Friday, September 26, 2008

How to be a white ally (on America's Next Top Model:)

The setting: America's Next Top Model -- model's bedroom.

The main players:

Isis: a previously homeless black transwoman (or transgender woman).

Hannah: a white woman from Alaska (Yes, Governor Sarah Palin's "kingdom"). The offending white woman, who chooses denial over personal responsibility.

Hannah's response to the women of color who confronted her -- with inordinate compassion and self-restraint, I believe, even though they would have been justified in expressing anger or going completely ape shit on her -- is a glaring example of what *not* to do when someone identifies racism (and/or any other form of oppression) in your speech and/or actions. 

That said, it is interesting that the focus of the discussion with Hannah regarding her racist-genderist/transphobic actions seemed rest exclusively on her racism -- not her genderism, transphobia and heterosexism. Is that because the editors for America's Next Top Model cut that part of the conversation out? If yes, did they do so, in part, because they deemed stepping up as an ally to transwomen and transmen *less* interesting and/or important than resisting racism?

Also, Hannah's response to Isis nearly bumping into her in the hot tub wasn't merely racist -- it was a combination of racism, genderism/transphobia and heterosexism -- a blatantly, shamelessly bigoted act born of her ignorance, fear, and disrespect for Isis as a human being and fellow professional in the modeling competition.

What white allies do when challenged/confronted/criticized for having exhibited racist behavior or colluding in racism.

**White allies:

1) ask what they did/said that was perceived as racist
(instead of saying, "no, I'm not racist!"). In this way, white allies choose personal responsibility, not denial and defensiveness.

2) are willing to admit that her/his behavior/speech is racist. In this way, white allies embrace the discomfort that comes with admitting to having engaged/participated in racism. They also prepare themselves to change, to unlearn at least some of their racism, and to resist complicity (to the extent that they are able) in white supremacy.

3) they *privilege* the perspectives, views, opinions and experiences of people of color as *experts* on racism because it is people of color that are targeted by racism.

4) do far more listening than talking, and they do so non-defensively and compassionately.

5) do not carry the expectation that people of color or white allies will prioritize the offending white person's feelings by coddling them and/or by downplaying the offensiveness of the behavior/statement or agreeing with them that they did nothing wrong etc.,.

6) White allies don't willfully/intentionally enter into a psychological/emotional/intellectual state of denial by dismissing the folks who challenged/confronted/criticized them as over-reacting, delusional (i.e., "having made it all up in their heads; seeing what they *want* to see), angry or having a chip-on-their-shoulder.

7) White allies acknowledge that there is a sustaining link between individual racist acts and behaviors and institutional racism and white supremacy. Because they are white and because their whiteness permits them to access unearned, unexamined privileges (to varying degrees depending on class status, gender and sexual identity, ability etc.,), they accept that the conscious decision to *resist* collude in racism/white supremacy is a crucial contribution to struggles to end racism.

7) White allies *do not* stop at making apologies.

They educate themselves about the way in which racism operates on an institutional and individual level. They *do not* give themselves permission to 
*not* think about their racial privilege (or white privilege) -- they don't take a day off from acknowledging that they benefit from the racist oppression of people of color because they know that people of color *can't* take a day off from being targeted by racist oppression and living in a racist society.

**Please, if you believe I'm missing an important point on the "how to be a white ally" list, add to it!!

**Interesting and related blogs: 
    --"Transphobia in Feminism's Clothing" by angrybrownbutch

Please feel free to add to this list also!! (Thank you:)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bitter White Folks for Obama!

I'm curious:)

**And while we're at it, let's check out "Rednecks for Obama!"

(Love it!:)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bush compares financial crisis to unexpected terrorist attacks

I learned a new term from the blog I link to below: Bushonomics.
I like it.

Terrorist attacks, huh... never saw it comin, huh... 

