All posts by CESWSU

Enroll in Critical Globalizations Course!

Hi everyone!

As you are enrolling in different courses for Spring 2015, I thought I would share the course flyer for my Spring 2015 course.

Course Description:

244 [SSCI] Critical Globalizations:  ( 3 credits)

Critical examination of the historical trajectory and contemporary practices, institutions and policies that make up globalization.

Class Number: 04802

Thanks
RMS

Here is the flyer:

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What Hollaback’s Viral Video, George Zimmerman’s Trial & Twilight Have in Common* (Participation. Deadline:11/11)

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Read the following article and in your comment use intersections of race,class,sex, and gender to tell us the key argument of the article. Do you agree that using 
inter- sectional analysis is much more helpful to expose forms of injustice?

What Hollaback’s Viral Video, George Zimmerman’s Trial, and Twilight Have in Common
by Kimberly B. George | @kimberlybgeorge | special to NewBlackMan (in Exile)

By now you, like 27 million people, have probably seen the video: a woman walking around for 10 hours in New York. It’s a deeply painful video to watch—painful for several reasons.

At one level, the video has provided a media space for women to have mirrored back to us how violent is the world of patriarchy we walk around in everyday. We know this truth in our guts and our bodies and minds, but staring at the evidence like this awakens critically important conversations, processes of grief and anger, and demands for this reality to change.

That said, there is another layer of violence in this video, and it’s racial and classed violence. White men were edited out of the video, and thus the harassment toward “women” (read white woman, not the diverse category that actually is women) is portrayed as violence perpetuated by black and brown men.

The harassment in this video is part of a system of violence toward women. But the racism and classism in this video is part of a system of racialized and classed violence. There is a lot to grieve here, for the video follows a logic of white supremacist hetero-patriarchy that saturates much of our dominant cultural narratives about race and gender.

Here are a few examples we might read alongside this video, to help us unpack the danger of these representations and how they operate:

Consider that when George Zimmerman was on trial for the murder of Trayvon Martin, the jury was made of all women—5 white women and one woman of color.

In the course of Zimmerman’s trial, which really became a trial for Trayvon Martin, the defense put a young, white, blonde-haired woman on the stand to testify that black men had been breaking into houses in her neighborhood. The implication, being, that Trayvon Martin could have been one of these scary black men, and that white women like her needed “protection.” Enter Zimmerman: the patriarchal protector of white womanhood.

It is important to note that Zimmerman himself is actually a light skinned Hispanic man—he’s Peruvian and he also has white privilege. Amidst the complexities of his race and ethnicity, what is clear is that the logics of white supremacy were operating and being manipulated through and through this trial. Blackness was still being made criminal and abject; and I would argue that Zimmerman was implicitly whitened.

The racist logic thus unfolds this way: that Zimmerman read Martin’s black body as a danger was perfectly reasonable. This wasn’t murder, then—this was a well-intended man protecting property and white womanhood!

It is not inconsequential that this logic was sold to a jury of almost all white women.

White women in the U.S. are taught to fear black and brown men. They are taught that men with dark skin are the danger, the ones who will harass them and rape them and the ones who will commit “terror.” How are white women taught this white supremacist ideology? Through news stories. Through the ways in which the crimes of white men are let off the hook or rendered invisible. Through the most commonplace stories circulating in hearts, minds, and unconscious lives.

White women like me are socialized into these images from an early age.

For instance, consider the widely popular and bestselling book (and movie) Twilight. The racial politics unfold this way. The heroic vampire and lead character, Edward, is sparkling white, even “celestial.” So is Bella, his romantic partner. We are frequently reminded of her “paleness” in the text. And, as we might predict by now, the men who almost rape the very pale-skinned Bella (until the white hero rushes in to save her) are described only as “dark” men. And furthermore, Edward’s romantic rival, of course, is the Indigenous Jacob from the “rez”, who is part werewolf.

Not only is Jacob exoticized, but he’s made part-animal. That’s clear colonial fantasy imagery. This love story, which aroused millions of female readers, is saturated through and through with racism, white-settler colonialism, and with the images of white womanhood needing “protection.”

Whether or not white women consciously hold these fears and storylines is not, perhaps, even the most important issue. The issue is that white womanhood in the U.S. context is built upon this intersection of race and gender, which is also classed and written into heteronormative scripts. These scripts are foundational to dominant unconscious processes, material injustice, and widespread systemic violence.

