Monday, April 12, 2010

The Black Girl's Manifesto: The Basic Rights of Femininity.

1. Black women and girls have the basic right, clearly accessible/demanded by other women to feel safe in the neighborhood they live in by the immediate removal of criminals and other delinquents who greatly decrease the likelihood of safety for black women in particular.

2. Black women and girls have the basic right to be feminine, to appear feminine, and to dress feminine without being considered a threat to white women's "feminine supremacy", or being brutally harassed to remind us that we "are not like other women", and that we should be treated/have access to less than, because of our skin color.

3. Black women and girls have the right to exercise the same standards other women in society exercise without being called "sellouts" for not subjecting themselves to financial/and or sexual exploitation.

4. Black women and girls have the right to say whatever needs to be said until conditions in their communities and direct vicinity improve, including being honest about the circumstances and attitudes within them without fear of being called "traitors" for their honesty.

5. Black women and girls have the right to expose the belief that it is their responsibility to protect, defend, provide for, and uphold the honor of men who go through great lengths to make sure that black women are NOT protected, that they are NOT defended, that they ARE NOT considered worthy of honor, and that they SHOULD NOT be provided for. Black women and girls have the right to acknowledge that this role reversal that exists in black communities has not been acceptable in any other society on the planet regardless of these societies racial and class based circumstances.

6. Black women and girls have the right to love, to be loved, to be treated as human beings effortlessly.

7. Black women and girls have the right to expose the hypocrisy that only includes them in "diversity" if they are used as props to make others feel superior and are an immediate threat when they are not.

8. Black women and girls have the right to expose the hypocrisy that liberal and progressives take on to be starch racists against black women because they think it's harder for black women to prove it.

9. Black women have the right to expose the sabotage of racist white women who view them as a threat through manipulation, cattiness, and other behaviors camouflaged in a sugary sweet fake persona, particularly in the workforce.

10. Black women and girls have the basic right to expose the lie that black female bodies are inherently for being devalued, and therefore, says our bodies are too "trashy" and "demanding attention" when we dress in the typical way other women are allowed to dress.

11. Black women and girls have the right to expose the lie that hip hop speaks about "the experiences and reality" of black neighborhoods, when it is actually about preserving hegemonic masculinity by showing that black women aren't worthy of empathy from outsiders for having to deal with the consequences of hegemonic masculinity.

12. Black women have the basic right to point out that black neighborhoods are not only unsafe because they are in them, but that criminals TARGET neighborhoods that are majority black women and children as most criminals seek out and exploit vulnerable populations and isolated women.

13. Black women and girls have the basic right to prioritize their safety and comfort over race, same as all other women.

14. Black women have the right to adequate Hollywood representation that is not stereotypical and involve "Strong" characters. Black women have the right to see attractive female leads who grapple with their complex identities and fall in love, same as other women.

15. Black women and girls have the right to sexual freedom and identity. Like straight black women, GLBT black women have the RIGHT to demand fairness and marriage over the stereotypes that prevent it.

16. Black women have the right to social and cultural freedom and identity. Like black men, black women have the RIGHT to talk about their experiences SOLELY in society without the contexts of black men and to demand their issues be addressed over the stereotypes that prevent it.

17. Black women and girls have the right to education without worrying that it makes "it might make the men look bad", "it might result in no one wanting you", and "it might mean that you should give the money from your hard work back to your community", the same as all other women.

18. Black women and girls have the right to experience identity crisis's, existential angst, and to toil with inner turmoil like all other human beings.

19. Black women and girls have the right to point out that sexual exploitation by black men, that music and opinions of black women is due to the fact that since black men are most likely to have no resources, that sexual capital is the only thing they can control. That since they cannot control their own image, they can control the image of black women. That since they own nothing, that they should be allowed to "own" the streets, and own "their" women without intrusion.

20. Black women and girls have the basic right to all social norms such as dating, marriage, commitment, flirting, singles parties, and picking mates they deem compatible like all other women.

21. It is not black women's responsibilities to take on the burdens of their community, anymore than any other women, because of their skin color.

22. Black women are allowed their own destinies and fulfillment and to pursue these things without being met with hatred for not prioritizing the fulfillment of others who do not have any particular interest/resources to do so the same for them.

23. Black women and girls have the right to demand fairness without being labeled "bitches" without being attacked and/or guilted into doing any of the above out of a false sense of solidarity.

24. Black women have the right to expose the lie that states that because of "their culture" (stereotypes and music) that they have signed, endorsed, or are "naturally equipped" to handle hatred, sexual degradation and humiliation from the powerless and overcompensating men around them.

25. Black women are allowed to discuss being groped, fondled, harassed or called debasing names from the time they are children simply for being black women without fear of retaliation.

26. Black girls and teens have the right to experiment with their socialized femininity and/or have the right to live harassment free because they "developed early" without being seen as "easy" and deserving of child molestation, like blond white girls and teens.

27. Black girls and teens have the right to live in a two parent household, and to demand that the psychological impact of not being raised in such homes at an 80% rate be studied by therapists and analyzed.

