You Didn’t Thank Me For Punching You in the Face

Please read this! Blogger Queen of the Couch discusses how boys are told that it’s okay to express affection and love through bullying and abuse, and girls are told “Oh, that just means he likes you”. A great read!

Look, if you want to tell your child that being verbally and/or physically abused is an acceptable sign of affection, i urge you to rethink your parenting strategy. If you try and feed MY daughter that crap, you better bring protective gear because I am going to shower you with the brand of “affection” you are endorsing… I am going to punch you in the face but I hope you realize it is just my way of thanking you for the great advice you gave my daughter.

Limbaugh Mocks Impoverished Children

I am mostly speechless, so please listen to this recording of Rush Limbaugh’s mocking tirade against impoverished children, which will not imbed on my site for some reason.

Part of the rant:

[W]e’re going to start a feature on this program: “Where to find food.”

[T]he first will be: “Try your house.”

If that doesn’t work, try a Happy Meal at McDonald’s. You know where McDonald’s is.

There’s another place if none of these options work to find food; there’s always the neighborhood dumpster.

Can you imagine the benefit we would provide people?

Notes from Post-Racial America

Arizona Elementary School (Almost) Whitened The Faces Of Its Own Students On A Mural Because Some Racists Yelled At It
From the Huffington Post:

An Arizona elementary school mural featuring the faces of kids who attend the school has been the subject of constant daytime drive-by racist screaming…

From AZ Central:

A group of artists has been asked to lighten the faces of children depicted in a giant public mural at a Prescott school.

The project’s leader says he was ordered to lighten the skin tone after complaints about the children’s ethnicity. But the school’s principal says the request was only to fix shading and had nothing to do with political pressure.

From Mother Jones:

While creating the mural, “We consistently, for two months, had people shouting racial slander from their cars,” said artist R.E. Wall of the Prescott Downtown Mural Project. “We had children painting with us, and here come these yells of (epithet for Blacks) and (epithet for Hispanics).”

I assume you can fill in those blanks.

Prescott Councilmember Steve Blair said on the radio:

“I am not a racist individual, but I will tell you that depicting a black guy in the middle of that mural, based upon who’s President of the United States today, and based upon the history of this community when I grew up, we had four black families, who I have been very good friends with for years, to depict the biggest picture on that building as a black person, I would have to ask the question, ‘Why?'” (Blair was mistakenly identifying the Hispanic boy on the mural as black.)

Back at Mother Jones:

The school district head and the principal, confronted with a crowd of protesters, made a dramatic about-face and announced by bullhorn that the mural would remain as is. “Miller Valley made made a mistake,” said principal Jeff Lane. “When we asked R. [the artist] to lighten the mural, we made a mistake.”

*My note: “hispanic” is not a race. A person can be hispanic and white, hispanic and brown, hispanic and black. Just saying.

h/t Shenanigans.
Prescott Arizona Mural
My Daughter, Her Hair, and the Seattle School District
Sez Charles Mudede at the Slog:

…just last week, my daughter—who is 8 and happens to be the only brown person in her Accelerated Progress Program class at Thurgood Marshall Elementary—was ordered out of the classroom because her teacher did not like the smell of her hair. The teacher complained that my racially different daughter’s hair (or something—a product—in the hair) was making her sick, and then the teacher made her leave the classroom. My daughter was aware of the racial nature of this expulsion not only because she was made to sit in a classroom that had more black students in it (the implication being that this is where she really belongs, in the lower class with the other black students), but because her teacher, she informed me, owns a dog. Meaning, a dog’s hair gives the teacher less problems than my daughter’s human but curly hair. Most white people do not have to deal with shit like this. Shit that if not checked and confronted will have permanent consequences for the child.

The lawyer hired by the Seattle school district, if he knows anything, knows that THERE’S NO RACISM HERE!

Any allegations of racial insensitivity or negligence are “wholly untrue,” [Kevin] O’Neill says, “because, well, because the district would not tolerate employment of a teacher that has racial animosity towards a student.”

…However, O’Neill also says he doesn’t know what exactly happened or “the reasons that this child was asked to leave.” Until the investigation is complete, he says, it’s unclear what was offensive about the hair product that reportedly made the teacher sick, why the district hadn’t done anything for three days, whether an incident like this had ever occurred before, whether anyone had spoken to the teacher about the incident, whether school district rules prohibit any cosmetics, or what current or future steps are required for the investigation.

Mudede concludes with:

Feeling the seriousness of this situation, we decided not to send our daughter to school until the teacher had medical proof that our daughter’s hair or something in her hair was to blame for the nausea. (The last thing you want to happen to your daughter is for a teacher to faint or vomit at the mere sight of her.)

