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Re-blog: The Trigger Warned Syllabus

7 Mar Featured Image -- 2077

Sista Resista:

Excellent article by TressieMC on universities co-opting the notion of “trigger warnings” from online culture in order to further advance the goals of the marketized education system and make student-customers more “comfortable” with what they are asked to learn…

Originally posted on tressiemc:

Apparently universities are issuing guidelines to help professors consider adding “trigger warnings” to syllabi for “racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, and other issues of privilege and oppression,” and to remove triggering material when it doesn’t “directly” contribute to learning goals.” One example given is Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” for its colonialism trigger. This from New Republic this week.

I have no desire to enter the fray of online discussions on trigger warnings and sensitivity. I have used trigger warnings. Most recently, I made a personal decision to not retweet Dylan Farrow’s piece in the New York Times detailing Woody Allen’s sexual abuse. I was uncomfortable shoving a very powerful description at people without some kind of warning. I couldn’t read past the first three sentences. I couldn’t imagine how it read for others. So, I referenced the article with a trigger warning and kept it moving.

But, I’m…

View original 469 more words

Saying Goodbye to Amiri Baraka and Pete Seeger

29 Jan

This month the world said goodbye to two great men who dedicated their lives to cultural activism through art. Amiri Baraka, poet and playwright of the Black Arts Movement and folk legend Pete Seeger will always be remembered for the way their art shaped public consciousness and provided the soundtrack to American movements against war and segregation and for social justice. We thank them for their life’s work during their time here and wish peace and power upon their beloved spirits.

In love and remembrance.

Amiri Baraka, Somebody Blew Up America

Pete Seeger, We Shall Overcome

Pete Seeger, Where Have All the Flowers Gone

We also recognize that it is just as important acknowledge the many ways their contributions to culture wouldn’t have been possible without the women in their lives. This article from the New Yorker sheds some light upon Hettie Jones, writer, mother and Amiri Baraka’s first wife, and her role in his artistic and personal development, as does this conversation with Amina Baraka, artist, activist, and his second wife.

Justice for Renisha McBride

8 Nov

From the US comes another sickening case of racist violence and murder. This time it is a young black woman, Renisha McBride, a teenager who was murdered while seeking help after a late-night car crash in a white suburb of Detroit.

From this article by journalist Rania Khalek, who broke the story:

Dearborn Heights police initially told McBride’s family that her body was found dumped near Warren Avenue and Outer Drive, but that story quickly changed. Not only are police refusing to release the identity of the man who shot McBride, they’re now saying she was mistaken for an intruder and shot in self-defense on the homeowner’s front porch. Even if that’s the case, and there’s reason to believe it’s not, the shooter still failed to call 911 after shooting an unarmed woman in the head, instead leaving her there to die. Does that sound like the behavior of a law-abiding gunowner who made a tragic mistake?

Writer and filmmaker Dream Hampton and Detroit hip-hop artist Invincible organised a rally for justice for the slain teenager, whose conduct on the night of the shooting is being questioned in accusations by the police and the media. This Huffington Post article describes the rally, and Hampton’s critique of the blame-the-victim response:

“This is what happens, again and again,” Hampton said, invoking the killing of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin last year. “It’s kind of textbook. We’re able to break it down in the public media, when it came to Trayvon, the criminalization of the victim, of the corpse. Look, he got a C, look, he was a teenager who smoked pot, he had a sugar problem, he liked Skittles. … It becomes the criminalization of the corpse. … The police are supposed to be advocating for victims.”

Black feminists on Twitter have called out mainstream white feminists for not engaging with the Renisha case. Intersectionality, or the interaction of multiple dimensions of oppression, is as important to remember in this case as ever. If Renisha had been a white woman, we suspect there would have been little chance of her being murdered when seeking help on a stranger’s porch.

As of today, Ranisha’s murderer, who first claimed he thought she was an intruder, later changing his story to “the gun discharged accidentally“, has not been arrested, and his identity is being protected. Due to a stand-your-ground law in Michigan, it is possible he will not be charged. The absurdity of her murder, and the official response to it – for her actions to be questioned, not those of the man who killed her – illustrates the continued calamity that is racialized violence in the United States, supported by a legal structure that systematically denies justice for victims whose bodies are black and brown.

US Government Shutdown Hurts Communities of Color

2 Oct

While we at Sisters of Resistance have been contemplating the US government shutdown as indicative of the imminent collapse of an empire, the incisive Imara Jones over at the excellent news site Colorlines.com has written this important and practical piece about how the shutdown will disproportionately affect communities of color, poor communities, and women and children who rely on the government for employment and services.

He writes:

What’s particularly distressing about the shuttering of the government is that it comes at a time when unemployment remains in the double digits for blacks and Latinos. As the Center for American Progress points out, federal, state and local governments since 2008 have eliminated 750,000 public sector jobs. Given unionization and strong anti-discriminatory hiring practices, people of color are more likely to have jobs in the public sector. This is particularly true for African-Americans, and it’s why joblessness remains so stubborn in communities of color.

The truth is that people of color represent a larger proportion of the federal workforce than the workforce overall. According to the Washington Post, 35 percent of federal workers are non-White versus 30 percent of all workers.  This means that a shutdown will only add to the economic woes and employment worries in communities of color.

Read the whole thing here.

We leave you with a brief but critical message to those in government who created this mess:

You Better Work!

Drop the Case against Marissa Alexander

1 Oct

from the Free Marissa Now Facebook page:

YOUR URGENT ACTION NEEDED!

DEMAND THAT FLORIDA OFFICIALS DROP THE CASE AGAINST MARISSA ALEXANDER!

Write, call, fax, email — tell Florida officials to drop the case against Marissa Alexander. Stop the trauma — free this momma!

Mandatory Minimums

Last week the Florida Appeals Court overturned Marissa’s conviction because of extreme errors in the case: rather than being presumed innocent until proven guilty, Marissa’s persecutors put the burden of proof on her. This is opposite to the most basic principles of the U.S. legal system.

Call, write, fax or email State Prosecutor Angela Corey, State Attorney General Pam Bondi, and Florida Governor Rick Scott to demand that they drop the case now. Marissa Alexander did no wrong. Do not subject this domestic violence survivor and mother to another trial. This innocent woman has already served three years.

Here is preliminary information about how to contact these officials. More information and sample letters will follow soon. But please take action now and start spreading the word now!

Office of Attorney General Pam Bondi
State of Florida
The Capitol PL-01
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050
Phone: 850-414-3300
Email: http://myfloridalegal.com/contact.nsf/contact?Open&Section=Citizen_Services

Angela Corey, State Prosecutor
Courthouse Annex
220 East Bay Street
Jacksonville, FL 32202
(904) 348-2720
(904) 630-2400
Fax (904) 348-2783

Office of Governor Rick Scott
State of Florida
The Capitol
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
(850) 717-9337

E-mail: rick.scott@eog.myflorida.com

More information on Marissa’s case at the Free Marissa Now! Tumblr