28. Black women have the right to question those who say they have "thick skin" by nature to deal with how they are treated in society; that they are not vulnerable or worthy of protection like white women, or to justify racial segregation and white privilege.

29. Black women must have the right to be hurt by the lie that we are less feminine, less vulnerable, less desirable and less hated than other women.

30. Black women have the right to reject white feminism, black male nationalism, liberalism, anarchism, and so forth because it does not apply to their particular circumstances. They are allowed to do so without fear of alienating potential ally's. Such groups have never really considered their particular struggles to begin with.

31. Black women and girls have the right to exist.

- I have the right to recognize that I have the right to safety, to not be sexually terrorized, to be safe in public, to not be treated like I can "handle" violence and sexual aggression because of my skin color.

- I have the right to acknowledge that I have my own personality, my own identity, and that I am treated with suspicion because I am a complex human being and not a stereotype of a black female.

- I have the right to acknowledge that I am treated with racism from white women in particular because of how I look, because I pose a threat to their feminine supremacy. And that each racist white woman I've who has tried to sabotage me believed that an effective form of manipulation is to project super sweet and innocent behavior so that if ever I got angry about their direct sabotage, I'd appear to be a stereotype.

- I have the right to acknowledge that I am treated with sexism because I am tall and I therefore pose a threat to male physical dominance. That people have treated me as though I should be "embarrass" for being tall. Or that I should feel ashamed for being tall.

- I have the right to acknowledge that my body is viewed as deviant because I am shapely, and that I must want attention for something I was biologically predetermined to have, and that I should accept that I deserve everything from leering stares to sexual exploitation.

- I have the right to acknowledge that people have acted with surprise for being attracted to me because I do not fit the beauty ideal, because I am not thin, not blond, and I am not the status quo.

- I have the right to acknowledge that my struggle has very little in common with white women, with black men, and with white men. And that I have no particular beef with white men just for the purpose of wanting the power they have. I am anti-hierarchy in all forms because I am a black female.

- I have the right to acknowledge that I have faced insecurity. That I was not "confident", "strong", or "equipped to handle insecurity" as society feels black women. I am like all other women who feel inadequate because of the Ad Industry.

- I have the right to acknowledge that I am terrified of men and sometimes have social anxiety around men from dealing with chronic Street Harassment, being stalked and followed and death threats from not responding to sexual advances.

- I have the right to acknowledge that I DO fit the beauty ideal more than many other women. And that I've never felt that men do not find me attractive.

- I have the right to acknowledge that I am shy, and often uncomfortable which has been assumed "black bitch" and "unapproachable", simply because I am black female.

- I have the right to change who I am, to experience personal growth, to go through "phases", and to grapple with my identity, to grow up and to change my political views with age because I am human, like other black females.

- I have the right to sexual liberation if I so choose to, AND the right to not partake in it for personal reasons. I have the right to acknowledge that I have had far less partners than most in my age group.

- I have the right to point out the hypocrisy in liberal, feminist, progressive and anti-racist circles who excuse their apathy of black women's circumstances because of pathologies such as white guilt that only apply to black men, and to prioritize how they are victimized in society.

- I have the right to speak about my experiences as a black female aside from white women, black men, etc., without being considered "divisive" for not prioritizing theirs.

- I have the right to discuss my experiences in a public forum regardless of those who benefit from them being "uncomfortable" with the subject matter.

I have the right to question science/debate sociologists as an art history major, to question religion as an agnostic, to point out black male privilege as an anti-racist, to correctly categorize white female privilege as a feminist, and to love men as a womanist.

I have the right to exist.

If you have others to add, please feel free.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Update on Hidden From History: The Canadian Holocaust

Just a quick update for those who are interested. Bingo, an activist for Aboriginal rights in BC, who was mentioned in our previous post "A Day in the Life of Kevin Annet," has passed away. If you want to honour his life, and the lives of the many native women, men and children who have been killed by colonialism, residential schools, racism, poverty and violence against women and children, please take some time to educate yourself about genocide in North America.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Mourn on Sunday, Then Resume the Fight

A very good article about the 20th anniversary of the murders of 14 women at École Polytechnique in Montreal. Written by Evelyn Myrie for The Hamilton Spectator (curiously, it was not available on and forwarded to me by the Sexual Assault Centre (Hamilton and Area).

These homicdes altered the gun control debate, making it clear to women that our safety was worth the expense of the gun registry. The same debate is taking place again, with MP after MP giving in to the gun lobby, which promotes the use of guns for hunting, and wants us to forget that their sales impact our safety.

88% of women killed by gunshot are killed using shotguns or rifles- the "hunting" weapons that the gun lobby wants exempted from the gun registry.

Visit to send a rose to MPs who voted against long gun registration.

