Racialicious

Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations. If you've been on the blog, you know how this Tumblr works, too. Including the moderation policy.
Recent Tweets @racialicious
Posts tagged "activism"

youthxcrew69:

youthxenrage:

badbilliejean:

wrathandrecklessness:

A couple of pages from my favorite children’s book “A is for activist”

want.

my kid will have jordans and this book. 

Buying this for  my soon-to-be niece as soon as possible.

(via uhouse)

Heavyweight champions of the word Amiri Baraka and Maya Angelou, dancing on the Cosmogram honoring Langston Hughes at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City. 
Baraka, a former poet laureate for his home state of New Jersey as well as an author, playwright and activist, passed away Thursday at the age of 79. ”Not only has New Jersey, but the United States of America, has lost a great human being. He was a legend in his own lifetime,” Newark City Council President Mildred Crump said. “It is such a loss, such a great loss.”

Heavyweight champions of the word Amiri Baraka and Maya Angelou, dancing on the Cosmogram honoring Langston Hughes at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City. 

Baraka, a former poet laureate for his home state of New Jersey as well as an author, playwright and activist, passed away Thursday at the age of 79. 

Not only has New Jersey, but the United States of America, has lost a great human being. He was a legend in his own lifetime,” Newark City Council President Mildred Crump said. “It is such a loss, such a great loss.”

lastrealindians:

Breaking Interview with Arrested Nez Perce Councilman Brooklyn Baptiste:

Nez Perce Tribal Council Members Arrested Blocking Tarsands Oil Shipment

The digisphere is abuzz with reports of elected Tribal officials taking to the streets to take direct action to block the road (highway 12 in Nez Perce Country), disallowing the passage of a massive “Mega-Load” of equipement destined for Alberta Tarsands Oil development (a most vile form of energy extraction).

LRI gives you an inside look at the happenings through the eyes of Brooklyn Baptiste (Nimiipuu Nation), a long-time Tribal Council member, Chairman, Vice-Chair of the Nez Perce Nation and leader of various trades who was arrested 48 hours ago along with fellow Tribal Council members.

[LRI] So Brooks (Councilman Baptiste), can you tell me what happened that day?

[Councilman Baptiste] Yes, we were all in frenzy because we had heard about the permit to pass through highway 12, which runs through territory we ceded to the U.S. while maintaining usufructuary rights (hunting, fishing, water, etc). Now this was on a Sunday so we all called an emergency meeting of the 9 Council members to discuss the situation. Turns out the State Court in Idaho had granted or recognized the authority of the United States Forest Service to weigh in on whether or not the State of Idaho should or should not issue the permit to move this MegaLoad through our country. Well, the USFS stated that the Nez Perce government had not been consulted (as they are required to do on all highways in our ceded territory) and that they could not support approval of the permit. We (Nez Perce) agree with this statement and even assert that it should be elevated to requiring our Free Prior and Informed Consent according to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; anyhow, Forest Service said no, State of Idaho didn’t care and issued the permit anyway. That left us with limited time, limited options. They backed us into a corner. We all agreed forming a blockade was a reasonable thing to do.

[LRI] How many people were at the blockade? Were the arrests peaceful?

[Councilman Baptiste] There were at least 150 people there, including spiritual leaders, youth, regional activists, environmental advocates and 8 of our 9 council members, it was powerful. We Council members all got arrested by our own cops; actually I was arrested by my 1st cousin! But we are not above the law and we felt the State of Idaho, the Federal Gov., the President of the USA, and anyone who would listen should know that we cannot allow these governments to disrespect us like this. We were not consulted, we did not give consent; these MegaLoads are humongous, they block all traffic, they create adverse economic impacts for us, long term environmental impacts, and safety issues. Additionally, we do not support Tarsands Oil development; we (Nez Perce Tribal Council) have a resolution in place supporting our 1st Nations relatives on the other side of this colonial border who are suffering because of Tarsands Oil extraction. It’s total destruction. We all felt we had to take a stand; they need to listen. Something has to change. We all got charged with disorderly conduct but that direct action is effective. Just think if everyone did that when it was time. As leaders, elected or not, we need to be able to meet our ancestors in the spirit world and hold our heads up strong and answer them when they ask if we did all we could do to protect the people and the land. This is about our inherent sovereignty. We are sovereign because of this land, this water, the animals. What is sovereignty without them. We’re all waking up.