So, return again to the Hollaback video. We do need to talk about street harassment. I am a feminist and I care deeply about this kind of verbal and psychic assault directed daily at women. I do not wish to minimize at all how awful street harassment is or what this woman experienced. But, I do not want to replicate a feminism that does violence to others. And disproportionately representing black and brown men as perpetrators is violence. That white men were edited out of the video is violence.

These racialized representations are interconnected to histories of the lynching of African American men, of current stop and frisk policies and mass incarceration, of the murders of Emmett Till and Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown.

Furthermore, that white men in positions of power are so often able to hide their violence, sexual harassment, rape, and sexual coercion because of their status as white, wealthy men is a founding economic story of this country.

Consider that for much of U.S. history it was legal for white, classed men to rape—they could rape Indigenous women and men, African American slaves, and their own wives, without such crimes being considered crimes. (Note: it wasn’t until the 1990s that marital rape became a crime in all 50 states.) And upper class men historically have gotten away with violence toward their employees and domestic servants (many of whom are immigrants), given the power differentials of their classed position.

So not only is representing black and brown men as the criminals to fear part of a system of white supremacist violence, the image also dangerously represses the complexity of the deeper, systemic patriarchal violence in this country. The Hollaback video participates in that repression.

But as women-of-color feminisms have already led the way in helping us analyze—from the brilliant work of Kimberle Crenshaw to Hortense Spillers to Andrea Smith—the task of social justice is to press toward a fuller analysis of patriarchy so we might have a fuller, collective transformation.

***

* Kimberly B. George is a creative and academic writer, a writing coach, and an innovator of online learning. She is currently a Ph.D. student in Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice at the University of British Columbia.

THU, 10/30 RACIAL PROFILING AND RACIAL SPECTACLES (Study Questions)

So, there are 3 articles assigned for tomorrow. I want to share some study questions:

  1. Can you explain the following with reference to the Ferguson article?

Globalization- Deindustrialization-Shifting of jobs-unemployment- poverty-crime- Death

What is the role of white supremacy in this narrative?

http://newblackman.blogspot.com/2014/08/understanding-ferguson-understanding.html

2. What are some of the reasons to believe that the Criminal Justice System in America is racist?

(http://www.vox.com/2014/8/14/6002175/its-not-just-ferguson-americas-criminal-justice-system-is-racist

3. How does black and brown lives get affected by the police and  prison?

http://newblackman.blogspot.com/2014/08/understanding-ferguson-understanding.html

Send nomination for Award (Deadline: 7th November)

award

It’s that time of the year when you can nominate your instructors of different  courses you have taken this semester for teaching excellence award. Your instructor won’t know who  you are nominating and that doesn’t affect your grading.

If you decide to nominate me as one of the instructors you would be nominating , you have to select the option for Graduate Student Instructor (second one on the list).

http://studentinvolvement.orgsync.com/org/gpsa/Excellence_Awards

Thank you

What’s the difference between being transgender or transsexual and having an intersex condition?

Most of us understand terms like heterosexual, homosexual( lesbians and gay) and bisexual. But how about transsexual, transgender, and intersex?

People who identify as transgender or transsexual are usually people who are born with typical male or female anatomies but feel as though they’ve been born into the “wrong body.” For example, a person who identifies as transgender or transsexual may have typical female anatomy but feel like a male and seek to become male by taking hormones or electing to have sex reassignment surgeries.

People who have intersex conditions have anatomy that is not considered typically male or female. Most people with intersex conditions come to medical attention because doctors or parents notice something unusual about their bodies. In contrast, people who are transgendered have an internal experience of gender identity that is different from most people.

Many people confuse transgender and transsexual people with people with intersex conditions because they see two groups of people who would like to choose their own gender identity and sometimes those choices require hormonal treatments and/or surgery. These are similarities. It’s also true, albeit rare, that some people who have intersex conditions also decide to change genders at some point in their life, so some people with intersex conditions might also identify themselves as transgender or transsexual.

In spite of these similarities, these two groups should not be and cannot be thought of as one. The truth is that the vast majority of people with intersex conditions identify as male or female rather than transgender or transsexual. Thus, where all people who identify as transgender or transsexual experience problems with their gender identity, only a small portion of intersex people experience these problems.

It’s also important to understand the differences between these two groups because in spite of some similarities they face many different struggles, including different forms of discrimination. The differences between transgender and transsexual and intersex have been understood by lawmakers in countries such as Australia where lawmakers have publicly acknowledged that people with intersex conditions have distinct needs from people who identify as transgender or transsexual.

