When we talk about Obama’s foreign policy, as if it is unimaginable that someone Black would be involved in the killing (i.e. drone strikes) of brown bodies abroad, I have to take a step back and wonder if some Black people’s surprised attitude comes from some place of…moral superiority? Because…Black and brown people have been killing Black and brown people in the name of internalized White supremacy for a long time. In our families. In our communities. As members of the military. Obama is doing it from a seat of presumed power. Presumed. Because ultimately, this White supremacist capitalist patriarchal society is bigger than any one office, and can use any vessel to do its bidding, including a man that most Black thinkers have a complex relationship with, emotionally.
I’m speaking to the ones who might love Obama as a social icon for Blackness, a man, a husband, a father, an author, a professor, a lawyer, a speaker, a conversationalist, and a past legislator, but are outraged and dismayed by this foreign policy as President. Be outraged and dismayed by this foreign policy! For real! (I tweeted about this dichotomy before, how he simultaneously challenges and upholds White supremacy domestically and foreign, respectively.) But this…”how could he do this” response is ahistorical and honestly comes off as phony. In fact, it reminds me of how Whites will often say to Black homophobes “Whites oppressed you, so you should ‘know better’ than to be oppressive…” as if some sort of superhuman power outside of a society ultimately shaped by White supremacy, capitalism and patriarchy no less, has been bestowed on all Black people so that they are no longer capable of enacting the same behaviors that other races of people do, including Whites, for the purpose of White supremacy in the first place.
Theoretically = vote for whomever you chose.
Practically = Obama: vote for violent foreign policy + domestic policy more beneficial for marginalized groups vs. Romney: vote for even moreso violent foreign policy + domestic policy that destroys marginalized groups; with not voting for Obama or staying home = a vote for Romney.
I’m not saying that I’m happy about this. I’m just saying that this is what it is at the moment.
I saw a great tweet earlier:If any debate could use minor-party candidates, it’s the foreign policy debate.
Great point. However, I don’t want to romanticize third party candidates either because power corrupts. They, just like the major party candidates, could speak a good game and get into the Oval Office and do the bidding of a White supremacist capitalist patriarchal society just as well. Just like I don’t believe planting White women in any space where White men are will automatically benefit Black women or other minority women, I don’t know for sure that a third party candidate is the “answer.” I do know that structurally, more than two dominant political parties are needed. I do know that this imperialist, White supremacist capitalist patriarchal violence being marketed as foreign policy needs to stop.
Oh, and by the way, I know why Obama can’t mention Black people, I even wrote about it before, but damn, can’t ever mention Black people? Women. LGBT. Immigrants. All important groups, but all involve Whites. When he mentioned civil rights the other day, not mentioning Black people was like…are you serious?
How honest Romney is about the political game he is playing. Definitely not about values and character and ideas and ideals. Just playing the numbers and percentages game.
I also like how honest Santorum is. This country always needs a reminder of where we used to be and how much further we need to get away from that.
Maruf Hotak, commenting about the recent protests in Afghanistan in reaction to its largest U.S. base burning Qur’ans and referring to an episode in Helmand Province when American Marines urinated on the dead bodies of men they described as insurgents and to a recent erroneous airstrike on civilians in Kapisa Province that killed eight young Afghans.
From Glenn Greenwald: The causes of the protests in Afghanistan:
The U.S. has violently occupied their country for more than a decade. It has, as Gen. Stanley McChrystal himself explained, killed what he called an “amazing number” of innocent Afghans in checkpoint shootings. It has repeatedly — as in, over and over — killed young Afghan children in air strikes. It continues to imprison their citizens for years at Bagram and other American bases without charges of any kind and with credible reports of torture and other serious abuses. Soldiers deliberately shot Afghan civilians for fun and urinated on their corpses and displayed them as trophies.
