Archive

Racism

In a recent study by the Obviousbut Worthrepeating Institute in Bloomington, Indiana, researchers concluded that white Western Europeans steal nearly four times as much as almost every other racial and/or ethnic identity group. “Why such a discrepancy?” Michael Lanzberg, the executive director of the Institute asks:

…because the study disrupts the white conception of stealing, promoted in mainstream media and culture. Instead of qualifying stealing as a singular narrative of a black 9th Ward resident ‘looting’ a television from an electronics store, we  considered greater cultural hallmarks that were previously thought too intangible,  like cuisine, as well as land ownership and its connection to heritage.

crying-dawson

The  Institute has come under intense scrutiny in both American and European media. In a recent Op-Ed piece for the Wall Street Journal, Richard Kingston fired back, “In the history of modern civilization, we have never seen such an excruciating, obsessive and subjective reordering of morality. That is to say, I am not about to sue my neighbor for growing peonies at his Cape house this summer, even if my wife has done the very same thing for the last ten years.”  Maury Povich and several other beacons of tolerance charged accusations of “reverse racism” in an open letter to the tender-feeling white masses, “I, like so many white Americans, fear for my life,” he writes. During a follow-up interview on The Today Show, he confessed,  “Next time my wife goes to yoga, I’m going to tell her to leave her baby blue hoodie at home. I’d rather her be cold than killed.”

Yoga-Hoodie-Z22643

A journalist for the National, Jad Ramad, fielded questions during a recent appearance on Fox News, “This survey is entirely redundant, but gratifying nonetheless. Palestinians continue to suffer from colonial dictatorship and land seizure, just like the Native Americans and Aboriginal populations.” He continues, after fielding questions about how he could say such things about white people, especially considering he’s totally not white:

Look. I’m a journalist. I went to Oxford. I am qualified to speak about imperialism and white supremacy because I have suffered at the hands of it.

White people want the economic advantage and security of being white, but they also want identity. Since white identities have also been erased at the hands of assimilationist colonial culture, now they want to bounce like Big Freedia and dance dabke during family gatherings.

No stranger to strong words and controversy, the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu chimed in during a press conference announcing upcoming peace talks. “If Ramad doesn’t shut his mouth I will do it for him with my cold and loveless hands. One more word and I will open a kosher yogurt shop on the land where I bulldozed his grandmother’s grave.” President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry made no comment, stating they are going to solve the Middle East peace process like any good cooking show contest. “Whoever makes more authentic-tasting hummus obviously gets to keep everything,” John Kerry said with a knowing smile.

wanted-christopher-columbus2

During a visit to the Bill Maher show, Michael Lanzbirg explained the methodology used in the study. “Well, we just studied.” He continues:

Literally. We have a team of over 300 history PhDs and cultural critics. We just gave it some thought, reviewed all major empires, including the Byzantines and the Romans. All you have to do is pay attention and you quickly realize the entire concept of European enlightenment’s moral code is not only contradicted by its colonization process, but in fact the language surrounding ‘uncivilized cultures’ is used in order to deflect the savage violence of the white Europeans. It’s much like how the Republicans will name a bill ‘The Clean Energy Initiative’ when in reality it should be called the ‘Jesus Ate Fossil Fuels for Breakfast and You Will, Too’ bill.

Michael Lanzburg, of Western European heritage himself, concluded during his interview with Bill Maher, “Does that make me a self-hating reverse-racist?”

The study came as no surprise to many residents of historically black neighborhoods in the United States. Frank James, a resident of Austin, Texas, was quoted in the Austin American Statesman saying:

First I lived in West Austin. Then the cool white kids came, then the yuppies, then the white families and our property taxes climbed so high we had to move to South Austin. Then the same thing happened to my family in South Austin. So, a decade later, we’re living in East Austin. And what do you know? All of the sudden boutique grocery stores are popping up everywhere and I can’t afford my rent anymore. 

Frank James is a government employee in Texas, but jokes “Maybe I’ll have to start stealing, too. Since working an honest job hasn’t gotten me very far. I hear Rick Perry has a very expensive toupee collection. Fuck it, I’m going to go and break into his house right now and have my wife upload all of his belongings on Ebay.” James paused and grumbled something about how if he was white he could get away with something like that.

