State subsidised companies are exploiting feminism for profit and we’re all watching

A go-to essay that must be shared:

“Neoliberal capitalism, which is built on the disenfranchisement of women and people of colour, is attempting to contain radical discourse within its walls. In doing so it neutralises the potential for system change. Richard Branson, the billionaire businessperson who owns Virgin, is flourishing under the current system. Though he likes to cultivate a benevolent image, he isn’t doing anything that would seriously challenge the system out of which he does so well. It’s far better and easier for him to give the impression that he cares while making symbolic tweaks to unequal structures.

This is going on all around us; it’s how capitalism stayed relatively steady on its feet after the 2008 financial crash. It’s a dangerous process that inhibits the possibility for real change: it takes in the collective effort of intersectional feminism and spits out individualistic gender equality and antiracism in its most feeble form.”

Media Diversified

by Maya Goodfellow

Last week while flicking through TV channels an advert caught my attention. I was momentarily pleased to watch as a young girl was enchanted by clips of famous women – from feminist activist Emmeline Pankhurst to iconic singer Billie Holiday – while Fleur East’s version of Girl on Fire played in the background. But as the feature came to a close, I was jolted back into reality; this was an advert, a multimillion-pound advert for Virgin Media, to be precise. The billion pound conglomerate is now using women and girls to sell broadband. Exploiting feminism for profit.

I can’t celebrate seeing feminism exploited in the ad breaks by a company that has been built by taking millions from the taxpayer. Virgin ushers publicly run assets into the private sector then languishes on subsidies from the public purse while making a huge profit. This is not an outlandish…

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Star Wars and the 4 Ways Science Fiction Handles Race – Noah Berlatsky – The Atlantic

lead“The genre has no problem imagining a future full of spaceships and aliens. A racially integrated society, though?”

“It’d be great news if the buzz about 12 Years a Slave’s Lupita Nyong’o being cast in the upcoming Star Wars sequel is true. That’s because Lupita Nyong’o is great, and it would be wonderful to see her get high-profile roles.

Casting someone whose breakout role explicitly and thoughtfully engaged with the African-American experience may also, hopefully, kick off a discussion about race in Star Wars and in sci-fi more generally. The franchise has often been criticized for its clueless, tone-deaf use of caricature, especially the nods to blackface minstrelsy in Jar Jar Binks. More importantly, Star Wars encapsulates a pop-culture tradition of space operas that can easily invent spaceships and robots and aliens, but that helplessly acquiesce to old, stereotypical treatments of gender and race. Why does that matter? Sci-fi is at least in part a dream of a different world and a different future. When that future unthinkingly reproduces current inequities, it seems like both a missed opportunity and a failure of imagination.” Read more here: Star Wars and the 4 Ways Science Fiction Handles Race – Noah Berlatsky – The Atlantic.

Paul Graham Says Women “Haven’t Been Hacking For the Past 10 Years”

Paul Graham Says Women “Haven’t Been Hacking For the Past 10 Years”.

The Information just proved it’s worth its steep $400 price of admission because on display in an interview with Y Combinator cofounder Paul Graham is the clearest picture of Silicon Valley‘s unacknowledged sexism ever to find its way in print.”

And racism? Graham’s method of reasoning sexism in IT sounds awfully familiar to the excuses given for the absence of men and women of African, Latino, and Native American descent in Silicon Valley.

I say we are long overdue in developing ways to push back against this glass ceiling.  Let’s shatter it once and for all.


American Nightmare

After reading Kevin P. Keating’scleveland-visitor-bureau post in, “Cleveland’s Heart of Darkness,” I felt a need to respond to his description of racism and classism in my hometown:

I lived it everyday in suburbia. I faced it everyday, as did my parents, brother, and most of my relatives. My parents thought moving to Bedford Heights would protect us from the ills that plague our culture–it was there in suburbia–just hidden under euphemisms.

This latest incident in Cleveland comes as no surprise–but through it all, the people still come together even when the rich and privileged don’t care. Notice I didn’t say that this was about race. Race is only one part here–SOCIAL CLASS has ALWAYS been the measurement by which the institutions and those running them have dispersed services and care in most cities. You see just as many if not more poor Whites getting ill-treatment as Blacks and Hispanics. We just tend to be locked up at higher rates.

