discrimination history


February 11th 1990: Mandela released

On this day in 1990, the South African activist and politician Nelson Mandela was released from prison. Mandela had spent twenty-seven years in prison for his role as an anti-apartheid activist at the head of Umkhonto we Sizwe, which translates as Spear of the Nation. The controversial organisation served as the militant armed wing of the African National Congress political party, born out of a frustration among anti-apartheid activists that their non-violence was met with brutality by white authorities against black citizens. Mandela was arrested in 1962 and sentenced to life in prison, during which time he was largely condemned as a terrorist by Western nations. He served most of his twenty-seven years on Robben Island, then Victor Verster Prison near Cape Town, and during his imprisonment his reputation grew as a significant black leader both in South Africa and internationally. Mandela was finally freed after the ban on the ANC was lifted by the apartheid government. Upon his release, Mandela led the ANC in the successful negotiations with President F.W. de Klerk to end apartheid, and was overwhelmingly elected President of South Africa in the first multi-racial elections in 1994, serving until 1999. In 2013, Nelson Mandela died aged 95 and has been mourned around the world as a hero who fought for freedom in South Africa, and as a symbol of resistance for oppressed peoples everywhere.

“Our march to freedom is irreversible. We must not allow fear to stand in our way.”

Adopted Native, Happier Connected with his Roots

@sire-aie asked:

my MC is half native half white.he is not close to his culture+background because his native parent doesn’t not live with him.where he lives it is also considered by others shameful to be native because of political reasons.he later on meets a group of natives and starts to become more spiritual and happy w/ himself. is it bad to make him happy only when he starts to learn more about his heritage? is it cliche? he also starts to grow his hair at this time to feel more connected to his heritage.

Alright so. I’m going to remind everyone that if you’re going to send in a question, pick a tribe. But this question in particular is hitting a note with Indigenous cultural experience that I feel very, very necessary to address.

Forced seizure and adoption of Native individuals is a very real part of being Native. A Cree elder I spoke to is a lawyer who specializes in stopping these seizures. One particularly memorable reason she had to stop a child being taken from an “unfit parent” was the parent didn’t have laundry on site. That’s just one of many ridiculous examples that happened, and still happens to this day.

If you’re dealing with somebody mixed who doesn’t have his Native parent live with him, you’re potentially dealing with an unfair custody ruling and a whole whacking bunch of racism around the start of it. The assumption that he lives in an area where it’s shameful to be Native points to a massive lack of cultural sensitivity from the white parent, which is sadly extremely common.
As a result: it would be very much not cliche to have him be happier when he reconnects with his heritage. He’s going to stop learning to be ashamed of himself and start undoing the colonial legacy of the 60s Scoop and residential schools. He could always feel conflicted about what to pick, but starting to accept part of your racial identity is a good thing! It means your self hate goes down, it means you stop feeling like you can’t exist the way you are, it means you start to breathe.

I wouldn’t treat it as a completely magic pill— the amount of work that goes into not hating part of your identity is an incredible amount— but no, it is absolutely not cliche to have reconnection= an increase in happiness. 

Just please, please educate yourself on the reason Native kids are taken away from their cultures, and understand the white parent should be treated as not a very good person for putting their child through that. Because they aren’t. Teaching your child to be ashamed of their identity is abusive. While you haven’t mentioned the parent directly, that parent still moved to a place where there weren’t many other Natives and there was a cultural message of white as superior. Unless they advocated for the child’s identity, they’re an abuser, full stop.

~ Mod Lesya


March 21st 1960: Sharpeville massacre

On this day in 1960, police opened fire on peaceful anti-apartheid protestors in the South African township of Sharpeville, killing 69. The over 5,000 strong crowd gathered at Sharpeville police station to protest the discriminatory pass laws, which they claimed were designed to limit their movement in designated white only areas. The laws required all black men and women to carry reference books with their name, tax code and employer details; those found without their book could be arrested and detained. The protest encouraged black South Africans to deliberately leave their pass books at home and present themselves at police stations for arrest, which would crowd prisons and lead to a labour shortage. Despite the protestors’ peaceful and non-violent intentions, police opened fire on the crowd. By the day’s end, 69 people were dead and 180 were wounded. A further 77 were arrested and questioned, though no police officer involved in the massacre was ever convicted as the government relieved all officials of any responsibility. The apartheid government responded to the massacre by banning public meetings, outlawing the African National Congress (ANC) and declaring a state of emergency. The incident convinced anti-apartheid leader and ANC member Nelson Mandela to abandon non-violence and organise paramilitary groups to fight the racist system of apartheid. In 1996, 36 years later, then President Mandela chose Sharpeville as the site at which he signed into law the country’s new post-apartheid constitution.

“People were running in all directions, some couldn’t believe that people had been shot, they thought they had heard firecrackers. Only when they saw the blood and dead people, did they see that the police meant business”
- Tom Petrus, eyewitness to the Sharpeville massacre

The Science of Skin Color

When ultraviolet sunlight hits our skin, it affects each of us a little differently. Depending on skin color, it will take only minutes of exposure to turn one person beetroot-pink, while another requires hours to experience the slightest change. So what’s to account for that difference and how did our skin come to take on so many different hues to begin with? Whatever the color, our skin tells an epic tale of human intrepidness and adaptability, revealing its variance to be a function of biology. It all centers around melanin, the pigment that gives skin and hair its color.