Mourn on Sunday, then resume the fight
By Evelyn Myrie
The Hamilton Spectator
Thursday, December 3, 2009
This Sunday, memorials will be set up in communities across Canada in memory of the 14 young women who were killed and 13 injured by a gunman who "hated feminists."  
This Sunday will mark 20 years since a man with a semi-automatic rifle entered an engineering class at L'Ecole Polytechnique, separated the women from the men, and then murdered 14 women. He also had a "hit list" of an additional 19 high-profile women he identified as feminists, including Quebec's first female firefighter and the first female police captain.  
On Dec. 6, 1989, our country lost 14 young women -- sisters, daughters, friends. We will remember these young women in services and vigils across this land this week:
Geneviève Bergeron, 21
Hélène Colgan, 23
Nathalie Croteau, 23
Barbara Daigneault, 22
Anne-Marie Edward, 21
Maud Haviernick, 29
Barbara Maria Klucznik
Widajewicz, 31
Maryse Leclair, 23
Annie St-Arneault, 23
Michèle Richard, 21
Maryse Laganière, 25
Anne-Marie Lemay, 22
Sonia Pelletier, 28
Annie Turcotte, 21
Mourning is an important step in the healing process. Taking time to reflect and remember these innocent young women is necessary and important. But it's not enough.
 I'm inspired by the phrase, "First we mourn and then we act."  Taking action is not always easy.  Sometimes it means ruffling feathers or "speaking truth to power," and challenging systems.  But it is necessary if we are to change the discourse that still keeps women at the social, economic and political periphery of our society.
Getting involved as an agent of change is not easy. But it is necessary. It sometimes means you will not be on some guest list. But that should not matter. The work for equality and social justice requires strength of character and perseverance.
The backlash against those who engage in women's equality work is keeping many women more silent than a decade ago when one could readily hear women's voices on issues of the day. Stigmatizing those who work for women's equality is the order of the day.
A good friend of mine told me she does her work more quietly now, because she is afraid her speaking out could make her a liability to her workplace. "I need to have a pension," she said. This friend spent decades fighting for women's equality, but felt the creeping "chilly climate" was too much to bear.
Twenty years ago, the Montreal Massacre became a galvanizing moment to fight violence against women across Canada. Twenty years later, violence against women remains a major problem in our society. On Dec. 6, do take time to mourn, but on Dec. 7, develop your action plan.
Let's use the day of mourning as a catalyst for renewed commitment and action to end women's unequal position in our society.  Violence against women continues to be a serious problem across this country and in our local community as shelters are filled with women and children fleeing violence in their homes.
Addressing violence against women requires a comprehensive strategy that takes into account women's unequal position in our society. Women face higher levels of poverty, their wages are less than their male counterparts. Pay equity and access to child care are still unresolved issues facing Canadian women.
In Hamilton, there are still a few groups working to address women's equality issues.
Long-standing institutions such as the Hamilton YWCA have articulated the need to address issues such as poverty and fair wages. St. Joseph's Women's Centre also continues to add women's voices to community conversations. Women's shelters in Hamilton are also looking for support through fundraising and advocacy work.
When the community gathers to remember the Montreal Massacre this Sunday, let us be inspired to take action, to be a part of the solution, after we mourn.  
This Sunday in Hamilton, starting at 1 p.m. there will be a National Day of Remembrance Memorial held at the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre at 51 Stuart St., with guest speaker Priscilla de Villiers who will talk about the controversy relating to gun control. Other speakers include Rosita Hall, former director of Second Stage Housing (now
closed) and Linda Ense of the Native Women's Centre.
First we mourn, then we act.
Freelance columnist Evelyn Myrie lives in Hamilton and is a former head of Hamilton's status of women subcommittee.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The New Conservative Party

This is a great blog with terrific writing:

Recently, The Alien and I attended a lecture by Chris Hedges at The Revolutionary book store on 26th between 6th and 7th. It is a communist book store full of the same uncritical allegiance to the same old liberal issues without any consideration of identity politics!

They actually believe that identity politics are IRRELEVANT! They used sweeping generalizations about “people” and “women.” They called on audience members as “gentleman” and “lady” without consideration of gender politics.

We spent two hours talking to people outside the bookstore after the lecture:

Then, they protested when Alien and I suggested that the ways that black and white womyn experience oppression are very different. Bw are “strong” and can “handle a rough life”; ww are “weak” and have to be “protected from life”. Ww are oppressors of bw. AND there are gender and sexual orientation nuances among womyn as well.

There are COMPLICATIONS that MUST be discussed or these patterns of hierarchy/oppression will be REPEATED in radical communities.

Right! It’s simple! But for funzies, I came up with a little blurb about the political party that I lead:

The voice of the New Conservative Party is one of rational, real and logical beliefs.

Money requires the obedience of a labor-driven economy, and so, we are required to labor for the purpose of exhausting ourselves with work. The New Conservative Party are anti-labor and anti-work.

When we believe in a hierarchy, we will always be fighting to be higher on the scale of privilege. For the more privilege you have, the more access you have to happiness. Hierarchy is the hateful lens through which we see everything in life- from the evolution theory to office politics. But happiness is a right, not a privilege. Here at The New Conservative Party, we are anti-hierarchy and anti-authority.

Religion, along with its allies in its industry of oppression, including non-consensual government and science, instill in us a self-oppression that slowly teaches us to find comfort in misery. The New Conservative Party encourages you to be emphatic about seeking pleasure and is big proponents of masturbation.