U.S. culture and society has evolved to a point where disenfranchised and oppressed groups don't pick up arms *en masse* and revolt against their oppressors. Poor people, for example, won't or don't or can't come together to wrest the fruits of privilege away from the middle and upper classes (for so many reasons -- I believe "revolt is unjust" is not on that list of reasons, but rather "revolt would get me, my family, and my loved ones run over by a tank or shot dead" like the workers striking for the increase in wages that would feed, clothe and shelter their families between 1865 and 1929 -- a request to which the state and federal government and large corporations too often answered in the form of intimidation, harassment, beatings, arrests, and flat out murder). 

So, even if they wanted to, poor folks cannot engage in collective, organized rebellion without subjecting themselves to serious *and* seriously unjust consequences. But the economy itself can revolt; it did during the Great Depression. Are we witnessing the economy's rebellion once again?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"Jim Crow -- the remix" (fr

An article on the movement in Michigan to foreclose on black peoples' homes in order to prevent them from voting in the November election.

Monday, September 22, 2008

"the world has enough dicks"

declares the "C(I)A" (Clits In Action), an underground, guerilla radical anti-sexist organization and central fixture of the film 
Brought to you by Jamie Babbitt,  the director of "But I'm A Cheerleader," "Malcolm in the Middle," "Nip/Tuck" and much much more...

a great lil dyke-trans-queer-punkrock flick:)

watch it with your girlfriend:)
or your boifriend:)
or your boyfriend:)
or your partner:)
or your luva:)
or with  a crush:)
or your bestgirlfriends:)

or just watch it:)

for it's integration of activism, lgbtq-ness, accessible intellectualism-ness, & youthful eroticism:)

You won't be watching it for it's race analysis (it's got none), which is notable because the central character is a Latina-American played by Melonie Diaz, who comes from a pretty idyllic (stereo)typical "American" nuclear suburban family -- stereotypical except for the mother with a feminist activist past, and out lesbian daughter to ostensibly happy parents who accept her for exactly who she is (very very cool), and daughter preparing for an interracial marriage -- all good stuff. Diaz's character, however, comes off as though she may have been originally conceived as a white U.S. American, and the director/writers/whoever decided "hey! why not *diversify*!!! and plug in a brown face!! a Latina will work! Yay!" Don't get me wrong, I am very very happy to see a lesbian film marketed to a lgbtq white audience that features a woman of color as it's central character. But for goodness sakes, don't stop there!! Feminist activism and discourse certainly *does not* have a reputation for racial inclusivity for emphasizing the ways in which race/racism/white supremacy and whiteness/white privilege intersects with gender/sexism (and abelism, and transgenderism, and xenophobia etc etc) *or* for empathetic, in-depth interrogation of the ways in which white woman are complicit in and benefit from the oppression of women and men of color -- an unfortunate discursive trend which this film exemplifies. Another notable fact is that the writers consist of women of color (a point which I will blog more about soon).

I think I'll shoot the director an email about all this:)

Anyway, I'd love to know what you think of the film if you view it -- so let me know!!!!!


Friday, September 19, 2008

teaching me

today has been nothing short of purely Fantastic.
although I'm sleep deprived to a point bordering on delirium,
i have been gifted by the presence of students
students (marvelous)
and so diverse racially, ethnically and culturally.
all students of color (!)
a situation so rarely accessible to me as an instructor. 
typically of courses born of disciplines dominated by white people, most of them white males.
A situation I chose (I ran to. I needed to feel useful) -- the move inspired by a hope.
that I could introduce at least a (precious) few traditionally marginalized and invisible perspectives 
to the academic mainstream.
but anyway.
this statement is about them. the students:)
who took themselves seriously
who took their work seriously
who sat with me and worked.
who appreciated my comments.
who try and try and try and try (that's all I ask:)
to progress as students
who laughed at my jokes
who compelled me to laugh at theirs
oh the laughter we shared
who did not (appear) to fear my particular intersection of identities:)
i.e., happily butch queer cross-dressing (transgressing) woman black 
(social identities not arranged in order of importance 
but in the order of that which I fear. will alienate.
provoke fear in
prompt resistance to etc etc)
(so much rage in me so much rage. I manage to push back. push away. mostly:)
but not today. 
no alienation/fear/resistance/ today. and
not. ever. 
ain't it grand!
today, having been awake for more hours than my body and mind has been able to cheerfully withstand
a good day
one of the best.
even without yourLove, my darling
even without FemmetouchFemmesmellFemmesofemmesofemmesofemme
even without. you. her. (so long ago now)
(maybe you were with me always i know. i forget i know)
such a good day
precious day
a lit up by blessings day:)
the best:)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tina Fey, Gov. Sarah Palin -- bubblehead & Sen Hillary Clinton -- ballbreaker

