Tag Archives: social critique
Video

Interview with Melissa Gira Grant on Sex Work

19 Apr

Excellent Vice interview with journalist Melissa Gira Grant on sex work with a powerful historicized and politicized contemporary analysis. She challenges myths around sex work, critiques binary perspectives on women’s sexuality, and argues that sex work is work.

http://www.vice.com/en_au/read/the-vice-podcast-talking-to-journalist-melissa-gira-grant-about-sex-work

“Our anxieties about the way all of our labour is commodified, everything we do in the world has a price on it. I think it’s much easier to talk about how anxious that makes us feel, and where our personhood is compromised by being in the world and having to survive – those anxieties get heaped on sex workers in a way that I don’t see them heaped on other workers.”  – M. G. Grant

Chescaleigh Breaks Down the Harriet Tubman “Sex Tape”

19 Aug

Sisters of Resistance have featured the awesome YouTube comedian Franchesca Ramsey, a.k.a. Chescaleigh before, when she took on the “Shit People Say” meme with her pointed and hilarious observations of “Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls.”

She recently posted a video critiquing the deeply sexist, racist and all-around offensive “Harriet Tubman Sex Tape” released by media mogul Russell Simmons last week. (Coincidentally, his video hit the Net around the time that the hashtag #blackpowerisforblackmen, started by Jamilah Lemieux of Ebony Magazine and illustrating sexist intraracial dynamics between black men and women, was trending on Twitter. Funny how that works.)

In addition to breaking down the wrongness that is the video in a smart and funny way, Franchesca also addresses the issue of social responsibility in comedy. She describes how as a black comic, she once relied on racial stereotyping to get laughs, as many other comedians have done in the past. But she was powerfully challenged by a concerned audience member to see what was problematic about this. She listened, and as a result, learned to stop relying on stereotypes (which she calls “lazy” comedy) and instead, to be funny while making social critique.

Her reflexivity and message is powerful, and especially needs to reach the ears of people whose voices and impact are widespread – people like Uncle Russell “Hustle” Simmons, who has weakly apologized for the video and pulled it from the web. In order to shine up his image (we suspect), he has tweeted about having his apology accepted by Harriet Tubman’s descendants (who are not the only ones he needs to ask forgiveness from!) and producing a miniseries on Frederick Douglas. Let’s just hope he has learned the lesson that Franchesca makes so clear – that claiming “it’s only comedy” is no excuse for eschewing social responsibility, and that all of us have a responsibility to reflect on our actions and contribute positively to the world in which we live.

Franchesca’s recent vlog is below. Follow her on Twitter or check out her YouTube channel here.

Update 22 Aug 2013: An Open Letter to Russell Simmons from Harriet Tubman’s Great Great Grandniece (we knew his claim that they “accepted his apology” was dodgy!)

Related Posts:

Why White People Talk Shit about “Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls”

Why White People Talk Shit about “Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls”

16 Jan

“Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls,” parts 1 and 2, by actress and comedian Franchesca Ramsey are recently released YouTube parodies of the “Shit Girls Say” series that have gone viral. Predictably, the videos are causing an uproar amongst white people attacking what they see as Ramsey’s “racism”, when in fact what she is doing is illustrating, in no uncertain terms, some of the many ways racism continues to be inflicted on people of color.

Sisters of Resistance read an excellent article over at New Black Woman critiquing these kinds of responses, some of which we would like to share with you here. In it, she explains why white people have reacted so vehemently to what Ramsey has brought to the surface with her videos, which are the”microaggressive” forms of racism experienced by people of color on a daily basis. She also reminds those who took offense of the historical and structural context that makes it impossible for Black people and other people of color to commit racism against white people. We encourage you to read the whole article for its insightful analysis.

And for further info on the topic, check out this article by Jamilah King, over at one of our favorite anti-racist news sources, Colorlines.com, and hear what Franchesca Ramsey herself had to say about the reactions.

Continue reading

Kingdom Rise and Kingdom Fall

1 Jan

by The Wailing Souls (1980) Continue reading

#OccupyWallSt #OccupyTogether #Oct15 #globalchange #globaldemocracy

16 Oct

The recent #Occupy protests are now happening in over 1500 cities worldwide. It is encouraging to see a revolutionary movement on this global scale, and we are pleased to see the following coverage and critiques. We have collected and posted these excerpts; click on each title to see the full original article.

‘Occupy’ anti-capitalism protests spread around the world (Guardian): Thousands march in Rome, Sydney and Madrid as Occupy Wall Street protests go global

‘Occupy’ protests held around the world (Al-Jazeera). Al-Jazeera Live Blog Coverage

1500+ Occupy Protests Worldwide

Times Square

Aerial view of Occupy Wall Street march on Times Square, 15 October 2011

Occupy Wall St Protesters, Washington Square Park - NYC

Inside the Kettle at the London Stock Exchange

Occupy Tokyo

A History of Georgia’s 1%: Why You Must Face Race to Occupy Atlanta (Colorlines)

Getting it right about race is important for the Occupy movement everywhere, but especially here in Georgia, where there is nothing subtle about the relationship between race, corporations and the government. Georgia’s government was created by and for plantation farmers, the original 1 percent, running antebellum corporations. And that 1 percent has been using everything in its power, most notably the criminal justice system, to hold on to its centuries-old gains.

#OccupySeattle, You’ve Got A LOT of Work to Do (Sable Verity)

The Occupy effort claims to represent the 99% of the population who are not the richest people in the country (and apparently the root of all evil). But ask yourself this: what percentage of the 99% is deciding the trajectory of a movement that claims to represent nearly every human being in the entire country? Just because I’m not in the top 1%, and you’re not in the top 1%, does that automatically mean you and I are in the same boat? It mostdef does not.

“We are not “protesters,” we are revolutionaries!” Why We Occupy: A Global System of Bullshit

When reporters ask us what we are “protesting,” it’s difficult to dignify the question with a response. We protest, we resist, but what we resist is not a single policy or institution…We at Liberty Plaza seek to dismantle this global system while building democratic institutions and structures of our own, not to make superficial demands for reform. For those of us who are here, we understand ourselves in terms completely different from what is conveyed by the term ‘protesters.’ Rather, words like ‘revolution,’ ‘movement,’ and ‘community’ are on our tongues.

If one spends any good amount of time at the occupation, it feels less like a protest and more like a rapidly emerging community, with its own internal geography, institutions, and cultures. An anthropologist would have so much to sink their teeth into by simply walking around, visiting the Comfort Station where occupiers distribute blankets, sleeping bags, sweatshirts, and socks to occupiers, or by going to the meetings of working groups that handle everything from sanitation to food, media production to direct action. This is not a mere protest. This is a community.

A manifesto for regime change on behalf of all humanity

The following manifesto was produced over four months through consultation among groups, activists and people’s assemblies in countries such as Britain, Egypt, Tunisia, Germany, Spain, the US, Palestine, Israel, Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay, Argentina, India and Australia. We got comments, suggestions, support, and wrote and rewrote it again and again. The text has been supported by Canadian-based Naomi Klein, Indian-based Vandana Shiva, the US-based Michael Hardt and Noam Chomsky, as well as Uruguayan Eduardo Galeano.

“We are united for global change and united for global democracy: global governance of the people, by the people.”

"We are the 99%" has become the movement's slogan

The Library at Occupy Wall St in Liberty Park, NYC

In front of St. Paul's Cathedral in the City of London. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP

Occupy Stockholm

Occupy Wall St. Sisterly solidarity to the women who made these men feminists.

 More inspiring pics here.