I was born Black and a woman. I am trying to become the strongest person I can become to live the life I have been given and to help effect change toward a livable future for this earth and for my children. As a Black, lesbian, feminist, socialist, poet, mother of two including one boy and member of an interracial couple, I usually find myself part of some group in which the majority defines me as deviant, difficult, inferior or just plain “wrong”.
From my membership in all of these groups I have learned that oppression and the intolerance of difference come in all shapes and sizes and colors and sexualities; and that among those of us who share the goals of liberation and a workable future for our children, there can be no hierarchies of oppression. I have learned that sexism (a belief in the inherent superiority of one sex over all others and thereby its right to dominance) and heterosexism (a belief in the inherent superiority of one pattern of loving over all others and thereby its right to dominance) both arise from the same source as racism - a belief in the inherent superiority of one race over all others and thereby its right to dominance.
“Oh,” says a voice from the Black community, “but being Black is NORMAL!” Well, I and many Black people of my age can remember grimly the days when it didn’t used to be!
I simply do not believe that one aspect of myself can possibly profit from the oppression of my other part of my identity. I know that my people cannot possibly profit from the oppression of any other group which seeks the right to peaceful existence. Rather, we diminish ourselves by denying to others what we have shed blood to obtain for our children. And those children need to learn that they do not have to become like each other in order to work together for a future they will all share.
The increasing attacks upon lesbians and gay men are only an introduction to the increasing attacks upon all Black people, for wherever oppression manifests itself in this country, Black people are potential victims. And it is a standard of right-wing cynicism to encourage members of oppressed groups to act against each other, and so long as we are divided because of our particular identities we cannot join together in effective political action.
Within the lesbian community I am Black, and within the Black community I am a lesbian. Any attack against Black people is a lesbian and gay issue, because I and thousands of other Black women are part of the lesbian community. Any attack against lesbians and gays is a Black issue, because thousands of lesbians and gay men are Black. There is no hierarchy of oppression.
It is not accidental that the Family Protection Act, which is virulently anti-woman and anti-Black, is also anti-gay. As a Black person, I know who my enemies are, and when the Ku Klux Klan goes to court in Detroit to try and force the Board of Education to remove books the Klan believes “hint at homosexuality,” then I know I cannot afford the luxury of fighting one form of oppression only. I cannot afford to believe that freedom from intolerance is the right of only one particular group. And I cannot afford to choose between the fronts upon which I must battle these forces of discrimination, wherever they appear to destroy me. And when they appear to destroy me, it will not be long before they appear to destroy you.
This film was a community effort with involvement from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Gay City, Lifelong AIDS Alliance, and Three Dollar Bill Cinema. It was shot in so many local locations like Purr, The Cuff, Mom’s Pharmacy, Cal Anderson Park, The Lookout, Vera Project, and Gay City Health Project.
About The Film: A model queer activist and poet, Jesus (Maximillian Davis) prides himself in his work with the Seattle LGBT community. At the same time, Jesus is having unprotected sex and cheating on his long-time partner Johnny (Vancouver’s own Samonte Cruz). Jesus’s world implodes when he discovers that he is HIV positive, forcing him to confront his innermost fears, his relationship with his ex-boyfriend, and a future living with HIV. Faced with the unknown, Jesus is pulled from the brink of self-destruction by Sister Alysa Trailer (Brian Peters), a drag nun who leads him down a path of self-discovery.
‘heart breaks open’ is a feature film about queer life, public health and community accountability. It was written as a four page outline and transformed to a feature-length project through a collaborative filmmaking process. Actors used improvisational acting to create dialogue and action. Documentary filmmakers captured performances using cinema verité techniques. Seattle locations and their staff were used to create an undeniable meditative realism.