People who identify as transgender or transsexual also face discrimination and deserve equality. We also believe that people with intersex conditions and folks who identify as transgender or transsexual can and should continue to work together on human rights issues; however, there are important differences to keep in mind so that both groups can work toward a better future.

Transsexuals are people who transition from one sex to another. A person born as a male can become recognizably female through the use of hormones and/or surgical procedures; and a person born as a female can become recognizably male. That said, transsexuals are unable to change their genetics and cannot acquire the reproductive abilities of the sex to which they transition. Sex is assigned at birth and refers to a person’s biological status as male or female. In other words, sex refers exclusively to the biological features: chromosomes, the balance of hormones, and internal and external anatomy. Each of us is born as either male or female, with rare exceptions of those born intersex who may display characteristics of both sexes at birth.

Transgender, unlike transsexual, is a term for people whose identity, expression, behavior, or general sense of self does not conform to what is usually associated with the sex they were born in the place they were born. It is often said sex is a matter of the body, while gender occurs in the mind. Gender is an internal sense of being male, female, or other. People often use binary terms, for instance, masculine or feminine, to describe gender just as they do when referring to sex. But gender is more complex and encompasses more than just two possibilities. Gender also is influenced by culture, class, and race because behavior, activities, and attributes seen as appropriate in one society or group may be viewed otherwise in another.

Transgender, then, unlike transsexual is a multifaceted term.

Now, let’s watch a video and think about the term ” transgender”:

White Privilege: white-guilt or white solidarity? (Read. We will discuss in class)

In week 7, we are continuing conversations about white privilege until chapter 7 takes a new turn to white progressives. Historically, white allies have been very important part of cross-racial efforts to end discrimination.

(a) White allies have been contributing to end discrimination. Watch a short clip:

(b) Even in 2014, we see many events where cross-racial coalition that goes beyond the racial divide and works for social justice.

Watch a video about Moral Monday Movement.

It is true that issue based cross-racial affiliation and also anti-racist cross-racial affiliation is part of the US history though very few people know about it. Watch how Time Wise connects Moral Monday Movement with anti-racist movement and the contribution of white allies:

http://www.timwise.org/2014/06/tim-wise-and-melissa-harris-perry-on-all-in-with-chris-hayes-on-msnbc-62614-cross-racial-organizing-and-the-implications-of-the-moral-mondays-movement-in-north-carolina/

(c) However, often issue-based cross-racial coalitions fall apart due to deliberate exploitation of racial tensions as Time says (2:12)

(d) Contrary to solidarity to end discrimination, the initial  response–to any race based discrimination–from white folks has been guilt, anger, denial,etc.

Read an  articles about it:

http://www.salon.com/2014/08/30/why_acknowledging_white_privilege_is_not_surrendering_to_white_guilt/

WEEK 7: MIDTERM WEEK ONLINE READINGS

You will find all links in CES101 syllabus but I’m also posting them here:

TUE, 10/7 WHITE SEGREGATION: WHITE PRIVILEGE
READ BS. Chapter 6. Pages 151-178
READ White privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
http://www.nymbp.org/reference/WhitePrivilege.pdf
READ A Mother’s White Privilege
http://manicpixiedreammama.com/a-mothers-white-privilege/
READ Why privilege is hard to give up
http://www.salon.com/2013/08/01/why_privilege_is_so_hard_to_give_up/
READ 17 Deplorable Examples
http://www.buzzfeed.com/michaelblackmon/17-harrowing-examples-of-white-privilege-9hu9
FILM Short Clips
LEAD Group 9
BLOG White Privilege
https://ces101wsu2014fall.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/white-privilege/

THU, 10/9 WHITE RACIAL PROGRESSIVES
READ BS. Chapter 7. Pages 179-198
READ Ten Things White People Can DO Besides Tweets
http://www.damemagazine.com/2014/08/14/ten-things-white-people-can- do-about-ferguson-besides-tweet
FILM Short Clips
LEAD Group 10
REF-Q  WEEK 7 to ceswsu@gmail.com on/before 10/13, 5:00 PM.

Privilege 101: A Quick and Dirty Guide* (Read)

No Greater joy

“Privilege” is a word you’ll hear often in social justice spaces, both offline and online.

Some people understand the concept easily. Others – and I was like this – find the concept confusing and need a little more help.

If you’re willing to learn about privilege, but you don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place!

Before we get started, I want to clarify that this article is not entirely comprehensive. That is to say, it’s not going to explain everything there is to know about privilege. But it’ll give you a good foundation on the basics.

