Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Monday, August 30, 2010

Prison Youth Speak

C: That is the way it is up in here but she aged out (turned 21) and got sent to the state pen. She gave me to this other girl and we didn’t get along at all. We was fighting on like the first day. She knocked my teeth out.

The Loop

related: Inside Prisons


Sister Alicia over at Cappucino Soul discusses the Gullah people. Relevant given the last post regarding Ebonics:

Gullah is a creole form of English, indigenous to the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia (the area extends from Georgetown, SC to the Golden Isles of Georgia above Florida). Like all creoles, Gullah began as a pidgin language, transforming into a language in its own right with the first generation born in America.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

RE: To Be or Not to Be

Dr. Goddess posted an entry on her blog about Ebonics entitled To Be or Not to Be: Revisting the Ebonics Controversy. There she does as the title suggests and defends the existence of Ebonics. I am not an adherent of the "Ebonics as distinct language" argument and so what follows is a critique of the good Dr's piece.

Her piece has this statement which is at the heart of my disagreement:

Ebonics (African American Vernacular English), thus he posted this picture on his brief

You'll note that it says Ebonics (African American [sic] Vernacular English). You'll note that during the debate on Ebonics, particularly around the Oakland School District controversy the use of "language" was depreciated in favor of either dialect and vernacular.

What is "Vernacular"?

As an adjective we find the following defintions

(of language) native or indigenous (opposed to literary or learned).
expressed or written in the native language of a place, as literary works: a vernacular poem.
using such a language: a vernacular speaker.
of or pertaining to such a language.
using plain, everyday, ordinary language.
of, pertaining to, or characteristic of architectural vernacular.
noting or pertaining to the common name for a plant or animal.
Obsolete. (of a disease) endemic.

We can dismiss definitions one and two because Ebonics is not native to either Africa or strictly speaking, America.
Definition 3 makes sense because it discusses the use of language. Similarly definition five makes sense because when we observe it (or read it in the case of Zora) we see that it is definitely a plain, everyday and ordinary language for a number of people (some of whom are not black). Clearly by calling it "African American Vernacular English" there is an admission that this is first and foremost English and secondly it is reference to English as commonly used by African Americans. Since it is English, then it is not a separate language.

Dr. Goddess then goes on to quote from Spoken Soul by John R. Rickford:

But treating Spoken Soul like a disease is no way to add Standard English to their repertoire. On the contrary, building on Spoken Soul through contrast and comparison with Standard English, is likely to meet with less resistance from students who are hostile to "acting white". It is also likely to generate greater interest and motivation, and as experiments have yield greater success, more quickly.

That is a matter of conjecture. Students who have the idea that speaking "Standard English" is "acting white" have a larger psychological problem I've addressed this phenomenon elsewhere [1,2]. I dare say that they are victims of parents who themselves do not value the mastery of one's "primary" language. Let me use myself as an example.

When I was growing up I was taught to read by my mother. She taught me phonics and was very adamant that I pronounce and annunciate. Anyone who knows me knows I annunciate. I do not recall ever saying "axe" for "ask". "Likkle" for "little" or other common African-American or Jamaican vernaculars. I recall one evening at a parent teachers night I swallowed a consonant at the end of a word. My mom stopped me and asked "What did you say?" and had me repeat the word properly. The lesson was clear. Unless I was with my friends or in some other social environment, common "street talk" was not acceptable.

But again the point here is that John's position is not only debatable but it also does not show that Ebonics is anything other than a form of English language usage.

Dr. Goddess then points to the 1977 text Talkin and Testifyin a text that is in support of the idea of Ebonics. Ironically you'll find again that the book is classified under "English Language"

It is interesting reading the early pages of "Talkin'" and referencing Dr. Goddesses piece. There is a whole discussion of "be" and "bes" as used by Detroit African-Americans. Still though even reading pieces of the text it is still evident that these examples are clearly incorrect grammar structures. In other cases there is a comparison of tone and inflections in African-American vernacular and the Boston accent, something I had pointed out to an individual on Twitter. There I was arguing that if we are going to argue that idioms and pronunciations of words constitute a language then even in England you'd have to declare a multitude of languages.

