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Member since: Mon Aug 23, 2004, 10:18 PM
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Black Women Vilified as a ‘Lesbian Wolf Pack’ Speak for Themselves in a New Film

Just before 2 AM oN an August morning in 2006, seven gay black women were harassed as they walked down a street in New York City’s West Village. A man seated on a fire hydrant outside a movie theater called them “dyke bitches,” according to one of the women. He told them, “I’ll fuck you straight.” Dissatisfied by their response, he spit at them and threw a cigarette.

What happened next, a confrontation which led to four of the women being convicted on felony charges and spending years in prison, is the subject of Out in the Night, a documentary streaming online until July 23 and which premiered on PBS and Logo TV last week.

In short, the man—who was discovered to have commented online that “women should welcome your advances because that’s how the race should propagate itself” and that “80 percent of serial killers are homosexual”—sustained stab wounds after one of the women pulled a knife in the midst of the melee that followed. The women, who had traveled to the Village from New Jersey that night, suffered among them a bruised eye and busted lip, a fistful of dreadlocks pulled from the scalp, and choke marks on the neck, among other injuries. The women maintain that their harasser swung first, and that his aggression eventually drew the attention and involvement of onlookers.

But in the eyes of many of the corporate media outlets that reported on the incident, the women were the savage and bloodthirsty aggressors. A New York Post headline called the incident “Attack of the Killer Lesbians.” Other headlines read: “The Case of the Lesbian Beatdown,” “Gal’s Growl: Hear me Roar,” and “Girls Gone Wilding.” Even the staid New York Times ran a headline that implied that a benign encounter had gone wrong because some woman couldn’t lighten up: “Man is stabbed in attack after admiring a stranger.”


Blunt Talk with the Blunt Instrument: On Giving Advice to White Male Writers

Great interview!
Earlier last month, poet and Electric Literature’s resident Blunt Instrument advice columnist Elisa Gabbert fielded a question from a white male poet who recognized his privilege as such and wanted to know how to continue writing and publishing ethically within a publishing system that lacks diverse representation. Unlike many in the publishing world who admit that there is a problem, but don’t put forth ideas for how to fix it, Gabbert made concrete suggestions which came down to: read more women, people of color, and LGBTQ writers, and don’t take up more than your fair share of time and space in the literary ecosystem. Many white male writers took this to mean that Gabbert wanted them to stop writing, period, so they unleashed their rage where it festers and boils best: the comments section.

As a bi-racial Asian American writer who interviews authors, and runs a library at a high school whose population is 94% people of color, the lack of diversity in publishing concerns me, so I was eager to discuss and analyze the reaction with Elisa. We conducted this conversation over Google Chat.

Super PAC’ Raises $15.6 Million for Hillary Clinton Campaign

The “super PAC” supporting Hillary Rodham Clinton will report that it has raised $15.6 million when it files its disclosure statements, officials with the group said Thursday morning, with donations from big names like George Soros, the liberal philanthropist, and the Hollywood moguls Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Guy Cecil, the group’s chief strategist and co-chairman who recently took control of the “super PAC,” called Priorities USA Action, after an organizational shake-up, said that $12.5 million had been raised in the last four weeks. The total amount reported is for the first six months of the year.

Even with the recent surge in fund-raising, the amount is far less than the $100 million that Jeb Bush, a Republican candidate, is expected to report he has raised through various entities.

“It may seem early to many of us, but with the amount of money pouring in from the far right wing, the time has come for our side to kick things into high gear,” Mr. Cecil said. “We have a lot of work to do in the months ahead, but we are starting to see some real momentum.”


Privilege makes them do it — what a study of Internet trolls reveals

The British government just put up a website with advice on how to fight back against Internet trolls. Popular Science magazine decided "trolls and spambots" were shouting down scientific debate; Christianity Today also ended online comments on its news and features, and the news service Reuters pulled the plug on its comment page for news stories. Humans have said and written nasty things about each other ever since there were humans; has the Internet changed anything? Whitney Phillips is a lecturer in communications at Humboldt State University and a media studies scholar. Her troll research, in a new book, "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things," asks the same thing. Her conclusion? "N2M" — not too much.

You contend that trolls don't break new ground.

