silentpunk

Hello, I'm Jen . You may recognise me from such bands as Colour Me Wednesday.

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Posts tagged racism

Mar 8 '12

White saviors and imperialism: criticisms of #Kony2012

tooyoungforthelivingdead:

The only thing the video is missing is including “When a Hero comes along” by Mirah as the soundtrack every time a white person appears.” //
“we can’t separate the medium from the message – and I can’t ignore this message and just focus on the (admittedly great) storytelling techniques. If we don’t ask critical questions, then who will?
 - contributors to a charity campaigning list

I’ve collated some links to a spread of articles that criticise/question the Kony2012 campaign, both in terms of tactics and messaging… but first, a paragraph from a friend of a friend (Adam Hudson):

That film had no political, cultural, or historical context/analysis at all. No discussion about the role the trans-Atlantic slave trade, colonialism, global capitalism, foreign powers carving spheres of influence in Africa, and Western support of African dictators, like Musevini in Uganda or Mobutu in Zaire/Congo play in the current malaise (war, famine, poverty, instability, etc.) the African continent faces. It also portrayed African people as helpless victims in need of white Western saviors (another problem I had with it). Kony is obviously a war criminal but if we’re going to talk seriously about Uganda and Africa, we need context and critical analysis to understand what’s going on and find solutions to these pressing problems.

TheDailyWhat on Kony2012 — a quick overview of the concerns.

We got trouble (Visible Children) — a reasoned critique of the charity Invisible Children and what they are advocating for.

let’s talk about kony — on stories of self, colonialism, and intervention.

Invisible Children responds to criticism about ‘Stop Kony’ campaign — it would be unfair to not include their defence, though I think Invisible Children’s “defences” don’t really hold water.

Catching Joseph Kony — from someone who’s worked with Invisible Children. More supportive of the work they do on the ground, still critical of the methods.

Bad guys, good guys, and the people in between — more of a fleshing out of the “white saviour” message the film promotes.

This whole palava shows limitations with “clicktivism” and social media as a method of social change: items can go viral (especially video) on the back of their power to incense, but there is little rational engagement with the subject matter at hand, with people sharing campaigns that have actively damaging at worst/entirely ineffective at best ends.

The real challenge now is to refocus the discourse onto voices from the ground in Uganda and across the region (CAR and DRC), and to critically assess what the best way of supporting grassroots movements there are. Articles like Stop Kony, yes. But don’t stop asking questions by Musa Okwonga, or A Peace of my mind: Respect my agency 2012! by @tmsruge, are probably a good place to start.

P.S. if you’re looking for a place to donate, I’ve seen War Child, MSF and “Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe at St. Monica’s in Gulu” mentioned as good and relevant causes in the area that the LRA works (hat-tip Laura Seay).

Great roundup, Sami. 

Watching the infamous video for the first time last night, my distaste was not really based on the medium, because I do believe that new media has its place, plays a very important part; though it is very cheesy when one cause or corporation tries to co-opt the phenomenon as its own in a weird post-modern fictionalising kind of way. I think the issue is a genre issue, this was not a documentary, not a political/historical overview like you’d get from Adam Curtis. It’s SO American, it seemed like a recruitment for a weird cult, but this wasn’t really a media problem - definitely a genre problem.

And it didn’t have any political/historical context, I suppose it does assume its audience is ‘dumbed down’/ has no attention span for any real content. 

I can’t abide people using this as yet another chance to bash new-media or new technologies or new online cultures because it seems like a matter of genre or content issue rather than something inherent to the medium. 

28 notes (via tooyoungforthelivingdead)Tags: StopKony Kony2012 charity clictivism social media imperialism white man's burden racism social change politics

Feb 4 '12

17 things i’ve learned from watching america’s next top model

lauragpie:

1. you can’t be a model if you’re fat…unless you’re a certain kind of ‘fat’ (i.e. size 10. i.e. not even fat) then you can be a plus-size model.

2. you can’t be a model if you’re too skinny. if you’re too skinny then tyra will tell you to eat an avocado and kick you off the show.

3. there exists a size between ‘normal’ and ‘plus size’. it’s like size-limbo — not skinny enough to be a ‘regular’ model and too skinny to be a ‘plus-size’ model. if you slip into this size during filming, tyra will say you’ve gone ‘pear-shaped’ and kick you off the show.