Work is unnecessary. We live in abundance but we do not distribute evenly. There are few who can enjoy the necessities of happiness which, I'm sure you are inclined to agree, are:

-an abundance of free time

-health of body and mind

-community and love

Happiness is available to all of us but we must become Pleasure Seekers and leave self-restraint and modesty behind. Modesty and shame are the tools of the Industry of Oppression.

With industrialization, the earth and its abundance are kept hostage by corporations which sell it to consumer-citizens. These corporations along with government, religion, science and the labor system destroy all that is good and divine about life.

In sum, The New Conservative Party is about the simple, old-fashioned values of love and community.

We also encourage questions, comments and debate.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

What If Black Women Were White Women?

"If" Black Women Were White Women
August 23, 2009

In “If Men Could Menstruate,” Gloria Steinem makes the persuasive argument that “Whatever a ‘superior’ group has will be used to justify its superiority, and whatever an ‘inferior’ group has will be used to justify its plight.”

For too long the definition of racism has been a fight between white and black manhood or “who’s the bigger man”, so to speak. We've trivialized the existence of gender between both groups of men in favor for discussion of the "bigger issue".

This has historically enabled white female supremacy—the most unchallenged form of white supremacy—to escape any critical thought.

What if suddenly, instantly, the power of white femininity were transferred to black women?

The answer is clear: Black women would represent value, purity; and based on their natural traits would be worthy of protection and instantly become the objects of universal desire. White women would represent the opposite.

“Beauty tar potion” would become globally popular to get the “black look.” “Dove” would be replaced with a black soap called “Raven” to help exfoliate the skin and bring out subtle hints of melanin.

White female features would be declared violent. Their “jagged” thin lips, “knife sharp” noses, and “harsh” jaw lines would be nature's way of expressing why men have a natural preference for the soft features of black women. Soft lips, soft cheekbones, and soft, round noses would be proof of natural femininity. Full, pink lips and large, dark eyes would become associated with virginal black girls whose purity must not be compromised. Black female features would thus be said to represent youth.

Straight, blond hair would be considered “wild and unruly” because when the wind blew, it did not stay in place. Women with naturally straight hair would hide their “unruly” and “wild” stick-straight hair in public. The desire for “lightweight hair” that defied gravity would permanently end the use of blow dryers. Keeping one's natural blond hair wild and straight would become indicative of a political statement.

The anti-aging properties of black female skin combined with soft, curvy bodies would be proof of the overall reproductive health of black women. Scientists would argue that black women were naturally preferred as long term mates and mothers because they were “healthier.” Men’s attraction to women is based on overall health and fertility, after all.

Suddenly, biracial women would be “in” because the hard features of white women wouldn't prevent the fragile genes of “black beauty” from peeking through. Men would suddenly have the desire to date “ethnic,” non-black women since they would look “closer to black” than blond women—at least they wouldn't look like white women.

Statistics would equate the fact that white women make up the majority with their “overpowering” and “strong” population. This would be proof that they could handle unsafe neighborhoods. The “strong culture” they would have created amongst themselves would enable them to withstand their lack of protection from predators and criminals. Statisticians would argue that men were attracted to black women innately because they made up a small percentage of the population. “We tend to value what is rare,” they might say.

Men would proclaim that white women deserve sexual objectification because “flat buttocks” allow for deeper penetration. In ghettos across America, men would stand on street corners and yell “Damn! You got a flat ass!” to remind white women of their sexual status in society.

Upper class women would be afraid that their “asses looked flat” since it would represent animalistic and sexual deviance, like white women. Black women’s buttocks, said to protrude farther from the body, would prove that their natural vulnerability made them “less equipped” to handle hardcore sex and rape like white women could.

“I need a strong white woman!” would become a popular “empowering” slogan for exploitative men who rationalized the emotional, financial, and sexual overburdening of white women.

Overweight white nannies would become the “acceptable white women” in popular culture as they do not pose a threat to black female superiority and privilege. Conventionally attractive white women would serve as a sexual threat to black women for single-handedly breaking down the beauty hierarchy.

Hip hop videos would feature men throwing money at “white bitches” bent over in front of the camera to showcase their white asses, eager for deep penetration. Entire songs would be devoted to hatred of “white gold digging bitches” who believed that they were entitled to the financial security in marriage to which black women were entitled. “Penetrable white asses” and “pale-faced hoes” would become the cash commodity for selling entire musical genres.

White women’s “hard” bodies would be deemed more “capable” of fighting off sexual attackers, while the soft curves of black female bodies would become worthy of police protection. White women, despite being at high risk of being victimized by violence and sexual crimes, would not “need” police protection.

Movies would feature black women as the main objects of men’s desire across racial lines while stereotypes of evil, bitter, and oversexed white women would further prove why men of all races simply did not prefer blonds. “We can’t help those to whom we're attracted,” men would say. “Preference” would become an unconcealed acceptance of discrimination against white women. White women’s anger towards and sadness about the status quo would show their unreasonable jealousy of the innate superiority of black women.

Republicans would ban abortions to protect the virtue of pure, black motherhood and liberals would advocate increasing the number of abortion clinics in “low income” neighborhoods where white women would be the majority. Liberals would claim that white women had “culturally” approved of sexual objectification and were “safe enough” without outside help since they were warned not to touch “in-group issues” with a ten foot pole.