The assumption is that trolling is this aberrant thing; that trolls are sociopaths. But what makes them important culturally is not the ways in which they're aberrant but the points of overlap between trolling and behaviors in day-to-day life. Trolls are criticized for this antagonistic rhetorical style that's present in politics, in academia, in other spheres of culture, but trolling behaviors are the ones condemned as aberrant.

Trolls' strategies for getting attention are similar to the strategies employed by sensationalist media outlets that can include blogs, Buzzfeed, the Daily Mail — the Daily Troll, as it's referred to — that deliberately try to get people to click on stories: knee-jerk, sensationalist, exploitative coverage of often tragic stories.

Trolls aren't inventing anything. Every single trope they engage with exists in real life offline; just picking up cultural detritus and weaponizing stuff that's already on the ground.


Female pastors in Clarendon County receive letters threatening their safety

Two Clarendon County pastors say they have been targeted with threats of violence just because they are women.

The two pastors received letters where the writer used Bible verses to threaten the women, leaving them concerned about their safety. One letter was left on the front door of Society Hill AME Church on June 10th for Pastor Mary Rhodes.

“Whoever wrote this letter has taken the time to find out who I am which means you may know my children, my grandchildren, and I have no clue who you are” Pastor Rhodes said.

Four days later, Pastor Valarie Bartley received the same letter at Reevesville AME Church.

The writer, who identifies as Apostle Prophet Harry Leon Fleming, says in the letter that “the woman cannot be head of the man in church, home and the world.”

“A lot of people do not respect female pastors,” Pastor Rhodes said. “Sexism in the church has been around for the longest time and it always gets, to my opinion, sort of hidden under the other issues that are there.”

Investigators from the Clarendon County Sheriff's Office say that one other church led by a female pastor also received the letter.


Cory Booker Formally Backs Hillary Clinton

Senate's only African American Democratic member endorses Hillary

New Jersey Democrat Sen. Cory Booker has formally endorsed Hillary Clinton's presidential run, praising her actions on joblessness and criminal justice reform.

Booker, who endorsed then-Clinton rival Barack Obama in 2008, told supporters that he's backing Clinton just one day before his home state governor, New Jersey's Chris Christie, is expected to join the race for the GOP nomination.

"Hillary has fought for her entire career to expand opportunities for all Americans, and these last few months have been amazing to behold," Booker said in an email to supporters. "We've seen Hillary exhibit outstanding leadership not only on apprenticeships and youth unemployment, but also criminal justice reform — all issues you and I care deeply about."

The move also came before a key fundraising deadline for presidential candidates.

Booker's backing is not a surprise; he told NBC News in April that "there are few candidates in history who are as qualified or ready for the job of president as Hillary Clinton."


Hillary Clinton On Gay Rights Abroad: Secretary Of State Delivers Historic LGBT Speech (2011)

The following is a transcript of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Human Rights Day speech, delivered today in Geneva. Text posted with permission from the White House Office of Communications:

Good evening, and let me express my deep honor and pleasure at being here. I want to thank Director General Tokayev and Ms. Wyden along with other ministers, ambassadors, excellencies, and UN partners. This weekend, we will celebrate Human Rights Day, the anniversary of one of the great accomplishments of the last century.

Beginning in 1947, delegates from six continents devoted themselves to drafting a declaration that would enshrine the fundamental rights and freedoms of people everywhere. In the aftermath of World War II, many nations pressed for a statement of this kind to help ensure that we would prevent future atrocities and protect the inherent humanity and dignity of all people. And so the delegates went to work. They discussed, they wrote, they revisited, revised, rewrote, for thousands of hours. And they incorporated suggestions and revisions from governments, organizations, and individuals around the world.

At three o'clock in the morning on December 10th, 1948, after nearly two years of drafting and one last long night of debate, the president of the UN General Assembly called for a vote on the final text. Forty-eight nations voted in favor; eight abstained; none dissented. And the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted. It proclaims a simple, powerful idea: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. And with the declaration, it was made clear that rights are not conferred by government; they are the birthright of all people. It does not matter what country we live in, who our leaders are, or even who we are. Because we are human, we therefore have rights. And because we have rights, governments are bound to protect them.

In the 63 years since the declaration was adopted, many nations have made great progress in making human rights a human reality. Step by step, barriers that once prevented people from enjoying the full measure of liberty, the full experience of dignity, and the full benefits of humanity have fallen away. In many places, racist laws have been repealed, legal and social practices that relegated women to second-class status have been abolished, the ability of religious minorities to practice their faith freely has been secured.


