My source for everything that follows is here @ The Tehran Times.
Monday, May 10, 2010
White Slavery in The U.S. South: Gender, Class, Race, Age, and Trafficking: The White Refers to the Slavers
[image is from here, and the information from the page where I found this follows the main post]As you read what follows, please ask yourself this: "What question and issue ISN'T asked?" And the follow up question is: "What does it mean that we don't ask this question?" My answers follow the news article.
What follows is a cross post from AlterNet.org, *here*.
Posted by jrbizzy at 10:53 am
May 10, 2010
Race and human trafficking in the U.S.: Unclear but undeniable
I watch and listen to the advocacy of human trafficking at rallies, on web sites, in government reports and NGO reports. The research and statistics on human trafficking in America are ambiguous, especially in relation to race and ethnicity. We need to explicitly recognize the connections between trafficking, poverty, migration, gender, racism and racial discrimination to adequately battle and destroy human trafficking in the U.S.
Trafficking persons is inherently discriminatory. Since an overwhelming majority of trafficked persons are women, trafficking in most circles is usually considered a gender issue, especially in the United States (majority of trafficking in the U.S. is sex trafficking). In the U.S., most state human trafficking laws explicitly and directly address sexual exploitation, ignoring or vaguely covering other types of trafficking (myths of trafficking).
However, a link that is rarely discussed in open forums about human trafficking is racial discrimination. A question that I don’t hear enough is, “Does race and ethnicity contribute to the likelihood of people becoming victims of trafficking?” I say, “Yes.” Furthermore, I believe that not only does race and ethnicity constitute a risk factor for trafficking, it may also determine the treatment those victims’ experience.
The Polaris Project, who does outstanding work in combating human trafficking, stated the majority of trafficked persons come from vulnerable populations, including undocumented migrants, runaways and at-risk youth, oppressed or marginalized groups, and the poor; specifically because they are easiest to recruit and control. In the U.S., statistically speaking, people of color more than fit this criterion.
Available Statistics by Race
A large majority of trafficked persons in the U.S. for the purposes of labor and sexual exploitation are people of color. Domestically, 50 percent of trafficked victims are children and an overwhelmingly are girls, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Most foreign nationals are women, children and men from Mexico and East Asia, as well as from South Asia, Central America, Africa, and Europe, about 17,500 each year, according to statistics compiled by Polaris Project and 2009 TIP report.
Seventy-seven percent of victims in alleged human trafficking incidents reported in the U.S. were people of color, according to a Bureau of Justice Statistics Report. An example of BJS’s ambiguity is that 747 out of 1,442 reported incidents recorded no racial or ethnic origin.
Racism is deeply embedded in human trafficking and must be racially inclusive and explicitly included in its literature, statistics and advocacy. To combat this modern-day slavery, the trafficking cycle should recognize explicitly the connections between trafficking, migration, poverty, racism, gender and racial discrimination.
We need to urge and support our NGOs, national and state governments to adequately report trafficking incidents. It is important to know the origin of the victims and the suspected traffickers, race and ethnic backgrounds to better understand the vulnerabilities and how traffickers exploit opportunities.
I am advocating that we remove and uncover the ambiguity of the characteristics of trafficked persons and the traffickers and be explicit about who they are and what populations in America are most affected so we can make specific and measurable progress. The notion that anyone can be a victim of human trafficking is true, however, the fact that the majority of victims are people of color should not be undermined or understated.
* * *
The question not asked is this:
Within the U.S., what is the race and gender of the PROCURERS and PURCHASERS (the abusers and the slavers)? What demographic are they from? Age, religion, region? In U.S. media, questions unasked means we don't want to focus on the realities revealed with the answer. Here's my answer to which demographic the majority of procurers and purchasers of human beings for sexual slavery or trafficked sex are: older, class-privileged, white, Christian, heterosexual, men.
