October 02, 2014
STOP PROFILING ME!!!!
A survey has revealed the cars most likely to be given a ticket on America's roads – and the results prove it is not all about horsepower.
The study found that the Subaru WRX tops the national ranking - and one in three drivers of the turbocharged vehicle has a recent traffic violation.
...Insurance.com Managing Editor Des Toups said it was not all about powerful vehicles.
‘Cars don’t get tickets, drivers do – but those drivers like the WRX,' he said.
Hmmmm..... we have not yet started driving the WRX to work - all that clutching is hard on the knee, so the Spousal Unit has been driving it. He just got a ticket in DC.
September 22, 2014
At Last, Our Long National Nightmare is OVER
I do not know how you peoples have been living with the suspense.
I really don't. Shockingly, he's not even a Rethug:
For days, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has refused to reveal which male colleague called her "chubby," an anecdote she's used to demonstrate problems facing female politicians.
Now, the New York Times reports that it was the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii.
Inouye allegedly squeezed Gillibrand's waist and said, “Don’t lose too much weight now. I like my women chubby!”
I wouldn't read too much into this, peoples. After all, when a Rethuglican misspeaks, I think we can all admit that's some kind of Freudian slip that inadvertently reveals a putrid, seething mass of intolerant HomophobicRacistOtheristSexistPiggery. But when a Democrat says the same thing, hey, it just shows he's human:
The vice president's gaffe history is legendary; mistakes are expected. But three slips in the space of a mere 24 hours? That's a Biden record.
In a Tuesday speech, the vice president referred to people who sold bad loans to service members as "Shylocks," a Jewish slur derived from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice.
[But unlike the entire Republican Party...] Biden doesn't have a history of antisemitism or racism toward Asian people. "Clearly, there was no ill intent here," said Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, of Biden's Shylock comment. "There is no truer friend of the Jewish people than Joe Biden."
He does, however, have a storied history of blunders. One of the most memorable came in 2007, when he called Obama "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy." That didn't prevent the two from teaming up for the Democratic ticket.
Leave Joe Biden alone. HE'S A HUMAN!!!!
July 29, 2014
Asymmetrical Tolerance Alert!!!
Remember back when we were told that "violent rhetoric" and imagery inevitably leads to violent attacks and thus cannot be tolerated in a civil society? Well, the Editorial Staff are shocked.... SHOCKED, WE TELL YOU!... to find yet another brave defender of civility and tolerance, refusing to apply that noble standard to hate speech against an historically oppressed minority group!
Oh. Wait a minute. We didn't realize they were talking about Jews...[yawn]. Hey, the "community" doesn't need to defend them:
The page in question, is named, "Death to zionst baby killer israeli jews." The page, which spells "Zionist" incorrectly, features an Image of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a vampire with blood dripping down his chin as he feasts on a child. It was started on July 25.
Individuals complaining about the page were greeted with the following message (screen captured below):
Last Thursday, a mob of more than a dozen men assaulted a Jew in his suburban Paris home who had been identified through a French Facebook page that listed the faces and identities of Jews to be attacked. The social network declined to remove the page until after the assault had taken place.
It's almost as though these folks only promote these standards so they can silence speech they don't like while promoting hate speech against disfavored out-groups. You know: the dreaded "Other". One wonders what it would take to violate these folks' community standards? Something like this, perhaps?
People who are "visibly Jewish," people wearing identifiably Jewish dress, have found themselves targeted for abuse. Demonstrators at the biggest central London march assaulted and verbally abused a Jewish woman who had expressed her support for Israel, calling her a "Jew Zionist" among other things, before stealing her mobile phone. In North London, a rabbi was abused by a group of 'youths' who shouted "F*** the Zionists," "F*** the Jews" and "Allah Akhbar."
All of this is mild compared to what has been going on across the English Channel in France. In suburbs and parts of central Paris the violence being perpetrated against the Jewish community culminated in the disturbing spectacle of Parisian Jews barricaded in a synagogue by a crowd of young North Africans seemingly intent on violence. When the police failed to turn up in any numbers, the Jews fought for themselves. These were not all "Jewish vigilantes" as some of the press disturbingly reported -- Jews in their 40s and 50s fighting their way through a mob.
