Default Bigotry

I really have to question how much “inclusion” there actually is. 

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The default person in society is the most privileged – a cis, straight, white, able bodied man. Lacking any other description, this is generally the identity we assume a character has. If we don’t mention a race, we assume Whiteness. If we don’t mention a sexuality, we assume the character is straight, etc etc. 

And this is not a good thing – we shouldn’t think that way, this shouldn’t be our assumption and this shouldn’t be a societal standard.

But it is.

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If we want to change that – and we should – then I can’t see us doing it with less visible portrayals. We can’t challenge this by only having marginalised characters in a book or on a show that are apparent only to those willing to do the homework.

We need to normalise the presence of marginalised people rather than casting them as the Other…

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These characters should exist, we should have the full variety of diversity in our media. But we shouldn’t have them used as an excuse for erasure or tokenism. We shouldn’t be using research-required inclusion as an excuse for not bothering with text supported portrayal.

We shouldn’t be afraid of having marginalised people in major roles who are clearly identifiable as marginalised people.

— Paul & Renee (Feministe)

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Sylver Blaque’s Blogger Bubbles

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Blogger Bubbles ®™ 2013 is a federally registered trademark by Sylver Blaque.

Florida’s 48-Hour Voting Law = Less Poor & Minority Votes

This week’s Smackdown goes to Florida’s continued nefarious efforts to block underprivileged & minority voters in their state.

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LA Times:Florida Vote Ruling Seen As Win for Poor & Minorities

ACLU:Legal Victory – Voter Registration

ColorLines:Federal Judge Overturns Draconian Voter Registration Rules in Florida

And, in order to laugh to keep from raging at Florida’s undaunted attempts at voter suppression – reworked, reworded, and redefined from their successful 2000 and 2004 election fraud – Jon Stewart shares clips from John Oliver’s interviews with Florida’s democracy-challenged voting-related lawmakers.

 “Purge Overkill – Florida’s Voter Registration Law

(Minus the pre-video ad: “Purge Overkill – Florida’s Voter Registration Law“)

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What’s your take on this issue?

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Sylver’s Saturday Smackdown

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Abuse on Palestinians Not Limited to West Bank

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Israeli occupation of Palestine: Israeli soldier holds frightened Palestinian mother and young children at gunpoint.

In ever-increasing documentation of violent assaults demonstrating that attacks on Palestinians are not limited to the occupied West Bank, Israeli police repeatedly shot a Palestinian father and Good Samaritan with electric stun guns in front of his 5 young children in an East Jerusalem park.

As reported by mainstream Israeli news outlet Haaretz, the victim, 42-year-old Talal Siad, was having a celebratory Eid al-Fitr family day with his wife and 5 children at Meymadion Water Park on Thursday, when they witnessed Tel Aviv police repeatedly spraying pepper into the eyes of a teenager on the ground.

The teen victim had been involved in an altercation which occurred between some families at the park. Israeli police intervened, but witnesses say the officers used “unnecessary force.”

RT News reports that Siad, who was not involved in the altercation but was alarmed by the excessive police pepper-spraying into the eyes of the teenager on the ground, called out, “What are you doing? You’re killing those kids! You’re being unreasonable!

palestinian-tasered-by-israeli-policeIsraeli police responded by aggressively threatening Siad, who was holding his 3-year old in his arms.

Says YNet News, when Siad put his child down to attempt to help the pepper-sprayed teen, police attacked Siad with stun guns.

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Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 29)

book-why-do-people-hate-america?I learned a lot from that Israeli encounter.

And from the reactions of other foreigners to our 9/11 tragedy. I mean, I just always assumed that everyone everywhere felt the way we Americans do about it.

I guess I’m learning the value in seeing how others see you.

Because, the truth is, you can never really see yourself objectively.

Yet, even this awakening I’m experiencing here – this dirty view of us through foreign eyes – only makes me feel more determined to fight to right the wrongs. I mean, you have to fight for what you love. And I love my country. In spite of everything I’m learning, that will never change. It’s like how I love my family; no matter what they do, they’re still my blood & always will be. And you don’t give up on family. If they’re broken, you fight for them, fight to fix them, fight to save them.

I told Karli & Dana tonight about the Israeli airport encounter, and they didn’t seem surprised. Karli told me about similar 9/11 conversations she’s had with foreigners in other countries. Dana’s view is that those foreigners are just jealous of America. But Karli thinks, as I do, that it has a lot more to do with our foreign policy, the things we’ve done and continue to do to other countries.

Crashing bees’ nests for honey

Why do we need all that honey? And why are we so okay with spilling their blood to get it? According to those Israelis, spilling foreign blood means our blood will follow. Are generations of our blood worth spilling for honey?

But, I mean, what are we citizens supposed to do about that?

Most of us, like me, don’t even know what our government is doing. We only know what the news tells us. We don’t even know who’s controlling our news. We think our news is democratic & objective, you know, because we live in a democracy. We think we’re getting the whole story. So we don’t dig any deeper than the most convenient American news sound bite because, hey, if it’s on the news, it must be true.

