A Soft Ratchet

Where the smartest Chickenheads roam

Posts tagged race

2 notes &

23 Quotes That Perfectly Explain Racism (To People Who Don't "See Color")

Black and Third World people are expected to educate white people as to our humanity. Women are expected to educate men. Lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world. The oppressors maintain their position and evade their responsibility for their own actions. There is a constant drain of energy which might be better used in redefining ourselves and devising realistic scenarios for altering the present and constructing the future. Audre Lorde

Filed under race racism white privilege

6 notes &

the Power of Names

If you have ever seen roots… or if you are a person of color (cause I haven’t seen it, but I know so many references to it) you know that scene where Kunta Kentia is beat for rejecting his new name ‘Toby’; beat until he accepts it. In this long ass/ epic movie this scene means something, but not much in the grand scheme of things, but it illustrates a point I’ve been thinking about this week


I was at workshop and the leader paired us up and gave a simple but pointed instruction: introduce yourself to your partner with your REAL full name; if the name you go by was changed due to people’s inability to say pronounce it, it was changed because it was too long or it was lost to you for some reason. My partner then turned to me and told me his full name and pointed to his badge explaining that his last name had been shortened and changed because there were letters in his language that didn’t translate to English

The exercise hadn’t even begun and I was fucked up

I have been told I have a kinda ethnic name. My first name is a common name, but is also associated with black or Middle eastern folk and my 2 middles names connote latin@ *folk, but I had never considered how many people have chosen to (for access to jobs or to avoid outright violence) or been forced to (by a person of power without a choice) to change their names.

I’ve wrote about names before when seeing a video about ‘ghetto names’ and how there is little difference between acceptable/ normal names and unacceptable/ ghetto names, since we pick and choose which we are ok with.   A lot of ‘normal’ names are biblical, but there is no difference between Joseph and Jedidiah, and they come from the same source.

But in this moment the importance and power of names set in; how names are used as a means to control people who lack power in so many ways:

  • Women given a new name so we know who she belongs to- not just in marriage,  random places like reality tv (see Flavor of Love)

I don’t wanna spend 5 pages going over the history of each so I’ve added a link that explains each one. However, my overall point is that by renaming or refusing to acknowledge someone’s name you are making a conscious choice to establish dominance, take away their power and in ways dehumanize them. More so, under some circumstances, place them in danger (i.e. outing a trans person in public). It may seem like I’m making a huge jump between something like using the wrong name and dehumanizing a person, but anyone who has been called the wrong name by a person in power, or even someone you like knows how off putting that is, enough that doing it in an interview can cost you a job. Furthermore, ITS NOT THAT HARD, ask someone how to pronounce their name, what they would like to be called, don’t nickname people because it is easier for you.

One of the most powerful moments for me in this workshop was during a video an Asian American student with a traditional name explained how she changed her name because people couldn’t pronounce it. The leader of the discussion asked her real name, she said it, he asked that everyone there repeat it, they did and finally he said “Now there. You have 11 people who could pronounce your name. Don’t let anyone tell you that people cannot”

There is a reason why when we want to disrespect someone. Or show a lack of concern for which they are, we misuse their name or give them a new one (i.e. Ole girl, THOT, Felicia, Tyrone)

Words are powerful, names are powerful. In an interview with bell hooks in Still: The Journal she summed a lot of this up

Silas House:  One of my favorite quotes is by Erica Jong:  “To change one’s name is both the act of the poet and the revolutionary.”  Now you changed your name—and I also go by a different name than I went by growing up—and I think it’s very fair to say that you are both a poet and a revolutionary.  How do you respond to that?

bell hooks: I respond to that quote by recognizing that names have powers.  The name I was born with really does—Gloria Jean—reflect how much my parents wanted me to be a very feminine, Southern bell type girl, and in order to find my voice and use it, I had to use the name of my great-grandmother…in order to bring a self into being that my parents and my home weren’t nurturing. 