Meanwhile, the protesters themselves continue to be shot, although most American media accounts favor sentences like these which whitewash who is doing the killing: “running clashes with the police that claimed the lives of another five Afghan protesters” and “in Nangarhar Province, two Afghans protesting the Koran burning were shot to death outside an American base in Khogyani District” and “protesters angry over the burning of Korans at the largest American base in Afghanistan this week took to the streets in demonstrations in a half-dozen provinces on Wednesday that left at least seven dead and many more injured.” Left at least seven dead: as As’ad AbuKhalil observed, “notice that there is no killer in the phrasing.”
It’s comforting to believe that these violent protests and the obviously intense anti-American rage driving them is primarily about anger over the inadvertent burning of some religious books: that way, we can dismiss the rage as primitive and irrational and see the American targets as victims. But the Afghans themselves are making clear that this latest episode is but the trigger for — the latest symbol of — a pile of long-standing, underlying grievances about a decade-old, extremely violent foreign military presence in their country. It’s much more difficult to dismiss those grievances as the by-product of primitive religious fanaticism, so — as usual — they just get ignored.
You might not agree with my opinion so don’t waste your time reading on.
I absolutely abhor violence and death of any kind. And I am extremely saddened that some have been violent to the point of causing death or serious injury, to both Afghan peoples and US soldiers.
But I think it is ridiculous that some people (like our fine GOP candidates) are surprised and furthermore aggressive about this. Every US life lost is a tragedy. And every Afghan life lost should equally be a tragedy. And just the blind eye of confusion so many have turned to this situation. Confusion over why people are still angry that we just *accidentally burned a book*. No, we didn’t just *accidentally burn a book*. Multiple people in a chain of command had the idiocy and LACK OF CULTURAL COMPETENCY to realize that it was a HOLY BOOK that they ordered and were physically burning.
Desecration of Islamic symbols and the literal tearing up of their country has been occurring non-stop for over TEN YEARS, and that’s not even counting the OTHER WESTERN occupation of Afghanistan. Maybe because I’m a coward, I’d never strike back, but if someone was physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, beating me down every day for 10 years *And this was the only side of them I saw, not their more noble and good aspects, which they do have*, I’d think I’d be pretty justified to be pretty damn angry at them.
There is this martyr’s myth that every single uprising can be violence-free if citizens are just willing to sacrifice enough. People point to India’s independence from British rule and proclaim that if non-violence can bring down an empire, it can certainly bring down one dictator. However, Indian independence encompassed a large number of violent conflicts and a broad spectrum of resistance. From peaceful marchers, to intellectuals, to armed battles. It wasn’t just Gandhi. There were hundreds of thousands involved, unparalleled infighting, and even when everything was all said and done, the country still remained fractured. I know, that makes it complicated and messy and less of a feel good story, but to deal with the reality of current revolutions, it might be helpful to start acknowledging the truth about those in our past. […]
Of course, we all hope for peace. The idea of bloody clashes and shock-journalism using terms like “rebels” and “civil war” can make ones skin crawl. However, this is not about our needs. This is about what the people who are in the midst of a fight for their lives have decided is best for them. As these people stare down their own mortality, the very last thing they need is the condemnation of armchair philosophers, who think that because they have access to a Wiki page, they must know better.
What we are witnessing is a fundamental shift in how Middle Eastern residents view both their hopes and their circumstances. It will continue to evolve and shift and clash and rise. It will be bloody, triumphant, terrible, and beautiful. Who knows, perhaps the ever-struggling West could actually use a reminder of what was once sacrificed by many of our own countries. Perhaps then we wouldn’t be so flippant about bartering our own freedoms away. Perhaps, just this once, instead of imposing our own Western expectations on their needs, we just listen and pay attention. Then maybe, just maybe, we let the Arab world inspire us.
Olivia Maradun, We Can’t all be Gandhi: In support of violent resistance
As an Indian, it infuriates me when people hold Gandhi as this all-encompassing savior. I’m not saying that what he did for India wasn’t important, I’m saying that he deserves his fair share of criticism as well. And if anything, figures like Chandrashekar Azad, Bhagat Singh and other revolutionaries deserve just as much credit. Only difference is that their presence in history books is a threat, that’s why we dedicate holidays to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and not Malcom X.