Days passed and the school took no action. This unresponsiveness left us with no other choice than to turn to a lawyer.

h/t Scorn


Protect Children with Immigrant Parents

Founded in September 2002, FAMILIES FOR FREEDOM is a New York-based multi-ethnic defense network by and for immigrants facing and fighting deportation. We are immigrant prisoners (detainees), former immigrant prisoners, their loved ones, or individuals at risk of deportation. We come from dozens of countries, across continents. FFF seeks to repeal the laws that are tearing apart our homes and neighborhoods; and to build the power of immigrant communities as communities of color, to provide a guiding voice in the growing movement for immigrant rights as human rights.

Families for Freedom has a petition going around to support the Child Citizen Protection Act.

Learn more here.

Sign the petition here.

The Child Citizen Protection Act is an opportunity for our leaders to show that they truly value families and that the health, safety and well being of our nation’s children are among their top priority. Introduced by Representative Jose Serrano (D-NY), this bill represents a grassroots effort by families to create a safety valve for our children affected by deportations and raids. The Child Citizen Protection Act preserves the basic notion of fairness that should define the U.S. justice system—providing immigration judges with the discretion to consider the best interests of US Citizen children before ordering his or her parent deported. This bill would address some of the harshest provisions of the 1996 immigration laws that made deportation a mandatory punishment for many non-citizens.

Promiscuous Women Should Be Punished with HIV+ Babies

SchultheisRepublican Colorado State Senators are really working hard to outstrip Utah State Senator Chris Buttars on the mind-boggling ignorant bigotry.

Colorado State Senator Dave Schultheis had some choice words about a bill that would require HIV testing for pregnant women. Obviously, he is against this bill.

The Colorado Independent reports:

Schultheis said he planned to vote against a bill to require HIV tests for pregnant women because the disease “stems from sexual promiscuity” and he didn’t think the Legislature should “remove the negative consequences that take place from poor behavior and unacceptable behavior.”

Listen to some of his words here.

He went on to say: “What I’m hoping is that, yes, that person may have AIDS, have it seriously as a baby and when they grow up, but the mother will begin to feel guilt as a result of that. The family will see the negative consequences of that promiscuity and it may make a number of people over the coming years begin to realize that there are negative consequences and maybe they should adjust their behavior.”

This is a state senator who believes that expectant mothers should not be tested for an incurable disease that could effect their child for life, because it is his opinion that HIV is contracted through “promiscuity” and therefore an HIV+ baby is the proper punishment for such a woman.

Let’s leave aside Schultheis’ obviously problematic belief that HIV is the result of promiscuity. Let’s think about the baby here. Schultheis is a Republican with warped beliefs about sex, so I’d say it’s a good bet that he is familiar with the “Culture of Life” bullshit and the anti-abortion movement. Purportedly, people who are fans of these movements care about the baybeez. Per usual, when it comes down to protecting children or shaming sluts, it appears that Schultheis would rather see babies born with HIV than allow a slut to get away with her slutty ways without being punished with a terminally ill child. An inspiring ideology, really.

But Wait! That’s not all that’s going down in Colorado! Oh no, it gets better (or worse, depending on your perspective.) Continue reading

Parents Complain About Disabled Children’s Show Host

Cerrie BurnellCerrie Burnell hosts a children’s show on BBC television called CBeebies. She has been the subject of a recent spate of parent complaints. Not because of her performance. Because of her disability. She was born without the lower section of her right arm.

The Independent reports:

One man said that he would stop his daughter from watching the BBC children’s channel because Burnell would give his child nightmares.

…[S]ome of the vitriolic comments on the “Grown Up” section of the channel’s website were so nasty that they had to be removed.

“Is it just me, or does anyone else think the new woman presenter on CBeebies may scare the kids because of her disability?” wrote one adult on the CBeebies website. Other adults claimed that their children were asking difficult questions as a result. “I didn’t want to let my children watch the filler bits on The Bedtime Hour last night because I know it would have played on my eldest daughter’s mind and possibly caused sleep problems,” said one message. The BBC received nine other complaints by phone.

Outrage! Outrage! Outrage!

Fortunately, many more people have contacted BBC to express their support. Now I don’t have to bang my head against a wall to fall asleep tonight. Continue reading

Men’s Rights Activists Attack Domestic Violence Shelter

Dallas, you’ve done it again.

