A law professor wrote this on the popular blog the Volokoh Conspiracy. His reaction to Jefferson’s actions of separating families was “So what?” What kind of a person says that?
Ta-Nehisi Coates summarized it this way:
I made the mistake of reading it and thus stumbling on one the most immoral paragraphs I’ve read in a long long time
…This is a letter that I often turn to. It was written to Laura Spicer by her husband, who was sold away, much as Jefferson sold people away. After emancipation she repeatedly tried to rekindle their love, despite the fact that the husband had now remarried and formed another family. In this letter the husband tells us what it means to be among the refuse of historyOne way to approach this is with “facts” and “arguments.” I think the sort of callousness that allows you to look upon the visage of human trafficking and say “So what?” probably inurs you against such tactics.I, myself, always like to remember that I’m writing actual people, who were more than happy to give us some sense of precisely how it feels to be among the So Whats of America:
Before I begin, let me quote the late, great, Booker T. Washington who said, “Of all forms of slavery there is none that is so harmful and degrading as that form of slavery which tempts one human being to hate another by reason of his race or color.”
For two years, I have been unemployed. In the beginning, I applied to more than three hundred open positions in the insurance industry—an industry that I’ve worked in for the previous ten years. Not one employer responded to my resume. So, I enrolled back into college to finish my degree. After completing school this past May, I resumed my search for employment and was quite shocked that I wasn’t getting a single response. I usually applied for positions advertised on the popular website Monster.com. I’d used it in the past and have been successful in obtaining jobs through it.
Two years ago, I noticed that Monster.com had added a “diversity questionnaire” to the site. This gives an applicant the opportunity to identify their sex and race to potential employers. Monster.com guarantees that this “option” will not jeopardize your chances of gaining employment. You must answer this questionnaire in order to apply to a posted position—it cannot be skipped. At times, I would mark off that I was a Black female, but then I thought, this might be hurting my chances of getting employed, so I started selecting the “decline to identify” option instead. That still had no effect on my getting a job. So I decided to try an experiment: I created a fake job applicant and called her Bianca White.
First, I created an email account and resume for Bianca. I kept the same employment history and educational background on her resume that was listed on my own. But I removed my home phone number, kept my listed cell phone number, and changed my cell phone greeting to say, “You have reached Bianca White. Please leave a message.” Then I created an online Monster.com account, listed Bianca as a White woman on the diversity questionnaire, and activated the account.
That very same day, I received a phone call. The next day, my phone line and Bianca’s email address, were packed with potential employers calling for an interview. I was stunned. More shocking was that some employers, mostly Caucasian-sounding women, were calling Bianca more than once, desperate to get an interview with her. All along, my real Monster.com account was open and active; but, despite having the same background as Bianca, I received no phone calls. Two jobs actually did email me and Bianca at the same time. But they were commission only sales positions. Potential positions offering a competitive salary and benefits all went to Bianca.
At the end of my little experiment, (which lasted a week), Bianca White had received nine phone calls—I received none. Bianca had received a total of seven emails, while I’d only received two, which again happen to have been the same emails Bianca received. Let me also point out that one of the emails that contacted Bianca for a job wanted her to relocate to a different state, all expenses paid, should she be willing to make that commitment. In the end, a total of twenty-four employers looked at Bianca’s resume while only ten looked at mines.
Is this a conspiracy, or what? I’m almost convinced that White Americans aren’t suffering from disparaging unemployment rates as their Black counterpart because all the jobs are being saved for other White people.
My little experiment certainly proved a few things. First, I learned that answering the diversity questionnaire on job sites such as Monster.com’s may work against minorities, as employers are judging whom they hire based on it. Second, I learned to suspect that resumes with ethnic names may go into the wastebasket and never see the light of day.
Other than being chronically out of work, I embarked on this little experiment because of a young woman I met while I was in school. She was a twenty-two-year-old Caucasian woman who, like myself, was about to graduate. She was so excited about a job she had just gotten with a well-known sporting franchise. She had no prior work experience and had applied for a clerical position, but was offered a higher post as an executive manager making close to six figures. I was curious to know how she’d been able to land such a position. She was candid in telling me that the human resource person who’d hired her just “liked” her and told her that she deserved to be in a higher position. The HR person was also Caucasian.
Another reason that pushed me to do this experiment is because of the media. There’s not a day that goes by in which I fail to see a news program about how tough the job market is. Recently, while I was watching a report on underemployed and underpaid Americans, I saw a middle aged White man complaining that he was making only $80,000 which was $30,000 less than what he was making before. I thought to myself that in this economy, many would feel they’d hit the jackpot if they made 80K a year.
