Category Archives: Race

White People Goggles and Trayvon Martin

When I attended the Justice For Trayvon Martin Rally (or the $1644.38 Rally) in City Park in front of the Martin Luther King monument, I came to terms with something that I hadn’t *fully* comprehended until that day: black citizens are so very far from obtaining equality and justice, it isn’t even funny. And this is because of white acceptance – and *ignorance* – OF WHITE PRIVILEGE.

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At the rally, black men and women spoke about how they should remember to rely on one another in the community and NOT to involve the police because the justice system cannot be trusted. The police cannot be trusted. The courts cannot be trusted. The truth of the matter is that our system as a whole can NOT be trusted to take good care of the black community. It cannot be trusted with their CHILDREN, their FAMILIES, their WOMEN, their MEN or their BOYS.

Black speakers asked of the white persons in attendance that they might act as an intermediary between the communities and speak out against the demonization of blacks. They asked that we speak up on behalf of Trayvon Martin and others who are slandered and caught in the line of fire of white anger against the existence of black people and their constant uphill struggle.

I’m always fascinated by this white indignation which defies logic. The ironic part about this white anger is that, though it’s directed at blacks, I believe it really derives from a very deep feeling of shame over the actions of our white ancestors. This is what many racist whites and non-racist whites have in common: white guilt and white shame. The difference is how we deal with that guilt and shame. Some whites, in a desperate attempt to relieve their own personal discomfort, try to deny accountability for past transgressions by claiming that racism is not currently alive in today’s world; therefore, they can not be personally “held accountable” for sins committed by ancestors long dead and now everyone should just shut up about it because no white people are harming blacks nowadays; I mean, after all, these white people and their friends haven’t burned a cross in anyone’s yard this week or hanged anybody for no good reason in their tree out back. And besides, they have black friends, which is clearly indicative of an absence of a psychotic drive to kill or maim blacks – and, even further, proves their desire to “include” black people in their daily lives.

Some whites go so far as to try and turn the tables, proclaiming that whites are now subject to “backward racism” and therefore this is proof that whites and blacks are systemically on equal footing – or worse, they claim that blacks have the upper hand since they “have” things such as affirmative action and black scholarships. Don’t bother examining why these things had to be put into place in the first place. Don’t bother contemplating the potential fallout were these things to be removed. Don’t bother researching the severely lopsided percentages of blacks in colleges, in prisons, or unemployed altogether.

But-but-but… Surely, the fact that blacks aren’t in college reflects their lack of intellect, skill or interest and almost *certainly* not their disenfranchisement. Surely, their overwhelming presence in prison reflects the inordinate number of criminals among them and not police profiling, unnecessary searches, and bias within the court systems. Surely their numbers of unemployed citizens reflect their laziness and delinquency and not an unjust hiring and firing process or racism in the workplace. Surely. These are the kind of promises that some white people tell themselves to help ease the guilt and shame of NOT standing up against what they KNOW to be wrong.

Because, hey, it can get uncomfortable standing up for black people. They might not even WANT your help. You might inadvertently say something offensive. Or racist. And then you look like an asshole.

Yeah, I know. It’s no fun and it can get uncomfortable. It’s not easy, like “Like”ing Facebook posts about patriotism or talking about how great mothers are. It can get messy and you might even discover horrid things about your own racism and prejudice along the way. It can be shaming. It can be frightening. But it needs to be done. It’s our responsibility.

Ask yourself this question and this question alone: is it right for a grown man to confront an innocent 17-year-old kid and shoot him in the chest as a result of an altercation that he himself pursued? If the answer is NO, STAND UP FOR TRAYVON MARTIN TODAY. Tell someone you know that they are full of shit and tell them WHY. Don’t let your friends get away with distracting from the horrific wrong that has been done here. In THIS case. THIS time. Forget about the politics and the colors and the arguments. Think of that teenage boy who was not beaten, not pistol-whipped, but SHOT in the chest after being NEEDLESSLY stalked by a grown man. Take off your White People Goggles and reach out to the black community and defend the innocent when they are slandered. Because the black community is YOUR community. When it comes down to it, we ALL share the SAME ANCESTRY. We are ONE PEOPLE. Don’t let curly hair or blue eyes fool you into thinking otherwise. Trayvon Martin is OUR son and EVERYONE’S responsibility.

