Saturday, February 7, 2009

white weekend links

"Ongoing Echoes from the Women of the Long House" (Kai Chang @ Zuky)

There are, of course, contradictions, complexities, and cross-currents contained within the writings of early US feminists about the Haudenosaunee. After all, they were still white people; which means that they were cognitively indoctrinated to view people of color through a dehumanizing lens of Otherness, with a certain arrogant distaste and a feeling of their own innate cleanliness and beauty, despite all the overwhelming in-your-face evidence of the ongoing stream of barbaric violence which white civilization unleashed upon the peoples of the world and upon the Earth itself. Even as European American feminists were writing admiringly about the role of women in Haudenosaunee society, Quaker missionaries were "Christianizing" them by having men farm the fields and putting women to work strictly within their homes. The "pagan" branches of the Haudenosaunee resisted this social upheaval, believing that the fields would not be fertile if there were no women there.

Moreover, the point here isn't to deny the influence of European thinkers such as Mary Wollstonecraft. There's no doubt that early US feminists saw themselves as inheritors of a distinctly European American intellectual tradition. But my perspective is that narratives such as the ones I'm presenting here can only add to, not subtract from, the sum of our knowledge. Most people who have any interest in feminism know about Susan B. Anthony, but how many know about the Women of the Long House? It seems to me that they, too, have important things to teach us.

"The Nativists Are Restless" (Editors, New York Times; h/t: nezua)

The relentlessly harsh Republican campaign against immigrants has always hidden a streak of racialist extremism. Now after several high-water years, the Republican tide has gone out, leaving exposed the nativism of fringe right-wingers clinging to what they hope will be a wedge issue.

Last week at the National Press Club in Washington, a group seeking to speak for the future of the Republican Party declared that its November defeats in Congressional races stemmed not from having been too hard on foreigners, but too soft.

The group, the American Cause, released a report arguing that anti-immigration absolutism was still the solution for the party’s deep electoral woes, actual voting results notwithstanding. Rather than “pander to pro-amnesty Hispanics and swing voters,” as President Bush and Karl Rove once tried to do, the report’s author, Marcus Epstein, urged Republicans to double down on their efforts to run on schemes to seal the border and drive immigrants out.

This is nonsense, of course. . . . Americans want immigration solved, and they realize that mass deportations will not do that. When you add the unprecedented engagement of growing numbers of Latino voters in 2008, it becomes clear that the nativist path is the path to permanent political irrelevance. Unless you can find a way to get rid of all the Latinos.

"White supremacism lies at the root of the 'respectable' nativist right" (David Neiwart @ Crooks & Liars)

We've known for some time -- ever since the Southern Poverty Law Center first reported it back in 2002 -- that there was a web of interests and backgrounds that connected some of the most prominent conservative anti-immigration "think tanks" to white-supremacist organizations, all revolving the activities of an environmentalist-turned-nativist named John Tanton.

Despite the overwhelming evidence, though, that this was the case, these groups -- particularly the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), and NumbersUSA -- have continued to enjoy mainstream respectability, in large part because they have continued to deny the connections to Tanton and to each other.

Now, the SPLC has definitively established the connections, thanks in large part to reporter Heidi Beirich's intrepid investigative work digging through Tanton's own papers and examining the groups' leaders records. One can only hope the report will finally persuade genuine conservatives and thoughtful Republicans that they would want nothing to do with either these organizations or their largely fabricated disinformation, which disguises a hateful, white-supremacist agenda. . . . The result of the activities of groups like these has been profound -- a grotesque distortion of the immigration debate in America.

"Sign of the Times - Gold for Sale in New Orleans" (Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis)

My friend Marty writes ...


Got the photo from a friend. The white sign that has been blacked out used to be the Toy Center. The biggest & best toy store in New Orleans in the late 50's early 60's. The Coca Cola bottling plant & Tulane Shirt Company were just to the left on S. Jefferson Davis Parkway.
Times have changed.


Thanks Marty!

All kinds of assets are going to be for sale in the upcoming months. This is just a start of what's to come.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

"When Utopia Crumbles: Why Revolutionary Road Was Shut Out at the Oscars" (Kim Nicolini @ Counterpunch)

As the economy sinks lower and lower, people lose their homes and their jobs, and businesses collapse, there is no denying that the Depression is now. So maybe uplift and triumph is what people need. Apparently the Academy thinks they don’t need a movie like Revolutionary Road which provides a relentlessly brutal critique of the shallow illusion of the American Dream and the inherent fallacy of the institution of marriage. Revolutionary Road basically says that everything America pretends to be through its policies of blind acquisition, status through material gain, and a self-deluded vision of Norman Rockwellesque family life is a toxic lie. Well, isn’t it? Of course it is, but now that most Americans have had to look the lie in the face as the veneer of their American Utopia has crumbled under their feet, I guess they don’t want to see it in the movies too.

