Sex, Gender, Politics, and everything in between
Best line to be quoted, “didn’t they start from whiteness?”
Jane Smiley, Say it Ain’t So, Huck: Second thoughts on Mark Twain’s “Masterpiece” (Harper’s Magazine, 1996)
This is perfect.
Burning From The Inside
A greek-german documentary film that will be coming out in January, about the rise of neo-nazism in Greece. Just yesterday, this semi-legal paramilitary band of fascist thugs killed a young rapper and antifa activist in Athens…
A very good definition of privilege.
From a Friend of the Site.
We couldn’t have said it any better.
Jennifer Schuessler | The Dark Side of Liberation, The New York Times
Question: Which country alone in the Middle East has nuclear weapons?
Question: Which country in the Middle East has just recently used a weapon of mass destruction, a one-ton smart bomb, dropping it in the center of a highly populated area killing civilians including children?
Question: What country in the Middle East was cited by Amnesty International for demolishing more than 4000 innocent Palestinian homes as a means of ethnic cleansing?
Question: What country on Planet Earth has the second most powerful lobby in the United States , according to a recent Fortune magazine survey of Washington insiders?
Question: Which country in the Middle East receives U.S. weapons for free and then sells the technology to the Republic of China even at the objections of the U.S.?
Question: Which country in the Middle East regularly violates the Geneva Convention by imposing collective punishment on entire towns, villages, and camps, for the acts of a few, and even goes as far as demolishing entire villages while people are still in their homes?
Question: Which country in the Middle East routinely kills young Palestinian children for no reason other than throwing stones at armored vehicles, bulldozers, or tanks?
Question: Which country in the Middle East refuses to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and bars international inspections?
Question: Which country in the Middle East seized the sovereign territory of other nations by military force and continues to occupy it in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions?
Question: Which country in the Middle East routinely violates the international borders of another sovereign state with warplanes and artillery and naval gunfire?
Question: What American ally in the Middle East has for years sent assassins into other countries to kill its political enemies (a practice sometimes called exporting terrorism)?
Question: In which country in the Middle East have high-ranking military officers admitted publicly that unarmed prisoners of war were executed?
Question: What country in the Middle East refuses to prosecute its soldiers who have acknowledged executing prisoners of war?
Question: What country in the Middle East created millions of refugees and refuses to allow them to return to their homes, farms and businesses?
Question: What country in the Middle East refuses to pay compensation to people whose land, bank accounts and businesses it confiscated?
Question: In what country in the Middle East was a high-ranking United Nations diplomat assassinated?
Question: In what country in the Middle East did the man who ordered the assassination of a high-ranking U.N. diplomat become prime minister?
Question: What country in the Middle East blew up an American diplomatic facility in Egypt and attacked a U.S. ship, the USS Liberty, in international waters, killing 34 and wounding 171 American sailors?
Question: What country in the Middle East employed a spy, Jonathan Pollard, to steal classified documents from USA and then gave some of them to the Soviet Union?
Question: What country at first denied any official connection to Pollard, then voted to make him a citizen and has continuously demanded that the American president grant Pollard a full pardon?
Question: What Middle East country allows American Jewish murderers to flee to its country to escape punishment in the United States and refuses to extradite them once in their custody?
Question: What Middle East country preaches against hate yet builds a shrine and a memorial for a murderer who killed 29 Palestinians while they prayed in their Mosque?
Question: Which country in the Middle East deliberately targeted a civilian U.N. Refugee Camp in Qana , Lebanon and killed 103 innocent men, women, and especially children?
Question: Which country in the Middle East is in defiance of 69 United Nations Security Council resolutions and has been protected from 29 more by U.S. vetoes?
Question: Which country in the Middle East receives more than one-third of all U.S. aid to the world yet is the 16th richest country in the world?
Question: Which country in the Middle East had its Prime Minister announce to his staff not to worry about what the United States says because “We control America ?”
Question: Which country in the Middle East signed the Oslo Accords promising to halt any new Jewish Settlement construction, but instead, has built more than 270 new settlements since the signing?
Question: Which country in the Middle East has assassinated more than 100 political officials of its opponent in the last 2 years while killing hundreds of civilians in the process, including dozens of children?
(Unpacking the Snowflake - Kevin M. Hemer)
In 1962— before Civil Rights legislation, when Black people were literally having their houses bombed for moving into white neighborhoods, and Black neighborhoods were being bombed in entirety for having nice houses, white people were literally releasing dogs on Black children (my parents) for walking to school, Black children and teenagers were literally leaving school to protest and then being arrested for demanding to be treated equally, police commissioners were driving through Black neighborhoods in tanks to instill fear in them for wanting to be treated equally, everything was separate with Black people getting the shittier end, they literally had lower education standards for Black schools and Black people were still getting lynched and the KKK was strong—
White people when surveyed said “there is equal opportunity“… So don’t think it’s weird that 93% or so of white people still think “there is equal opportunity” today. They’ve literally always been wrong and still are.
