Archive for March, 2012

Adrienne Rich Walks Through Life’s Door

(Source: On Being)

Adrienne Rich died yesterday at the age of 82. The pioneering feminist and poet has surfaced in many of our radio conversations over the years. Elizabeth Alexander cited Rich’s poem telling us that a poet needs to follow her intuition fully by “diving into the wreck.”

But, it is this simple, poignant poem in which she reflects upon the Exodus story that has always stuck with me. Somehow, with the upcoming Passover season and her passing through life’s door, I find it most appropriate on this solemn occasion to share with you here and remember one of our greatest:

Prospective Immigrants Please Note

Either you will
go through this door
or you will not go through.

If you go through
there is always the risk
of remembering your name.

Things look at you doubly
and you must look back
and let them happen.

If you do not go through
it is possible
to live worthily

to maintain your attitudes
to hold your position
to die bravely

but much will blind you,
much will evade you,
at what cost who knows?

The door itself makes no promises.
It is only a door.

(Source: On Being)

The Real Irish American Story Not Taught in Schools

(Source: Common Dreams)

“Wear green on St. Patrick’s Day or get pinched.” That pretty much sums up the Irish American “curriculum” that I learned when I was in school. Yes, I recall a nod to the so-called Potato Famine, but it was mentioned only in passing.

What is not often taught in schools or known by the many who routinely celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, is that throughout the Irish ‘Potato famine’ there was an abundance of food produced in Ireland, yet the landlords exported it to markets abroad.

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Women Reporters on the Front Line

(Source: BBC News)

To mark International Women’s Day on Thursday, March 8, three female BBC journalists offered their tips on staying safe.

Every day, men and women journalists reporting on conflicts around the world face danger, and recent events in Syria will mean these dangers are at the forefront of their minds.

Forty women journalists have contributed their stories of survival to a new book published on International Women’s Day, entitled No Woman’s Land – On the Frontlines with Female Reporters.

Here, the BBC’s Caroline Wyatt (CW), Lyse Doucet (LD) and Shaimaa Khalil (SK) outline some of the challenges facing women on the front line and give their tips.

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I See White People: Hunger Games and a Brief History of Cultural Whitewashing

(Source: Jezebel)

Attention, everyone: Racism is BACK! [Electric guitar riff.] As you may have heard (because it’s both bonkers and everywhere), our national brain trust of semi-literate racist teenagers is not pleased with some casting choices in the newly released Hunger Games movie. And lo, they took to Twitter with a fury.

“Kk call me racist but when I found out rue was black her death wasn’t as sad,” wrote one. (Okay, you’re racist. And you left out a “k.”) “HOW IN THE WORLD ARE THEY GOING TO MAKE RUE A FREAKIN BLACK BITCH IN THE MOVIE ?!?!?!??!” wondered another. One didn’t mince words (or use them correctly in any way): “Sense when has Rue been a nigger.” (Sidenote: Pretty much all of these teens have since locked or deleted their Twitter accounts—because it’s totally cool to be racist in front of your friends, but the rest of America can be a real drag, bro.)

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Toll of Mexican Crime Wave, Written in Faces on the Wall

(Source: New York Times)
Rodrigo Cruz for The New York Times
Portraits in Ecatepec, a suburb of Mexico City, show crime victims, including those who have lost relatives or witnessed murders.

ECATEPEC, Mexico — When residents of this poor industrial city look to the hills, they now see the faces of crime victims staring back at them. Enormous photographic portraits cover concrete homes as part of a community art project that captures what has become a

“We speak too often in terms of numbers,” said Marco Hernández Murrieta, president of the Murrieta Foundation, which organized the photo project here in a suburb of Mexico City. “We’re putting a face on the statistics.”

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The White Coach’s Burden

(Source: Racialicious)

During my “glory days” playing high school football–among other positions I played linebacker–there was a game where, after several tackles (pretty amazing tackles if I remember them correctly), I found myself rolling on the ground in pain. Their running back decided to thrust his helmet into my gut leaving me gasping for air. I would later find out that the opposing coach encouraged his players to “take me out”: a helmet to the gut would do that for at least one play.

The fact that a nobody player in a nothing high-school football game between two tiny private schools in Los Angeles was “taken out” illustrates how encouraged violence is part and parcel to football culture, even if there were no “‘knockouts’…worth $1,500 and ‘cart-offs’ $1,000, with payments doubled or tripled for the playoffs,” rewards uncovered as part of the New Orleans Saints’ “bounty program” last week.

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On Appropriate Victims: More on Trayvon Martin and Other Names You Need to Know

(Source: The Crunk Feminist Collective)

Part of the reason folks rallied in reaction to Trayvon Martin’s murder has to do with ideas about who is an appropriate or worthy victim. He was shot by a vigilante, he wasn’t armed, he was a good student, had some class privilege, he was doing something mundane, simply returning from buying Skittles and ice tea. He was “innocent” and killed in cold blood.

We have an idea of who is deserving of support en masse and who is not. And for similar reasons we thought, with 911 tapes, eyewitness testimony, national outrage that it would result in a prosecution in the very least. If anything, the murder of Trayvon Martin shows us once again that there is no such thing as an “appropriate” Black victim.

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