Poverty is not fate, it is a condition; it is not a misfortune, it is an injustice. It is the result of social structures and mental and cultural categories, it is linked to the way in which society has been built, in its various manifestations.
Or should, perhaps, the objective defects of an institution be ascribed to individuals, in order fraudulently to give the impression of an improvement without making any essential improvement? It is the habit of pseudo-liberalism, when compelled to make concessions, to sacrifice persons, the instruments, and to preserve the thing itself, the institution. In this way the attention of a superficial public is diverted.
Black women do not fare well in the porn industry because the “plum” jobs for porn performers—the contract employment with the two major porn-feature studios, Vivid and Wicked—are reserved mainly for white women. These studios, with their chic image, sophisticated marketing practices, and guarantee of regular work, afford their contract women an income and level of visibility that makes them the envy of the industry. (Jenna Jameson, of course, is held up as the quintessential example of just how far a contract porn star can go.) With surgically enhanced bodies, perfectly coiffed hair, and glamorous makeup, these women act as PR agents for the porn industry, showing up regularly on Howard Stern, E! Entertainment, or in the pages of Maxim. As the porn industry increasingly wiggles its way into pop culture, it is no surprise that it uses mainly white women as the “acceptable” face of porn; their all-American-girl looks seamlessly mesh with the blonde, blue-eyed images that grace screens, celebrity magazines, and billboards across North America.
In porn, women of color are generally relegated to gonzo, a genre that has little glamour, security, or chic status. Here women have few fan club Web sites, do not make it to pop culture, and have to endure body-punishing sex. But while the sex acts are typical gonzo, the way the written text frames the sex is unique as it racializes the bodies and sexual behavior of the performer. In all-white porn, no one ever refers to the man’s penis as “a white cock” or the woman’s vagina as “white pussy,” but introduce a person of color, and suddenly all players have a racialized sexuality, where the race of the performer(s) is described in ways that make women a little “sluttier” and the men more hypermasculinized.
It is this harnessing of gender to race that makes women of color a particularly useful group to exploit in gonzo porn, since gonzo porn works only to the degree that the women in it are debased and dehumanized. As a woman of color, the porn performer embodies two subordinate categories, such as Asian fuckbucket, black ho, or Latina slut. All past and present racist stereotypes are dredged up and thrown in her face while she is being orally, anally, and vaginally penetrated by any number of men. When men (irrespective of race) ejaculate on her face and body, they often make reference to her skin color, and her debased status as a woman is seamlessly melded with, and reinforced by, her supposed debased status as a person of color. In the process, her race and gender become inseparable and her body carries the status of dual subordination.
Plug into and empower your local community to generate grassroots support for the institutions needed to displace and dismantle capitalist exploitation. I cannot stress this enough, get involved in YOUR community. Build sustainable support systems for yourself and your neighbors, both for emotional/mental health and to meet the People’s material needs. You can join a cause or be as creative as you can be in building your own. Like Fred Hampton said, we ain’t gonna talk about socialism, we’re gonna DO socialism.
Remember, there is no such thing as a one size fits all solution to massive problems. Our approach must be as diverse as the circumstances we face. I cannot deal with the specifics of your area because I am likely not a member of your community. If you have an idea of what issues strike closest to home for you, message me off Anon and let’s talk about broad strategies.
Getting past Blaming Both Side Syndrome, past the Zionist narrative that both sides are equally engaged in a conflict rather than a one-sided massacre, is essential to understanding the material reality of what is happening on the ground in Gaza. This understanding must lay bare the conditions of occupation, colonization, and apartheid. When we understand this we ought to understand a people’s natural right to armed resistance. Blaming Palestinians for fighting oppression from a racist, Zionist government is outright victim-blaming. Whatever mental circus one has to go through to arrive at any other conclusion is a testament to the tactical effectiveness of Israeli/US propaganda and their own inability to empathize with the conditions of occupation.
The efficiency of the IDF to massacre Palestinians is evidence of the overwhelming, far-reaching oppression occupied Gazans face every day. This, of course, has everything to do with the fact that Israel has a highly technological army, navy, air-force, and intelligence apparatus — Palestinians do not.
A principle mechanism of painting the blaming-both-sides picture has been the portrayal of Hamas as the chief objector to proposed ceasefires by Israel, Egypt, and humanitarian agencies. But consider the fact that any cease-fire which calls for the continuation of Palestinian oppression (all of them) is, as they themselves have by majority claimed, a condition of living death. This is not a negotiation then, it is a demand of a wolf clothed in the rhetoric of the sheep. If Palestinians recognize this, and they have, why should they do anything other than reject those terms. Yet, upon rejection, the same tactical propaganda of Western media pins it on Hamas, an entity Israel helped to prominence to impede the peace process and justify its Zionist agenda, as if Hamas were the only obstruction. Accepting this narrative, even in part, squarely puts you as a tool of Zionist occupation.
Don’t fall for that garbage. Where there is occupation, there WILL be resistance.
Social scientists estimate that 15 to 30 percent, or, “[a]s many as 600,000 to 1.2 million slaves” in antebellum America were Muslims. 46 percent of the slaves in the antebellum South were kidnapped from Africa’s western regions, which boasted “significant numbers of Muslims”.
These enslaved Muslims strove to meet the demands of their faith, most notably the Ramadan fast, prayers, and community meals, in the face of comprehensive slave codes that linked religious activity to insubordination and rebellion. Marking Ramadan as a “new American tradition” not only overlooks the holy month observed by enslaved Muslims many years ago, but also perpetuates their erasure from Muslim-American history.
Although the Quran “[a]llows a believer to abstain from fasting if he or she is far from home or involved in strenuous work,” many enslaved Muslims demonstrated transcendent piety by choosing to fast while bonded. In addition to abstaining from food and drink, enslaved Muslims held holy month prayers in slave quarters, and put together iftars - meals at sundown to break the fast - that brought observing Muslims together. These prayers and iftars violated slave codes restricting assembly of any kind.
For instance, the Virginia Slave Code of 1723 considered the assembly of five slaves as an “unlawful and tumultuous meeting”, convened to plot rebellion attempts. Every state in the south codified similar laws barring slave assemblages, which disparately impacted enslaved African Muslims observing the Holy Month.
Therefore, practicing Islam and observing Ramadan and its fundamental rituals, for enslaved Muslims in antebellum America, necessitated the violation of slave codes. This exposed them to barbaric punishment, injury, and oftentimes, even death. However, the courage to observe the holy month while bonded, and in the face of grave risk, highlights the supreme piety of many enslaved Muslims.
Ramadan was widely observed by enslaved Muslims. Yet, this history is largely ignored by Muslim American leaders and laypeople alike - and erased from the modern Muslim American narrative.
I want everyone to read this. The general (though unspoken) conception is that Ramadan and Islam in general is a religious practice that began in great numbers in the West with the influx of Arab and South Asian immigrants and that is far from the truth and a grave injustice to the contributions of Black Americans. Islam has been here and its foundation began with them.