I welcome anyone who is on the streets, in the hotels, in the homes, and in the other areas where the trafficking occurs, with cross-regional, national information, to provide the "statistical" details. And to further make my case that P.I.M.P.s and W.I.M.P.s (see my glossary to the right) like to be out of view, please review this VERY comprehensive information about prostitution, sex trafficking, and sexual slavery, *here*, which is where I found the image atop this post. Tons of information, titled "Sexual Slavery Information" with stunningly little about who is doing this! Is this just because we already know? Clearly not, because there is no stigma on that demographic for doing this, and when we see such men in the media, they aren't portrayed as slavers and traffickers, procurers and pimps. It's time to pull back the curtain and show the world the faces of who these white male fuckers, batterers, and rapists.
No More Stormy Weather, Lena Horne (June 30, 1917 - May 9, 2010). You've Left the World Far Brighter Than Before Your Grand Entrance
I have only known life on Earth with Lena Horne. Of course this is the case with anyone who dies, who was famous, who is older than me. But Lena was always a star, and one of the brightest. She shone in a social sky perennially and perpetually clouded by racism and misogyny. Oh, but how she broke through those clouds, like the Spring and Summer Sun, to pour out a beautiful, wondrous humanity that has left the world changed, better, stronger and more passionate. Her art and her life leaves behind a magnificent legacy. I am far richer in spirit for having been touched, through her music and her activism, each of which taught me to value full expression and to fight for freedom from white male supremacist intolerance and tyranny. May she rest in peace, and shine, always center stage, in the heavenly chorus. -- Julian
From The New York Times:
“My identity is very clear to me now. I am a black woman. I’m free. I no longer have to be a ‘credit.’ I don’t have to be a symbol to anybody; I don’t have to be a first to anybody. I don’t have to be an imitation of a white woman that Hollywood sort of hoped I’d become. I’m me, and I’m like nobody else.”
Lena Horne, Singer and Actress, Dies at 92
Published: May 9, 2010
Lena Horne, who was the first black performer to be signed to a long-term contract by a major Hollywood studio and who went on to achieve international fame as a singer, died on Sunday night at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York. She was 92 and lived in Manhattan.
Her death was announced by her son-in-law, Kevin Buckley.
Ms. Horne might have become a major movie star, but she was born 50 years too early, and languished at MGM in the 1940s because of the color of her skin, although she was so light-skinned that, when she was a child, other black children had taunted her, accusing her of having a “white daddy.”
Ms. Horne was stuffed into one “all-star” musical after another — “Thousands Cheer” (1943), “Broadway Rhythm” (1944), “Two Girls and a Sailor” (1944), “Ziegfeld Follies” (1946), “Words and Music” (1948) — to sing a song or two that could easily be snipped from the movie when it played in the South, where the idea of an African-American performer in anything but a subservient role in a movie with an otherwise all-white cast was unthinkable.
“The only time I ever said a word to another actor who was white was Kathryn Grayson in a little segment of ‘Show Boat’ ” included in “Till the Clouds Roll By” (1946), a movie about the life of Jerome Kern, Ms. Horne said in an interview in 1990. In that sequence she played Julie, a mulatto forced to flee the showboat because she has married a white man.
But when MGM made “Show Boat” into a movie for the second time, in 1951, the role of Julie was given to a white actress, Ava Gardner, who did not do her own singing. (Ms. Horne was no longer under contract to MGM at the time, and according to James Gavin’s Horne biography, “Stormy Weather,” published last year, she was never seriously considered for the part.) And in 1947, when Ms. Horne herself married a white man — the prominent arranger, conductor and pianist Lennie Hayton, who was for many years both her musical director and MGM’s — the marriage took place in France and was kept secret for three years.
Ms. Horne’s first MGM movie was “Panama Hattie” (1942), in which she sang Cole Porter’s “Just One of Those Things.” Writing about that film years later, Pauline Kaelcalled it “a sad disappointment, though Lena Horne is ravishing and when she sings you can forget the rest of the picture.”
