Deep Secrets by Niobe WayI just finished reading Deep Secrets: Boys’ Friendships & the Crisis of Connection by Niobe Way. Way is a Psychology professor and performed her own research to create this book- a study of boys and their friendships, and how the pressures of “being a man” create loss as the boys grow up and feel they can no longer be emotionally intimate with other males. Recommended!

Some quotes:

“The gender divide — where girls don’t think and boys don’t feel — the virtual “DNA of the patriarchy” does not capture how boys actually experience their worlds.” Pg.263

“The very social and emotional capacities, needs, and desires that are associated with being female and gay are not only the very same skills that are at the foundation of our survival as individuals and as a species; they are also capacities, needs, and desires that boys themselves have and are explicit about if one is willing to listen.” Pg.265

“Friendships as well as our emotional and social intelligence are central to our emotional, cognitive, and physical well-being. Yet we continue to ignore the evidence and blame female teachers, mothers, fathers, and the “feminized” school curriculum for boys’ problems. We fail to see that they stem from our idealization of a stereotypic version of manhood…” Pg.268

“Just as our masculine stereotypes rest on constructs of autonomy and stoicism, so does our definition of maturity — revealing, of course, the patriarchy at work, with manhood meaning the same thing as adulthood.” Pg.268

“The opposite of patriarchy is not a fictional matriarchy where emotions rule and thinking is passé. It is a thick democracy where thinking, feeling, learning, and having a range of different types of relationships are possible and encouraged for every “citizen.” ” Pg. 276-277

Here is an article written for the Village Voice in 1979. It was written by Lester Bangs, at the time an important music journalist. Entitled “The White Noise Supremacists”, it is about the racism Lester has been encountering in the Punk and New Wave scenes.

Truly worth checking out!

From ABC News:

Paterno told his son, Scott Paterno, that he did not know anything about Sandusky’s sexual abuse, noting that he did not listen to rumors and only knew what McQueary told him.

“‘I didn’t hear anything, why are you badgering me?’ Paterno told his son. ‘What do I know about Jerry Sandusky? I’ve got Nebraska to think about, I can’t worry about this.’ Nebraska was the next game.

Thanks for laying out your priorities there, bro.

The article also says:

He had his dark moments, certainly, when he wondered how old friends could turn so suddenly on him and how people at Penn State, the school he had loved and championed for most of his life, could believe such terrible things about him.

How could they believe that he didn’t give a rip about child molestation? Maybe they got that opinion by listening to him talk.

Sigh.

Remember when Penn State students demonstrated their disgust for child sex abuse by rioting in defense of Paterno? Because it was so unjust to expect him to investigate serious allegations about an underling?

Sigh.

I guess some ICE employees are itching to kick more brown people out of their United States. I’m supposing they got involved with Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the hope of making life worse for people of darker hue, and then stuff like budgets and politics and human rights got in the way.

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE “BROWN TIDE” and the DEMOGRAPHIC DISASTER??

The natural answer is to sue. Certain enterprising government employees at ICE established a natural link to the nativist organization, NumbersUSA. NumbersUSA, with extensive ties to racists of all types, is a big supporter of all the toughest anti-immigrant legislation, and has agreed to fund this lawsuit.

MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN HELL.

Tavis Smiley and Cornel West published a book called The Rich and the Rest of Us. I recently read this book, and here are my favorite quotes. I highly recommend this book as an excellent introduction into poverty issues and America’s class system.

” “There has been something crude and heartless and unfeeling in our haste to succeed and be great,” President Woodrow Wilson declared in 1913 at the beginning of the 20th century…”

“Poverty is 21st-century-style slavery; its eradication should serve as the battle cry of a new civil rights movement.”

“[A] condition of truth is to allow the suffering to speak.”

17-year-old Savannah Dietrich was sexually assaulted at a party. The two boys even took pictures of their heinous deed. The criminals actually had to go to court, but received light sentences, and then a gag order was placed on the case so that no one, including the victim, could speak publicly about it again. Dietrich, upset at the lack of justice, used Twitter to speak out, and dared to name her attackers. The boys’ attorneys tried to have her charged with contempt, a jailable offense.

Thank god that they withdrew that motion, after international outrage.