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If You Try To Use My Potty, I’ll Kill You.

Chrissy Polis, a 22-year-old transgender woman, decided to go to McDonald’s one night. Following Chrissy’s use of the ladies’ restroom, McDonald’s employees looked on amused she was repeatedly kicked in the back, face and head, pummeled with fists, spat upon, had her hair pulled and her earrings torn out. These heinous abuses were doled out by two teenage girls, one 14 and one 18. One good Samaritan, an older woman, attempted to intervene and demanded that the assailants “get off of her,” but she herself was struck in the face. The seemingly-endless, three-minute long beating was recorded by a McDonald’s employee, Vernon Hackett (who has since been fired), while the other employees watched, laughed and rooted for the abusers. The assault ended only after Chrissy suffered a seizure near the front door. Seeing this, the employee who’d been recording the crime actually encouraged the criminals to leave immediately since the victim was bleeding and the police would be on their way. Yeah… wouldn’t want anyone to get arrested for brutally assaulting a helpless victim or anything.

So why did this happen? According to various news sources, including the Huffington Post, it had to do with Chrissy’s attempt to use the women’s restroom.

Polis told the newspaper that after she used the restroom, “They said, ‘That’s a dude, that’s a dude and she’s in the female bathroom.'”

Does it matter what it’s about? Well, WMAL Radio Host Chris Plante had plenty to say on the matter. He blathers on about the nature of transexuality and complains grievously about the term’s flexibility. He has a big problem with the idea that this incident is considered a hate crime since, in his astonishingly-enlightened mind he believes that if this were “simply a matter of” two black girls destroying a white girl, the incident would not be labelled as such. His mind-broadening commentary of course being due to his extensive life experience as a transgender, African-American female… oh, wait… he’s cissexual, white and male. One YouTube commenter, Nirvanfan4ever, prefers to refer to Mr. Plante as a “fucktard,” and I don’t think it’s really my place to disagree with him.

Worse still is yet another well-informed intellectual who calls himself RedBaiter, who begins his article regarding the tragedy as follows:

Nothing excuses the behaviour of the animals responsible for the McDonald’s beating, however it is necessary to dispel the widely held misconception that the victim was a white girl. The victim has been identified as Christopher Lee Polis and a male of Arab or Indian descent who dressed as a woman. Its debatable that such a person has any real right to enter a women’s toilet [emphasis mine].

Chrissy is, in fact, half white and half something else. Why this is relevant to whether or not she should use a toilet… I can’t quite figure that one out. But some people will attack from any angle they can muster when it comes to GLBTQ injustices.

And, yes… it does matter what it’s about. When the level of violence exacted at an individual is escalated to the point of potentially fatal actions due to their personal identity, it DOES MATTER, and it MUST BE RECOGNIZED AND PUNISHED AS EXACTLY THAT. Some people contend that “all crime is ‘hate crime'” since a person would not commit a crime against someone they were fond of. This is missing the point. Identifying an act of violence as a “hate crime” is important because there is an extra element at play here. An element which has NO place in civilized society. This element is the act of the “-ism.” Scholars refer to it as “othering.” When you “other” a group, you dehumanize them and find ways to justify violence and other injustices committed against them. This is no simple error in judgment and it is unacceptable in a society which purports to value equality. Had it been two black girls thrashing some white girl due to her skin color, it would most definitely be a hate crime as well. (Not to mention, Plante’s example proves his egregious underestimation of the eagerness with which the legal system prosecutes African-Americans in general.)

But go ahead and take a good look at this video and you tell me what you think. How much would you have to despise a person in order to inflict this type of violence on them?

Click here to watch the beating. >>CAUTION: IT IS NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH… YOU MAY WANT TO HAVE A PAPER BAG HANDY. AND A VALIUM.

