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Monthly Archives: January 2008

Toronto is debating opening an Afrocentric school. There is a lot of opposition. Who would have guessed. From what I have seen there are cries of segregation. This of course ignores both the inherent differences between segregation and seperation (one is where students are forced, and the other is where there is a choice), and that any student can go to the Afrocentric school. The other cries are Canadian taxpayers that don’t want to have to pay for Afrocentric education for anyone.

I truthfully wouldn’t want my tax dollars paying for the fucked up Eurocentric education system where I live. I think that this is a continuation of white being seen as a default, unraced objectivity. When I went through 12 years of primary and secondary education and learned for maybe 4 weeks on average a year about people of color/the Global South/anything  not European or North American in general I doubt I received a balanced view of the world.  And truthfully at this point, where I have control of my education I sort of refuse to take any courses dealing with European or American history unless I know the focus is on people of color. But back to my point.

I truly hope that Toronto doesn’t step down on this Afrocentric school idea. I also hope that black people in Toronto think a bit before they fuck something up that could be good for their children–  who wouldn’t care more about school if they are learning about themselves?

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I randomly watched the Kanye video “Diamonds From Sierra Leone” today. I’m a bit intrigued by the relationship of the lyrics and visual. The lyrics have little to do with blood diamonds (unless… Kanye is using his life as a metaphor for blood diamonds but I don’t feel like analyzing that. Anyways, somehow I also stumbled upon a page that had rappers talking about conflict diamonds.

But I was shocked by the quote from Akon.

I don’t even believe in conflict diamonds. That’s just a movie. Think about it. Ain’t nobody thought about nothing about no conflict diamonds until the movie came out. Where was all that sh*t before the movie? That’s the problem with people — they believe everything they read or see on TV. Unless you go to Sierra Leone and see what’s going down, don’t believe everything you’re reading or see on TV. Trust me. If anything, there’s conflict oil. Worry about the oil — you see what the oil is doing to people. You see what Bush is doing over there… oil is conflict. When you’re driving your cars, you’re driving conflict fuel. It’s killing thousands of people a minute. Diamonds are the least of our worries. — Akon, rap star and proud owner of a diamond mine in South Africa

um… what? I mean Akon has a point there is conflict oil. He leaves out that there is also conflict gold, cobalt, and any other rare resource. However Akon’s argument has some serious holes. Just because there are wars for oil (and every other resource) does not mean that there are not conflict diamonds. That is stupid. Also… we can’t help but use oil at this point without just dropping out of the system. There is oil dependency. There is no diamond real diamond dependency.

Then there is the idea that diamonds that aren’t conflict diamonds are ethical. But that simply isn’t the case: mines cause damage to lungs, we all know that. And apparently some mines *cough*De Beers *cough* in South Africa don’t use simple techniques to protect miners.

I don’t know. I have no desire for diamonds knowing that people suffer for them. I think buying conflict-free diamonds and believing that they are ethical is a simplistic way to think.

Also I’m just going to mention that this need to consume and its ties with music seem so odd. Was every subculture based on consumption? Because the big ones now, those hipsters and then the hip hop culture, and especially this unique street culture fusion of the two, sem to be incredibly dependent on consumption right now.

I’ve been working at the school library during break, and it gets mighty dull. I’ve also become very acquainted with a lot of the titles. If I see one more book about Muslim women with some title like “Unveiling Islam” I’m going to lose it. Or another book that tries to explain something about the Middle East and has desert in the title. Or god forbid another title with something like “When the West and Islam Clash.” These are all horrible, orientalizing titles, with some major problems.

“UNVEILING”

The biggest cliche of them all. The content of books with this title seem to all have a white savior mentality. The authors all seem to assume all Muslimah wear a veil. Besides those two things these titles piss me off because every person who uses it seems to think they are so clever, and strangely a lot of folks seem to not care.

“DESERT”

I don’t know how to even tackle this one. It’s orientalizing, its based on assumptions about the entirety of the Middle East. Its annoying.

“WEST MEETS ISLAM”

That was the title I saw when I was shelving. There are of course variations, usually with words like modernism, democracy, or the West vs Islam, traditionalism, or the East. These titles are annoying because the rhetoric used frames Islam as incompatible with the West, Modernism, or Democracy; and it posits Islam as synonymous with traditionalism (read backwards, primitive, unreasonable, etc etc) and the West as synonymous with modernism (read rational, scientific, ie superior). This of course ignores the fact that there are more than Muslims  in the areas the authors discuss, and that there are Muslims everywhere in the world. As a sidenote, imagine how different the discourses would be if instead of East and West the rhetoric commonly used was South and North– paints a very different image. Afterall using terms more commonly used in economics and political theory as opposed to orientalist writing forces us to examine why, instead of just describing what we (think) we see.

