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After Outcry, Disney Withdraws Effort To Trademark ‘Dia De Los Muertos’

May 13, 2013 By: seeta Category: Anti-Racism, Arts and Culture, Civil Rights, Economic Terrorism, Imperialism, Intersectionality, White Privilege

From Fronteras:

A tongue-in-cheek cartoon was an example of the online response to Disney’s trademark applications. Image courtesy of Lalo Alcaraz/Pocho.com

Twitter and Facebook exploded with posts like ‘Our culture is not for sale’ and ‘Keep your corporate hands off.’

By late afternoon Disney released a statement saying it would withdraw its “Día de los Muertos” trademark applications.

Gustavo Arellano, author of the syndicated column “Ask a Mexican,” said, “The Latino market is such that already there were calls for protest, boycotts and all that and Disney knows better than to poke at the so-called ‘sleeping giant.’”

The term “sleeping giant” was often used during the 2012 presidential election to describe the Latino voter bloc, credited with delivering President Barack Obama a victory.

Disney’s official statement said the company will withdraw the trademark filing because they’ve determined the title of the Mexican-inspired film will change. A spokesperson declined further comment.

Hacker Group Anonymous Leaks Chilling Video in Case of Alleged Steubenville Rape, Cover-Up

January 08, 2013 By: seeta Category: Civil Rights, Economic Development, Intersectionality, White Privilege

Warning: this video contains disturbing content

From Democracy Now:

We turn to Steubenville, Ohio, where members of a high school football team allegedly raped an underage girl and possibly urinated on her unconscious body over the course of an evening of partying in late August. The young men chronicled their actions on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. But after many in the town of Steubenville, including the high school football coach, rallied to the players’ defense, the hacker group “Anonymous” vowed to release the accused players’ personal information unless an apology was made. Anonymous has since released a video showing a male Steubenville high schooler joking about the alleged victim. We’re joined by three guests: Monika Johnson Hostler, president of the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence; Kristen Gwynne, an associate editor at AlterNet; and “X”, a member of the hacktivist group Anonymous using a pseudonym.

The Delhi Gang-rape: Look Westward in Disgust at Steubenville

January 06, 2013 By: seeta Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Economic Development, Imperialism, Intersectionality, Poverty

As this weekend marks the end of Christmastide, I sincerely hope everyone had a good holiday with family and friends. This holiday season seemed more poignant insofar as we’ve been reminded of the fragile nature of life and society.

These reminders came in the form of recent horrific tragedies that threaten the foundations of civilized societies — the mass killing in Newton and the gang-rape of a young female medical student in Delhi. The inhumanity of violence and then the efforts to silence anyone who would speak out against the roots of these horrific acts are nothing new.

As always, we must continue to rise up against this vile globalized institutionalized misogyny — through ensuring the safety for young girls and women, through education, economic development, access to health services, and civic participation. It is a fight that we all have a responsibility to take on — in our homes, in our classrooms, in our jobs, in our governments, and all spheres of private and public life.

A couple of worthwhile reads if you haven’t already caught them:

Delhi gang-rape: look westward in disgust (The Guardian):

There’s something uncomfortably neocolonial about the way the Delhi gang-rape and subsequent death of the woman now known as Damini is being handled in the UK and US media. While India’s civil and political spheres are alight with protest and demands for changes to the country’s culture of sexual violence, commentators here are using the event to simultaneously demonise Indian society, lionise our own, and minimise the enormity of western rape culture.

A particularly blatant example of this is Libby Purves’s piece for the Times. She says the Delhi bus rape should “shatter our Bollywood fantasies”. For Purves, westerners enjoy a romanticised view of India, all heady spirituality and Marigold Hotels; and especially romantic in their views, for reasons Purves neglects to address, are the British. Thus, upright Europeans have sentimentally ignored the “murderous, hyena-like male contempt” that Purves says is an Indian cultural norm. Neatly excised from her account however is the relationship between poverty, lack of education and repressive attitudes towards women, and, by extension, the role of Europe in creating and sustaining poverty in its former colonies. Attitudes towards women in the east were once used by colonialists to, first, prop up the logic of cultural superiority that justified unequal power relations (the “white man’s burden”) and second, silence feminists working back in the west by telling them that, comparatively, they had nothing to complain about.

When it finishes calling Indian men hyenas, Purves’s article states that westerners “have the luxury of fretting about frillier feminist issues such as magazine images, rude remarks and men not doing housework”. Does anyone else see an unattractive historical pattern here?