Even before she came to Hollywood, Brooks Atkinson, the drama critic for The New York Times, noticed Ms. Horne in “Lew Leslie’s Blackbirds of 1939,” a Broadway revue that ran for nine performances. “A radiantly beautiful sepia girl,” he wrote, “who will be a winner when she has proper direction.”
She had proper direction in two all-black movie musicals, both made in 1943. Lent to 20th Century Fox for “Stormy Weather,” one of those show business musicals with almost no plot but lots of singing and dancing, Ms. Horne did both triumphantly, ending with the sultry, aching sadness of the title number, which would become one of her signature songs. In MGM’s “Cabin in the Sky,” the first film directed by Vincente Minnelli, she was the brazen, sexy handmaiden of the Devil. (One number she shot for that film, “Ain’t It the Truth,” which she sang while taking a bubble bath, was deleted before the film was released — not for racial reasons, as her stand-alone performances in other MGM musicals sometimes were, but because it was considered too risqué.)
In 1945 the critic and screenwriter Frank Nugent wrote in Liberty magazine that Ms. Horne was “the nation’s top Negro entertainer.” In addition to her MGM salary of $1,000 a week, she was earning $1,500 for every radio appearance and $6,500 a week when she played nightclubs. She was also popular with servicemen, white and black, during World War II, appearing more than a dozen times on the Army radio program “Command Performance.”
“The whole thing that made me a star was the war,” Ms. Horne said in the 1990 interview. “Of course the black guys couldn’t put Betty Grable’s picture in their footlockers. But they could put mine.”
Touring Army camps for the U.S.O., Ms. Horne was outspoken in her criticism of the way black soldiers were treated. “So the U.S.O. got mad,” she recalled. “And they said, ‘You’re not going to be allowed to go anyplace anymore under our auspices.’ So from then on I was labeled a bad little Red girl.”
Ms. Horne later claimed that for this and other reasons, including her friendship with leftists like Paul Robeson and W.E.B. DuBois, she was blacklisted and “unable to do films or television for the next seven years” after her tenure with MGM ended in 1950.
This was not quite true: as Mr. Gavin has documented, she appeared frequently on “Your Show of Shows” and other television shows in the 1950s, and in fact “found more acceptance” on television “than almost any other black performer.” And Mr. Gavin and others have suggested that there were other factors in addition to politics or race involved in her lack of film work
Although absent from the screen, she found success in nightclubs and on records. “Lena Horne at the Waldorf-Astoria,” recorded during a well-received eight-week run in 1957, reached the Top 10 and became the best-selling album by a female singer in RCA Victor’s history.
In the early 1960s Ms. Horne, always outspoken on the subject of civil rights, became increasingly active, participating in numerous marches and protests.
In 1969, she returned briefly to films, playing the love interest of a white actor, Richard Widmark, in “Death of a Gunfighter.”
She was to act in only one other movie: In 1978 she played Glinda the Good Witch in “The Wiz,” the film version of the all-black Broadway musical based on “The Wizard of Oz.” But she never stopped singing.
She continued to record prolifically well into the 1990s, for RCA and other labels, notably United Artists and Blue Note. And she conquered Broadway in 1981 with a one-woman show, “Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music,” which ran for 14 months and won both rave reviews and a Tony Award.
Ms. Horne’s voice was not particularly powerful, but it was extremely expressive. She reached her listeners emotionally by acting as well as singing the romantic standards like “The Man I Love” and “Moon River” that dominated her repertory. The person she always credited as her main influence was not another singer but a pianist and composer, Duke Ellington’s longtime associate Billy Strayhorn.
“I wasn’t born a singer,” she told Strayhorn’s biographer, David Hajdu. “I had to learn a lot. Billy rehearsed me. He stretched me vocally.” Strayhorn occasionally worked as her accompanist and, she said, “taught me the basics of music, because I didn’t know anything.”
