Tuesday, March 20, 2012

With gratitude to my 200 most regular readers

image is from here
It appears that the world is spinning increasingly towards horrific destruction, despite the efforts of so many decent people to call the richest, whitest, most male supremacist criminals to account.

I find that in such times isolation and alienation are sources of depression and despondency.

Together we join together to resist, to challenge, and to radically transform our world.

Thank you for being part of my world.

Love to each and every one of you.

The Lynching of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman: a perspective

image of George Zimmerman (left) and Trayvon Martin (right) is from here
What follows was written by Carolyn Edgar of CNN and by Michael Skolnick of GlobalGrind. I found these excerpts posted together at Racialicious. I have inserted my own commentary in bold and brackets.
Trayvon Martin was a teenaged boy who was walking home from a convenience store. He was not engaged in an unlawful activity. [Other than being Black in the US and walking in a place where non-Blacks live.] He was in a place where he had a right to be – near the home of his father’s fiancée. [He should have had the right to be there.] George Zimmerman followed him [read: stalked him with the intention of doing harm], even after being told by the 911 dispatcher not to. [His fragrant disregard for the counsel of the 911 dispatcher demonstrates to me that he was wanting some form of public attention, or applause, for what he was about to do.] Zimmerman left his vehicle holding a loaded gun and began pursuing Martin on foot. It is plausible to infer that Zimmerman, not Martin, initiated the attack. The tapes indicate that Zimmerman may have been the aggressor in initiating contact with Martin. ["Plausible"? "May have been"? In what moral universe does disregarding the advice of someone trained to deal with crime and crisis, and instead stalking--with a deadly weapon--an innocent person, NOT constitute "initiating an attack"? How could a boy walking from a store where he purchased Skittles to the home of family constitute, and then screaming for help when his live was threatened, constitute "intitiating an attack"? The boy, by all accounts, was not seeking to engage in any way with the virulently white supremacist George Zimmerman. Would anyone think that a Black or Brown man similarly going after a white boy armed with Skittles would be regarded as anything other than behaving with an intent to kill?] Assuming the published reports are true, Martin, not Zimmerman, was exercising his lawful right to “stand his ground and meet force with force” by engaging in an altercation with Zimmerman. [Florida apparently has a law which allows (wealthier and whiter) people to murder (poorer and darker) people who are in their neighborhood if deemed "threatening". But last I heard, carrying Skittles and minding one's own business, such as by talking with a girlfriend on the phone, isn't threatening behavior to residents of a neighborhood.]
By questioning why Martin didn’t simply stop and answer Zimmerman’s questions, and characterizing Martin as the aggressor [aren't we supposed to teach kids not to talk to strangers?], Sanford Police Department Chief Bill Lee Jr. appears to have assessed the Martin case using the standards that apply to law enforcement officers. [This puts aside the rather unavoidable issue of white supremacist police forces systematically harassing and mass murdering people of color in the US.] This is wrong. Martin was under no legal duty to obey or to cooperate with Zimmerman in being questioned, because George Zimmerman is not a law enforcement officer. [And if he were? What right should a law enforcement officer have to stop such a youth?]
Being the local neighborhood watch captain [read: assassin or cold-blooded killer] does not elevate him to that status. Nor was Zimmerman asked by any law enforcement officer to assist in detaining Martin – in fact, he was specifically told not to follow Martin. Zimmerman is entitled to none of the presumptions available to law enforcement officers under Florida law. The presumptions of acting in good faith that are afforded to law enforcement officers do not apply to Zimmerman. [The presumption of acting in good faith should not apply to armed members of racist police forces.]
- Carolyn Edgar, CNN
I got a lot of emails about Trayvon. I have read a lot of articles. I have seen a lot of television segments. The message is consistent. Most of the commentators, writers, op-ed pages agree. Something went wrong. Trayvon was murdered. Racially profiled. Race. America’s [uber-white] elephant that never seems to leave the room. But, the part that doesn’t sit well with me is that all of the messengers of this message are all black too. I mean, it was only two weeks ago when almost every white person I knew was tweeting about stopping a brutal African warlord from killing more innocent children. [Yeah, about that: white celebs and news people, and their followers, are upset about human rights atrocities when whites don't commit them against Black and Brown people; let's see George Clooney speak out against white and male supremacy in the U.S.A.] And they even took thirty minutes out of their busy schedules to watch a movie about dude. They bought t-shirts. Some bracelets. Even tweeted at Rihanna to take a stance. But, a 17 year old American kid is followed and then ultimately killed by a neighborhood vigilante who happens to be carrying a semi-automatic weapon and my white friends are quiet. Eerily quiet. Not even a trending topic for the young man. [Thank you. And in a report about two kids who very negligently threw a shopping cart over a railing, causing a white woman below to be seriously injured, I took note of how many whites made sure to characterize the two youth as "thugs". The first comment on this story at Huffington Post reads as follows:
05:24 PM on 11/04/2011
Charge them as adults with attempted murder. At 12 years old they should have known they could hurt someone. The severity of the charges must fit the severity of the crime."]
We’ve heard the 911 calls. We seen the 13 year old witness. We’ve read the letter from the alleged killer’s father. We listened to the anger of the family’s attorney. We’ve felt the pain of Trayvon’s mother. For heaven’s sake, for 24 hours he was a deceased John Doe at the hospital because even the police couldn’t believe that maybe he LIVES in the community.
There are still some facts to figure out. There are still some questions to be answered. But, let’s be clear. Let’s be very, very clear. Before the neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman, started following him against the better judgement of the 911 dispatcher. Before any altercation. Before any self-defense claim. Before Travyon’s cries for help were heard on the 911 tapes. Before the bullet hit him dead in the chest. Before all of this. He was suspicious. He was suspicious. suspicious. And you know, like I know, it wasn’t because of the hoodie or the jeans or the sneakers. Cause I had on that same outfit yesterday and no one called 911 saying I was just wandering around their neighborhood. It was because of one thing and one thing only. Trayvon is black.
- Michael Skolnick, GlobalGrind
Again, thank you, Michael.

