discrimination history

3

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.”

npr.org
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.
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

2

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.
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.