Dr. Goddess then posts a series of questions:

Our discussion led me to observe four pertinent issues/questions that arose from the debate:

1. What is the extent of African culture on the Diaspora (especially in America?)

2. To what extent does mainstream mockery of all things Black/African influence our desire to disassociate from them?

3. Does racial discrimination in education and employment mean we should assimilate, fight or be otherwise ashamed?

4. What parts of slavery or slave culture are actually African culture misunderstood and how do we determine the difference?

So as a person who rejects "Ebonics" as a distinct language and who also rejects White Supremacy and actually practices an African Religion (something most African-American scholars who prop up Ebonics do not do), let me address those questions in order:

1) The effects of African cultures on the Diaspora varies with population and usually relative populations of Africans to whites. Since Africans came to the Americans from a variety of geographic locations with varied languages (and many with knowledge of multiple languages) we should be careful and specify what "African culture" we are referring to. An good example of the diversity of expressions would be the forms of Ifa found in the new world. It has different names and spellings for various orisas and most importantly some of them combine religious forms and icons from non Yoruba religions. Still though, many Ifa pracitioners recognize those diaspora Ifas as Ifa. Even as we call them Candomble or Santeria. When we see Santeria we see Ifa with Catholic idiograms and images. We do not say it is Catholicism with Ifa images.

2) The extent of mainstream mockery is large, even among those who are highly educated in them. Going back to the religion issue I brought up we should ask why are so many learned African American scholars still Christians when their research must have shown that Christianity is not the original religion of most Africans? I think that question is important. Religion informs a lot of people's morals and worldview. It heavily influences concepts of right and wrong and for many people is a transmitter of culture. If scholars who are attempting to impart an appreciation and even adoption of African culture and value in their lives are unable to break free from a clearly imposed religion, we need to ask what other things they are willing to allow black people to remain hooked into. It's a fair question particularly if they are going to suggest that those of us rejecting Ebonics are falling under the ideological sway of white supremacists.

3) Assimilation and discrimination are entirely different issues altogether from 'Ebonics". I don't think anyone is arguing that black people should not speak how they like with and to each other. Just as no one would assert that Chinese should not speak whatever they do, or the French, Italian or whatever. However; in an English speaking country our children ought to understand that mastery of that language is paramount. This isn't even about shame. It is simply about knowing what is correct. It's one thing to say "where they at?" knowing that it should be "Were are they?" It's entirely different when someone does not realize that "where they at?" ought not be written on a school paper unless you're writing like Zora.

4) This is a good question. When one looks at the gold encrustment (for lack of a better term) of the Ashanti and then look at the affinity of chunk gold jewelry on display of 80's era rappers one must propose that there is an African connection there. When one looks at Criss-Cross' "Jump" video and then look at the Massai you have to wonder. When you see step shows and Boot dances you have to admit that African-American culture has many "Africanisms" that are often not consciously acknowledged. There are all manner of Africanisms in black churches some that would pass for so called 'voodoo' ceremonies. Don't tell them though.

So we can do studies to see behaviors that are traceable to African cultures such as libation pourings, sankofas on burial grounds, etc. That said though, when referencing language we have to be careful when assigning "African derived" to common vocalization errors such as "them" and "dem". In this case we note that the the "th" sound and the "d" sound involve very similar tongue placement. Since children are subject to imprecise motor control such a mistake can easily become "vernacular" when adults who have not mastered a language fail to correct such mistakes likely because they do not realize they are mistakes. Similar issues can be made between 'Think" and "T'ink" and "those and "dos (pron: doze)"

Carrying on, lets look at Dr Goddesses' next example:

These questions led me back to the Rickfords' text and I found more great gems, including the fact that, in 1972, psychologist Robert L. Williams [not the DEA, not "The Man"] coined the term, "Ebonics" and via his varied testing, demonstrated that:
Many of the terms are not slang...these historically "black" words refer to unique aspects of the black experience, including the physical attributes, social distinctions, and cultural practices and traditions of African Americans.

