Archive for December, 2008

Can you say, “France is racist?”

Posted in anti-islamism, discrimination, discrimination generates hate, hate crime, racism in france, sociology with tags , on December 9, 2008 by sweetangel16175

500 Muslim soldiers’ tombs desecrated in France

AP – A Nazi swastika symbol is seen among desecrated tombs in the Muslim section of the Notre-Dame-de-Lorette …

PARIS – Vandals desecrated at least 500 tombs of Muslim soldiers in northern France on Monday — an act President Nicolas Sarkozy denounced as “repugnant racism.”

The desecration near the town of Arras appeared timed with the start of Eid al-Adha, the most important holiday in the Muslim calendar.

The administration for the Pas-de-Calais region said the damaged tombs were in the Muslim section of the Notre-Dame-de-Lorette cemetery, a well-groomed burial ground for World War I soldiers. Some had swastikas scrawled on the tombstone, others had lettering whose meaning was unclear.

There are 576 graves in the Muslim section of the cemetery, where more than 30,000 soldiers are buried.

Sarkozy, in a statement, said the “abject and revolting act” equates with “repugnant racism against France’s Muslim community” and insults the memory of all World War I combatants.

It was the third time the Muslim section of the cemetery has been targeted. Last April, 148 tombs were desecrated, and a year before that 52 headstones and an ossuary were vandalized.

The French Council for the Muslim Faith, a group representing France‘s numerous Muslim groups, decried “these odious, revolting and scandalous acts” and said it expected authorities to find out who carried out the attack.

Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said police were investigating the incident.

Discrimination and Hate Crime Against Arab Americans

Posted in anti semitism, anti-islamism, effects of stereotyping, identifying against, if you open your eyes, ignorance, ignorance of people, islamophobia, muslim, muslims, racism today, religion with tags , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2008 by sweetangel16175


Washington, DC | December 4, 2008 | | Today, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) released the 2003-2007 edition of its “Report on Hate Crimes and Discrimination Against Arab Americans.” This definitive report on the condition of the Arab American community was made possible by The Ford Foundation and The Carnegie Corporation of New York, and can be read at: .

In simply announcing the release of this report, ADC’s Communications Director received a number of hate email messages. One such message read, “Why do we not hear of these “hate crimes”. NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN all are in the pockets of the politically correct. Why not ONE news story? Could it be an overly sensitive Arab population who really doesn’t give a damn about the U.S.S. Cole, 9/11/2001, Khobar Towers? If you folks are so “hated” here why not go back to your own kind? Simple solution and I seriously doubt you’d be missed in this, the greatest of all countries.”


The report examines: hate crimes and discrimination; civil liberties concerns; discrimination and bias in primary and secondary educational institutions; discrimination and political harassment campaigns in higher education; defamation in the media; communication and cooperation between community organizations and government agencies; and recommendations for the future.

ADC’s report found that while the rate of violent hate crimes against the community (or those perceived to members of the community) has continued to decline from the immediate post 9/11 surge, but remains elevated from the years prior to 9/11. However, Arab Americans continue to face higher rates of employment discrimination in both the public and private sectors. At the press conference, Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Lance Koury, a long-time member of the Alabama National Guard who for years has been subjected to a hostile and abusive work environment shared his story. Read his account here:

Discrimination at airports based on stereotyping, over-zealousness or prejudice by airline personnel or even other passengers is now one of the main sources of discrimination facing Arab-American air travelers. Arab-American travelers face serious issues with border crossing detentions and delays, especially on the U.S.-Canada border.

Arab-American students continue to face significant problems with discrimination and harassment in schools around the country. Arab-American students and faculty have faced increased levels of discrimination and political harassment campaigns, especially involving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and efforts by right-wing groups to stifle debate on U.S. foreign policy in academia.

Defamation in popular culture and the media remains a very serious problem facing the Arab-American community. In spite of a far better record from the film and television industry in 2003-2007, defamation spread wildly in the non-fiction world of television, magazines, radio, newspapers and websites. A campaign of relentless vilification against Muslims and Islam has been the single biggest contributor to the collapse in American public opinion of Islam during this period.

Civil liberties concerns remain serious, including the some aspects of the discourse on a homegrown terrorist threat, the reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act, aspects of the REAL ID Act, secret evidence provisions, warrantless wiretapping and elements of immigration reform, among other issues.

RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE GOVERNMENT -It is imperative that the government continues to resist calls for racial or religious profiling, and recognize that counter-terrorism policies based on stigmatizing broad identity groups have failed, and will not provide reliable security in the future.