Since then, the French authorities have banned -- as French authorities have the right to do -- some other planned "pro-Palestinian" protests. But the bans seem not to have worked. "Youths," as the media are prone to title the rioters, who mainly come from the suburbs of Paris and other cities, have taken to the streets, anyhow. There are videos of them smashing up pavements in order to get chunks of asphalt to hurl at police. A Paris suburb with a large Jewish -- not Israeli, just Jewish -- population has been a particular focus of protestors. In some video footage, protestors have been shown attacking police cars and assaulting public and private property. The French authorities are clearly trying to get a handle on the protests, but to a considerable extent, events have slipped from their control.
Similar scenes have been seen across the continent. In the Netherlands -- fresh from witnessing a pro-ISIS rally in Amsterdam -- there have been serious incidents at protests. There have been anti-Semitic chants, and the home of the Chief Rabbi in the Netherlands has been attacked twice in one week. In Austria, a soccer game involving an Israeli team had to be called off after Palestinian demonstrators broke onto the pitch. The stands had people waving anti-Israel banners and Turkish flags. But once they were on the pitch, the protestors assaulted the Israeli players, doing flying kicks at them and then further kicking and punching them. Some of the Israeli players fought back and the game was halted.
Most disturbing of all, perhaps, have been events in Germany. During pro-Palestinian protests in Berlin and other German cities, there were chants of "Death to the Jews" and "Gas the Jews." The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dieter Graumann, described some of the demonstrations as "an explosion of evil and violence-prone hatred of Jews. Never in our lives did we believe it possible that antisemitism of the nastiest and most primitive kind would be chanted on the streets of Germany."
And it is in Germany that such sentiments have met their most appropriate public and political opposition. There, at least, the nature of these protests has not been glossed over. On the contrary there has been a suitable soul-racking over this. How could such a cry have gone up in this country, of all countries? The major German magazine, Bild, has run a cover with the headline, "Raise your voice: Never again Jew Hatred!" The cover is dotted with famous figures in German public life from the President and Chancellor Merkel to other political and public figures. The montage sends out a powerful message. The question is, of course, whether that is enough.
Throughout Europe, the historical stain of anti-Semitism continued to be a fact of life on Internet fora, in soccer stadiums, and through Nazi-like salutes, leading many individuals who are Jewish to conceal their religious identity.
And yet, amidst the darkness of religious strife lay inspiring and unheralded acts of interfaith solidarity. Following the deadly Peshawar church bombing in Pakistan resilient Muslim community members formed human chains around churches during services in a show of solidarity and to stand up against senseless violence. In Egypt, Muslim men stood in front of a Catholic church to protect the
congregation from attacks. And after an increase of mosque attacks in the United Kingdom, a local orthodox Jewish neighborhood watch team began assisting Muslim leaders to ensure safe access to mosques and alert them to possible attacks
Here's a thought: if you're really opposed to hate speech and even more hateful actions, oppose it ALL. Not just verbal (or physical) attacks on people you sympathize with. Better yet, don't go all outrage-y against the latest display of online Tourette's syndrome unless you're willing to apply that same standard when your own side does exactly the same thing.
Otherwise, people will be tempted to conclude that you're not really interested in promoting tolerance, diversity, or civility.
July 23, 2014
Thomas the Tank Engine: Fascist Oppressor
Verily, it hath been many moons since the Editorial Staff raised the consciousness of the assembled villainry by exposing the shocking exploitation of one Knut - the Adorably Psychotic Gay Teen Bear.
Truth be told, Knut was a bit of a puzzlement to us at first. On the surface, he was not your garden variety, undertrodden pawn of the vast evil, reich-wing (but we repeat our ownselves) conspiracy. Unrepentantly white in color, a Haver of Decidedly Masculine Naughty Bits, poor Knut was the sort of bear at whom we would have felt more comfortable wagging the stern finger of international opprobrium.
