Hypocritical Hyperbole

The Abomination of Obama's Nation

Deep South Racism January 12, 2013

My homegirl over at Racism School wrote a little post about Deep South racism, and how that’s the only racism that gets acknowledged and how there’s some bit of safety in that. It’s real good, go read it. Then come back here where I add to it with a little bit of life and a bit of historical context.

 

I’ve been saying this for years and years and years. I have felt safer in the eight years I’ve been back in North Carolina than the twelve years I spent in Pennsylvania. It’s so bad up there. You cannot get away from the racism up north. It permeates everything in the culture up north. Stats say I’m much more likely to be killed by cops up north or out west than I am in the deep south.

There was a petition signed to prevent my family from moving into the neighborhood I lived in for the final seven years of my life up there. These neighbors of ours conveniently only let their dog out of their yard whenever I or my sister would be getting off of the bus from school. Of course it would chase us and bit her once (and it only ever chased or bit us) and everyone else in the neighborhood just made jokes and there as nothing we could do about it until I accidently killed the dog (by kicking it real hard and causing it to run into the street where it proceeded to get hit by a car. I don’t feel bad about it at all). No one knew I did it, and if they had I would’ve probably been killed for it. Because that’s how white justice works. (Note: the only reason we weren’t bitten more is because after the first time we started carrying sticks to and from the bus stop to beat the dog off us).

I had do deal with northern white liberals who told me EVERY DAY how nothing up north was racist and how I should be glad I didn’t live in the south anymore. I had to deal with all the bullshit of being told I spoke well. True story, when I was in elementary school I should’ve gone to speech classes where they teach kids who can’t talk how to talk good. Because I had a bad stammer. I still have a stammer, but it’s more under control now, no thanks to them. Even though I often t imes sounded worse than the kids they picked to go to the speech class they looked at me and said “you speak so well.. . .You don’t need this class.” So I just didn’t talk in school.

My parents caught teachers grading my homework incorrectly, teachers would lose my test because there’s no way a black kid could’ve done that well.

That’s just my personal life. We’re not talking about all the racially motivated zoning laws up north. (Look up zoning laws post reconstruction sometime and educate yourself). While the south had the national guard brought in on some integration shit, the north was busy enacting laws that prevented black people from moving into certain neighborhoods. The north invented and perfected gentrification.

Has anyone ever stopped to examine why black people have started moving back down south if the south is THE WORST place ever? No, because middle class white people have created a narrative of the stupid uneducated red necks down south being the only ones to perpetrate racism. Your Bill Mahers of the world continuously preach about how only stupid people are conservative. We act as if the republican party is only made up of people who never got out of middle school as if the catholic church doesn’t run the north eastern US, as if the Lutherans and Catholics haven’t been strangling each other for control of the midwest. We act like the new home of the KKK isn’t up in Montanna. We pretend the mormons aren’t holding sway out west. We just sit here talking about those stupid southern baptists, who, coincidentally, aren’t the ones who’ve had the cultural power to stop birth control and shit (that’s been the domain of the catholic church like forever. Cause money).

Here, people fly rebel flags. And I know exactly what that means. It means we don’t talk, we don’t look at each other, and we get out of the same space. There’s no great lie going on here. No one who’s born and bread in the south believes racism is dead. That’s only people from up north who have been force fed that lie since the 1830s. They may concoct some like in public about how that flag is honoring their ancestors, but they all know it’s a lie. They hold onto that shit.

Thing is, people don’t remember that in order to win the civil war (which the union was not fighting on behalf of slaves you stupid mother fuckers) the union burned most of the south’s crops to the ground immediately impoverishing a whole bunch of people. So all those white folks who had farms and shit for years and years with families and kids who had all been killed in this war were suddenly out of land, out of a job, out of food, and out of their families. Yeah, they be holdin a grudge, cause it took a long ass time to bring that shit back. Of course they blamed black people as much as the north, because they lost a portion of their work force (for a while, because slavery stopped for about seven or eight days before being reinacted, and a lot of people never became free after the civil war. I’m not talking about convict leasing and debt slavery. I’m talking people still  held legal receipts and shit owning people and were selling them years afterwards up into the 1890s and shit).