-Terrorism watch and “no fly” lists should be consolidated and rationalized between all agencies and kept to a manageable size. Effective mechanisms for challenging inclusion or distinguishing between persons supposed to be included as opposed to those with similar names, as well as processes allowing persons routinely falsely caught up with these lists, should be instituted to avoid unnecessary problems.

-The Customs and Border Protection (CBT) agency should create a civil rights division or a similar wing to deal with complaints and concerns, and the government should make every effort to explain customs and border procedures to the public whenever appropriate.

-The government should avoid any form of preventative detention, which has no place in the American legal system.

-All relevant agencies need to take steps to ensure that unnecessary naturalization and immigration status adjustment petitions are not unnecessarily delayed.

-In considering any potential homegrown terrorist threat, Congress and executive branch agencies should take every effort to avoid stigmatizing entire communities.

-Congress should also act to preserve civil liberties by repealing sections of the PATRIOT Act, curbing executive branch excesses such as warrantless wiretapping, and by ensuring that measures such as comprehensive immigration reform and immigration law enforcement generally do not violate the fundamental rights of any individual.

-The leaders of both parties in Congress should ensure that members of the House and Senate do not make bigoted or stereotyping remarks without censure or disciplinary action, whether formal or informal.

-Since this would be the single most positive step that the United States could take in promoting better relations with the Arab world and reversing the alienation between Arab and American societies, American foreign policy should prioritize resolving the conflict in the Middle East by at long last ending the Israeli occupation and establishing a Palestinian state to live alongside Israel in peace.

-Secondary and primary schools around the country should ensure that Arab-American students are not subject to any discrimination, abuse or harassment based on their ethnicity and that Arab culture or Islam is not the subject of disparaging or biased characterizations by faculty or in the curricula.

-Universities should protect faculty, especially untenured professors, from politically motivated campaigns of harassment and should resist outside efforts to interfere with tenure and promotion processes plainly designed to enforce political orthodoxy and stifle academic freedom and dissent.


-The entertainment industry should make every effort to continue the pattern of more balanced representations of Arabs and Muslims in American popular culture since the 9/11 terrorist attacks took place, and not revert to the unbalanced ethnic stereotyping that characterized earlier decades.

-The news media and publishers should employ a single standard of basic respect for all identity groups and communities regarding commentary that promotes racism, ethnic or religious intolerance and stereotyping. Censorship is unacceptable, but respectable news outlets properly draw limits on the kind of expression they deliberately invite for inclusion in public debates and quite appropriately maintain standards regarding fundamental propriety. Arab Americans and American Muslims should be treated with the same level of respect and decency as all other communities, within the context of a society that properly chooses to maximize the range of free speech. Needless to say, government should play no role in defining these standards and practices.


-Arab-American organizations and government agencies should continue to explore all available mechanisms for dialogue and cooperation whenever appropriate.

-Arab Americans should redouble their efforts to organize themselves as a community and engage the political system of our country at every level, both individually and as a collective.

-Arab Americans should expand their efforts at building coalitions with like-minded communities and organizations on all major issues of concern.

-Arab Americans, while vigilant in fighting stereotyping and discrimination, should be sensitive to and vehemently reject any extremism that may emerge from fringe elements within the community.

-Arab American parents should encourage their children to pursue professions in government service and the media if they are so inclined.

-Arab Americans should passionately promote public service within the community, and emphasize that they are proud and enthusiastic Americans when communicating with our fellow citizens.

Black or White Doll

Posted in black and white with tags , , on December 9, 2008 by sweetangel16175

After Prop. 8, Some Say ‘Gay Is The New Black’

Posted in gay marriage, Uncategorized with tags , on December 4, 2008 by sweetangel16175

After Prop. 8, Some Say ‘Gay Is The New Black’

NEW YORK (AP) ― Gay is the new black, say the protest signs and magazine covers, casting the gay marriage battle as the last frontier of equal rights for all.

Gay marriage is not a civil right, opponents counter, insisting that minority status comes from who you are rather than what you do.

The gay rights movement entered a new era when Barack Obama was elected the first black president the same day that voters in California and Florida passed referendums to prevent gays and lesbians from marrying, while Arizonans turned down civil unions and Arkansans said no to adoptions by same-sex couples.

Racism was defanged by Obama’s triumph, leaving gays as perhaps the last group of Americans claiming that their basic rights are being systematically denied.

