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January 5th, 2010

02:27 pm - Immigrant/African American bridge building initiatives in Oakland
this sounded pretty interesting. is anyone here oakland-based and familiar with it? the labels (immigrant and african american) overlap, so i don't know if the reporting was quite able to or should have conveyed that.

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October 1st, 2009

10:46 am - The Do's and Don'ts of Being a Good Ally
1. Don't derail a discussion. Even if it makes you personally uncomfortable to discuss X issue...it's really not about you or your comfort. It's about X issue, and you are absolutely free to not engage rather than try to keep other people from continuing their conversation.

2. Do read links/books referenced in discussions. Again, even if the things being said make you uncomfortable, part of being a good ally is not looking for someone to provide a 101 class midstream. Do your own heavy lifting.

3. Don't expect your feelings to be a priority in a discussion about X issue. Oftentimes people get off onto the tone argument because their feelings are hurt by the way a message was delivered. If you stand on someone's foot and they tell you to get off? The correct response is not "Ask nicely" when you were in the wrong in the first place.

4. Do shut up and listen. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of listening to the people actually living X experience. There is nothing more obnoxious than someone (however well intentioned) coming into the spaces of a marginalized group and insisting that they absolutely have the solution even though they've never had X experience. You can certainly make suggestions, but don't be surprised if those ideas aren't well received because you've got the wrong end of the stick somewhere.

5. Don't play Oppresion Olympics. Really, if you're in the middle of a conversation about racism? Now is not the time to talk about how hard it is to be a white woman and deal with sexism. Being oppressed in one area does not mean you have no privilege in another area. Terms like intersectionality and kyriarchy exist for a reason. Also...that's derailing. Stop it.

6. Do check your privilege. It's hard and often unpleasant, but it's really necessary. And you're going to get things wrong. Because no one is perfect. But part of being an ally is being willing to hear that you're doing it wrong.

7. Don't expect a pass into safe spaces because you call yourself an ally. You're not entitled to access as a result of not being an asshole. Sometimes it just isn't going to be about you or what you think you should happen. Your privilege didn't fall away when you became an ally, and there are intra-community conversations that need to take place away from the gaze of the privileged.

8. Do be willing to stand up to bigots. Even if all you do is tell a friend that the thing they just said about X marginalized group is unacceptable, you're doing some of the actual work of being an ally.

9. Don't treat people like accessories or game tokens. Really, you get no cool points for having a diverse group of friends. Especially when you try to use that as license to act like an asshole.

10. Do keep trying. Fighting bigotry is a war, not a battle and it's generational. So, keep your goals realistic, your spirits up (taking a break to recoup emotional, financial, physical reserves is a-okay), and your heart in the right place. Eventually we'll get it right.

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July 30th, 2009

10:31 pm

a few days ago, delux_vivens posted about the murder in Canada and the way it had been framed in the media. Members of the South Asian Women's Community Center in Montreal wrote this response in The Gazette:

Racism does not help fight and eliminate violence against all Women and Children
Re: “Western freedoms a source of family conflict” and “To kill your own child, you must be crazy” 24th July
We would like to address the paralysing reality that racialised, immigrant and Muslim Women are all too often put in when a violent and tragic situation of violence against Women of such a background occurs in Canada. This reality is a result of a failed understanding by the media of how patriarchy manifests in societies across the world, including those in North America. This paralysis forces us and our communities to fight t he racism within media reports and commentaries from readers when we would otherwise be acting to challenge and eliminate all forms of control and violence against Women and Children.
First, we would like to extend our sympathies to those who are grieving and missing their friends, family and community members Zainab Shafia, Sahari Shafia, Geeti Shafia and Rona Amir Mohammad. Certainly, if any injustice was done, we demand justice.
Second, we would like to highlight that although Mohammad Shafia, Tooba Mohammad Yahya and Hamed Shafia have been as of yet, 'charged' with murder and conspiracy to commit murder, it is nonetheless important to speak on the issue of violence against Women20and Children, including when it occurs within a family, however one may define it. It is nonetheless difficult to do so when gender violence is not analysed comprehensively and instead is viewed as a “cultural problem” among certain communities. When a white man kills his partner and/or children, he's a murderer and is seen as a “bad apple,” but then when non-whites (and non-Christians) are involved, it is de-facto an honour killing and whole communities and cultures are labeled ‘backwards.' We agree with the statement of Alia Hogben of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, “Violence against women is endemic in societies where men wield control over women's lives” and that patriarchal thinking is not limited to the Middle East and Asia. Indeed, as Adeema Niazi of the Toronto-based Afghan Women's Organisation states, “Violence against women exists everywhere.” This violence includes the actions caused by partners or family members thinking they can control the lives of Women and Children.
Third, we would like to address the false premise in Shannon Proudfoot’s article “Western freedoms a source of family conflict.” Proudfoot quotes Dianna Nammi as saying that children of immigrants who grow up in Western nations take certain freedoms for granted, and20this can lead to conflict with their parents. Nammi states that when movin g to another country, parents bring with them culture, traditions and religion and they “are choosing to show the worst part of that, and the worst and criminal part of that is controlling women.” We--an immigrant and a child of immigrant parents--want to 1) emphasize that this is a false premise as it assumes that women in other parts of the world, most notably the Global South, are but mere victims, not three dimensional human beings fighting to live dignified lives based on justice. Women all over the world exercise agency and are struggling against patriarchal violence. This is not informed by the country one lives in but by the courage that Women have. This agency can be found he re, where Indigenous Women continue to demand justice for the more than 500 missing Native women and continue to fight against the on-going violence and colonisation against their communities, or in Afghanistan, a country where women are fighting gender violence within family and local political structures as well as fighting against the violence caused by a foreign invasion that has put some of the most retrogressive men in power (see RAWA speech, Oct 7, 2008); 2) denounce the impression that religions/cultures predominant in the Global South are inherently “more” backwards. We disagree with the premise that the “West” is an overall just freedom-loving society. Such a notion ignores the reality that immigrants and their daughters continue to face both patriarchy and racism in Canada in overt and sub tle ways (e.g. in schools, hospitals, on the job, having no or precarious immigration status); 3) denounce the thinking that it is a simple matter of Western-influenced immigrant children vs. their “backwards” parents. Inter-generational differences and conflict are not regionally and culturally confined. Around the world, both in the Global South and North, youth are in conflict with their parents’ generation about how to live their lives. This is nothing new.
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Dolores Chew is a founding member and Farha Najah Hussain is a member of the Montreal based South Asian Women's Community Centre (SAWCC).