In the video clip above, Tina Fey offers up a satiric portrayal of Governor Sarah Palin, John McCain's choice to fill the VP slot and Amy Poehler does her best Hillary Clinton. Fey's performance is HILARIOUS! She nails Palin's accent and successfully pokes fun at her conservative politics. In this Saturday Night Live skit, Palin's carriage and politics is contrasted to that of Hillary Clinton.

Fey's skit appears to stand as a critique of sexist bashing of women in politics, in general, and the failure of Republicans to identify and challenge sexist assaults on Hillary Clinton, in particular, during the primaries -- a silence which is especially notable and significant because so many Republicans are decrying media/public critiques of Palin as sexist. Yet, Fey's portrayal of Sarah Palin as a flaky, air-head politician bimbo who is contrasted by Phoeler's portrayal of Hillary Clinton as a bitter, less feminine or even masculine "ball-breaker" is exactly the kind of sexist representation of women this skit professes to critique.

I am no fan of Gov. Palin, her lies about Obama, her far-right conservative social and domestic politics.

Nor am I appreciative or approving of Sen. Hillary Clinton's neo-imperialist foreign policy goals and routine exploitation of white racism (which still hurts me.) in an effort to win the Democratic nomination for president, which made it easy for me to support Obama (whose foreign policy aims may be just as problematic -- we'll see).

I am sometimes bored but mostly continuously bothered, however, by the media & public's virtual inability to A) consider & critique the Palin's, Clinton's and other women politicians' politics and B) consider the ways in which gender, sexism, & various other social identities and forms of oppression shape their candidacies, political postures, and public image *without* using sexism (& heterosexism etc.,) to do it.

Bored. Bothered. But not surprised.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Alaskans Speak (In A Frightened Whisper): Palin Is “Racist, Sexist, Vindictive, And Mean”

While the article I've posted here makes good use of misogynistic metaphors to critique Sarah Palin (and by good -- I don't mean "glad he did it" -- I mean, man oh man did this journalist show a proficiency in using sexist metaphors) -- it's got some interesting information in it. If what he, Charley James, is reporting is true, I am disturbed. But also feelin' pretty good about the possibility the media will do damage to the McCain campaign by reporting on Palin's race and gender bigotry. That was too kind. Let me try that again: the media will do damage to the McCain campaign by reporting on Palin's old-school George Wallace-Strom Thurmond pro-segregation style call 'em "nigger" while you knock up the young, vulnerable black women in your employ racism, and new-school unapologetic, send 'em back to Africa neo-nazi style racism.

There. That's much better:)

Here's the first section of the article (read all of it here):

“'So Sambo beat the bitch!'

This is how Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin described Barack Obama’s win over Hillary Clinton to political colleagues in a restaurant a few days after Obama locked up the Democratic Party presidential nomination.
According to Lucille, the waitress serving her table at the time and who asked that her last name not be used, Gov. Palin was eating lunch with five or six people when the subject of the Democrat’s primary battle came up. The governor, seemingly not caring that people at nearby tables would likely hear her, uttered the slur and then laughed loudly as her meal mates joined in appreciatively.

'It was kind of disgusting,' Lucille, who is part Aboriginal, said in a phone interview after admitting that she is frightened of being discovered telling folks in the 'lower 48' about life near the North Pole.

Then, almost with a sigh, she added, 'But that’s just Alaska.'

Racial and ethnic slurs may be “just Alaska” and, clearly, they are common, everyday chatter for Palin.

