Tag Archives: oppression of women

Policed Bodies: A Discussion Across Identities

In variations of the county, women a shackled by their ankles, handcuffed by their wrists and forced to wear a belly restraint across their stomach. We view this inhumane act as another form of systematic control, for we are living in a system that’s determined to cut down the most marginalized and under-resourced parts of our communities.

SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW, GSU’s BlackOUT, Lambda Legal, and 9to5 will be hosting a event at GSU to bring awareness and discuss issues surrounding the shackling of incarcerated women and the intersecting oppression among race, class, and gender, and sexual orientation.

WHEN: FEB 13TH
WHERE: SINCLAIRE SUITE, 2nd FLOOR, STUDENT CENTER
TIME: 7:00PM

The conversation begins promptly at 7:0pm.

If your organization is interested in speaking at this event, please contact SPARK Organizer, Bianca Campbell at bianca@sparkrj.org.

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This event leads into the 5th Annual Legislate THIS! – http://on.fb.me/xDoA8a
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Directions available: http://www.gsu.edu/studentcenter/driving_directions.html

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Anti-Shackling Event @GSU : The Shackling of Female Prisoners in Labor

BlackOUT will be collaborating with Community Activist and Organizer, Campbell Bianca of Spark Reproductive Justice Center to bring the issue of Shackling of Female Inmates during Labor to Georgia State’s Campus. We would like to build a coalition of student organizations on and off campus to support and promote this event at Georgia State. We are asking for monetary sponsorship but Spark Reproductive Justice would be welcoming of any donations for the cause. The event will be free and held on Georgia State Campus.

We see shackling as a physical, institutional manifestation of how many bodies are policed. Queer, people of color, female, differently abled bodies, bodies in poor communities and bodies behind bars have been targets for a long time. There is currently a bill in House that will end this practice, so now is the time to speak out and support these mothers!

On Feb 13(14, or 15), BlackOUT and other groups will lend our voices and support to these women. The discussion explores shackled childbirth, including the medical affects, and allows folks from across movements to share how their bodies have been harassed.

Organizations of Georgia State, Lets come together in bringing Awareness to Georgia State’s Campus.

 

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Quote

“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own. And I am not free as long as one person of Color remains chained. Nor is any one of you.”

– Audre Lorde, (“Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Anger” Sister Outsiders)

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News Way of Looking at the Word, “Ho”

Has Black Culture’s appropriation of the word “Ho” changed it’s meaning, in the male perspective. Has the word “Ho” now become a way of dehumanizing the general population of Black women by refusing to acknowledge their individual and complex identities, and become simply another term to describe a mass of name-less, face-less, PUSSY. A term that was once given on the basis of a woman’s sexual morals can now be used in casual conversation in discussing Black women among Black men and sometimes amongst Black women, to describe women, whether familiar or unfamiliar, without any knowledge of her sexual practice or promiscuity.

 

Has Black Culture’s appropriation of the word “Ho” changed it’s meaning in the female perspective. When used in discussion amongst Black Women, it is often used to reference the undesirable Black woman, or those deemed by the speaker as undesirable. Often said with disdain, or indifference. But when used in these type of discussions, does the word, “Ho” become a term that’s essential existence is to verbally appropriate the person with the label as morally less than, regardless of their sexual standing?

 

Has the meaning of the word “Ho” become a term used simply to dehumanize and lessen the value of the Black woman of which we currently hold in contempt when using the word OR has the appropriation of the word “Ho” transformed the term into a simple denotation of  race, gender, and class, as being  lower-class(economically), Black and Female?

 

The sexism and sexual oppression of women throughout the world is evident. However, in this discussion, analyzing the use of the word “Ho,” and the perception of Black Women as seen in mass media and popular culture, is crucial to the understanding of the term and it’s use as a controlling and oppressive image of Black womanhood and femininity, used to justify the sexual oppressive acts and behaviors that target Black women. The black woman’s experience within the U.S. is one that is unique and different from the intersecting oppressive forces amongst women of different cultures. The oppression is different, not of higher value or lesser value.Therefore, as a result, we can not minimize the differences of the African American female experience by trying to place it amongst a broad homogenous struggle of women. In doing so, we refuse to acknowledge the unique and indiviual experiences of not just African American women facing sexism, but the unique and individual experience of all women facing racism in the world.Confronting the controlling images forwarded by institutions external to the African-American community remain essential, however, it is equally important that we examine how these same controlling images are being perpetuated in the African -American community and create the appropriate solutions and acts of resistance. So the question becomes, if we do not discuss the unique forms of oppression aimed at Black women or that often effect Black women, how do Black women as a collective resist intersecting oppressions as they affect us and the communities we live in? How do U.S. Black women indentify the specific issues associated with controlling images of Black womanhood without safe spaces within the Black community where we can talk freely? And, how do we contest and resist these images if we do not first identify the language being used within their oppression?

-Dean Steed

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Re: Racism is absurd but reverse racism is ok?

