If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?
I suppose at least a little faith in literature’s ability to make us better is what lies behind this question. But I have no such faith. The president has already read many wonderful books from many different cultures. Now we need him to act justly in certain matters: to stop killing people extrajudicially, and to stop deporting people with such enthusiasm. I doubt that more reading will quicken his conscience in these matters.”
– Teju Cole: By the Book. (via batarde)
NEW POST: "I Am Accountable to Loretta Saunders" - by Sarah Hunt
"We are connected through our grief and our collective resistance to this terror which targets our relations. We are linked through our sense of urgency to stop this violence from continuing and to change the society in which this terror is normalized."
Sarah Hunt has been writing about these issues for years, which makes this particular piece even more hardhitting. Hunt points out exactly how the government often blames Native women themselves for their deaths and disappearances, how dangerous our legal and social attitudes towards sex workers are, and challenges both herself and her readers to think long and hard about what justice for missing and murdered women would look like.
In conversations with friends, I’ve been struggling to explain why and how the disappearance and death of Loretta Saunders feels bigger than just the loss of one bright, young woman who I never met. Struggling to explain to friends who don’t know any Native people, friends who didn’t really understand what Idle No More was/is about, friends who never heard the word “colonialism” in their day to day lives. Trying to explain while I’m still trying to understand myself.
Hunt brings her wealth of knowledge, resources and experience together in this heartwrenching piece. She takes us to task, wondering if asking for a government inquiry is really a step forward:
Appealing to the same government that removes our children from our homes, takes our land for resource extraction, and denies our own legal jurisdiction over our homelands and households does not make sense to me. Is Harper really the source of solutions to violence against our aunties?
The missing, the murdered, Loretta Saunders… these are the stories keeping me awake at night. But I find a small amount of solace in Sarah Hunt’s words, and in the actions of hardworking community organizers, writers, resisters like her. People like her cousins who gathered in Ottawa a week after the news of her death was announced. Her cousins who reminded us the words she lived by, “Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.” Cheers to the very few politicians, like Charlie Angus, Romeo Saganash, and Nikki Ashton, who are trying their best to represent the voices of the missing, the stories of the families who mourn and miss them, all in the hopes of challenging the dysfunctional political systems they work within.
I’m trying to find hope.
“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”
Happy Birthday Audre Lorde (February 18, 1934 – November 17, 1992)! Celebrating trailblazing Caribbean women!
image and story source: Repeating Islands (awesome Caribbean blog!)
Of course i had to write about WvB. Duh I had to write about WvB. Let’s talk about him together.
When we make public statements about appropriation and racism and all the isms, fashion kids kind of talk out of their ass. I say this with love, I am calling you in, I want you to know I get it. We can discuss couture and how it is so much an art form, how idea making is art, how the production of aesthetics is art, but at the end of the day, fashion is a $1,200,000,000,000 (count them zeroes, let’s pretend it’s our bank statements) industry. Artsy fartsy designers aren’t the best selling — remember LaCroix? Schiaparelli? Now, you’ve got to be scandalous or incredibly basic to succeed (shoutout to Kors, #1 in America), we feed the fame monsters to borrow the power of their name. Clothes? They’re power. They represent power. They represent visions of class, however you imagine that. New money or old, it still plays the game of ca$h money and capitalism.
You can read the rest here.
UGH WALTER he always means well, but he’s appropriated many cultures in his past - i think i’m gonna look them all up one of these days (a lot of tribalism and stuff), write about it and someway try to contact him if not by e-mail i will pester him IRL. & also he uses a lot of black male models he supposedly just got off “the street” & it’s kinda fetishizing i think, i’m not sure how i feel about it
Honestly I saw some people sharing this when it happened going “COOL FINALLY A DESIGNER CALLING OUT CULTURAL APPROPRIATION” and I was definitely not getting the same vibe/intention.
“As a Queer Femme, so often my sexuality is defined in relation to whoever I am rolling with. When seeing people say that ‘femmeness’ is invisible, I ask them to look a little harder. If in your version of ‘queer’, it only seems to exist in flavours of androgynous and butch, I strongly encourage you to change your minds cause we ain’t changing our gender.”
– Kim Crosby via Homeward Bound: Searching for the Secret Island of Black Queer Mixed Femmes | Autostraddle (via autostraddle)
There’s a lot of heat on Gap’s new campaign featuring Waris Ahluwalia, a Sikh Indian-American designer and actor. Social media is buzzing with positive reviews from those excited to see a Sikh portrayed in popular ads, and negative comments reducing his image to crass stereotypes. Showing support in the face of lewd comments and defaced physical ads, Gap made Waris’ photo their twitter cover; described ridiculously by the Huffington Post headline as an “Incredible Response From (the) Company.”
Wait, I mean— really?? We at Browntourage are all about diversity in media, and while this campaign is a step forward in recognizing positive visual representation of Brown people, it’s also ignoring some key stats about THE GAP. While preaching diversity in it’s ads, the company has exempted itself from financial responsibility toward safety in the factories it operates in Bangladesh. According to Daily Finance:
"On the heels of a garment factory collapse in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,100 workers, many well-known companies signed the Bangladesh Factory Safety Accord to improve safety conditions for the employees of their suppliers there — companies such as PVH (PVH), which owns Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Izod; Swedish retailer H&M; Inditex, which owns Zara; and Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF).