See more here:  http://lastrealindians.com/breaking-interview-with-arrested-nez-perce-councilman-brooklyn-baptiste/

(via nitanahkohe)

Sometimes when I’m alone, I wonder why life has to be so hard for our people. It’s puzzling that some of our own people will turn against us. Is it money? Power? Greed? We were here because we were asked to be here, to stand as protection to the traditional families who continue to follow the original instructions as handed down to us from generation to generation in the form of our Creation stories. I am told there is now an investigation being implemented for the murder of the sixty some people killed during that reign of terror. It’s an outrage that it took over 40 years to discover that a bullet hole in the back doesn’t sound like death by natural cause. We were there also, to protect the land from being raped by the government for uranium. We have evidence of the chemical dumps placed on our land without the knowledge or consent of our members and the leaking of radiation 5 times the safe level, polluting the veins of our mother earth and turning our sacred water into a poison that would cause our child bearing women to abort their unborn babies and cancer replacing natural cause on the death certificates of many of our people. I am not trying to make this a gloom and doom message. I am only trying to give an understanding to some of our young people that we need to continue to protect all that is sacred to us, our Elders, our women and our children, our culture and way of life and each other…But as you can guess, I am getting tired. I just want to be home with my people. I want to wake up to the sound of the birds singing outside my window and the smell of “cowboy coffee” coming from the kitchen instead of hearing the clanging of cell doors and jingling of rings of keys. Please! Continue to fight for what is right. That is all I can ask.
Leonard Peltier, on the 38th anniversary of the incident at Oglala today (June 26, 2013), which has now been declared Leonard Peltier Day by the Oglala Lakota Nation [source] (via nitanahkohe)
What if the reproductive movement needs a divorce? What if health, rights and justice gave each other a hard hug and we all set off on our separate paths? What creativity, initiative and action might that release? Could we get more done choosing to pursue many different strategies and relationships in the world, rather than trying to make this one function? Maybe we could spend less time working through misunderstandings, trying to convince each other of what may be fundamentally irreconcilable viewpoints and turn to recruiting new members to our movement. Maybe we would each do more of what we are good at by no longer having to attend to what others feel it best that we do.
Sujatha, “A Happy Divorce,” CoreAlign 6/26/13

In what one longtime activist called the largest rally in the history of the local black LGBT community, about 50 people gathered in a South Dallas parking lot on Saturday morning to voice their objections to City Councilwoman Vonciel Hill’s anti-gay comments last week concerning an HIV prevention billboard.

The billboard, part of the Greater Than AIDS campaign, features a black man with his arms around another black man and says, “UPDATE YOUR STATUS.”

Hill, who is African-American and virulently anti-gay, told a TV news station that she objected to the billboard in her district because she believes it sends the message that homosexuality is “acceptable.”

Saturday’s rally, which had as its theme a hashtag, #RevLOVE, was held under temporary awnings erected in the parking lot of Abounding Prosperity, an HIV/AIDS agency in the heart of South Dallas at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and SM Wright Freeway. Harold Steward, who organized the rally, explained to those who braved 90-degree heat that the hashtag #RevLOVE is based on a line from pioneering gay black activist Joseph Beam’s book, In The Life.

“Black men loving black men is the revolutionary act,” Beam wrote.

“We have been here before,” Steward told the crowd. “If we have to we will plaster our faces and lives and our loves on every billboard in America. We will love in this revolutionary way until our haters catch up with our history.”


Alpha Thomas, a longtime African-American lesbian activist, said she was attending the rally to support her black gay brothers.

“We will not be silent or invisible while AIDS continues to ravage and devastate our community,” Thomas told the crowd. “Black gay men have always been and always will be part of Dallas.”

Finally, fedoras for a good cause! Check it out:

Women wear many hats - as community leaders, mothers, workers, volunteers, and much more.  To celebrate this, the We Belong Together campaign is using the fedora as a metaphor for the many hats that women wear to create a brighter future for all.  It is also a symbol of the need for immigration reform that treats women fairly, and a declaration that though women wear many hats, on this issue we speak with one voice.

