Brown vs. Board of Education

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I came across this article and speech by Michelle Obama and thought it correlated nicely with what we have discussed in class recently regarding the Brown vs. Board of Education case and the Dean Spade readings. I just thought I would share: http://news.yahoo.com/first-lady-tells-kansas-students-fight-bias-021747701.html

Sterling Silver?

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The first thing that [hopefully] goes without saying, is that Donald Sterling's comments and the attitude and thoughts leading to those comments, are not unique. They are merely a reminder that racism permeates throughout American culture regardless of economic class and formal education.


Bring Back Our Girls' American Media Response

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Over a month ago, Boko Haraam kidnapped over 230 school girls from their hostel in Northern Nigeria. It did not take long for American news outlets (CNN, MSNBC Etc) to divert the focus from the girls and onto the Nigerian Government.

All I've been hearing on news media is the apparent ineptitude of the Nigerian government and lack of caring about it's own people-- a "lackluster response". While this is undoubtedly true (the last 20-30 years proves this), where is this outrage at the 106 people that have been killed in Chiraq...I mean Chicago. We (in the United States) have literally nicknamed one of the largest and most historic American cities after an unstable and war-ridden country. Where is the outrage at the ineptitude of the local government, of the state government, of the federal government at doing absolutely nothing to fight terrorism in the streets of Chicago. Yet, the media waves it's almighty finger on it's almighty pedestal, because, after all, this could never happen in America. CNN, Fox, MSNBC, Washington Post, New York Times, if you all really want to help-- be respectful, be encouraging, be humble. Don't expect every country to beg you for intervention, or admonish them for being careful when taking it (I won't even get into the fear of American military presence in an oil laden country).This narrative of judging other countries while embarrassing them in the international spotlight, but doing absolutely nothing to ease the social ills on it's own borders is becoming increasingly annoying. Instead of pointing the finger, they should focus a little more on the girls instead of criticizing the government.

Rappers Future and Kanye West recently released a single titled "I Won" and with that single came an online video game where players throw gold chains at bikini-clad women, which then turns them into trophies. This game objectifies women both literally, and figuratively, perpetuating patriarchy and degrading women. I simply have a hard time grasping not only who thought this was a good idea, but also how this video game has not received more backlash. Future said in an interview that the song was intended to be "uplifting" for women.

Prom.

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So after the inundation of prom-posals and prom pictures on social media, I came across this story today and was slightly disturbed by it. { Clare's Story }
To summarize quickly, this girl, Clare, is 17 and was attending her home school prom. It was not a religious event and the only dress code regulation expressly stated was that girls could not wear dresses shorter than their fingertips (another problem in itself, but okay). So Clare complied with the dress code and went to prom. At the door, she was stopped by a chaperone saying that her dress was too short. After proving the woman wrong, Clare proceeded to have fun. Minutes later, the same chaperone came up to Clare's group of friends and informed her that her dress was too short (again), that her dancing was inappropriate (she hadn't been dancing) and that her dress and actions would cause the males in attendance to think "impure thoughts".

She was kicked out of her prom because her body was seen as too appealing.

On Bad, Boss, and Basic Bitches

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Blog # 8:

I recently watched a CollegeHumor video about "Basic Bitches"--or, as they define: "an extra-regular female." Though I found the video to be humorous, I think there's a bit to say about what it means to "reclaim" the term "bitch."
When women attempt to reclaim a derogatory term, or even use it ironically, I think there is, to some extent, a sense/experience of false power. The term has been used negatively for so long that using it in popular culture seems to reinforce exclusion.
Further, by categorizing women as Bad Bitches (think Rhianna), Boss Bitches (think Beyonce), or Basic Bitches (ie. the CollegeHumor video) implies that *all* women are, in fact, "bitches", but that some women are better/stronger/more unique "bitches" than the rest. This can solidify intergender conflict (women shaming other women) as well as make it seem alright for men to refer to women as bitches. Although it may be a valiant effort to reclaim a derogatory term, it simply doesn't work as well as other examples.
For instance, the SlutWalk movement (a demonstration against slut shaming and rape culture) does a fantastic job reclaiming the label "slut." There is a big difference here, though.
"Slut" is a term used to describe the particular *actions* of a woman (be it their wardrobe choices, sexual activities, etc.), while "Bitch" is a term used to describe the *being* of a woman. The two are very different in that Slut is an active reclamation, while Bitch is a submissive attempt to create hierarchies within an already marginalized social group.

Not all terms are problematic in being "reclaimed." For instance, "queer" has been reclaimed as a positive identity term. However, I find the attempts to reclaim/define different types of "bitches" to be problematic.

Thoughts?

Might as well build a pro-patriarchy museum...

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I missed this, but came across it today and thought you guys might appreciate it.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/07/michele-bachmann-womens-history-museum_n_5283194.html

Response to Tal Fortgang

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For the last month, social media and various news sources have been engaged in a flurry of commentary on Princeton freshman Tal Fortgang's article in the Princeton Tory (described as "a journal of conservative and moderate thought") which he titles, "Checking My Privilege: Character as the Basis of Privilege". In the article, Fortgang essentially claims that those who acknowledge white privilege engage in reverse racism, and fervently critiques those who attempt such things as pointing out the myth of the U.S. meritocracy. The full article can be accessed here: .

I come from Chicago, where the public school system is an absolute mess. Two years ago there was the controversy over Rahm Emanuel's changes to the length of the school day and school year. The claim was that lengthening the school day and year would "keep kids off the streets".

HRC: Promoting Equality or Furthering Privilege?

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The Dean Spade article for today touched on issues with organizations supposedly looking to promote human rights and equality. Here's an article that goes more in-depth on the Human Rights Campaign: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/derrick-clifton/human-rights-campaign-same-sex-marriage_b_2973131.html

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