Archive for September, 2008

More on beauty….

joankelly6000 linked to this, which is amazing and wonderful, and made me remember this:

The conversation continues.

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Countdown is on….

Deadlines for registering to vote in most states are between October 6 and October 15.
Click here for state-by-state voter registration links.

Keep on pushing…..

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Click here for a series of photos of Senator McCain not looking at Senator Obama during the debate last night:

I think Angry Black Woman nails it:

Not so long ago in this country — within McCain’s adult lifetime, though not Obama’s — white men did not look at black men, except to order them around or warn them off white women. They did not address black men directly if they could help it — and if they had to, it was never done in a way that might suggest respect. Black men did not look at white men either, because that was the shortest path to death; a black man who dared to look a white man in the eye was “uppity”. Didn’t know his place. Needed to have a lesson taught him, usually with a bullet or a length of rope. Even today there’s a certain kind of white man — usually older ones from the South or from wealthy backgrounds — who still won’t accord a man of color the simple courtesy of looking him in the eye. They’ll look everywhere else, address “the air” rather than the person, and get progressively more irritated if that person doesn’t back off and go away.

The whole post is excellent; read it all.

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bfp has posted a talking points response to John LaBruzzo’s racist, misogynist suggestion to end poverty by sterilizing poor women.  The response is from the Women’s Health & Justice Initiative and the New Orleans Women’s Health Clinic.  

I’ll post a couple of paragraphs but you should really go read the entire document.

The sterilization policy currently being advocated by Representative LaBruzzo is a blatant form of reproductive violence and population control policies of blame and disenfranchisement, rooted in this country’s long and continual history of eugenics. The legislation and criminalization of black and poor women’s bodies, sexuality, fertility, and motherhood are being used as regulatory tools for economic and ideological justification for eugenics. If Mr. LaBruzzo is really concerned about ending poverty and reducing social burdens on the state, he would not be advocating punitive social polices that restrict women’s reproductive autonomy, but instead would be focusing his attention on ending corporate welfare and holding the corporate giants of Wall Street accountable for the disastrous state of the country’s economy.


According to LaBruzzo, the solution to ending poverty in our society is to control and regulate the fertility and sexuality of black women – not the creation of comprehensive programs to improve health care access, our education system, housing affordability, and employment opportunities in the state. His plan pathologizes the reproductive capabilities of Black and poor women by proposing legislation to exploit the economic vulnerability of those who are socially stereotyped as burdens on the state.


The low-income women of color LaBruzzo feels so comfortable scapegoating for Louisiana’s economic conditions are those who support Louisiana’s economy by doing its low-wage work. When LaBruzzo goes to his office, these women clean it; when he goes to a restaurant, they wash the dishes; and when he stays at a hotel, they turn down his sheets. Rather than this mean-spirited attack, he should call for an increase in the minimum wage that would make it feasible for poor women to survive economically.

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RBOC* about being on the road

* random bullets of crap

You know how, back in the winter months, your calendar for 3 seasons ahead looks all empty and pristine and everything seems possible?  Even though school will be starting and you know what that is like – what with the getting the syllabi together and meeting new students and getting classes going and re-reading or at least skimming the texts and getting new readings and finding out what’s wrong with your classroom and – oh – teaching a new class with new texts and….   So you know that is going on.  But you look at the calendar with all those lovely blank spaces (because you don’t write down all that school stuff – okay maybe you do but I don’t…) and you say – hey – I can go to that 4 day meeting and I can facilitate this event over here and I can present at this thing and oh, sure, I can do that.  And then, in the middle of August, you look at your calendar and scream.


But today I am home and thus ends the madness that was August 28 – September 27. 


Herewith – RBOC about being on the road.


  • I have written it on the syllabus, and announced to students every week in every class that I would be gone from this date to this date, so if you need to meet with me do it before this date.   Because I will be gone.  As in not on campus.  As in not able to meet with you.  So why the string of emails last week from people needing to meet with me – during the week I was not on campus?   (Although I had a lot of travel over those 4 weeks, I missed only 2 days of classes – lesson plans were still in place and assignments still due while I was gone.)