And who has time to dig, anyway? We have jobs, families, a social life.

But even when we do find out horrendous stuff about our country, patriotism (or the fear of being called unpatriotic) propels us to justify our atrocities. Or we retreat into denial. Or defensiveness. Like in the museo today, when the Whites in our group became so defensive about American benevolence, even in the face of our racist destruction of a Brown nation.

Or like how I just wanted to run away…    Continue reading

American Muslims Under Fire

evergreen-park-cemeteryF*ck u rag head.”

Mohamad is a liar & a fagit.”

This graffiti is scrawled across the tomb of a Palestinian-American’s father’s grave in Chicago’s Evergreen Park cemetery.

It’s one of many such Islamophobic acts being carried out by groups of Americans – including attacks on seven mosques across the U.S. in the past two weeks alone.

 

As reported by CNN, Muslims are being forced to celebrate their holiest month, the month of Ramadan, away from their places of worship.

I think there are a few people who don’t like anybody,” says Iftikhar Ali, president of a Joplin, Missouri mosque which was attacked and burned to the ground last week. “They don’t like a different color than their color, or different religions.”

Ali, along with countless American Muslims, are being pushed by violent hate crimes to steer clear of mosques, worshipping instead in convention centers guarded by law enforcement officers.

So, what?” a portion of Americans may think. “Small price to pay, compared to 9-11!

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Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 26)

lynching-of-blacksOur racist policies didn’t work in Cuba.

At least not in the way it worked back home.

Because while Americans were all for hanging Blacks out to dry, Cubans were fervently against it.

Cubans — Black & White — rose up in unified, adamant protest against our racist policies on their island.

But a lot of good it did them; we reluctantly responded by allowing a minimal number of Blacks back into the sectors of society we had originally ousted them from — but we reinstated those Blacks in a segregated format.

Brown cops had to be separated from White cops, Brown soldiers could not share barracks with White soldiers, etc. Wherever we gave in to Cuban outcry against the banning of Blacks, our reinstatement condition was always that Blacks be separated from Whites.

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Circa 1920. The Texas Restaurant Association posted these signs at the entrances and exits to all restaurants in the state.

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Hence, the U.S. was responsible for the re-introduction of segregation onto the island of Cuba. Victor said the effects of our systemic racism still exist here today – just as it does back home.

Which, of course, we’re all in denial of.

Well, all except minorities.

But Victor said we did good things in Cuba, too. And I noticed that where the Browns in our group had been riveted by Victor’s history lesson from word one, it wasn’t until this part of the lesson that the Whites in our group began listening intently.   Continue reading

Arizona Immigration Law: Damning Pearce Emails Uncovered

russell-pearceThe American Civil Liberties Union has uncovered a sheath of damning emails to and from former Arizona state senator Russell Pearce – author of the state’s controversial immigration law.

As reported in The Arizona Republic, the exposed emails – dating as far back as 2006 – contain overtly racist language and references to the state’s Latino population, prompting the ACLU to conclude that Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law was “racially motivated.”

The uncovered emails contain such statements as: “Last week, Denver’s illegal aliens sang our national anthem in Spanish and bastardized the words of OUR country’s most sacred song.”

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Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 21)

American-Revolutionary-War-soldiersSpanish colonists in Cuba were raking in the sugar dough in the wake of the Haitian Revolution.

While Spain was getting richer (via Cuba), we got tired of making Great Britain richer (via America). So we decided to break away from the Brits by fighting & winning our American War of Independence.

Happy 4th of July, America! 🙂

 

Victor said that by 1825, all of Spain’s colonies in the Americas were independent except for Puerto Rico & Cuba — which Spain held onto with both hands because the sugar industry was way too profitable to give up.

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Carlos Manuel de Céspedes

But eventually, Spaniard landowners in Cuba got tired of sharing their sugar profits with Spain. So, in 1868, a Spanish sugar mill owner in Cuba named Cespedez challenged Spain’s chokehold by leading a Cuban War of Independence – which would later become our Spanish-American War.

Cespedez also did something else.

He freed his slaves.

In America, slavery had already been outlawed in 1865, but it was still in practice without much change at first. There was hope by plantation owners that, in time, the free-slaves thing would eventually blow over and we’d get back to our profitable system of slavery.

So, Cespedez freeing his slaves did not sit well with us.

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Arizona: Ethnic Studies a Threat to U.S. Government

ethnic-childIs non-White history the new WMD?

Is learning to take pride in brown history a deadly bomb aimed at the White House?

According to the state of Arizona, both these acts are potential threats to the U.S.  government.

As reported by Indian Country Today Media Network, the state’s new ethnic studies ban equates the teaching of ethnic studies with “promoting the overthrow of the U.S. government.

The ban also describes the further “dangers” of any studies which may cause “resentment toward a race or class of people, along with those designed for students of a specific ethnic group or to advocate ethnic solidarity.”

However, Eric Liu, in a recent report for Time Ideas, points out that “The ban also implicitly assumes that whites are not even a race or ethnic group subject to the terms of the ban, that whiteness, as the invisible norm, just is.” Continue reading