3. models must be passive. if you’re in pain during a photoshoot, you must push through that pain in order to get a good shot. shivering from the cold water you’re shooting in? push through the pain for the greater good (ie fashion!)

4. models must be assertive. if you’re in pain during a photoshoot, it is your job to know when to stop the shoot and seek medical attention. develop hypothermia from that cold water you were shooting in? your own fault for not knowing when to say when. you shouldn’t have tried to push through the pain.

5. models can’t be shy. shy people have no personality.

6. models can’t be too loud. loud people have too much personality.

7. women of colour must present themselves with a certain level of ‘whiteness’. acting too ‘ethnic’ is not professional.

8. models of colour must not act too white. they are a disgrace to their race.

9. black women are angry and irrational.

10. women of colour are around for my amusement and should not be taken seriously.

11. ‘women of colour’ and ‘ghetto’ are synonyms

12. african-american vernacular is NOT a valid dialect/ethnolect/sociolect and needs to be corrected.

13. violence against women is a form of high fashion.

14. cultural appropriation is okay when you’re trying to sell something.

15. be it hair or teeth or skin. or weight or height or proportion: there is something physically wrong with each of us.

16. women are natural enemies. put them in a room alone together and they will fuckin’ fight. helllllooooooo, drama!

17. i need to find me some better tv to watch.

omg u think America’s next top model is bad, try watching Australia’s next top model. They use the word ‘expensive’ as praise ‘omg darling you look expensive’. As opposed to cheap I suppose. They had one single black girl in the last competition but she went out pretty early following either completely fading into the background or receiving criticisms like her look is ‘too specialist’ or ‘not versatile enough’ because obviously they would only need her if they wanted some tokenistic ethnic model. And there was a girl who was really badly underweight and they said she could only go through if she started eating, she clearly didn’t gain any weight, in fact I think she lost weight and they never mentioned it again because they actually loved those fragile ankles and visible ribs because they look ‘expensive’. 

49 notes (via fluffyfemme & lauragpie)Tags: antm america's next top model tyra banks racism sexism feminism why do i continue to watch this shit?

Feb 1 '12

What is it with Ghetto Names

sapphrikah:

aprilzosia:

ethiopienne:

sumney:

I get it now.

All my life, I grew up being told that “black” names are ghetto and held by people who are likely to be trashy. If you know a girl named Laquisha, Latoya, Shaniqua, or Kelendria, she’s probably the neighborhood hoodrat, and even names like Tyrone and Tyrese are blacklisted in our society (pun intended). Statistically, it’s been proven that resumes and job applications that bear these names are more likely to go unread or end up in the trash can. [Translation: you’re less likely to be hired if you are obviously black.

But of course, names are alright if they are unquestionably mainstream (read: white) - Benjamin, Elizabeth, William, etc. Names are also fine if they are from a minority culture, as long as they are not identifiably a product of African-American culture; Alejandra, Lucia, Ivanka, Pierre, Elena, Boris, and Armando, are acceptable, exotic, and can even be beautiful. You might get teased on the playground, but your name is less likely to be a stigma or bad luck charm that follows you for the rest of your life.

When I worked at Hollister (not something I’m proud of), one of my white bosses was named Chante. She told me how people were often surprised when they met her, and would say thinks like “you’re not black!” or “what a ghetto name for a little white girl!” Turns out, her name was French. Her family was French. But because Chante has become such a popular name in the black American community, people have started to see it as ghetto. It’s losing its value because it’s associated with blackness.

A few weeks ago, I met a black girl named Shizuki. I immediately thought what an interesting ghetto name. I’m not exempt from prejudice. Such thoughts come to me once in a while, and I have to reprimand myself for upholding racist ideals instilled in me by American society. I asked her what her name meant, and she told me it was Japanese. Turns out, she was born in Japan and grew up there. Imagine how stupid I felt - and rightly so.

And now I suddenly understand why black names are frowned upon. Because things that are black, in this country, are ghetto. “Ghetto” is synonymous with poor, trashy, uncivilized, and ill-mannered. Because black names are ghetto, they are inherently ugly and unattractive, and names likes Tierra and Mo’nique (which I find aesthetically pleasing) will automatically be regarded as ugly. Simply put, the only reason why black names are bad… is because they are held by black people.

