There are pervasive stereotypes about masculinity and femininity that deﬁne how we are all supposed to act, dress and speak. They serve no one. Anyone who deﬁes these so-called ‘norms’ becomes worthy of comment and scrutiny. The LGBT community knows this all too well.
…I’m inspired to be in this room because every single one of you is here for the same reason. You’re here because you’ve adopted as a core motivation the simple fact that this world would be a whole lot better if we just made an effort to be less horrible to one another. If we took just 5 minutes to recognize each other’s beauty, instead of attacking each other for our differences. That’s not hard. It’s really an easier and better way to live…
Then again, it’s not easy at all. It can be the hardest thing, because loving other people starts with loving ourselves and accepting ourselves.
It’s not enough that Zimmerman killed Trayvon in cold blood, not enough that he walked away from it without being arrested immediately, not enough that it took thousands of people across the country marching and protesting to bring charges against him, not enough that he was acquitted and not enough that he remains free to accumulate more domestic violence charges. No, he has to also become a celebrity, built on his “career” of killing black children and abusing women.
Shame on the organizers and promoters [of Zimmerman fighting a celebrity]. Shame on the thousands who e-mailed wanting to fight him and legitimize this. Shame on anyone who pays money to see it. Shame on all of us for allowing Trayvon’s life and death to turned into a spectacle.
And fuck George Zimmerman. Fuck him and everything he represents. Fuck the culture that supports his existence. But a sincere “thank you” for reminding us what black life is worth in this country. As if we didn’t already know.
…I’m wondering what “thug” really means.
White supremacist culture dictates who and who does not get to be human. In order for people of color to receive a Human Card, they must assimilate: they must not use slang. They must be quiet. They must not wear hoodies. They must not curse. They must be gracious at all times. They must enunciate. They must not talk about racism. They must not listen to rap music. They must not sag. They must not brag. They must not laugh in public. They must not take up more than one seat on the bus. They must not ever ask for more. In short, you must be perfect. Robotic. Even if you are a professional athlete who performs for millions of Americans, playing a game in which aggression, testosterone, and energy are rewarded (demanded)…you must be quiet, gracious, calm, unassuming. Unscary. To be black and also be regarded as human, you must never make a mistake in your entire life, ever—ever—or you are a thug. Ghetto. Other. Your Human Card is denied.
Richard Sherman was Salutatorian: second in his class in high school. Richard Sherman went to Stanford. Richard Sherman launched a charity organization called Blanket Coverage to help children in need receive school supplies and clothing. Richard Sherman makes more money than anyone I know. But with all the reaction, both on Twitter and on television, to Richard Sherman’s interview, I’m forced to call upon Kanye West’s famous lyric:
Even if you in a Benz, you still a n*gga in a coupe.
I think that’s what the word “thug” really means. The n-word, arguably the most dehumanizing word in history, has been decried. It is considered inappropriate to speak it in public, and while that doesn’t stop everyone, hate will find a way. “Thug” is that way. Lately, it is a word used when we want to revoke humanity. Trayvon Martin, murdered only a few blocks from his home, was called a thug during his murderer’s trial. The jury needed to be convinced that this boy’s humanity could not possibly exist if he was “a thug.” Police put a toddler’s “thuggery” on display as if to say, “This is why we police them.” And now Richard Sherman, an athlete wealthier than most of us can possibly imagine, dares to step outside the box that a racist culture demands he live inside…and he’s a thug too.
If it weren’t for prisons, we would know that we are all already in prison.
The principle of enslavement and exploitation of the masses by violence constitutes the basis of modern society. All the manifestations of its existence: the economy, politics, social relations, rest on class violence, of which the servicing organs are: authority, the police, the army, the judiciary. Everything in this society: each enterprise taken separately, likewise the whole State system, is nothing but the rampart of capitalism, from where they keep a constant eye on the workers, where they always have ready the forces intended to repress all movements by the workers which threaten the foundation or even the tranquillity of that society.
At the same time the system of this society deliberately maintains the working masses in a state of ignorance and mental stagnation; it prevents by force the raising of their moral and intellectual level, in order to more easily get the better of them.
The progress of modern society: the technical evolution of capital and the perfection of its political system, fortifies the power of the ruling classes, and makes the struggle against them more difficult, thus postponing the decisive moment of the emancipation of labour.
Analysis of modern society leads us to the conclusion that the only way to transform capitalist society into a society of free workers is the way of violent social revolution.
[The] process by which power becomes anonymous and depersonalized, and reduced to a mere technology of rule and manipulation, has a thousand masks, variants, and expressions. In one case it is covert and inconspicuous, while in another case it is entirely overt; in one case it sneaks up on us along subtle and devious paths, in another case it is brutally direct. Essentially, though, it is the same universal trend. It is the essential trait of all modern civilization, growing directly from its spiritual structure, rooted in it by a thousand tangled tendrils and inseparable even in thought from its technological nature, its mass characteristics, and its consumer orientation.
Rulers and leaders were once personalities in their own right, with particular human faces, still in some sense personally responsible for their deeds, good and ill, whether they had been installed by dynastic tradition, by the will of the people, by a victorious battle, or by intrigue. But they have been replaced in modern times by the manager, the bureaucrat, the apparatchik — a professional ruler, manipulator, and expert in the techniques of management, manipulation, and obfuscation, filling a depersonalized intersection of functional relations, a cog in the machinery of state caught up in a predetermined role. This professional ruler is an “innocent” tool of an “innocent” anonymous power, legitimized by science, cybernetics, ideology, law, abstraction, and objectivity that is, by everything except personal responsibility to human beings as persons and neighbors.
A modern politician is transparent: behind his judicious mask and affected diction there is not a trace of a human being rooted in the order of the natural world by his loves, passions, interests, personal opinions, hatred, courage, or cruelty. All that he, too, locks away in his private bathroom. If we glimpse anything at all behind the mask, it will be only a more or less competent technician of power.
System, ideology, and apparat have deprived us — rulers as well as the ruled — of our conscience, of our common sense and natural speech and thereby, of our actual humanity.
A primary purpose of the police is to enforce the delusions of those with lots of green paper.
I am so tired of seeing female characters getting raped, beaten, and killed—all for titillation or to move along a male character’s arc. Call her the Manic Pixie Dead Girl.
Or ‘raped girl’, for that matter. I won’t be watching the new season of [SPOILER] because I found out that a major female character will be sexually assaulted. It’s become impossible to enjoy most quality television shows because the hurt or endangered women device is so frequently used. And if a character is pregnant, forget it—you pretty much know she’s a goner.
Yes, dead or harmed women in television is nothing new. There are entire series dedicated to the practice (I’m looking at you, SVU!). But lately, I’ve just found it too…stressful. I watch my favorite female characters with my heart in my throat, just waiting for the inevitable to happen. Women have to fear and anticipate violence and sexual assault in their everyday real life—I don’t want to fear for it in my entertainment as well. It’s bad for my soul.
Edgar Allan Poe once wrote, “The death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world.” Too many male writers and directors buy into this narrative. But I don’t have to.