I liked seeing it in the movies. Revolutionary Road is incredibly tight filmmaking. Set in the 1950s, it shows how a young couple, the Wheelers, falls into the trap of the American Dream (the suburban home and the family) only to find themselves strangled by their circumstances. Love becomes toxic hatred. The home becomes a lifeless tomb. Dreams become bitter ashes. Certainly the critique of the American Dream is nothing new in art, whether cinema, painting or photography, and indeed this film functions best as art. The power of the film is not in the narrative which we’ve seen and read a million times before. It is in how the narrative is delivered. While the movie is full of toxic moments, the most resonating scenes are ones of quietude where the entire environment resonates with a silent toxic death and an impossible longing.

"The Audacity of Whiteness: Framing Obama" (Jill Nelson @ Huffington Post)

[A] look at the unbearably white American media reminds us that even with a black president little has changed in terms of who frames the issues. With the exception of CNN, which probably employs more black people than BET and definitely has more news coverage, for the most part media looks like a meeting of the White Citizens Council, circa 1956. As determined to retain control of the dialogue as those racists were to maintain the Southern way of life.

Why is it okay for George Will to have President Obama to dinner with conservative journalists with not a black face in the room? How many journalists attended parties in Washington during the inauguration where there were no journalists of color present? Isn't it disturbing to the journalistic establishment that the vast majority of journalists, commentators, talking heads, pundits, and experts discussing the new president and his administration are white? In 2009 can anyone seriously argue that there aren't more than a handful of black, Latino, Asian, or Native Americans who fit these categories? Is this time for change we can believe in, or is it still time for black to get back?

"Texan who died in prison cleared of rape conviction" (CNN)

A Texas district court judge Friday reversed the conviction of a man who died in prison nearly a decade ago, almost two decades into a prison sentence for a rape he swore he did not commit, CNN affiliate KXAN reported.

Timothy Cole was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison for the 1985 rape of 20-year-old Michele Mallin. He maintained his innocence, but it was not confirmed by DNA until years after his 1999 death, when another inmate confessed to the rape.

In the courtroom of Judge Charlie Baird Friday afternoon, Mallin, now 44, faced Jerry Johnson, the man who confessed to the rape.

"What you did to me, you had no right to do," she told him angrily, according to Austin's KXAN. "You've got no right to do that to any woman. I am the one with the power now, buddy."

[W]hile in prison, Cole rejected an offer of parole that would have required him to admit guilt. "His greatest wish was to be exonerated and completely vindicated," his mother, Ruby Session, told KXAN.

But the asthma that plagued Cole throughout his life brought about his death on December 2, 1999. The cause was determined to be heart complications due to his asthmatic condition. He was 39.

"On Little Black Girls, Beauty and Barbie Dolls" (Danielle Belton @ The Black Snob)

I would take out my Barbie coloring book and select the yellow crayon for her hair, the blue crayon for her eyes and the pink "flesh" colored crayon for her skin. I would make her "beautiful" in what my little noggin thought was beauty.

What's funny is my parents, like many black parents, were trying their hardest to make sure myself and my sister had positive images of other black women and ourselves. My mother constantly fought with the toy store owners about getting in more black dolls because she wanted to buy me Barbies, but worried about how having a gaggle of blonde Malibu and ballerina Barbies could effect my young mind. She immersed us in our culture. She told us we were beautiful all the time.

Yet I still drew and colored nothing but white people.

Then one day, at that kitchen table, my father approached me. Rather than go into a lengthy speech or be embarrassed or shame me, he approached me as you would approach a five year old.

He asked if he could color with me. . .


  1. "Set in the 1950s, it shows how a young couple, the Wheelers, falls into the trap of the American Dream (the suburban home and the family) only to find themselves strangled by their circumstances. Love becomes toxic hatred. The home becomes a lifeless tomb. Dreams become bitter ashes."

    This sounds kind of like they remade "A Raisin in the Sun" without Black people. I haven't seen the movie, but the plot looked redundant/played out.

  2. I'm reading through back issues of this blog, and its fascinating to me, especially since I am considered not quite white enough to be white, but not other than white. It's a weird limbo.

    The black beauty reminded me of something that happened when I was little.

    I, like any little girl, wanted barbies. And, aside from my little mermaid barbie with the detachable tail (a doll bought after this story occured) all had blonde hair and blue eyes.

    Every member of my family has brown/black hair and dark eyes.

    I would always tell my mom I wanted blonde hair because "Only blonde is beautiful." I was completely convinced that they only beautiful girls had blonde hair and blue eyes, and I desperately wanted it.

    Finally my mother went out and found a barbie (after much searching, I presume) with brown wavy hair, only a shade or two lighter than mine, and brown eyes. I was thrilled with my new toy. My mom asked me if she was beautiful, and I said yes, and my mom said "See? She has dark hair just like you."

    Anyway, this story reminded me of that.

  3. @Maya

    You know, I never thought about it before but I was the same way. I'm a mix between latin american and caucasian features. I have (light olive?) skin with brown hair and brown eyes.

    When I was a little girl, I glorified my blonde haired/blue eyed dolls. I thought they were the definition of beauty and I always wished I looked like that.

    It wasn't until my teenage years that I grew to appreciate being a brown-eyed brunette. It's kind of disturbing to know how completely unsatisfied I was about myself at such a young age....


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