As CitiBike has launched in parts of New York City, public attention has focused on certain manifestations of public backlash, usually in the form of NIMBY distaste for the bike stations on particular blocks, and general grumpiness about the role of cycling in the future of New York City…
Exclusive timelapse: See climate change, deforestation and urban sprawl unfold as Earth evolves over 30 years.
I really love Google’s projects but how are they contributing to this issue?
After learning my flight was detained 4 hours,
I heard the announcement:
If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic,
Please come to the gate immediately.
Well—one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress,
Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly.
Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her
Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she
I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly.
Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick,
Sho bit se-wee?
The minute she heard any words she knew—however poorly used—
She stopped crying.
She thought our flight had been canceled entirely.
She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the
Following day. I said no, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late,
Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him.
We called her son and I spoke with him in English.
I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and
Would ride next to her—Southwest.
She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it.
Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and
Found out of course they had ten shared friends.
Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian
Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours.
She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering
She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies—little powdered
Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—out of her bag—
And was offering them to all the women at the gate.
To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a
Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California,
The lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same
Powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies.
And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers—
Non-alcoholic—and the two little girls for our flight, one African
American, one Mexican American—ran around serving us all apple juice
And lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar too.
And I noticed my new best friend—by now we were holding hands—
Had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing,
With green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always
Carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.
And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought,
This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.
Not a single person in this gate—once the crying of confusion stopped
—has seemed apprehensive about any other person.
They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.
This can still happen anywhere.
Not everything is lost.
omg omg omg
white privilege radically changes the appearance of Tsarnaev bros
This is how brofiling actually works in real life. The Week Magazine ran with this image as their cover sketch.
Just so it is said, clearly and unambiguously: the Tsarnaev brothers are white guys. They are white. The FBI’s own wanted poster for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev lists his race as “white”, but you would never know it from the cover image on The Week.
Hold up the cover to someone else, and ask them how many white people they can see on the cover. Chances are they will identify Gabby Giffords on the top left and the image of the Boston policemen (all white men) on the top right, but how about those two guys in the center? Nope, not a chance that anyone would say these caricatures look white.
Why? Because in addition to being white they are also “Muslim”, which is the current dehumanizing “Other” that whiteness has constructed as a sanctioned target for violence in US popular culture.
This is how white privilege works in media representations and everyday life: when the criminal suspects are demonstrably white men, seize upon any aspect of difference and magnify it such that they become Othered, non-white, and menacing. If it is too hard to do so, simply dismiss them as aberrations and isolated cases of insanity. This is also how white culture, specifically the process of whiteness in conjunction with white privilege, portrays several non-white identities, including those that are now considered white but at one time were decidedly not so. For example, see here for how the Irish were depicted as violent apes or lazy drunks in the late 1800s to early 1900s.
Addendum, posted 4.29.13:
As Tim Wise said on April 18, there are consequences for these kinds of things. Here are a few reasons why this is important:
- Making white criminals who are Muslim appear to be more ‘brown’ than ‘white’ has serious consequences for brown people. Indeed, as we saw right after the Boston bombings, people that simply “looked” brown and Muslim were profiled and assaulted. Two men were escorted off a plane in Boston simply for speaking Arabic and thereby somehow making passengers “uncomfortable”. A Bangladeshi man in NYC was beaten up because he looked ‘Arab’. And this affects women too: a Muslim woman doctor in Boston who wears a headscarf was attacked by a man while she was out walking with her baby. And the white Muslim wife of the older brother has been demonized for simply being a Muslim American woman, especially after Ann Coulter called for women who wear hijabs to be arrested.
- People have pointed out to me that The Week Magazine’s cover images are regularly caricatures/sketches of the main events of that week’s news. I know this—I read their print edition every week, and all their previous cover images are available online. But there are two main problems with this argument: (a) why caricature them in a way that makes them so explicitly ‘darker’ and ‘Arabized’ in their appearance? Contrast the way they look on that page with the other white faces on that same page—would anyone say that these men look ‘white’? So why is the caricature done in such a ‘racializing’ way (as if ‘white’ bodies have no race, but that’s point #3 below)? How is this any different from the more overt media racism that was used by Time Magazine (h/t @sarahkendzior), for example, to make OJ Simpson appear way more menacing? And (b) if The Week is simply trying to put a caricature of criminals who committed mass violence on their cover, then here are the covers for the weeks when Newtown happened, when Aurora happened, and when Tucson happened — where were their ‘racialized’ caricatures of Adam Lanza, James Holmes, and Jared Loughner? How come the ideologies and ethnicities and religions of those particular mass criminals were not profiled?
- And so here is the more subtle consequence: when white criminals are treated as if they are just aberrations, and when white criminals who are Muslim are portrayed as more brown than white not just by The Week but by mainstream propaganda outlets like Fox News, then the problems of white supremacist violence and extremism become hidden, unaddressed. Indeed, as reports have shown, of the terror attacks/plots since 1995 in America, 56% of them were by right-wing extremists and only 12% by Islamist/jihadist groups — and yet the DHS was told to back off reporting on that or on analyzing right-wing violence for fears of backlash from conservative political groups.
So, my main point is that such a willful blindness hurts all people.
Lana sometimes makes it onto our “Official Bookstore Radio” Pandora station, by some algorithmic miracle. Consequently Heidi and I just laughed for a solid 90 seconds straight at the existence of Llama Del Rey.
“Dear Internet” by Tina Fey
From PerezHilton.com/Posted by jerkstore on Wednesday, 1/21/2009, 11:21 P.M.
“In my opinion Tina Fey completely ruined SNL. The only reason she’s celebrated is because she’s a woman and an outspoken liberal. She has not a single funny bone in her body.”
Huzzah for the Truth Teller! Women in this country have been over-celebrated for too long. Just last night there was a story on my local news about a “missing girl,” and they must have dedicated seven or eight minutes to “where she was last seen” and “how she might have been abducted by a close family friend,” and I thought, “What is this, the News for Chicks?” Then there was some story about Hillary Clinton flying to some country because she’s secretary of state. Why do we keep talking about these dumdums? We are a society that constantly celebrates no one but women and it must stop! I want to hear what the men of the world have been up to. What fun new guns have they invented? What are they raping these days? What’s Michael Bay’s next film going to be?
When I first set out to ruin SNL, I didn’t think anyone would notice, but I persevered because—like you trying to do a nine-piece jigsaw puzzle—it was a labor of love.
I’m not one to toot my own horn, but I feel safe with you, jerkstore, so I’ll say it. Everything you ever hated on SNL was by me, and anything you ever liked was by someone else who did it against my will.
P.S. You know who does have a funny bone in her body? Your mom every night for a dollar.”
My favorite, Lydia Callis talks about why it’s hard for the deaf to go into science. Fascinating. (via Science in Sign)