To be poor is to be invisible in this country. That, to me, is part of the horror story unfolding in my hometown.

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Birdsfoot Trefoil: The Lady Of Charity (Part One) Story #6 [30 Stories in 30 Days]

Birdsfoot Trefoil:  Lady Of Charity (Part One) Story #6 [30 Stories in 30 Days]birdsfoot-trefoil

By Cherie Ann Turpin

The stench of old urine was almost overwhelming.  The floor had not been mopped, and the desk chair itself was covered in dried urine.  Emma Smith was forced to sit in that very chair for an entire week.  At eight years old Emma was potty trained and normally would not have urinated all over her school uniform, her desk chair, and the floor around her.

Emma was a transfer student from St. James Parish School, a Catholic school in Cleveland to Saint Margaret Parish School, a Catholic school in Bedford, a quiet suburb far from the city.  Her family arrived as new residents of the adjacent suburb Bedford Heights, part of the early wave of African-Americans migrating to outer suburbs for better schools and clean streets during 1974.  During their first week of suburbia, eggs were smashed against the side of the tan, three-bedroom house, and the word “nigger” was drawn in large black letters in their driveway.  Dan Smith was short, reddish-brown, and stocky, with prematurely grey hair and matching grey eyes that tended to frighten strangers.  Dan, still wearing his mechanic’s uniform, stood outside in his driveway staring at the slur crudely drawn, as if to comprehend the implications of bringing his family into a war scenario.  His normally calm face drew tight with silent anger, anger he swallowed as he washed and scrubbed away the offensive word from his property.

“But the schools out here are better, Dan,” pleaded his wife Janet, her large brown eyes watching him mark the kitchen floor with dirt from his work boots while he paced.  “The kids need to be away from the city.  It’s not safe for them.” Janet watched Dan as he stopped in mid-pace and said, “and this is safe?”

Emma’s first day at Saint Margaret’s was marked by the initial reaction of the two girls to her appearance at the bus stop one cloudy Monday.  The two were waiting for the school bus at the end of Deer Run Drive, and were curious about the waif-like girl with three big plaits and cinnamon skin wearing a dark blue uniform and neat white oxford shirt with a rounded collar.  Her brand new saddle shoes were black and white leather.  She carried a Scooby-Doo lunchbox full of snacks, fruit, and a cheese sandwich. The two blond girls wore identical uniforms, and carried lunch boxes as well.  Emma spoke first, smiling.  They stared at her for one whole minute, silently.

“Why do you talk so proper,” responded one of the girls. She made a “eww” face, and whispered to the other girl.  The yellow bus appeared, and the two girls got on first and moved to the middle seat, while Emma sat up front.  The entire busload knew that the Black girl talked “weird” by the end of the bus trip.

Third grade teacher Miss May was not amused at the prospect of her classroom becoming integrated.  By the time the urine incident happened, she had routinely downgraded Emma’s homework and marked her as disruptive in class for asking questions.  Unfortunately for Emma on that fateful day, the row where she sat had been punished because one student spoke out of turn: no bathroom or playground breaks for the entire afternoon.  Emma tried to hold the pee inside, and begged to be allowed to go to the toilet.

Miss May, a tall, thin, stern woman with cold grey eyes shrouded by spectacles and short bangs, was not moved.  She watched the little girl squirm and finally, as the urine flowed, cry silently, ashamed and humiliated.  Emma’s luminous brown eyes lost its shine that day, and grew duller as the week progressed and the smell lingered.  Her little classmates were already hostile to having a Black girl in their midst; they laughed at her in the playground and on the school bus taking her home.

“Why don’t you like me?” Emma asked Miss May, as the class filed in a row to depart for the weekend.

Miss May paused for a moment, then bent down, looking at the sad girl, “Of course I like you, Emma.” Some of the girls in line giggled.

Emma felt something break inside herself, and a voice near her ear began to speak: she lies, bitter, angry woman.  Emma looked around to see who was talking, but saw no one.  I am here, child, take notice of my voice.


To be continued….

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Quentin-questionable-Tarantino | Black Feminists

Quentin-questionable-Tarantino | Black Feminists.

Why does Quentin Tarantino believe himself to be an authority on Blackness or on African American history? Why do we continue to defend what seems to be Tarantino’s ever-growing and ever-public arrogance with regard to African Americans and racism?