I just read about this load of crap today, and it moved me to tears. A bunch of men’s rights activists (MRAs) are attacking the funding and advertising of Dallas domestic violence shelter The Family Place. Why? Because The Family Place placed ads in Dallas’ public transportation system that suggested some men perpetrate domestic violence.

For those new to the MRA phenomena, this is a movement of anti-feminist men who claim to support father’s rights and men’s rights in general. However, seeing as how The Family Place provides services to male children and adult men who are victims of DV, it is pretty clear that they are more concerned with preserving male privilege in society than with helping men in need. MRAs have set up a total of zero shelters for male victims of DV.

They have even gone so far as to call the shelter’s donors and ask them to stop contributing money. They have not gone so far as to raise money to buy ads that raise awareness of male victims of violence. Interesting. Attacking resources for women, ignoring the plight of needy men. Nice.

Here are the links to find out all you need to know about this horrible story. You can donate to The Family Place on their website or through Alas, a blog, which is matching donations made this week.

3-Part Series on Alas:
Anti-Feminists Protest Domestic Violence Awareness Ads in Dallas

Domestic Violence Shelter Targeted by Anti-Feminists: “Some of the vile language and verbal abuse we took on the phone was horrific.”

The Family Place To MRAs: “Instead of bashing women’s organizations, stand up and help somebody yourself.”

The post at Womanist Musings

Story in the Dallas News

The Family Place website

I would like to add a personal note to the men in my life, and the men out in cyberspace reading this. If you become an activist to help male victims of violence, male victims of child abuse, incarcerated men, men who want to be better fathers, I SUPPORT YOU. Let me know what I can do to help you. Do not expect women to lead the fight for men’s issues, just as men haven’t, nor are expected to, lead the fight for women’s issues. But if you do take up that battle, I am here to support you.

I do not support the MRAs, however.

Trans-Racial Adoption

h/t to cp

Seattle’s normally irreverent hipster weekly, the Stranger, published a surprisingly frank and introspective piece on trans-racial adoption: Black Kids in White Houses by Jen Graves. I recommend checking it out.

The article is written by a white woman, and deals with white parents who adopt children of color. Even though it has its flaws, it really gets down in there in addressing race.

Transracial adoption is awkward to discuss at first, because although it is designed to chart a radically integrated future, on the surface its structure repeats the segregated past. Just look at the basic structure of a family and apply race to the equation. The most crude way to put it: Whites are in charge, children of color are subordinate, and adults of color are out of the picture.

Gratefulness is the most powerful silencer in the adoption world. Even if a transracial adoptee breaks the silence to make a criticism about his or her experience, the immediate response always is: Would it have been better if you’d never been adopted? It’s a rhetorical cul-de-sac, a false runaround that continues to stifle conversations about more complicated subjects, like what’s the difference between a family that’s tolerant and one that’s actively antiracist, or why are there so many children of color adopted in the first place?

Read it. Comment on it below or at the Stranger’s site. One thing I would like to address here is the nature of the comments by the (predominantly white liberal) Stranger’s readers. We see a lot of familiar sentiments: we should all be colorblind, only minorities have “culture”, we shouldn’t talk about race anymore, slavery happened 200 years ago – why don’t we get over it. And in spite of the author talking about gratefulness, several commentors suggested that trans-racial adoptees who talk about their struggles are just “ungrateful.”

Ungrateful for the awesome opportunity to be raised as white, the best race of all! Ug.

There are, of course, thoughtful and appropriate comments posted after the article. But just to illustrate how far white liberals need to go in thinking of race, and how unoriginal old race-silencing tactics are, here are some gems:

Home is just a place where you grow up for a few years. Go out into the world and live your own life after that! Don’t sit staring at your navel, feeling sorry for yourself about where you come from!

This is such a non-issue. Dangerously sentimental. Should gay parents be allowed to adopt straight children?

I believe this feeling of loss is also a normal part of the mainstream “white” culture. For the most part, “white” in America isn’t any particular ethnic group or culture–it’s just the catch-all category for people who have assimilated and lost their ethnic ties, their peoplehood, their tribal identities.

anyone who doesn’t favor their race is fucked up. I’m not saying it’s right, but it is absolutely human. I am continually amused at liberals trying to raise their children according to the child’s color/national origin. It is hilarious and sad at the same time. … Chicken and watermelon don’t make black children feel more black, the misguided gesture does.

And don’t group all white people together as a race. I do not consider myself to be of White heritage- I am a second-generation American of Italian descent. Grouping all white people together is as insulting as saying all black people listen to hip-hop and eat watermelon.

Two more generations and all this is mostly moot. Sorry, but mother nature want the gene pools to mix, and, so they will.