Think of privilege not as a single lesson, but as a field of study. To truly understand privilege, we must keep reading, learning, and thinking critically.

Defining Privilege

The origins of the term “privilege” can be traced back to the 1930s, when WEB DuBois wrote about the “psychological wage” that allowed whites to feel superior to black people. In 1988, Peggy McIntosh fleshed out the idea of privilege in a paper called “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences through Work in Women’s Studies.”

We can define privilege as a set of unearned benefits given to people who fit into a specific social group.

Society grants privilege to people because of certain aspects of their identity. Aspects of a person’s identity can include race, class, gender, sexual orientation, language, geographical location, ability, and religion, to name a few.

But big concepts like privilege are so much more than their basic definitions! For many, this definition on its own raises more questions than it answers. So here are a few things about privilege that everyone should know.

1. Privilege is the other side of oppression.

It’s often easier to notice oppression than privilege.

It’s definitely easier to notice the oppression you personally experience than the privileges you experience since being mistreated is likely to leave a bigger impression on you than being treated fairly.

So consider the ways in which you are oppressed: How are you disadvantaged because of the way society treats aspects of your identity? Are you a woman? Are you disabled? Does your sexuality fall under the queer umbrella? Are you poor? Do you have a mental illness or a learning disability? Are you a person of color? Are you gender non-conforming?

All of these things could make life difficult because society disenfranchises people who fit into those social groups. We call this oppression.

But what about the people society doesn’t disenfranchise? What about the people society empowers at our expense? We call that privilege.

Privilege is simply the opposite of oppression.

2. We need to understand privilege in the context of power systems.

Society is affected by a number of different power systems: patriarchy, white supremacy,heterosexism, cissexism, and classism — to name a few. These systems interact together in one giant system called the kyriarchy.

Privileged groups have power over oppressed groups.

Privileged people are more likely to be in positions of power – for example, they’re more likely to dominate politics, be economically well-off, have influence over the media, and hold executive positions in companies.

Privileged people can use their positions to benefit people like themselves – in other words, other privileged people.

In a patriarchal society, women do not have institutional power (at least, not based on their gender). In a white supremacist society, people of color don’t have race-based institutional power. And so on.

It’s important to bear this in mind because privilege doesn’t go both ways. Female privilege does not exist because women don’t have institutional power. Similarly, black privilege, trans privilege, and poor privilege don’t exist because those groups do not have institutional power.

It’s also important to remember because people often look at privilege individually rather thansystemically. While individual experiences are important, we have to try to understand privilege in terms of systems and social patterns. We’re looking at the rule, not the exception to the rule.

3. Privileges and oppressions affect each other, but they don’t negate each other.

I experience my queerness in relation to my womanhood. I experience these aspects of my identity in relation to my experience as a mentally ill person, as someone who’s white, as someone who is South African, as someone who is able-bodied, as someone who is cisgender.

All aspects of our identities – whether those aspects are oppressed or privileged by society – interact with one another. We experience the aspects of our identities collectively and simultaneously, not individually.

The interaction between different aspects of our identities is often referred to as anintersection. The term intersectionality was coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, who used it to describe the experiences of black women – who experience both sexism and racism.

While all women experience sexism, the sexism that black women experience is unique in that it is informed by racism.

To illustrate with another example, mental illness is often stigmatized. As a mentally-ill woman, I have been told that my post-traumatic stress disorder is “just PMS” and a result of me “being an over-sensitive woman.” This is an intersection between ableism and misogyny.

The aspects of our identities that are privileged can also affect the aspects that are oppressed.Yes, privilege and oppression intersect — but they don’t negate one another.

Often, people believe that they can’t experience privilege because they also experience oppression. A common example is the idea that poor white people don’t experience white privilege because they are poor. But this is not the case.

Being poor does not negate the fact that you, as a white person, are less likely to become the victim of police brutality in most countries around the world, for example.

Being poor is an oppression, yes, but this doesn’t cancel out the fact that you can still benefit from white privilege.

As Phoenix Calida wrote:

“Privilege simply means that under the exact same set of circumstances you’re in, life would be harder without your privilege.

Being poor is hard. Being poor and disabled is harder.

Being a woman is hard. Being a trans woman is harder.

Being a white woman is hard, being a woman of color is harder.

Being a black man is hard, being a gay black man is harder.”

Let’s look at the example of people who are both poor and white. Being white means that you have access to resources which could help you survive. You’re more likely to have a support network of relatively well-off people. You can use these networks to look for a job.

