"Horror films are light on characterization by design—why get too familiar with someone who will be hanging from a meat hook shortly?—which has an equalizing effect on the characters irrespective of race. In horror, everybody is just a body. Given the interchangeability of the characters, it’s noteworthy when black characters tend to die first, especially when the indiscriminate nature of the killer’s actions derives much of the terror. The horror universe is one in which black characters are seldom afforded the opportunity for survival, heroism or love.
It can be troubling to watch this trope, as real-life horrors such as the murders of Sean Bell and Trayvon Martin buttress the deeply unsettling idea that the American culture-at-large judges the value of human life subjectively, and the black and the brown are considered expendable. That idea is what makes the Black Person Dies First trope both painful and oddly vindicating. It is at once horribly racist and an acknowledgement of horrible racism; a rare admission that, yes, in America there still are and always have been spaces in which black bodies aren’t considered as valuable as white ones. When we pose questions about why there’s 24-hour news coverage of a missing white woman, when black women go missing every day to little notice, we do so already knowing the answer."
- Joshua Alston, First To Die: Evil Dead and Blackness in Horror (via theraceproblem)
"There’s a wonderful little passage that Martin Luther King had written from a jail cell where he talks about the effect of racism on young African-American children and how he can see on the face of a child the clouds of inferiority gathering as they observe some racist taunt or action. And when I think about — in some senses — the safest place to raise our children, there are many different forms of risk that we have in life."
Novelist Mohsin Hamid, who lives in Lahore, Pakistan, talks about how a safe place to raise children can be judged in different ways.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from A Birmingham Jail” to which Hamid refers above. You can read the entire text of the letter here.
On “Kawaii” and Appropriation
I am Japanese and I find the usage of the word “kawaii” by non-Japanese people to be extremely appropriative and damaging. I’ll tell you why:
- It is not just a word for cute. When non-Japanese people say something is “kawaii,” they are not simply saying something is cute. There are hella connotations and implications that come with the word. Which brings me to…
- The subtleties of Japanese pop culture, style, street fashion, etc. get completely lost on non-Japanese people. “Kawaii,” the way non-Japanese people use it, is like a 2-d projection of a very complex and multi-faceted subculture. The subversiveness and subtleties of things like Lolita and Harajuku culture are completely erased when taken out of context and away from actual Japanese people.
- “Kawaii” as an aesthetic contributes to the commodification and exotification of Japanese people. Japanese pop culture and style is not for your consumption. It is not for you to steal and make money off of. It is not for you to exploit. There is a very thin line between “appreciating” things from other cultures and appropriation. You are allowed to engage in Japanese pop culture, but chances are that your desire to consume it is rooted in some really deep exotification, which also ties into…
- Japanese people are not your prop or your costume, we are not here to be cute for you. “Kawaii” and its implications contribute to stereotypes about Asian people. We are not cute, quiet, submissive playthings for your enjoyment. The stereotype that all asian people are just docile is really damaging. I am not your asian bitch. I may be cute, but it’s not for you. We are radicals, we are angry, we fight. That shit isn’t “kawaii.”
- We are so much more than what you take from us.We aren’t just peace-sign loving girls in pigtails and school-girl outfits. We have an entire fucking culture and language that is incredibly rich and beautiful. “Kawaii” as a style just serves to make a caricature out of an entire culture and people.
So basically, if you’re not Japanese, don’t say “kawaii.” Just call it fucking cute. That way your words won’t carry racist implications and I won’t think you’re an asshole.
**This is just what I feel about the matter. My voice should not and does not represent all Japanese people. However, my voice calling this out should be enough for people to stop doing this. It is offensive. It is disrespectful. It is hurtful.
"The paradox of Indo-chic is that in the U.S., henna marks non-South Asians as “trendy” while until very recently, mehndi worn by South Asian women simply marked them as “traditional,” at best “exotic,” and certainly always “other”; in becoming mainstream, Indo-chic has changed the meaning of the distinction it once lent to (at least young) South Asian American women.