“Black people are equal now, and gay people aren’t,” said Emil Wilbekin, a black gay man and the editor of Giant magazine. “I always have this discussion with my friends: What’s worse, being a black man or a black gay man?”

“Civil rights have come much further than gay rights,” he said. “A lot of people in the gay community have been condemned for their lifestyle and promiscuity and drugs and sex, so it’s odd that when they want to conform and model themselves after straight people and have the same rights for marriage and domestic partnership and adoption, they’re being blocked.”

In a cover story for the Advocate magazine titled “Gay is the New Black,” Michael Joseph Gross wrote, “These past few years we’ve made so much progress that we’d begun to think everybody saw us as we see ourselves. Suddenly we were faced with the reality that a majority of voters don’t like us, don’t think we’re normal, don’t believe our lives and loves count as much or are worth as much as theirs.”

Yet even some gay leaders are reluctant to directly tie their fight to the African-American legacy. They acknowledge significant differences in the experiences of gays and blacks, ranging from slavery to the relative affluence of white gay men to the choice made by some gays to conceal their sexual orientation, which is not an option for those with darker skin.

“I believe we are very much in a modern-day civil rights struggle,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay rights organization.

“We liken some of the experiences that we have had and will have to the (black) civil rights struggle. We also are enormously respectful of the differences,” he said. “What we are best served doing is when we take lessons from the civil rights experience and apply them to our work.”

Complicating the issue is the domination of minority politics by blacks and Latinos, who can be less than friendly to gay issues.

In the vote on Proposition 8 in California, which repealed gay marriage, about 70 percent of blacks favored the ban, according to an exit poll; Latinos’ close vote may have favored it, though the poll’s small sample left some uncertainty. In Florida, 71 percent of blacks and 64 percent of Latinos favored a similar ban.

Opposition to gay rights often has a religious basis, and blacks and Latinos are more churchgoing than society at large. Twenty-six percent of blacks attend religious services more than once per week, compared with 16 percent of Latinos and 14 percent of whites, according to a 2007 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

“I do not consider (gays) to be a minority in legal and adjudicated terms, the same way people who only like to eat broccoli with butter aren’t a minority,” said the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. “We can’t categorize things according to behavior. It’s based on ethnicity, on who we are rather than what we do.”

“Who am I to say that you weren’t born that way … (but) sexual activity, what you do, who you sleep with, is your business,” Rodriguez said. “That’s between you, your lover, and the good God Almighty in heaven. I don’t want to know. Let’s leave sexual activity in the bedroom. The government shouldn’t be legislating what we do behind closed doors between two consenting adults. And to compare it to the African-American struggle, to me that’s an abomination.”

So is gay the new black, or did the election define a new and unique set of gay challenges?

“The gay fight for marriage has its own integrity, its own background,” said Andrew Cherlin, a professor of sociology and public policy at Johns Hopkins University. “The experience of blacks in the United States is very different. … I don’t think it helps the fight for equality to make that claim.”

Cherlin says that fight began in the 1980s when the AIDS epidemic unfolded. Gay partners had few rights to help their ailing loved ones, visit them in hospitals or inherit their property, which led to the push for civil unions.

Today, only Connecticut and Massachusetts permit gay marriage, and a few states allow civil unions or domestic partnerships that grant some rights of marriage. Galvanized by the stinging Nov. 4 defeat in liberal California, the marriage movement is now as much symbolic as practical.

“There was a shift in the ’90s, from rights to the symbolism of being married,” Cherlin said. “This is not primarily a battle about rights now. If it was, all you’d be hearing about is domestic partnerships. Now it’s at two levels simultaneously. One is the level of rights; the second is the level of symbols.”

One symbol that some see missing from the gay rights movement is a figurehead. There are famous people who are out and proud, such as Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., or Ellen DeGeneres. But “we don’t have our Martin Luther King or Malcolm X or Barack Obama,” Wilbekin said.

Yet the nature of activism has changed since the days when King proposed the idea of a mass march on Washington. The recent nationwide gay protests were instigated by a Seattle blogger who set up a Web page three days after the California vote.

And in some ways, gays see Obama himself as a symbol of gay progress — even though he opposes gay marriage.

Obama is in favor of civil unions, and during his victory speech, when he included gays in his description of America, it made them feel part of the historic racial milestone.

Solmonese said that the election defeats of Nov. 4 have inspired a level of gay activism not seen since the early days of the AIDS epidemic.

“That is buoyed by equal parts anger and rage about Proposition 8,” he said, “but also hope and inspiration about doing something that for a long time we didn’t think possible — like electing Barack Obama as our president.”