 Perhaps the funniest example is when he relayed the following:
Many blacks don't realize that their use of many of these words differs from that of other Americans....When a group of African American college students was told recently that ashy in the sense of "dry skin" was not standard English usage---you wouldn't find it with that meaning in standard American dictionaries, much less British ones---they were bowled over.

An interesting observation that still does not prove a distinct language. That a group uses English words out of a "white" context does not make a distinct language. Taking on the example of "Ashy" it is clear that by observation it is highly unlikely that white people (forget the tanned ones) would even consider using a word that normally describes the end product of combustion to describe the state of ones skin. Though it is recorded that whites do use a form of ash (ashen) to describe a particular state of complexion. The fact that "Ash" is an English word (apparently of Germanic origins). Knowledge of this word by an African person would be due to familiarity with English. That a noun became an adjective in vernacular use would be hardly surprising to any English speaker. In any case Ashy may not show up in the dictionary in 1972 but it is present in 2010. In fact Mirriam-Webster notes it's origins to the 14th century which is clearly prior to the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Dr. Goddess then references American Regional English (DARE):

One result was a comprehensive picture of which terms were used among Black speakers...[such as] whist...bubba...bad-eye...bad-mouth...big-eye [and even suck-teeth. And guess what?].....Like suck-teeth, these are translations into English of literal & metaphorical expressions in West African languages (e.g. Mandingo da-jgu & Hausa mugum-baki for bad-mouth, and Igbo ima oso, Yoruba kpose, Hausa tsaki, Efik asiama, Kikongo tsiona & Wolof cipu for suck-teeth sound).

While I believe her argument would have been better served by making examples of actual African words used in African Vernacular such as "Funk"(a reference to the smell of a hard working man. See Robert Farris Thompson's Flash of the Spirit) and "Jazz/Jizz", her examples only do more to undermine the idea of Ebonics as a distinct language The author of the above quote clearly states that these phrases are translations of phrases from Yoruba etc. into English. I am sure that the same thing can be said of French, Italian, German and other immigrants to the US whom had to adopt English.

Lets look at two well known "Englishes" American and British. If you have a word processing program you will usually have an option to use British or American English. You would think that these are two different languages but they are not. American and British English share the same rules of grammar as well as the vast majority of it's vocabulary. The reason there is a different dictionary is because there are differences in spelling such as "center" and "centre". "Labor" and "labour". One doesn't want to have your spell check trip up on "wrong" spellings even though both Americans and Brits know that "center' and "centre" are the same thing. That "Theater" and "Theatre" are the same things. We know that "erm" and "umm" signify the same mind state but a different pronunciation. We know That "chips" and "fries" are the same thing.

Ultimately while I agree with Dr. Goddess that there is often a desire to minimize Africanisms in America due to shame and that there are a number of people who reject the notion of Ebonics because they reject their roots, to make that assumption of all those who critique the concept is wrong. I think that it is equally wrong to elevate what is demonstrably bad grammar and poor English mastery as something worthy of pride. I honestly believe that doing so will continue the abysmal performance of African-American performance in math and verbal tests.

Let me close with a discussion of an example from Malcolm Gladwell's work 'Outliers". Gladwell discusses the Chinese and math. He noted that the language structure of Chinese makes learning math "easy" From what he writes, the way one says "multiply" actually describes the steps needed to be taken to multiply. So the Chinese who masters his language has a better chance at mastering math.
Similarly my own observations during tutoring has shown that many students with math issues also have reading issues. Students who have problems with word problems typically have low reading comprehension skills. recent research shows that African-American children are typically exposed to far fewer words than white children during their formative years[3]. If years 1-5 of a black child is spent hearing fewer words and hearing many of those words used incorrectly is it any surprise that child then has issues in school? And we want to compound that issue by validating those speech structures? I cannot back such an idea.

This is not like teaching a child Chinese, Yoruba, Wolof or Spanish as a second language. Those languages are clearly distinct in vocabulary and grammar that a developing brain is unlikely to have translation issues that are unavoidable when someone is unable to comprehend "standard" written (or spoken) English because of a lack of exposure to it. I wont even get into the discussion of how txt messaging language is creeping into common language and how students (white even) are having difficulty properly writing.