Thankfully, our friends the Germans performed a seemingly impossible feat. They managed to turn this white, male bear into that most useful of social justice avatars: the perpetually aggrieved victim. Of course Knut deserves some of the credit for copping to a deliciously transgressive inter-species fling with his human handler (Thomas Dörflein's suspicious demise is alleged to have resulted from a random-but-completely-understandable S&M role playing encounter gone tragically wrong - possibly brought on Dörflein's boringly clichéd polyamorous adventures with female bipeds of his own kind). There is no shame in any of this - these are all perfectly legitimate lifestyle choices. And how could enlightened folk like us help but love Knut when he bravely led the German Gay Polar Bear movement to oppose Sarah Palin's VP nomination? In a civilized society like Amerikkka, even the voices of Deutschen Eisbären have their place?
The young ursine has been the target of death threats for his prescient and principled opposition to European Islamofascists. Thus, we found ourselves deeply disturbed to learn that, not content with being a bad mother, animal hater and strident foe of a woman's exclusive right to determine the reproductive destiny of both partners in a sexual relationship, Gov. Palin has come out against same sex marriage rights for polar bears.
But sadly, even in death our hapless fUr-brother (no thanks to PETA, still possessed of his huevos) has been pressed into service to bolster the brands of his heartless, capitalistic oppressors. We shall speak of this atrocity no more.
In the culture wars, Evil never takes a day off. So neither must we.
Sadly, a new menace looms ... err... menacingly... on the horizon: a racist, sexist, rampantly authoritarian and Otherist danger to everything we hold dear.
That's right: we're talking about Thomas the Tank Engine:
Thomas and those friends are trains that toil away endlessly on the Isle of Sodor – which seems to be forever caught in British colonial times – and, on its surface, the show seems to impart good moral lessons about hard work and friendship. But if you look through the steam rising up from the coal-powered train stacks, you realize that the pretty puffs of smoke are concealing some pretty twisted, anachronistic messages.
For one, these trains perform tasks dictated by their imperious, little white boss, Sir Topham Hatt (also known as The Fat Controller), whose attire of a top hat, tuxedo and big round belly is just a little too obvious. Basically, he's the Monopoly dictator of their funky little island. Hatt orders the trains to do everything from hauling freight to carrying passengers to running whatever random errand he wants done, whenever he wants it done – regardless of their pre-existing schedules.
Inevitably, the trains get in a fight with or pick on one another (or generally mess up whatever job they are supposed to be doing) until Hatt has to scold one of them about being a "really useful engine", because their sole utility in life is their ability to satisfy his whims. Yeah, because I want to teach my kid to admire a controlling autocrat.
But there was one particular episode that caused me to put the brakes on Thomas for good. It revolved around James, a red engine who is described in the opening credits as "vain but lots of fun." (Wait, it's OK to be vain if you can show others a good time occasionally? Great – that's going in my Parenting 101 book.) In the episode "Tickled Pink", poor vain James, is ordered by Topham Hat to get a new coat of paint. But while James has only had an undercoat of pink slathered on, Topham Hatt interrupts and demands that James go pick up Hatt's granddaughter and deliver her and her friends to a birthday party right now.
This reckless and unsanctioned Pinklighting must not be allowed to stand. Until the oppressed locomotives of Sodor have achieved gender parity, we honestly don't know how we can sleep at night.
Admit it, knuckleheads. This is quite possibly the defining issue of our time. How will our children grow up to love social justice and resolve never to possess more material goods than the least fortunate among us if they are continually being fed warped values by self loathing cartoon locomotives who continually refuse to recognize their own best interests?
Now perhaps if Thomas were to come out in a future episode as a Locomotive of Unambiguous and Unapologetic Transgenderness, honor *might* still be served. Whatever happens, Percy should definitely be forced to parade around in a shiny new coat of pink paint. With rainbows.
And unicorn decals. OCCUPY SODOR!!!!
April 26, 2014
Bwa Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!!