Savannah Dietrich

Dietrich sounds like one cool lady:

“There you go, lock me up,” Savannah Dietrich tweeted, as she named the boys who she said sexually assaulted her. “I’m not protecting anyone that made my life a living Hell.”

…“I’m at the point, that if I have to go to jail for my rights, I will do it,” she said. “If they really feel it’s necessary to throw me in jail for talking about what happened to me … as opposed to throwing these boys in jail for what they did to me, then I don’t understand justice.”

From the AP:

The numbers suggest that the legitimate votes rejected by the [Voter ID] laws are far more numerous than are the cases of fraud that advocates of the rules say they are trying to prevent. Thousands more votes could be in jeopardy for this November, when more states with larger populations are looking to have similar rules in place.

So… doesn’t that indicate that Voter ID laws in fact perpetrate greater fraud than the “fraud” they’re supposedly fixing? Isn’t preventing someone from voting some sort of crime?

Just some thoughts.

Also from the article:

A Republican leader in Pennsylvania said recently that the state’s new ID law would allow Romney to win the state over President Barack Obama.

Huh. YOU DON’T SAY.

This is essentially an instruction video on how to be awesome. Isis King, best known for being the first transgender woman on America’s Next Top Model, and Janet Mock, an editor at People Magazine, interview each other. Seeing these two accomplished trans women of color talk TRUTH is invigorating!

See for yourself:

Crap like this is why I needed to see some positive representation of trans women right now.

Pope Ratzinger has fired a bishop for suggesting that women could be priests, but he has never fired a bishop for covering up child sex abuse.

Interesting, don’t you think?

I was reading CNN and after seeing the headline “Prominent atheist blogger converts to Catholicism” I had to doublecheck and make sure I hadn’t slid over to Fox somehow.

I had not.

I ask again, why is this news? People convert back and forth between religions or no religion all the time. Why is the conversion of a single blogger, who is certainly not prominent, worth reporting on a national news site? The only thing I can even venture to guess is that they view it as a small repudiation of atheism, and Christians in the newsroom just couldn’t pass up a chance to take a swipe at atheists. It seems awfully cynical to look at it that way, but I can’t imagine any other way this could be deemed newsworthy.

I just read about a new dimension of the work of the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation: policing gender!

Staff at a popular Seattle swimming pool were confronted with the horror of a woman, who is a survivor of a double-mastectomy and breast cancer, who wished to swim topless to avoid the pain she feels in a tight swimsuit top.

SCANDAL! WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN!! IF WE DON’T HAVE SEPARATE RULES FOR DIFFERENT GENDERS, ANARCHY WILL RULE THE EARTH!!!

However, Jodi Jaecks is no ordinary woman, and she doesn’t give a fuck about gender norms. So she pursued the matter. So far, she has won a partial victory: Parks and Rec will grant her, and only her, an exception to their gender rules.

Of course, Jaecks, other cancer survivors, and other women aren’t done advocating for themselves. And since nudity is not illegal in Seattle, it’s curious that the pools have stricter rules than the city. We’ll see what happens!

Jodi Jaecks

Jodi Jaecks

So indicates the Chicago Tribune and the jerks it interviewed for the article Politicians, health advocates seek transparency, restrictions in food stamp program.

At issue is the worn-out “debate” about whether food stamps recipients should be able to decide for themselves what they want at the grocery store, or whether the government should decide for them.

Suddenly, the government cares that corporations peddling unhealthy food and beverages may receive “government money” in the form of people using food stamps to buy, for example, Pepsi. As though major corporations don’t receive government perks at every turn, and the thought of a poor person enjoying a soda just offends certain officials’ senses of corporate ethics.

As though the “healthy food” that the government would rather poor people use their food stamps on is not also corporate-owned and already government-subsidized just as the “unhealthy food”.

I will never understand why punishing poor people for their poverty is a solution when they likely live in “food deserts”, where real grocery stores, let alone farmer’s markets and the like, are scarce and the junk food sold at bodegas is easier to get and more filling.

Punishing poor people for being poor will not make them healthier, will not cause them to make “better” choices, and will not stop the sale of unhealthy food and beverages. It will simply be another way in which the government and our society infantilize and condescend to the poor without offering any real solutions aimed at the root of their problems. In fact, it seems we believe the poor are to blame for their own poverty, which is why they need the government to tell them what to eat and what not to eat. The assumption that poor people are dumb lies barely covered beneath the surface of these crap arguments.