Unfortunately, there has been longterm fallout; since the incident, Chrissy has been concerned about the result of this unwanted publicity. She lives in a smaller town and is concerned about obtaining employment and living a normal life. She, in fact, has been hesitant to leave her house altogether due to the mental trauma she has suffered from this brutal incident. She spoke out about the injustices served and the unnecessary fearfulness that transgender individuals experience every day in an interview with the Baltimore Sun.

What the FUCK is wrong with people?

Transgenderism. I am only recently learning the ins and outs of how the terminology is perceived in the trans/queer community and attempting to educate myself on protocol. As with any group, there are diverse preferences in how individuals prefer to be viewed and treated, but one thing I’m pretty sure about: TRANSGENDER PEOPLE ARE HUMAN BEINGS AND DESERVE TO BE TREATED LIKE HUMAN BEINGS. Is that a concise enough definition for you, Plante?

Or, here’s a tip: stop trying to stuff everyone into a category. There are too many of us and there are endless variations of individuals. It’s a futile project at best… and a terrifyingly harmful one with dire consequences at worst.

And here’s the 18 year old ****’s mugshot:

Teonna Monae Brown, 18 years old,

One of the assailants who administered a brutal beating to Chrissy Polis…

at the McDonald’s located at 6315 Kenwood Avenue… has done it before. At the same McDonald’s…

To a mother and her children. Read more on this at TSG.

 

A Look Back: Demolition Man (1993)

1993’s Demolition Man had promise at first glance. One of the lead characters was an adventurous female with Kung Fu moves, perfect aim and, best of all, a hint of bloodlust. She plays a futuristic law enforcement cadet who is fascinated with the 20th century (now, the “old days”). She has a sort of dopey, clueless charm but maintains an air of personal tenacity and proves she has nothing short of a titanium backbone.Wesley Snipes was a psychotic criminal who gave the audience the vicarious pleasure of brutally – and with flair – outsmarting the super-whitey police force and its overlording white establishment.

What could possibly go wrong?

Well… let’s begin with Snipes’ character (Pheonix) who, despite being a bad-ass criminal way back in the 20th century, is only now “truly intimidating” due to physical and mental enhancements bestowed upon him by a white man during his incarceration in ice. The capper? Even with these upgrades, Pheonix is incapable of defeating our hero, white guy Stallone. Our warrior cries against the inhumanity, the injustice, the prejudice, the abuse, the oppression, the corruption and the racism of the white establishment are drowned in Pheonix’s unfathomable death at the hands of our hero, white guy Stallone.

Unfortunately, that’s not where the travesty ends. After Bullock’s character (Huxley) proves herself to be a first-rate marksman, the audience’s excitement builds in anticipation of her certain role in day-saving. Wrong again. Right before our hero, white guy Stallone fights the evil Simon Pheonix, he renders Huxley unconscious, promising her it’s for her own good. He then goes on to save the day alone, once again restoring white male order to the universe and defeating the evil, however somehow still inferior, black criminal. When the dust settles, Huxley actually thanks him for keeping her out of the big finale. This statement is particularly bewildering since she has heretofore shown no signs of shying from danger and has enthusiastically plunged into any and all peril with gusto and drive. An integral part of her character’s motivation was her dissatisfaction with her mundane life of order and safety.

And the cherry on top: despite her forward sexuality in an earlier scene (she outright asks Stallone if he wants to have sex), the white male order is once again restored to the universe when he literally sweeps her off her feet romance-novel-cover style and plants one on her. And she didn’t even make it on the cover.

So… yeah. Whatever.

It’s just another disappointing caucasian male ejaculation on the summer dress of egalitarian potential. Boo. Damn, I really hate the good old days.

The Grand American Tradition of Racism

It is time once again for the traditional inspection of the President’s long form birth certificate. This custom dates back to Einsenhower; when he was inaugurated in 1953, the American people naturally demanded that a  copy of his birth certificate be printed in the newspaper and shown on television. People’s suspicions were founded on the premise that he was of German descent and on the fact that he simply “looked like a traitor to the American people.” They speculated on his religion, despite his claim to have practiced Christianity. His German roots simply could not escape public scrutiny. He finally put all fears to rest when he produced a copy of his birth announcement with his feet-prints on it accompanied by a birth certificate which confirmed the information found on the birth announcement, in addition to a photograph of himself as a newborn being foot-printed along with a stamped and sealed verification of his birth date and social security number, a blood sample and full medical records. As is the tradition, the President’s origins are constantly doubted and questioned by the opposing party.

