SICK SAD WORLD

An 11-year-old CEO lights up my week

Posted in Fuck yeah!, The Good Word by Nancy on June 30, 2010

Watch the video at the source

This is one of the most inspiring and awesome stories I’ve heard about in so long. Amiya Alexander, 11, teaches dance classes to little girls around Detroit in her very own pink-bus-turned-dance-academy. She has her own financial advisers to help her save her earnings for medical school, and she has the unconditional support of her parents.

This shows the power of giving kids the message: “Yes you can.”

Recognise the new racism, the new sexism, the old homophobia

Posted in The Good Word by Nancy on May 25, 2010

Dr Omi Osun Joni L Jones has many wise things to say in her speech on ‘6 rules for allies’. By ‘allies’ she refers to people who are sympathetic to those affected by racism/sexism/classism/homophobia/ableism/transphobia and other kinds of oppression.

The video is worth watching but I will sum up some key points that stood out to me.

1. Being  ‘liberal’ is not enough

‘The liberal position is the hegemonic force of the academy . . . which means racism, sexism, homophobia . . . and a commitment to class structures cannot be undone in the academy.”

“The liberal position says that those of us with legitimate observations about injustice are really exaggerating, paranoid, and unwilling to see how we are creating the problem we expose.”

2. Speak up, name it and say it

“If you are male, YOU be the one to tell your department chair that the women’s salaries in your department must be brought line with those of the men. If you are white, YOU be the one to advocate for the qualified grad student of color applicant over the qualified white grad student applicant.”

3. Recognize the new racism, the new sexism, the old homophobia

“It is institutional and structural. Learn to walk in a room and count the people of color . . . Allies know that racism, sexism, and homophobia are real and NEVER tell people, ‘You could be wrong, you know’. Such a statement presumes that you have greater insights than those with lived experience inside of multiple oppressions.

4. Welcome getting called out

“When called out about your racism, sexism or homophobia, don’t cower in embarrassment, don’t cry, and don’t silently think “she’s crazy” and vow never to interact with her again . . . We are all plagued by racism, sexism, and homophobia. Be grateful that someone took the time to expose yours.”

All too often, calling out an injustice can seem more offensive than the injustice itself – it is easy for the privileged to brush off legitimate concerns.

From the transcript, I see Dr Jones also read a 1951 poem by Beah Richards. It is still as relevant today.

They said, the white supremacists said,

that you were better than me

that your fair brow should never know the sweat of slavery.

They lied.

White womanhood too is enslaved.

The difference is degree.

And what wrongs you, murders me.

And eventually marks your grave

So we share a mutual death at the hand of tyranny.

He, the white supremacist, fixed your minds with poisonous

thought—

‘white skin is supreme.’

Set your minds on my slavery

the better to endure your own.

Cuddled down in your pink slavery

and thought somehow my wasted blood

confirmed your superiority.

Because your necklace was of gold

You did not notice that it throttled speech.

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Review: A Single Man

Posted in Fuck yeah! by Nancy on May 18, 2010

I’ve just returned from watching A Single Man. I went to see it on short notice so didn’t prepare myself to be so overwhelmed by a superb treatment of a sensitive story. Apart from being deeply moving, the aesthetics were also lovely.

Tom Ford, after spending a career focusing our eyes on women’s bodies, proves a dab hand at turning our gaze on the masculine form. So expressive is his technique with the camera that we can feel George’s (Colin Firth’s) pain/love/lust through the objects of his affection, their beauty masterfully teased out before the lens.

The other thing that saves this movie from being another banal love story is the treatment of the female character, played by Julianne Moore. As a divorced woman in the 1960s, when the story is set, she also struggles to find meaning in a society that emphasises marriage and heterosexuality.

But I find it interesting that her character is portrayed as more pathetic than Firth’s – she obviously needs and depends on him, but he has no use for her. George, although gay, still has more privilege than her because he is closeted and can pass as straight. She affirms this by telling him to move on with his life because all doors are still open to him.

I also like that although it can be called a ‘gay film’ (in that touches on issues significant to queer people such as ‘invisibility’, shame and illegitimacy), it can also be a watched as a universal love story. The politics of love aside, it is a sensitive and fresh look at the pain of loss and loneliness and struggle for meaning. And Ford thankfully doesn’t try to package loose ends up in a tidy one-size-fits-all message, which always ticks my boxes.

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