Month: June 2015

“Skirting the Issue”: a response & call to action

Moontime Warrior

I submitted a shorter version of this op-ed to the Winnipeg Free Press on June 17, 2015, in response to Professor Joanne Boucher’s opinion piece entitled “Dress-code message at U of W sexist”.

After this, the WFP published a response, “Pipe ceremony dress code uncalled for”, where Prof. Boucher was quoted once more, along with four men (any one of whom could’ve redirected media attention to an Indigenous woman). The voices of Indigenous women and Two-Spirits excluded on an issue that at its core impacts our bodies and our lives. We are the ones who face the consequences of these discussions, along with the backlash.

Finally, rather than choosing to publish anything submitted by Indigenous women (or any of the many Indigenous women academics who speak publicly on ceremony and protocol), the Winnipeg Free Press published an editorial calling the whole thing a result of “identity politics”. The issue of…

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Flags Fly While Black Churches Burn, And Dylann Roof’s Still Not Labeled A Terrorist

Today, the confederate flag still flies over much of the south while black churches burn, and Dylann Roof’s still not labeled a terrorist (domestic, or otherwise). Don’t be fooled though, the south isn’t a backcountry racist anomaly within a post-racial nation. To be sure, the south does have a distinct form of American racism, but a country founded on white hegemony is guaranteed to have characteristics unique to each region; From Trayvon to Tamir, Baltimore to Ferguson, and back again. Yes, this is the contemporary formulation of white supremacy in America, as is Charleston, the confederate flag, the burning churches, and Dylann Roof not being labeled a terrorist.

Removing the flag is important, no one should deny that. Bree Newsome’s actions over the weekend were heroic and,undeniably, another historic moment in which a black woman challenged state sponsored antiblack racism. As some have pointed out, Newsome’s fearlessness was reminiscent of Rosa Parks. But as quickly as it came down, the flag was restored to its original placement just before a crew of confederate flag supporters gathered at its base.

To recap: Newsome was taken into custody. A black state worker was forced to raise the flag. Whites protested in support of the American symbol of southern hatred. And all took place in front of a government building. This is what white supremacy looks like, but it’s certainly not its only form.

The growing pressure to take the flag down, although an important victory in terms of removing a public display of state sponsored racism, is also false generosity.  It doesn’t impact the police brutality felt by black communities, nor does it alleviate the systemic inequalities that maintain white privilege. A true sense of compassion and solidarity to challenge the white supremacist system would be to internalize and act from the perspective that all  #BlackLivesMatter (trans, queer, women, men, and children).Consider this, in the wake of flags still flying 6 black churches needed to burn throughout the south before the FBI or media paid attention.

This is not racial justice. This is white supremacy sacrificing a piece of fabric to ensure the status quo remains unchallenged. This is why Dylann Roof is symptomatic of a structure running, not just in the south, but throughout the very core of America. That’s not to say there is some overt conspiracy at play today,at least not in the same way it was during the foundation of this country. Certainly there are those with blatant white power intentions who enact violence against black communities, such as Roof did, but there are also the ideological elements that reproduce institutional racism, white supremacist outcomes, and dominance. There is always overlap between the two branches, but the latter can be found in the criminal justice, public education, and economic systems–as well as elsewhere.

So ask yourself, when the flags no longer fly does that change anything substantive? Do #BlackLivesTrulyMatter to law enforcement? To the schools? To those “allies” protesting the flag? Or even to the government?

The fact remains that  white supremacy (whether intended or not) still exists while black churches burn, and Dylann Roof is still not a labeled a terrorist.

MIC.COM: “17 Photos Reveal Why LGBTQ People of Color of Are #NotTooProudToFight During Pride Month”

Darnell L. Moore’s  piece on LGBTQ people of color is definitely worth a read:

“If LGBTQ people have reason to be proud today, it is because of the radical responses of the tenacious freedom fighters, black and brown folk among them, who refused to be mistreated and shamed by the state or society. Yet contemporary Pride celebrations often overlook the radical starting place of the queer and trans struggle. These events also tend to be largely organized around white LGBTQ people.