Her article is not, by any means, the only one to report on this issue as if rape is something that only happens “over there” – something we civilised folk in the west have somehow put behind us. Elsewhere, the message is subtler, but a misplaced sense of cultural superiority shines through. For example, this BBC article states, as if shocking, the statistic that a woman is raped in Delhi every 14 hours. That equates to 625 a year. Yet in England and Wales, which has a population about 3.5 times that of Delhi, we find a figure for recorded rapes of women that is proportionately four times larger: 9,509. Similarly, the Wall Street Journal decries the fact that in India just over a quarter of alleged rapists are convicted; in the US only 24% of alleged rapes even result in an arrest, never mind a conviction. This is the strange kind of reportage you tend to get on the issue.

The coverage of Damini’s death strikes a particularly ironic note following recent media controversy over a rape, in Steubenville, Ohio, of a 16-year-old girl – allegedly by members of the high-school football team. The case is that the young woman was dragged, drunk and unresponsive, from party to party, where she was sexually abused. The brutal death of Damini has spurred Indian civil society to its feet, causing protest and unrest, bringing women and men into the streets, vocal in their demands for change. Sonia Gandhi has met the woman’s parents. The army and the states of Punjab and Haryana have cancelled new year’s celebrations. What happened in the US? In Steubenville, football-crazy townsfolk blamed the victim and it took a blogger – Alexandria Goddard, who is now being sued – and a follow-up article from the New York Times four months after the incident to get nationwide attention for the story.

Protesters of the Steubenville Rape Case Inspire Real Change (Politicus USA):

When as Anonymous was leading a second protest in Steubenville yesterday, the sheriff announced that no other people would be charged in the alleged gang raping and kidnapping of 16-year-old Jane Doe by football players referred to as members of the “rape crew”.

This case appears to be steeped in cover-ups and conspiracies, from the County Prosecuting Attorney reportedly being the mother of one of the “rape crew”, at whose house an assault may have taken place, to the victim’s ex-boyfriend allegedly setting her up to be drugged and gang raped as revenge for breaking up with him. It’s disgusting and shameful and horrifying, but it’s also sadly not that unusual.

What is unusual is that this time a group of mostly men, in a subset of Anonymous called Knight Sec, is leading a public charge against the rape culture and demanding justice.

Anonymous’ protests aren’t just impacting this case; in fact, because of the attention the Steubenville case has gotten, San Luis Obispo rape crisis agency in California has launched a “Start by Believing” campaign in order to promote the reporting of rape. Sexual Assault and Rape Prevention (SARP) Associate Executive Director Jesse Torrey explained, “If somebody discloses they’ve been sexually assaulted, you need to start by believing them. And if they are responded to with support, with validation, with ‘how can I help?’, with ‘this wasn’t your fault’…that’s the road to healing.”

House GOP Voted To Cut Disaster Relief In Order To Preserve Military Spending

October 31, 2012 By: seeta Category: 2012 Election, Civil Rights, Eco-Justice, Economic Terrorism, Imperialism, Science/Technology

From ThinkProgress:

As part of their bill to void the military spending cuts included in the Budget Control Act — which was passed as a result of 2011′s GOP inspired debt ceiling standoff — House Republicans proposed eliminating a program that helps states and localities respond to disasters like hurricanes.

The House Republicans’ Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012, which was passed without a single Democratic vote, called for zeroing out funding for the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG), a program that provides funding to state and local governments to aid needy children, adults, and the disabled. As the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities noted, the SSBG also offers assistance for disaster relief:

The SSBG has served as a conduit for emergency appropriations to help residents and communities respond to the additional social service and health needs resulting from natural disasters, such as floods, wildfires, and hurricanes.

For example, in response to the 2005 Gulf Coast Hurricanes — including Hurricane Katrina —Congress provided an additional $550 million in emergency funding to states via SSBG for use by public, non-profit, and private entities to repair, renovate, or construct health care facilities, among other purposes. The funds were disbursed promptly — within two monthsa — and SSBG’s flexibility allowed states to streamline eligibility for services funded by the emergency appropriations. Eliminating SSBG could make it harder to provide this sort of flexible human services funding in the face of emergencies.