To me, femme is about finding the strength within myself that I didn’t know I had. Finding femme has brought me the empowerment that I had always been looking for and never knew where to find, but was within myself all along. It is picking and choosing which rituals are meaningful to me, and participating in them for myself only. It is glitter and bright colours and saying fuck it to societal standards imposed upon me and my femininity. It is learning to love my body for every fold and roll and stretch mark. It is dyeing my hair queer spirit purple, or whichever other colour suits my mood. On days when my anxiety hits hardest, it helps me to be able to step out of the house. Finding femme has allowed me to embrace my femininity and my queerness as fundamentally interconnected. It is an act of self-love when society tells me there are so many things to loathe. It is an act of reclamation of what femininity is and means to me. It is a performance that gives me the strength to break past my anxiety, little by little. It is at once playful and powerful. On some days, femme is all I have, but it gives me the strength to keep moving forward. I am femme.
I LOVE ALL OF THESE POSTS. I feel this soooooo hard.
femme is deciding that love and beauty can be born outside of the male gaze and that when a community of femmes meet, it obliterates the proverbial penis that is patriarchy and crumbles the walls that have kept feminized identiites (whether they be feminized via gender, sexual identities, race, ability, class, size, etc) from being able to say that they love one another and themselves. femme is also about subverting presumed ideals of white femininity and proudly flaunting other intersecting feminized identities that you may have (again via the feminization of gender, race, ability, etc) like it’s everybody’s business. femme is decolonizing love and beauty, baby.
The New Age movement has sparked a new interest in Native American traditional spirituality among white women who claim to be feminists. Indian spirituality, with its respect for nature and the interconnectedness of all things, is often presented as the panacea for all individual and global problems. Not surprisingly, many white “feminists” see the opportunity to make a great profit from this new craze. They sell sweat lodges or sacred pipe ceremonies, which promise to bring individual and global healing. Or they sell books and records that supposedly describe Indian traditional practices so that you too, can be Indian.
On the surface, it may appear that this new craze is based on a respect for Indian spirituality. In fact, however, the New Age movement is part of a very old story of white racism and genocide against the Indian people. The “Indian” ways that the white, New Age “feminists” are practicing have little grounding in reality.
I’m an Internet nerd. I search for all things queer, brown or art-related (and awesome) on the Internet and stalk them. It’s what I do. So, back when Pariah was just a short, I watched it online and was completely blown away. As a newly coming out queer, this story of identity hit home in…
AN INDIAN student who paid thousands of dollars to study in Australia was illegally detained at the Villawood detention centre for 18 months because of mistakes by immigration officers, the Australian Human Rights Commissioner has found.
The commissioner, Catherine Branson, has found that Prashant Cherkupalli, 31, should be paid $597,000 in compensation for the 509 days he was illegally detained between November 2004 and April 2006.
Mr Cherkupalli, 31, who kept his ordeal secret from his family, is now suing the Commonwealth in the NSW Supreme Court for damages.
”I was ashamed to tell my parents. I came here to do something and ended up in prison. I spent thousands of dollars from my family,” he said.
The detention caused him to miss classes and forfeit $57,000 in student fees. He has since graduated with a master of engineering degree from Sydney University.
…Mr Cherkupalli believes he lost the opportunity to gain permanent residency in Australia because the time spent in detention meant he was too old when he applied after graduation. ”Everyone’s aim after being a student is to get a job and settle down. I can’t do that,” he says.
Damn. Immigration abuses are so common here, it’s amazing that anyone still believes in the system with the regular court appeals against really shocking neglect, abuse and incompetence.
Also, it’s an open secret in the public service that the NSW section of the immigration department is the worst. The % of their decisions overturned on court appeal, including the High Court, is so high it’s obvious that mismanagement and politicization of the APS is enabling corruption.
[Image: A young Arab man holding up a photograph of a white person offensively dressed in stereotyped “Sheik” clothing with a pretend bomb duct taped to their chest, holding a plastic cup and smiling. The text says: We’re a culture, not a costume. This is not who I am and this is not okay.]
[Image: A young East Asian woman decent holding up a photograph of a white person dressed offensively and appropriatively in an over-the-top Geisha costume, with their hands pressed together in a prayer-like motion and an exaggerated pouty lip look on their face. The text says: We’re a culture, not a costume. This is not who I am and this is not okay.]