Given this reality, Mic asked LGBTQ people of color to tell us who they are thinking about and fighting for during this Pride season. The hashtag adorning each photo, #NotTooProudToFight, is meant to reframe the common understanding of LGBTQ Pride month from a moment only of celebration to one committed to the fight for racial, gender, social and economic justice.”

O’Reilly Proves White Supremacy Exists While Attempting To Disprove White Supremacy, World Watches In Amazement

Bill O’Reilly’s segment last night has been making the rounds on social media today and, although he didn’t break the internet he certainly did break his brain, as well as all those critiquing him.

In true O’Reilly fashion, the disgruntled Fox pundit attempted to maintain a straight-face as he proclaimed America to be white supremacy free in 2015–possibly a new slogan for Fox News(?). This of course happened while he simultaneously deployed racist stereotypes, a plethora of misinformation and, shockingly, he pointed to institutional racism and white supremacist outcomes. Who’s down with white supremacist double-speak? That would be Bill, silly.

Clearly the dude is a troll, so really, I shouldn’t even give him the time, but here it goes…

1) Do you even history, bro?!

O’Reilly: “It is an amazing thing to watch. The U.S.A. has gone from being the land of the free and the home of the brave to a country dominated by white supremacy. No longer is it white privilege, now it’s supremacy.”

First, a simple history lesson about the realities of people of color within the US would suggest that it hasn’t always been the “land of the free” for people other than O’Reilly’s majority white audience. White supremacy has dominated these lands in a variety of ways (colonization, slavery, the Naturalization Act of 1790, forced assimilation, The Chinese Exclusion Act, Operation Wet Back, Jim Crow, Interment Camps, The Zoot Suit Riots, Mass Incarceration, SB 1070, Stop and Frisk etc etc). To his later point about shifting between white privilege and white supremacy, as if they are mutually exclusive terms, O’Reilly seems to have difficulty making the connection  that white privilege is a byproduct of the historical and contemporary formulations of white supremacy.

Glad we got that cleared up, Billy. Moving on.

2) White Supremacy Doesn’t Exist, Yet Here’s A White Supremacist Perspective

O’Reilly: “However, the problems have little to do with white people, rather a corrosive culture that does not confront child neglect and antisocial behavior on the streets. That’s what’s driving poverty and dysfunction.”

You can’t have a segment dedicated to disproving the existence of white supremacy, and then make arguments about black cultural inferiority, which is basically cultural racism. Honestly, can any one deny how, well, white supremacist this argument actually sounds?

3) Racism Doesn’t Exist, Yet Let Me Point To Systemic Racism

O’Reilly: “In many schools, if black students misbehave or fail, nothing is done. Authorities either look the other way, or socially promote them to get them the hell out of the school. That’s racism. All-American students should be treated the same way. And the excuse that slavery, Jim Crow, and other historical injustices should now define how black citizens are treated is insane.”

You definitely can’t argue white supremacy doesn’t exist when you situate, again, the blame on black inferiority (“black students misbehave or fail, [and] nothing is done”). Setting that aside, you really can’t make this argument when there’s plenty of studies that completely disprove this statement. Maybe you could check out these factoids of institutionalized racism’s role on criminalizing  black students.

US Department Of Education & US Department of Justice:

“[I]n our investigations we have found cases where African-American students were disciplined more harshly and more frequently because of their race than similarly situated white students…In short, racial discrimination in school discipline is a real problem.”

“Experiment Shows Teachers View ‘Deshawns’ More Harshly Than ‘Gregs”:

“As it is, black students are three times as likely as their white counterparts to be suspended or expelled, and while black students are just 17 percent of the national youth population they make up more than one-third of those who get suspended. The study gets at some of the potential underlying issues at play.”

Beyond that, you need to come full stop when you say, “Authorities either look the other way, or socially promote them to get them the hell out of the school. That’s racism.” Considering the racial disparities that you’re own argument points out, and the fact black students experience harsher punishments than whites, Bill, you’re kind of floundering in your attempt to disprove white supremacy while defining white supremacist outcomes.