Bolding for emphasis mine.

There is nothing more anti-racist than acknowledging ones own prejudice.  It is only by recognizing these false ideals that we can begin to see the social structures that bind us.  We can’t break through something we refuse to see.

Yes to all of this. I used to think this same way. My dad does it now. And I try to tell him there are NOTHING wrong with those names. The white world has deemed them poor because anything in association with us is filth to them. In reality, what is wrong with those names? Absolutely nothing. We need to check ourselves for what prejudiced we’ve been taught to have against our own people.

Eurgh when people ridicule so-called ‘ghetto’ names or use them as the butt of a joke I could just spit with fucking rage and embarassment. 

8,897 notes (via sapphrikah & sumney)Tags: racism

Jan 22 '12

curate:

Performing Naturalness. c 2008. (by Dada Docot)

3min, Experimental Documentary
Director/Editor: Dada Docot
Cameraworks: Jong Pairez
Effects: Mike Garcia
Music: Fabien Claudel, Zikweb

Statement:

Living for about four years in Japan, one Filipina has grown quite tired of the “random” questioning of the immigration police who inquire about her visa status. One day, she gets off at Shinagawa train station (the stop closest to the city’s busiest immigration office) to conduct a small social experiment. This one-time performance/experiment was constrained by the use of a single roll of 8mm film which runs for only three minutes.

A part of a series of work on space vis-à-vis mobility, the short film documents an instance of surveillance of foreigners in nothing but an ordinary day in Japan. It emphasizes that the everyday life of a migrant IS a performance. The foreign space accommodates or rejects, and as the “visitor,” you “perform” roles so that the space receives you (well).

30 notes (via praxis-makesperfect-deactivated & curate)Tags: immigrants racism japan

Oct 9 '11

The fact that Aunt Jemima still exists as a brand…

sapphrikah:

praisethelorde:

We have our own version here called Banania (as in … banana), which is a brand of … chocolate. And their slogan is in what french people call “français petit nègre” as in “little n****r french”, which is the way white people imagine we speak when most french speaking Africans speak better french than them. I’ll just let you check the logo.

But you know, it’s not like they’re racist, because no white man is going to yell “y’a bon banania ” in your face when you’re walking in the street with a bunch of other black people.

You know it’s not as bad as those ugly americans.

Ugh, I hate this country.

 oh my fucking gawd just googled that.

31 notes (via sapphrikah & sapphrikah)Tags: racism racisme

Oct 3 '11
tooyoungforthelivingdead:

feministslut:

gamershifty:

feministslut:

kinkyturtle:

strugglingtobeheard:

peecharrific:

so-treu:

notyourkinddear:

I would only add that it would be more appropriate to say that we know there’s something rotten when WHITE 13-year old kids are being arrested for peaceful protest. Brown & Black kids get arrested for peaceful protests, or just for being in public, every day.

this makes me want to break things. america isn’t rotten when a 7 year old black girl is shot in the head by the police who were showing off for a tv show, america isn’t rotten when a 9 year old latina girl is shot by a supremacist vigilante posing as law enforcement, but let a little white girl get put in handcuffs and the whole world is ready to riot. 
and yes, i’m fucking bitter. bite me.

reblogging for this. because it’s the truth.
but “we’re all the same”, right?

Sad thing is, for most of these kids, it’s just bragging points. The ability to say they were arrested once in their lives. It’s not going to affect their ability to get a job or get opportunities like it affects the black and brown people targeted everyday. They get to go through the system without having the face any of the same horrors and think its so bad but also that it’s kind of cool and something they secretly always wanted to experience to have some sort of “street” cred since they know nothing about street shit but find it fascinating.

Commentary.

I hate to make historical comparisons, but people have already done it. These teenagers are similar to the anti-war protestors of the 60s and 70s. They will get arrested and think its cool for awhile. They’ll say the what they believe will never change, but chances are they will turn into their parents. They will then think back to the “good old days.” 
edit: she is 18.

