Forum Replies Created
March 10, 2019 at 9:28 am #4743
The photo I decided to share this week documents the militarized state police arresting water protectors during the NoDAPL events of 2016, when the combined police forces of five states combines to take over the 1851 Treaty Camp.
During the height of #NoDAPL, almost 1000 water protectors were arrested. In February of 2019, over two years since the event occurred, the courts have finally finished trying the activists who were arrested. There were 836 people arrested, many indigenous, and most if not all of them having been victims of police brutality. The water protectors had been beaten, sprayed with pepper spray, and sprayed with fire hoses in the freezing North Dakota weather, and yet, they were slapped with charges such as inciting violence, engaging in riots, and criminal tresspass. Over half of the water protectors who were arrested were in one way or another, found not guilty, which further serves to prove the actions of the state using their carceral power not to uphold justice, but to weaken the civil power of the people.
March 2, 2019 at 2:37 pm #4488
This week, we reflected on the ways that gender, race, and sexuality intersect in activism combatting sexual harrassment a la #MeToo. The movement is about combatting the actions taken by people who believe that they are entitled to the bodies of marginalized people. According to Tarana Burke, founder of the movement, #MeToo doesn’t need more people raising awareness about sexual assault and harrassment in the workplace. It needs more people willing to put in the concrete work necessary to actually end it. Burke, and many grassroots organizers of the movement, resent the emphasis that the media has put on priveleged and influential figures in the entertainment industry, while ignoring the actions of the marginalized folks who face sexual harassment day-to-day with no support. Women of color, poor women, queer and trans women have very little support despite the fact that they are most likely to experience sexual violence.
February 17, 2019 at 2:20 pm #4124
Despite the fact that students have been pushing for change for almost 50 years now, Harvard University doesn’t have an Ethnic Studies program. Earlier this month, two Asian American studies professors at Harvard decided to leave the university. One of these professors, Natasha Warikoo, was refused tenure in November.
As a result, students and alumni decided to petition the college to create a dedicated Ethnic Studies department. They also Just a few days ago, on the 14th, Harvard administration announced they were working on finding three professors who specialize in ethnic studies. However, just three professors committed to studying diverse perspectives isn’t enough, especially in such a prestigious university. Student activists at Harvard continue to protest and petition for the creation of an Ethnic Studies department and to diversify curriculum across departments.
February 10, 2019 at 2:03 pm #3886
<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>For this week’s photo share, I chose to share the album cover for Logic’s “Everybody” (2017). One of the songs on this album, ‘America’, is a critique of American politics in the light of Donald Trump’s election. In class, we spoke about how hiphop, like any genre, is not a monolith. There are some sectors that are politically conscious, others that are not. I found that ‘America’ is a track that highlights difference even between artists who are willing to lean into politics. </span>
<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>In ‘America’, Logic says, “</span><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>George Bush doesn’t care about black people/</span>
<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>2017 and Donald Trump is the sequel so/Sh*t, I’ll say what Kanye won’t.” Here, Logic references a 2005 quote from Kanye West, another rapper, who famously said that then-president George Bush didn’t care about Black people in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. Since then, much to the chagrin of many political hiphop and rap artists, Kanye West has shown his support for Donald Trump’s presidency. </span>
<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Logic, a biracial, often white-passing man, often catches backlash for discussing racism in his music. Nevertheless, ‘America’ freely comments on such topics as white supremacy, police brutality, the prison-industrial complex, and the border wall in its 5-and-a-half-minute runtime.</span>
Source: Logic. Everybody, Visionary Music Group and Def Jam Recordings, 2017.
January 20, 2019 at 9:06 pm #3312
For this week’s photo share, I chose a MLK Jr. meme created by Twitter user @DJRarela as an alternative to the more white-palatable memes that would be spread during MLK’s birthday. Tagged #InconvenientMLK/#ReclaimMLK, the meme shows a picture of Martin Luther King Jr. with a quote from his Letter from a Birmingham Jail superimposed. The quote criticizes white moderates, as opposed to most memes which spread around this time of year, which share his earlier, less critical quotes from the “I Have a Dream” speech. We discussed in class both the political nature of the Birmingham letter, as well as the “Beyond Vietnam” speech. In fact, I recall specifically mentioning the fact that we never see memes about MLK’s more radical beliefs. We like to remember MLK as a noncontroversial politician-type, not the radical that he was.
Source (includes a variety of similar memes): https://twitter.com/i/moments/825041386940493824
December 2, 2018 at 6:29 pm #2895
The photo I am sharing this week is of Roxsana Hernandez, a transgender asylum seeker fleeing violence in Honduras. She arrived at a U.S. port of entry in May of 2018, and was treated horrifically by ICE, which led to her death only eight days later. Recently, an autopsy was released that showed that she died of dehydration with HIV complications, after days of physical restraint, violence, and denial of medical treatment.