And so on and so forth.

The most important reality is that black feminists would eventually grow tired of being seen as innocent and vulnerable in patriarchy and would fight to erase the commodity of black femininity. “The innocent, submissive, and vulnerable representation of women is what puts us in danger. The rigid category of femininity has contributed to our oppression,” they might argue.

In the back of every black feminist movement we would hear the quiet and dignified pleas of radical white feminists. “But, we do not represent femininity. We are considered strong, incapable of feeling pain, and sexually deviant—but all this has done is increase our likelihood of being in danger. And aren’t we women too?”

As Gloria Steinem wrote, “In short, the characteristics of the powerful, whatever they may be, are thought to be better than the characteristics of the powerless - and logic has nothing to do with it.”

What remains universally evident is that the many justifications for power and privilege are always inherent, always scientific, and always permeate society to the point that they remain deeply buried within our collective consciousness.

Until someone challenges them.

© 2009 Alienati0n

Edited by Kara Feldman.

Monday, July 27, 2009

"It's Just a Pile of Rocks"

This article from The Washington Post comes courtesy of Native Nations Joining Forces. It is about more than a pile of rocks, and more than a religious site- it's about the value of aboriginal people, and all non-Christians, in the United States. Would this happen to a pilgrims' church? I doubt it. The message in actions like these is clear: if it doesn't support the wealth and power of the white majority (Christian churches do- through indoctrination, networking and political lobbying- and so does Wal-Mart), it's not important.

Ala. city plows beneath Indian site for Sam's Club

By JAY REEVES The Associated Press Tuesday, July 21, 2009; 5:33 AM

OXFORD, Ala. -- Bucket loaders and bulldozers are tearing apart a hill that researchers call the foundation of an ancient Native American site to provide fill dirt for a Sam's Club store, a move that appalls preservationists.

Tribal advocates and state officials say a large stone mound that tops the 200-foot rise was put there a millennium ago by Indians during a religious observance. It is similar to rock mounds found up and down the Eastern Seaboard, historians say, and likely dates to Indians of the Woodlands period that ended in 1000 A.D.

"It's just heartbreaking," said Elizabeth Ann Brown of the Alabama Historical Commission. "I find it hard to believe that for fill dirt anyone would do this."

Despite a city-commissioned study that found tribal artifacts in the red clay that makes up the mound, Oxford Mayor Leon Smith denies the work by the city is damaging anything important. He said the stones atop the hill are a natural part of what locals call Signal Mountain and were exposed by millions of years of erosion.

"It's the ugliest old hill in the world," said Smith, who has overseen a mushrooming of big-box stores in this east Alabama city of 15,000 during his seven terms as mayor.

The hill certainly is an eyesore these days. Its wooded sides have been stripped bare, and the red soil is being trucked downhill to the site of a new Sam's warehouse store and a small retail strip, where it's being used to build up a good base for foundations.

The rock mound perched atop the hill is mostly undisturbed so far, though it is denuded save for a few spindly trees that haven't been knocked down. Officials with Sam's Club, a division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., said no material from the rock mound is going into the site where the store is under construction.

Brown said the state lacks the power to halt the project, and petitions and protests haven't done anything to stop the work. Big yellow dump trucks rumble up and down the hill, located behind a retail development just off Interstate 20, about 60 miles east of Birmingham.

City project manager Fred Denney said officials plan to remove the top of the hill eventually to create an elevated, eight-acre site that will overlook the Choccolocco Valley and the city of Oxford.

"It would be a beautiful view," said the mayor, who envisions a motel or restaurant atop the hill.

Indian historian Robert Thrower is aghast at what he sees as the city's lack of concern for the historical importance of the site, which he said is similar to others along the East Coast. Groups have saved rock mounds in Montague, Mass., North Smithfield, R.I., and elsewhere.

"With increasing development occurring, these sites are in jeopardy," said Thrower, a member of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Alabama and chairman of culture and heritage for the United South and Eastern Tribes. "Here, you're looking at a site that is a sacred site for us."

Denney said the city purchased the hill and surrounding acreage several years ago for $10 million for development. Faced with questions about an ancient Indian site, Smith said the city paid the University of Alabama $60,000 to study the mound.

University of Alabama researchers found six shards of Indian pottery under rocks atop the mountain, and their report said the mound was likely built by Indians during the late Woodlands period.

Researchers didn't discover any evidence of burial sites among the rocks, though they said such remains could have been lost to erosion or looting. Oxford's mayor said the lack of bones means there's no reason not to bulldoze the mound.

"It's just a pile of rocks is all it is," said Smith.

City officials deny they are insensitive to history. Denney said officials have banned development at a 12-acre site about a half-mile from the hill because archaeologists found evidence that Indians once had a community there.

Thrower said Indians from that settlement possibly carried many of the rocks up the steep hill to mark a place of prayer or to commemorate special events. There's no way to move the stones elsewhere and preserve the site, he said.