Look around. Lingering on all the stuff from the last 200 years is basically useless – of course – many will cling.

Blacks have committed the vast majority of murders in the Seattle area in the last year and most of the victims were black. Until those numbers and situations change drastically, blacks and guilty-white-liberals who whine about “white racism” can go eat shit.

and my favorite:
I live in holland. I have friends of all races, religious beliefs, sexual preferences, etc. And i honestly dont see color. I mean… what makes black people, white people and asian people so different? honestly? It seems as if in america people try to get rid of racial prejudice so hard they only make it worse. Its as if they are trying to make all races equal.

Breeder: a Bad Word?

Is the term “breeder” a bad word? A derogatory expression? I never considered it as such before, but recently someone has told me they found it offensive. How do you define it? Why is/why isn’t it offensive? Your thoughts please.

My thoughts: I consider the word breeder to be a joking term referring to straight (usually married) couples who reproduce. A term usually used by queers because it is “common sense” that they can’t breed (false). Since queers are a tiny minority compared to straights, I figured a joking term like “breeder” didn’t pack too much punch – queers as a group are hardly in a position to invoke systematic oppression against straight couples with children.

Here’s one Urban Dictionary definition of breeder:

slang term used by people of homosexual persuasion to refer to heterosexual couples, who have a significantly higher risk of contributing to the population increase than the homosexuals do.

Anyway, please enlighten me.

Related to this post

11/29/08 UPDATE: Look at this rad post from oneofhismoms about a queer mom’s experience with the word “breeder”.

Teaching Gender Differentiation to Children

Women and men are born with biological differences. All fetuses are first formed as female. Starting at four weeks, fetuses with a Y chromosome are exposed to washes of chemicals called androgyns. Androgyn changes some aspects of the affected fetuses so that they will develop physically into boys, with varying degrees of psychological and physical differentiation from girls. This is sexual differentiation.

Each society has developed its own methods to handle the differences between girls and boys. Across the world, societies have designated a rainbow of different kinds of roles for women, men and people who don’t fit easily into gender roles. What may be part of a woman’s gender in one community could be part of a man’s gender in another, as babies aren’t born knowing how to chop firewood or sell goods in the marketplace. In one community, little girls are taught that selling goods is a “part” of being a woman. In another, little boys are taught that selling goods is a “part” of being a man. Societies often come to think of these more or less arbitrary designations as “natural”.

We in America have also developed different roles for men and women as a way to address sexual differentiation. Over time, we have come to regard certain tasks and behaviors as naturally female or male. We train our children to become habituated to these roles – to internalize them.

It is important to recognize that the way we gender children is arbitrary, and in American society, sometimes harmful.

The argument for why our gender rules harm women is well-known. In our past we saw such human rights abuses as enslavement to husbands, socially-sanctioned physical and sexual abuse, restricted civil rights and severely curtailed access to public life, including the ability to attend higher education or choose a career. These human rights abuses of the past were justified by a male chauvinist society that gave “naturalized” reasons for why this was “part” of being a woman.

Because of racism in society, women of different skin colors had different gender roles – even within one society, America’s, gender was not applied evenly across-board. Whereas white women were naturally delicate and weak, and therefore must be confined to light house work, black women were naturally strong and hearty, and therefore could work outside the home (in service to whites).

Today we can look at empirical data and still see sex-differentiated life outcomes among America’s population. The wage gap in men’s favor is well-documented. There is also over- and under-representation of men in certain career fields. Men are more likely to be CEOs or POTUS, but also to abuse women and children, and to go to jail. Women get the majority of college degrees, but are more likely to live in poverty and to be on welfare.

Americans must examine their reasons for teaching children certain behaviors based on their sex. In many ways, it is clear differentiated treatment is harmful. Boys are taught to use aggression to solve problems and to stifle emotion. Girls are taught not to excel and to put other’s needs before their own. Why? Is someone benefiting from behaviors such as these? Do we have evidence that our gender rules lead to greater happiness?

Certain aspects of both America’s genders are clearly harmful, yet other aspects are positive: women are taught to value relationships, communication and collaboration. Men are taught to value personal strength, independence and achievement. Why can’t we discard teaching children the negative gender-related characteristics? Why can’t every child learn clearly positive traits such as good communication and independence? If a woman can rely on herself instead of a man, if a man can communicate his emotions instead of resorting to violence, where is the harm? Yet society seems to recoil when a person of one sex assumes too many traits of the gender associated with the other sex. Why is that?

(c) idyllicmollusk 8/08