Class vs. Race how the liberal elite just don’t get it

Black Caribbean pupils are still four times as likely to be permanently excluded from school as White British pupils. There is still a culture of teachers having lower expectations of black children relative to their white or Asian counterparts. At the heart of racism is ignorance and fear, this is what is behind teacher’s expectations of young black people.

A must, must, must read. I’m not surprised that Radio 4′s Today presenters do not understand the implications of race (they are notorious for failing to understand anything that is not related to their white, middle class experience) but the prevalence of this view (and the idea that “we don’t see colour” any more) is more troubling.

As I was listening to Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday, I found myself gritting my teeth in frustration. The subject of black children and their aspirations was being discussed following recent research by Newsnight which shows that 21% of black children feel their skin colour would make it harder to succeed compared with 2% of white children.  Shockingly(!) the white male presenter could not understand the impact of racism, even at such an early age, on young black children’s aspirations.

What the presenter on Today could not fathom was that race could be a critical determinant. He suggested that poor white children face the same issues in terms of aspirations and life chances. There can be no question that poverty has huge impact on life chances. Poverty can be a vicious cycle which feeds into greater levels of exclusion. Children growing up in poverty are more likely to experience food poverty which has a knock-on impact on their ability to perform well in school. Statistics indicate that in the UK, by 16, children receiving free school meals achieve 1.7 grades lower at GCSE than their wealthier peers which impact their earning potential over the course of their lives.

Rest: Media Diversified.

Yarl’s Wood: Immigration is a Feminist Issue

Very good piece on tokenfeminist about what should be an issue of feminist concern.

Last week Rashida Manjoo, a special rapporteur for the UN, stated that the UK has an in-your-face boys’ club sexist culture that is unlike that of any other country. She made the comments after visiting the UK to investigate the issue of violence against women. Unsurprisingly, there was a highly defensive backlash to the notion that the UK is more sexist than other countries, as there often is when anyone points out the blatant misogyny that occurs in this country every day. This culminated in The Guardian hosting the most pointless internet poll of all time, as they asked UK citizens whether or not they thought their own country was more sexist than other countries, without even asking them their age, gender, ethnicity or whether they had ever visited another country.

The most worrying part of Manjoo’s report related to Yarl’s Wood, a detention centre for female asylum seekers in Bedfordshire. The pictures and quotations on their site might lead you to believe that Yarl’s Wood is a supportive, happy place that really cares about its inmates residents. However, the reality is quite different. According to a report by Women for Refugee Women, 93% of the women detained at Yarl’s Wood are depressed and over half have suicidal thoughts. They do not receive adequate health care, a shortcoming which undoubtedly contributed to the death of 40-year-old Christine Case last month. She died of a heart attack after complaining of chest pains for several days.

This appalling treatment is not only a feminist issue because it is women that are detained at Yarl’s Wood. It is also a feminist issue because of the experiences they have had before they arrive there. Over 85% of the women have been raped or tortured in their home countries and almost all are now guarded by male staff. The majority say that this makes them uncomfortable, which is understandable when you consider that some were raped by prison guards. One woman had fled Uganda after being raped by guards and was on suicide watch at Yarl’s Wood, where a male guard watched her even when she was on the toilet. [Rest.]

“It’s not a one-way street. It’s a spaghetti junction

It’s not a one-way street. It’s a spaghetti junction. But while it is interesting and informative to digest Sandberg’s learning, we also need to broaden the perspective. Sandberg has already “made it”. Perhaps we should listen more attentively to those on the bottom rung, because they’re the ones who need the assistance. Our obsession with the Rising Star, or the Leader, sidelines the “others”. And it fosters a crude belief that if one woman can “make it” on the basis of their own individual initiative, then that is the case for all. But that’s an individualistic approach, not a collective one.

- Una Mullally on the Irish Times – Women at the top should not forget sisters lower down

13 Photos Proving Feminism Isn't Just for Straight White Women

Image Credit: McGill Law Feminists

As a movement centered on political and social equality, feminism has never advocated for exclusion or segregation based on the sexes. Yet since the late 1970s, when feminism in America and abroad was in its heyday, the movement encountered resistance in the form of discursive warfare. The opponents, at least in America, won. In fact, throughout history, American women’s rights movements have failed when they lose control of the narrative, becoming nothing more than caricatured “man-hating lesbians,” “Feminazis” or “sluts.”

There are the cultural misconceptions of feminism that bubble up in pop culture misconstrue the backbone of the movement, which entails craving political equality among the sexes and nothing else. Or, as Katy Perry miraculously realized, after years of shunning feminism, “I used to not really understand what that word meant, and now that I do, it just means that I love myself as a female and I also love men.”

