Tag Archives: Ferguson

Let’s Talk About (Peaceful) Protest

Readers, the reason this post is coming to you so late is largely due to the fact that yours truly, in a rare moment of weakness, opted to keep working on his latest installment of “Explaining American Politics To Americans”. The subject was going to be Democrats, and as the post stands currently, it’s just too…

…well, mean.

Even by my standards.

And this is coming from a guy who has likened certain social groups the human equivalent of cancer…

Now that’s left me with the question of what to cover instead, and as I was browsing the internet, I came across these two images:

Old, definitely, but it reminded me of a topic that I’ve touched on a lot without ever actually covering.

Peaceful Protest

…or is that even a fair thing to call it?

I mean, we praise peaceful dissent practically to the exclusion of all other forms of protest. We idolize figures like Martin Luther King Jr. while reviling folks like Malcolm X or Huey P. Newton, largely on the grounds that they advocated self defense.

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Lisa Nakamura Part 1: Tumblr Activism and This Bridge Called My Back 

On Thursday and Friday UVic hosted Lisa Nakamura, Collegiate Professor from the University of Michigan, to speak about her research on Digital Media and Race, Gender and Sexuality. Nakamura has been writing about digital media since 1994. While she has written several books about race and the internet, some of her shorter pieces focus on things like “The Racialization of Labour in World of Warcraft”. In order to feel qualified to write about platforms like World of Warcraft, she spent hours playing the game herself.

On Thursday, Nakamura’s talk was titled “The Digital Afterlife of This Bridge Called My Back: Women of Color, Feminism and the Internet”. She began by giving a brief overview of the book and explained why it matters so much.

As an anthology that prioritized written work by women of colour, This Bridge Called My Back responded to the whitewashing of feminism long before movements like the #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen hashtag began to highlight the problem. This book also introduced the concept of intersectionality, which has since become a key element of feminist theory.

Unfortunately, since it’s original publication the groundbreaking collection has struggled to remain in print. According to Wikipedia,

“The anthology was first published in 1981 by Persephone Press, and the second edition was published in 1983 by Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press. The book was out in its third edition, published by Third Woman Press, until 2008, when its contract with Third Woman Press expired and it went out of print.”

The book’s struggle to remain in print made it an “artificially scarce commodity” and drove up the price. At its inflated price, the book’s authors might even have been unable to afford their own work.

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 9.48.27 PM Continue reading

Why We Need/Don’t Need Black History

I ran a Shame Day post a while back about “Black History” (or the whitewashed version that gets fed to us), and in it, I referenced this clip with Morgan Freeman:

I promised to shortly address Mr. Freeman’s comments-

-and promptly forgot about it for two years.

Well overdue, here’s why we desperately need Black History, and why we simply don’t.

Bear with me here.

Because We Don’t Have Real History

Again, we’re fed an overwhelmingly whitewashed and simplistic version of history. Lincoln benevolently freed the slaves and then, roughly 100 years later, MLK Jr. led a series of peaceful protests which ended segregation, and everybody lived happily ever after.

In reality, folks largely lost faith in peaceful protest as the 60s wore on, turning instead to self-defense, nationalism, revolution, and other techniques.

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The Face-Punching Waiter: Another Culture Wars Parable

We return once more to your stereotypical American diner. Seated in a booth by the window is yours truly, glancing over the menu while absentmindedly flicking my cigarette lighter on and off.

“Excuse me, but you can’t smoke in here.”

I turn to see a waiter standing over me.

“Beg pardon?”

“You can’t smoke in here”.

“But I wasn’t smoking.”

“Sir, you need to stop smoking in here.”

“But-”

At this, the waiter hauls off and socks me straight in the face.  He turns around and promptly walks off. Regaining my senses, I begin to unleash a torrent of confused profanities, leading the manager to saunter over and ask what what the problem is.

“That waiter just punched me in the face!”

A weary smile flickers over the manager’s face.

“Yes,” he says, “Well resolving conflicts with customers is part of the waiter’s job.”

“Yeah, I know, but he punched me! Did he have to punch me in the face?!”

“Waiters are given excellent training on resolving customer complaints.”

He punched me in the face!”

I lift my hands from the bruised cartilage of my nose, already beginning to turn a lovely purplish color.

“Ah,” said the manager, “well as we all know, waiters have a stressful and thankless job…”

SO!?!?”

“…And when you think about it, most waiters don’t go around punching people in the face. Most waiters are good waiters.” Continue reading

The Trial of Michael Brown

These are the facts:

Michael Brown is dead and Darren Wilson, the man who shot him, has been acquitted by a jury.

The public seems to have latched onto this, interpreting the court’s decision as being not only evident of Wilson’s “innocence” but Brown’s guilt.

But guilt over what?

The past days have seen a reversal of public opinion on Michael Brown, with many online posting gifs of the alleged petty theft he committed shortly before his death. Captions have included statements like “a reminder of who Michael Brown really was” and comments as to his size and stature.

Readers, am I the only one who doesn’t think Michael Brown should be tried over how tall he was? Continue reading

5 Major Issues that Contributed to the Burnaby Mountain Protest

Canadians have a really bad habit of patting ourselves on the back. We see violent clashes between citizens and the state, like what is continuing to unfold in Ferguson, and we tell ourselves that would never happen here in Canada.

In light of the recent Grand Jury decision in the Ferguson case, I would encourage you to check out what Gordon, our resident American, has to say on the topic.

While the dispute in Ferguson may be drawing our attention, here in British Columbia we are actually experiencing our own clash between citizens and the state.

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The Stupid Stops Here

Life is a lot like a dairy pasture, in that you can’t get from one side to the other without wading through some serious bull****.

Existence is full of little irrationalities and absurdities, and we’ve got to be able to shrug them off if we’re going to maintain any sanity. That said, every once in a while we’re going to come across a steaming load of stupidity too gigantic to ignore.

Let me show you what I’m talking about:

This “12-Week” Fetus Model

I’ve probably got as many conservative friends on Facebook as I do liberal and leftist (liberal and leftist being two separate categories), so every once in a while I’ll catch something on my news-feed mocking the president, or gun control, or over-regulation. And I don’t have any issue with that. What I do take issue with is what popped onto my screen yesterday morning:

This photo claims that this is what a 12-week fetus looks like.

Let me be clear as possible.

No, it ****ing doesn’t. Continue reading