This Opinion Piece is supported and signed by: Heidi Mehta (SAWCC EC Youth Representative) and Nisha Sajnani
(RAWA Oct. 7th 2008 statement: http://www.rawa.org/events/sevenyear_e.htm)


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June 12th, 2009

02:50 pm - If you didn't do it, what did you do to stop it?
(x-posted by request)

I just came across Cereta's excellent post on men and rape by way of Coffeeandink's links and post.

The first rule of abuse is that we don't name it. And when we have to deal with it, we rename it, we call it something else, point the finger at someone else, or anything else than call it what it is. The abuser renames things because it serves to hide what is being done. The abused renames things, for survival. Speaking truth has consequences. Speaking truth might mean having to admit someone you love, someone you trust, even blood relatives JUST RAPED YOU.

And those of us men who might not have committed such acts? We benefit in renaming it because we don't want to have to admit that our teachers, our fathers, our friends, our family members, have raped either.

For the rapist, it's a chain of rationalizations. About how he's not responsible, how she did this or that to make it happen, or how she didn't say no, or she didn't say no in the right way, or enough times, or a thousand other excuses that in the end, are about him getting his.

For the rest of us? The chain of rationalizations are "Well, I don't know the full story!", "Oh, she's kind of dramatic!", "Maybe they're exaggerating!" "People say a lot of things when they're angry.", "I'm sure if it was really a problem, someone would press charges!"

You know what? Fuck rapists. And fuck every goddamn man who makes excuses for it.

See, this shit happens because fuckfaces, like you, like me, like us, don't step up and stop this shit. To be sure- there's 51% of the population who suffer and have an interest in stopping it, but let's be real, we are the ones with power, and privilege and we're either raping or standing by while rape is happening. Worse yet, we're standing by silently while it's happening. We're even defending it.

Every time you do that, you're saying to your mother, sister, daughter, friends, girlfriends, cousins, teachers, students, coworkers, anyone who happens to have that other chromosome? You're saying "Hey, I'd feel -bad- if you got raped, but I wouldn't do shit about it."

Maybe that's not what you mean, but that IS what you're saying. And, because you are encouraging that environment, you're making it more likely to happen. ("I hate me some of THOSE PEOPLE, they can all hang from trees, but you, you're different, I wouldn't do that TO YOU", "Ah thanks!")

This is a rape culture.

This is the culture where we make heroes out of troops while we ignore the fact that they rape the people they're suppose to protect. They rape their fellow troops who are risking their lives to protect them. We ignore our clergy who rape our kids and fellow believers. We ignore our bosses. We ignore our activist leaders who rape the very people they're supposed to protect. We ignore our cousins, uncles, fathers, friends who do this to other people we love.

And to flip it and look at the other side? At the women? That means we ignore the fact that all these people we care about, know, and work with- we ignore that they're being raped.

What kind of fucking love is that?

Stop worrying about calling yourself a man. Try being human for once.

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May 12th, 2009

10:43 am - TV: A Reason I <3 Southland (from 1x4 Sally in the Alley)

Regina King plays a cop. I think she's got a nuanced, interesting, entertaining, and pointed characterization. She figures in each episode and I adore her role. There's a critique, though, in how the strong-black-woman is played against other stereotyped ways of being a woman overall.

I think in a lot of ways, her character (Lydia), is a shout-out to all the real people that are black, living their lives, having friends, relationships, and lovers in a place that disrespects black women as a matter-of-course.

Click here for the scene of win.

Or here where it's embedded.Collapse )

For sure, this passes the Bechdel test.

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March 27th, 2009

11:31 am
"Go Native" event in Oakland

Anybody in Oakland know anything about this?

eta: the original poster/flyer are still up here at tribe.net. There's also a post about the statement from AIM West, with plenty of "no *we'll* define whats really racist not the native community" in the comments.

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March 18th, 2009

02:36 am - Phanachone v Tedesco?
Lori Phanachone already took that ESL test and passed it. When? Two years ago.

Got an opinion on this?

Here's contact information!

Beau Ruleaux's boss is Mike Hanna. Principal Mike Hanna's Email is mhanna@storm-lake.k12.ia.us

The board of education for Storm Lake Community Schools can be reached at:

Superintendent Paul Tedesco can be reached by email or telly:

Storm Lake High School:

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