Just thought I’d share.

After reading this post on reappropriate, about how Latino and Black issues come to the forefront, leaving behind other people of color (in this post specifically Asian American). And though I care very little for what happens in the elections (after all very little of it will make me happy), I find the idea of Oppression Olympics interesting both within and outside the context of this election year.

The Oppression Olympics that are going on now, and have been for awhile, has split everyone into teams. There are the white patriarchs crying reverse discrimination and blaming a multicultural society for the fact that a white man might not still be able to be president, and according to what I’ve gathered from mainstream media it looks like the entire democratic race is dependent on white women, black men, and Latino voters, all of whom have to fight for who is more oppressed to have their voices heard. And that is the problem in the case of elections– everyone has to compete to get there candidate elected. There is never any cooperation. And on the level of government this fails all but the “majority.”

I’m more interested in how Oppression Olympic games play out on a personal level. I’ve had people try and pull me into these games (usually young, white women though I’ve been engaged by all). I’ve often had people tell me that insert group has had it the worse. White feminists have to call me out on my male privilege, and I have to call them out on their white privilege, and depending on how mature everyone is being, we will fall into Oppression Olympics to determine who is silencing who. The same games get played when stereotypes of the Model Minority get played. Or I’ve been guilty in the past of playing the Oppression Olympics in my mind when it came to upper class students of color from the Global South  at universities (does their class privilege in the South make them better or worse off than my national privilege makes me?). These games do nothing but divide, and are the multicultural equivalent of the racism that was fostered between oppressed ethnic groups for each other. We have to get past these games, and stop competing.

I’m in love with Black Jesus. I’m not a christian, yet I am always looking for an image of a black Jesus with an afro for a halo. I think for me at least Black Jesus is empowering, its counter-hegemonic, its appropriating an image forced on my ancestors, and truly making it a symbol of blackness.

I also get very upset when white folks try to counter the idea of Black Jesus. Jesus sure as hell wasn’t that pale, blonde-haired, blue-eyed messiah I saw in pictures growing up. He, was most likely a Palestinian Jew, a beautiful brown. And I feel like a Black Jesus is more likely than a Nordic one. So FoxNews pissed me off more than usual when I saw this.

Apparently torture is just pat of ones duties, at least for those high ups in the military. A major wtf moment this morning as I read that article. The legitimizing of torture is going to open some scary doors, even for US citizens– I predict with the increasing militarization of police forces across the country that eventually torture could be (more?) legitimized for law enforcement. And that’s going to unequally affect people of color, undocumented workers, religious minorities, and activists.

Apparently if you are white and drunk you can kill a Latino man and get no serious repercussions.

Are we to believe that he stabbed someone to death only after they beat him to his knees? I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, but I would defend myself way before that point. Also he told paramedics that he was just a bystander to the stabbing, ok whatever.

Anyways I think it is far to easy for a white, Masters canidate at Harvard to blame the death on a Latino, 18 year-old who happens to be both a teen father, and a high school drop out.

The issues of race and class within this are so intense. And of course… This white dude has the privilege of a 2 year sentence, which could mean as little as 11 months served.

Not me… despite what someone seems to think. So… I tried to learn who this guy is, and I found out that he is a conservative journalist/pundit type, fresh from University of Michigan, and a conservative. Eww… I don’t want my piece to be accredited to him. Maybe I should add more info about myself so it doesn’t happen again. (Also… I feel like there was a case of me being black Dickson being black. I can’t find proof that he is black other than suspicions, topics I’ve found that he wrote about, and this).  I know that this is a scam site, but it is so annoying to have my writing attributed to someone else.

http://www.lvrj.com/news/13702902.htmlThose were Hillary Clinton’s words at a recent stop near Las Vegas. Its good to see that the idea of no person being illegal has made it to some more mainstream rhetoric. Hopefully I will hear fewer people using the phrase “illegals” this year– I hope so.

However, Clinton’s phrasing of another point didn’t sit well with me :

“Clinton said unscrupulous lending leads to bad mortgages, which lead to foreclosures, which lead to people with nowhere to go and vacant neighborhoods that can go rapidly downhill.‘We treat these problems as if one is guacamole and one is chips, when … they both go together,’ she said.”

Is it just me or is there something odd about using that sort of simile when talking to a mostly Latino group (is it ok, because she was in a Mexican restaurant? but then the setting brings up questions in my mind as well… why the Mexican restaurant?).