Also, here’s the earlier post with the link to the book on inaccuracies of non-violence. It discusses the case of India more in depth. You should also read the rest of the article, because it actually focuses on the Arab Spring and more specifically violence in Libya and Syria compared to Tunisia and Egypt.
Here because I want to read this in its entirety later.
But also because I think when oppressors hold up MLK Jr and Gandhi as who the oppressed should strive to be like, it’s just another way of silencing the oppressed and keeping the oppressors safe. Because I think that violent resistance has been effectively smeared by how we’re taught to view it and that it’s been misunderstood. Because I think those who tout nonviolence as the correct answer and criticize the violent reactions of subjugated people really don’t understand how things work because they’re blinded by their privilege. Because I think violent resistance is an important tool and nonviolence won’t work in every situation. Because it’s not just violence for violence sake, it’s self-defense in response to the attacks of the oppressors, it’s getting equality and safety “by any means necessary” (to quote Malcolm X).
I think this is important. Too many times have I seen the memories of Gandhi and MLK Jr. used to silence protest. I also have a lot to say about just how many white supremacists have perverted MLK Jr.’s famous line about judging people by their character. To be covered in a future post.
Funny to think that this is an election year. Every four years the country gets to choose what kind of general direction it would like to take. Actually only about half the country, for a variety of reasons, participates in that choosing process. Anyways, with Occupy and the Tea Party fresh on the mind, come November, it’ll be time to see what kind of values that 50% of the country will uphold.
ABC News’ Chris Good reports:
America loves sports, and for a politicians, fanship is a good way to prove you’re just one of the guys or gals. Most of the time.
Asked by moderator George Stephanopoulos what they’d be doing on Saturday night if they weren’t debating, three candidates said they’d be at home watching a national-championship college sports game.
Unfortunately, no such game was being played. Rather, an NFL playoff game between the Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints was underway during the debate.
“Watching the national-championship college basketball game,” Newt Gingrich said in response to Stephanopoulos’s final debate question. “Football,” he adjusted, when corrected on the sport.
Santorum agreed: He’d be at home watching the national-championship NCAA football game.
“It’s football,” Mitt Romney said, also agreeing. “I love it.”
False: It’s neither. Badly as they may have wanted to, no candidate could have been watching a football or basketball championship game tonight.
Alabama and LSU will play on Monday for the BCS championship–in football–in a much-anticipated rematch of the overtime slugfest held in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 6, which LSU won 9-6.
Note to Gingrich, Santorum, and Romney: The game will be broadcast at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. Monday.
Earlier today I reblogged a post that was a from a friend voicing her frustration with the amount of money poured into America’s elections, how that money could be better spent elsewhere. It seems then a ripe time to talk about Politics and Classism, why Money is a barrier to participating in the political process as a voter, a supporter, or a as a politician.
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My Software Design class was working on a design for a website that would be a portal to all official opinion polls (CNN, FOX, Gallup, etc) in America. We were considering whether or not to include actual data for the user to look at. It was suggested that we have data on something like the GDP, as it has an important influence or effect on the election. I said no data, because it would balloon and become out of scope for the system. Why? Because I think you can’t pick and choose what kind of data is “relevant” to the election. Sure you can have broad, “important” facts, but who is to decide which data sets are important and which are not? The person who suggested the GDP data said something like “How many people eat vegetables” would be an example of an obscure and useless data set the system wouldn’t include. I said no. Why? Because Lower Income families have less access to Vegetables (which are priced higher than processed and fast foods), caused by many different institutional sources, and leading to many different things like more childhood obesity, etc. Perhaps the widening income gap is already contributing to less average vegetable consumption (I did not confirm this). Maybe this might be a factor that pushes support for a liberal President. Who knows, but to a researcher, this could be important. Basically, even the most obscure data set can have some significance in telling an important fact about what’s going on.