"A colleague of mine referred to these places as ..prayers in stone,'" Thrower said. "For us it's immaterial whether there are burial or historical artifacts present. The site itself is historic."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

In Those Genes

"Usual Question: Why is a biracial child considered black?

Usual Answer: Because the child looks "more black" than white.

Follow up question: Why does the child look more black?

Follow up answer: Because whites have recessive genes."

Awhile ago on, I saw a post that summed up my feelings about the "First Black President". She posted images of the president's grandfather and of Obama as an adult. Here are those two pictures:


Clearly, Obama is the splitting image of his grandfather. So what about him makes him 'look black' exactly, out of curiosity? Is it complexion, features, or because "we know"? When we assign people to a race (and when it's ambiguous we ask 'what are you?' so we can attach stereotypes to 'understand them better') what are we really looking at? Or is it that a biracial person is said to look "more black than white" because OUR definition of whiteness is much less vague and always has been, than blackness? The "octaroons" during colonization and slavery show that white superiority has always meant that blackness was "too dirty" to rub across it. A person who was 1/8th (and prior to that 1/16th) black was "tainted" and therefore left out of the construct of white privilege as punishment.

Bob Marley's father.

How strange it is that people who range from Alicia Keys complexion to Wesley Snipes complexion are considered to "look black"? Especially since Alicia Keys is much lighter than Osama Bin Ladin, who is "racially" considered caucasian, as is Angelina Jolie who has features associated with black women. What about those who range from say Zoe Saldana to Cameron Diaz, how can you safely say you can "tell" someone "looks" latina? This has always been a huge WTF and a big SMH, imho.

We can use "culture" to define who is "black" and "white", but most biracials are raised by their white mothers so by this argument, why aren't they considered "white"? Then, there's the fact that other than stereotypes, underprivilege, and isolation there's nothing in America unifying "blacks" to each other to create a distinct culture. There's also the issue that states that biracials have "trouble" with their identity without considering the same ramifications exist for someone who is "black" AND "GLBT", or "black" and "woman" and which part of their self-identity should come first. The fight for self-identity is a human experience that is not isolated to people who exist in between two "distinct"(fictitious) groups. But when your identity is tied to "natural" (social) privilege or lack thereof, this fight simply becomes much more complicated.

It is very real in many societies that anything deemed vulnerable needs to be better protected. This ranges in all scopes of things from children to our immune systems, from white female virginity to our economic budget.
If European phenotypes are considered "naturally recessive" to all other "races" it essentially says that white genes are more valuable and therefore meant to be kept pure. Diamonds are only valuable because they are considered rare, otherwise, what would differentiate them from regular rocks?

We cannot separate racial perception from social conditioning. When we look at real life evidence, we can simply see that "race" doesn't exist.

Can we safely say now that the jig is up?


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Rest of "A Day in the Life of Kevin Annett"

I don't know why my first email didn't send the entire post, but here's the rest of it:

I hopped a bus for awhile to get away from the madness, but found things even crazier in the plush manicured part of downtown where people rush from thing to thing to thing. There is no heart there. Back on hastings street, the heart is torn and bleeding, but still beating.

Every day I delight when Bingo and Deanna and Irene and William are still alive, though my joy is at the cost of their agony, of having to go through another day. But they see my joy, and maybe it helps them a bit.


Midnight. Alone in the radio station, taped blues music humming away. Three people sprawl unconscious outside on the doorstep, others stumble by. No answers yet, but just a lot more questions. And the long, long waiting.


Read and Hear the truth of Genocide in Canada, past and present, at this website:

Film Trailer to Kevin's award-winning documentary film UNREPENTANT:

A Day in the Life of Kevin Annett

I received this message via a Facebook group, "Hidden from History: The Canadian Holocaust," and I thought it was worth sharing. Kevin Annett's website and radio show tell the stories of Aboriginal Canadians, and their deaths, from residential schools and the death of native cultures to uninvestigated abuses and murders. This "day in the life" story provides a variety of examples of how natives realities and experiences in Canada could be considered genocide. White Canadians learn about native culture in school, about our history with them, trading fur and marrying metis wives, and then kind of flash forward to a reality in which Native people are angry at us, and nobody knows why. Except we do know why- we know about drunk natives, homeless natives, native children in foster care- but we've always treated addiction, abuse, poverty, family breakdown, criminality as problems native people inflict on themselves, never as the direct results of a campaign to wipe them out.

So here it is: A Day In the Life of Kevin Annett

I met Bingo this afternoon at his corner, our listening post at Main and Hastings. His usual joy at seeing me struggled through layers of drunkenness but the courage as always was there. A guy from WAHRS handed us some minutes from their meeting and we were scanning them when a big, particularly stupid cop, a sergeant, accosted us and stared over my shoulder at the paper, yelling,

"What's this shit, more propaganda?"

I folded the paper and turned away from the thug. He leaned over to Bingo and sputtered,

"I don't like you! You're a goddamned trouble maker!".

Word gets around. I turned to the cop and said,

"You don't know the half of it."

Bingo raised himself up, and replied,

"I don't have to talk to you!"

"Fucking trouble maker!" returned the cop.

"Don't say that" I said to the cop. "Come on, now."