A new photo campaign initiated by the McGill Law Feminists at McGill University puts a face to the reality of the movement’s diversity in the 21st century, moving away from the old stereotype of the straight, white, cisgendered feminist. It is this diversity that embodies the spirit of a progressive feminism — one which is defined by the celebration of difference — and demonstrates the movement’s latest incarnation.

On PolicyMic (13 Photos Proving Feminism Isn’t Just for Straight White Women).

Justice Rising: moving intersectionally in the age of post-everything (storify) · LSEpublicevents

Examples of tweets:

Rest: Justice Rising: moving intersectionally in the age of post-everything (storify)

The trouble with #WhiteHistoryMonth is that it is not history

Here’s John Pilger, writing as late as Friday, March 21, on on the continued theft of Aboriginal children in Australia:

… Up to the 1970s, thousands of mixed-race children were stolen from their mothers by welfare officials. The children were given to institutions as cheap or slave labour; many were abused.

Described by a chief protector of Aborigines as “breeding out the colour”, the policy was known as assimilation. It was influenced by the same eugenics movement that inspired the Nazis. In 1997 a landmark report, Bringing Them Home, disclosed that as many 50,000 children and their mothers had endured “the humiliation, the degradation and sheer brutality of the act of forced separation … the product of the deliberate, calculated policies of the state”. The report called this genocide.

Image Credit: Wiki Commons

Assimilation remains Australian government policy in all but name. Euphemisms such as “reconciliation” and “Stronger Futures” cover similar social engineering and an enduring, insidious racism in the political elite, the bureaucracy and wider Australian society. When in 2008 prime minister Kevin Rudd apologised for the stolen generation, he added: “I want to be blunt about this. There will be no compensation.” The Sydney Morning Herald congratulated Rudd on a “shrewd manoeuvre” that “cleared away a piece of political wreckage in a way that responds to some of its own supporters’ emotional needs, yet changes nothing”.

Today, the theft of Aboriginal children – including babies taken from the birth table – is now more widespread than at any time during the last century. As of June last year, almost 14,000 Aboriginal children had been “removed”. This is five times the number when Bringing Them Home was written. More than a third of all removed children are Aboriginal – from 3% of the population. At the present rate, this mass removal of Aboriginal children will result in a stolen generation of more than 3,300 children in the Northern Territory alone. []

Why The Men’s Rights Movement Is Garbage

From The Belle Jar:

I need to take a moment here to talk about the Men’s Rights Movement, because there seems to be some confusion. Actually, there seems to be a whole lot of confusion.

Over the past little while, I’ve had a number of people challenge me on calling out men’s rights activists (hereafter referred to as MRAs). “But men are oppressed too,” people say. “Feminism is sexist, and it teaches men that masculinity is wrong.” “Straight, white men aren’t allowed to be proud of themselves anymore.” “If you believe in equality, then you should want men to have the same type of activism as women.” “Everyone is entitled to their opinion.”

First of all, yes, everyone is entitled to their opinion. But let’s not pretend that all opinions are created equal – some are based on fact, and some are total bullshit. Like, I could tell you that I believe that vaccines cause autism, and that would be my opinion, but it would also be demonstrably untrue. So let’s not pretend that all opinions should be given the same consideration, because we both know better than that.

Second of all, let’s get one thing straight: men, as a group, do not face systematic oppression because of their gender. Am I saying that literally no men out there are oppressed? No, I am for sure not saying that. Men can and do face oppression and marginalization for many reasons – because of race, class, sexuality, poverty, to name a few. Am I saying that every white cishet dude out there has an amazing life because of all his amassed privilege? Nope, I’m not saying that either. There are many circumstances that might lead to someone living a difficult life. But men do not face oppression because they are men. Misandry is not actually a thing, and pretending that it’s an oppressive force on par with or worse than misogyny is offensive, gross, and intellectually dishonest. [Rest.]

“Because women of colour experience racism in ways not always the same as those…

Because women of colour experience racism in ways not always the same as those experienced by men of color and sexism in ways not always parallel to experiences of white women, antiracism and feminism are limited, even on their own terms… The failure of feminism to interrogate race means that the resistance strategies of feminism will often replicate and reinforce the subordination of people of colour, and the failure of antiracism to interrogate patriarchy means that antiracism will frequently reproduce the subordination of women.

- Kimberle Crenshaw in Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color (via ethiopienne, rhrealitycheck)

Sunday feminist roundup (19th January 2014)

Sunday feminist roundup (12th January 2014)

Quite the list this week, folks.

On Male Privilege [video]

OK, so this isn’t the funniest thing I’ve ever seen but that’s not as important as the point he’s making. Yes, men have struggles too (and very few feminists would deny that) but think about how those struggles compare those of women. Chap in the video gives some examples.

Video on link.

The reaction to being called out varies, depending on the person. Some people listen carefully, apologize, and promise to work to eradicate their error in the future. Others cry, “MISANDRY!”

