Thursday, April 23, 2009

Judith Warner and Male Gender -Policing "Fags"

Judith Warner has an excellent post on the New York Times that should be read in full. 

An excerpt: 

It’s weird, isn’t it, that in an age in which the definition of acceptable girlhood has expanded, so that desirable femininity now encompasses school success and athleticism, the bounds of boyhood have remained so tightly constrained? And so staunchly defended: Boys avail themselves most frequently of epithets like “fag” to “police” one another’s behavior and bring it back to being sufficiently masculine when someone steps out of line, Barbara J. Risman, a sociologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, found while conducting extensive interviews in a southeastern urban middle school in 2003 and 2004. “Boys were showing each other they were tough. They were afraid to do anything that might be called girlie,” she told me this week. “It was just like what I would have found if I had done this research 50 years ago. They were frozen in time.”

Thanks to the women's liberation educational led by Malena, Lucha has been increasingly turning towards gender issues.Thinking about definitions of "manhood" within a declining post-industrial economy, in which the blue-collar middle class and solid "masculine" union jobs are disappearing, the discourse of policing and enforcing an aggressive, narrow masculinity becomes even more important. 

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Winning CCSC Party Uses Offensive Poster

Take from the BLAAAG:

If you haven't seen it already, there is a flyer circulating Columbia's campus, created and distributed by the Clear Party in lieu of CCSC elections. Read further for an image and some of the e-mails that have been circulating in response to this flyer:

Hey lovely people,

Some of you might have found out about this already, but there's a flyer for the student council campaign of the clear party that reads "Two Asian girls at the same time". Since finding out about it from eagle eye Vivian, I've gotten increasingly irritated.

So far, a few people have contacted this group about the issue of this flyer. I was talking to Sam Stanton, and she thinks it's a ripe time to get CCSC to mandate some type of anti-oppression training for all its members, or as many as possible. Something could be done with the elections board as well. (This comes out of the fact that somehow, someone involved with CCSC didn't get the fact that this flyer was offensive.) Nhu-Y says we should involve the administration, ppl the councils look up to. All things to talk about...

I suggested to Sam that we use the time right before the APAAM meeting on Wednesday to discuss things to do. So, 10pm, Lerner 5th floor? What do people think? Hopefully something worth pulling off before the end of the year?

If you haven't seen it, it's hanging in Hamilton right now between floors 5 and 6 in the west staircase I think.



Hello folks,
I am e-mailing you guys to express my deep concern over a flyer from your party that I saw in Hamilton. I noticed a flyer that said "Two Asian Girls At The Same Time". I understand that you guys must have thought that was funny, but it is really upsetting. Not only is it a play off of a racist fetishization of Asian women that directly corresponds with the effeminization and invisibility of Asian men, as well as American imperialism, but it is also a heterosexist and patriarchal male fantasy that has contributed to the invisibility of Queer women. As a Queer woman of color I find this deeply offensive.
I wanted to e-mail you guys before I took any other actions, so that this issue could be resolved with maturity and expediency. I am asking that you please take down all of those flyers immediately. I also think it would be appropriate to release an apology. Please let me know what you decide to do as soon as possible.
Thank you
Samantha Stanton
Columbia College, Class of 2009

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

UNC Students Protest Anti-Immigrant Racism

Students at the University of North Carolina have received attention for their protest against Tom Tancredo, anti-immigrant activist, former congressmen, and brief contender for the Republican presidential nomination. 

Lucha, as a student organization to dedicated to defending undocumented workers, and promoting the interests of all working people, stands behind the brave actions of the UNC students. We stood up to Jim Gilchrist, Marvin Stewart and the racist thugs the Minutemen Project brought to Columbia University on October 4, 2006. 

Lucha is currently preparing a formal statement of solidarity, but in the mean time, we wanted to immediately express our solidarity to all those who stand up and expose racism and bigotry attempting to parade as acceptable political and intellectual discourse. 

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Demonstration Against NYPD Police Tactics at New School

Student Action Defense Committee

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

11:40am - 5:00pm

Lang Courtyard, 66 w.12th st

“We take police brutality sitting down”

Shocked, terrified, or just plain pissed off about the administration’s use of the NYPD during a student protest? Horrified at the wanton acts of police brutality perpetrated on our campus? So speak up! We’re having a sit-in in the Lang courtyard on Wednesday. We’ll have some street theater, some food, maybe some music (anybody have an old-school boombox?). This is about facilitating open discussion among the student body, as well as a demonstration against NYPD presence at student protests. If they kick us out of the courtyard, we move to the streets!

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MoveOn Health Care Petition

If Congress passes Obama's plan and Americans are given the choice of a public health insurance option similar to Medicare, we could all save up to 30% on our health care premiums.1 That's a huge savings, and we'd still get high-quality coverage and be able to choose our doctors. 