The type and amount of melanin in your skin determines whether you’ll be more or less protected from the sun. This comes down to the skin’s response as sunlight strikes it. Over the course of generations, humans living at the Sun-saturated latitudes in Africa adapted to have a higher melanin production threshold and more eumelanin, giving skin a darker tone. This built-in sun shield helped protect them from melanoma, likely making them evolutionarily fitter and capable of passing this useful trait on to new generations. 

But soon, some of our Sun-adapted ancestors migrated northward out of the tropical zone, spreading far and wide across the Earth. The further north they traveled, the less direct sunshine they saw. This was a problem because although UV light can damage skin, it also has an important parallel benefit. UV helps our bodies produce vitamin D, an ingredient that strengthens bones and lets us absorb vital minerals, like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate, and zinc. Without it, humans experience serious fatigue and weakened bones that can cause a condition known as rickets. For humans whose dark skin effectively blocked whatever sunlight there was, vitamin D deficiency would have posed a serious threat in the north. But some of them happened to produce less melanin. They were exposed to small enough amounts of light that melanoma was less likely, and their lighter skin better absorbed the UV light. So they benefited from vitamin D, developed strong bones, and survived well enough to produce healthy offspring.

Over many generations of selection, skin color in those regions gradually lightened. As a result of our ancestor’s adaptability, today the planet is full of people with a vast palate of skin colors, typically, darker eumelanin-rich skin in the hot, sunny band around the Equator, and increasingly lighter pheomelanin-rich skin shades fanning outwards as the sunshine dwindles. Therefore, skin color is little more than an adaptive trait for living on a rock that orbits the Sun. It may absorb light, but it certainly does not reflect character.

From the TED-Ed Lesson The science of skin color - Angela Koine Flynn

Animation by Tomás Pichardo-Espaillat

We are living in dark times all of a sudden.  Our brothers and sisters in the trans community, they showed up to every one of our marriage marches when it wasn’t necessarily what they needed. So we have to be there for them, use our lessons learned in the marriage fight — how to win when it’s difficult, how to change minds that are difficult to change.  (pause)  Boy, the marriage fight. That was great training ground, but that’s all it was.
—  Dustin Lance Black, upon learning that the Trump administration would roll back Obama-administration protections for transgender school students; “DUSTIN LANCE BLACK, THE SCREENWRITER BEHIND ‘MILK’ AND 'WHEN WE RISE,’ ON COMING OUT AS A GAY ACTIVIST” by Daniel Wenger, The New Yorker, 2 March 2017.
I am tired of the special interest fight but I will keep arguing it forever if I have to.


Nope. Not even right. I know there are autistic people who say all of the things in that post, but that is not actually true.

The actual history of the term “special interest” is not that of always being used to oppress autistic people.

The fact is, the term “special interest” is often used by academics and researchers to indicate what they are currently studying the most.

The fact is, when I first began working with autistic children twenty years ago, we called all of this stuff “perseverations.”

The fact is, when I first joined the online autistic community in 2001 (no, I am not autistic but I am likewise not “allistic” so don’t call me that; I am an autistic cousin, or AC) we all called them “perseverations” and nobody was mad at me for saying that I had perseverations or stimmed or anything else like that. And we all thought I was neurotypical until 2005, when I was diagnosed with ADHD.

In the scientific literature, the term that I see a lot is “hyperfixation” in relation to autistic special interests.

And here’s another thing you need to realize: most of the things you say are used to oppress autistic people are things that are used to discriminate against developmentally disabled people in general. Even if they aren’t autistic. They could have FASD, or ADHD, or Down syndrome, or a global developmental delay, or an intellectual disability. All of these groups stim. They all have special interests. They all have similar or overlapping symptoms, behavioural quirks, and so on.

Do not gatekeep and pretend that you aren’t gatekeeping. Words are words. If a term describes your experience, use it. And don’t tell other people that they can’t use a term that accurately describes their experiences. That is gatekeeping. It is unfair.

People do not own words.

California Restaurants Launch Nation's First Transgender Jobs Program
The unemployment rate for transgender people is double that of the general population. A new program aims to change that. It's all because of a trans woman who's employed trans people for years.
If Your Resistance Omits the Disabled and/or Those with Chronic, Degenerative Illnesses, It’s Falling Short

This arose yet again this week, so I’m posting a loving reminder: if your Resistance omits the disabled and/or those w/ chronic, degenerative illnesses, it’s falling short.

Today is Day #80 of DJT’s administration and it’s nuts how many times I’ve had to remind ostensible Resistance fighters, “Um, yeah, hi. He targets the disabled and ill, too." 

Plus, his healthcare bill was softcore eugenics.

Much, MUCH love to those of you who get it! If you can help nudge those who don’t, that’d be swell.

All the best.