Seriously!? She’s 18?? Wow. Would not have guessed that. Anyway, I know I’m going to get a lot of shit for this but, am I the only one that wants to smack her in her smug little face? She doesn’t even look like she even knows what the protest is about. Like it’s all just a game to her, “look gaiz! I got arrested! Pff Amerika, amirite?!”.  POC are persecuted every fucking day, and usually it doesn’t even gain media attention. But you know how much this little white girl has been on my dash?? A whole fucking lot. Ugh. I am in such a horrible mood right now.

No, she pisses me off as well. You sum up why she pisses me off so nicely.

you’re all being pretty fucking callous. the fact that people are overusing this image (which may identify their own privileged experience/view of arrest)shouldn’t have any impact on this girl.
plus, I’m sorry, but that “just getting arrested for street cred” trope is such bollocks. yeah, a really small minority may do that, but you’re basing it on what,a really forced looking smile in a photograph? you’re right, you can definitely judge how “smug” she is from this one photo
when did we all become such mean-spirited people? hate the racism in society that makes people push this image when they often ignore countless others of non-white kids getting treated the same/worse, but don’t hate a random kid based on your preconceptions and prejudices.
jesus.

Yeah she could be just about to cry in that pic, by the looks of it.
But no, cos she’s white she probably doesn’t have feelings and will go back to her ivy league university or high-profile management position tomorrow… cool assumptions guyzzzz, nice solidarity there.

tooyoungforthelivingdead:

feministslut:

gamershifty:

feministslut:

kinkyturtle:

strugglingtobeheard:

peecharrific:

so-treu:

notyourkinddear:

I would only add that it would be more appropriate to say that we know there’s something rotten when WHITE 13-year old kids are being arrested for peaceful protest. Brown & Black kids get arrested for peaceful protests, or just for being in public, every day.

this makes me want to break things. america isn’t rotten when a 7 year old black girl is shot in the head by the police who were showing off for a tv show, america isn’t rotten when a 9 year old latina girl is shot by a supremacist vigilante posing as law enforcement, but let a little white girl get put in handcuffs and the whole world is ready to riot. 

and yes, i’m fucking bitter. bite me.

reblogging for this. because it’s the truth.

but “we’re all the same”, right?

Sad thing is, for most of these kids, it’s just bragging points. The ability to say they were arrested once in their lives. It’s not going to affect their ability to get a job or get opportunities like it affects the black and brown people targeted everyday. They get to go through the system without having the face any of the same horrors and think its so bad but also that it’s kind of cool and something they secretly always wanted to experience to have some sort of “street” cred since they know nothing about street shit but find it fascinating.

Commentary.

I hate to make historical comparisons, but people have already done it. These teenagers are similar to the anti-war protestors of the 60s and 70s. They will get arrested and think its cool for awhile. They’ll say the what they believe will never change, but chances are they will turn into their parents. They will then think back to the “good old days.” 

edit: she is 18.

Seriously!? She’s 18?? Wow. Would not have guessed that. Anyway, I know I’m going to get a lot of shit for this but, am I the only one that wants to smack her in her smug little face? She doesn’t even look like she even knows what the protest is about. Like it’s all just a game to her, “look gaiz! I got arrested! Pff Amerika, amirite?!”.  POC are persecuted every fucking day, and usually it doesn’t even gain media attention. But you know how much this little white girl has been on my dash?? A whole fucking lot. Ugh. I am in such a horrible mood right now.

No, she pisses me off as well. You sum up why she pisses me off so nicely.

you’re all being pretty fucking callous. the fact that people are overusing this image (which may identify their own privileged experience/view of arrest)shouldn’t have any impact on this girl.

plus, I’m sorry, but that “just getting arrested for street cred” trope is such bollocks. yeah, a really small minority may do that, but you’re basing it on what,a really forced looking smile in a photograph? you’re right, you can definitely judge how “smug” she is from this one photo

when did we all become such mean-spirited people? hate the racism in society that makes people push this image when they often ignore countless others of non-white kids getting treated the same/worse, but don’t hate a random kid based on your preconceptions and prejudices.

jesus.

Yeah she could be just about to cry in that pic, by the looks of it.

But no, cos she’s white she probably doesn’t have feelings and will go back to her ivy league university or high-profile management position tomorrow… cool assumptions guyzzzz, nice solidarity there.