  • All that writing I was going to do while on the road?  Not so much.


  • All that grading I was going to do?  See above.


  • The staff at the Enterprise car rental place in Philadelphia is tops.  They were friendly, efficient and knowledgeable.  They made me happy. 


  • The Cleveland airport is sorely lacking in electrical outlets, at least in the D concourse. 


  • Everybody everywhere needs to give me free wifi. 


  • I don’t mind if people walk slowly or stop and gab with their friends in the airport.  But, uh, could you folks move to the side so those of us that have a flight to catch can get by?  Just saying. 


  • People, the earbuds mean don’t talk to me.  Seriously.  And when I answer your question by saying simply “yes” or “no,”  or acknowledge your comment with a quick smile and then look back down at my book, with my earbuds in, by the way… this is a social cue that means “not interested in talking now.”  No, for real.  That’s what it means.  (okay, I really think I’m a nice person… I just don’t talk to people so much in airports.  Okay, other places too.  But really!  I’m a nice person!)


  • The cats welcome me home:


Little nervous cat:  Mama!  Mama, you’re home! Let me wind myself around you one hundred – no!  two hundred times.   Let me lick your arm.  Again.  And again.  I love you, Mama.  Why did you go?  Oh!  You know that game we play where I race to the middle of the room and flop on my back and look so cute and precious that you have to scratch my belly?  Let’s do that!  Again!  And again!  Oh, Mama, don’t ever leave me again.  No one scratched my belly while you were gone, Mama.  Well, it’s true I spent most of the week hiding under the bed… but if they really wanted to scratch my belly, they knew where it was.  Ok, Mama, please scratch.  Now. 


Big laid back cat: Heeyy!  What’s happening?  Dude, you were gone?  For a week?  Daaannng.  Well, welcome home, dude – how’s about some kibble while you’re up?


And now later tomorrow – grading.  

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It’s like that. (yes… on the surface everything I hate…. but it’s got a good beat and you can dance to it.)

Video not playing? Click here.

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Ohio Campus Vote Corps Needs Help

Opportunity for young folks who are between jobs, flexible and wanting to be involved in the political process in Ohio.  They are looking to hire 50 people.



Work for Obama and the Ohio Democratic Party!

Apply NOW for the Ohio Campus Vote Corps

The Ohio Democratic Party is launching an exciting new program: Ohio Campus Vote Corps.
We are hiring an incredible team of organizers to register and turn out the vote on Ohio campuses and youth-heavy areas.

Send a resume, 3 references, and how you heard about this IMMEDIATELY to ohobamajobs@gmail.com.

Start date: Monday, September 29 in Columbus, Ohio. We will hire until full.

Early voting in Ohio starts September 30 –YOU can make the difference!

Ohio Campus Vote Corps will support campus organizers to:

  • Talent scout, recruit and help coordinate campus organizers
  • Talk to and register unlikely voters and get Early Vote commits
  • Build crowds for campaign events
  • Push Early Vote to achieve our Get Out The Vote goal


  • Enthusiasm, energy, organized, strong work ethic
  • Bridge-builder who works well with all types of people on campus
  • Begin on or before September 29 in Columbus, Ohio
  • Ability to talk to all types of young people for 10+ hrs a day
  • Willingness to work 14 hrs/day- 7 days a week
  • Able to work anywhere in the state, as assigned
  • Committed to electing Barack Obama
  • Handle your own transportation to and from Ohio


  • Paid positions
  • Supporter housing provided
  • Small gas stipend (if necessary)
  • Cell phone provided (if necessary)

If we are not able to hire you for a full time position with the campaign, we still want and need you! We need thousands of volunteers and will provide supporter housing. Please visit http://oh.barackobama.com/cometoohio to volunteer.

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In the meantime….

Let’s pay poor women to have their tubes tied because that’s really what has happened to the economy.

Check out what Renee has to say because I can’t even deal right now.

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Effigy of Obama alarms George Fox campus.

Don’t read the comments if you want to keep your breakfast down.

ETA: more here.