If you’re in the latter camp, comedian Jamie Kilstein would describe you as a “dick.” Check out his hilarious video which tackles some common misconceptions about feminism, male privilege, and men’s rights activism.

From everydayfeminism.

Sunday feminist roundup (5th January 2014)

It’s a relatively short one because I’ve been doing a lot of quick hits lately. Here’s what else I’ve been reading.

10 Ways to Keep Up the Feminist Fight in 2014

The following is very US-centric but still relevant.

The progress the feminist movement made in 2013 illuminates the progress we still need to make. In the following list, we celebrate the good of this year, and suggest where the road to equality should take us next:

  1. Women were allowed into combat this January, but the prevalence of sexual assault on the job—nearly one in three servicewomen are raped while serving—has yet to be adequately addressed. NOW we need Congress to pass the Military Justice Improvement Act, introduced in May by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), which would allow for more effective prosecution of sex assaults outside of the military chain of command.

  2. At-home caregivers, among the lowest-paid workers in the country and predominately women, finally received the right to the federal minimum wage in September. But even 50 years after the passing of the Equal Pay Act, the gender wage gap has stayed the same for over a decade, with women working full time year-round earning 77 cents to a man’s dollar.NOW we need to raise the federal minimum wage even higher, and groups such as fast-food workers (see below) are asking for $15 an hour.

  3. Fast-food workers, the majority women, participated in strikes and protests for better wagesin August and again in December. Ms. was so inspired by their courage that we featured them in our Fall issue. But at $8.94 an hour their median wage remains near the poverty line for a family of two while fast-food executives are quite generously reimbursed (the CEO of McDonald’s made $13.8 million in 2012). NOW we have to #StandWithRosie in 2014 until workers receive the respect and remuneration they deserve. [Rest.]

Silent Sunday Round Up of Inspiring Blogs by Women

Fantastic list by the ever and equally fantastic therealsgm:

Building a Feminist Project at One Woman’s Thoughs

End Online Misogyny Celebrate Their Three Month Anniversary! at End Online Misogyny

Women, Education and the Whitewashing of History at Reading Medieval Books

The Witch and her cow-sucking bag at Reading Medieval Books

Racist Halloween costume mocks Trayvon Martin’s Murder at  Gradient Lair

White Men will not lead the Revolution at Gradient Lair

Russell Brand and the Revolutionary Act of Voting at Sian and Crooked Rib

Let’s talk about Lesbophobia at Big Boo Butch

Don’t these feminists just need to lighten up and have some fun by Karen Ingala Smith

The Glorification of Celebrity Dicks: Stop It at Anarachamoose

Beyond Halloween: Revisiting Blackface at Feminist Current

How Disney diminishes a heroine in 4 easy steps at Reel Girl

Spare us the vacuous talk and go back to Hollywood by Joan Smith

How not to raise a rapist by Van Badham

Fired Up by Functional Human Being

Victim Blaming and Control: when ‘sexism” doesn’t hurt men too at Compassionate Liberatarianism

“I remember working with a law school in which white men heavily dominated the faculty…

I remember working with a law school in which white men heavily dominated the faculty. They used lots of sports metaphors (doing an end run, Monday morning quarterbacking, and so on), with legal jargon thrown in for good measure. I suggested that this was not a particularly welcoming trait in their school, that in fact it was sexist, but they paid little attention. I made my point by speaking for about five minutes in dressmaking terms: putting a dart in here, a gusset there, cutting the budget on the bias so it would be more flexible, using a peplum to hide a course that might be controversial. The women in the room laughed; the men did not find it humorous. [...] Language is power, make no mistake about it. It is used to include and exclude and to keep people and systems in their places.

- Frances E. Kendall, Understanding White Privilege (via nadashannonbrutereason, padaviya)

One/ two: Sunday (on Friday) feminist roundup (13th September 2013)

I think I’ve been busy. I don’t really know, to be honest, but I DO know that I’ve not had time to update at all.  To make up for not posting any for a while, there’s a double Sunday (on a Friday) roundup edition this week. There are, at time of writing, 2,620 unread items on my RSS reader. There’s no point in pretending I’m going to read more than about 30 of them.

On feminisms:

On sexualisation and rape culture:

  • Acting Older Isn’t Being Older: How We Fail Young Rape Victims (thenation). “Sexualization of young girls is not just something that happens as part of abuse, it’s something that’s part of their everyday lives. A report from the American Psychological Association shows that even the personal relationships girls have with peers, parents and teachers can contribute to this sexualization through daily interactions.”

On everyday sexism and misogyny:

And speaking of that, and lastly for now, it’s old news by now that Caroline Criado-Perez deactivated her twitter account (temporarily) because she couldn’t take the abuse she was receiving any longer. And who can blame her. Here’s Caroline’s own story. Also, here is a recent speech from Caroline.