“Displacement is the cornerstone of U.S. policymaking,” says Gregory Dans, a community organizer in Texas working against issues of gentrification in communities of color.

They did it to the Native Americans, they did it to the African slaves, they’re still doing it today. White Americans don’t want people of color in their neighborhoods, but they’ll let them flip their burgers for under minimum wage. They are stealing our homes… our heritage and our right to live full and healthy lives.

During his satellite interview yesterday with Matt Lauer, Lanzburg answered the age old question ‘who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?’ He looked off into the distance, wincing as a wildebeest mangled a doe on his Kenyan ranch. Or was it a young African child? “Anyway,” he soldiered on  “who stole the cookie from the cookie jar? Probably a white person.” Continuing, “I still love that Macklemore song, tho.”

IMG_9236

Contributor: W.Morningstar

Advertisements

And so, the Texas legislature pretends that at 20 weeks, the unborn ______ no longer belongs to the body it lives inside. But personhood, in terms of reproductive self-determination, is most clearly noted after birth with a birth certificate.  When the baby leaves the body, it is born.  Instead of being framed as a matter of life and death, it should be about the event of birth. The unborn belongs to the body it’s attached to, as much as our internal organs are (supposed to be) our own.  It should not be legislated for or capitalized on.

I wish personhood laws were that simple. Alas, “The definition of personhood ranges,” says ACLU attorney Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, continuing “if you’re talking about property, law, or inheritance, or how the census is taken.” Anti-choice organizations like Personhood USA exploit this gray area by claiming life starts “when the husband turns on that really sexy Sade cassette” (JK, but close).

The 20-week cut off argument is dangerous for many obvious and often stated reasons. There are a few more, too, that deserve to be re-stated again and again, to clarify what ‘choice’ has to do with being alive.

It’s the same schtick. Policymakers subjugating bodies…of color, both rural and urban, of poor whites, of immigrants. The ways the government capitalizes on these groups is not the same. It’s important, though, to reiterate points of intersection, the horizonless compulsion of the most privileged and powerful to control what seems threatening and/or in need of being controlled. Our right to choose the progression of our lives (to give birth and to stop a pregnancy) threatens the ability of the state to reinforce the narrative that we are not the captains of our own ships and that the bodies we live in have little value.

Attempting to cap abortion at 20 weeks is not about saving an ‘innocent life,’ it’s about controlling living people and fragmenting/undercutting the reproductive power/resistance of the people. Colonizing, excuse me, controlling the womb and the notoriously wild and sinful sexuality that it possesses. To be pro-choice is to threaten the assimilationist theocracy we absolutely-no-question-about-it live under.

Fundamentally, the right to terminate and/or pursue pregnancy cannot be entirely abandoned. Unless you live in an American prison, wherein your basic medical care is as elastic as the laws that locked you up in the first place.  But abortion won’t end, it is the access to safe and legal abortion services that we will lose. This is why the legislation being passed in Texas and North Carolina are, quite fucking obviously, acts of systematic violence against the health and vitality of Americans that will now have little to no access to legal abortion services.

The unborn ‘child,’ to anti-choice Christians, is pregnant (sry, sry) with meaning. It symbolizes an essential purity that, according to some cockamamie interpretations of the King James Bible, is lost at the very moment of birth. My heart nearly dropped when I read this one liner, “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.”* In other words, an unborn baby is like an unpurchased MacBook Air. Once taken out of the box, the value greatly depreciates.  Which, oddly enough, is a strikingly accurate representation of the right wing’s (dems included) stance on defunding social services for low-income single mothers.

How does the reproductive rights movement already reframe this ‘unborn child’ narrative? The value in re-emphasizing the needs of those already born and living cannot be understated. The needs and rights of working and jobless Americans, the sick but trying to stay alive Americans. The Americans frozen inside the prison industrial complex. These are real pro-life issues. I see organizers pursuing them year round, when the politicians are busy running for president. But really, what would it look like for representatives to address the born-a-while-ago-and-trying-to stay-alive constituency?

 *King James Bible, Chapter 58, 3.