Besides insulting Obama with a Step-N’-Fetch-It, 'darkie musical' swipe, people who know her say s
he refers regularly to Alaska’s Aboriginal people as 'Arctic Arabs' – how efficient, lumping two apparently undesirable groups into one ugly description – as well as the more colourful 'mukluks' along with the totally unimaginative 'f**king Eskimo’s,' according to a number of Alaskans and Wasillians interviewed for this article.

But being openly racist is only the tip of the Palin iceberg. According to Alaskans interviewed for this article, she is also vindictive and mean. We’re talking Rove mean and Nixon vindictive.

Read the rest of the article here.

Great blog I just found --

Friday, September 5, 2008

"Uppity" white men

I mean, look at him... the cut of the face, the concentrated seriousness of that noble brow.

Images like this one is what makes the term "uppity cracker,"well, a term that is not used by anyone anywhere ever.

Images and ideologies -- historical belief systems -- that define whiteness -- or what it means to be white -- for the world make the term "uppity white man/woman" an oxymoron.

What does it mean to be white? 
And to pose an even more pressing question:
Can Al Gore be accurately described as an "uppity cracker?"
First, an explanation of where all this uppity cracker stuff is comin' from, 
and where I'm headed.
In the process of cruisin' the blogosphere -- checkin' out what's interesting, new, and intelligent in the world of social justice seekers:) -- I came across a blog discussing media and public critics use of the term "elitist" and "uppity" to describe Barack Obama.

I was thoroughly ticked off by a commentator who seemed to enter the conversation on this particular blog as s/he seemed to to do so only to disrupt the blogger's attempt to express her views, and engage an audience who was, at the very least, respectful and willing to hear (read) those views. Because this blogger is a woman of color, I am particular supportive of her effort to carve out space in the public sphere so that her voice, her views would be heard by someone, anyone, other than herself.

In any case, her blog made me think. (A dangerous project, I know:)

I wondered why  the term "elitist" and "uppity" has NEVER -- NOT ONCE -- been used to by the white media and the white public to describe the attitude of a white man campaigning for the presidency (socialist, communist, and anarchist discourse notwithstanding:)? (Or, to my knowledge, any white male politician for that matter).

Pre-"Inconvenient Truth" Al Gore provides THE PERFECT EXAMPLE.

In the 2000 presidential race,
Al Gore was called "stiff," "boring," "vanilla" (a term that has a racial connotation), "robotic," "stuffed shirt," "contrived." Gore (and Dukakis, for example) were called "arrogant" -- but never EVER "uppity".

NOT ONCE did anyone call Al Gore an "elitist" (a characteristic I believe is expressed in both his manner and politics) -- NO ONE EVER called Al Gore "uppity."

It doesn't take much intellectual work to explain why Al Gore was
*not* called "elitist" or "uppity." It is perfectly acceptable for a white man -- in fact, it is expected of white men -- to be "clean" and  "articulate" (my oh my how Senator Biden has changed his tune) carry themselves with confidence, to take up space when they speak, to "win" arguments rather than listen and consider a variety of truths/viewpoints -- in white men, arrogance  and righteousness is not necessarily a personal flaw. White men who *don't* project these traits -- white men who listen more than they speak, who consider a variety of view points (particularly those of white women and people of color), white men who are quiet or shy or emotional -- they are frequently derided as non-men, or at best, not masculine. They are "pussies," and "fags" and "sissies" and "wusses" -- (incidentally, these are the kind of white men I call friends:).

Millionaire white men occupying and/or pursuing powerful and prestigious offices in government and business, most especially, are expected to exude the kind of confidence, even arrogance, that conveys a sense of superiority over others. If they didn't, voters (of all races) might feel they can't trust the person to do a job that makes them the most powerful person in the entire world.