News of the autopsy broke a week after Transgender Day of Remembrance, a vigil held each November to remember the people killed in transphobic acts, and only days before World AIDS Day, the latter of which was largely overshadowed by the death of George H.W. Bush, a president who campaigned against protections for people living with HIV.
In addition, the migrant caravan and its LGBTQ splinter group have both recently arrived in Tijuana, and according to Adolfo Flores of Buzzfeed News, many trans asylum seekers are struggling to find American sponsors so they can be released from custody.
People like Roxsana are not even afforded the right to live. It is critical for us to assess the many ways our laws and society are failing transgender folks, particularly these vulnerable women of color, who have already escaped violence in their country of origin. Will one of these women, whose lawyers say have water-tight asylum cases, appear on the appallingly long list of names we honor next November?
The Transgender Law Center has taken up the case of Roxsana Hernandez, but that does not excuse the rest of us from addressing the many obstacles we have put in the way of millions of other transgender people who simply want to live.
November 18, 2018 at 11:52 pm #2634
The photograph I chose to share this week is from a 2011 performance art piece called Borrando la Frontera by artist Ana Teresa Hernandez. The criminality of undocumented people is a de facto crime of status: by their mere existence in the country, they are criminals. The U.S.-Mexico border is the one most heavily focused on right now. The dark metal bars of the border fence are examples of hostile architecture. They evoke images of jail bars, making the border a space of inherent criminality. In the photo, artist and activist Ana Teresa Fernandez paints over the bars in pale blue paint. Against the blue sky, the imposing cell-like bars seem to disappear. In erasing the fence, the space becomes liminal, and begs the question: what could this land look like without any border at all?
November 4, 2018 at 10:07 pm #2295
The photo I chose to share this week is a flyer from this year’s San Francisco Day of Remembrance events. The event is held in mid February, near the 19th, which is the date on which Executive Order 9066 was signed. This year’s events in San Francisco were not only in memory of the horrific treatment of Japanese Americans, but in conjunction with protests of President Trump’s Executive Order 13769, often known as the Muslim travel ban, which had been signed less than a month before. The picture featured in the flyer is a mural called “The Journey,” by Japanese-American illustrator Sheila Hamanaka. It pictures a protest, with signs reading “No Concentration Camps Again,” and “Individual Losses, Individual Reparations.” This mural touches upon two topics we discussed in class, the first being the issue of proper terminology when referring to the camps Japanese-Americans were incarcerated in in the 1940s, and on the issuing of reparations to the incarcerated people and their descendants. The 2018 theme of “No Barbed Wire! No Walls!” shows the continued survival and existence of Japanese-Americans in the U.S. in the aftermath of the concentration camps, and the continued support and activism against racist and xenophobic oppression.
October 28, 2018 at 11:50 pm #2136
The photo I chose this week is the cover of James Baldwin’s 1976 illustrated children’s book, “Little Man, Little Man.” The story followed the day of a Black child named TJ who was based on Baldwin’s nephew Tejan. “Little Man, Little Man” was questioned about its content, which many readers felt wad not age appropriate for a child. Of course, themes of race are not often present in children’s literature, they are far too present in the lives of actual Black children. Similarly to Baldwin’s public letter to his nephew, the book serves as a warning as to what to expect in the world. In fact, the book was republished in 2018 with a foreward from James Baldwin’s nephew himself. Particularly interesting about the fate of this book, it was originally published as a story for adults, despite its niche as being one of the only children’s books at the time with Black representation. While the story does deal with race, including an encounter with the police, it is not pessimistic in nature, instead, it was vibrant, and explores the ideas of self-love and pride that often graced the pages of Baldwin’s books.
October 21, 2018 at 5:25 pm #1885
The photo I chose was taken in 1967 at the Harlem Peace March to End Racial Oppression, a multiracial coalition of activists protesting racism and the war in Vietnam. In it, two marchers hold a banner that reads, “End Racial Oppression! Student Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam,” and another holds a sign reading, “No Black Man Ever Called Me [anti-Chinese slur]/Support the Black Struggle for Existence.” This demonstration against both racial oppression and the Vietnam war connects to this weeks theme because by the end of their lives, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. were both vehemently against the war. The war was intrinsically connected to the worldwide stronghold of racist, capitalist oppression. Malcolm X expressed his anti-imperialist beliefs often throughout his life, and carried these beliefs with him even after moving away from Black separatism. Martin Luther King Jr. kept his political persona U.S. based until the end of his life, where he began to publicly link racial injustice in America to oppression abroad. As the photos of the crowd of the Harlem Peace March can attest to, anti-war activism in the United States was guided by a multi-racial coalition of leaders and organizations, including Yuri Kochiyama, Bayard Rustin, Students for a Democratic Society, and of course Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.
Photographer: Builder Levy, April 27, 1967 [http://www.amistadresource.org/civil_rights_era/black_opposition_to_vietnam.html]