Tag Archives: racism

Ecuador: Tortured for Being Gay? But, Not Anymore…

The beginning of the end is finally here. That is, the beginning of the end of ex-gay torture clinics in Ecuador. While homosexuality is technically legal in Ecuador, the reality is that a dangerous underground culture of homophobia still exists throughout the country. Until recently, LGBT women and men in Ecuador were being held against their will at hundreds of so-called “clinics” that used torture and physical abuse to “cure” them of being gay. As more and more victims escaped and started speaking out, they revealed a network of nearly 200 illegal clinics posing as drug rehabilitation centers, promising to turn patients straight, and using sexual abuse, starvation, humiliation, and torture to achieve their goals.

This is where Fundación Causana’s work began. The LGBT activist group has been working for the last 10 years to deconstruct homophobia in Ecuador. Among their biggest challenges has been getting the country’s Ministry of Health to stop turning a blind eye and address the issue of gay torture clinics that are prevalent within the country.

One of the first voices to speak out was that of 24-year-old Paola Ziritti. Paola’s parents knew they were sending her to a forced-confinement clinic, but they had no idea just how awful it would be. Once Paola’s mother realized what she’d done, she tried to get her daughter back, but the clinic said no. The process to free Paola took a year. “I spent two years in one such facility and for three months was shackled in handcuffs while guards threw water and urine on me,” said Paola, who describes numerous accounts of physical and sexual abuse during her “rehabilitation.” “Why is the clinic where I suffered still open?” she asks.

Now, Paola’s nightmare, and those of hundreds of young men and women who are still trapped in clinics in Ecuador, is finally about to end. This past November Fundación Causana started an online campaign on Change.org, the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change. Within weeks, the campaign collected over 100,000 signatures from supporters across the globe asking the former Minister of Health, Dr. David Chiriboga Allnut, to take action and immediately investigate the clinics.

 

It took an international outcry to elevate the voices of Fundación Causana, but the government of Ecuador is finally listening. Soon, hundreds of men and women trapped inside ex-gay clinics will be able to return home.

Emilia Gutierrez

Human Rights Organizing Manager, Change.org

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Short Story: Racism

This happened on TAM airlines.

A 50-something year old white woman arrived at her seat and saw that the passenger next to her was a black man. Visibly furious, she called the air hostess.

“What’s the problem, ma’am?” the hostess asked her
“Can’t you see?” the lady said – “I was given a seat next to a black man. I can’t seat here next to him. You have to change my seat”

“Please, calm down, ma’am” – said the hostess
“Unfortunately, all the seats are occupied, but I’m still going to check if we have any.”

The hostess left and returned some minutes later.

“Ma’am, as I told you, there isn’t any empty seat in this class- economy class.
But I spoke to the captain and he confirmed that there isn’t any empty seats in the economy class. We only have seats in the first class.”

And before the woman said anything, the hostess continued

“Look, it is unusual for our company to allow a passenger from the economy class change to the first class.
However, given the circumstances, the commandant thinks that it would be a scandal to make a passenger travel sat next to an unpleasant person.”

And turning to the black man, the hostess said:

“Which means, Sir, if you would be so nice to pack your handbag, we have reserved you a seat in the first class…”

And all the passengers nearby, who were shocked to see the scene started applauding, some standing on their feet.”

-anonymous

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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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