Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Very Happy New Year to Everyone!!

Happy Chinese New Year 2010: The Year of the Metal Tiger – This year, the first day of the Chinese New Year has landed on February 14th (which also happens to be Valentine’s Day). Chinese New Year is China’s most important holiday, a joyous occasion complete with days of feasting, giving gifts, decorating, spending time with family, well-wishing, and celebrating the New Year. This is the Year of the Tiger. To celebrate the Chinese New Year 2010 watch the Hong Kong fireworks on Earth TV’s webcam. The fireworks over Victoria Harbour take place at 12pm British time on Monday 15 February, one day after the start of the Lunar New Year. Thousands of people pack onto the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront to watch the firework display, which is totally controlled by computer. Despite the snowy, inclement weather currently overtaking China, tonight will be the annual parade organized by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), and it will follow a new route in Tsim Sha Tsui this year. HKTB Chairman Mr. James Tien said: “Hong Kong enjoys a global reputation for its vibrant Chinese New Year celebrations…[and this year] we will show to the world the excitement that awaits our visitors.” The government has predicted that 210 million passengers are expected to take the train there to attend the festivities, and nearly 30 million more will travel by air and millions of others by bus. The line to Jing’An Temple, one of Shanghai’s oldest Buddhist temples, “stretched around the block as people inside burned incense to bring wealth, health and happiness in the new year.”
Source: Happy Chinese New Year 2010: The Year of the Metal Tiger | Daily World Buzz
Via: Daily World Buzz

Facing HIV/AIDS: How Dominant Society and Marginalised Community Conspire to Kill. Racism + Misogyny + Heterosexism + Classism = GYNOCIDE for Black Women

[photograph of Linda Royal-Herman is from here]

What is blockquoted is from *here*.
Look at me, take a long, hard stare.
I'm the face of HIV. I represent every woman 25-34 who has died or is dying from AIDS.
AIDS is the leading cause of death in African American women in this age group.
So, LOOK at me!

Do you think I'm ready to die? I'm not ready. I don't want to leave my children, family, and friends. LOOK at me!

Can you honestly tell me we can't change the statistics by raising awareness? Can we not see the Consequences of our actions? Oh God, is anybody even listening to me? LOOK at me!

Now, take a long hard look at yourself and answer this question:
What am I going to do today to raise awareness of HIV & AIDS?

To learn more about Linda R. Herman and her passion for saving lives by raising awareness, please visit
*     *     *
What follows is from *here*.

Reproductive Control and Race: the Hidden Side of Domestic Violence
6 07 2009

Please try to overlook the amateur and somewhat sensationalist writing style of the author and read this very important and revealing article on reproductive control in abusive relationships between men and women.

Now, for many of you reading this, this may not really be news. Many of you seasoned feminists/women’s liberationists are familiar with the fact that abusive and controlling men use various methods to oppress and control their female partners. Hell, these abusers all seem to follow a “Domestic Violence for Dummies” manual. But rarely ever do folks in the mainstream, and, more disturbingly, most social workers, doctors, nurses, and counselors, recognize pregnancy or repeated requests/questions for and about contraceptives and condoms as red flags for spousal abuse. I’ll admit, I didn’t really think too hard about the particular issue of reproductive control until reading the above article.

But here is a part of the article that really stuck out at me:

And it’s not just about pregnancy. Dr. Anne Teitelman, Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, is an expert on partner abuse and HIV risk. In her published review on this link among adolescent girls, she found six studies identified an association between intimate partner violence and increased risk for HIV (as in condom non-use). Among adolescent girls, survivors of partner abuse are significantly more likely than others to be diagnosed with an STD.

When I lived in the Washington D.C. area, and marched many years ago at The March For Women’s Lives, I remember learning that D.C. has some of the highest rates of HIV infection in the country. D.C. has a huge black community, and black women, in particular, are at much higher risk of HIV infection than their male or white and other non-white female counterparts. This should be raising a red flag. Nay, sounding an alarm call!

So why do many folks not associate higher rates of HIV/STD infection with possible partner abuse? I think there are many reasons: one, that consciousness regarding domestic violence and partner abuse is practically nill in our society; two, that much of the dialogue we DO have about hetero male-on-female partner abuse is rife with myths and misconceptions (“she drove him to get angry and hit her,” “he couldn’t control or help himself” “visible bruises and lesions are the main or only indicator of spousal abuse” etc. blah blah de blah) combined with the fact that dialogue surrounding HIV and STDs is also laden with misogynist myths (“people (i.e. women) who sleep around are more likely to get STDs/HIV,” “gay people are much more likely to get HIV/STDs because they’re promiscuous, evil, etc.” yadda yadda); and three, black women (who are, in various regions of the U.S., at much higher risk of HIV infection) are certainly not thought of as typical victims of domestic violence. If you are fortunate enough to even get a news report on a homicide related to domestic violence, you often hear about a pretty middle-upper class white woman who’s been shot or stabbed by her husband. If one was to use the news as a representative of all that’s going on in the world (and, yes, many folks do this, without even knowing it) one would think that only pretty, affluent, virginal white girls are the victims of rape or abuse.