9,140 notes (via tooyoungforthelivingdead & cheguevaraslovechild-deactivate)Tags: occupywallstreet racism protest photo

Sep 25 '11

[She] suggests that practices of yellowfacing and blackfacing (like, redfacing and brownfacing) take modeling jobs away from nonwhite models. This logic assumes that these acts of racial drag are meant to represent an actual racial body. Let me be clear: yellowfacing is not a practice of racial substitution, of a white model in place of an Asian model. Photographers, magazines, and designers know Asian models exist and know how to hire them. But they don’t hire them for these jobs because yellowfacing does not intend for audiences to believe that the body in view is actually Asian.

I’ve become really impatient with responses to racist practices of racial drag that involve comments like: “Why didn’t they just hire a Black/Asian/Latina/Native model?” (Yes, I believe there are anti-racist kinds of racial drag.) This question glosses over the actual operations of yellowfacing, blackfacing, etc. which is not about Asianness or Blackness but about Whiteness. It is about consuming Otherness, it’s about making racial difference commodifiable and palatable through whiteness, it’s about reproducing and securing white privilege. To quote hooks again, “eating the other” – hooks’ term for the consumption of difference – offers:
A new delight, more intense, more satisfying than normal ways of doing and feeling. Within commodity culture, ethnicity becomes spice, seasoning that can liven up the dull dish that is mainstream white culture.

Unintentionally Eating the Other « threadbared (via avry)

THREADBARED = THE BEST.

(via garconniere)

97 notes (via colorblinding & rgr-pop)Tags: Bell Hooks cannibalism alterity racism race liquefactionism

Sep 19 '11

35 notes (via herbivorexvx & herbivorexvx)Tags: dale farm traveller eviction racism discrimination solidarity resistance essex crays hill

Sep 17 '11
tooyoungforthelivingdead:

verbalresistance:

androphilia:

France bans public Muslim prayers
MUSLIMS will be banned from praying outdoors in France from today in the latest move by officials to remove Islam from the public sphere. 
The ban, announced by the government yesterday, infuriated French Muslim leaders, one of whom accused President Sarkozy’s government of treating them like cattle.
They say that Muslims, who pray outdoors only because of a lack of space in mosques in France, feel stigmatised.
But Claude Gueant, the Interior Minister, said that the sight of hundreds of people gathering in the streets of Paris and other cities for Friday prayers was “shocking”.
It comes after laws to prohibit pupils from wearing headscarves in schools and women from wearing the niqab, the full Muslim veil, in public.
Mr Gueant described outlawing street prayers as the latest brick in the wall that is shoring up the secular nature of the French state. He said that he had nothing against Islam, but wanted it out of the public eye.
“Street prayers must stop because they hurt the feelings of many of our compatriots who are shocked by the occupation of the public space for a religious practice,” he said.
Police could be asked to arrest Muslims who continue to pray in the street, Mr Gueant warned, but officials will initially try to persuade them to move into a mosque.
Debate has focused on the Goutte d’Or district in northern Paris. Dozens and sometimes hundreds of Muslims pray in the surrounding streets.
Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Front, was accused of racism when she said that the worship amounted to an “occupation” - a word that for many French is associated with the Nazi invasion during the Second World War.
But the government now appears to be on the same wavelength, with Mr Gueant agreeing that street prayers would “upset” his fellow countrymen.
He said that officials had made available a disused fire station in the Goutte d’Or with room for 2700 people for a rent of €30,000 ($A40,330) a year.
But Muslim leaders said that the site would be open to worshippers only on Fridays.
Mohamed Salah Hamza, imam at a mosque in the Goutte d’Or district, said: “We are not cattle. Our demands have not entirely been satisfied.”
He said that he feared worshippers would continue to pray outside.
“I am in an uncomfortable position and I am afraid there will be a climate of anarchy,” he said.
THE TIMES
Image: French Muslim pray in the street outside an overcrowded mosque in Paris. (Exploring Islam in Paris: Pt 1 | Life and a Lens)