If these unhealthy food items and beverages must be banned from the poor, why not also everyone else? If the government and “health advocates” are so concerned about the public health effects of unhealthy food, why not ban it from everyone, regardless of income level? That would certainly strike that blow the government is suddenly so eager to strike against the corporations producing these products.

“In a ‘rape culture’, violence against women, a social disaster, is euphemistically termed as ‘unfortunate’, just like natural catastrophes, and not ‘unjust’.”

-Upendra Baxi, The Second Gujarat Catastrophe

WordPress won’t let me embed this video but I urge you to check it out here.

John Derbyshire, recently fired from the National Review, a popular conservative magazine, for being too racist (yeah, I guess it is possible), is now finally free to say what he really thinks.

And this loudly-self-proclaimed Conservative has a thing or two to say. On a white supremacist blog he now writes for.

Conservatism. . .is a white people’s movement, a scattering of outliers notwithstanding.

Always has been, always will be. I have attended at least a hundred conservative gatherings, conferences, cruises, and jamborees: let me tell you, there ain’t too many raisins in that bun. I was in and out of the National Review offices for twelve years, and the only black person I saw there, other than when Herman Cain came calling, was Alex, the guy who runs the mail room.

Nail on the head. But why is this?

[C]onservative ideals like self-sufficiency and minimal dependence on government have no appeal to underperforming minorities—groups who, in the statistical generality, are short of the attributes that make for group success in a modern commercial nation.

Oh, I see.

He deliberates what name to give to himself and other “true” non-establishment conservatives.

I actually think “White Supremacist” is not bad semantically. White supremacy, in the sense of a society in which key decisions are made by white Europeans, is one of the better arrangements History has come up with. There have of course been some blots on the record, but I don’t see how it can be denied that net-net, white Europeans have made a better job of running fair and stable societies than has any other group.

Haha, history just “came up with” colonization, imperialism, and genocide! How about that! And whites just happened to benefit from it. What a beneficial coincidence for John Derbyshire.

Normally, I wouldn’t want to participate in making such people’s voices louder than they already are. I choose to highlight occasional instances, like this one, to remind complacent people that overt RACISM STILL EXISTS. And in very prominent places.

Not to mention all the less in-your-face kinds. But that’s what I usually talk about on this blog anyway.

AAAA! Somebody has thoughts that are similar to my thoughts! Wow!

Look at this neat zine that Suzy X is putting together about the exploitation of interns & volunteers at feminist non-profits. I suspect it isn’t even too late to submit pieces to it!

Fuck Officework

H/t RR

Let us join Nancy French in congratulating herself for saving a baby from the horrific prospect of being raised in Africa. French wrote an article entitled I’m a White Republican Raising a Black Child: Deal With It to raise awareness about how awesome she is.

When I hear this self-congratulatory rhetoric around transracial and/or international adoption, I always pause and think. The self-congratulations typically come from middle, upper-middle, and upper-class heterosexual white families who have adopted a child who is of color and/or born in another country. There is typically lots of applause from other whites for their “good deed”. The assumption being that a middle-to-upper class white upbringing must be superior to other kinds of upbringing, and that by allowing a normally-inferior individual into the white club, a meritorious act has taken place. This is part of what is called the White Savior Complex. It is a relic from colonialism, when whites felt it was their mission to spread across the planet and “improve” the “backwards” races. The colonial mindset is still very present with us, as when this author insinuates adventurism with phrases like: “poverty stricken African tribal area” and their savior status by rescuing a “starving, abandoned girl” from such a terrible place. As I recall from grade school, Africa is actually broken up into political units known as “countries”, but French is kept very busy letting the world know about her good deeds that she can hardly be expected to know unimportant details about insignificant parts of the world.

Then I start to wonder about the big picture. French’s adopted daughter has a biological mother and father. Where are they? Why are they so poor? Why couldn’t they keep their child? Do they have rights? Isn’t there any value to the culture she was born into and taken away from? Why are so many African nations “poverty-stricken”? How are the world’s dominant countries implicated in this poverty?

I just happened upon an article about the struggles of Congolese mothers against the backdrop of political violence: A Congo Mother Survives Cannibalism to Save Her Children: Why Her Photo Matters. Interestingly, the article notes that much of the conflict was instigated by European colonists. Now mothers have to protect their children from cannibalism. If only French could adopt even more African children.