I half expected a brawl but the sergeant suddenly bolted across the street to the cop shop after giving Bingo a very mature gesture.

Bingo and I, clearly, are known and hated by the downtown eastside cops, after leading our wave of sit-ins at the local churches. Why, I'm not sure. Why should it be any skin off their nose?

I hung around to see if the cop would return with help, but Bingo wasn't fazed at all. His main concern was how he was going to get a bottle of something to get him through the night.

"I don't remember much of what happened to me at the rez, Kev" Bingo said to me later. "But I got the hurt bad anyway, really bad. You don't have to remember for it to be there."


Earlier, at the Sweetgrass Centre, a native woman named Irene I met awhile ago told me how she still can't see her son more than an hour each week, and he screams whenever she tries to hold him. He's one year old and lives in a white foster home.

"It ain't normal. They're abusing him, I know it" she said, her eyes crazy with the pain.

"I gotta stop it, but how? The social worker ignores my calls."

"Some guy went crazy with a rifle and shot three people at the Pow Wow yesterday" said a man next to us, as he read a newspaper.

"Seems he was pissed off 'cause they wouldn't let him in drunk."

"But the soup is good" croaked an old guy, slurping the fish stew that Carol and others had slaved at all day.

Irene watched it all, her heart miles away. She studied me to see what I would do about her son.

"Come on my radio program, we can tell others" I said to her.

"Gotta do more'n talk" she replied, and to my surprise, added,

"We should picket their home. Picket the welfare office."

People came and went, signing the list, eating their stew and bannock, then hurrying out. Irene lingered, spreading the pain, sustained a little bit just by being with us. She kept patting the cat, over and over.


Deanna finally spoke on the air today, years in the making. But doing so sent her into a post-traumatic reaction and I had to talk her down for an hour after the program.

"I felt it all again. I felt all that fucking fear ..."

She spoke about almost being murdered by an aging john who took her to a weird looking room that had awful vibes, and sheets covering all the windows, and muffled stuff on the walls.

"I knew girls were killed there. I knew it" Deanna said. "I picked a fight and got outta there. I would have died."

She spoke about hearing a long, blood curdling female scream one night, a block away.

"We ran around, trying to find out where it was coming from. But we couldn't. It sounded like murder."

I commented about the house at Jackson and Hastings where girls had been killed and then buried under the floorboards. The whole place was gutted and asphalted at the start of the Picton trials.

"Everybody knows that place. I stayed away from it but I lost some friends there. Every day, we wonder who's gonna disappear next. It never stops for us."

One of the station staff people kept walking by the studio, flashing me angry glances. A prostitute, on the air?

Deanna started crying when Carol spoke about the pedophile rings at the Campbell street apartments, where six year old kids dressed all fancy are taken on Friday nights. She didn't stop crying.

I didn't cry. I never do.


William sat through the entire program, saying nothing, sober for once, and thus deep in his pain. He smiled only once when Molly, our operator, brought her new born daughter with her into the studio. He didn't dare touch the baby when Molly offered her to him.

Molly had arrived late, in tears. A cop had ticketed her and yelled something at her for not wearing a bike helmet. She kept wiping her tears with one hand and breastfeeding her baby with the other.


[The entire original message is not included]

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Further Reading For the National Holidays

My first anti-canada-day post was focused on the problems we live with at home, and that's just the tip of the iceberg, as far as human rights abuses go. "Free trade" is killing the world and our proud, wealthy country is soaked in blood because of it.

The link below is to the text of a speech called "Come September" by Arundhati Roy. I strongly recommend reading it, and thinking about what nationalism has gotten us, what nations do for us, and what it means to be the blindly entitled children of "Western" countries that claim a moral high ground and a better way of life. Roy focuses on the United States (and September 11th), but Canada, Britain and the rest of Europe are not inncoent bystanders in the globalization revolution. We exploit and abuse the developing world and we reap the rewards of economic imperialism right along with the US. This is the face of Canadian arrogance (disguised as patriotism & as citizenship) as much as it is the face of US aggression.

A quote: "Nationalism was the cause of most of the genocide of the twentieth century. Flags are colored bits of cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people's brains and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead."

I Really Don't Hate Canada, Folks

I just hate Canada Day.

If I lived in the US, I'd also hate July 4th. Actually, I do hate July 4th, I just don't care as much about it.

I have a problem with a holiday that comes with the sentiment: "Canada is the best. I'm proud to be Canadian. And if you don't like our country, you can leave!" Nationalist pride does nothing for Canada, except give us a day to ignore our problems while we party (drinking Canadian beer while we listen to Canadian music, naturally). We may have a few privileges that citizens of other countries do not, but we, as Canadians, did nothing to earn them, besides being born in Canada, and we are not innocent of human rights abuses, here or abroad.

But I am a patriot. I love Canada, and Canadians, enough to want to see our country change. I am patriotic enough to refuse to take a break from valuing human rights, from condemning injustice, inequality and oppression, from seeing and hearing the Canadians who will never expereince opportunity or success in our country, or from demanding to live in a country that I CAN celebrate.