And to the Jim Crow and historical dig, which basically is the tried-and-true “Get Over It Already” response that countless white people incorporate about discussions surrounding race: Institutionalized racism is very much linked to racist ideologies, policies, and practices. Although historically situated, these past actions undertaken on-behalf of white supremacy, have evolved into ideologies like how white people criminalize black youth and view them as older. The murder of Tamir Rice is an obvious example of the dangers of these ideologies as they connect with the criminal justice system and the (white) public’s perception of events. That is, this perspective was clearly held by the officer and those that reacted as if the police brutality and blatant murder of Rice was “unfortunate but necessary” as a white police officer  was just “doing his job.” This of course allowed for the officer to be humanized within white circles (just look at the growing police-state supporters on twitter using #BlueLivesMatter), which opened up a campaign of dehumanizing a young black boy playing in the park.

4) Blaming Poverty On The Black Family While Pointing Out Systemic Racism & Denying It…That’s Still Racist, Guy

O’Reilly: “The real racism is looking away from what is really harming black Americans, the root cause of poverty. And as Talking Points has reported over and over and over again, that is the dissolution of the African-American traditional family, chaos on the streets in poor neighborhoods, and an educational system that does not demand the same standards of achievement that are demanded in the white neighborhoods..”

This one kind of made me want to punch my computer! First, refer to institutionalized racism within the education system above and think about how that works within socioeconomic status. Next, when you argue things that point to the “destruction of the black family” (don’t get me started on the whole heteronormative shit packaged in that “traditional comment”), you really need to contextualize it, and no not within that racist stereotype of the absent black father, rather, you need to take a look at the role mass incarceration and the War on Drugs play.

The Sentencing Project:

“The United States is the world’s leader in incarceration with 2.2 million people currently in the nation’s prisons or jails — a 500% increase over the past thirty years. These trends have resulted in prison overcrowding and state governments being overwhelmed by the burden of funding a rapidly expanding penal system, despite increasing evidence that large-scale incarceration is not the most effective means of achieving public safety.”

Prisoners in 2013:

“51% of the federal prison population were imprisoned for possession, trafficking, or other drug crimes.”

“The Drug War And Mass Incarceration By The Numbers”:

“The punishment falls disproportionately on people of color. Blacks make up 50 percent of the state and local prisoners incarcerated for drug crimes. Black kids are 10 times more likely to be arrested for drug crimes than white ones — even though white kids are more likely to abuse drugs.”

“A Mother’s Day Look At Moms of Incarcerated Children”:

“While the extremely high rates of incarceration of men of color, particularly black men, get increasing attention, fewer talk about the impact that this has on the families and communities they leave behind. “One in four women have a family member behind bars due to the mass incarceration crisis in the United States,” says Gina Clayton, founder of Essie Justice Group, an organization that supports women with incarcerated loved ones. “For black women, almost half of us have family members in prison.”

Women in particular—mothers, daughters, siblings, partners, grandmothers—often face a large burden when their relatives or loved ones are incarcerated. Not only do they take added responsibility for caregiving and maintaining their households, they also hold the emotional weight. Additionally, they must grapple with what it takes to support someone who is incarcerated. Costly phone calls and lengthy commutes to far-away prisons are every day facts of life for these women.”

So that whole poverty thing that you might claim is due to black family failing is actually due to institutionalized racism, which is also stemming from the education system, the war on drugs, and mass incarceration.

Seriously, you’re pointing to outcomes within a system that privileges whiteness, so clearly, the racial  inequalities you point to to discredit white supremacy’s existence are actually due to institutionalized racism, which spells-out…White Supremacy!

You’re whole, well, you’re whole everything is invalid, sir.

TARANTINO’S LENS: “Revenge Is A Dish Best Served By White-Male Privilege/Why Didn’t The Oppressed Do It My Way”

The “clown-ification “of systemic oppression/repression presented by Tarantino creates a sense that these “foolish” people could be overthrown as easily as portrayed within Tarantino’s 120-minute(ish) films. So audience members walk-out of theaters feeling cleansed of anti-black racism, white supremacy, and anti-Semitism. They have their “what if” conversations, praising Tarantino on another “cinematic masterpiece” all the while digesting the liberatory vision of a white-male bent on exploiting communities that have experienced historical oppression. Rinse. Repeat. And all is right in the world.