President Obama’s budget proposed maintaining the SSBG’s annual funding of $1.7 billion; it has had that funding level since 2001. As CBPP noted, “Although the SSBG has received bipartisan support from governors and members of Congress, it has lost 77 percent of its value since 1981, due to inflation, funding freezes, and budget cuts.” This chart shows the drop:

9/11, Day of Reflection

September 11, 2012 By: seeta Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Imperialism, International Law, Prison Industrial Complex


There’s not much to say, other than to acknowledge that today conjures ups a myriad of emotions, personally and politically. But rather than launch into a narrative about “where I was” when it all happened, I’ll just request that folks quietly reflect and contemplate the narrative of this nation over the past decade.

Bush White House was Deaf to 9/11 Warnings

9/11: Pageantry of Grief

9/11: 10 Years Later, The Lost Decade

Asian Americans Respond to Pew: We’re Not Your Model Minority

June 21, 2012 By: seeta Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Immigration, Imperialism, Intersectionality, Poverty, White Privilege, Workers' Rights

Some interesting hegemonic taxonomy coming from the recent Pew study on Asian Americans, which reinforces some old racial stereotypes that create ethnic heroes and villains.

Excellent piece from Colorlines:

“Our community is one of stark contrasts, with significant disparities within and between various subgroups. The ‘Asian Pacific American’ umbrella includes over 45 distinct ethnicities speaking over 100 language dialects, and many of the groups that were excluded from this report are also the ones with the greatest needs,” said Congresswoman Judy Chu, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Chu

More than a third of all Hmong, Cambodian and Laotian Americans over the age of 25 don’t have a high school degree, for instance. While some Asians may report incomes at or higher than whites, Cambodian and Laotian Americans report poverty rates as high as, and higher than, the poverty rate of African Americans, according to the 2010 census. Even among those that Pew included in its study, like Chinese and Vietnamese Americans, these groups report a below average attainment of high school diplomas, said Dan Ichinose, director of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center’s Demographic Research Project. The more complex and far less exciting explanation for Asian-Americans relatively high rates of education has more to do with immigration policy, which has driven selectivity about who gets to come to the U.S. and who doesn’t, said Ichinose. But a focus only on those in the upper echelons of the community renders everyone else invisible.

At the start of the recession, Asian Americans may have been more well-situated to ride out the worst of it, but as the recession has stretched on, Asian Americans have actually suffered the worst from long-term unemployment, the Economic Policy Institute found earlier this year. And 2.3 million Asian Americans are uninsured, said Deepa Iyer, head of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans and executive director of South Asian Americans Leading Together.

Other indicators that supposedly show that Asian Americans are comparatively well-off can be misleading, Ichinose said. While Pew used median household income to measure the community’s economic power, APALC prefers to go by per capita income. Asian American households tend to be larger, with more workers and several generations living under one roof. This can skew perceptions about a household’s income. With per capita income measures, some Asian American communities start looking more like Latinos than non-Hispanic whites in terms of their income, he said.

Where Are The Protests Against the Killing of Shaima Al Awadi?

April 01, 2012 By: seeta Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Imperialism, Intersectionality, Prison Industrial Complex, White Privilege

From Time:

Forty thousand Iraqis live in El Cajon, California, where this week, Shaima Al Awadi, a devout Muslim mother of five, died after being beaten inside her home with a tire iron and left next to note reading “Go back to your country, you terrorist.” Coming on the heels of the Trayvon Martin killing in Florida, there would seem to be many parallels between the two crimes—the hate speech, the prejudice, the innocence of the victims. A One Million Hijabs for Shaima Al Awadi page has even been launched on Facebook, but it’s doubtful that the movement will really catch on because Iraqis still considered dangerous infiltrators in the eyes of Americans.

Arizona GOP Lawmaker Wants State Holiday To Celebrate Whites

February 05, 2012 By: seeta Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, White Privilege

From ThinkProgress:

Reacting to a Democratic colleagues apparently incendiary request to celebrate a Latino American day, State Rep. Cecil Ash (R) declared that he’d support the idea as long as there’s a holiday for white people too. “I’m supportive of this proposition. I just want them to assure me that when we do become in the minority you’ll have a day for us,” he said. Ash was “trying to lighten things up,” but when CBS 5 asked if he was serious about a Caucasian holiday, he offered an unequivocal “yes”:


ASH: Yes, I think it was appropriate. It was appropriate for the mood that was in the House and I think that if and when the Caucasian population becomes a minority, they may want to celebrate the accomplishments and the contributions of the Caucasian population the same way.

You can watch the report here.