On the other hand, the bodies and beings of men and women of color irrespective of class, particularly blacks and Latino/as, are targets for the worst racist projections of both white folks and other people of color. Media representations of blacks and Latino/as have become slightly more diverse in the 2000's-- particularly in TV crime dramas where black & Latino/a actors play lawyers, judges, District Attorneys  -- the vast majority of East Asian, and especially South Asian, Central Asian, Middle Eastern, and indigenous "Americans" actors play rigidly racist stereotypical roles as hyper-sexual "geishas" or concubines, "DragonLady's," terrorists, and war-paint, loin cloth wearing savages and remain marginalized or entirely invisible in pop culture. Blacks and Latino/as are expected to be "welfare mothers" and "gang bangers" (images of browns & blacks that, regrettably, presidential hopeful Barack Obama invoked in his historic "race speech" to describe *some* of the African American members of the congregation in his church -- more on this in another blog) -- criminals, rapists, drug addicts -- stations in life, ways of being that are a far cry from "clean" and "articulate" black men many whites consider aberrations, black men like Barack Obama.

The standard used (both consciously and unconsciously) to determining a person's cleanliness and articulateness is raced, classed and gendered: white middle and upper class men. White people living in no and low-income communities are imagined as "white trash" -- a detestable classist and racist term (because a white person's impoverishment means that they aren't doing "white" right -- that is, they are assumed to be poor because they are unintelligent, uneducated, unambitious and they're poverty calls their morals into question. Their impoverishment soils and degrades the natural purity of their whiteness. Moreover, there is no comparable term for describing/designating black and brown people -- people from these racial groups don't need to be called "black trash" or "brown trash" because nigger and spic is sufficiently descriptive and condemning. Interestingly, the white middle/upper class man's sexual identity does not necessarily factor into whether or not he is seen as "clean" and "articulate." Heterosexuals use a white man's "cleanliness," at the very least, to determine whether or not he's gay (like Will, and even Jack -- a character I regard as a clean, gay buffoon, and thus, a gay minstrel character - from the show "Will and Grace") -- one of those stereotypes that seem positive (like the the one about all "Asians" being geniuses) that are insidiously destructive because of their very real institutional impact on the communities to which they directly refer and indirectly define (as anti-intellectual, unambitious/lazy, self-destructive societal leeches).

I will end where I began.

White folks don't get called "uppity cracker" -- if the term doesn't upset you, you might find it ridiculous or funny.
Precisely because it has no meaning; the term "uppity cracker" has never, and will never define white people.

For blacks, allies of color, and white allies -- the term "uppity nigger" is worse than insulting, and if not hurtful, deeply offensive.

No white person -- no person -- can use the term "uppity" to describe a person of color without implying what is unspoken: nigger.

Whether the speak means to say:

That nigger doesn't know her place.

That nigger is out of place. (Like Barack Obama.)

That word "uppity" will always mean that same awful, horrible, degrading, dehumanizing thing.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

"Do not underestimate this woman" (fr. KITCHEN TABLE)

The following is a blog from Kitchen Table.

I had to share it with you because it's brilliant and important. 


I have one piece of advice. Do not underestimate Sarah Palin. She is about to give John McCain the White House.

Within 24 hours of Palin being named by McCain as the VP candidate I joined a Facebook group called "Sarah Palin is not Hillary Clinton." It is a group of women offended by the idea that Palin's candidacy could be used as a cynical identity politics ploy to get HRC voters. But tonight I realized something much scarier: Sarah Palin is not Hillary Clinton, she is much worse.

Palin is more ruthless, more eloquent, more audaciously dishonest, more single mindedly ambitious, more likeable, and eminently more electable than Hillary Clinton has ever dreamed of being. I am scared. America is loving this woman. I predict a 5 point jump in the polls after her speech tonight.

The most important statistic two months before an election is not the number who like or dislike a candidate; it is the number of people who do not yet have an opinion. We call this the "potential for learning." A savvy campaigner knows that if many people still haven't formed an opinion then you have plenty of room to teach the public about yourself on your own terms. This was the problem with HRC and part of why I claimed she was unelectable. Everyone had an opinion about Hillary: good or bad, there was no learning potential, people had their minds made up. With Sarah the game is different. No one had any opinion, how could they? Now the GOP has two months to tell us anything they want about her and we have little choice but to listen. Tonight's speech was round 1 and Palin delivered a knock-out.

