Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Angry much?

Peanut was suspended Friday and Monday for shoving desks/chairs, slamming the classroom door repeatedly and being an overall ass because he got 3 minutes on the computer when the classmates before him got 5. So Friday he went to work with me and below is what he drew and pieced together:

At first I didn't think anything of it, but I have to admit I got a little worried when I truly looked it over and realized just how mad/sad this person is.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007


The 400th Anniversary of Jamestown is coming up and here in Virginia, they've been on a 2 year campaign to promote what the PR team has dubbed a "celebration" and

showcase [of] Virginia's unique role as the birthplace of modern America and the cradle of American democratic traditions, cultures, ideologies and principles - 400 years strong.
Never mind how we almost completely decimated an entire culture that was doing just fine before we got here. And that was just at the beginning. We took land illegally, bought land that wasn't anybodies for the taking and introduced a slew of diseases and bad habits into a self-sustaining culture; diabetes is now the #1 disease among the Native American population.

On the Q & A section of the official Jamestown 2007 website, it tells us why Jamestown is so important, among other things. Whomever answered the question said
Traditions established at Jamestown - including representative government, the rule of law, free enterprise and cultural diversity - form the basis of American culture today.
Including representative government? Look at paintings from Colonial Williamsburg; every man is white and middle to upper class.

The rule of law? They freaked out over the spirituality indigenous peoples freely showed, made laws forbidding Colonials to have anything to do with them and eventually (but not always) slaughtered entire tribes. Those laws also included converting Indians to the Christian way hence the term 'colonials.'

Free enterprise? Huh? I thought only acceptable jobs could be practiced and again, only if you were a white man. Not everyone could do the same thing and if I recall correctly, they struggled for at least the first 5 years to make a village much less allow free enterprise. The people were supposedly fleeing persecution on all sorts of issues but exacted the same punishment once here.

Cultural diversity? Did I miss something in history class because I don't recall this ever being the norm or our past wouldn't be what it is what with mass killings, slavery, Jim Crow laws and all that.Yeah, that's definitely something to celebrate alright.

P.S. A conservative Christian group (scroll to An Alternative Jamestown Celebration) feels the "commemoration" is too mired in political correctness and is holding an alternative celebration "of the 400th anniversary of Jamestown because the official proceedings are mired in political correctness and ignore the hand of God in bringing Christianity into the New World." Seriously. Who'd have thought it would be politically correct to acknowledge our assholish behavior and basic assumption the "pagan Indians" needed to be saved 400 years ago, eh?

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The Double Standard Strikes Again

Sure this was decided late last month and there have been numerous lawsuits regarding the mandatory coverage of contraceptive devices by health insurance companies, it's still baffling how the powers that be come up with asinine excuses as to how and why it's not discriminatory to cover Viagra and Rogaine for men, but deny coverage of birth control for women stating

According to the two judges, the employees’ contraceptive use was not a condition "related to" pregnancy because the use of contraceptives "is only indicated prior to pregnancy" and "prevents pregnancy from even occurring."
Yet the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) of Title IX states
The PDA provides that women may not be treated differently than men simply because of pregnancy or medical conditions "related to" pregnancy.
So how is the ability to get pregnant not directly related to the issue of pregnancy?

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Our Prejudices, Ourselves

Harvey Fierstein wrote a scathing op-ed today with the same title for the NYTs and he calls each and every one of us out on our tolerance/acceptance for some hate speech but not others. Why is it okay for someone to use "f*****" as a put down yet "nappy-headed" is considered racist? The former is used on elementary school playgrounds while the latter is used within the African American/Black community to belittle each other. Aren't both derogatory terms that should not be repeated? How about the word "retarded" and how it denigrates those with a real developmental disability? Listen to a group of high school girls and you'll hear the word used 10 times in as many minutes. Again, refusing to use words such as these and not allowing those around to employ sting while in your presence is one way to help eradicate such language from society.

Here's the very last paragraph:

The real point is that you cannot harbor malice toward others and then cry foul when someone displays intolerance against you. Prejudice tolerated is intolerance encouraged. Rise up in righteousness when you witness the words and deeds of hate, but only if you are willing to rise up against them all, including your own. Otherwise suffer the slings and arrows of disrespect silently.
Something I still don't understand (and I'm not sure I want to), is why someone who is oppressed would want to inflict said oppression on someone else, an example being African Americans/Blacks being intolerant of homosexuals. You would think, through their ordeal of slavery, a Civil War and Jim Crow laws, they would be empathetic of an individuals rights to personal freedom because they had to fight so hard for their own. With the 400th Anniversary of Jamestown coming up, the Native Americans are another example.

But that doesn’t always seem to be the case.

And you know what they say: if you and your friends use the word(s) to describes yourselves, then you are unintentionally giving others the right to use them against you, too.