There are 11 million people living in the United States without legal status and more than half of these immigrants are women. Current immigration laws discriminate against women who want to work in this country; separate parents, children and partners; prevent families from reunifying as a result of endless family visa backlogs; and jeopardize women’s autonomy and safety. We now have the historic opportunity to transform conditions for immigrant women, LGBT families, and their loved ones.

Congress is poised to vote on immigration reform legislation this year. The Senate will debate and vote first, in the weeks following Memorial Day. Our goal is to pressure Congress to support a bill that fixes our immigration system and provides a pathway to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants, while also treating women and LGBT families fairly.

We are more likely to achieve this goal if women, the LGBT community, and allies make our voices heard. The Fedoras for Fairness campaign (#Fairdora) is an effort to demonstrate our support while calling on others to join us.

We Belong Together is led by the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum,  and driven by the participation of women’s organizations, immigrant rights groups, children, and families across the country.

racismschool:

Activist, Pat Sumi
A sansei born in Colorado during the early 1940s, was an Asian American activist known for anti-Vietnam War organizing with G.I.s at Camp Pendleton and Fort Hood. Sumi worked for the Head Start program in Mississippi from 1966 to 1967, and worked on voter registration efforts in the South. Sumi also participated in the Eldridge Cleaver Delegation of anti-war Americans to North Korea, North Vietnam, and China. Sumi passed away in 1997. (X)
“I think we really failed ultimately in not knowing how to use leadership with a long vision. We just went from demonstration to demonstration, and newspaper to newspaper. But beyond that, our thought of revolution was to just get bigger and bigger, and eventually there would be a few people who would provide leadership on the right things to do. 
 In reality it’s much more complicated, and I think that’s where we really fell apart because we couldn’t agree on what the right thing was. And instead of trying to work things out, we just focused on the disagreements, and got more and more contentious and lost sight of all the reasons of why we should be unified. It was partly egos, partly inexperience, and partly naivete.” (X)

racismschool:

Activist, Pat Sumi

A sansei born in Colorado during the early 1940s, was an Asian American activist known for anti-Vietnam War organizing with G.I.s at Camp Pendleton and Fort Hood. Sumi worked for the Head Start program in Mississippi from 1966 to 1967, and worked on voter registration efforts in the South. Sumi also participated in the Eldridge Cleaver Delegation of anti-war Americans to North Korea, North Vietnam, and China. Sumi passed away in 1997. (X)

I think we really failed ultimately in not knowing how to use leadership with a long vision. We just went from demonstration to demonstration, and newspaper to newspaper. But beyond that, our thought of revolution was to just get bigger and bigger, and eventually there would be a few people who would provide leadership on the right things to do.

In reality it’s much more complicated, and I think that’s where we really fell apart because we couldn’t agree on what the right thing was. And instead of trying to work things out, we just focused on the disagreements, and got more and more contentious and lost sight of all the reasons of why we should be unified. It was partly egos, partly inexperience, and partly naivete.” (X)

By Guest Contributors Nicole Soojung Callahan and Shiuan Butler

Nicole’s story:

About two months ago, my husband came home from a haircut and said, “Did you know that Hair Cuttery has a line of ‘Asian-inspired’ hair products by Cibu? They have something called ‘Geishalicious Shampoo.’” I went to Cibu International’s website to check out the rest of their products, and could hardly believe the awfulness of the names: Miso Knotty Detangler. Mousse Lee Volumizer. Spring Roll Hydrating Cleanser. Ancient Veil Oil Mist. Hi-Ya! Keratin Reconstructive Conditioner. Dry Kwon Do Dry Shampoo. Wok This Way Sculpting Sauce. Take Out Clarifying Shampoo (with a picture of a take-out box on the bottle). It was as if a bunch of people had all gotten in a room and brainstormed as many Asian stereotypes as they could, and then named beauty products after all of them.

image

(Pictured above: Cibu International’s (l-r) Wok This Way Styling Sauce, Sashini Thermal Shine Solution, Miso Knotty Detangler, Ancient Veil Oil Mist, and Ancient Serum Argan Oil Treatment. Provided by Nicole Soojung Callahan.)