But this is not the reality. The stereotypes surrounding black women include the idea that they are too “tough” or “unfeminine” to be physically or mentally abused by male partners, that they have animalistic or “wild” sexualities that make them “unrapeable.” Add to that the oppressive and eerie silence withing the “Black community” regarding domestic violence, incest, and other forms of violence against women…And the fact that society and the media don’t really care about the lives of black and poor women. These misogynist and racist tendencies in our culture make it hard for people to consider that many black women are indeed on the receiving end of partner abuse. In fact, out of all of the racial and socioeconomic groups of women in this country, black women, I believe, are the most susceptible to rape, domestic violence, and spousal abuse particularly BECAUSE of the stereotypes that surround black female “sexuality” (as if there was only one) and femininity. I am not at all arguing that other groups of women do not experience rape and abuse at the hands of men on a massive scale. But I am claiming that pervasive ideas about black women and sexuality/femininity in American culture have created dire consequences for many working class and poor black women (I am not even going to debate with anyone on the clear link between classism and racism in the U.S.) who are stuck in abusive relationships. If a poor black woman is even lucky enough to have access to condoms or birth control at a clinic or institution, it might more easily be tampered with or taken away by an abusive male partner that wants to control her through her body. Combine that with the idea that black women are immune to, or “tough enough,” to handle such a boyfriend or husband and you have a recipe for disaster. The crazy and disturbing thing is that these misconceptions about black women are pervasive both in mainstream (white-centered) society and the “black community.”

We need to deconstruct and rid of common myths regarding women’s bodies, black women’s sexualities and lifestyles, and men’s behavior, in addition to lifting the shunning silence surrounding violence against women and girls among many black folks, if we want to make a change.

Rally for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (cross post)

All that follows is from *here*, by Corvin Russell is an activist, writer, and translator based in Toronto. His current focus is Indigenous solidarity and environmental justice work.

No more silence: why showing up today is important. Rally for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

| February 14, 2010


Many of you know that for the last 18 years, February 14 has been set aside as a day to remember and honour the thousands of Aboriginal women who have been murdered or gone missing in Canada. Over 3000 Aboriginal women are known to have gone missing or been murdered since 1980.

In Native communities across Canada, people know women who have disappeared - daughters, sisters, mothers, and friends. No one knows what has happened to them. Many other women are known to have been murdered. The deaths and disappearances of these women eat at the hearts of all who love them.

The disappearances and murders of so many women don't happen without a cause. For generations, Canada has pursued policies that have dispossessed Indigenous Peoples of their lands and resources, and attacked their food supplies, their social structures, their languages, and their ways of life. Residential schools and other policies of assimilation and genocide have scarred families and communities. Canada's policies have created poverty, violence, and despair, and women have disproportionately borne the brunt of these. Many of the most vulnerable have had to make hard choices, only to be preyed on by Canadian racism and indifference.

Women keep getting murdered, and keep disappearing. Yet Canada, the provinces, police forces, coroners, and media remain indifferent. Why? Because the women are Indian.

Today is about defending the lives of Aboriginal women and demanding justice for all the Aboriginal women who have been murdered or gone missing. It is also about honouring, mourning, and remembering all the women who have gone. To those sisters, we say: your life is precious. We were not with you and we did not help you in the time of your greatest need. But we are here today to say we remember you. And we will never forget you.

Toronto Rally for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women
When: Sunday, February 14, 2009 @ 12 pm
Where: Rally at Police HQ, 40 College St at Bay

We'll march to the Coroner's Office, 26 Grenville St; followed by a Gathering with food at U of T's Centre for Women and Trans People (CWTP), 563 Spadina Ave (CWTP is wheelchair accessible)
We will also provide TTC tokens for those attending by public transit

*** To volunteer before or during the rally/march, please meet at U of T's CWTP at 11am on Feb 14.

*** To get involved with No More Silence (event organizers), come to the New Volunteers Meeting on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2-4pm at the CWTP.

*** To endorse or support the rally in any way, contact: **

For details of today's Vancouver rally see:

For Valentine's Day and for V-Day: Different kinds of "Real Love", none of them Hate

Valentine's Day is probably the most heterosexist holiday in the U.S. and one of the most commercialised. I love it that when young, my elementary school classmates and I used to exchange very simple or hand-made Valentines without regard for gender. It strikes me now as such a sweet thing to do. I wish it continued to happen that way through high school.