Ford continued the legacy when his British heritage was found out; people demanded reassurance that he was, indeed, born in Omaha, Nebraska. He was forced to produce five witnesses who could confirm his identity, a petition proclaiming his innocence, his marriage certificate and living will, his full dental records and a court-ordered psychological evaluation. It was then that his political opponents pounced on his lack of transparency, pointing out that he’d never offered to provide his school records or his original driving permit and must therefore be hiding something. Ultimately, Ford was forced to comply with the demands of the people, and revealed the shocking truth: he got C’s in Biology.

Does anyone know why Barack Obama is the first President EVER to be grilled about his ethnicity? Hands? Anyone?

Kobe Uses The F-Word (And I Don’t Mean “Fuck”)

Nothing pisses me off more than the use of the word “gay” or “fag” as an insult. “That movie is so gay,” is supposed to automatically indicate that it sucked (not that it had boy-on-boy/girl-on-girl action) or “You’re such a fag,” is supposed to indicate that said fag (as a male) is feminine (femininity being innately bad, of course) or stupid. Being that those of us who aren’t born white, heterosexual and male simultaneously are summarily dismissed due to our “minority status” at one point or another in life, it always grinds my gears when members of a heavily-oppressed minority bash another heavily-oppressed minority group. Like when a black guy uses the word “faggot.”

Unfortunately, this particular black guy, a famed celebrity, has lead a privileged life since his youth that may not have lent itself to much empathy. But he’s not alone. Individuals of all races and economic statuses gleefully take part in homophobic mud-slinging. Why? Because, for some reason, it’s still okay to say “faggot.” The N-word went out with the “politically correct” era of the 80’s and 90’s and it’s a pretty big deal when a high-profile personality uses it nowadays. But, in reality, it hasn’t been that long since it’s been dropped from the acceptable lexicon and – even today – in some shit-brained, ethnocentric circles, it’s perfectly tolerable (if not encouraged.) There’s always the lunatic fringe to contend with. And, of course, there are all of those in the middle who don’t use the word out loud, but mean it.

So here we are again, this time with the word “faggot” – or, as Kobe Bryant prefers to use the term, “fucking faggot.” We’re back at square one, and the word can be spat in any circumstance against anyone of any color or sexual persuasion. Straight or gay, you can be called a “faggot.” Black or white, you can be called a “faggot.” Anywhere but on public television, you can pretty much get away with using this heinous slur, but fortunately Kobe Bryant was dumb enough to get caught, and justice was (sort of) served. He was fined $100,000 and then he gave this apology:

“What I said (Tuesday) night should not be taken literally. My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period. The words expressed do NOT reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities and were NOT meant to offend anyone.”

Riiiight. Kind of like when I accidentally call my brother a nigger because he’s beating me in a video game. Wait a second… that has never happened in my life. Why? Because I have respect for people of all races and would never use that word in my daily speech or at any time in my life (except to impactfully illustrate its caustic, abhorrent nature.) I don’t toss the N-word around at anyone because I respect black people. I don’t toss the word faggot around because I respect gay people. I don’t use the word “gay” as an insult, because it isn’t one, and it’s despicable to infer that it is.

However, allow me to make this perfectly clear: I am not equating the African-American experience with the GLBT experience. They are completely separate and different experiences and identities entirely with completely separate and different dynamics involved. BUT… is it too much to ask that us minorities band together against the establishment’s systemic, straight-white-male supremacy that prevails in our society?

Kobe. Mr. Bryant, sir. I know you attended Lower Merion High with all of the other well-to-dos and high-profilers. I realize that you’ve been living your celeb-tastic life as though you’re invincible, and the fine they made you pay was more like a trip through the McDonald’s drive-thru… but please examine your conscience and don’t blow this off as another scandal you shrugged off or another penalty you avoided. You’re a star and people – even grownups – look to you for validation and inspiration. You’re talented. You’re loved. So please… I’m begging you… STOP FUCKING IT UP.