Cibu is part of Ratner Companies, which also owns nearly 800 Hair Cuttery, Bubbles, Salon Cielo, Salon Plaza, and Colorworks salons in 19 states. Cibu’s product names are all based on reducing Asian cultures to a handful of food and martial-arts references, tasteless puns, and fetishizing Asian stereotypes. As if the names aren’t bad enough, Cibu’s Facebook page also includes a picture of a staff member dressed in an “Asian costume,” fans laughing at “me love you long time” jokes, and a horrible cartoon ad featuring a naked geisha on her knees, hands behind her back, with the ad copy “Seduced by Geishalicious.”

image

(Pictured above: deleted images from Cibu International’s Facebook page. Provided by Nicole Soojung Callahan.)

After participating in a comment thread on Cibu’s Facebook page in which many women of color, as well as white women, chimed in to express their concerns about Cibu’s offensive names, I began communicating with Cibu’s brand manager. Our discussions were cordial—though she called me a “radical”—she voiced some openness to changing the Geishalicious name at some point in the future, when existing stock had been sufficiently depleted. But there was no openness to changing other names. In the meantime, Cibu had deleted several critical comments from their Facebook page, including my friend Shiuan Butler’s. The brand manager told me it was because she did not want “[her] brand hijacked by negativity.”

At this point Shiuan suggested that I start a Change.org petition to encourage Cibu to change all of their names, not just Geishalicious. I didn’t think Cibu would listen, but I did think they should know we weren’t alone in finding their names offensive. With some advice from Shelby Knox at Change.org, we settled on the petition wording and uploaded it on January 28. Miss Representation, Katha Pollitt, Shelby Knox, Disgrasian, Angry Asian Man, Lela Lee, and many others signed and shared the petition. By February 6, the petition had garnered over 1,100 signatures—well beyond our wildest hopes.

On February 7, I received an email statement from Diane Daly, Director of Public and Community Relations at Ratner Companies, which she asked me to share with the petition signers: “Over the last several weeks, we have heard from numerous people expressing their objection to the names of some of our Cibu International hair styling products. Many have said they find some of the names to be offensive and racially insensitive, especially to Asians… [W]e deeply regret and apologize for any offense that we may have caused, both to our clients and to those who are concerned about the inappropriate depiction of peoples and cultures… Therefore, we have decided to embark on a process of transitioning out of the current product names and reintroducing them with new names.”

While we are glad for Cibu’s willingness to change, we know that this change would never have come about without public pressure. Just the day before Cibu’s announcement about the name changes, the company was still “liking” derailing statements made by some of their Facebook fans, such as, “I think racism takes on many forms. I also think that playing the race card as a knee-jerk reaction is dangerous and offensive.” Even after Cibu and Ratner Companies committed to renaming their products, several of their more enthusiastic fans just couldn’t let go—you can read their grumblings about “ultra-political-correctness” and how “some people need a life” in Cibu’s February 7 Facebook announcement about the change.

Yet, however reluctant Cibu may be in making these changes, Ratner Companies still took a positive and important step in promising to transition to new product names after hearing from over 1,100 people from all over the world. Many others recognized this and commended Cibu for their decision. One stylist wrote that she was thrilled with the change:

[A]s a stylist who is Asian in ethnicity the Asian theme is tacky and offensive. It makes me uncomfortable to tell people the name of the Cibu products I use on their hair. I can not express how happy I am to hear you break out of the glamorizing and fetishizing of the Asian culture as a whole. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much.

We hope that Cibu and Ratner Companies will seek out, listen to, and involve a diverse group of employees, consultants, and consumers as they choose their new names—and that Asians and Asian Americans are a part of that group, especially if Cibu plans to pursue another “Asian-inspired” theme for their products. In the meantime, we want to thank everyone who signed the petition or wrote to encourage Cibu to reconsider its offensive branding—this change would never have happened if so many people hadn’t taken a stand against racism and harmful stereotypes in marketing. Many of us will be watching with great interest to see how Cibu proceeds with its rebranding.