Only all is clearly not right in the world.

Read the rest at Pinnland Empire

12 Quotes From Pedagogy of The Oppressed Rachel Dolezal Should Consider

In addition to the black face,  the appropriation of the narratives, community history, lived experiences, life struggles, and personal victories of black women and bi-/multi-racial individuals, Rachel Dolezal, you need to also own-up to your white privilege gone wild.

I don’t claim to speak for anyone within the racial justice movement, nor do I really need to add to the growing digital-literature on how you’ve damaged movements surrounding black and trans folks lives. I really don’t even need to address how your actions have so blatantly been to join, co-opt, and attempt to center yourself within the racial justice movement in a way that allowed for you to avoid conversations like checking your privilege, playing the white savior, speaking on behalf of and silencing communities, or how you, as a white woman (sans, or especially due to,  black face) reproduced racial inequalities through your taking up space and assuming leadership of the black community.

These have all been discussed at great length, by people within these communities, much smarter than me, who have powerful voices of their own . So there’s not much more for a light-skin Mexican-American (mestizo) to add.

In fact, I’d much rather point you, Rachel, to 12 quotes from Paolo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Maybe this will remind you of the role you play(ed) in oppression, and why you, as a white person in blackface, should step entirely back.


  1. “The oppressors, who oppress, exploit, and rape by virtue of their power, cannot find in this power the strength to liberate either the oppressed or themselves.”
  2. “The oppressor, who is himself dehumanized because he dehumanizes others, is unable to lead this struggle.”
  3. “Discovering [her-/]himself to be an oppressor may cause considerable anguish, but it does not necessarily lead to solidarity with the oppressed.”
  4. “For the oppressors, what is worthwhile is to have more–always more–even at the cost of the oppressed having less or having nothing. For them, to be is to have.”
  5. “For them, having more is an inalienable right.”
  6. “Our [white] converts… truly desire to transform the unjust order; but because of their background they believe that they must be the executors of the transformation.”
  7. “Attempting to liberate the oppressed without their reflective participation in the act of liberation is to treat them as objects that must be saved from a burning building.”
  8. “The revolutionary’s role is to liberate, and to be liberated, with the people–not to win them over.”
  9. “To simply think about the people, as the dominators do, without any self-giving in that thought, to fail to think with the people, is a sure way to cease being revolutionary leaders.”
  10. “The road to revolution involves openness to the people, not imperviousness to them; it involves communion with the people, not mistrust.”
  11. “As the oppressor minority subordinates and dominates the majority, it must divide it and keep it divided in order to remain in power.”
  12. “The culture of the [white] dominant class hinders the affirmation of [black women/] men as beings of decision.”

Rape Culture: From Grimdark Fantasy to Reality

The Nerds of Color

Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault and Rape Survivors

When I worked as a reporter for a local paper in East Tennessee some years back, a story arose about a young woman who had been sexually assaulted at her high school. When the issue was brought to the school board’s attention, they moved heaven and earth to shame the young woman and to vilify her and her family.

No one denied the attack happened but nothing was done about it because the attacker was a star athlete and the school’s administration was beyond corrupt. When I tried to follow up and get the family’s side of events, the story was buried due to local politics and my publisher’s wish to stay in good with the Powers That Be in the county.

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An Open Letter to J.K. Rowling about the American Wizarding School in Fantastic Beasts

The Nerds of Color

by Dr. Adrienne Keene | Originally posted at Native Appropriations

Dear J.K. Rowling,

I am unabashedly a huge Harry Potter fan. I first encountered Harry when I was in Junior High, volunteering at the public library (nerd status, I know). The children’s librarian handed me book one, and I was hooked. I even used to frequent Harry Potter message boards back in the day with my friend Kathleen (we were “Parvati” and “Lavender” cause we also shared an interest in divination, ha). Anyway, all this is to say, Harry holds a sacred spot in my heart. But I’m not one of those fans who can recite things verbatim, or remember every tiny detail, so if I’m missing something, I hope one of those fans will help me out.

I’ve been interestedly following the news that there is a new Harry Potter prequel-of-sorts in the works, for Fantastic Beasts and Where…

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