In the case of Indo- chic’s commodification and construction as a series of moral projects, what does not lend itself to appropriation by multinational corporations and U.S. entrepreneurs, and what is ignored or only implicit in these discussions as they are framed in terms of consumption and youth style? Why Indo-chic now? The young desi women helped address this question by pointing out that the marketing of Indo-chic in the U.S. rests on the extraction of huge margins of profit by American corporations and entrepreneurs, yet this is an issue rarely brought to light. India occupies a somewhat different niche in the American cultural economy than it did in the 1960s and 1970s and with the opening up of India’s economic market in the wake of eco- nomic restructuring and neo-liberalization policies, it has become part of the global sweatshop where American multinationals browse for cheap labor, cheap goods, and profitable market trend ideas). In some instances, the sweatshop involves child labor as well, with Indian children painstakingly making by hand the glitter bindis that are resold in the U.S. at anywhere from twenty to forty times the price. Henna kits and “bindi body art kits” manufactured by U.S. or British publishers sell for ten to twenty-five dollars and “startup” pack- ages for aspiring henna “professionals” range from seventy-five to one hundred and fifty dollars. The exorbitant mark-up of goods that sell for nominal prices in South Asia is tied to the clever marketing concept of the “kit”: a packet of henna becomes transformed into a do-it-yourself hobby, if not a part-time occupation.
American “henna artists” charge many times what women in India are paid for their services and their self-packaging is also an effective marketing strategy: for example, the self-conscious highlighting of henna’s “ritual” nature to appeal to the “alternative lifestyle”/New Age followers in a town such as Northampton. South Asian Americans are no less likely to try to benefit from this trend; yet some non-South Asian/Arab American henna entrepreneurs, including Fabius and Roome, dismiss as unreliable the products sold by South Asian or Middle Eastern stores- which, of course, were long the only source of henna till it became a main- stream fashion trend. Henna entrepreneurs obviously have their own products to sell and they effectively remain the cultural translators and product endorsers for the growing consumer market in the U.S. South Asian immigrant businesses seem to have been cut off from the profits flowing from this trend; the concern among henna fans about violating some kind of cultural “taboo” in appropriating henna does not seem to extend to a concern that consumers support South Asian American or Middle Eastern business entrepreneurs and help them make a living- which is probably more important to them than white women wearing henna on their bellies. The economics of Indo-chic and the vagaries of global capital are clearly one aspect of commodification that is not “digestible” by the discourse of packaged ethnicity and is left undiscussed in the mainstream media although it is clearly articulated by youth of South Asian descent."
- Sunaina Maira (Temporary Tattoos: Indo-Chic Fantasies and Late Capitalist Orientalism)
Malcolm X Interview, England, November 20, 1964
Malcolm X Interview, England, November 20, 1964
Can I first of all clear up your name? Was it in fact Malcolm Little?
I don't think it was in fact. If it was in fact I would have let it remain. Little was the name of the man who formerly owned my grandfather as a slave, so I gave it back.
So, do people now address you as Mr. X?
Mr. X, Malcolm X.
The Black Muslim policy was completely separatist. They wanted this separate state. As I understand it, you don't. The policy of your group is now that you don't want this separate state. What do you want?
Well, number 1, there are 2 groups of us now. That is, those who broke away have formed into 2 groups. One which is religious and based upon the orthodox Islamic teaching, and the other is nonreligious, and the name of it is the Organization of Afro-American Unity, and we want to be recognized and respected as human beings. And we have a motto which tells how we intend to bring it about. Our motto is "By Any Means Necessary." By whatever means is necessary to bring about complete respect and recognition of the 22 million Black people in America as human beings. That's what we're for, that's what we're dedicated to.
By any means?
Well, I think that as deplorable as the word bloodbath may sound, I think the condition that Negroes in America have already experienced long-too-long is just as deplorable. And if it takes something that deplorable to remove this other deplorable condition, I think it's justified.
But don't you think there's also justification in the case for the gradual white and Negro coming together. This gradual integration policy. Because after all, it's a change of heart and mind and everything else for both sides.
In America, I don't think there's any gradual coming together. There may be a gradual coming together at the top. A few handpicked, upper crust, bourgeois Negroes are coming together with the so-called liberal element in the white community. But at the mass level, I don't think there's any real, honest, sincere coming together. If there's anything, there's a widening of the gap.
Now, if there is this widening of the gap then, when do you see this explosion taking place?
Well, there doesn't necessarily have to be an explosion. If the proper type of education is brought about to give the people the correct understanding of the causes of these conditions that exist, and to try and educate them away from this animosity and hostility-
But this education takes a long time.