See also *here* and *here* for more on some of these stories at Democracy Now!

What I take from all of this is that the genocide of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people is on-going without relief across the Americas, across Central Asia (including the mass murder of an Afghan family by Sgt. Robert Bales), and across the globe, by wealthy white male supremacists and their imperialist militias. We know, too, that millions of women and girls will be raped, tortured, and murdered by men again this year, for the "crime" of being female, and that the gynocide will not be reported or understood in these terms. 
The issue of what constitutes crime (including hate crime), terrorism, and human rights violation and who is immune from any and all laws supporting human rights, will not likely be discussed by the most structurally powerful members of my society who engage in criminal and violating behavior. What will be defended in court by supremely well-paid attorneys is the rights of militias and rich folks and whites--disproportionately male--to threaten, harass, terrorise, and mass murder Black, Brown, and Indigenous people by any means "necessary" to sustain and affirm het white male and imperialist corporate power.

To sign the petition calling for the arrest of the assassin of Trayvon Martin, please see *here*.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The White Male His-story of Sexuality, and the Power of The Marginalised Voice

image is from here

Unlike some of my peers, I do not regard Sigmund Freud as unworthy of study. But nor do I place him at the center of such study. Across cultures and eras, white men have had some really bizarre ideas about sexuality and gender. They've theorised there's only one sex, and that there are only two (opposite) sexes. However many genders and sexes white men believe exist, they seem incapable of imagining a world in which men do not dominate and control women and "women's sexuality"--often enough a sexuality designed by men for men. I've watched enough white male science fiction wherein the white male writer or producer creates new worlds in future eras. I've watched enough to know that however far into the universe the white het male supremacist's mind goes, he cannot creatively conceive of women *not* dressing in tight outfits designed for his voyeuristic pleasure. He cannot conceive of her as not existing for him.

Whatever the theories, they have tended to serve both white and male supremacy against the bodies and and human rights of millions of women and girls of all colors and cultures. Their theories are also traditionally anti-lesbian and anti-gay. Their theories have functioned to promote the humanity of white (and usually het) men (the minority) while denigrating and demonising the humanity of everyone else (the majority). His inhumanity is often enough rendered invisible, or is termed something else--the product, perhaps, of unfortunate events early in his life. That white men, as a class, ensure that unfortunate events will systematically scar the lives of girls globally seems not to worry him. In this theories and in his world, only white men act out their pain in gynocidal and genocidal ways. White men traditionally theorise their pain as an explanation for their abusive actions. If painful childhoods, troubled by rape and invasion, were the source of acting out violence against other people, and if victimised people were allowed do violence to their perpetrators, men the world over would have a lot to worry about. And white men who travel the world over to rape trafficked and enslaved girls and women would have cause to worry a great deal.

What I look for in theory is a human story, a humane understanding, that reveals to the reader the role of white and male supremacy, among other forces of institutionalised ideology, in making things as they are. I look for theory to bring into focus the experiences and worldviews of the people who whites and men seek to silence and destroy.

One such theory of sexuality is found in Catharine A. MacKinnon's essay "Does Sexuality Have a History?", which may be read here:


I've praised the following work before, and this time won't be the last. But one of the best essays on sexuality, one of the best theories on sex that I've seen, is the one that follows. Referencing the video (well, the audio), I don't quite understand the laughter from the audience at one point. Although times have changed and margarine isn't regarded in the same way as it was in the 1970s, nothing about her analogy is funny to me. Taken without today's negative associations, I see it as useful to her points, especially as it conjures such a tactile, sensual relationship to her ideas on the Erotic.

This is an early version of a speech and essay that later appeared in her brilliant collection of speeches and essays called Sister Outsider. It was delivered at a radical and feminist conference on pornography and prostitution in the late 1970s in San Francisco, CA, USA.

Here is a link to the speech as presented in that book:


Please consider the theories of radical feminist women of color as necessarily central to our understandings of all of us, and organise your revolutions around their ideas and visions.

image is from here