So do African-Americans, like any other American ethnic group have a "special" form of English vernacular? Yes.
Is it a distinct language like English is to Spanish is to French is to German? Wolof to Yoruba to Housa? No.
Should African-Americans be ashamed to speak it? No.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Garvey Day 2010

For today only (Aug 17). Purchase a Garvey's Ghost T-shirt and we will micro-lend the proceeds to Africa via our Kiva Initiative. See the sidebar for our lending history.

This is for our existing stock of shirts. See the above link for the count. Clearly if we have to print new shirts, we can't donate the money.

Monday, August 09, 2010

NY Time Columnist admits to White Supremacy Syndrome

See people don't like when I call people who do not have sheets on, shaved heads or what-have-you White Supremacists. But when we understand the concept of White Supremacy as a system and culture as outlined by Dr. Welsing, we come to see the "everyday" acts and attitudes of White Supremacists. Even the ones that "liberal" black folk readily give a pass too. Wyclef's announcement that he was running for president brought out the White Supremacist leanings of one Sean Penn. Who the hell is Sean Penn to be telling ANY Haitian whether they are or are not qualified to run for the highest office of their country?

Fuck him.

All these white folk who presume to know who is and is not qualified to run Haiti ought to be making statements like" We pledge to work with whomever the Haitian people decide to represent them. Period. Who they think should run Haiti or any other country amounts to so much dirt on an ant hill. But this isn't about Penn. This is about Kristof of the NY Times. The NYTpicker website discusses an episode of honesty that Kristof had:

"Very often I do go to developing countries where local people are doing extraordinary work," Kristof conceded Friday in a video posted on his blog, "and instead I tend to focus on some foreigner, often some American, who’s doing something there."

See this is how historical whitewash happens. This is how white people get the sense that Africans and other people suffering from the fallout of those weapon of mass destruction called Colonialism, Imperialism, International Monetary Funds, fake Socialism, true Capitalism, etc., have not the intellect to help themselves and therefore are in need to them to parachute in and save them.

Careers are made. Foundations are made in the names of the most popular. They are called on as experts in such and such exotic locations. And most insultingly, they get to look down their noses at African-Americans as they tell them about how lucky they are to be here and they are just being too lazy to take advantage.

Hence the reason, by and large I ignore Kristof. I know there are plenty of black folk helping black folk in Africa and I'd rather read about them. That's why I have the Timbuktu Chronicles in my blogroll

Thursday, August 05, 2010

A Perfect Storm of Pathologies

This morning a report of a brutal gang rape of a mentally handicapped 18 year old female landed on my twitter feed. You may read and watch the associated video here:

Usually such rape stories are "simple." You have a victim and a perpetrator. However; this case is an example of a confluence of pathologies that go far beyond the normal "random victim" discussion.

Firstly we have the group of males involved. By the reports there were adult males of undetermined age and boys of various age. So the first thing we have to ask is why are "grown men" leading "immature" males to have sex with a person known to be mentally disabled? If I were the 'hood type I would ask "where they do that at?"

This is similar to the situation that took place in Trenton NJ where another group of "grown" men raped a child who had been brought to them by another child and involved other minor males.

I'm not sure how widespread this particular phenomenon is but I find it particularly disturbing that male minors are being this influenced by "grown" men who have clear psychological issues.

The next issue here was the willingness of the males to violate a female whom they could not determine had or could give consent. I'm not naive. I know that there are in fact women who do engage in sex with multiple people at one time. Some do so in private some do so in very public settings. Therefore I'm not going to spend space here discussing whether persons ought to be engaged in that behavior. It's just not my business if they do.

The problem with this case is that the victim was apparently beaten and bloody. In what state of mind does one have to be in to engage in intercourse with someone who is bloodied and bruised? Even with the clearly warped sense of "consent"that the interviewed male had. How does one's mind work to think " Bloody? Bruised? She must want it."