*Important Note: This paper was written in response to a published article for GSU’s, The Signal, bi-weekly news paper in November 2011. Find it here: http://www.gsusignal.com/opinions/racism-is-absurd-but-reverse-racism-is-ok

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So…

It has been brought to my attention that certain individuals, not just the author, feel that they have experienced what they refer to as “reverse racism. I want to address this issue by discussing the historical context of racism and differentiate it from feelings of prejudice. To be clear, I am neither disregarding personal feelings of racial prejudice, nor am I disregarding the right to a “freedom of speech.” Everyone should be able to vocalize their opinions of how they may feel in an open, honest, and direct fashion. To be clear, I do not believe any of the diversity student organizations here at Georgia State exclude any students from joining their group in any overt or covert manner. As a fourth-year member and the current student president of a black & queer-focused student organization at Georgia State, BlackOUT, I have had my own accounts of people questioning why BlackOUT should exist, even though there is a general queer student organization all ready present here at Georgia State. However, that is not my issue either. My issue mainly lies in the lack of knowledge, understanding, objectivity, and fundamental support to state such an argument about racism without looking at its historical and concurrent functioning in a society built off of racial disparity.

It is important that many do not confuse what racism is and how it functions, with racial prejudice. Racism embodies a socialized and politicized system of oppression that keeps minorities (generally people of color) at a greater distance from accessing economic and educational advancement. By the definition proposed in the article I’m responding to, “reverse racism is “a term that describes the outcome of a group of people that try to protect a minority group so aggressively that it actually leads to hypocrisy.” This term “reverse racism” cannot compare to the years of complete desolation, segregation, and discrimination endured by minority groups such as African Americans, Latin Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans. Throughout time, these groups have faced, and continue to face, racialized inequalities because of legal discrimination in the past.

For clarity, I am not interested in making this a black or white issue. Also, I’m not interested in the pleading for the acceptance of diversity student groups on college campuses, for I believe that these groups all have a common purpose and a human right exist. From different point of views, these social groups bring about much needed awareness and education about their own struggles and accomplishments. Moreover, “reverse racism” is presumably to be referring to not exactly the white race, but to those who connect with the affirmation of white privilege. Racism, as it stands today, is as invisible as white privilege. In relation to racism, white privilege also consists of power and entitlement over others. One might acknowledge the existence of racism, but fail to be held accountable when she or he uses it at the expense of others. Therefore, I am not surprised that people who acquire white privilege feel the need to protect it, and the feeling of being discriminated against when they cannot attain that privilege. Besides, we cannot ignore the histories in which constitute people of color the need to unite in order to fight against racial, political, and social inequality.

Additionally, it is quite unfortunate that many can only recognize racism as it occurred during enslavement, three-hundred years ago. Racism has been, and still is, institutionalized in U.S. culture, even after the disassembling of Jim Crow laws in the late 1960s. Many of those who access their white privilege are unable to recognize the contemporary presence of racism, for it is so embedded into their own imagination of a just world.  They fail to realize that it took forty-four years after those racist laws for a 44th president, who was non-white, to be elected. Let’s face the facts. We are still living in world where a vast number of people of color continue to face enslavement by both the government’s legal and penal system. According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, Hispanics comprise of 20.6% of the incarcerated population, and African Americans are comprised of 39.4% of the incarcerated population. This means that 60% of people of color are disproportionately incarcerated.

We are still living in a society where black women and other women of color are being sterilized because they are seen as menaces to society: unwanted, hypersexual, and needing to be controlled. We are living in a time where our bodies continue to be policed, fetishized, and demonized by not only the government, but by the general public and mass media, too. We are living in a system where incarcerated women of color are still hand-cuffed and shackled by their hands, ankles, and even their bellies while giving birth to their babies. This is the unspoken, modern-day racism that is being exercised through and faced by people of color across the nation. Thus, it should be clear that it does not mean racism is a thing of the past. It has only been repositioned.

As a final point, it should be understood that the diversity student groups on college campuses are much more than the “FREE PIZZA” flyers you see in the hallways of buildings, in school emails, or that you inadvertently see on Facebook. Therefore, I challenge any and everyone to explore at least one out of the 300 diversity organizations here at Georgia State, if you have not all ready. Groups, such as BlackOUT, are not created to be exclusive. They are meant to gain more support from members who stand by their mission to educate others in order to fight against racial discrimination, criminalization, and other inequalities.

We all should embrace cultural diversity and not see it as a proposed threat. These systems of oppression: racism, classism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and countless others are still co-existing, and must be countered. And as you can see, we still have a ways to go in order for people to understand that they are only profiting from a system that nourishes itself off of the malnutrition of others. Besides, we cannot ignore the histories in which constitute people of color the need to unite in order to fight against racial, political, and social inequality. You support racism when you choose to ignore its existence, question its resistance, and benefit from it. You must deconstruct its functionality, challenge its existence, and educate others on how to stop it, not those who are already doing so.

Author: Angie Cain

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