Conspicuously absent from the list: Walmart (WMT) and Gap (GPS).
Turned off by the accord’s legally binding provisions, according to The Wall Street Journal, Walmart and Gap have essentially exempted themselves from the risk of having to pay penalties for failing to meet the accord’s commitments to protect worker safety.”
Although the company has agreed to an alternative, it means a cash advance to the factories- perhaps the thinnest bandaid ever.
So, while we praise one step forward in brown visibility, we mourn the thousands who remain invisible, working in unsafe factories (dying in them) while we wear our new Gap threads because the ads are *spicy* and the “epic” social media cover photo move was enough a show of solidarity to feel cozy inside.
Waris is a charming, cosmopolitan gentleman- and he is also not the face of change. Gap’s only response is that of Settings -> Change Background. No official statement has been released and I’m surprised to see so many reputable journalists applauding them for— continuing to advertise?
For true change, we can “vote with our dollars,” and choose companies that value practices you want to see more of in the world, and spread this message to provide alternative stories to the social media buzz. For true change, Gap could utilize the buzz around racist comments to educate their audience about prejudice and racism.
So, Gap, if you’re listening. Let’s build a bridge. Or perhaps build a little more stability in those factories of yours. According to the FAQ section of the Act, it’s never too late to sign!
I’m reblogging this for as much a criticism of Huffington Post’s brand of “journalism” as I am for the passionate calls for accountability. If major international brands want the heartwarming praise for having racially diverse models in their advertising campaign, they should also be held accountable for how their treat the workers in the global south who make their clothing in unsafe factories for criminally low wages.
“…I’m over people not explicitly acknowledging (racism in the fashion industry). Go on. Say it. Utter the word. You can do it. It’s scary; I get it – it’s scary because as a white dude naming a thing you (consciously or not) play part in perpetuating. You’re shooting yourself in the foot.”
– The Fashion Pirate takes on the Fashion Critic by Arabelle Sicardi (November 18th, 2013)
From Lorde to Macklemore, it’s a sentiment that’s galling for its popularity: white artists need to stop using the wealth signifiers of rap music to gesture at their self-important “anti-consumerism.” What Allen misses as she washes rims in a kitchen decorated only with bottles of champagne is that it’s not anti-consumerism when it only targets one type of consumer.
Rap owns a unique history soundtracking the triumph of financial success in a country that long barred black Americans from that success. It shouldn’t be an opportunity for white artists to wax superior. Beyond poor taste, it’s the myopia of latent racism that’s more anxious about gold chains on a rapper than an Armani tie on a hedge fund analyst.
Similarly, Lily Allen’s response to sexist industry demands for thinness becomes entirely ineffectual when it lashes out against women who succeed despite those demands. Allen is not savily critiquing the world of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Miley Cyrus, she’s resentfully bemoaning not getting to enjoy the same success.
“Hard Out Here” is the opposite of Mileywave. Instead of using black women as props to further her career, Allen blames them for its stagnation. In full-sleeved dresses Allen mocks her inability to twerk amidst women of color in body suits who launch into exaggerated dance moves, licking their hands and then rubbing their crotch. Her older white male manager tries to get to her to mimic them. Meanwhile she sings, “Don’t need to shake my ass for you/‘Cause I’ve got a brain.” Cut to black women shaking their ass, so much for sisterly solidarity.”
Lily Allen’s Anti Black Feminism by Ayesha A. Siddiqi (via alittlelateforalot)
If you only read one take-down of Lily Allen’s shitty new music video, make it this one.
Another great one is Hard Out Here for a White Feminist by Julianne Escobedo Shepherd.
“With another episode concluded in the queasy oscillation between political insult and repair, the task remains to circulate, conceptualize, and perhaps learn from symbols and markers of disenfranchised cultures without dictating the terms of engagement. As the institutional backing responsible for Inukt’s newfound visibility, the MBA carried a distinct obligation to obviate profitable abuses of power, even in a venture as admittedly minor as a clothing line at their museum store. Yet the “minor” spaces are all the more crucial here, where longstanding erasures move within the cultural imaginary as naturalized practice. If anything, the need for constant vigilance, the need for the often exhausting labor of critiquing grotesque displays of power, becomes all the more apparent.”
The Musée des Beaux-Arts Shows its Colonial Hand in Inukt Affair by Joseph Henry (October 31st, 2013)
An Analysis of the Inukt Boutique by Chelsea Vowel (October 30th, 2013)
Yesterday I just felt nauseated by this story. But after reading Henry and Vowel’s insightful critiques, it feels like a step in the right direction. School these assholes.
“Ending oppression, violence against women, violence against men, particularly of the neo-liberal variety, means embracing the historical, materialist, anti-racist thought of Black and Third World Marxist feminists. Are the White feminists who persist in throwing in the word “race” or “racism” in their otherwise left-liberal approaches to feminism willfully ignorant? Are they unable to cede the floor to Black feminism because it would mean the loss of a certain racial privilege? The persistent claim to universalism, which is the core of this White feminism, renders the experiences, thoughts and work of Black and Third World feminists invisible, over and over again. Time’s up!”
White Feminist Fatigue Syndrome by Brenna Bhandar & Denise Ferreira da Silva (October 21, 2013)
EDITED TO ADD: Just noticed the original quote used ableist language, so I edited it.