Which leads to the next issue: Consent. From the videotape it is clear that the one fellow did not understand what the legal definition of consent was. When he was asked whether he thought a mentally disabled person could consent to intercourse, particularly in this particularly atypical manner, he just looked dumbfounded. That sad few seconds where it was clear that he really did not understand the impact of the words that were about to come out his mouth.

He said "But she let 'em".

Essentially this fellow, who had previously gotten in line for his turn but decided the wait was too long, admitted on national TV (and now the global internet) that he is a rapist. Yet he has no clue at all just how dumb he sounded. Why?

That leads to my final issue. The mother of the male who was too impatient to get his rape on, who, like those "grown" men involved should have known better. Backed up her son's outrageous claim of the victim's consent. Clearly we have a failure on the part of the parent. If you are a parent and your son thinks that it's OK to engage in intercourse with someone who is unable to give consent, you have failed.

This goes beyond a mentally handicapped person. This applies to the chick at the bar who had too many and is falling in your lap. It applies to the "girl" you "found" laying passed out on a bed at a party. And yes, it includes the chick that let you suck on her left teat while finger popping her who later decides it's not going any further. Though in the latter case I suggest unhitching that person pronto.

Essentially it is your job as a parent to teach your son that "no" means "no" and "unable to consent" means "no" too. This is not a hard conversation. It is not even a long conversation.

This incident shows a total failure of the adults from the men who assaulted the victim to the parents who defended this BS. It is sad that in the latter part of 2010 we have parents who are not instructing their sons on how to treat women. These guys are going to be trying to involve themselves with our daughters. We cannot stand for this kind of abdication of parental and community responsibility.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Reframing Your Reality

In NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) There is a technique referred to as reframing. Generally speaking we all see the world through a set of beliefs. Those beliefs are based on information that has been fed to us in one way or another. Our brains process all incoming information as if it was true and then we analyze the information and determine it is false. Because our frame of references are dependent upon our beliefs we can control these by changing our belief systems. Reframing usually involves a person who has a fear or some other anxiety. They face the trigger of this anxiety and see if there is a way to look at that situation in such a way that their anxiety or fear is reduced or eliminated. This technique is used to deal with PTSD among other issues.

At the heart of this technique is that we are both responsible for and in control of our emotions and therefore our emotional responses to circumstances. We recognize things that are outside of our control and train ourselves to control our reactions to those things. In other words we strive to eliminate worry about and fear of things beyond our control and instead focus on those things which we can.

On Monday evening a woman on my Twitter list expressed that she was feeling fear of sexual assault. I don't usually see such things fly across my timeline (which is roughly 50% female) and felt that I should assist this woman in dealing with her fear. To that end I said that she could look at it this way: Males tend to assault other males and she is unlikely to be a victim of assault today or any other day. What followed was a textbook example of what I will refer to as "The Fear Narrative(tm)".

The Fear Narrative(tm) is what the larger society trains the general population to default to. This narrative takes on many forms. examples are:
Immigrants are taking our jobs.
Immigrants are the cause of crime in x,y or z neighborhood.
Crime is everywhere, you are constantly at risk and therefore you need a,b or c security product.
There are x-amount of pedophiles lurking out there to take your kids so your kids need a cell phone, leash, and what have you. The terrorists are over there plotting on killing us so we need to send troops over there to subdue them lest they kill us.

In reference to this blog post, The Fear Narrative centers around the following:

1 out of 4 women is sexually assaulted at some point in her life.

Read that carefully. Many people make a few fatal assumptions in regards to the above:

1) They equate sexual assault with rape.
2) They assume that their individual chance of being sexually assaulted, on any given day, is 25%.

The usual frame of reference for this statistic is "MY GOD that's so many". Indeed only an imbecile would think that any instance of sexual assault is acceptable. Since I'm not an imbecile I never made such a statement, implied or otherwise. Yet a number of people made the ridiculous assertion that I had. How did they come to such a conclusion? Let me show you.

