood, he’s forever Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu, looking calmly into the starry universe and co-steering the USS Enterprise through it on the reruns I’d watch with my mom on Saturday afternoons. In my adult life, he’s the criminally underutilized character, Kaito Nakamura, on Heroes. And a helluva of a social media user and activist, boldly using the former for the latter.
The US government forcibly relocated Takei’s family from their home in Los Angeles to an interment camp in Arkansas in 1942, when he was 5 years old, and then to another internment camp in northern California. After World War II ended, his family moved back to Los Angeles. In junior high school Takei was voted student body president; he was also a Boy Scout at his Buddhist temple. After the jump is an interview in which he recalls his childhood:
Our first track this morning goes out to the sad, sad person behind this hoax:
Last week, after Manny Pacquiao’s highly-suspect loss to Timothy Bradley, some goon pretended to tweet as Roger Mayweather, uncle and trainer for Pacquiao’s biggest rival (before Bradley, anyway) Floyd Mayweather, and trolled after seemingly anybody in sight, including New York Knicks player Jeremy Lin:
As it turns out, there’s either one really sad person or a number of them with the same stupid idea floating around. In short, whoever this is is a Hater. So, for whoever it is who somehow derives enjoyment from spewing digital diarrhea, Isabel Fay’s (NSFW) “Thank You Hater” is just for you:
We’re going back to the old-school for the next track, since you might not be able to hear it on the silver screen any time soon; according to Shadow & Act, while Outkast’s Andre 3000 may be working on a Jimi Hendrix biopic, the Hendrix estate is saying he’s doing so without its permission, meaning Hendrix’s music wouldn’t be cleared for use – which, given the subject, is a rather big obstacle.
Speaking of movies, the arrival of Ice-T’s documentary Something From Nothing: The Art Of Rap couldn’t come at a more interesting time, for reasons I’ll get into after watching it this weekend. As a primer for anybody going to see the film, how about a little Afrika Bambaataa & the Soul Sonic Force?
Next up, a meditative tune from the great Los Lobos: “Mariachi Suite,” one of their contributions to Robert Rodríguez’s Desperado from awhile back. Not that one ever needs a reason to listen to this group, but in this case, consider it a hint as to our Crush of the Week. Enjoy!
Let’s kick the tempo up again with this track from L.A.-based electro-pop group IAMMEDIC, which has a new album, Monster Monster, due out soon. Here’s one from their previous effort, Perfect, and though it gets a little NSFW-ish lyrically in the middle, “Spaceship” is pretty fun otherwise:
Wrapping us up this week is a pick inspired in part by the #vaginamovielines hashtag, which surged after Michigan state representative Lisa Brown was barred from speaking on the state House floor Thursday. Her crime? Telling state speaker James Bolger, “Finally Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no.’” According to Politico, she didn’t back down from her comments after Bolger’s overreaction:
“Maybe they are banning me because I dared say ‘vagina,’ the correct, medical name of a part of a woman’s anatomy these lawmakers are trying to regulate,” she said. “I’m outraged. I’m outraged that this legislative body not only wants to dictate what women can do, but what we can say.”
This kind of silencing was on Salt and Pepa’s mind just over two decades ago. Sad to see that time hasn’t helped Bolger get the message.