Can you say RAAAAAAACIST, boys and girls? We knew that you could:
Earlier this month, Alvin Holmes, who has represented the Montgomery-area 78th District for 39 years, bet a substantial purse on his claim that Alabama whites were incapable of tolerating black children.
“I will bring you $100,000 cash tomorrow if you show me a whole bunch of whites that adopted blacks in Alabama,” Holmes said. “I will go down there and mortgage my house and get it in cash in $20 bills and bring it to you in a little briefcase.”
The lawmaker wagered the large sum during a speech in which he stated that “99 percent” of Republicans in the Yellowhammer State would order their daughters to get abortions if they were impregnated by black men.
Holmes has a long history of offensive racial comments. He has accused Republican Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina of voting only as “white folks” tell him to vote and called Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas an “Uncle Tom.”
Last week, several families called on Holmes to pay up. Parents and children from mixed-race families gathered in Montgomery. Although the official purpose of the rally was to get Holmes to apologize, some members of mixed-race families want to hold the politician to his bet.
“I would like for him to man up — he’s made the statement, he needs to put his money where his mouth is,” parent Beverly Owings told WBMA-LD. Owings is the mother of an adopted 13-year-old black daughter.
December 12, 2013
Just In Time for Christmas: Culturally Safe Santa!
... I propose that America abandon Santa-as-fat-old-white-man and create a new symbol of Christmas cheer. From here on out, Santa Claus should be a penguin.
That’s right: a penguin.
Why, you ask? For one thing, making Santa Claus an animal rather than an old white male could spare millions of nonwhite kids the insecurity and shame that I remember from childhood. Whether you celebrate the holiday or not, Santa is one of the first iconic figures foisted upon you: He exists as an incredibly powerful image in the imaginations of children across the country (and beyond, of course). That this genial, jolly man can only be seen as white—and consequently, that a Santa of any other hue is merely a “joke” or a chance to trudge out racist stereotypes—helps perpetuate the whole “white-as-default” notion endemic to American culture (and, of course, not just American culture).
Plus, people love penguins. There are blogs dedicated entirely to their cuteness. They’re box office gold. Most importantly, they’re never scary (in contrast to, say, polar bears and reindeer). Most kids love Santa—because he brings them presents. But human Santa can be terrifying—or at least unsettling.
We have only one question: is Santa Penguin going to be penguin of the penis-having persuasion, or a bedazzled vajayjay-having penguin?
And don't think for one moment that this isn't A Very Important Question That Totally Deserves To Be Taken Seriously, because the Blog Princess can now confess the extreme psychological trauma she has experienced all her life, knowing the existential angst that comes from being a powerless female forced to wait submissively for a symbol of the Patriarchy to shower gifts upon her.
Gifts that only serve to remind her of the cultural and economic dominance of her Heteronormative, Melanin-impaired Overlords.
Having a female Santa Penguin could be problematic, because penguins aren't obviously male or female and the whole point of getting rid of White Male Santa is to redress centuries of cultural imperialism and sexual insensitivity. Hard to make the point that Santa Penguin could totally be female (or Trans! or LBGT!) if we can't tell without peeking. We could, possibly, change Santa's holiday regalia from red and white to pink and white. But then we run into the Angry Birds problem:
Likewise, gender is also a defining characteristic for the portrayal of female characters. Princess Leia (played by Carrie Fischer, a white female) and Padme (played by Natalie Portman, a white female) are both portrayed by pink birds. There are no other pink birds in the game. Again, the color of the bird is unimportant, unless the bird is female, in which case the character’s gender (denoted by its pinkness) becomes the essential element of that character.
This same pattern also appears in the original Angry Birds Star Wars, in which Princess Leia is the only pink bird and Lando Calrissian (played by Billy Dee Williams, a black male) is the only brown bird.
White privilege and male privilege persist, in part, by framing the white, male experience as normal. Even in a game like Angry Birds Star Wars II we see the invisibility of whiteness and maleness and the foregrounding of race and gender for people of color and women.