This really doesn’t surprise me - if France could get away with a ban on Islam and Muslims themselves, they’d be all over it in a minute.
I remember saying earlier, how Muslims outside Europe shouldn’t be fooled into thinking Sarkozy was a friend of Muslims - as many polls unfortunately indicate many Muslims are - he’s not.
Despite his relatively non-interventionist stances in regards to the ‘war on terror’, as opposed to other European countries, he’s a right wing nut-job and populist par excellence domestically, and uses Islamophobia as a potent electoral tool - to a degree of success as well, as he garners the vote of the France’s burgeoning far right.
This is the same government who farcically banned women from wearing a niqab, even if they wanted to - and if you do, you’re just treated like other petty criminals, merely for wearing a garment of your choice - this condescending western approach to Muslim women, because hey, apparently our women are all oppressed, need ‘liberation’, and can’t speak for themselves.
This is the same guy who forcedly had Romanian and Bulgarian Roma/Gypsy folk evicted from their houses and deported from the country en masse, on flimsy grounds - at odds with the EU  itself and widely criticised by human rights groups. They even got the  French church involved in having Gypsy members of their parish arrested by the police - policies that can only be described as thinly-veiled ethnic cleansing.
This is the same person who wanted to start a national ‘identity debate’ on if Muslims belong in France. The same government that garners the votes of people who go as far as saying they want Halal food banned in France, because evidently they find it offensive that Muslims can live as they want in their country. The same person that fired a French Muslim minister of his own party, over his criticisms of the way  Sarkozy questioned whether Islam is compatible with France.
This is a president who resides over a population that is ~10%  Muslim, the highest proportions inside the EU, yet actively pursues  Islamophobic, and far-right policies at odds with its human rights  obligations.
So no, it doesn’t surprise me that France would only further stamp on the feet of Muslims, hypocritically - “all public prayers in France receive government approval beforehand… ‘Here we have the hypocrisy of the French right. On one side, they authorize in the street and on the other side, they say ‘look French people, Muslims are taking over our streets and speak of invasion’ ”
It’s just another case of scapegoating Muslims, riding on populist waves of Islamophobia, for electoral gain.
Being a country of such a high Muslim population, and such importance within the EU, what France does has a knock-on effect,  and their Islamophobic policies often have much more wide-reaching  effects than within just France itself - with governments thinking “If  France can get away with it, so can we!” - leading to a scenario where  France, under the excuse of it’s ultra secular Laïcité traditions (which  pans out as discrimination against religion, rather than freedom of  religion) and under guises of pseudo-liberalism, has been at the  forefront of xenophobic policies across Europe - in stark contrast to  the romanticised liberal image of freedom and democracy that people have  of it.
France in many ways is an image of what the rest of Europe can come to expect, in terms of governmental xenophobia, as the Muslim populations within each country continue to grow and the right exploit a xenophobic ‘fear of another’. Exemplified in the ghastly comparisons as the above - comparing French-national Muslims to the Nazi occupation… it’s a theme we see right across Europe, from the Geert Wilders in Netherlands to the FPO in Austria, and so on.
We saw just how much of a threat the growing fascist right is in Europe, with the tragic incidence of the Norway shootings and Breiviks well-documented Islamophobic intentions. Indeed, the far-right has always been a bigger threat to European stability than Islam or Muslims ever will be, or intend be; for us European Muslims, its our home, we’re not visitors or strangers, or ‘occupiers’, as the right like to say - the vast majority of us are merely trying to practise our faith and go about our existence peacefully. Not that we should have to explain ourselves to anyone.
Unless there’s a sea-change in the attitude of European politicians and media -  from scapegoating and institutionalised fear mongering, such as the above, to tolerance, understanding, education and reaching out - then  the far right will continue to play on populist fears and European  society will only be ever more fractious.

reblogged for epic commentary

tooyoungforthelivingdead:

verbalresistance:

androphilia:

France bans public Muslim prayers

MUSLIMS will be banned from praying outdoors in France from today in the latest move by officials to remove Islam from the public sphere.

The ban, announced by the government yesterday, infuriated French Muslim leaders, one of whom accused President Sarkozy’s government of treating them like cattle.

They say that Muslims, who pray outdoors only because of a lack of space in mosques in France, feel stigmatised.

But Claude Gueant, the Interior Minister, said that the sight of hundreds of people gathering in the streets of Paris and other cities for Friday prayers was “shocking”.

It comes after laws to prohibit pupils from wearing headscarves in schools and women from wearing the niqab, the full Muslim veil, in public.

Mr Gueant described outlawing street prayers as the latest brick in the wall that is shoring up the secular nature of the French state. He said that he had nothing against Islam, but wanted it out of the public eye.