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Rapped in Contradiction

I would love to know how someone can come up with a song like this:

[Verse 1 - Ludacris] Now little lisa is only 9 years old
Shes tryin to figure out why the world is so cold
Why shes all all alone and they never met her family
Mamas always gone and she never met her daddy
Part of her is missin and nobody will listenin
Mama is on drugs gettin high up in the kitchen
Bringin home men at different hours of the night
Startin with laughs--usually endin in a fight
Sneak into her room while her mamas knocked out
Tryin to have his way and little lisa says 'ouch'
She tries to resist but then all he does is beat her
Tries to tell her mom but her mama don't believe her
Lisa is stuck up in the world on her own
Forced to think that hell is a place called home
Nothin else to do but some get some clothes and pack
She says shes bout to run away and never come back.

The song includes vignettes of 3 girls aged 9, 10 and 11 and the emotions that go along with sexual abuse, a sexual relationship started too early and so forth. It's an example of what hip hop could be yet, on the very same album, there are songs such as Money Maker:

[Verse 1: Yung Joc] she'll shake her money maker 'cause its da boy Yung Joc just like like dat clock on da wall her body go tick tock its on in da bedroom u already know dat she be shakin' lafft taffy white boy dat ain't no fat its goin' down in da club its gettin' kinna heated just like knock it homey she told me to beat it Yung Joc is on da mike and you already know da girl chasin' me cause she know i got dough she ain't chasin' you cause yo pockets on low i step up in da club im like what des girls hittin' fo' i like my girls thick i don't like em' skinny its goin' down homey boy its New Joc City

and Girls Gone Wild:

[Verse 1:] Never scared to be different, the year ?possible? put into existance. Fa in stance, this is me. What did you expect from the 5th LP? Gone for a minute now I'm back again. Back to back, back to break backs again, put'em in the back seat of the 'lac again, and rip off the Magnam packagin'. What's happenin I'm looking for some girls gone wild.(gone wild)I'm just tryin to make these girls all smile(all smile). And I'm gonna make'em dance, so I could see them shake they ass, then I put'em in a trance, till I get'em out they pants. Then I'll take'em to a level they might've never been before, We gon hit the door. And then hit the floor, you'll get hit below. I got somebody I want you to get ta know. ME. Feel this like Jack the Ripper, hip hop needs help so I'm back to flip her. Flip her on her back cause I'm back to stick her and throw up on the track like it's full of liquor. [Hook:] You fellin kinda warm, like you was havin (sex) You wetter than a storm like you was takin (X) Your mood intensifies, it's time for a surprise, so baby close your eyes, get ready for what's(next)
Does he not understand how contradictory his message is? I think Luda is talented and I love his voice, but hip hop on the whole has gotten too bootylicious and demeaning toward African American/Black women especially. There is increasingly more evidence proving sexualized commercials and pop culture is becoming harmful to girls and only helps create and sustain the problem instead of fixing it, much less "empowering" them as advocates are purported to claim. Compounding the ideal is how African American/Black women are hypersexualized in rap and hip hop videos, not to mention the songs themselves, thus creating a certain expectation in African American/Black men that is most unrealistic. Having this mythologized woman in their heads creates problems in building healthy relationships and could possibly be why the leading cause of death for African American/Black women is homicide.

In fact, it was interesting that I had been mulling this topic over, thinking it would make for an excellent post when I noticed the March issue of Ebony; they had a feature titled "Sex, Violence and Disrespect: What Hip Hop has done to our Women."

Granted I am not an African American/Black woman, but I like to think I can empathize because the bootylicious factor in hip hop spills over to all women. Yet it is important to remember whose image is at stake here and I do understand its not that of a White woman; it is young African American/Black women who are portrayed as "ghetto ho's" and "bitches" in the videos.

Having said the above, why is it we jump all over the Imus' of the world, but don't hold rappers and/or hip hop artists such as Nelly (who has a song called "Tipdrill" with the hook, "it must be your ass 'cause it ain't your face"), Snoop Dog (can we say Girls Gone Wild?) and Jay-Z accountable for spewing the same sexist racist bullshit everyday over the airwaves? They condone the same denigration of women the rest of the world participates in by repeating and participating in the same stereotypes.

I believe only when we stop using the words in our everyday language that help to keep oppression alive will we truly achieve a non-racist/sexist/homophobic/ethnocentric world. What do you think?

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Something Borrowed, Something Blue!

Yes people, I finally finished something blue, yay!

All but one arm was knit in a week. I had to wait for my income tax money to be deposited so I could order a 4th ball to finish the 2nd sleeve and that came last week. This is going to the daughter of my downstairs neighbor since she, my neighbor, has watched Peanut on a few hours notice when he was suspended and such. I hope to take a picture of her in it soon, but the jacket will be big on her considering she is going on 10months of age and this was sized for a 1-2 year old. (I knew I wouldn't finish it until now when the weather has gotten warmer so I sized it to last through next winter at least; kids grow like weeds you know.)

Brand: Sirdar
Type: "Snuggly Bubbly" Yarn
Color: Bluebell
Yardage: 4 balls = 140yards each
Needles: 5 for body, 3 for edging

Also posted on Knit Blue.

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