Shiuan’s story:

While this was not the first petition I have created (my previous one protested an article stereotyping Asian women’s vaginas by 8asians) this was a wonderful learning experience, and best of all I got to meet fellow activist Asian sister, Nicole! (Thank you to T.F. Charlton for connecting us!)

I first became motivated to act when Cibu deleted my comments on their Facebook fan page immediately after posting. I had already thought of creating a petition. But with that one act, I was truly inspired.

In one of Nicole’s emails to me, she wrote that she felt as though she had “zero power over these people or their company.” I quickly disagreed: I explained that I had previously created a petition and that petitions can be powerful statements and a catalyst in changing a company’s policy by leveraging the power of individuals. It’s a perfect strategy in this day and age of viral, social-media activism.

Nicole—even as a busy mom and student—quickly created the petition, which T.F. Charlton, Shelby Knox, and I all briefly edited before it was posted. Before we knew it, our petition had exploded to several hundred signatures within days! I agree with Nicole that Ratner Companies’ recently released statement is absolutely a direct consequence of all those who signed and shared our petition.

The statement from Cibu makes us feel hopeful. However, we won’t be content until we see that they have truly replaced all of Cibu’s horribly racist product names. We certainly hope that they hire diversity consultants in their new rebranding process.

You can sign the petition here if you haven’t already. If you’ve already signed, thank you! Feel free to share widely.

ETA: As of this post, Ratner has still not changed the Cibu product names — and hasn’t given a timeline for when they will. Please reblog this far and wide—and please sign the petition, if you haven’t done so—to let the company know this isn’t OK!

Shiuan Butler is a writer and relationship coach. She speaks and leads workshops empowering women’s relationships and sex lives. Find out more at www.shiuanbutler.com.

Nicole Soojung Callahan is a mother, Korean adoptee, writer, grad student, and publications director at a nonprofit. The story of her reunion with her sister was published in Somebody’s Child: Stories About Adoption (TouchWood Editions, 2011). Email her at nikki @ jhu.edu.  

**TRIGGER WARNING: Gendered violence, sexual violence, colonialism/colonizaton, abuse**

Many of the strategies to address violence have further strengthened broad systems of colonial power, which are themselves inherently violent. We continue to appeal to the Canadian legal system to address physical violence, calling for more policing or better laws, while knowing this system is set up to oppress, rather than help, us. The same colonial mentality that created the Indian Act to privilege the rights of men over women, and instituted residential schools to break down our family systems, serves as the foundation for the Canadian legal system. Surely we must engage with this powerful system, but appealing to law alone will not stop the violence.

So how do we begin to change norms around gendered violence without reinforcing its roots in colonial power? As we strategize, we must be careful not to reproduce the systems and ideologies that colonialism has introduced. Sexist, racist and homophobic ideas have been internalized at many levels, but colonialism’s stealthy ways make them hard to recognize.

As an example, one consequence of developing broad public awareness about the prevalence of violence against Indigenous women has been the privileging of some women’s voices over others. Moving from Vancouver’s downtown east side to offices in Ottawa and other urban centers across Turtle Island, efforts to name gendered violence have shifted from grassroots discussions to slick poster campaigns. In these moves, certain voices have been left behind, enacting a form of silencing that I believe is in crucial need of reparation. Rather than calling on our sisters in the sex trade to speak for themselves, others are asked to speak on their behalf. We must ask ourselves how colonial values continue to shape whose voices are seen as legitimate, while working to center the voices of the most marginalized women in our communities rather than only those of us with a colonial education.

So colonial violence can be understood as more than just interpersonal abuse – it is inherent in the systems that have shaped how we define ourselves and relate to one another as Indigenous people. It should go without saying that healing from violence requires rebuilding our individual and collective strength rather than reinforcing the power of the state. By centering local Indigenous knowledge in our understandings of leadership, honor, strength and love, we can redefine ‘power’ as well as ‘violence’. This requires relearning our stories and our cultural teaching in order to raise up the girls in our communities and respect them as leaders, mothers, warriors and knowledge keepers.

Sarah Hunt, “More Than A Poster Campaign: Redefining Colonial Violence,” Decolonization 2/14/13