The south has its problems with lying about shit, too (I see you texas and virginia up in here making text books talking about how cool slavery was) but the first instance of  that came from northern abolitionists. Their motivations were all over the place. Most of them were white supremacists though, and some of them felt slavery made them look bad. Others felt the narrative around American slavery was getting away from them and their standing globally with their other white folks across the water was being lowered by it, so they wanted it to seem not as bad.

The real crux of abolitionism is that slavery was gonna put those folks out of work. Why you think Irish Catholics and the Italians went so fucking hard at black people? Cause they had someone to look down on and they were about to get put out of work by them. White people up north didn’t want to end slavery for the sake of black people, they wanted to end it for their own sake. They didn’t want black folks anywhere near them. Thus, zoning laws. Ohio’s are real bad and some of that shit is still on the books. Look at Cincinatti’s laws. The language has changed some, but the outcomes are the still the same. Why you think they riot up there so much?

The entire Pacific North West is a FUCKING PROBLEM. They straight up banned us from going out there. No slaves no negroes. Those were the signs and those were the laws. I don’t even know if Oregon ever officially took no negroes out of the law book, because I think it is intertwined in the no slavery law. That area of the country is the microagression capital of the world! Holy fuck do those guys suck at race relations. Not to mention how it’s essentially just a pit for native appropriators.

Basically, the United states is a country founded upon and built on racism. That’s what it’s always been, that’s what it’ll always be. It’s racist. Straight up. And EVERY PART of the country is racist. That includes where you live. It’s just that white folks all over have chosen to make the south the scapegoat for all that shit.

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Why the current system of capitalism isn’t set up to collapse on itself September 9, 2012

Keep in mind that profits don’t include money being put back into the operation of the business. 100% of that pie graph is the money left over AFTER that, which the ruling class are totally at liberty to redistribute more fairly if they wanted to. Too bad they don’t want to and never will. ~ joamette

That’s the thing people don’t understand about current finances and capitalism and all that. It isn’t just that these companies are making more money than they ever have before (which they are). Revenue growth is a thing for a lot of these people. Because of capitalism forcing smaller companies out of business more and more and individual citizens having  less of an ability to do  things for themselves due to space and cost effectiveness and time and education and a billion other reasons (make clothes, grown their own food, cook, provide their own entertainment locally, and a billion other things we don’t ever think about) more money is going into these large companies that can muscle their way into areas and completely disrupt local economics. They have no choice but to get bigger as smaller stores have no choice but to get smaller. The thing is, as they grow they can then afford to pay their employees less, offer less benefits or worse and cheaper benefits, force them into more hours if salaried or less if hourly and there’s no repercussions because the employees can’t afford to quit for even a week to find another job and every other similar place will treat them the same. So these large corporations are increasing their revenue and putting less and less into the company. It is only going to get worse as we continue to export this system of economics across the globe. The thing is, it won’t ever collapse. People talk about how it’s unsustainable, but it’s an infinitely sustainable practice. There are always people who need to work and are willing to do it for less money and there are always countries with laws that allow people to work for way little bits of money. It’ll change from country to country over a time, but the system won’t ever collapse under it’s own weight because the institution always wins. It has built in ways to protect itself form itself.

Not just that, but these fuckbrained republicans keep voting to increase corporate abilities to do shit like this. The whole point of capitalism and the free market is to exploit the most exploitable people and move on. Look at US history. White folks showed up and worked on getting Native Americans to work as slaves, then they tried to kill them off in a land grab and brought over a bunch of African slaves to do all the work. Then they had them keep doing the work through private prisons and convict leasing and a whole bunch of fun stuff. They got the Chinese to build railroads and snatched up all the gold spots from the Mexicans and made the ones who were suddenly not in their own country anymore dig it all up. They got black people to literally build all of the infrastructure that runs through the south and mid atlatnic U.S. Now we’re using cheap Chinese labor to make clothes and stuff way cheaper than we can afford to now. We’ve exploited just about the entire continent of Africa for minerals and labor. It won’t ever stop because a majority of people in the world refuse to believe that this is actually how it is, and when you bring it up get angry and defensive about it and claim it never happened.