How Discrimination Feels

Posted in discrimination with tags , , on December 4, 2008 by sweetangel16175

Jane Elliot’s Experiment

Whether she planned the exercise previous to April 5, 1968 or not, on that day she implemented the exercise (also called an “experiment”) for the first time. Steven Armstrong was the first child to arrive to Elliot’s classroom on that day, asking why King was murdered the day before. After the rest of the class arrived, Elliot asked them what they knew about Negros. The children responded with various racial stereotypes such as Negros were dumb or could not hold jobs. She then asked these children if they would like to find out what it was like to be a Negro child and they agreed.[2]

On that day, a Friday, she decided to make the brown-eyed children the superior first, giving them extra privileges like second helpings at lunch, access to the new jungle gym and five minutes extra at recess.[2] She would not allow blue-eyed and brown-eyed children to drink from the same water fountain.[4] She would offer them praise for being hard-working and intelligent. The “blueys” on the other hand, would be disparaged. She even made the blue-eyed children wear crepe paper armbands.[2]

At first, there was resistance to the idea that blue-eyed children were not the equals of brown-eyed children. To counter this, she used a pseudo-scientific explanation for her actions by stating that the melanin responsible for making brown-eyed children… also was linked to intelligence and ability, therefore the “blueys” lack of pigmentation would result in lack of these qualities.[2] Shortly thereafter, this initial resistance fell away. Those who were deemed “superior” became arrogant, bossy and otherwise unpleasant to their “inferior” classmates. Their grades also improved, doing mathematical and reading tasks that seemed outside their ability before. These “inferior” classmates also transformed – into timid and subservient children, including those who had previously been dominant in the class. These children’s academic performance suffered, even with tasks that had been simple before.[4]

The following Monday, Elliott reversed the exercise, making the blue-eyed children superior. While the blue-eyed children did taunt the brown-eyed in ways similar to what had occurred the previous Friday, Elliott reports it was much less intense. At 2:30 on that Monday, Elliott told the brown-eyed children to take off their armbands and the children cried and hugged each other. To reflect on the experience, she had the children write letters to Coretta Scott King and write compositions about the experience.[2]

This exercise changed her life, both as a teacher and personally. Her reflections on what she had witnessed would influence how she would approach race relations and teaching. “She had not told her pupils to treat each other differently, only that they were different; and yet they developed the characteristic responses of discrimination. Jane Elliott felt that they did this because they had already absorbed discriminatory behavior from their parents and other adults.”[4] Their willingness to accept the inferiority of a group of people was no small part due to the fact that children believe what adults, including teachers, tell them and follow their example. However, the blue-eyed students who had experienced discrimination on the previous Friday, seemed to modify their behavior when it was their turn to be “superior” on Monday. While they did exhibit some of the same discriminatory behaviors, they were much less intense supposedly because they already knew what it was like.[2] The exercise seemed to prove that black underachievement was a product of “white-dominated constructions of reality”. [1] She believes that what has been taught in schools (1968 to the present) conditions students that whiteness is the objective. Schools teach virtually nothing of what people of color have contributed to mankind while most people would have little trouble naming 10 white males who have done so. “That’s called racism, people,” according to Elliott, as she believes it is racism to deny or ignore what other people contribute. Elliott believes that teachers perpetuate racism by how they interact with their students. Teachers will call on white boys first, then white girls. They also establish a hierarchy based on who they pay attention to, where students are seated and how groups are formed.[3]

Because she believed so strongly in the value of this exercise, Elliott continued it every year, whether her students asked for it or not until 1984 when she quit teaching in the Riceville school system. However, she never involved these children’s parents because “It was the parents who were the cause of the racism that these kids displayed.”[5]

As much as Elliott believes in her exercise, she advises caution and restraint in implementing it. In fact, it is not implemented in most educational settings because, Elliott claims, “it is too controversial and too difficult to do”. To be an “educator” and not merely a “teacher”, one must “lead people out of ignorance.” To do this, Elliott recommends that teachers read books like “The Psychology of Blacks”, “Two Nations” by Andrew Hacker, “A Country of Strangers” and “Arabs and Jews in the Promised Land” as well as papers books written by Judith Katz and Peggy MacIntosh because teachers themselves need to overcome what they were taught before they can educate children. If they cannot do this, they should not do the blue-eyed/brown-eyed exercise. They must also do the exercise for the right reason – not just to “get their names in the paper”. She also recommends that teachers do it at home first, with their own children, before doing it in the classroom.[3]