Sarah Palin is not Hillary Clinton. Hillary put her own dreams on hold for decades to stand by her man and pursue the dreams of her husband. Then she watched as he squandered much of her potential political capital this season. Palin has allowed nothing to stand in the way of her meteoric political rise: not a pregnant, unmarried teen daughter; not a son leaving for war; not a special needs infant still in arms. Sarah Palin is a frightening and potent political mix. Her uterus is just part of the terrain of her politics. Her children are evidence of her pro-life agenda and small town values. She shameless stands next to her pregnant teen daughter and the baby-daddy while proclaiming herself the future guardian of our children. No thanks Sarah, I would rather not have you making policy for my daughter.

Sarah is no member of the sisterhood of traveling, sweet-potato inspired, pantsuits. She is a pencil skirt wearing tough girl who makes jokes about being a pit bull in lipstick. She boldly asserts that her record as the mayor of a tiny town is relevant experience for the US presidency. She correctly pronounces Iran, which is something our current president cannot do. She laughs at the national media and lets them know she is not interested in cuddling up with them. hell no, Sarah can field dress a moose, she will not need to have Chris Matthews' approval. She makes fun of Barack Obama with an audaciousness and ugliness that Hillary tried to summon, but never quite managed to pull off with as much charm and self-deprecation as Sarah did tonight. Trust that Sarah Palin is not going to cry about the mean things the pundits say about her.

And I have to say it Yolanda, Sarah speaks with a kind of fiery self-assurance that is very familiar to me. It is the hard, bright blindness of righteousness that I so often see in evangelical Christian political leaders. There is something remarkable and frightening about truly believing that you are marked by God to do what you want to do. It makes you impervious to criticism and unlikely to experience self-doubt.

This woman will not stumble. If she has an ounce of breath in her body she is going to try and drag that old man across the finish line.

Melissa  "



I promise you with all sincerity that I tried to watch the GOP Convention tonight with an open mind. Seriously, I want to understand my neighbors and my fellow citizens. I want to know who supports the McCain/Palin ticket and their reasons for doing so. So I fortified myself with prayer before watching and listened attentively.

Melissa, I am not going to talk about how Palin keeps parading her disabled child on television and how she tactlessly tried to manipulate the emotions of parents with special needs children. I am not going to talk about how she blatantly used her eldest son to try to convince the American people that Republicans alone are true patriots. I am not going to talk about her attacks and false accusations against Obama and Biden.

I'm not going to talk about the endless focus on McCain's experiences as a POW. I am not going to talk about her backhanded tribute to diversity by mentioning her husband's Yup'ik heritage. I am not even going to talk about the scary audience shouting for more drilling in Alaska and the uncomfortable looks on the faces of the two black people they kept panning in the audience. I'm going to focus on other more substantial issues:

1) Palin mentioned no fewer than 5 times that drilling in Alaska is her strategy for dealing with the energy crisis. There was no mention of environmental factors, no sense that this is only a short-term strategy for a long-term issue. Clearly the"reduce, reuse, recycle" mantra hasn't made it to Alaska, because there was no mention of how we can possibly REDUCE our consumption of energy as part of a viable strategy to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and energy sources.

2) In her speech, Palin argued that she had voted AGAINST the "Bridge to Nowhere" legislation. During her run for governor, she actually SUPPORTED legislation for this disastrous plan, which McCain himself made a symbol for government excess. Has she conveniently forgotten her initial support of this project? Did she forget that she hired a Washington lobbying firm to lobby for additional Congressional earmarks for this "Bridge to Nowhere?"

3) In his speech, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani argued that the presidency wasn't the time for "on the job training" and yet, he unequivocally supported a vice presidential candidate who touts her credentials as a small time mayor of a town of 6,000 people, a woman who has admitted that she hasn't even been to the majority of states that she will represent.

4) In his remarks, Mike Huckabee argues that the presidency isn't "symbolic," and yet Governor Palin was explicity chosen as a symbol. Her fertile womb, and that of her daughter, has become the new symbol of the Republican party.

