In Spanish class we were learning the phrase, “donde es” (where are you from) and each student answered with a city or town name. I answered “Westport” and the teacher stopped me to explain the phrase means, “where do you hail from, as in where were you born.”
Interesting how he interrupted me, the obviously non-American looking person in the room. Nobody else was questioned about her origins. Granted I was born in Taiwan, but emigrated as a toddler and sound as Amurikan as the blue-eyed blond woman next to me.
She told me, more than once: ”We didn’t have kids like these here, before.”
In fact, that statement is mostly true. In perception, it is absolutely.
My district is in a town built on white flight; on one side, it’s bordered by a river some seemed to imagine a moat. In decades past, families moved there to escape those who were different or at least their imagined ghost. But time has moved on, and the suburbs have raced westward, and the old town that was for a time a new refuge is becoming a version of what some of those citizens once fled. That’s why, frankly, there was a job for me out there.
Perhaps you can imagine what that slow transition’s been like, what with the gradually growing numbers of Those People and their kids, what with the path to the present lined with assumptions and attitudes and fear.
But this is a different story. Or at least a different conclusion. A teacher who for twenty-some-odd years had never had a student who spoke a different language at home managed to bring an open mind and heart to the end of her career— as it should be but sometimes isn’t. She had the first of my students in that building, and though she was nervous, in the end, she was delighted. After she retired, she became my enthusiastic sub, mostly just for the chance to talk to them.
This spring, as I may have mentioned, she’s helped me help the senior who intends to go to college this fall. She took her for testing; she showed that nervous, new driver easier routes. When I couldn’t go to commencement, she went, even offering to pick up the girl’s family in the city to make sure they were there. She took pictures, and even had them printed, and even mailed copied to me so I’d have them to put up on the board that is the graphic organizer of my career.
This isn’t an ending, I don’t expect. But it is certainly happy.
I definitely was inspired by the Shit White Girls Say…..To Black Girls vid, and I kind of want to make this a video as well. All the following things have been said to me by white American non Muslim friends. It’s not cute, it’s not funny and it’s…
This is straight-up Islamophobia. Especially since the ‘citizenship oath’ ceremony is purely formalistic — the prospective citizen has already jumped through all the substantive hurdles.
It is simply a form of forced assimilation at this point … so that even when it really doesn’t matter, the white Christian nation will force all others to conform to its particular vision of what ‘normal’ is, just because it can.
Muslim women will no longer be able to cover their faces as they take Canadian citizenship after the country’s immigration minister announced a ban on anyone wearing the niqab – the face veil – or burqa – full body and face covering – while taking the oath of citizenship.
He said that he had received complaints from citizenship judges who had claimed that it was difficult to ensure that individuals whose faces were covered were actually reciting the oath.
“They told me last month that it’s a fairly common problem. Every week, in every region of the country, we’re dealing with situations where applicants arrive with a veil on,” said Jason Kenney, the minister of citizenship and immigration.
“Frankly, I found it bizarre that the rules allowed people to take the oath with a veil on.”
He added that the move was also not simply a practical measure, saying: “It is a matter of deep principle that goes to the heart of our identity and our values of openness and equality.”
I HATE THIS. Especially that Orwellian bit at the end about “openness and equality”—- chilling.
Now, wrap your head around this for a moment. You are homeless, police catches you, you are fined around 500 Euros, if you don’t have the money, you go to jail. I suppose if you did have such sum, most likely you wouldn’t be homeless, especially considering what 500 bucks represent in terms of income in Eastern Europe.
But it seems that logic is not fashionable in Europe these days. As much as part of the “European narrative” is based on this tired old trope of “enlightenment values” and “the heritage of reason” vs. “the hordes of foreign savages trying to take over the continent”, these values are only symbolic in paper. When they are supposed to be put into practice, this is the kind of legislation we get.
“Reverse Racism? Many white people claim to have experienced mistreatment, prejudice, or racism from people of colour. This claim may be used to justify stereotyping and mistreatment of people of colour. But racism is institutional, the power is always on the side of the institutions, which in Canada favour white people. Anyone from any group can have personal attitudes of prejudice towards others and may be subject to action or litigation based on discriminatory activities. But racism is not only about prejudice - it is about power. And in Canadian society, only white people have the power to enforce systematic, institutionalized racism. We are born into a society in which racial power imbalances are already established. Reverse racism does not exist in today’s society.”—(Halifax District School Board, Anti-Racism Policy, 1996) on Reverse Racism (via racismfreeontario)
What are your favourite Racism 101 (ore related) authors, websites, international organizations, articles or blog posts? They need to be safe for work, so please remember that some of the stuff that is circulates on tumblr may not be applicable. I suppose some things may be edited.
Anyways, please share with anything that is easily accessibly online. It will help me for FYEW and some other projects I’m working on, such as Racism Free Ontario, that I’ll probably reblog on here soon enough. Tumblr posts can be reblogged to the Racism Free Ontario tumblr, and of course, here.