The right to raise your own children is a fundamental human right, and a pillar of the Reproductive Justice movement. Yet it is easier for white Americans to reframe themselves not as colonialists with serious responsibilities to other countries we have impoverished, but as pure, loving saviors who just want to help the children. Do we really have a right to take these children that trumps our responsibility to ensure that all mothers enjoy the right to raise the children they birthed?

Obviously, I am not the first one to have these thoughts. I would recommend further reading, starting with these articles:
The Lie We Love
Black Kids in White Houses
All Your Children Are Belong to Us

Another question that just popped into my head: If French’s daughter had instead grown up in Ethiopia and tried to immigrate to America as an adult to find a better life (the better life that French hopes to offer her by raising her), would French support her access to American residency? Or is it only by fulfilling French’s need to have another child that her daughter earns her right to live in America?

Shamefully, I recently cast my eyes upon Yahoo News’ “OMG!” section. Yes, that is a real thing. Which I would normally not admit to doing, except for a tidbit I found there.

I noticed an article about Octomom’s allegedly poor housekeeping & parenting skills (her kids were barefoot! they got dirty!). Apparently her hairstylist was so disturbed by Nadya Suleman’s household that she reported her to the police. But what this stylist, going only by “Stephanie”, and the article both highlight as the *most* problematic and troubling aspect of her parenting is interesting. Says Stephanie:

“The boys have girls’ clothes on! I go over there and cut the kids’ hair for free because you can’t tell which ones are boys and which ones are girls, they all look the same!”

EVERYBODY PANIC! It’s worse than we thought!

Those following the Trayvon Martin murder case, in which an unarmed black teenager was shot and killed by a neighborhood vigilante who has not been charged with any crime, have probably observed that the case seems to draw white racism out into the open.

For example, someone in Michigan altered a lighted traffic sign to say “Trayvon a n—–“.

Martin’s dead body was subjected to drug tests, whereas the murderer, George Zimmerman, was not subjected to similar tests.

Neo-Nazis, paradoxically worried about the safety of whites in Sanford, Florida, have organized armed white supremacists to patrol the streets in search of, appartently, blacks angry over this injustice. Fox News originally reported that they are a “civil rights group”.

On Fox News, Geraldo Rivera suggested that Martin is partially to blame for his own death for being black and wearing a hoodie in public.

On a wider scale, a poll found that people who identify as Republican and/or white are more likely to think this injustice is receiving too much publicity.

As the parents of young black men are forced to have “the talk” about the realities of racial prejudice in America, one white Republican, a very angry one at that, is seeking to get out a different message to young men, one just for whites and Asians: stay away from black people, except rich ones, whom you will need to prove you aren’t racist.

No, I am not exaggerating John Derbyshire’s stance. In fact, his published words are so racist that even the conservative publication National Review fired him over this article.

His article includes such pieces of wisdom as “Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally,” “Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians,” and “The mean intelligence of blacks is much lower than for whites.”

He also informs racists on tactics to superficially paste over their racism: “You should consciously seek opportunities to make friends with IWSBs [intelligent and well-socialized blacks]. In addition to the ordinary pleasures of friendship, you will gain an amulet against potentially career-destroying accusations of prejudice.”

I hear constantly from whites about how racism isn’t a big deal, isn’t really a factor any more, is just an excuse used by people of color not to achieve, etc. RACISM IS A BIG DEAL. In Martin’s case, RACISM KILLS.

The Book: Becoming a Visible ManSome excellent thoughts from Jamison Green’s book, Becoming a Visible Man.

“Transsexual people are everywhere: in corporate board rooms; in prisons; in academia; on HIV wards in hospitals; on factory floors; preaching from pulpits; litigating in court rooms; working as nurses, artists, managers, research scientists, sex workers, software engineers, architects; sitting near you on an airplane or in the movie theater; and riding on the subway. We are in schools as students and as teachers or administrators. Some of us are very old, some are very young, most are everywhere in between. Some are attractive, beautiful, handsome; some are average; some are unattractive; we are all human beings.” Pg.214

“[S]traight people don’t organize around their sexuality unless they’re intent on separating themselves and protecting themselves from anyone different from themselves.” Pg.157

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