[Image: A young Latino man holding up a picture of a white person offensively and appropriatively dressed in a costume wearing a sombrero, a colorful poncho with an exaggerated long handlebar mustache and a stuffed costume donkey on the front, making it look as if they are riding the donkey while smiling. The text says: We’re a culture, not a costume. This is not who I am and this is not okay.]
Students Teaching About Racism in Society is a Student Org at Ohio University. I’m the President, any questions… MESSAGE ME! :)
YES THIS! THIS!
I want to paste this everywhere and am a bit tempted to print some out and put them around where I live. Especially with Halloween coming up in the area of the world I live in. First year back in the South and I am just bracing for the fail. These are wonderful and a big round of applause to everyone who had a hand in making them. I really, really wish that more organizations would make these types of posters and put them around.
Also, please let me know if the image descriptions need editing or fixing!
I ran across this and found it interesting (though I knew a good portion of the history since I remember learning about this as a kid in Mexico). I think the title should say Mexican and Black American Solidarity, though. As per usual, I will mention that Black people and Mexicans are not mutually exclusive.
History of Mexican-Black solidarity
Published Apr 29, 2007 6:35 PM
Following are excerpts from a talk given by Debbie Johnson at a meeting in Detroit during Black History Month this year.
There is a long history of Mexicans welcoming and assisting Blacks fleeing American slavery. The fact of the matter is that when white “slave-hunting” militias would come into Mexico demanding that their “property”—the enslaved workers—be returned, many Mexicans rejected these pleas and were angered at the fact that these slave hunters would have the audacity to enter Mexico and attempt to impose their laws in a nation that had already banned slavery for moral and religious reasons.
As early as 1811, the Rev. Jose Morelos—a Mexican of African descent—led an all-Black army brigade to help fight for Mexican independence. In 1855 more than 4,000 runaway slaves were helped by Mexicans in Texas to escape and find freedom in Mexico. The Underground Railroad was not just into Canada. It went south as well.
Indeed, throughout three centuries, African slaves were joined by Mexicans in opposition to the exploitation of Africans by European “immigrants—settlers—on the North American continent. Just a few examples of this long and rich history of solidarity are:
• In 1546, Mexico recorded the first conspiracy against slavery, which occurred in Mexico City among a coalition of enslaved Africans and indigenous insurgents.
• In 1609 in Vera Cruz, Mexico, Yanga established the first free pueblo of formerly enslaved Africans in the Western Hemisphere.
• In 1693 within the area of the “United States,” which was in fact Mexican territory, an alliance between African runaways and rebellious indigenous tribes developed and resulted in considerable cooperation and intermarriages between them. It was much like that which developed between African people and the American Indian communities.
• In 1820, in Mexico, the pro-independence army commanded by Black Gen. Vicente Ramon Guerrero was joined and saved by the courageous Mexican/Indigenuous leader Pedro Ascensio. This army won many battles in resisting French and American colonial wars of occupation.
• In 1836, during the battle of the Alamo, Mexican troops fought not only to keep the U.S. from annexing Texas, but also to abolish the dreaded practice of slavery carried out by pro-slavery white settlers. While the Mexican people did not have to join in this fight, they believed slavery was wrong, and they helped fight to stop it. Mexicans consistently took in and helped Black slaves who would run away from the U.S. Another “underground railroad”—this one south of the border—saved the lives and allowed the freedom of thousands of African people fleeing enslavement by European settlers.
• During the period before the Civil War, Mexican authorities refused to return enslaved runaways to the U.S. slaveholders. Aided by Mexicans in Texas, thousands of runaways escaped to freedom in Mexico. The U.S. government had to send 20 percent of its whole army to the Mexican border to try to stop this and intimidate the Mexican people, but the people continued to aid escaping slaves.
• In 1862, during the Civil War, at the same time French colonialistshad invaded Mexico seeking to take over. However, at the battle of Puebla on May 5, the Mexican defenders, with the help of freed African slaves—this army was considered the complete underdog—defeated and turned back the French invasion. It was a great victory, now celebrated as Cinco de Mayo. This victory was also a blow to the slaveholders of the United States.