If you go to a job interview, you are more likely to be interviewed by a white person, as white people are more likely to be in executive positions. People in positions of power are usually the same race as you, so if they are racially prejudiced, it’s likely that they would be prejudiced in your favor.

A poor black person, on the other hand, will not have access to those resources, is unlikely to be of the same race as people in power, and is more likely to be harmed by racial prejudice.

So once again: Being white and poor is hard, but being black and poor is harder.

4. Privilege describes what everyone should experience.

When we use the word “privilege” in the context of social justice, it means something slightly different to the way it’s used by most people in their everyday environment.

Often we think of privilege as “special advantages.” We frequently hear the phrase, “X is a privilege, not a right,” conveying the idea that X is something special that shouldn’t be expected.

Because of the way we use “privilege” in our day-to-day lives, people often get upset when others point out some of their privileges.

A male acquaintance of mine initially struggled to understand the concept of privilege. He once said to me, “Men don’t often experience gender-based street harassment, but that’s not a privilege. It’s something everyone should expect.”

Correct. Everyone should expect to be treated that way. Everyone has a right to be treated that way. The problem is that certain people aren’t treated that way.

To illustrate: Nobody should be treated as if they are untrustworthy based on their race. But often, people of color – particularly black people – are mistrusted because of prejudice towards their race.

White people, however, don’t experience this systemic, race-based prejudice. We call this “white privilege” because people who are white are free from racial oppression.

We don’t use the term “privilege” because we don’t think everyone deserves this treatment.

We call privilege “privilege” because we acknowledge that not everyone experiences it.

5. Privilege doesn’t mean you didn’t work hard.

People often get defensive when someone points out that they have privilege. And I totally understand why – before I fully understood privilege, I acted the same way.

Many people think that having privilege means you have had an easy life. As such, they feel personally attacked when people point out their privilege. To them, it feels as if someone is saying that they haven’t worked hard or endured any difficulties.

But this is not what privilege means.

You can be privileged and still have a difficult life. Privilege doesn’t mean that your life is easy, but rather that it’s easier than others.

I saw this brilliant analogy comparing white privilege and bike commuting in a car-friendly city, and it inspired me to broaden the analogy to privilege in general.

So let’s say both you and your friend decide to go cycling. You decide to cycle for the same distance, but you take different routes. You take a route that is a bit bumpy. More often than not, you go down roads that are at a slight decline. It’s very hot, but the wind is at usually at your back. You eventually get to your destination, but you’re sunburnt, your legs are aching, you’re out of breath, and you have a cramp.

When you eventually meet up with your friend, she says that the ride was awful for her. It was also bumpy. The road she took was at an incline the entire time. She was even more sunburnt than you because she had no sunscreen. At one point, a strong gust of wind blew her over and she hurt her foot. She ran out of water halfway through. When she hears about your route, she remarks that your experience seemed easier than hers.

Does that mean that you didn’t cycle to the best of your ability? Does it mean that you didn’t face obstacles? Does it mean that you didn’t work hard? No. What it means is that you didn’t face the obstacles she faced.

Privilege doesn’t mean your life is easy or that you didn’t work hard. It simply means that you don’t have to face the obstacles others have to endure. It means that life is more difficult for those who don’t have the systemic privilege you have.

So What Now?

Often, people think that feminists and social justice activists point out people’s privilege to make them feel guilty. This isn’t the case at all!

We don’t want you to feel guilty. We want you to join us in challenging the systems that privilege some people and oppress others.

Guilt is an unhelpful feeling: It makes us feel ashamed, which prevents us from speaking out and bringing about change. As Jamie Utt notes, “If privilege guilt prevents me from acting against oppression, then it is simply another tool of oppression.

You don’t need to feel guilty for having privilege because having privilege is not your fault: It’s not something you chose. But what you can choose is to push back against your privilege and to use it in a way that challenges oppressive systems instead of perpetuating them.

So what can you – as a person who experiences privilege – do?

Understanding privilege is a start, so you’ve already made the first move! Yay!

There’s a great deal of information out there on the Internet, so I’d firstly recommend that you read more about the concepts of oppression and privilege in order to expand your understanding. The links in this article are a good place to start.

But merely understanding privilege is not enough. We need to take action.

Listen to people who experience oppression. Learn about how you can work in solidarity with oppressed groups. Join feminist and activist communities in order to support those you have privilege over. Focus on teaching other privileged people about their privilege.

Above all else, bear in mind that your privilege exists.

* The article is by Sian Ferguson
Source of image: No greater joy.