A George Fox University employee discovered the life-size cutout of the Democratic presidential candidate hanging from a campus tree with a fishing line around its neck. Posted on the cardboard effigy was a sign that read “Act Six Reject.” Act Six is a program that promotes campus diversity and urban leadership. It annually awards full scholarships to up to 10 students most of whom — but not all — are minorities.

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I am thinking about beauty, about acceptability, about the notion of real women, acceptable women, the impossibility of the ideal woman and the great distraction that happens when we focus so much on what we look like – and how nearly impossible it is in this culture to just look like what you look like, be happy with that because no one is going to judge you for it (but see, already it’s not just a simple matter of being judged for it and then saying I don’t care what other people think about me because what other people think about me can impact where I can live, the work I do, and that impacts my ability to make a living, etc. etc. etc.)

Remember this?

The distractions – when we are so focused on our own stuff, we can’t pay attention to anyone or anything else. We can’t be involved in the real work of caring for each other and the rest of the created order. There are women and girls whose lives are impacted by the choices I make.

(Greenpeace notes: Thanks to the staggering public support for our international Dove campaign in April 2008, Unilever has now agreed to play their part in saving the Paradise Forests of South East Asia. As the biggest single buyer of palm oil in the world, Unilever has a special responsibility to help clean up the industry that’s behind so much forest destruction.)

So it is good to be on guard regarding messages about female perfection. But I was always a little squicked out by the fact that the first message came from a corporation that sells beauty projects. Shouldn’t a response to such an ad be “Yes! I’m going to say no to the messages about what I should look like/smell like/be like and the products and corporations that make try to sell me this stuff! I’m opting out completely!” My guess is that people who have made that decision aren’t buying this stuff anyway.

I don’t want to be the beauty/femininity/humanity police anymore than I want anyone to police me.

The other morning my 17-year-old daughter asked me to French braid her hair. As we sat on the steps I realized I hadn’t done this for a long time. There was a time when I did it every day. When she was small she had a considerable mass of long, thick hair. We struggled over it regularly because of the mass and thickness and yes, the nappiness of it. I tried to never give the idea that there was something “wrong” with her hair. Eventually she decided she wanted to get her hair chemically relaxed, and she continues to. I’ve been down that road… the hot comb (straightening comb, for you old school folks) and the chemical relaxers.

My preference would be for her to wear it natural… but I don’t want to police what she does with her hair and her body. What is the line between preference and self hatred? Is self-hatred birthed in being told you look like a freak?

From the advice column Annie’s Mailbox, September 18:

During my daughter’s last year of high school, she talked about getting dreadlocks. I didn’t want her to graduate looking like a freak and spoil her chances of finding a decent job, not to mention that getting rid of dreads can be nearly impossible.

(Note – I don’t know what racial category this writer and her daughter fit into. The letter is actually about her mother-in-law undermining her authority, and letting the daughter get dreadlocks. I have worn my hair in locks for over ten years now, and I’m happy to say that I don’t look like a freak.)

Some women prefer straight hair. Some women prefer light skin.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

h/t Siditty

It’s a long video – I’ll note some highlights. There are many heartbreaking things going on here – the damage these women are doing to their bodies, the generational hatred of dark skin. Also heartbreaking, though, is the condemnation of these women by the audience members and the show host herself. They never deal with the reality that our society constantly gives the message “white is right.”

At 21:56 Tyra finally talks briefly about living in a racist society. But only for a couple of minutes – then it is quickly back to trashing the guests – even tricking them by having a “doctor” offer phony medical procedures that promise to lighten the skin, although with terrifying side effects. That is horrid. The fake procedures that they describe to the women include burning off the top layer of skin, undergoing a skin transplant – sending skin to Switzerland?

The focus remains on fixing these women, and not on fixing society. Again at 39:05 Tyra mentions society, but again quickly blames the women for having a sickness, an illness. They are crumbling under pressure that other black women don’t cave in to. I’m not a therapist, she says, but there is something else there. She encourages them to do some “self reflection.” I suppose that makes for better TV, but really, in the end, what does it solve?

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