Not as long as legislation. Education will do it much faster than legislation. You can't legislate goodwill.
Now, you said, at the end of 1963, that 1964 will be a very explosive year, and in many ways Mr. X, it has. Has it been as explosive as you would have hoped?
That's not the question. Has it been as explosive as I would have "thought."It wasn't as explosive as I would have thought. I think the miracle of 1964 was the ability of the American Negro to restrain himself against extreme unjust provocation and dillydallying on the part of the United States government where his rights are concerned.
Will he restrain himself-so in 1965?
I very much doubt that he will restrain himself-so very much longer.
Mr. X, thank you very much indeed.
"I remember my friend, a brilliant Kenyan writer, and I once walking the streets of London some years ago, and as he walked past beautiful after beautiful building he would point at one and say ‘this one was paid for by colonial loot from Kenya’ and he would point at another and say ‘this one was paid for by colonial loot from from Nigeria’. It was funny and a bit exaggerated but fundamentally not untrue. There is a link between the affluence of Europe and the poverty of Africa."
The Stories That Europe Tells Itself About Its Colonial History (via stay-human)
This reminds me of something I watched, either a documentary or a news report, in which some Congolese ex-pats living in Belgium referred to an iconic parliamentary building (if my memory serves me correctly) and called it something along the lines of, “building of the chopped hands”. In short, they were outlining the direct link between Belgium’s “wealth” (I use quotation marks as I don’t believe that anything stolen is worthy of being called the wealth of the thief) and the heinous atrocities committed by Belgian colonialists in the Congo, in order for the tiny European country to steal and use the country’s minerals for Belgian profit.
“It was funny and a bit exaggerated but fundamentally not untrue. There is a link between the affluence of Europe and the poverty of Africa.” …understatement of life?
Building of the chopped hands…
"Whenever we are seen in regional traje, the ruling class are reminded of the failure of their efforts to make us disappear, which have ranged from genocide to ideological coercion. Five centuries of humiliation have not succeeded in bringing the Maya people to their knees"
Irma Alicia Velasquez Nimatuj, Transnationalism and Maya Dress
(via florxdexrebeldiax) Once banned from entering a restaurant because of her Mayan dress. So much admiration for her. All her books a must read for anyone interesting in k’iche’ Maya’s and discrimination in Guatemala. (via tzoc-che)
"I will cut off this right arm of mine before I will ever work for or demand the ballot for the Negro and not the woman."
Susan B Anthony “A HIstory of US Feminisms” (via sourcedumal)
But WE abandoned THEM!
"What men can do to “protect” us is to check out the ways in which they put down and intimidate women in the streets and at home, to stop being verbally and physically abusive to us and to tell men they know who mistreat women to stop it and stop it quick. Men who are committed to stopping violence against women should start seriously discussing this issue with other men and organizing in supportive ways."
- The Combahee River Collective. 1979. ‘8 Black Women, Why Did They Die?’ Radical America 13.5: 46. (via james-bliss)
the fact that tumblr celebrates cersei empowering herself by abusing people and most especially women less enfranchised and powerful than her, women of the lower class and women of color, is disgusting.
no one’s trying to tell you that you can’t stan cersei or relate with her or love her, but if you’re denying her privilege and how it factors into her personality and enables the cruelty with which she treats oppressed people, people more socially oppressed than her, and painting her as a feminist icon, then you need to sit the fuck down and understand why some people might be uncomfortable with your behavior.
not all feminism revolves around white upper class women; no, scratch that. all feminism does revolve around those kind of women. its an oppressive more often pervasive in the movement and you’re only perpetuating and exacerbating it by your problematic cersei stanning, veiling your bullshit which is bereft of intersectionality as self-righteous social justice “feminism”, as if other views and opinions on feminism are invalid. and when you’re doing it in the defense of a woman who isn’t merely white, or merely upper class, but who is responsible or partly responsible for the murder, mutilation, physical and psychological abuse, and rape of women less empowered than her, acts that her privilege allows her to commit, you need to think about what the fuck you’re saying and question for once in your lifetime who’s being problematic here.
#cersei lannister is a great character but she is not the woman in this series to be most hailed #because she is not a feminist icon #she empowers herself but that doesn’t mean she empowers herself in a way that is healthy #cersei is a victim but she’s also an abuser