When, oh when will the White Man stop oppressing womyn and people of color with their Otherist symbology????
UPDATE: Is this the best.correction.ever or what?
Correction, Dec. 10, 2013: This article originally misidentified penguins as mammals. They are birds.
Cultural Appropriation in the News
Last week the Blog Princess, ever on the alert for Every Day Otherism, alerted the assembled villainry to a heinous blot on the glorious and enlightened regime of tolerance and multicultural bonhomie that is Obama's Amerikkka:
Cultural appropriation refers to picking and choosing elements of a culture by a member of another culture without permission. This includes traditional knowledge, religious symbols, artifacts or any other unauthorized use of cultural practice or ideation.
Apparently, the problem of cultural appropriation is far worse than we suspected. It turns out that even non-Whites can be found guilty by virtue of Insufficient Blackaliciousness:
Administrators at a private liberal arts college in Amherst, Massachusetts are being accused of canceling a Halloween concert last month because the lead singer of the band was “not black enough.”
In a letter to Jonathan Lash, president of Hampshire College, the American Civil Liberties Union criticized the school’s decision to cancel the event, saying it was clearly race-based, according to Campus Reform.
“The genesis of the decision, as you know rested on the accusation that this afro-funk band had insufficient representation of people of color,” the letter read.
Michelle Obama hits hubby with death glare seen around the world
The band is called “Shokazoba,” and it specializes in Afrobeat music style, according to MassLive, a local online publication which recently obtained the ACLU’s letter.
MassLive reported that the performance “was canceled after some students voiced concerns that the band, which has a black singer but is predominantly white, was appropriating black music.”
ACLU official William Newman did state in the letter that the band was accused of cultural appropriation and misappropriation, and called for an apology.
This is puzzling to us. Exactly how Black does a person have to be to be judged Authentically African-Amerikkkan? Is there a mathemagical formula?
Our President is half-white, but identifies with only half of his genetic and cultural heritage. Is he guilty of cultural appropriation? Enquiring minds want to know.
And what about these guys? How does race tie into a centuries-old tradition of borrowing and building upon the achievements of The Other (you know, that whole thing we call "civilization")?
In the twentieth century, Charles Ives made extensive use of borrowed materials that included hymns, songs, ragtime, college songs and patriotic songs.315 Bartok, Grieg, Glinka, Kodály, Vaughan Williams, Falla and Moussorgsky were enormously influenced by folk music316 and Richard Strauss by Liszt.317 Gershwin borrowed from blues and other African American-derived musical forms,318 Villa-Lobos from Brazilian popular music and Schoenberg and Bernstein from Jewish scales and motifs.319 Schoenberg, Stravinsky, and Webern composed works that were recompositions of existing works that imposed a new, post-tonal music structure on an existing tonal model.320 Similarly, Alban Berg borrowed in the final adagio of his “Violin Concerto,” a chorale from J.S. Bach, incorporating the Bach chorale into his 12-tone model.321 Wuorinen’s 1988 piece “Machault Mon Chou” borrowed material from a fourteenth century mass by Guillaume de Machault.322 Respighi’s “The Birds” “almost note-for-note paraphrases keyboard pieces from the 17th and 18th centuries.”323 Mahler borrowed from his “Songs of the Wayfarer” for his “Symphony No. 1,”324 while Aaron Copland’s “Symphony No. 3” was partially based on his “Fanfare for the Common Man.”325 Shostakovich quotes from the Rossini opera William Tell in his “Symphony No. 15” from 1971,326 while Rachmaninoff borrowed a theme from Paganini,327 and Puccini borrowed from the “Star-Spangled Banner” and Japanese music for his opera Madama Butterfly.328
Some of the most sublime works in human history are the result of just the sort of "cultural appropriation" that landed Katy Perry in hot water.
And here we thought the whole point of multiculturalism was to encourage the acceptance, appreciation, and ... dare we say it?... blending of disparate cultural influences. We can't help but wonder... did the enlightened folks at Apple obtain cultural permission before making this monstrosity?
