Em-URGE-ing Voices

Posts Tagged: race

Reading Black Feminism

Historically, the feminist movement has been centralized around white women. From the perspective of a privileged white person, I have been fed a very mainstream version of feminism. I have a lot of anxiety about talking about and publishing words about people of color as a white person, but I feel like it is important for other white feminists to self-educate on this topic because it is so important to try to understand that the intersections of oppression can alter peoples experiences of it. I tried to compile a reading list that includes an overview of black feminist texts from courses I’ve taken at Oberlin, as well as including recommendations from friends who identify as black feminists: Ain’t I A Woman? Black Women & Feminism – bell hooks Arrested Justice: Black… Read more »

Learning New Things: Recognize Your Privilege

Life is full of coincidences, so it was no surprise to me that the assigned reading for one of my classes explored a topic that I’m familiar with in my personal life: abortion. For a moment reading the book, “Choosing Naia,” I forgot it was an assignment for my Magazine and Feature Writing course. It discussed reproductive options and intersectionality in such a way that I figured it had to be for one of my sexuality courses. Here’s the premise of the book: A married couple gets pregnant with their first child. Everything looks fine in the scans and appointments but one ultrasound during the trimester shows that the baby has a heart defect. Further tests showed that the baby had Down Syndrome. Greg and Tierney Fairchild, the couple in… Read more »

Sometimes I’m not a feminist

When Beyoncé ended her performance at last month’s Video Music Awards last month with her song “***Flawless” and the giant screen flashing the key phrase from Chimamanda Adiche’s TED Talk, book-ended with the word “feminist” in giant capitalized letters, I teared up a little. There was a moment of surrealism when I felt validated and affirmed in some of the most fundamental of ways. There’s power in a black woman, one who has found power and fulfillment in her life’s work as much as she has in her family, claiming feminism. There’s power when a black woman, who is vulnerable and complicated and has forced the world to acknowledge those things about herself, claims the title of “feminist” for herself and dares the world to disagree, to take it away… Read more »

Why Race Needs to Be Mentioned in Jada’s Story

Nothing about the photo that originated the #JadaPose trend is funny. In the picture, which launched the disgusting meme of young people (typically men) recreating the scene depicted, a young Black woman lies splayed out on the floor of a house in Houston, Texas. Her clothing has been removed, her limbs are positioned unnaturally, and she appears to be unconscious. But despite the disturbing nature of the picture, a group of people found something about the photo humorous. It began getting passed around social media (with jokes about women being out of control attached), and people began to pose on the floor in the same position, mocking Jada. Coverage of what happened to Jada has been similar to the coverage of the infamous Steubenville case that happened last year. Since… Read more »

Celebrating Resistance and Diversity

I kicked off my pride celebration early in Washington, DC during Memorial Day Weekend. It was DC’s annual Black Pride weekend and I had a great time being in the company of so many other people who identified as black, queer, and female. But even in the relative isolation of those parties and events, our existence was not homogeneous. With the Defense of Marriage Act defeated last year, and states across the country challenging their same-sex marriage bans in a domino effect it’s safe to say that there is definitely a culture shift happening in the United States when it comes to same-sex couples. But many of us know that marriage is not the sole issue facing our community. While movements are carrying on across the country for racial justice,… Read more »

Can A Buzzfeed Quiz Really Determine Your Privilege?

“I consider myself to be physically attractive.” “I’ve always had cable.” “I have never been a victim of violence because of my race.” These questions are from a Buzzfeed quiz called “How Privileged are You?” The quiz asks you a series of questions related to your gender, race, income, and sexual orientation, and then rates whether you are “not very privilege” or “privileged.”  And I think that it’s complete bullshit. There’s no “quiz” you can take to determine your privilege or oppressions. Understanding who you are and your access to privilege, spaces, and resources is complex.

Lost in Translation: API Sex and Sexuality

The United States suffers from an unfortunate epidemic known as abstinence only programs. These sex after marriage talks are a common procedure in awkward health and sex-education classrooms around the country. For LGBT folks, abstinence only programs do us no good because, you know, we can’t really get married, and if we have to wait until after married, we’re going to be on a dry-spell for quite a while. Some advocates of abstinence only programs believe it is the right of the parents to have that conversation with their children, but for the API community, that is never a conversation we ever have. The API community is very private and though I’ve never been a parent myself, I honestly believe our parents don’t want to encourage the ideas of “promiscuity.”… Read more »

Gender, Race and the Executive Order for Equal Pay

There’s been a lot of talk about equal pay and the gender wage gap the past week and half. It was widely reported last week and the days leading up to it, that President Obama would sign an executive order that would ensure equal pay for a large sector of the workforce. According to NPR, the executive order will 1) prevent federal contractors from retaliating against employees who discuss their salaries with each other and 2) federal contractors would also be forced to give the Labor Department data about their employees’ pay along with their race and gender, under new rules the president is instructing the agency to adopt. This executive order is important. The gender wage gap exists and it’s hurting a lot of women and families. This order… Read more »

NQAPIA: The Foreign Concept of Home

The biggest parts of my identity consist of being API, queer, and a sweet southern gentleman. Never in my life did I think these three communities could possibly come together. The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA Southern Summit launched its first of five regional leadership conferences this weekend! Being from red states and located in the Bible belt, it was important to hear about the political momentum necessary to overcome being such a small community. For the first and only time in my life, I felt at home. Everyone says y’all and complains about the weather just the same and southern hospitality has never been more comforting than warm fried rice and catered Indian cuisine.

The Non-Issue of “White Face”

A few days ago, singer, songwriter, and actor Nick Cannon took to Instagram to promote his upcoming album “White People Party Music” by donning a white persona he calls Conner Smallnut. While some fans thought Cannon’s impersonation was on point, others took to their keyboards in protest, claiming that Cannon’s actions were ignorant, racist, and hypocritical. As a black person I have to admit that I occasionally forget how easy white people seem to get their panties in a bunch over fear that they are being victimized by racism. It continues to boggle my mind that this is a true worry for many white people, because it’s so clear that these people do not grasp the concept of racism.