There is no excuse for Canadians to spend time and money propping up a Canadian identity of diversity, equality, democracy and freedom that doesn't exist, especially when so many Canadians are desperate for an investment of resources that will allow them access to the "Canadian way of life."

What should Canada Day mean to aboriginal citizens, when our Prime Minister refused to sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, when they are still suffering the consequences of residential schools, when they are still living with an epidemic of family violence, addiction and poverty, when land treaties are ignored, when nuclear waste is dumped on their land, when they are filling Canadian prisons at alarming rates, and when some do not even have access to clean drinking water? What does it mean for the rest of Canada, that we choose to celebrate and have not fixed these problems?

What should Canada Day mean for people who do not have homes, when Canada Day celebrations are funded at municipal, provincial and federal levels, but no money exists for more shelters or public housing, when they do not have access to our "universal" health care because they do not have addresses and when they face barriers to voting? What does it mean for the rest of us, that we choose to have these people rounded up and imprisoned so we don't have to see them at our "public" celebrations?

What should Canada day mean to the people who fought for voting reform, whose votes didn't count because their ridng went another direction, who didn't bother to vote because it didn't matter, or who weren't allowed to vote? How can we rejoice in democracy when nearly half of our country can't be bothered participating in it? How can we celebrate responsible government when the Governor General decides who will be Prime Minister, even as the government collapses, and can shut down the parliamentary process while the elected Leader of the Opposition is replaced by someone who is willing to leave the boat un-rocked for awhile, if only because taking power in a recession would be bad politics? What does it mean for the rest of us that we don't even like the people we elect to represent us, and we feel comfortable blaming "the government" for problems, as if the government has nothing to do with us?

What should Canada Day mean to people living with daily violence that they can't afford to escape? To the working poor who will never earn enough to break the poverty cycle for their children? To Haitian Canadians who know that our military is being used to "reform" the Haitian economy for the "global" economy's benefit? To Canadians who are refugees here, either because our corporations have caused widespread poverty and violence in their home countries, or because wealthy countries still refuse to put an end to the poverty and violence in developing countries that makes them so easy to exploit? To the people whose educations were sufficiently inferior as to guarantee they will never qualify for meaningful employment? To the people who lost their jobs because the company they worked for moved to another town when they tried to unionize? To the people working in animal shelters who are daily witnesses to the cruelty, apathy and violence that Canadians commit? To people with mental illness or addictions who are sentenced to lives of poverty and shame? To the people whose poverty drove them to crime and now live in prisons, with few human rights? To the people whose children were sent to other families because they couldn't afford to feed them?

What does it mean for the rest of us when we are willing to celebrate a Canadian identity that allows such terrible injustice? We're not doing ourselves any favours by failing to acknowledge that Canada has not lived up to our expectations, that the human rights crimes committed in this country do not coincide with our values and that we have no reason to celebrate when the battle has just begun. We hurt ourselves- we damage the value of every one of our lives- every time we choose to be OK with injustice, oppression and suffering, even if its only for one day.

We are not diverse. We are not equal, in value or in opportunity. We are not democratic. We are not free.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Our Mid-life Crisis.

At what point in your consumer driven, work oriented, chronically exhausted, and severely dysfunctional life do you start to wake up about the unfulfilling nature of the American existence?

At what point do you realize that no matter how hard you work, there is no freedom waiting at the end of the rainbow to relieve you of your debt, cure you of your depression, restore your health, or, bring you anything other than momentary happiness?

Does this crisis await us all?

When did things change from "I know what I want to be when I grow up" to "this is what, if I'm lucky, I plan to accomplish before I'm dead"?

I turn 25 in one week. While I can say that I wish I were excited, I've always had a weird phobia/fascination with dying. To me, birthday's are a reminder of my mortality. Sort of like waiting for a mammogram to tell you when your time is up.

One year older for me is one year closer to death.

Children are so happy with so little. Some say it is the naivety of children--innocence maybe and the freedom to escape the misery that plagues adulthood. One day they will realize that adulthood is a series of depressing crossroads. "What am I doing in my life"? (logic), and then "I am working to achieve something great" (American Programming) create constant states of turmoil we will call "Capitalist Borderline Personality" for the moment being. And the need (more like addiction) that can only be relieved by more products; which we believe is power. Like a junkie that craves a heroin needle only to return to a state of depression and open sores where the needle penetrated their tender flesh.

Americans are house slaves, I've said this before. As controversial as it may sound, it is more realistic than what we care to admit. We are "better fed" (have more shitty processed food to choose from), and more "options" aka things to buy (IPOD touch or flat screen anyone?) All of which cover up a dull aching pain that can only be described as an unfulfilling urge to be something better --but without the ambition or wherewithal to plan an escape route to that destiny. I will say that we are the "better fed" and "better clothed" house slaves that are closer to master, and therefore have the "illusion of freedom" that stops us from fighting for our freedom.

Perhaps this is the reality we face right before we are shipped off to a retirement home or poverty for being "old" and therefore, too obsolete to work for our master.

when does it suddenly hit you like a ton of bricks that America has crushed your hopes and dreams. With the promise of freedom that will never come?

This is your fellow radical bitter old hag signing off.