Sunday feminist roundup (28th July 2013)

And here’s what else I’ve been reading. Yes, they’re mostly from the New Statesman; I’m not sure how that happened.

Sunday feminist roundup (14th July 2013)

It’s been another busy week so I’ve not been keeping up as I should. Here, though, are some headlines:

- Home Office hounding this severely ill woman to prove their toughness on “health tourism” (liberalconspiracy). It’s not that they don’t believe her, apparently; she’s just a good test case.

- The are too many women in prison and they are neglected in terms of rehabilitation (independent, with now-customary objectifying picture).

- The anti-choice backlash is cruelty couched as care (commentisfree). Quote: A great deal of evil is done in the name of protecting people from themselves. In Europe and America, religious conservatives fighting to stop women having abortions have realised they can’t rely on the language of sin and shame any more. Instead, anti-choice arguments are being couched in terms of care. Abortion, the rhetoric runs, hurts women – and women aren’t capable of making adult decisions about their own bodies. That’s best left to the church, or the state.

- Six perspectives on the Zimmerman verdict (bitch). Example: This verdict tells us everything we need to know about our laws, whom they are designed to protect, and why. It tells us about the power of the gun lobby, the power of stereotypes, and the value of a black person’s life (Roxane Gay at Salon).

- Rape Crisis in Congo: Impunity for Men Must Stop

- Judy Murray doesn’t deserve this sniping (commentisfree). I saw some of this going on at the time: the girlfriend was eye candy (that was her role) and the mother was over-bearing, pushy and unlikable (for caring about her son and taking his career seriously?). It’s all #everydaysexism

- The Ireland abortion debate, summed up in one disrespectful gesture (commentisfree). #lapgate. Makes me sick.

Sunday feminist (on Tuesday) roundup (16th June 2013)

Late again.

- Bust has a story on how a 13-year-old girl dies after genital mutilation. Brutal.

- Stuart Hall’s sentence is “unduly lenient” according to Jonathon Freedland (commentisfree). I thought it was disgraceful.

- We all drew breath at the pictures of Nigella Lawson being grabbed by the throat by her husband. It was a “playful tiff”, he said. What does a serious tiff look like, asks Suzanne Moore (commentisfree).

- On the same note, Alternet asks why no one stepped in to stop Saatchi. Indeed.

- Rhoda Grant (newstatesman) discusses the case for the Criminalisation of the Purchase of Sex Bill.

- Bust again: a story about turning the tables on fat-shaming (possibly NSFW): The Adipositivity Project wants to “widen definitions of physical beauty – literally.” It was made to push through all the bullshit fat-hate and prove that big bodies can be strong, confident, and really really beautiful. A collection of professionally-snapped pics, Adipositivity showcases full-figured bodies in all their glory. Round, soft, strong, and naked. Not every picture is a nudie, but there’s enough boob in this post to warrant a lil’ NSFW warning.

- Bust again: 45% of gamers are women, so why are we still getting the shaft?

- A conservative claims that women in the military make up rape stories for money (feministing). Christ alive.

- Finally, the Nation has some infographics on Aids prevention and anti-prostitution drives.

 Same time next week, folks. (Or when I get around to it.)

‘Check your privilege’- we are not using it how you think we are

Very good unpicking of the arguments which have been made recently against checking one’s privilege. helzfeminism:

Many of the disconnected, chiding people of the commentariat are loftily deriding the idea of privilege-checking. Their main arguments against the idea of ‘checking your privilege’ are as follows- a) it is elitist and as Bindel said ‘only Oxbridge students use and understand it’, b) it is just used by left-wing people to shut down debate c) it causes ‘infighting’ and means that the voices of people who aren’t black, trans, queer, working class and disabled all at the same time won’t be listened to.

The phrase ‘check your privilege’ is elitist because only Oxbridge graduates and the white middle class understand the idea of intersectionality.

This argument is lazy and wrong, for many reasons. The idea of intersectionality has been around for years and years and was first coined by Black feminists in America. It is not a British, white, lefty middle class thing at origin. People only think it is because it is bandied about so much by the commentariat who are usually privileged middle class white cis able-bodied people- only 3% of newspaper journalists are from a working class background- and so that is the only place you will hear of it in the mainstream press. If you get to the grassroots, and if you listen to the people who society doesn’t listen to, you’ll find they understand the phrase ‘intersectionality’ just fine. Because they live it. Also here’s a storify of how a little ‘left-wing feminist twitter group’ all learnt about intersectionality which shows that none of us had learnt the term at Oxbridge, or in a gender studies class. It is not a terribly hard concept to understand, I understood it when I was fifteen! Take a look at ‘intersectionality: a fun guide” at the right of the screen. It really isn’t rocket science. It’s not an elitist term and ‘check your privilege’ isn’t an elitist phrase! [Rest.]