To shield ourselves from accusations of second-hand cultural appropriation, the Blog Princess has no choice but to proactively denounce those of you who have lined the pockets of Known Appropriators and Capitalist Running Pig-Dogs by purchasing iPhone 5s. Your unauthorized cultural-appropriation-by-extension makes us sick.
SICK, WE TELL YOU!!!
December 02, 2013
The Newest Danger Lurking In Our Midst
Yes, the Editorial Staff are talking about The Horror That Is Cultural Appropriation. "What the heck is Cultural Appropriation?", you knuckledraggers may well be asking yourownselves?
Cultural appropriation refers to picking and choosing elements of a culture by a member of another culture without permission. This includes traditional knowledge, religious symbols, artifacts or any other unauthorized use of cultural practice or ideation.
It's the "ideation" part that really frosts our cornflakes. But seriously, we were rather encouraged to read the following:
Cultural appropriation is always disrespectful when it incorporates religion. Using an item that holds spiritual significance as jewelry is not only insulting to Hinduism, but the specific importance of the item in question.
Hmmm... wouldn't this make disrespectful (and unauthorized!) use of Christian regalia instances of cultural appropriation? Surely the creator of "Piss Christ" doesn't self-identify as a devout believer in the divinity of Jesus Christ?
And just who gave this guy permission to appropriate the sacred symbols of another faith (being "always disrespectful" as such acts are known to be by those in charge of offense-taking)? Come to think of it, where does one go to obtain such permissions? Is there a form? Does every faith/ethnicity/nation/culture/race have an Official Bureau of Cultural Permits? How does one, whilst appropriating the ideation of another culture, properly notify the Public that one does so by permission? Is there a protocol for displaying proof of permission?
Why is cultural appropriation so wrong?
Borrowing from another culture is most problematic when it plucks from a minority group (especially one that has been exploited or otherwise oppressed). Using aspects of another culture from a position of privilege is a means of additional exploitation in that it disregards the shared experiences that led to the development of the culture in question and uses ideas and traditions for their benefit.
Oh.... you mean this sort of thing:
Once upon a time Linda Walther Tirado aka KillerMartinis wrote an essay about what it feels like to be poor. In spite (or perhaps because) of its nihilism and hopelessness, Linda’s story enchanted the internet and went viral.
...If it hadn’t been for a bunch of haters poking holes in her fairy tale, Linda might have been able to keep on fundraising and reach her final $100,000 goal. But trolls kept asking inconvenient questions like how it was that the mother of a baby and a toddler, working two jobs and carrying a full-university course load, could spend so much time on the internet.
The trolls uncovered not just the Vegas trip but the fact that Linda was a homeowner – no mortgage either — who had recently crowdfunded some overdue bills. They also discovered Linda’s multiple Facebook accounts and internet personalities. Before she became a downtrodden young mom making bad decisions, Linda was a lesbian taking on the Mormon church and a feisty fast food franchise manager putting entitled customers in their place.
It's so upsetting to see a white woman of privilege exploiting the culture of the poor and near-poor for selfish, financial gain. Hard to think of anything worse, really.
Except, possibly, the unauthorized appropriation of facial hair:
... what message does Movember convey to those whose moustaches are more-or-less permanent features? With large numbers of minority-ethnic men—for instance Kurds, Indians, Mexicans—sporting moustaches as a cultural or religious signifier, Movember reinforces the “othering” of “foreigners” by the generally clean-shaven, white majority. Imagine a charity event that required its participants to wear dreadlocks or a sari for one month to raise funds—it would rightly be seen as unforgivably racist. What is the difference here? We are not simply considering an arbitrary configuration of facial hair, but one that had particular, imperial connotation to British men of our grandfathers' generation and currently has a separate cultural valence for men from certain ethnic groups. Moustaches, whether or not “mo-bros” mean theirs to be, are loaded with symbolism. We often wonder how our fathers (both life-long moustached men) must feel each November, when their colleagues' faces temporarily resemble theirs, and are summarily met with giggles and sponsor-money. No doubt they draw the obvious conclusion, that dovetails with many other experiences of life as an immigrant: there are different rules for white faces.