House:Why don’t you capitalize it?

hooks:  Well, people forget that early on in the late 60s and early 70s, especially among people engaged with feminism, there was all this talk about getting rid of the ego.  We weren’t just engaged in feminism, we were also engaged in Eastern religions, sexual liberation, and divorcing one’s self from the ego.  Paying attention to who is speaking was politically incorrect; the point was to listen to what people were saying.  So…a lot of people used pseudonyms or different names.  It also had to do with how many of us were not able to name the female lineage we came from.


We get so caught up on the name, anticipating who we will be talking to (is this a person of color, a woman, a man?), what we think their world is like (do they come with a lot of drama, is their work ethic good, do they have a bunch of kids, poor, on assistance?); who we think they are (ghetto, slutty, smart, dumb?)  that we can’t get past it. Therefore, some people chose to change it, so they can have a chance to be heard, just as some people strip folks of their name to silence them. This isn’t obvious, but it is evident. In room full of cis-gendered** white, Susans, Marys, Katies, Brookes, Sams, Johns, Billys, and Joes there is no need to be concerned with what all this really means. The evidence, however, is in all the above articles, the policing of names and when a trans-person or POC enters this space. It is then when you start to see the box we force people in for our comfort,  with some thing as “simple” as a name


*for an explanation of what latin@ is please see http://reclaimingthelatinatag.tumblr.com/post/35869235107/on-the-term-latin

** For an explanation of what cisgendered is please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cisgender

Filed under trans race ghetto POC Immagration names ghetto names gender racsim trans violence sexism cis privilege white privilege

6 notes &

I think the whole Angry Black woman stereotype has less to do with actual black female anger and more to do with polite politics (simply bringing up certain topic or concerns infers you are angry) and other’s discomfort with a silenced  group speaking up

When you are silenced for so long when you do speak you may become irate

When you feel you are not heard you may begin to yell

And sometimes, often times, it’s not how you say it, but what you say. People tend to place their own emotions on the interaction. Similar to the student who reports tension between themselves and their roommate, only to discover, when they finally sit down to talk, that the other person was unaware there was a problem at all. Their discomfort becomes your anger; they need someone to blame for their feelings. Though sometimes the disconnect is that what is said violates polite politics- meaning  you must be angry to breach a social code- As if these topics cannot be discussed civilly by the group it effects the most or that the anger that has been seen is not justified .

When black women bring up injustice, they are not ‘angry people’ as if simply acknowledging social ills places you in permanently enraged state. Really, they are upset by the act, it cause stress and anxiety. More than anything we are Tried Black women. I post a lot of shit about social issues and had more than one person tell me that I’m angry all the time, because of this act alone, when I reality could not possible maintain the amount of anger it would take to react to all the things that affect me.  I am simply reflecting my lived experience, and as a person who experiences oppression, I learn to live in it, I learn to find happiness DESPITE it. Hell I’m more joyful than half of the Christian, str8 white males I work with. Your perception that i am angry all the time is a reflection of how you would react in my world; those

tl;dr when someone labels you an angry black women for pointing something out, speaking up, or just acknowledging a problem and rocking the boat  just ask the question yourself “am you angry or are they just  uncomfortable”

Filed under race gende rangry black woman polite politics

12 notes &

It bothers me that white folk complain about minority scholarships as if the school is giving away free money and doing us a favor. Fuck a GPA, sports and all the rest of that, our presence is power, there is money in diversity and we are wanted to support the learning for white students, our scholarships are assistantships.

Being a person of color on a PWC is akin to being an adjunct professor, without the parameters of when and where you must teach. We are an experience. When you pay to get in Disney world, you expect those people in the Goofy and Donald Duck costumes are being paid correct? Well for white students universities are like their educational amusement park and students of color are the interchangeable actors in the Mickey costumes

This is not to say there aren’t valuable relationships formed at PWC between white students and students of color or that POC do not graduate with happy memories, but we aren’t at the same Disney world; we are working.

We are answering your questions about hair, language, our bodies

We are called upon to teach in the classes we are supposed to be learning in.