The other side of the 1 of 4 statistic are 3/4 women who in their lifetime will never be sexually assaulted. 75% of women will never experience anything from an unwanted grope to a full on rape. Folks this is a good thing. Certainly there are many people in other countries who will not enjoy such odds. Thus my suggestion to the young lady to focus on the 3/4 rather than the 1/4 as a means of relieving her anxiety was an attempt at relieving her anxiety by reframing the same information. My suggestion was that she move from victim/subjective Fear Narrative to the conquerer/self-determinitive 'Power Narrative".

So looking at our discussion of NLP and reframing we see that my suggestion was, contrary to objections, in fact supportive of that particular woman and women in general. Those who claim that suggesting that a man (or woman) ought not lay out statistics as a means of helping a women to deal with her fear are making the implicit argument that a woman cannot be expected to use her rational faculties to deal with her emotions. That is a sexist and patriarchal idea, flowing directly from the Greek concept (since this is a society steeped in Greco-Roman ideas) that women are ruled by their emotions and cannot be expected control them. How ironic that so called independent women and the "men" who hang on their teats, who decry sexist and patriarchal notions of womanhood, will object to a male challenging a women to break such sexist and patriarchal expectations?

What got on a few people's "wrong nerve" was my use of the term "remote" when discussing the day to day odds of any individual woman being sexually assaulted. People failed to understand how I came to use that particular term, so let me lay it out.

The Maths

We can look at the Departmemt of Justice's data on reported sexual assaults. On twitter I happened to link to Rape Abuse & Incest National Network, but you can go to the American Bar Association or any other number of third parties who report on this information. Using info from the linked source we have for 2007

248,300 victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.

They sourced that information from the 2007 US Department of Justice 2007 National Crime Victimization Survey. As I indicated in my discussion if that statistic is wrong, please do drop me a line with the correct information.

The current US population for 2007 was 301,621,157. Out of that 152,962,259 were female.

Simple math will tell us what percentage of women in the year 2007 were victims of sexual assault. The math is:
((the number of sexual assaults) / (total number of US females) )*100.

hopefully I don't have to explain order of operation.

(248,300 / 152,962,259) * 100 = .162%

So a total of less than 2/10 of a percent of women in the US were unfortunate enough to have experienced a sexual assault, attempted or actual rape in 2007.

Let that sink in for a minute.

My friends this is THE definition of remote. How can anyone familiar with the math even begin to move their mouths to object to this mathematical fact? In my opinion, they are stuck in The Fear Narrative (tm) They need to hold onto the frame of the victim of random, faceless, actors "out there"and they pass this on to their sisters.

Some point out that many, up to 60% of sexual assaults go unreported. If we assume that the 2007 assault cases did not include unreported instances and add those to the reported instances we can find that total expected instances of sexual abuse.

SA(t) = Total sexual assault cases = 248,300 + X (X being the unreported cases)

SA(t)*.40 = 248,300

That is 40% of the total expected instances of sexual assault = 248,300 so to find SA(t) we divide 248,300 by .40

So 248,300/.40 = 620,750

So we have an expected instances of sexual assaults to equal 620,750

again dividing this total by the total female population, we get:

(620,750/ 152,962,259) * 100 = .405%

So taking into account a 60% unreported incidents we still do not reach 1% of the total US female population at risk for sexual assault on any given day.

Of particular importance here are African-American instances.

In 2006, reported incidences of rape or sexual assault on blacks were 17,920. Blacks being 32 million strong and roughly 50% female, we can say that there are approximately 16 million black women in the US. doing the same math as above:

(17,920/16,000,000)*100 = .11%

If we take as valid the claim that only 17% of sexual assaults on black women are reported and that therefore 83% go unreported, we can operate on the same assumptions as we did for the larger population and determine the total number of expected sexual assaults against black women.

.17*SA(t) = 17,920
SA(t) = 17,920/.17 gives 105,411


(105,411/16,000,000)*100 = .65%

So black women, relative to white women have a definite relative higher risk of sexual assault. But the math still shows that it is still less than 1% for any single individual on any given day.