“Street prayers must stop because they hurt the feelings of many of our compatriots who are shocked by the occupation of the public space for a religious practice,” he said.

Police could be asked to arrest Muslims who continue to pray in the street, Mr Gueant warned, but officials will initially try to persuade them to move into a mosque.

Debate has focused on the Goutte d’Or district in northern Paris. Dozens and sometimes hundreds of Muslims pray in the surrounding streets.

Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Front, was accused of racism when she said that the worship amounted to an “occupation” - a word that for many French is associated with the Nazi invasion during the Second World War.

But the government now appears to be on the same wavelength, with Mr Gueant agreeing that street prayers would “upset” his fellow countrymen.

He said that officials had made available a disused fire station in the Goutte d’Or with room for 2700 people for a rent of €30,000 ($A40,330) a year.

But Muslim leaders said that the site would be open to worshippers only on Fridays.

Mohamed Salah Hamza, imam at a mosque in the Goutte d’Or district, said: “We are not cattle. Our demands have not entirely been satisfied.”

He said that he feared worshippers would continue to pray outside.

“I am in an uncomfortable position and I am afraid there will be a climate of anarchy,” he said.

THE TIMES

Image: French Muslim pray in the street outside an overcrowded mosque in Paris. (Exploring Islam in Paris: Pt 1 | Life and a Lens)

This really doesn’t surprise me - if France could get away with a ban on Islam and Muslims themselves, they’d be all over it in a minute.

I remember saying earlier, how Muslims outside Europe shouldn’t be fooled into thinking Sarkozy was a friend of Muslims - as many polls unfortunately indicate many Muslims are - he’s not.

Despite his relatively non-interventionist stances in regards to the ‘war on terror’, as opposed to other European countries, he’s a right wing nut-job and populist par excellence domestically, and uses Islamophobia as a potent electoral tool - to a degree of success as well, as he garners the vote of the France’s burgeoning far right.

This is the same government who farcically banned women from wearing a niqab, even if they wanted to - and if you do, you’re just treated like other petty criminals, merely for wearing a garment of your choice - this condescending western approach to Muslim women, because hey, apparently our women are all oppressed, need ‘liberation’, and can’t speak for themselves.

This is the same guy who forcedly had Romanian and Bulgarian Roma/Gypsy folk evicted from their houses and deported from the country en masse, on flimsy grounds - at odds with the EU itself and widely criticised by human rights groups. They even got the French church involved in having Gypsy members of their parish arrested by the police - policies that can only be described as thinly-veiled ethnic cleansing.

This is the same person who wanted to start a national ‘identity debate’ on if Muslims belong in France. The same government that garners the votes of people who go as far as saying they want Halal food banned in France, because evidently they find it offensive that Muslims can live as they want in their country. The same person that fired a French Muslim minister of his own party, over his criticisms of the way Sarkozy questioned whether Islam is compatible with France.

This is a president who resides over a population that is ~10% Muslim, the highest proportions inside the EU, yet actively pursues Islamophobic, and far-right policies at odds with its human rights obligations.

So no, it doesn’t surprise me that France would only further stamp on the feet of Muslims, hypocritically - “all public prayers in France receive government approval beforehand… ‘Here we have the hypocrisy of the French right. On one side, they authorize in the street and on the other side, they say ‘look French people, Muslims are taking over our streets and speak of invasion’ ”

It’s just another case of scapegoating Muslims, riding on populist waves of Islamophobia, for electoral gain.

Being a country of such a high Muslim population, and such importance within the EU, what France does has a knock-on effect, and their Islamophobic policies often have much more wide-reaching effects than within just France itself - with governments thinking “If France can get away with it, so can we!” - leading to a scenario where France, under the excuse of it’s ultra secular Laïcité traditions (which pans out as discrimination against religion, rather than freedom of religion) and under guises of pseudo-liberalism, has been at the forefront of xenophobic policies across Europe - in stark contrast to the romanticised liberal image of freedom and democracy that people have of it.

France in many ways is an image of what the rest of Europe can come to expect, in terms of governmental xenophobia, as the Muslim populations within each country continue to grow and the right exploit a xenophobic ‘fear of another’. Exemplified in the ghastly comparisons as the above - comparing French-national Muslims to the Nazi occupation… it’s a theme we see right across Europe, from the Geert Wilders in Netherlands to the FPO in Austria, and so on.