Strayhorn was also, she said, “the only man I ever loved,” but Strayhorn was openly gay, and their close friendship never became a romance. “He was just everything that I wanted in a man,” she told Mr. Hajdu, “except he wasn’t interested in me sexually.”
Lena Calhoun Horne was born in Brooklyn on June 30, 1917. All four of her grandparents were industrious members of Brooklyn’s black middle class. Her paternal grandparents, Edwin and Cora Horne, were early members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and in October 1919, at the age of 2, Lena was the cover girl for the organization’s monthly bulletin.
By then the marriage of her parents, Edna and Teddy Horne, was in trouble. “She was spoiled and badly educated and he was fickle,” Ms. Horne’s daughter, Gail Lumet Buckley, wrote in her family history, “The Hornes.” By 1920 Teddy had left his job with the New York Department of Labor and fled to Seattle, and Edna had fled to a life on the stage in Harlem. Ms. Horne was raised by her paternal grandparents until her mother took her back four years later.
When she was 16, her mother abruptly pulled her out of school to audition for the dance chorus at the Cotton Club, the famous Harlem nightclub where the customers were white, the barely dressed dancers were light-skinned blacks, Duke Ellington was the star of the show and the proprietors were gangsters. A year after joining the Cotton Club chorus she made her Broadway debut, performing a voodoo dance in the short-lived show “Dance With Your Gods” in 1934.
At 19, Ms. Horne married the first man she had ever dated, 28-year-old Louis Jones, and became a conventional middle-class Pittsburgh wife. Her daughter Gail was born in 1937 and a son, Teddy, in 1940. The marriage ended soon afterward. Ms. Horne kept Gail, but Mr. Jones refused to give up Teddy, although he did allow the boy long visits with his mother.
In 1938, Ms. Horne starred in a quickie black musical film, “The Duke Is Tops,” for which she was never paid. Her return to movies was on a grander scale.
She had been singing at the Manhattan nightclub Café Society when the impresario Felix Young chose her to star at the Trocadero, a nightclub he was planning to open in Hollywood in the fall of 1941. In 1990, Ms. Horne reminisced: “My only friends were the group of New Yorkers who sort of stuck with their own group — like Vincente, Gene Kelly, Yip Harburg and Harold Arlen, and Richard Whorf — the sort of hip New Yorkers who allowed Paul Robeson and me in their houses.”
Since blacks were not allowed to live in Hollywood, “Felix Young, a white man, signed for the house as if he was going to rent it,” Ms. Horne said. “When the neighbors found out,Humphrey Bogart, who lived right across the street from me, raised hell with them for passing around a petition to get rid of me.” Bogart, she said, “sent word over to the house that if anybody bothered me, please let him know.”
Roger Edens, the composer and musical arranger who had been Judy Garland’s chief protector at MGM, had heard the elegant Ms. Horne sing at Café Society and also went to hear her at the Little Troc (the war had scaled Mr. Young’s ambitions down to a small club with a gambling den on the second floor). He insisted that Arthur Freed, the producer of MGM’s lavish musicals, listen to Ms. Horne sing. Then Freed insisted that Louis B. Mayer, who ran the studio, hear her, too. He did, and soon she had signed a seven-year contract with MGM.
The N.A.A.C.P. celebrated that contract as a weapon in its war to get better movie roles for black performers. Her father weighed in, too. In a 1997 PBS interview, she recalled: “My father said, ‘I can get a maid for my daughter. I don’t want her in the movies playing maids.’ ”
Ms. Horne is survived by her daughter, Gail Lumet Buckley. Her husband died in 1971; her son died of kidney failure the same year.
Looking back at the age of 80, Ms. Horne said: “My identity is very clear to me now. I am a black woman. I’m free. I no longer have to be a ‘credit.’ I don’t have to be a symbol to anybody; I don’t have to be a first to anybody. I don’t have to be an imitation of a white woman that Hollywood sort of hoped I’d become. I’m me, and I’m like nobody else.”