So lets take this back to the 1 in 4. This 25% number is the sum of all those yearly reports taking into consideration births, deaths and fluctuations in the incidences of sexual assault. If we use the above general US female population percentage of sexual assaults that includes the 60% not reported and multiply that out by the expected life expectancy of the average American female (79.1 years) we get:

79.1 * .405% = 32.03%

That is just a hair under 1/3 of women who live to age 79 will have experienced a sexual assault. The reason we don't see the 1/3 number is, as previously stated, due to birth and death rates, fluctuations in actual incidences of assault, and the fact that life expectancy has increased over the past few decades. In fact in just 1970 the average life expectancy of a US female was 74.7 years. Clearly with the increase in the longevity of life in US females, more are around to report their experiences.

So it is important to note how this 1 in 4 number is a huge eclipse over other much smaller numbers that inform it. The average mind can readily comprehend 1 in 4. Most people cannot picture 0.4% Even saying it seems cold, unreal and unfeeling. I'm sure that a large portion of the persons reading this not only glossed over the math but didn't check it and said to themselves I don't even want to be bothered with all that. As one commentator said "What's the math got to do with it?"

Well here's the answer:

Going back to reframing we understand that we can shift our focus and therefore our responses to situations. The Fear Narrative would have women look at the 1 in 4; identify with or as the 1 in 4 (assuming she has not already been a victim) and ignore the 3 of 4. The Fear Narrative would have a woman look at the .4% and not the 99.6% The Fear Narrative views the glass as containing milk. The Power Narrative and the power frame says that the chances on any given day of being a victim of violent crime on any given day are so small as to be generally incomprehensible. The Power Frame asks "Why should I be afraid of something so remote?"

Yes, remote.

The Power Narrative:

Every day I wake up I have a 99.6% chance of going back to bed sans drama.
For 75% of women, they will live their entire life for 79 years and never have a male violate them.
Everyday I choose to identify with the 99.6% and the 75%.
Every day I choose to not allow a male I do not know to have space in my head.
Every day I choose not to allow any male I do know to trigger fear in my head.

That last point is very important since a large portion of sexual assaults on women involve either intimate partners (husbands, boyfriends) or family members.

In conclusion lets admit that it would be powerful for our sister to wake up everyday knowing that as sure as she woke up this morning, she is going to come home safe because she knows that's the odds. That she knows that she's too old to be molested by uncles (or aunts). That she knows how to read men and situations that may cause her to be a statistic? That if that intimate partner decides to "go there", that she knows how to defend herself? Isn't that a preferable state of mind?

Shouldn't we support those individuals who readily pass along information that informs and therefore empowers women? Why should we wait until a woman becomes a victim before we give her the tools and information to reduce the odds of her victimization?

None of this is about minimizing the very real fear that any woman has. It is about minimizing the level of fear any woman has. If you don't get the change in emphasis on the last sentence then I can't help you.

None of the above negates the continued need for adequate post trauma support of those women who have been abused.
None of the above negates the continued need to educate and re-educate males about the importance of consent.
None of the above negates the continued need to be hard on women who lie about sexual assault since such actions maintain a climate of disbelief of actual victims.

This is only an offering of an alternative means of thinking. If you prefer a frame of fear and to follow The Fear Narrative that's your problem. Not mine. I can't and won't help you with that.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Mugabe get's a clue

"We are still being treated as if we don't own this country. They want to tell us, do A, B and C of that, remove so-and-so and they are now saying Mugabe must go first," he said. "Whoever told them that their will is above that of the people of Zimbabwe?"

I coulda told him that. On another note, why hasn't he left yet?



And so we find a nice gem on counterpunch:

In the 230-page book, Shapira and his co-author, Rabbi Yosef Elitzur, also from Yitzhar, argue that Jewish law permits the killing of non-Jews in a wide variety of circumstances. The terms “gentiles” and “non-Jews” in the book are widely understood as references to Palestinians.

They write that Jews have the right to kill gentiles in any situation in which “a non-Jew’s presence endangers Jewish lives” even if the gentile is “not at all guilty for the situation that has been created”.

The book sanctions the killing of non-Jewish children and babies: “There is justification for killing babies if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us, and in such a situation they may be harmed deliberately, and not only during combat with adults.”