This post isn’t about welfare, but it beautifully illustrates a point I’ve been making (or trying to make) since I started this blog:
Privileged people do not understand the realities of people who lack their privilege.
White people assume PoC have the same education and job opportunities.
People with permanent addresses assume homeless people can just fill out an application for McDonalds or Burger King, be hired, and immediately use their paychecks to secure housing.
People who don’t receive welfare assume people on welfare are lazy and intentionally having multiple children and not looking for jobs.
This is why I am always, always asking people if they’ve ever considered that maybe, JUST MAYBE, they don’t have the whole story about their cousin/neighbor/friend’s sister. Because people in privilege tend to ascribe their own circumstances to everyone, even when that’s the exact opposite of reality.
Read it to the end. Bolding toward the end mine.
[Photo by Adam Feldman]
Last night, Adam Feldman (theater critic for Time Out New York) organized a midnight vigil for Mark Carson, the Black gay man who was killed in the West Village Friday night. We gathered on 6th Avenue and West 8th Street, on the corner where he was shot in the face. It was an intense, emotional event. I’m bad at estimating these things, but I think there were around 100 people there. While a few speakers betrayed an upsetting short-sightedness about how violence operates in our society, most were eloquent and inspiring. In no particular order:
- Performer and playwright Justin Sayre started things off with a volcanic, passionate sermon about the perceived danger of queer love — how the straight world fears us for the very thing that makes us most powerful, and so the only response is to love harder, love louder, and love more than ever. His tone set the stage for the event, and allowed people to fully feel the emotions we’d all been locking up tight.
- Photographer and ACT UP vet Jon Nalley revealed, shockingly and emotionally, that Mark Carson is also the name of a fallen ACT UP comrade. Jon schooled the crowd about the true cause of AIDS death (not the HIV virus, but government neglect and institutional heterosexism), highlighting the connections between one Mark’s death and the other’s.
- Long-time activist and Stonewall vet Jim Fouratt pointed out something that SHOULD be obvious, but which hadn’t occurred to me — that there used to be a hospital TWO BLOCKS from that corner, but in the wake of St. Vincent’s closing, Mark had to be rushed to Beth Israel all the way across town. Perhaps, in the distance between these hospitals, Mark’s life could have been saved. In that sense, the politicians that allowed St. Vincents to be converted to a luxury condo high rise — politicians like lesbian mayoral candidate Christine Quinn — may have gay blood on their hands. Jim helped us understand how depriving a gay neighborhood of a hospital is inherently homophobic and violent.
- A trans woman who was once homeless in that same neighborhood spoke intensely about how vigils shouldn’t be the only time we come together, and how we must take our struggle to the U.N. to fight for queer safety internationally, and hold the U.S. to the highest possible global standard.
- A member of Queer Fist read a first-person account of the Stonewall Riots, in which a gay rioter’s head was injured on that very corner, his blood pouring into the street. Another rioter screamed into the city, “THIS IS THE BLOOD OF YOUR BROTHERS!” It was chilling, to consider the bloody history of that location.
- Another Queer First member pointed out that this murder was allowed to happen because the killer had access to a gun, and that the supporters of gun rights, deep down inside, are primarily afraid of the specter of the Black gunman, who will infiltrate their towns and homes. These gun rights advocates feel they need weapons to protect themselves from their racist fantasy. It underscored how racism fuels violence against ALL peoples.
- Khaela Maricich from The Blow was like: we’re all going to die anyway, and it’s better to die being yourself and expressing your love and your identity than hiding it and living longer. Her comment was somewhat insensitive to queers in greater danger than her, like trans people and people of color, but I understood what she was trying to say.
- An older trans man shared that he was attacked in Manhattan only a few days ago, and reminded the crowd, with tremendous grief in his voice, that trans people are killed CONSTANTLY in this country.
- A straight mother spoke because her adult son in another city asked her to, so she could share her love and support with us.
- Interestingly, a straight young woman who lives on that block confessed that her initial impulse was to text her gay friends, warning them to “dial it down” so that no one on the street would know they’re gay, but that, after hearing the speakers, she realized that this was the wrong lesson - that we should “dial it up,” to demand our right to exist. ”DIAL IT UP” became a chant, briefly.
- A Black gay man spoke with great anguish, commenting on how not many other men of color were in attendance, and laying out so clearly how different queer people have unique challenges and specific circumstances — that Mark Carson’s life as a Black gay man was significantly different from the lives of the white gay men who made up the majority of the crowd.
