Breaking: The #illridewithyou is being used this morning as Australians offer solidarity to Muslims who may feel unsafe riding public transportation in traditional or religious clothing. Australians are offering solidarity with Muslims after a siege at a Sydney cafe this morning where hostages were taken. During the siege a black flag with Arabic writing was held up in the cafe window. Residents became concerned about the safety of their fellow Australians who might be wearing traditional or religious Muslim garb on public transport. One woman, after noticing a fellow traveler silently remove her hijab, told her to put it back on, and said “I’ll walk with you.” After hearing about this on Twitter user Tessa Kum offered to ride with anyone in religious attire who didn’t feel safe and started #illridewithyou. Since then the hashtag has grown with many other Twitter users chiming in to show their support. The seige ended when the cafe was stormed by police officers. At this time it is unclear how many were wounded. Click here for updates.
The Halloween season. That time of year when children and adults alike dress up as ghosts and witches, celebrities and household items. Tell me boys and girls and gender nonconforming children, do you want to hear a Halloween riddle?
Anyone? Well, I’ll tell you. A perfect storm of what-the-fuckery, that’s what.
On Tuesday the Census Bureau released its annual report “Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013″ which provides information on poverty and incomes. The report has a number of implications for people of color and those in poverty. Here are a few highlights.
The poverty rate is down for the first time since 2006.
In 2013, 14.5 percent of people in the United States — or nearly one in every six Americans — were in poverty according to the official poverty rate, compared to 15% of people in 2012. This is the first time the official poverty rate has gone down since 2006.
Things may be improving for Hispanic* households.
Hispanic households saw a real median income increase of 3.5 percent between 2012 and 2013, their first annual increase in median income since 2000. Further, Hispanics were the only major racial or ethnic group to see a statistically significant change in their poverty rate. From 2012 to 2013 the rate fell from 25.6 percent to 23.5 percent and the number of Hispanics in poverty fell from 13.6 million to 12.7 million.
Hello and welcome to WTF Wednesday with me, Cara B, where I talk about all the stuff that made me say WTF this week.
Let’s start by calling out the New York Times.
Michael Brown, the young man who was shot multiple times by a police officer in Ferguson, was laid to rest on Monday, August 25th. That same day, the New York Times posted a profile that has sparked some serious backlash. In the profile, the NYT characterizes Brown as “no angel.”
“Michael Brown, 18, due to be buried on Monday, was no angel, with public records and interviews with friends and family revealing both problems and promise in his young life. Shortly before his encounter with Officer Wilson, the police say he was caught on a security camera stealing a box of cigars, pushing the clerk of a convenience store into a display case. He lived in a community that had rough patches, and he dabbled in drugs and alcohol. He had taken to rapping in recent months, producing lyrics that were by turns contemplative and vulgar. He got into at least one scuffle with a neighbor.”
Why is this the way the Times chose to frame a profile of this young man?
“[H]e dabbled in drugs and alcohol [and]… had taken to rapping in recent months”
These facts don’t change the the reality that Brown was shot by a police officer while unarmed. These facts don’t make his death any less tragic. They don’t reduce the pain and outrage of Brown’s family or of the larger black community. So what is the point? It’s almost as if to say: Brown wasn’t one of the good black kids. He was just one of those weed-smoking, rapping thugs. So no need to feel too bad. He probably deserved it.
To post this piece, and on the day that Brown was interred, is both callous and shameful.
But this wasn’t the only reason the NYT made my shitlist this week.
I recently wrote a piece about my experiences with gay white men when my girlfriend and I go out to gay bars or clubs. While often they are very friendly and we have a great time, there are too many instances where white gays will overstep boundaries by asking personal questions, touching my body or hair, or simply doing a little bit too much “yaaaaaas girl” for me to feel comfortable with them.
So, when Mike sent me an article called Dear Black Women: White Gays Are Your Allies, So Don’t Push Us Away by Steve Freiss, I have to admit that the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. The piece is a reaction to Dear White Gays: Stop Stealing Black Female Culture in which Sierra Mannie criticizes the appropriation of black women’s speech and mannerisms by gay white men, some of whom go as far as to refer to themselves as strong black women.
Steve’s piece interpreted Mannie’s criticism as being a “full-on attack” on the black woman-gay white male alliance. I don’t see it that way. For one thing, she is not criticizing white male- black female friendships. She is criticizing cultural appropriation. And for another, what is this alliance that he is referring to, anyway? (more…)