Further, the inclusivity of Movember deserves examination. For one, only men (and even then, only some men) can grow a moustache. The decision to focus on the moustache to raise awareness of men's health issues might seem like an apposite one (though there's no obvious relationship between moustaches and cancers), but it reinforces the regressive idea that masculinity is about body chemistry rather than gender identity, and marginalises groups of men who may struggle to grow facial hair, such as trans-men. Ironically, Movember also excludes the very men it is supposed to uplift; many men who have undergone radiotherapy or surgery to treat testicular cancer are rendered “hypogonadal” and are therefore unable to grow facial hair.
Whatever these people are on, it is obviously prime stuff.
November 21, 2013
Down With the Pasty Sandwiches of Privilege!
Many moons ago, the Editorial Staff alerted the assembled villainry to yet another heinous outrage directly caused by the evil, Chinese toy-loving minions of the wealthiest 1% and their foul landscapes of privilege. Yes folks, we're talking about the horror that is arboreal inequality:
“The study says the relationship between tree cover and income is purely correlational, and I agree — to a point,” De Chant says. “Trees [also] provide numerous benefits that can save people money, which would make them wealthier in real terms, even if their incomes didn’t rise. Shade can reduce cooling costs in the summer. Trees filter out particulate pollution, which in turn reduces asthma incidences, cutting health expenses. They reduce stress and make people more productive at work. Tall trees also reduce crime, which can definitely help your bottom line if you live in a robbery-prone neighborhood.”
But hogging all the crime fighting trees to themselves is hardly the only crime that can be laid at the door of the White Man. Not content with using unearned shade trees as exclusionary weapons of inequality, the selfish bastards have found a new tactic - the insensitive flaunting of sandwich privilege: (CWCID)
Verenice Gutierrez picks up on the subtle language of racism every day.
Take the peanut butter sandwich, a seemingly innocent example a teacher used in a lesson last school year.
“What about Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches?” says Gutierrez, principal at Harvey Scott K-8 School, a diverse school of 500 students in Northeast Portland’s Cully neighborhood.
...Guitierrez, along with all of Portland Public Schools’ principals, will start the new school year off this week by drilling in on the language of “Courageous Conversations,” the district-wide equity training being implemented in every building in phases during the past few years.
Through intensive staff trainings, frequent staff meetings, classroom observations and other initiatives, the premise is that if educators can understand their own “white privilege,” then they can change their teaching practices to boost minority students’ performance.
Last Wednesday, the first day of the school year for staff, for example, the first item of business for teachers at Scott School was to have a Courageous Conversation — to examine a news article and discuss the “white privilege” it conveys.
Sadly, the path of even the most Courageous Conversationalist is mined with inadvertent sexism and discrimination:
Chuck Barber, who also offers boys’ drum corps at Vernon and Faubion schools in Northeast Portland, approached Gutierrez last year to start up a lunch-time drum class for black and Latino boys once a week. This year, it’ll expand to two classes a week, to accommodate new boys as well as those with experience.
At least one parent has a problem with the the class, saying it amounts to “blatant discrimination and equity of women, Asians, whites and Native Americans.”
“This ‘club’ was approved by the administration, and any girls who complained were brushed off and it was not addressed,” the parent wrote anonymously.
Gutierrez denies that any students were turned away from the drum corps, and vehemently rejects any suggestion that it is discrimination to offer a club catering to minority boys.
“When white people do it, it is not a problem, but if it’s for kids of color, then it’s a problem?” says Gutierrez, 40, an El Paso, Texas, native whose parents were Mexican immigrants. “Break it down for me. That’s your white privilege, and your whiteness.”
Where is the White House Council on Women and Girls when we need it? But perhaps more importantly, how will we ever reach full inclusiveness and equality when we're constantly identifying groups who - for one reason or another - will be given more time, attention, or benefits than other groups?
It is a puzzlement.