[image is from here]

I love the Beatles for too many reasons to state here now. But I'll name a couple. I love it that they loved one another and that they were not afraid to speak of it. I love that they had deep, loving relationships not only with each other, but also with women: John with Yoko; Paul with Linda; George with Olivia; Ringo with Barbara.

With awareness of the pun, I post this video in honor of my love for the Beatles. The song is called "Real Love". The video was found *here*.

I also <3 Apolo Ohno. I love him (in an adoring sort of way) because he is amazing at what he does as an athlete. I respect his dedication to his sport of short track speed skating. I marvel at his centeredness. I applaud his loving bond with his father who was the parent who raised him. (I adore his father also, for raising such a fine young man in difficult circumstances, in terms of what other choices Apolo could easily have made that would have been very destructive to himself and other people.)

 [image is from here]
I am especially attracted to him because he is strongly anti-racist, and because he is not known (to me, at least) as a sexist jerk. Also, he doesn't come across as arrogant, but seems confident in his abilities. For all of those reasons, and because I think he's physically beautiful,  I hold him in deep regard. I have no reason to think he's gay. So my crush ends when he's not in my life in some insignificant way, such as while watching the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, which is land stolen from Indigenous people, as is the rest of North America. I have never met him, and have no plans to meet him. But today, I want to publicly state that I think Apolo Ohno is one of the most beautiful men who is best known in the worlds of sport and entertainment.

And I <3 this quote by Catharine A. MacKinnon, except for her use of the term "dumbest" to mean "most ridiculous". I'll note that one the internet, only portions of what follows are offered as "the quote". Men who wish to prove MacKinnon hated men, for example, delete the part where she speaks of men's capacity to be remorseful and rehabilitated into a more empathic, compassionate humanity, expressed and shared with women, rather than imposed and forced upon women.

"[...] men who are in prison for rape think it's the dumbest [sic] thing that ever happened... It isn't just a miscarriage of justice; they were put in jail for something very little different from what most men do most of the time and call it sex. The only difference is they got caught. That view is nonremorseful and not rehabilitative. It may also be true." (MacKinnon, Feminism Unmodified, p. 88)

[image is from here]

There are at least two reason for this to be the case:
1. Most men who rape do not rape only once. All the rapes prior to being caught, charged, prosecuted, and imprisoned were, for him, "not crimes". So he must be wondering "why this time?" in a similar--if less egregious--way than the man who speeds on the highway in his automobile daily is pissed when he gets pulled over, feeling it is unfair since he gets away with it most of the time.

2. Het men (not all het men, but het men as opposed to gay men) define sex with women in terms that are not organised around women's humanity or civil rights, but, rather, around men's inhumanity towards women, men's privileges and entitlements and rights as organised by patriarchal societies which deem women to be inferior to men and treat women accordingly.

Het men consider obsessive and gross objectification of women, the preoccupying fetishisation of women's body parts, strong attraction to cosmetically modified body parts, and draws to "physical types" of women to be natural and normal, no matter how "unnatural" the cosmetically altered woman is. Het men (not all het men, but het men as opposed to gay men) see it as natural and normal to visually violate women, to have 24/7 visual access to pimped women's bodies and body parts, and to pursue women they are attracted to, regardless of whether the woman or women demonstrate any level of interest in the man.

Het men find the use of coercion, manipulation, and dishonesty to be normal means for obtaining sex with women. Het men believe women exist to serve men in some way, and many het men consider lesbian women who organise their social and personal lives around other women, and who refuse to deal with or take care of men to be "man-haters" and not "woman-lovers".

Because of all this, because het men feed upon and conjure stories in their heads that fuel misogyny, about "that woman in pornography who would never go out with me", or about "women having men by the balls" because het men, collectively while not always individually, often do not own their entitlements and structural political position in a social gender hierarchy. They often act as if they are obliviousness to the forms of social status, power, privileges, human rights, and lack of stigma that women collectively while not always individually do not experience. Het men do not appear to be responsible with their emotions or actions regarding women. I see het men out misogyny at women in egregious ways against individuals because they are part of a gender group called women.

And I think all the het men who are not respectful of women in the ways they speak pejoratively about women or who mistreat women, ought to become responsible, caring, compassionate, empathic, and sensitive people in their interactions with women in all spheres of life.

I believe men can learn to love women as human beings, and as uniquely embodied souls. And I sometimes question the lack of will het men demonstrate in sharing this belief. I love any man's materialised, socially acted out capacity to be humane. And I can't hate men because I love men too much.