We saw just how much of a threat the growing fascist right is in Europe, with the tragic incidence of the Norway shootings and Breiviks well-documented Islamophobic intentions. Indeed, the far-right has always been a bigger threat to European stability than Islam or Muslims ever will be, or intend be; for us European Muslims, its our home, we’re not visitors or strangers, or ‘occupiers’, as the right like to say - the vast majority of us are merely trying to practise our faith and go about our existence peacefully. Not that we should have to explain ourselves to anyone.

Unless there’s a sea-change in the attitude of European politicians and media - from scapegoating and institutionalised fear mongering, such as the above, to tolerance, understanding, education and reaching out - then the far right will continue to play on populist fears and European society will only be ever more fractious.

reblogged for epic commentary

1,361 notes (via tooyoungforthelivingdead & androphilia)Tags: France laïcité islam muslims europe islamophobia discrimination xenophobia racism sarkozy eu gypsy Romani human rights thoughts norway austria netherlands intolerance democracy

Sep 14 '11

The problem with anti-colonialist/white discourse

weexist-weresist:

colorblinding:

Fall semester’s begun, hence my absence. 

I had an interesting conversation today with a (tenured, established, highly respected) colleague who works in postcolonial studies. He made a very compelling point which I fully agree with: the tendency within certain communities, both academic and nonacademic, to employ an “anti-colonialist” (or rather, anti-white, anti-Western) ideology is not only problematic, but also dangerous.

Anti-colonialist discourse does not interrogate or critically examine the problem of colonialism and racism; rather, it constantly establishes the proponent of that discourse in a victimized state that is essentialized.  This essentialism casts white as always-oppressing and colonizing, and non-white as always victimized, oppressed, and colonized. 

While Fanon famously established the “white man” (or, in this case, white colonizer) as the historical source of transnational racial oppressions in Black Skin, White Masks and The Wretched of the Earth, it is important to understand that Fanon was writing during a colonialist period, and also working to gain a voice in opposition and reaction to the act of colonization. Though he constantly invokes “the Negro” and “the white man” in his writing, there is nothing essentialist about the way in which he deploys these categories, which function as racial classes in his work, and are produced and understood through power relations. 

Perhaps the most dangerous thing about aggressive anti-colonization in particular, is that it performs as extreme nationalism — which is a topic I will have to write on some other time, since that’s entirely another bag of worms.

But anyway, the point of this post is to say that simply reiterating the basis of oppression, or pointing fingers at white colonizers/white populations as the source of all oppression, and practicing an aggressive anti-white/anti-colonial ideology, creates a dangerous essentialist dialectic that does not properly nor critically understand, interrogate, or consider the complicated ways in which race, ethnicity, nationality, etc. are imbricated and how they are produced.  

In other words: yes, most of us know that historically, white people caused oppression, and that historicity must be always acknowledged. But to never go beyond, “I’m oppressed by white people” and to invoke the white privilege card at every single turn in discussions of race and colonization is to have extremely unproductive and uncritical discussions that are actually pointless. 

I have been meaning to articulate this for a while but you did such a better job of it. I think people who are interested in post-colonalism/de-colonization as a personal project that is removed from more rigorous inquiry (note, not academia, but a more dialectical and hashed out approach) make a lot of mistakes because they do not unpack the habits of essentialism and reductionism. Among Colonized People (tm) there is a tendency towards a very colloquial understanding of the topics at hand.

But the separatist us vs them all acts of racism are equal and blahblahblah attitude really irks me because 1) its baseless 2) its not practical 3) where is being pissed off all the time and telling someone to fix your shit going to leave you?

As an addendum to this, I’d like to suggest that we also interrogate our ideas about de-colonizing because while its important for communities and groups to unpack the impacts of years of imperialism, colonialism, and overall degradation, to suggest a ‘natural’ course of history disrupted by these processes is false, as is any sense of returning to a pre-colonial era. It frustrates me endlessly- even with certain indigenous groups- that people think we can go back to where things left off.

31 notes (via praxis-makesperfect-deactivated & colorblinding)Tags: postcolonialism anti-colonialism anti-white race racism ethnicity nationality academia fanon