 

Writing about racism in Historical Fiction July 12, 2012

Filed under: Posts From the Internet — Micah Griffin @ 19:41
Tags: , , , , ,

There was a post here http://justinelarbalestier.com/blog/2012/07/13/writing-about-racism-in-the-past/

it’s about writing about racism in the past. The author brings up some questions, and I wrote a rambling response almost as long as their original post. Because that’s what I do.

The first thing I think about after reading this is why is it so important to tell this story? Why do we need another story revolving around racist white people? The reason I don’t read historical fiction is because a great majority of it either completely ignores how awful the time periods were (because most of these stories are written for white western audiences by white western people) for people of color (or any other marginalized group). The people who are so often the main focus of these stories are villains. They’re people who would want to see me killed for looking at them in the face. They don’t think I’m a person or deserving of any sort of equality or human rights. So they are bad guys. When you look at post reconstruction writings you’ll find that a great number of abolitionists regret ending slavery. A lot of “anti-racist” whites of the 1930s were actually extraordinarily racist. Paternalistic is putting it kindly. At the best, the biggest leaders in equality among white people were doing it for personal gain on their parts.
Going back and dealing with regency fiction, most writers don’t ever touch on imperialism and colonialization. Most of these books ignore the fact that anyone but white people even existed in England (or any other western European) countries at the time. It’s a big horrible mess that no one really deals with.
The thing is, historical fiction is most often by white people for white people and that’s where most of the problems come in. Writers of this type of fiction are not usually challenged to think about the implication of everything going on and push themselves to do more work. When they do research, most of the source materials are clearly things written by racist white folks. That’s the only reason we look at Queen Victoria and America’s founding fathers with any sort of fondness. That and we don’t actually care about racism.
So when it comes to writing historically, it seems most writers can’t help themselves but throw their own racism into the mix. This even happens when they catch themselves trying to be progressive. It’s not just in the depiction of characters of color, but in the depiction of the world itself. It’s how exclusionary the world is, or throw away lines about American Progress or the greatness of the Industrial Revolution where it is entirely obvious that the writer has forgotten about slavery, colonialization, genocide, convict leasing, sterilization programs, introducing diseases into populations, Native American relocation projects, and a host of other issues. People just don’t think about these things and it comes through.
White people should really avoid using the N-word at all costs. If historical accuracy is that important to you, cool, but I have to wonder about what kind of person you are. If that sort of historical accuracy is that important then it’s clear you don’t want me anywhere near your writings. There should be no conflict here. That was wrong of them. There better not have been a single historical inaccuracy in the rest of their book if that’s the length they’re going to go to.
What it comes down to is this, you have to ask yourself why you’re writing something and think about the impact that it has. What’s the point of doing what you’re doing. Why aren’t there people of color in this story? Why are there so many white people? What are these white people doing? When I talk about how cool these white people are why am I not mentioning the awful events that got them to the place they are. Stuff like this. Just general “does this actually need to be written?” stuff.

 

Look, I’m not saying Merida’s Hair isn’t cool July 3, 2012

It is just super annoying that people are having orgasm sessions over the rendering of this white girl’s hair. It’s super unkempt and therefor gorgeous and how amazing is it that Pixar took all this time and money to work on making it look great. They really spent like six years getting this right? It was so important to have all those curls render independently and have all the good collision detection. That was such a key feature.