Editorial: As GOP candidates huddle with far right, Clinton deals with reality

To appreciate how high a priority is placed on Latino issues by Republican presidential candidates, just look at how many of them attended a recent national Latino leadership convention in Las Vegas.
The convention would have been the natural forum for them to discuss immigration reform, an important — and increasingly less controversial — issue among voters, based on public opinion polls. And it would have been an opportunity to engage with leaders of a voting demographic that could sway the 2016 presidential election.

So how many of the 16 invited GOP candidates showed? You can count them on one finger: retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

Most of the others cited scheduling conflicts, saying they instead would attend a rally in Washington sponsored by the ultraconservative Faith and Freedom Coalition, an organization endorsed by Sarah Palin, Donald Trump and Michele Bachmann. Seems most Republican presidential candidates don’t like leaving their comfort zones.

Organizers of the 32nd annual convention of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials would be right to feel snubbed. Its executive director, Arturo Vargas, said, “Scheduling is a reflection of priorities. If something’s important to you, you move your schedule around to accommodate it.”

UNLV political scientist David Damore put it this way: “Their absence spoke loudly and was another salient example of the gulf between the GOP’s rhetoric and actions when it comes to reaching out to the Latino community.”


Legoland, Hillary and teachable moments

Thought this a great OP.

On the way to Legoland, my 4-year-old son sent a wave of horror through this liberal father when he described the heroine of “The Lego Movie” by saying, “She’s really good at fighting and getting bad guys, even though she’s a girl.”

I collected myself. Didn’t drive off the road. And from this moment of crisis (and opportunity), I did what any good progressive would and turned the conversation to Hillary Clinton.


That same day, Hillary concluded her campaign kick-off speech by talking about building an America in which a father should be able to tell his daughter that she can be anything she wants to be, including president of the United States.

I couldn’t hope for that more. But as the dad of a curious and precocious boy, I also can say that Hillary Clinton’s election would mean an extraordinary amount to my son. He and his peers all need to know that anyone can truly do anything in this country.

My boy, like lots of kids, notices things. He notices when people are being kind or aren’t being fair. And, as the son of parents who have spent lives in politics and communications, he notices aloud the fact that Diane Sawyer hasn’t been giving us the news for a while now.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article25360096.html#storylink=cpy

The truth about TV’s rape obsession: How we struggle with the broken myths of masculinity

Fascinating Read.

The truth about TV’s rape obsession: How we struggle with the broken myths of masculinity, on screen and off
“The Sopranos” did it in 2001, when Lorraine Bracco’s Jennifer Melfi was suddenly and violently raped in a parking garage. “Veronica Mars” made it part of the titular protagonist’s backstory, in the 2004 pilot. In 2006, “The Wire” introduced and then never confirmed it, when it showed us the story of Randy (Maestro Harrell) keeping watch as a girl named Tiff “fooled around” with two boys in the bathroom. “Mad Men” did it in 2008, when Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks) was raped by her fiancé, Greg (Sam Page) on the floor of Don’s office.

A few shows were practically founded on it—“Law And Order: SVU,” which premiered in 1999, has dealt with rape in nearly every episode of its 16-season and counting run. “Oz,” the 1997 HBO show set in a prison, regularly featured male-on-male rape.

But starting around the turn of the decade, rape on television morphed from a delicate topic to practically de rigueur. In the last two years alone, shows as vastly different as “Downton Abbey” and “Game Of Thrones” have graphically portrayed violent rape—typically, but not always, perpetrated by men onto women—to the point that depictions of sexual assault on television have become a regular part of the national discourse. “SVU,” “Outlander,” “Broad City,” “Inside Amy Schumer,” “Orange Is The New Black,” “Tyrant,” “Stalker,” “Shameless,” “Scandal,” and “House Of Cards” have all handled sexual assault, in their own way—either by depicting rape, exploring whether or not a sexual encounter is rape, or making jokes about how often rape happens. For a crime that has a dismal 2 percent conviction rate, it certainly is getting talked about an awful lot.

I can identify that this is a phenomenon that is happening. It’s a little harder to explain why. Some of it is purely a numbers game: There’s more television than ever—and more and more of that television is not on broadcast networks, with their stricter censorship rules and mandates for reaching a mainstream audience. It’s certainly easier to depict and discuss sexual assault on television now than it ever was before.

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