On August 28, 1963, American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his infamous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., in which he states: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Today, as we honor Dr. King, let us take a moment to reflect upon the contents of this very speech, the progress we’ve made since 1963, and the work we’ve yet to do to end racial discrimination across the globe. The full-length speech can be read here.

From the TED-Ed Lesson How to use rhetoric to get what you want - Camille A. Langston

Animation by TOGETHER


June 11th 1963: “Stand in the schoolhouse door”

On this day in history 1963 America witnessed one of its most spiteful moments of discrimination. A story of two clever Negroes from Alabama and a staunch conservative determined to keep his promise. 

The story begins 11 years earlier when in 1954, Alabama was ordered to desegregate its education system by the supreme court. Hundreds applied in the following years but the university worked with the police to find even the slightest disqualifying quantities but when this failed, the university resorted to intimidating applicants. All black applicants were denied with the exception of Katherine Lucy in 1956. Who was later kicked out of the school due to violent attacks and riots on campus. 

Nearly a decade later, two black students successfully enrolled. Vivian Malone Jones and James hood. A court order from a district judge ordered they be admitted. 

Previously that year in January. Alabama elected George Wallace as its 45th governor of Alabama. This conservative democrat would pledge at his inaugural address

“segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever”

The two students pre registered at Birmingham courthouse were they selected their courses. The students then arrived at the university to pay their fees. Only to find Governor Wallace stood in the doorway of foster auditorium. Refusing to move. Deputy attorney general Nicholas katzenbach told him to step aside. But was interrupted by Wallace, who gave a speech on states rights. In which he described the enrollment of the two students as “Unwelcome and unwarranted” and the “oppression of the rights, privileges and sovereignty of this state by officers of the federal government. 

Katzenbach called president John F Kennedy who had issued executive order 1111. Authorizing the federalization of the Alabama national guard. 4 hours later Guard general Henry graham arrived with 100 Alabama guard and demanded Wallace to step aside saying 

“Sir, it is my sad duty to ask you to step aside under the orders of the President of the United States.”  Wallace stepped aside. Hood and Malone were escorted into the auditorium were they completed their registration to the cheers of pro integration whites. 

Malone would receive her bachelor of arts in business management with a B+ average becoming the first black person to graduate from the University of Alabama. She died of a stroke aged 63 in 2005. 

George Wallace would propel to national fame and would run for president in 1968 carrying five states with 9 million votes. He survived an assassination attempt in 1972 and remained wheelchair bound for the rest of his life. He renounced his racist views and apologized to African Americans. He died in 1998. 

James hood left the university after only two months but returned 30 years later in 1995 were he completed his doctorate in interdisciplinary studies. He attended Wallace’s funeral in 1998 imploring others to forgive Wallace as he had. James died in 2013. 

They have died but the racial divide in America lives on today. 

PRO BLACK does not mean ANTI WHITE. I love everybody, and when we learn to love ourselves first, we can learn to love others freely. I am WOKE, but the day I allow my enlightenment to cause me to hate those that don’t look like me, I have then become the problem! -Rena

Stonewall Riots

“When the first patrol wagon arrived, Inspector Pine recalled that the crowd—most of whom were homosexual—had grown to at least ten times the number of people who were arrested, and they all became very quiet. Confusion over radio communication delayed the arrival of a second wagon. The police began escorting Mafia members into the first wagon, to the cheers of the bystanders. Next, regular employees were loaded into the wagon. A bystander shouted, "Gay power!”, someone began singing “We Shall Overcome”, and the crowd reacted with amusement and general good humor mixed with “growing and intensive hostility”. An officer shoved a transvestite, who responded by hitting him on the head with her purse as the crowd began to boo. Author Edmund White, who had been passing by, recalled, “Everyone’s restless, angry, and high-spirited. No one has a slogan, no one even has an attitude, but something’s brewing." Pennies, then beer bottles, were thrown at the wagon as a rumor spread through the crowd that patrons still inside the bar were being beaten.

A scuffle broke out when a woman in handcuffs was escorted from the door of the bar to the waiting police wagon several times. She escaped repeatedly and fought with four of the police, swearing and shouting, for about ten minutes. Described as "a typical New York butch” and “a dyke–stone butch”, she had been hit on the head by an officer with a baton for, as one witness claimed, complaining that her handcuffs were too tight. Bystanders recalled that the woman, whose identity remains unknown (Stormé DeLarverie has been identified by some, including herself, as the woman, but accounts vary), sparked the crowd to fight when she looked at bystanders and shouted, “Why don’t you guys do something?” After an officer picked her up and heaved her into the back of the wagon, the crowd became a mob and went “berserk”: “It was at that moment that the scene became explosive.” 

Read about the Stonewall riots


Paterson Joseph as Charles Ignatius Sancho in the play he wrote about him called ‘Sancho: An Act of Remembrance.’

Charles Ignatius Sancho was born on a slave ship in the early 18th century. After a career as a famous musician, composer, author and actor.  In 1774 he became the first black Briton to vote.  He ended his days running a grocery store in Westminster. [x]

The painting in the background is a copy of the one painted of Charles Ignatius Sancho by Thomas Gainsborough. [x]