• One historical event, organized through the solidarity of Mexican, Blacks, Indigenous and Asian people, was the “Plan de San Diego.”This was intended as a general uprising by these peoples joined in the Southwest, initiated in an effort to regain the lands stolen in the U.S.’s aggression in the 1840s, which include California, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and other states of what is now the U.S. Southwest. The plan actually addressed and recognized the contributions of Blacks, Asians and Indigenous people by granting them freedom and autonomy. Although the plan was not successful, it revealed the long history of solidarity of peoples of color in struggle against those who would enslave them.
• In 1866, Mexican President Benito Juarez confirmed an 1851 land grant giving Black people in Mexico a sizeable place of refuge at Nascimiento.
• More recently, in 1960, the Latin American communities were excited by the hosting of the Cuban delegation, led by Fidel Castro in their historic visit to Harlem and the United Nations. This pride and joy was shared and celebrated equally by the African American community.
• In 1964 that joint celebration and welcome was laid out by the African American and Latino community to the heroic revolutionary leader Che Guevara. The pride and joy of each of these communities with the presence of Che would be remembered and celebrated for years.
• In that year, Che Guevara also met with the revered Malcolm X, as Malcolm offered his solidarity and appreciation for the work Che had done with freedom fighters in the Congo as they fought against the neocolonial “immigrants” [settlers] there.
• In 1968, solidarity was developed in Southern California and the Southwest among the Brown Berets, Black Panthers, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and other progressive youth organizations.
• In 1992, during the April 29 rebellion in Los Angeles, Latino and African American neighbors recognized their common plight, and demonstrated their collective rage against continuing acts of injustice, oppression and exploitation.
• Then came the magnificent immigrant-rights demonstrations of last spring. What glorious events they were, across the country, in wave after wave of white and brown—the white clothing of the millions of demonstrators and the brown faces of the Latino/ Mexican peoples who were joined by Central America and South American workers, which were also joined by Caribbean, Asian, African, and African American allies. Make no mistake about it, this class solidarity shook the ruling class to its very toes. It frightened and deeply worried them. It gave a glimpse, even in the midst of periods of reaction, of the crucial struggles that are on the agenda.
The current attacks against immigrants must be seen as attacks on all workers. This current assault on Latinos/Mexicans is just another tactic—like racism, homophobia and sexism, that the ruling class uses to pit workers against each other. The only winners when this happens are always the bosses.
The next person to tell me that women should be flattered by comments when they’re walking down the street is going to get slapped with a copy of this article. This is the kind of thing we have to worry about when it comes to the male gaze. Sure, you mean well or whatever…but if you’re a perfect stranger how do we know that? You might pay me a compliment & keep it moving or I might have to fight and/or flee. Don’t want to get lumped in with shitheads like these guys? Do something about these guys instead of complaining that women aren’t receptive enough to you.
“A 26-year-old woman in the car was shot in the shoulder and the driver was hit in the head with a bottle. No one is in custody early Thursday, police said.”
Custer Died For Your Sins has already made a wonderful list with indigenous Tumblers, but it is mainly devoted to Native American Tumblers so I was thinking of creating a list with people who either are indigenous or blog about indigenous rights, but who aren’t necessarily Native American, but perhaps Saami, Mäori, Aboriginal or so on (obviously I would love to add Native American people to the list, misunderstand me in the right way, but Custer Died for your Sins list (which you can find here) already features loads of Native American Tumblers).
In other words - indigenous cultures, while being incredibly diverse still share an awful lot of similar problems and I for one would like to be able to network with others who share my interest in indigenous rights and activism.
If you see your name on the list and you don’t want it to be there, do please tell me and I will remove it asap.
Anyway, feel free to add yourself to this list if you’re a member of an indigenous community or if you blog about indigenous rights, and if you’re Native American and not on Custer Died for Your Sins - send them a message.
Tumblers blogging about indigenous rights / Indigenous Allies