We are providing customer service when you make a racist joke and we bite back our 1st thought and go with respectable politics.

We offer you ‘diversity programing’ where you can taste our food and watch us dance.

We show you what’s outside your bubble.

We are the black roommate answer to your interview question for that 1st job.

This is why it pains me when I hear complaints about minority student orgs. Do other jobs not provide break rooms so the staff can sit together and eat lunch, take off their “professional” and be themselves? You have the space, it is your amusement park; we are here for your amusement

But I guess what they are really saying is they want be voyeurs, free of charge in our habitat, that’s what those mission trips and inner city volunteer project are for right?

Filed under POC pwc race scholarships Affirmative Action students of color college

26 notes &

I’m not watching the awards but apparently Rihanna decided to keep it extra easy brezzy sunday and not unwrap her hair
the amount of funcakes i give doesn’t even register in weight watchers points
but the thing that makes me laugh is black folks is passing out in the street
and everyone else is riffling through their drawers for bobby pins to try this edgy new look
the only folk who see this shit as an indoor hair do is black folk, cause no one else has seen it before, bish is genius, there are 432432 other races who seeing this for the first time and ret to hit up the salons for the Riri wrap (well except for those equal opportunity daters who have dated black women… if you are one of those, hmu B)
Rihanna has released you from your umbrella of shame, she has granted you freedom to run to the store in joggin pants and not have to bother unwrapping your hair, she done brought laziness to a new level
now if some celeb could just hit up the red carpet in a slept on, smashed fro and/ or silk bonnet i can jump on this bandwagon

Filed under rihanna natural hair hairstyles black people race amas awards Relaxers

3 notes &

am i the only one who sometimes gets confused when white people hit on me and say “i’ve always liked…. your type”

do you mean black or fat
i just wanna know what fetish I’m working so i know what to accentuate to get in ur pants
should i use some slang or should i just take this girdle off? u want rolls or YO!s… let me know son…

Filed under race fetishism phat bbw

2 notes &

Why isn't New Orleans Mother's Day parade shooting a 'national tragedy'?

Filed under race terrorism new orleans poverty privilege whiteness

3 notes &

Florida 'first time offender' gets 161 years in prison

Davis was convicted of participating in a string of armed robberies in the Miami area in 2010. His accomplices testified against him, saying he carried a gun during their crimes and discharged it at a dog that chased them after one of their burglaries. But Davis was not convicted of hurting anyone physically, including the dog… Now 20 years old, he was sentenced to 1,941 months - almost 162 years - in prison without the possibility of parole.

Filed under race florida justice crime racism institutional racism

0 notes &

Rodney King dead at 47

Police in Rialto, California, received a 911 call from King’s fiancee, Cynthia Kelly, about 5:25 a.m., said Capt. Randy DeAnda. Responding officers found King at the bottom of the pool, removed him and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation until paramedics arrived. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital, police said.

Filed under rodney king civil rights movement race riots

10 notes &

An interesting post about Travel Agency advice for people planning to Travel to America

here’s some Gems:

* The yen is very strong against the dollar right now. This will make goods in America seem very cheap — an excellent opportunity for shopping! However, remember to be polite in your use of money — America is in the middle of economic malaise right now, and Japanese people with wads of money in their hand might be looked on with envy. Besides, if you are obviously wealthy in an American city, you may be robbed.

* For our valued customers who work in the automotive industry [#1 employer where I live], we advise discretion. If you must say where you work, the preferred phrasing is [English] “I work at the car company”.

* Most Americans are very polite, particularly outside of the big cities. However, outside of the big cities, everyone owns guns. Inside the big cities, almost everyone owns guns. Let’s be polite together!

* If you go shopping at an American department store, they will ask you if you want to open a credit card account. They are *not* asking whether you want to use a credit card. This may seem strange but it is an American custom to offer customers a credit card, in order to make them spend more money. We suggest politely declining offers of credit cards. You may have to politely decline several times. Don’t think of this as rude, the Americans have to do it too.

Filed under race culture america travel japanese