First Lady Fails as Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model and Therefore Fails as First Lady

What makes you a worthwhile First Lady? The obvious answer is looking good in a swimsuit. Rush Limbaugh recently pointed out Michelle Obama’s failure to catch the eye of prominent sports figures. This clearly denotes enormous inadequacy in her capacity as First Lady. Here are his hard-hitting comments:

I’m trying to say that our First Lady does not project the image of women that you might see on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, or of a woman [professional baseball player] Alex Rodriguez might date every six months or what have you. I mean, women are under constant pressure to look lithe, and Michelle My Belle is out there saying if you eat the roots and tree bark and the berries and all this cardboard stuff you will live longer, be healthier and you won’t be obese. Okay, fine, show us.

And even the dullest among us would conclude that Ms. Obama cannot carry out her mission to help decrease childhood obesity as long as she does not grace the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine. We shall wait and see if Ms. Obama decides to get her act together and pose for a chauvinistic sports rag or not… but one thing is for certain: the fate of the children hang in the balance.

Doctored image of Rush Limbaugh Courtesy of Hilarious Raisins blog

I’d Offer to Carry Something For You, But I Wouldn’t Want to Mess With Your Empowerment

As I perused the aisles of blockbuster for a decent action flick conducive to adrenaline-pumping romance with my boyfriend, my guts were suddenly clutched by the sight of this pink-framed, psychotic barbie staring at me from the shelves. With one mischievously-raised eyebrow, she held a fork near her mouth where a tiny, helpless groom was impaled on the tines. The title, accompanied by her maniacal grin, could only mean one thing: this movie would definitely piss me off. Instead of merely rolling my eyes, I plucked it from the display and read the back.

Clarissa has every detail of her wedding planned. She has the dress tailored, the invitations labeled, and the due date set. Now all she needs is a groom! A Hollywood “it” girl who knows all the players, Clarissa finds herself turning 32 and realizes that although she can get any hot celebrity on the phone, at home, she’s all alone. She decides it’s time to get hitched, and starts planning her own wedding with the confidence that she can hook a husband using the same cunning and guile she uses to navigate the Hollywood social scene. Sarah Chalke stars along with Judy Greer, Gregory Harrison, and Maria Conchita Alonso. Based on the best-selling novel by real-life Hollywood player Gigi Levangie Grazer, Maneater recounts the hilarious adventures of one woman’s search for true love in the land of fake boobs.

Gulp. Flushed with agitation at the blatant sexism depicted in the summary, I wisely chose to put it back where I got it… until Patrick (said-boyfriend) chimed in, “Why don’t we get that one, too?”

Fierce negation electrified my gaze as I curtly replied, “No fucking way.”

“Why not?” he pursued, intrigued.

“Because it would definitely piss me off.”

He immediately snatched it from the rack and countered, “Then we’ll watch this one first.”

Okay, I thought. Fine. Maybe it will be funny. Maybe it won’t be as bad as it seems. Worst case scenario, I’ll blog about it.

So, ladies and gents, it has come to this: the worst case scenario. But here’s the problem: there was so much to barf at, I’m not sure I can make a quality post about all of it. So here are just a few things that can be found in this Lifetime Original movie:

  • Ageism – The intense emphasis on the horrors of getting older (without a man) is borderline-ridiculous. The insinuation that women are no longer cool, attractive, nor fashionable once they breach the 30-year mark is deeply embedded. (Actual quote: “Haven’t you heard? 20 is the new 9!”) However, the worst-fathomable consequence of aging is the inability to obtain a husband (Actual quote: “What I have to offer has a shelf life!”) – which is what the entire movie is about.
  • Sexism – I can’t even begin to describe every disgusting nuance and rude comment, but how about this: one of the Main Character’s friends is smeared, to her face, as a “feminazi” by a southern “gentleman” who claims to “know how to treat a lady” – a lie that the audience is made to believe, since he was offering to push in her chair for her. She later falls in love with him, offering viewers an example of a “happy ending” for a frustrated girl with “daddy issues” who typically falls for married jerk-offs. And, btw, ALL relationship issues that women experience somehow track back to their paternal intimacy.
  • Racism – I was floored to see this issue surface. The expectation of sexism was a no-brainer and the ageism was inevitable… but the racism was a bit of a shock. To begin with, Clarissa’s arch “frenemy” is a woman of color – absolutely gorgeous – and, at first, I didn’t catch on. This chick was fierce. But the running theme of the movie was that Clarissa stole every man she ever had away from her. That bugged me. I thought, Every man? Really? Not even a friendly back-and-forth? I was about to consider myself oversensitive when, suddenly, enter the pool-boy love-interest, Pablo. A lilly-white-girl with super-conservative, upper-class fam falls for gardener/pool-boy/caterer and her true love inspires her to bravely, occasionally, subtly request acceptance of other cultures. Okay… but then Pablo’s friends are all ex-cons – that he met while in prison – and not one of them is white. Adding insult to injury, when Pablo and friends arrive to cater an event, the matriarch of the palace exclaims, “You didn’t mention the house was being robbed!” Ouch.

The plot, in a nutshell, is Clarissa’s manipulation of – and eventual marriage to – an up-and-coming Hollywood star. Her father was a jerk, so she rejects intimacy (Daddy issues for everyone!) Her mother was a homemaker who considered it an honor to iron her cheating husband’s shirts, so she rejects the traditional housewife role. Clarissa is every career woman – in other words, chicks who are just waiting for the moment their life can truly contain meaning. (Meaning is another word for “husband and baby.”) Manipulation and harassment, if it leads to marriage and pregnancy, justify the means. All we women need to hear is that we’re pretty, and we know he’s The One. If we want to score a man, we must demurely accept all displays of chivalry and refrain from displaying any personal strength (Actual quote: “I’d offer to carry something for you, but I wouldn’t want to mess with your empowerment.” – Prince Redneck Charming.)

In closing…

Since all’s well that ends well, each and every single woman – AND I MEAN EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM – isn’t single anymore at the “happy” ending. And we know Clarissa is with the right guy when we hear, “I never thought anyone could tame her.” Because, after all, if chick flicks have taught us anything it’s that once you’ve been tamed and impregnated, there’s no where to go but up!

Dame El Poder (Molotov)


La policía te está extorsionando(dinero) pero
ellos viven de lo que tu
estas pagando
y si te tratan como un delincuente(ladrón),
no es tu culpa dale gracias
al regente.
Hay que arrancar el problema de raíz(haja)
y cambiar el gobierno de
nuestro país.
A la gente que está en la burocracia,
a esa gente que le gustan
las migajas.
Yo por eso me quejo y me quejo porque
aquí es donde vivo y yo ya
no soy
pendejo, que no watchas los puestos del
gobierno hay personas que
se están
enriqueciendo.
Gente que vive en la pobreza y nadie
hace nada porque a nadie le
interesa.

La gente de arriba te detesta y hay más gente que quiere que
caigan sus cabezas.
Si le das más poder al poder, más
duro te van a venir a cojer,
porque fuimos potencia mundial y
somos pobres nos manejan mal.
Coro:
Dame, dame, dame todo el power para
que te demos en la madre,
give me, give me todo el poder so I
can come around to joder.
Porque no nacimos donde no hay que comer,
no hay porque preguntarnos cómo le vamos a hacer?
Si nos pintan como unos huevones, no lo somos. Viva México
cabrones¡
que se sienta el power mexicano que se sienta todos juntos,
como hermanos porque somos más y jalamos más parejo,
porque estar siguiendo a una bola de pendejos?
que nos llevan por donde les conviene
y es nuestro sudor lo que
los mantiene,
los mantiene comiendo el pan caliente
y ese pan es el de nuestra
gente.
Coro:
Dame, dame, dame todo el power para
que te demos en la madre,
give me, give me todo el poder so I
can come around to joder.
Lyrics: Dame el Poder, Molotov [end]