I get “Where are you from?” (A: “From here.”) or “Are you [x]?” “No.” If I’m feeling generous/confrontational, for the second question I’ll answer “No, I’m Jewish.” Both are very NYC—growing up down South, it was just, “What are you?”
Yeah, then when I mention my Canadian roots, the questioner invariably insists on finding out about the Asian background. It is as if a non-white person couldn’t possibly be Canadian or American, happens to Asians all the time; forever the foreigner.
These are the exact words that I heard, coming from a vendor at a community holiday craft fair. Arrrgh, and it occured after a simple exchange of greetings. Non-whites (especially Asians) get this all the time. Do whites ever get asked a similar question within seconds of engaging in small talk?
How do you react to such a question? (everyone can answer)
What does it mean to be a person of color? How can we think about communities of color as also yellow and brown? I am attempting to put together an online colloquium/dialogue series on Tumblr consisting of Asian American bloggers (APIA/SEA/SAALT). While discussions of race…
OK so I know we keep saying we want these folks to listen to us, but I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of people have no idea what listening to POC looks like. They know how to engage with POC as entertainers, service workers, objects of desire, and objects of scorn, but engaging with POC as equals in activism? No clue how to even be in the same space with that, let alone do it.
I’ve been thinking about this ever since I saw some serious eruptions over gender stuff in a local activist group, when it became clear to me that “respecting women” was a line very often repeated but many of the men having it come out of their lips really had no idea what that meant in terms of how to actually deal with women in person.
I mean we all talk about diversity, respect, inclusion, etc, in activist communities but I think it needs to be said that lots of people have absolutely no idea what that looks like or feels like, on either side of privilege.
“Thank you for starting a movement. But you have a long way to go. This enemy of ours is not just Wall Street— it’s a whole culture. It’s a way of looking at us, and valuing ourselves and each other. And how you are going to move beyond challenging Wall Street, how you’re going to move to become part of the solution, is not gonna be easy. You’re gonna have to do a lot of thinking. You have to look at how you yourselves have become part of this culture. You’re gonna have to look at how many of you would be happy if you could become part of Wall Street, and become part of the corporations, if they would give you jobs. There’s a long road ahead, because you have the opportunity to create something new, that’s based on completely different values. But you’re gonna have to be thinking about values, and not just about abuses.”—Grace Lee Boggs (via wecanbenew)
ALBERTVILLE, Ala. — Along Main Street in this small Alabama town, the Mexican restaurant was closed, lights were out at a Hispanic-owned grocery store and even a bank catering to Spanish speakers was dark. Nearby, the usual hum of a chicken processing plant was silent.
Businesses dependent on immigrant labor were shuttered Wednesday as workers took the day off to protest the state’s strict new immigration law.
The work stoppage appeared largest in northeast Alabama, the hub of the state’s $2.7 billion poultry industry, but metropolitan areas were also affected. At least a half-dozen chicken processing plants closed or scaled back operations because employees, many of whom are Hispanic, didn’t show up for work or told managers in advance they wanted to join the sick-out to show disapproval of the law upheld by a federal judge two weeks ago.
“We want the mayor, the governor, this judge to know we are part of the economy of Alabama,” said Mexican immigrant Mireya Bonilla, who manages the supermarket La Orquidea, or “The Orchid,” in Albertville.
A group of women protested the treatment of First Nations and Aboriginal women while a Human Rights Inquiry is happening in Vancouver.
This is why we need to ensure stuff like equal access to things. This is why we need to keep moving forward in access and equality.
We all reblog pictures from Etsy or whatever of cultural appropriation but when was the last time any of us reblogged a message from a First Nations or Aboriginal woman? It’s not like I’m better, I mean, at all. But this happened today and I haven’t seen any of it on Tumblr but it’s big news and needs to be highlighted, so maybe thinking about reblogging please?
Please take a look at this story. Canada is incredibly inclusive and good at dealing with horrors that happened in the past but it still has a ways to go to make sure that all voices are heard and everyone has equal access to what they need and truly get rid of the kind of discrimination that still happens every day, all the time right now. It needs to go.
This story should be all over my Dash and all over yours too if you’re in North America. Why isn’t it? We can make it so let’s do it.
Also adding this from when I blogged this the first time last night: someone reblogged on the previous one, I can’t figure out to reblog their comments, along the lines “that Canada isn’t “incredibly inclusive” because there is still a lot of oppression going on”, so let me be clear here, I’m talking about “incredibly inclusive” on a bell curve here, not that Canada is close to being fully equitable and totally, utterly inclusive and non-oppressive. Canada still has a long way to go in creating a country that’s truly equal and truly has stopped discrimination and oppression. But on a bell curve? Canada’s actually trying and moving forward inch by inch. It’s two steps forward, one step back in a lot of notable ways and I am in no way trying to the oppression or discrimination or silencing that’s still going on, which is why I’m posting this, let’s reblog this and get the story told.
“What I know about grammar is its infinite power. To shift the structure of a sentence alters the meaning of that sentence, as definitely and inflexibly as the position of a camera alters the meaning of the object photographed. Many people know about camera angles now, but not so many know about sentences.”—Joan Didion (via dirtcrumbgoddess)