5) All of the candidates, even Giuliani, kept gloryfying the "small town" experience and life, as if somehow only people who live in small towns are real Americans; as if only people who live in Alaska and Kansas are true citizens. Deeply encoded in that is a racialized message about who can and who should represent America.

Melissa, what I saw tonight scared me. I mean, truly scared me. I have a handle on McCain and what he represents. Sarah Palin is a different creation all together. As I watched the audience literally devour her words bit by bit, I began to wonder if I live in a completely different world.


P.S. Kitchen Table readers: please continue to pray for the people in Haiti. They have experienced such devastation from Gustav. The food crisis there is dire. Please, please keep Haiti in your prayers, along with all the other folks affected by the recent hurricane."

all that fuss about Bristol (Gov. Sarah Palin's pregnant daughter)

The way conservative bloggers/ commentators, etc., are interpreting Bristol's pregnancy is staggeringly kind!! I mean, I am just stunned at the way in which Palin's daughter's pregnancy is being spun by conservatives, because if this was the "illegitimate" child of one of Obama's 17 year old daughters rest assured McCain supporters and journalists would be flooding the blogosphere with racist-sexist condemnations of the Obamas as incapable parents. (I believe McCain supporters would rip apart ANY Democratic presidential candidate whose 17 year old daughter turned up pregnant albeit the discourse on the pregnancy would be different if the candidate were white.)

I'm seeing a lot of critiques (by liberals) of Democrats/media/Obama supporters who utter disapproving, harsh words about Palin with regard to Bristol's pregnancy. Strategically, I don't think it will necessarily harm the Democratic Party or Obama's campaign if Obama's supporters, liberals and leftists continue to critique Palin using Bristol's pregnancy.

I don't necessarily believe a candidate should be eviscerated by the media and/or the public if their unwed teenager becomes pregnant. Nor do I believe the pregnancy of an unwed teenager is necessarily a function of bad parenting.

However, I do believe in applying the same standards across the board (an unrealistic expectation when it comes to Republicans, I know). If social conservatives would condemn any parent because their unwed teenager is pregnant, then Palin -- as a social conservative --
should be taken to task for her daughters moral "irresponsibility" and "sinful" sexual behavior. Governor Palin's ability to occupy the 2nd most powerful office in the country (and perhaps, THE most powerful office in the presidency) should be called into question if her conservative religious ethics fail to take hold in her own home.

Clearly, McCain's VP choice is indicative of his effort to draw extreme conservative/far-right Christian voters.

I wonder if it'll work.

Palin is frighteningly conservative on women's reproductive rights, but also on energy & environmental policy, the place of religion in schools, etc.,). Here's where I get stuck: she's still a woman. And fundamentalists Christians believe that women have a "place" -- and it ain't the highest political office in the United States.

What most intrigues me is what McCain's VP choice -- a white woman -- says about the powerful impact Barack Obama's, Hillary Clinton's, and their supporters, most especially women and men of color and white women, have had on the Republican Party but also the impact they (we!!) have had on history.

I believe Obama is an unstoppable force.
But I digress.

McCain's VP choice suggests that the Republicans know they can (will?) lose. They're nervous.
I dig that.

I think Palin is also meant to attract disgruntled Clinton supporters (embittered & enraged that HRC didn't pull the Democratic Party's nomination) -- particularly the white women among them by exploiting their racism (for example, the racist sentiment that led them to condemn Obama as an "unqualified black man" -- a sentiment that saturates anti-affirmative action rhetoric).

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Cindy McCain on Sarah Palin's knowledge of foreign policy

Interviewer: "But she has no national security experience."

Cindy McCain: "You know--her-her--the experience that she comes from is--is--with what she's done in the government. And also remember Alaska is the closest part of our contient to Russia, so it's not as if she doesn't understands what's at stake here."



I don't make assumptions about the intelligence of any potential or existing First Lady, or male politicians' spouse (no one should), Republican First Lady's included.