Why does this annoy me? Because they’ll never put that kind of work into a black character’s hair. Especially not someone who intentionally leaves their hair curly. All black characters have stock afros, buzz cuts, big fat sticky dreads, or a funny box. That’s it. For black women specifically it’s always super white society presentable, no matter what the actual style of it is. If it’s in a Pixar movie… .well, they don’t actually exist. Yeah, there’s only the stereotypical black woman’s voice from Incredibles. That’s it. (not even any black toys)

It’s frustrating to see so much praise go to pixar for spending untold millions of dollars on this white girl’s hair and they won’t spend a dime on putting a black girl in a movie. We’re never going to hear about how pixar spent millions of dollar trying to figure out how to get my hair to look and act properly on screen. (My hair is big, and nappy, and only partially dreaded in some areas, and drives white people up a wall).

It isn’t just that they spent time and money on her hair either. It’s the specifics of it. It was supposed to be wild and loose because she’s wild and loose and can’t be tamed or whatever. Somehow it still manages to be conventionally attractive and perfect. No tangles or knots, just perfect curls everywhere. Gotta keep this white chick perfect. The thing is, this goes along with the idea that her hair can be completely unmanaged, and still beautiful. That doesn’t work for black people. Unprocessed or unmanaged hair is a sign of laziness, bad parenting, stupidity, lack of education, and a number of other things. There’s just the assumption that there’s something wrong with us if our hair isn’t in societally perfect condition.

So yay to her for having her hair do weird stuff. Yay to Pixar for making sure they got every intricate detail of that right. And hooray to them for continuing their streak of not paying one millionth that amount of detail to character casting choices. Here’s some more praise for all the work you haven’t and never will do getting black folks to look right at all in your movies. I do have one piece of advice though.

I know that developing and programming all these movies is hard, but this one little tip will help.

For your next  movie. Just try adding one actual black character to it. Just try it. Not a cameo appearance, but an actual character. You can’t make them better until you actually start doing it.

But of course you have no interest in that, because there’s no money in it for you guys to animate black people. (wouldn’t hurt if you hired a couple too, but we won’t get into that.)

 

A little why I have strong dislike towards Zooey Deschanel January 4, 2012

The problem with all of Zooey Deschanel’s characters is the problem we often get with sexist ideas in general. It demeans all women outside of her because she’s exceptional and anyone who disagrees is upholding the traditional patriarchy. That’s weird, because it’s exactly what she’s doing. She’s saying that by being more like a dude she’s cool.

Not only this, but the things she does to be more like a dude are super mainstream things that traditionally have a lot of female participants. Lord of the Rings? Really? This isn’t even getting into the stupid ideas we have about gender roles and fandom or the demonization of traditionally female things that have a negative impact on society as a whole. Zooey Deschanel (and any other people in her archetypes, of the “exceptional females” and “Manic Pixie Dreamgirls”) never actually does anything to challenge notions of gender in society. Her characters, too busy being not so weird, never look for the female companionship they claim to both want and spurn at the same time. They’ve never heard of geek girl con. They never look to the male companions who ooh and ahh over her love of overalls and say ‘actually guys, this isn’t special, it’s just who I am.’ Zooey never seems to play a character with genuine interest in nerdy stuff, she just does it to not be like other women and get sympathy because all the men don’t want her. Zooey’s entire identity is wrapped up that special brand of quirk.

One final note. I’ve never seen a Zooey Deschanel character that couldn’t find an appropriate partner if she wanted one. The thing is, her character wouldn’t work if she stopped doing weird things to off put suitors. If suddenly the character is actually just like all other women (you know? people who are just like everyone else but have an entire lifetime of experiences that form quirks of personality and don’t actually fit into any pre defined social categories because all of them are too narrow to fit people who don’t try to fit into them) and stopped trying to put on the front of exceptionality then we have almost the exact same character that doesn’t feel like someone spitting into the eyes of other women every time they step on screen.

