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Know Your Rights

23 Nov

Tonight I attended a Know Your Rights workshop. Ups and downs:

1. Up – The panelists were varied and knowledgeable. There was our Dean of Students, head of Campus Safety and Security, a G Police Officer, the County Attorney, and a prominent G defense attorney. There were two women and three men, one of whom is African American.

2. Down – Attendance was really low. I think if one, especially as a college student, is offered the chance to talk to those in power, especially those with legal/judicial power, one should always take it. A major flaw with this student body is the arrogance with which many people approach the topic of the law and police. Students complain about police, but don’t make the effort to know the appropriate and legal ways to deal with them. That’s ineffective. I can’t stand it when people opt for ignorance. There are no excuses, in this situation, for not knowing your rights as a student and a resident in G.

3. Up – The people who attended asked interesting and intelligent questions pertaining to on-campus guests, public intoxication, G Police in the dorms, no-contact orders, and more. I valued the curiosity and forethought of my fellow students.

4. Down – The defense attorney exuded white male privilege. Emphasis on the white privilege. Opening the panel by saying “you won’t need to know this stuff if you’re not breaking the law” is ignorant and disregards the oppression which young people, women, and especially people of color have experienced at the hands of those who are supposed to protect us – the police. Everyone should always know their rights, because not every police officer, lawyer, or judge is fair and impartial.

Overall, I think the panel was valuable, and I hope that, in the future, more students will attend.

Note: For those who know me, “G” represents the name of the town I live in/school I attend. I’d like to keep as much personal information as possible off this blog.

the civil rights battle of our generation?

28 Oct

I’ve seen posters all around campus for the last couple of weeks which urge people to vote/volunteer for preserving gay marriage in Iowa. The bottom of the poster says “In 25 years, what will you say you were doing during the civil rights battle of our generation? …homework?”

Now, I totally understand the sentiment here. Oftentimes, people compare gay marriage to interracial marriage – there was a time when interracial marriage was illegal, but looking back on that time, most of us can’t understand what the big deal was. Same with gay marriage. Once it becomes legal in all 50 states (which it will, believe you me), people will start to wonder why there was such a problem with it in the first place. 25 years from now, it will seem so obviously awesome and necessary and constitutionally appropriate. It already seems that way to many people (including me).

That said, do I really believe it is the civil rights battle of this generation? I’m not sure. I think it might be one of the civil rights battles of this generation. I think we are still fighting for racial equality, gender equality, a smaller income/wealth gap. I think those are all civil rights battles of this generation.

That’s not to say that one kind of oppression is any more worthy of our time and energy than another. Rather, I just want to point out that there are many things we, as a country, need to be spending our time on. 25 years from now, I won’t just be looking back at what I did as an LGBTQIA ally, but also what I did as a feminist, a fighter of human trafficking, an advocate for racial equality…

Unfortunately, there is not one civil rights battle of our generation. We can’t lose sight of all of the battles being fought every day.

Race-related

8 Oct

Today’s links come from a couple of the race-focused blogs I check. Some are from Colorlines, while others were found on Racialicious. Enjoy.

Recently, LAUSD agreed to stop the “first hired, first fired” practices that make it difficult for lower-income schools to retain their teachers in the face of major, state-wide layoffs. This is because new teachers are usually those who get fired first, and are also more likely to be working in lower-income school districts. While this agreement is good for the kids who might otherwise lose their new teachers, while upper-class kids get to keep their seniority-protected teachers, it’s also harmful to those teachers who have been working long enough to deserve to keep their jobs. The situation has not been fully resolved, and many are saying that teachers’ unions need to find new ways to adapt to the education crisis in this country.

Lax Gun Control Laws Lead to More Crime, says Colorlines. Well, NO KIDDING. See my post about the book Lethal Logic which I read this summer. Anyway, it seems (not surprisingly) that stricter gun control laws, when not enforced correctly, disproportionately affect racial minorities. So basically, we need to get guns off the streets without being racists. That doesn’t sound that hard. Then again, this is the United States.

Hey bigots! Look what happens when you try to enforce your bigotry! It backfires.  Arizona Ethnic Studies Ban Makes Course MORE Popular.

Finally, former inmates are having more difficulty than ever finding work in this job market. That’s because having been imprisoned is a difficult reputation to escape, and makes employers less likely to hire someone. Black men are finding it especially difficult to get a job after being released from prison. This trend speaks to our country’s general inability to reincorporate people into society after they’ve been incarcerated, which is a really serious problem considering how many people end up in the prison system every year.

thoughts on halloween

27 Sep

i’m considering being a baiana for halloween. if you don’t know what that is, you should look it up. my brief summary/understanding is this: baianas are an integral part of Brazilian Carnaval, who represent the history/roots of Brazil, and especially Brazilian people of color. They are large and loud and proud and sort of the mothers of the festivities. Me dressing up as one is not meant to be exploitation of the culture, but rather a celebration of the role baianas play in Brazilian culture and carnaval. Any thoughts on that? I’m wondering about racial components to this, as I have white skin, and it might not be appropriate for me to dress as a baiana? does this feel too much like person with white skin exploiting people/culture of color? Here’s a picture of some baianas in their fanstasias (costumes):

(via)

Also, there is a party on campus called fetish, where everyone dresses up/embodies a fetish. Does anyone have ideas on what I should be/do and how I should execute that idea? ❤

this thought

27 Sep

has occurred to me repeatedly over the past few months:

How boring would the world be if we all looked the same?

Initially, I thought of this in terms of body type. If we all matched the Western “ideal” of body type (thin, big chest, moderately big butt, long legs, longish torso), there would be no creativity, no variability, no beauty in humanity. Being able to look around and see different heights, weights, sizes of chests and hips, musculature, skeletal makeup, makes everything so much more interesting and wonderful.

This idea can also be applied to skin color (the range of skin tones in the world is so beautiful. each person has their own nuanced and unique skin), physical ability, cultural mannerisms (ways of walking, gesturing, etc.).

The variety of the human race is our most important asset, and should be cherished.

awesomeness

25 Sep

i have posted on my tumblr recently:

The Combahee River Collective Statement

(trees/roots/wildflowers/wonderful)

The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House by Audre Lorde (i need to read so much more by her. @jessicaannabelle: was zami good?!)

(lololol. also, the single fuck that was not given probably had something to do with DADT, abortion rights, or any of his other recent fails)

Poem about My Rights by June Jordan

Who Said It Was Simple by Audre Lorde

23 Sep

There are so many roots to the tree of anger
that sometimes the branches shatter
before they bear.
Sitting in Nedicks
the women rally before they march
discussing the problematic girls
they hire to make them free.
An almost white counterman passes
a waiting brother to serve them first
and the ladies neither notice nor reject
the slighter pleasures of their slavery.
But I who am bound by my mirror
as well as my bed
see causes in color
as well as sex

and sit here wondering
which me will survive
all these liberations.