- A few speakers mentioned the importance of hate crimes legislation, and thanked the police for their cooperation with the vigil, and one speaker even said, “THANK YOU TO THE NYPD OF TODAY FOR NOT BEING THE NYPD OF 1969!” and though I had been resisting the urge to speak, that was my last straw
I got up on the box and said something like this:
I hope this doesn’t sound callous, but I was not surprised by this death. Queer people are killed in this country all the time. I have always thought of myself as someone who is vulnerable to murder. Four trans women were killed in the month of April alone — four in one month! So when things like this happen in our neighborhoods, we need to ask ourselves what this violence means. And we have to be skeptical about solutions like hate crimes legislation, which just feeds the prison industrial complex — an industry that profits from the imprisonment of queers and people of color. One third of all adult Black men in the U.S. are in prisons, and trans people are disproportionately arrested and locked up. We cannot continue to support this! And while I’m sure individual NYPD officers were polite in the lead-up to this vigil, we cannot forget that the NYPD ritually harasses trans people and people of color in this city! Trans women are arrested simply for walking down the street! So when we talk about how queer people need to be “safe,” we have to ask ourselves what “safety” really means — because the NYPD does not makes us safe! It harasses and imprisons us! We must reckon with these connections — that Mark Carson’s death is an extension of the violence that oppresses so many others, from the institutional violence of governments to the random violence of a crazy guy with a gun.
I make a living speaking in front of people, but talking at this vigil was terrifying. As I spoke, I felt myself hyperventilating, and I worried I would vomit. After I stepped down, I sat on the curb a few yards away from the crowd, catching my breath.
I wish I had specifically named the Stop & Frisk policy that makes queers and people of color vulnerable to police harassment. I wish I had called out Christine Quinn for supporting this policy.
I wish I had acknowledged a previous speakers’ disappointment about the lack of people of color in attendance. I wish I had pointed out the sad truth: that our queer “community” is still so segregated, such that when a white person organizes a vigil and spreads the word through his social networks, that message will not automatically filter into Black queer circles. When I mentioned this afterwards to Ted Kerr from Visual AIDS, he added that many queers of color are not willing to make themselves vulnerable to the kind of police surveillance that surrounded the event. This hadn’t occurred to me, and reminded me that so many aspects of our queer condition are so complicated, and we all have so much to learn and understand about each other.
When the event was over, I was surrounded by friends and colleagues. People whom I respect, and who inspire me on a regular basis — the people I came to NYC hoping to meet, and the people who keep me here. I was proud of Adam for making this happen, and proud of my community for showing up.
But I was sad too — not just about the senseless death of this man — but that there didn’t seem to be anyone at this vigil who knew him. It seemed indicative of the intense divide amongst queer people in this city.
Tomorrow night, there will be another rally — this one sponsored by the (often idiotic) LGBT Center and featuring Christine Quinn herself — the lesbian mayoral candidate whose policies hurt queer people and may have allowed Mark Carson to die. I will not be in town for this event, but I am fixated on it. Will there be resistance to the party line? Will Quinn be heckled? How can we best honor Mark Carson’s death? What comes next?
1. White terrorists are called “gunmen.” What does that even mean? A person with a gun? Wouldn’t that be, like, everyone in the US? Other terrorists are called, like, “terrorists.”
2. White terrorists are “troubled loners.” Other terrorists are always suspected of being part of a global plot, even when they are obviously troubled loners.
3. Doing a study on the danger of white terrorists at the Department of Homeland Security will get you sidelined by angry white Congressmen. Doing studies on other kinds of terrorists is a guaranteed promotion.
4. The family of a white terrorist is interviewed, weeping as they wonder where he went wrong. The families of other terrorists are almost never interviewed.
5. White terrorists are part of a “fringe.” Other terrorists are apparently mainstream.
6. White terrorists are random events, like tornadoes. Other terrorists are long-running conspiracies.
7. White terrorists are never called “white.” But other terrorists are given ethnic affiliations.
8. Nobody thinks white terrorists are typical of white people. But other terrorists are considered paragons of their societies.
9. White terrorists are alcoholics, addicts or mentally ill. Other terrorists are apparently clean-living and perfectly sane.
10. There is nothing you can do about white terrorists. Gun control won’t stop them. No policy you could make, no government program, could possibly have an impact on them. But hundreds of billions of dollars must be spent on police and on the Department of Defense, and on TSA, which must virtually strip search 60 million people a year, to deal with other terrorists.
Juan Cole, 08/09/2012
Juan Cole actually wrote this 4 days after a white terrorist, yes, terrorist, murdered 6 and injured 4 people at a Sikh gurdwara in Wisconsin. The terrorist who committed said crime spoke of an impending “racial holy war” beforehand and was a member of white supremacist/neo-Nazi hate groups.