The documentary film The 13th is a solid film. It is extremely informative for anyone who lacks knowledge about progressive politics or who does not regularly watch Democracy Now with Amy Goodman (or listen to Pacifica Radio)--which I admit is the vast majority of our republic.
Recently there have been a few articles and discussions of a backlash from the left against Hillary Clinton. There seems to be a perception (or at least an argument) that the progressive left not only has beef with Hillary Clinton, but that that beef is rooted in misogyny. One article by Courtney Enlow, provides an "all caps" explosion against what she claims are anti-feminist backlash from the left.
The problem with this article (and many others that criticize progressive critiques against Hillary Clinton) is that it takes troll comments and somehow makes them representative of an imaginary anti-feminist progressive left movement. It is laughable. I won't pretend that there aren't misogynist attacks against Hillary Clinton. Those attacks have been waged against her in the national eye since 1991.
But let's not pretend that a progressive critique of HRC is essentially anti-feminist. Let's not pretend that there are not progressives who have been against Obama and Clinton and they are neither anti-black nor anti-woman.
I think you have to ask yourself the following question: Where was the progressive backlash against Cynthia McKinney (2008 Green Party Presidential Candidate) or Jill Stein (2012 Green Party Candidate)? Exactly. There wasn't one. Progressives have a history of supporting minority and female candidates--and to say that valid critiques of Hillary Clinton's neoliberalism are rooted in misogyny does a disservice to any progressive political movement that seeks a radical change from the status quo.
This all caps rant sounds like a special kind of white privilege that comes from the biggest beneficiary of affirmative action (but not generally its most ardent supporter): the liberal (faux progressive) white woman.
Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling has argued that current calls for diversity in the Oscar nomination process is racism geared towards whites. Despite a strong showing of non-white performances and films over the past two years, the Academy Awards have failed to nominate films about minority experiences like Straight Outta Compton, and performances by minority actors, like Idris Elba, Oscar Isaac, and Benecio del Torro.
Director Spike Lee won't attend this years awards, and actress Jada Pinkett Smith has out of self-interest called for a boycott. Other actors like Lupta Nyong'o and Mark Ruffalo have weighed in announcing their disappointment of the lack of inclusion. Ruffalo will attend the Oscars, bu will not attend the awards. These individuals are protesting a lack of inclusion of minorities--or a lack of diversity. However, Charlotte Rampling says that calls for diversity (or quotas) are racist against whites.
Rampling presents a tired affirmative action argument, and demonstrates the danger when black and brown people call for "diversity." Who cares about diversity? The reason that black and brown people are upset is because the system is unfair. It is unjust. It is unequal. The problem is not that there is a lack of diversity. There is a lack of diversity because the Academy Awards nomination process is unfair and unjust.
When arguments for inclusion do not call for equality, or are not framed in terms of fairness, then it allows uninformed people like Charlotte Rampling (who was an awful actress on the hit television show Dexter) to make counterarguments and start talking about fairness to whites. Diversity arguments allow ignorant people like Rampling to think, "These people are being included not because they deserve to be here, but because we want a diverse awards show." It allows them to ignore the white privilege that actor Mark Ruffalo has called out in praising the Oscars boycott. Instead, Rampling should take the time and observe that black and brown folks are NOT being included because of racism and a failure to fairly evaluate performances and movies that feature people of color.
Get your life right Charlotte Rampling. #OscarsSoWhite
In September 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressed the American Psychological Association to describe the role that social scientists should play in the Civil Rights Movement. He described that role as clarifier--that the social scientist can provide direction and understanding. He said that whites folks are in urgent need, because "White America needs to understand that it is poisoned to its soul by racism."
We live in a world structured by racism. It should be no surprise that racism is pervasive throughout society. Here's to π and searching for clarity in understanding racism.
This cartoon is a deceptive (and dangerous) way that liberals call out reverse racism. This is not really an accurate depiction of how racism operates in the United States. I propose a progressive critique.
This cartoon (while it has good intentions) rests on dangerous assumptions. First, that minorities are unshackled and no longer have a ball and chain. Second, that black and brown oppression is largely linked to past discrimination, and that the egregious form of present discrimination takes place when whites refuse to give a boost to minorities.
These things are true, to an extent...but they are overstated, and they grossly ignore and understate what I believe is the hidden form of discrimination---that the way in which we measure minorities so that they can reach the next level is severely unfair.
This comic strip would be much more accurate if there were two ladders from the ground to the next level. One ladder for whites that is large and sturdy, and another for minorities that is small and rickety.
The President tweeted his support for Ahmed Mohammed, the high school student arrested for making a digital clock and arguably the victim of racial profiling and Islamophobia. The President tweeted:
I would have liked this better if it ended with: "...and racism is what makes America vile and backwards." But that would have put him over the 80 character tweet limit.
Ahmed does not deserve a trip to the White House. He does not deserve a guest appearance on the Ellen show. He does not deserve to become an instant celebrity. Basically, he does not deserve a cookie. He and countless others DESERVE to live in a society free of racism. Pardon my harsh language, but:
To hell with the visit to the White House, and to hell with racism.
CNN has reported that a 15 year old Chinese tourist defaced the 3,500 Luxor temple in Egypt by writing "Ding Jinhao was here" on a sculpture. After a huge Internet backlash in China, the young man's parents issued a public apology. The report, however, expresses that some Chinese citizens are concerned that this act is an embarrassment for the Chinese "race", particularly in a moment when China is calling on it's nation's tourist to behave better.
The racial and national politics of this story are amazing. After reading the CNN article, a friend said, "This has nothing to do with the fact that homeboy is Chinese...the Romans did this all over Egypt and that was pretty gross, too."
A recent critique of President Obama by Melissa Harris-Perry claims that he has refused to exercise his clemency powers as compared to his predecesors. Claiming to rely on Department of Justice statistics, MHP states that Reagan pardoned 1 out of every 3 of the pardon requests before his desk while he was in office. MHP goes on to state that H.W Bush pardoned 6% of requests, Clinton 12%, W/ Bush 3% and Obama only 2%. Her assessment of the statistics are sloppy.