 

 

Where, for my health class, I End Childhood Obesity October 20, 2011

This is by no means perfect as I wrote it in about ten minutes to half an hour. I didn’t edit it at all because I had to get it up on the discussion board before tonight. It’s not science, but it’s something. It’s also a bit cheeky, but that’s mostly due to how much I hate this class and everyone in it.

One of the general problems with childhood obesity is that we look at fat kids and solely point them out as being unhealthy instead of thinking about the health of all children. Being fat is not an overall sign of being unhealthy just as being skinny is not a sign of being in good health.
The first thing I would suggest is to eliminate food deserts. If you live in an area where the only place to get food from is the corner convenient store “healthy” eating may not even be a possibility. If you live in a market that doesn’t have a regular traffic of fresh foods you’re more likely to eat pre packaged foods or to eat out. Not everyone has cars to get to a decent grocery store, and not every area has good (or any) public transportation. Putting affordable quality food in an area is a good way to increase overall health. Doesn’t matter how it happens, either through communal farms, traveling farmers markets, or an affordable quality grocery store, anything that boosts a person’s choice in what foods they can afford to feed their child will help.

The second thing I would do is institute educational programs that focused more on teaching kids and their parents ways to go about shopping for food. There’s so much misinformation out about foods out there it’s difficult to know what works for each individual person. Some people say you shouldn’t eat red meat ever, and some say eat as much red meat as you want just don’t touch carbs. If people were properly educated in what all things were actually in food as well as what effects they might have on their own individual bodies it would be easier to know which route they wanted to take towards healthy eating.

The third thing I would do is to end fat shaming and the focus on being skinny as a sign of good health. In children, the prevalence of fat shaming from their peers and the adults around them does nothing to make them not be obese. Having young children start on diets is dangerous to their health. Yo-Yoing weight is much worse than being fat for your overall health. Also, doing things to make fat kids skinny is no guarantee of them being healthy. Promoting the agenda of overall child health and safety is a much better way to end childhood obesity than programs seeking to keep kids from being fat. The other thing with this is that emotional state is a component of weight loss, and it’s more difficult for people (and especially children) to be motivated to lose any weight when their self esteem is constantly being shattered. Finally, this huge focus on not having fat kids is much more likely to lead to a problem with eating disorders than a focus on healthy eating in general.

 

Posts From the Internet: X-men June 8, 2011

These posts aren’t well written or thought out. They’re just comments or emails for other sites that I’m putting on my blog. 

Racialicious  X-Men First Class: Open Thread

Ignoring the cliche of killing off the black guy first, and having him be the only character death in the movie there are still huge problems with that scene. First the “slavery” thing was too much. How did the editors even think that was a good idea?
Secondly, and more importantly, Shaw says to Emma earlier in the movie “We don’t kill our own.” Not only that, but he deems the act of trying to save a friend a noble thing. All that says is that Darwin, by virtue of being black, isn’t “one of their own” and so he can die. As much as I enjoyed the rest of the movie, that scene makes me never want to support anything “X” related on film again. The handling of this was so sloppy and trite, and I cannot believe that people who proved themselves to be competent writers would see this and not think twice about it.
It is also super crappy that the colored woman was a stripper (because that’s really all black women are good for, is sexualized fodder) and became a badguy. It’s super crappy that all the women did the sexy seducing thing at some point in the movie. (maybe Moira didn’t technically seduce anyone, but the stripping down to sexy undergarments to sneak into the club counts enough). Emma was treated like crap by Shaw and just put up with it, then when Magneto shows up for her she just goes along with him like that whole choking incident didn’t happen earlier.
I cannot believe that the writers of this movie actually were subtle enough to have all the characters of color side with Shaw/Magneto to show that those who are “othered” the most would not be okay trying to assimilate into culture since they aren’t allowed to anyway for reasons outside of their being mutants with so many other flaws. If all the women were sex objects, and they hadn’t broken their own logic and committed a horrible and trite cliche with Darwin, then maybe. They did those things, and I can only guess that they did it on purpose, or are just so ignorant to life they didn’t see how stupid their mistakes were.