And even if you choose to keep your current insurance, you'd save anyway. You see, HMOs and big insurance companies are the only game in town right now—so they overcharge us to boost profits and pay out CEO bonuses. If Obama's plan passes, they'd have to compete with it, and their prices would have to be more honest. 

Lower premiums for us means lower profits for them, so insurance companies are putting extreme pressure on Congress to drop the public health insurance option. But Americans deserve to have this choice—and it's necessary to help rein in out-of-control health care costs. 

Imagine how different things would be if we all had quality health care that costs up to 30% less than what we're paying now. Would you use the money toward college for a child? A safe retirement? Or maybe you'll finally be able to afford the treatment or medicines you need. 

Can you click the link below to tell Congress how Obama's public health insurance option would change your life? We'll send all the answers to Congress, as part of our campaign to make sure we get real health care reform this year.

The simple truth is that having the choice of a public health insurance option would make all of our lives better. Here's why: 

  • Health care costs are spiraling out of control. From 2000 to 2008, health insurance premiums increased five times faster than wages.2
  • A public health insurance option would provide an affordable, quality alternative. Two new studies show that Americans could save 25% or more off of a traditional private plan.3 The New York Times says this would "keep the private plans honest."4 They'll have to lower rates and offer better value to compete. 
  • Plus, a public health insurance option would be reliable coverage for all. Private insurers are notorious for dumping people with little notice.5 A public option would allow consumers who've been dropped—or just don't like their current coverage—to switch to a steady public choice.  
Thankfully, the public health insurance option is gaining steam in Congress. The 77-member Progressive Caucus recently endorsed the policy.6 And the chairmen of five critical congressional committees came out in support.7 

Now we need to get the rest of Washington on board. Can you help by telling Congress how the choice would help you?

Thanks for all you do.

–Patrick S., Wes, Matt, Tanya and the rest of the team


1."The Path to a High Performance U.S. Health System," The Commonwealth Fund, February 19, 2009

2. "Health Insurance Costs Outpace Wages," WebMD, October 23, 2008

3."The Path to a High Performance U.S. Health System," The Commonwealth Fund, February 19, 2009 

"The Cost and Coverage Impacts of a Public Plan: Alternative Design Options," The Lewin Group, April 6, 2009

4."A Public Plan for Health Insurance?" The New York Times, April 6, 2009

5. "Obama Should Offer Public Health Insurance to All," The Progressive, March 13, 2009 

6. "Progressive Caucus Draws a Line on Health Care," Open Left, April 2, 2009

7. "Democrats Agree on a Health Plan: Now Comes the Hard Part," New York Times, March 31, 2009

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Plan to Change Student Lending Sets Up a Fight

As large private lenders are being kept afloat by taxpayer money, many see Mr. Obama's proposed expansion to the direct loan program long overdue. Political opposition, however, may be hard to overcome.


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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Negrita Closes

Spec and Bwog have been covering this for some time now, and I've only started going this semester. Lets try for a different take

Two years ago, Joanna Eng at Racialicious wrote

"There is something extremely disheartening about walking into a bar called “La Negrita” to find it full of white people, and white people only. I already cringe when someone brings me to a bar in New York City where I’m the most “ethnic” face in the room; it hits me over the head in a city as diverse as this. But La Negrita is especially bugging me, not only because of its name and lack of explanation for the name; but because we’re on 109th Street and Columbus—Manhattan Valley—a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood where most of the longtime residents are black and Latino (and most of the newcomers are white)."

But its not that simple. La Negrita, like the other bars in the neighborhood (and even the Malcolm X and Donaldson Lounge on campus), are what Ray Oldenburg would call a "third place". According to Oldenburg, third places “host the regular, voluntary, informal, and happily anticipated gatherings of individuals beyond the realms of home and work.”

Places like Negrita are crucial spaces for a democratic society and civic engagement and--yes, gentrification. I'll be there at some point this weekend, regretful that I never went until now.

(Photo: La Negrita, the patron saint of Costa Rica in Cartago, Costa Rica)

P.S. This is my first post at el participante! Thanks to Rudi for bringing me into the dialogue. Keep that feedback coming.

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Economic Crisis, Anti-Immigrant Violence

As Professor Eric Foner noted at a panel on "Capitalism, Crisis and Politics" last week, during times of economic crisis or transformation, racist ideologies can crystalize and come to the fore, citing the 1890s as a period for the solidifcation of white supremacist ideology in the United States. 

The news of today makes the same argument quite strikingly. 

Correction NOTE: As further details have been released, it appears that the shooter in the case was not someone motivated by anti-immigrant hostility, but an immigrant who had some personal conflict with the Civic Center in Binghamton. Nonetheless, we should still be vigilant to a rising tide of anti-immigrant politics and violence unleashed in this climate of economic crisis. 

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