Monday, April 13, 2009

The sad, the despicable, the disappointing

I know my Saturday post seemed to be sunshine and bubbles, but even a glass-half full gal like me has to acknowledge that there are things I've been reading about that make me shake my head/cringe/roll my eyes/beat my head against a wall. Here are a few of the frustrating issues about race in America:

*Hey all you Asian people, change your names to make it easier for us simple-minded "Americans."

Texas Rep. Betty Brown (R-Terrell), during a questioning of expert witness Ramey Ko of the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA), made several remarks that implied that Asian Americans were not real "American" citizens AND that they should change their names to make it easier on everyone else. Here's Brown:

"Do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here."


"Can't you see that this is something that would make it a lot easier for both you and for people who are pollworkers, if there were some means by which you could adopt a name just for your poll identification purposes that would be easier for the Americans to deal with?"

Brown's questioning of Ko was on the issue of voter identification. She has, apparently, apologized, but it's more along the lines of "Oh crap--people are accusing me of being racist and insensitive and I'd better apologize and say I didn't mean to offend because I am a white person of good intentions" than an apology that signals that she truly understands why her comments were painful/damaging/and reeking of her white privilege. Click here to read the apology on Angry Asian Man and click here for the Huffington Post article (Thanks "M" and "D" for the heads up).

*Shame at my Alma Mater: PIKE not just about plaid and pearls but racial slurs and assaults.

On March 2, Vietnamese American Thanh Hong and a friend were assaulted outside of the PIKE house at UCSB after a several racial epithets/slurs were yelled at them from a balcony at the PIKE house. Click here for the initial story by the Daily Nexus (UCSB's student paper) and here for a follow-up where the police claim that there was only a "single" assailant. Which may, indeed, be true--but the fact that no one at the PIKE house came forward or better yet STOPPED their friend/fellow-brother (if the assailant turns out to be a PIKE--he may have only been a guest/friend of a PIKE--either way, the dude yelled racial slurs and then beat up an Asian American guy and NO ONE STOPPED HIM).

*Fear and intimidation: The Pro-Straight-Breeder-Marriage Campaign. Our Motto: We will scare the crap out of you so that you'll support a ban on gay marriage.

With the increasing good news of Iowa and Vermont's legislatures supporting gay marriage, we have to keep in mind that the forces of fear, anxiety, and intimidation (and can I also say just plain silliness?) are still out there in the form of the National Organization for Marriage (in this case, marriage between two adults of different genders--although I wonder what they would say about a transgendered man marrying a transvestite woman? Technically two different genders...Anyway, the Courage Campaign has the latest ad from NOM on their website (click here). It's pretty awful. This campaign uses a rhetoric of fear, intimidation, and danger to convince people that they should not support marriage of two loving adults who want to enjoy their lives together and be recognized by the state--to have the same rights as any other U.S. citizen.

*And now for something not-quite-so completely different:

"Barackophobia" by Jon Stewart/The Daily Show:

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