Monthly Archives: May 2010

The Colour of Beauty

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The Colour of Beauty is a documentary by Elizabeth St.  Phillips produced by the National Film Board of Canada. It chronicles the trials of Black model Renee Thompson who tries to make it in the fashion industry. As luck would have it Renee ‘s  features are considered desirable by the fashion industry for she looks like `a white girl painted black`.

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May 18th Day of Action! Say NO to Bill 94!

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Will you allow your government to deny essential services to women based on what they wear?

Take Action on May 18th! Say NO to Bill 94! Participate in the action wherever you are.

Bill 94 is proposed legislation in Quebec, which if approved, would deny essential government services, public employment, educational opportunities, and health care to Muslim women who wear the niqab (face veil).

Take Action to defend women’s access to public services.
Take Action to support women’s rights and freedoms in Canada.
Take Action to stop Bill 94 from becoming law.

Join the Non/No 94 Movement for a Day of Action, to coincide with the proposed Bill 94 hearings on May 18th:

Speak up! Write, email, phone, fax Quebec Premier Jean Charest, along with Minister of Immigration and Cultural Communities Yolande James, Minister of Justice Kathleen Weil, and Minister of Culture, Communications & the Status of Women Christine St-Pierre to voice your concern regarding the discriminatory Bill 94. CC us at nonbill94@gmail.com along with your Member of Parliament, Member of the Legislative Assembly, and Member of Provincial Parliament. You can also send a message to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff, M.P., Liberal Leader. Contact information for the above can be found here:
http://nonbill94.wordpress.com/contacts-talking-points

Organize! Endorse the No Bill 94 Coalition’s statement found herehttp://nonbill94.wordpress.com/2010/04/05/hello-world/. Circulate this call to action widely to your networks. Have conversations with them about your concerns about Bill 94 and refer them to articles on the proposed legislation. And sign the petition: http://www.ipetitions.com/ petition/nonbill94/

Get Creative! Host an action in your community, make a video, hold a press conference, run a workshop, throw call-in parties, letter-writing events & blogathons, to ensure that our voices are heard. Email us your creations and actions at nonbill94@gmail.com

Use Media! Use social media outlets. Make your profile pic to one found here:http://nonbill94.wordpress.com/resources. Change your facebook status to or tweet – “Will you allow your government to deny services like emergency health care, education, legal assistance & day care to women based on what they wear? TAKE ACTION on May 18! Say No to Bill 94!.”Post and re-post interesting articles talking about Bill 94 anywhere you can – Facebook, Twitter, blogs, websites, e-newsletters, etc.

See http://nonbill94.wordpress.com/ for more information

The No Bill 94 Coalition is endorsed by: Assaulted Women’s and Children’s Counselor/Advocate Program at George Brown College, AQSAzine, The Centre for Women and Trans People University of Toronto, Ryerson Students’ Union, The Centre for Women and Trans People York University, Coalition of concerned women of Kitchener Waterloo, The Council of Agencies Serving South Asians, Frontline Partners with Youth Network, The Miss G__ Project for Equity in Education, Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children, Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic, Muslim Students’ Association here at the University of Toronto The Native Youth Sexual Health Network, Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto, Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group, Ontario Women’s Justice Network, Ontario Public Interest Research Group York, Ontario Public Interest Research Group University of Toronto, Ontario Public Interest Group Kingston, Quebec Public Interest Research Group McGill, Parkdale Community Legal Services, The Simone de Beauvoir Institute, South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario, Springtide Resources, Urban Alliance on Race Relations, Toronto Women of Colour Collective, Toronto Coalition to Stop the War, Canadian Arab Federation, York Federation of Students, University of Toronto Students’ Union

Anti-oppressive booklist

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I have attempted several times to start a an anti-oppression, post-colonial book club. Due to lack of dedication, time and my refusal to read anything that doesn’t interest me, this has invariably failed. This is my attempt to put to the ether some of the titles that I find the most interesting, they can be added to and edited as seen fit. The criteria are as follows: work of fiction, by a woman of colour or in which the main protagonist is a women of colour, dealing with anti-oppression, anti-racism or postcolonialism. Here goes, in no particular order:

The God of Small Things- Arundhati Roy

Like Water for Chocolate- Laura Esquivel

Their Eyes Were Watching God- Zora Neale Hurston

White Teeth- Zadie Smith

I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem- Maryse Conde

The Book of Negroes- Lawrence Hill

How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents- Julia Alvarez

So Long A Letter- Mariama Ba

House of the Spirits- Isabel Allende

The Joy Luck Club- Amy Tan

Wide Sargasso Sea- Jean Rhys

Purple  Hibiscus-Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

M.I.A and her ‘racist attack’ on redheads!

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To even conceptualize of the idea that people are being round up simply because somehow their identity of being Muslim somehow equates to that of a being a terrorist is absurd [to some] yet this is exactly what happens under this global regime known as the ‘war against terror’ led by the US Empire. Yet M.I.A. Brilliantly captures this absurdity that is shrouded in racist ideologies in her video ‘Born Free’ where she illustrates the rounding up and execution (read extraditions) of red-heads . And many critique her on how graphic and violent the video is but reality check! This is the reality of so many oppressed and racialized groups of people and I am more than happy that M.I.A. Was able to capture this. Excellent analysis of racist and colonial ideologies that are ridiculously veiled under notions of ‘democracy’, ‘justice’ and ‘national protection’. Thank you M.I.A for effin having ‘the balls’ (and yes that was probably politically incorrect…but what can I say) for taking this oh so necessary risk!

Big ups M.I.A.!!!!!

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEdk8YhieSQ

WOC in Pop Culture

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I am an avid TV addict, and unfortunately cannot turn off my critical race theory lens even when watching inanity-laden shows like the Hills or the Bachelor.

Women of color are often absent from the ‘ good clean fun’ depictions in reality tv, they are not the next ‘bachelorettes’ or the title characters in lifestyle shows. They are portrayed as;the angry women of color, the person with an addiction-be it drugs alcohol or sex, or ‘the exotic’. More recently in my quest to justify my trash-tv addiction by attaching some level of social commentary, I stumbled upon one of my perennial favorite dating reality shows ‘the Millionaire Matchmaker’- while the premise of the show is problematic on it’s own, and Patty the Matchmaker is full on offensive and patently misogynistic and racist.

I still persist in watching , mainly because of all the crazies. The show consists of matching millionaires up with women who’d like to date them. In one way or another, the majority of these men are socially dysfunctional and due to the priviledge of masculinity and their wealth, this of course comes off as quirky or charming.Patty, the matchmaker , aside from ‘reading energies’, and her matching responsibilities, is also a social cartographer of sorts.

What really set my blood afire is her typology of women, apparently there can be only four: the girl next door, the sexpot, the intellectual or the exotic. White women can easily bounce from one category to the next, inhabiting multiple spaces at once. But women of color are invariably relegated to ‘the exotic’, apparently we are neither ‘the girl next door’, nor ‘the sexpot’, or ‘the intellectual’. This is yet another example of the structural oppression that seeks to reduce, restrict, and immobilize women of color into a sexually objectified, silenced other.I AM the trekkie girl next door who reads Balzac and is obsessed with shoes, listens to Wu Tang Clan and can exude whatever sexuality she chooses. I am global, local, everywhere, and my norm for beauty is not defined by blond hair and blue eyes. I am myself and all the wonderful womyn around me; Aung Saan Suu Kyi, Miriam Makeba, Angela Davis,Wangari Mathai- and I refuse to be defined, reduced or compromised.