It's arguable that First Lady's Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton functioned as president while their husbands were in office; the former, when her husband fell seriously ill and the latter as a co-partner or co-president, if you will.

Feminists, anti-sexists, and male allies in the struggle to end gender oppression will agree that the historical absence of women in the Oval Office is no indication of U.S. American women's inability to occupy the most powerful office in the country (and the world), but rather, evidence of all women's historical, systematic exclusion from the most powerful, prestigious political leadership positions (as well as women's under-representation in high power, high-income positions in government and business) in the U.S.

It's unfortunate that when a female public figure, like Cindy McCain, says (or does) something deemed unintelligent, that the discourse on the woman's blunder collapses into sexist, misogynist jabs and diatribes.

It annoys me when even the vilest of women in the public eye are criticized, abused or assaulted -- by people of all genders, but men (of all sexual identities) in particular -- with woman-hating slurs like "cunt," "whore," and "bimbo" and/or sexualized and objectified (as adequate repositories for the male phallus and semen) -- i.e., "they're dumb as rocks or evil but still very 'fuckable'" (which can also be interpreted as a kind of rape impulse or rape fantasy, a way for men to articulate a desire to "shut the bitch up" using violent, forced sex or sex as a weapon).

Which means that when bloggers refer to Ann Coulter as a hateful "cunt," I typically leave a comment that acknowledges she is, indeed, a vile human being but there's no reason to bring "cunts" into it.

Across lines of class, gender, sexuality, and race, sexist bashing of women "offenders" are tolerated in the media, blogs and blog commentaries time and time again.

So, I don't want to contribute to the abuse of women in the blogosphere by ridiculing Cindy McCain.

And yet, I am compelled to highlight the sheer ridiculousness of her statement!

What do she and John talk about? If her statement is any indication of his own aptitude at judging someone's competency in the realm of foreign policy, I am very very concerned.

But, let's face it, Governor Sarah Palin was not selected for her shrewd political mind with regard to national security or domestic issues.

I believe that she's McCain's VP because it is hoped that her brand of religious neo-conservatism will appeal to far right Christian fundamentalist voters/social conservatives -- a constituency McCain's more moderate and liberal views and voting record has, prior to her selection, alienated -- and to draw votes from, and thus exploit the racism of, embittered Hillary supporters, who have vowed to vote for McCain in November or not vote at all rather than support the candidacy or "an inadequate black male" (i.e., Barack Obama).

The reaction of far too many women and men who voted for Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama receiving the Democratic Party's nomination reminds me of the way in which 1st wave white feminists/early feminists of the post-Civil War era responded to white male Republicans decision to pursue voting rights for black men, and not women (of any race) during Reconstruction (roughly 1865 to 1977). White women who had invested invaluable time and energy in the anti-slavery movement, women who had also abandoned the pursuit of "women's rights," quite understandably felt betrayed by by white male Republicans -- the same men who partnered with women to work towards the abolition of slavery -- who chose to support "black man suffrage" and not "universal suffrage," which would enfranchise black men and women of all races. Early white feminists also deeply resented and felt betrayed by newly emancipated black women and men (just like the white masters, mistresses, and children who had been stripped of legal ownership of black bodies -- how could their "happy slaves" leave them! ) White feminists response to the movement to enfranchise black men was marred by virulent racism -- racism that they used to gain white male Democrats support for "universal suffrage" (don't "give" the vote to "Sambos;" give it to white women, producers and care-givers of the superior white race. Paula Giddings' When and Where I Enter provides an excellent, more in-depth and nuanced discussion "black man suffrage" vs. "universal suffrage" history).

In the end, at least for a short while, black men's voting rights were recognized. (When the federal government withdrew northern troops from the South, white supremacy fully revived itself; black men and women would not vote until 1965 when black civil rights activists and their white allies -- for a brief moment -- brought white supremacists to their knees, and thus, created a political context where President Lyndon Baines Johnson would implement and  sign the Voting Rights Act.)

Black men won the vote.

Obama will win the presidency.

And for a brief moment, white supremacists will be brought to their knees once again.