In conclusion, I would like to once again quote the late, great, Booker T. Washington when he said, “You can’t hold a man down without staying down with him.”
The more America continues to hold back great candidates based on race, the more our economy is going to stay in a rut. We all need each other to prosper, flourish, and to move ahead.
Judith Butler in Frames of War: The Politics of Ungrievable Life.
Read this and don’t forget.
An unscripted moment happened late this afternoon that caused the assembled mainstream media to turn away in the hope that it would disappear. As I was standing in line for a sandwich next to an Italian and a Puerto Rican correspondent, a controversy was unfolding on the floor. The RonPaulites, whose furious devotion to a single idea have made them the Ellen Jamesians of the right, were protesting a decision by RNC officials not to seat members of the Maine delegation, which was split between Paul and Romney supporters following rule changes made just prior to the convention. There were energetic shouts of “Aye!” and “Nay!” as a Puerto Rican party functionary—Zoraida Fonalledas, the chairwoman of the Committee on Permanent Organization—took her turn at the main-stage lectern. As she began speaking in her accented English, some in the crowd started shouting “USA! USA!”
The chanting carried on for nearly a minute while most of the other delegates and the media stood by in stunned silence. The Puerto Rican correspondent turned to me and asked, “Is this happening?” I said I honestly didn’t know what was happening—it was astonishing to see all the brittle work of narrative construction that is a modern political convention suddenly crack before our eyes. None of us could quite believe what we were seeing: A sea of twentysomething bowties and cowboy hats morphing into frat bros apparently shrieking over (or at) a Latina. RNC chairman Reince Priebus quickly stepped up and asked for order and respect for the speaker, suggesting that, yeah, what we had just seen might well have been an ugly outburst of nativism."
Rush Limbaugh’s idea of humor is killing poor black people. He didn’t come out and say it, but that’s the beauty of the modern GOP’s racism: everyone knows what they’re saying, but since its not often explicit, the media won’t call them out on it.
I imagine this article will prove controversial, but it is one of the few articles I’ve ever read in a mainstream magazine to talk about the reality of white supremacy in America and how it affects Obama.
Just a reminder, the racist Ayn Rand inspired the racist Pamela Geller.
Also, fuck Ayn Rand and Pamela Geller.
Pamela Geller is behind this racist ad that is running on the buses in San Fransisco.
It’s amazing to me that this kind of racism is acceptable today.
Mehreen Kasana here.
Looks like I’m in charge for tonight. Sometimes ignorance can really get to our heads especially when some folks on Tumblr assume Muslim women need the “most saving” because their religion is the “most sexist.” It’s amazing how - and this isn’t just a Tumblr phenomenon - many people on this micro-blogging forum have yet to read the entire Quran in its context and massive history. To take one verse out and misconstrue it endlessly, only proves ignorance on said person’s part. I’ve never known of Laci Green. I never cared, honestly speaking. I’ve had better sources of sex positive education than a racist, xenophobic YouTube pseudo-star who incorrectly claims that a supposedly half-Iranian person can’t be Islamophobic. Shocker: Many POC are Islamophobic, it’s not a matter of race as much as it is a matter of ideological conflict.
I’ve had terribly Islamophobic people accusing my faith of practices that aren’t theological but cultural, yet these people had the audacity to claim ‘authentic’ knowledge of Islam. Conflating culture with religion is a dangerous comprehension of communities and it leads to what we have witnessed in history the justification of wars, colonialism and imperialist-driven ‘saving’ of indigenous women. Many of you need to immediately reevaluate your understanding of the East and its culture(s). You need to read extensively about orientalism, colonialism, imperialism and their collective abuse of religion and politics that naturally affected both men and women.
So let’s start with a 101 brief introduction to books the uninitiated need to read if they do indeed want to be part of the Muslim women agency discourse. If you don’t study these or related work(s), you’re not well equipped with our history, our faith and our highly complex, richly diverse identity. Stay quiet then.
Here are some e-books by my favorite Muslim feminists or, as some of them insist to be called, gender-egalitarianists (considering their legitimate issues with the Western origin of feminism). Try finding work by Asma Barlas (Pakistani), Ziba Mir Hosseini (Iranian), Sadiyya Shaikh (Sudanese), Fadwa Al Labadi (Palestinian), Azizah al Hibri, Abdessamad Dialmy (Moroccan), Rozana Isa (Malaysian), Suha Taji-Faruqi.
- Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qur’an: beyond the binaries of tradition and modernity. Asma Barlas.
- “The Uses and Abuses of Muslim History in Explaining Islam,” review of Empire and Elites after the Muslim Conquest: The Transformation of Northern Mesopotamia, Chase F. Robinson. Asma Barlas.
- “Globalizing Equality: Muslim Women, Theology, and Feminisms,” in Fera Simone (ed.), On Shifting Ground: Muslim Women in the Global Era.
- The Qur’an, Shari’a, and Women’s Rights.
- “Women’s and Feminist Readings of the Qur’an,” in Jane McAuliffe.
- “Women in Islam: Facts and Perceptions” by Memoona Hasnain.
- Re-reading the Quran. Muslim women rights within sacred text.
- Hamid Dabashi on post-colonialism and colonialism/imperialism’s use of feminism against Muslim women.
- Shattering Stereotypes - Muslim Women Speak Out by Fauzia Khan.
- Amira Jarmakani’s Imagining Arab Womanhood: The Cultural Mythology of Veils, Harems, and Belly Dancers.
- The Unique Face of Indonesia’s Islamic Feminism.
- Miriam Cooke’s Women Claim Islam Creating Islamic Feminism Through Literature.
- ‘Victimization’ versus ‘resistance’ - feminism and the dilemmatics of Islamic agency.
- The Veil (De)contextualized and Nations ‘Democratized’- Unsettling War, Visibilities, and U.S. Hegemony.
- Towards a Recognition of Multiple Feminism: The Voice of Muslim Women by Ayesha Asghar and Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente. A good explanation of why third world women and Muslim women are reluctant to participate in mainstream white feminism.
- The Rights of Women in Islam: An Authentic Approach by Haifaa A. Jawad.
- In case you forgot, Muslim women have rights to the nikahnama (legal papers for marriage) where their property rights, mobility, monetary power is all included within the papers.
- Margot Badran’s Feminism in Islam: Secular and Religious Convergences.
- Imperiled Muslim women, Dangerous Muslim men and Civilized Europeans: Legal and Social Responses to Forced Marriages by Sherene Razack.
- The Seductions of Honor Crime by Lila Abu Lughod.
- Hundreds of publications, lectures, videos, and so much more. What rock do racists and xenophobic folks live under?
Let’s just remember one basic fact: If you are not Muslim, let alone female Muslim, you cannot and should not speak for us or our goals and priorities in life. Many of us follow a definition of progress that is inherently contrary to yours. To force us into accepting your idea of success and empowerment is to do what colonialists and imperialists did and continue doing. Remember when I said this?
I’m a Muslim woman. And I’m not oppressed by my religion.
What oppresses me as a citizen and as a human being is the patriarchal interpretation of Islamic teachings, cultural distortion of basic theological beliefs and man-made rules directed cruelly at women only. What ties me down and suffocates me is gender discrimination done as a result of following back-breaking mores. But, above all, what oppresses me is the common man’s basic mistake of believing what he hears from malicious conservatives. You can help me from being oppressed by simply using your head for a change. When you hear someone say, “Oh, the hijab’s only a symbol of misogyny”, you can stop for a second, do your research and realize that, no, it’s a practice that the majority respectfully believes in for all sorts of reasons. You can also realize that the author of this post isn’t wearing a hijab at all. For a rational Muslim, it’s all about the freedom to choose. You can sit back and delete that ill-informed hate speech you had ready. You can learn that objectivity plays a key role when you’re studying other people’s religion.
Your ignorance and usage of savior, racist rhetoric is oppressive. There is no denying that there is sexism in cultures - have a look at the hyper sexualized image of a woman in modern day America - but you will never hear a critic castigate Christianity, you won’t find critics lambasting Western ideas of women representation and such. Which highlights the hypocrisy found in the discourse concerning Muslim women and their empowerment. No one asked you to liberate us. One of the reasons why Muslim women remain reluctant, including myself, to participate in white mainstream feminism is because of the shameless denial of privilege on part of white feminists and also because our bodies and identities are turned into battlefields. Read this part from my essay: The Other-izing of Muslim Women in Western Feminism and Hegemonic Discourse(s). Our issues are prioritized according to white feminists’ preferences. If that’s ‘feminism’, none of us want to be part of it.
So let’s get one thing clear in today’s lesson: Matters aren’t as simple as you folks assume them to be. Religion, politics, personal identity, regions, cultures, timeline(s) of historical events affect gender politics in ways that are beyond your imagination. Think a few hundred times before you decide to talk about a religion and culture you don’t belong to.