at the cartoon network offices, circa 2012

cn exec: rebecca, we’re looking for a bright, silly children’s comedy that makes the occasional fart joke. what do you have for us?

rebecca sugar, probably: the current state of american race and gender norms is deplorable. masculinity is a prison and a construct heavily influenced by the patriarchy which also serves to disenfranchise women. it’s disgusting. the intersectionality black and other minority women face is a series of unique experiences beyond those of white women. speaking to animation, specifically, minority characters are so rarely presented and when they are, so little care and attention is given to features so frequently stolen from them in media 

cn exec: …

rebecca sugar: sorry I forgot to mention steven likes pizza and cat-shaped ice cream sandwiches

space kids unsure of how to deal with the opportunity to return to earth after so long in space. sure, they miss their families and want to see them, but

  • it’s been so long - earth feels more like a vacation spot and the cockpits of their lions feel like a whole new home they never thought they’d accept
  • coran and allura don’t think, act, or say anything other than excitement and joy for them to return finally
    • it was a hard fought battle and it’s surely not over, but they deserve this they have to do it
  • but there’s an unspoken agreement that they can’t stay gone for long because coran and allura are their family too
  • disenfranchised keith more or less too anxious over the thought of leaving the castle
    • there’s nothing back on earth for him
    • unless all of them could somehow rocket into earth’s atmosphere without immediately being taken in for tests and questioning
    • unless the garrison’s ranks swear they won’t touch a hair on allura or coran’s head and he knows there’s zero chance of that happening so he stays - “thanks, but no thanks”
  • lance is super torn about it because “my family can be your family” “everyone deserves to have someone love and miss them” “my helicopter mom that’s the best cook ever would love you despite that god awful mullet and the grumpy cat thing you’ve got going on”
    • what he would give for all his siblings scrambling over him - the older ones teasing him - and all of the bone crushing hugs he thought he had outgrown and was too cool for the day he left for the garrison
    • varadero’s sand beneath his feet and wedged under his fingernails and clumping in his hair, the familiar slap of water in his face when he would wipe out while surfing
  • pidge thinks about their mom - going undercover had been part of the plan, she had helped her daughter forge documents and make a fantastic cover story about sending Katie Holt off the garrison to stay with family
    • disappearing from the face of the earth had not been part of that plan
    • pidge gundersen had a fictional family that didn’t exist and Mrs. Holt more than likely had to investigate - she stopped getting messages and she knew something was wrong, having to find out through whispered grapevines that three kids, a man believed to have died on a mission with her husband and son, and the loose canon dropout vanished without a trace
  • hunk: x he misses it all so hard and he wants to see his family he wants a break and his own bed, but he can’t bring himself to think about staying - his team is torn and what if something happened while they were gone?
    • being light years away from allura, coran, keith, and shay unsettles everything he thought he had figured out
  • shiro
    • earth doesn’t feel or sound the same on his tongue
    • the nerves that weren’t completely damaged in his right arm twinge and burn with the thought
    • how could he explain the Galran prosthetic? how could he get out of a litany of tests and probing and somehow reigning in his ravaged head to see his parents and assure them everything was alright and deal with the fact that they probably buried the thought of their son and had spent the last year+ mourning his loss
    • the two things that keep calm - allura and the lion - can’t go with him, they’d be torn from his hands the second he landed
    • the thought of not having her at his side or him at her side tears him apart, he never thought staying space, fighting in a giant, alien robot could be a third home
      • her being his second, slowly creeping over his memories of earth and overtaking it as first
  • it can’t be the same again
FYI on the "50th Anniversary of Selma:Bloody Sunday"

While the white liberal media and President Obama go down to Selma, Alabama to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, where over 500 hundred civil rights activist were attacked while marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, let us remember two things to keep in mind.

1. The Edmund Pettus Bridge, where bloody sunday took place, was named after a racist KKK leader, and it still bares his name today.

2. While liberals pat themselves on the back about all the progress we have made let us remember that the very right (Voting Rights) these folks were marching for back in 65 is being trampled upon today. Thousands of African Americans cannot vote because of non-violent drug offense. When speaking of voting rights Felony Disenfranchisement is often left out of the discussion.

Too poor to pay taxes? Burn, useless prole.

A local family watches their home burn to the ground and just a few feet behind them, firefighters watch, too.

It’s happened multiple times before in one local community: firefighters refuse to respond because the homeowner didn’t pay a fire subscription fee.

The last time this happened, the city of South Fulton, Tennessee, received a lot of heat nationwide for this policy. That was more than a year ago but nothing has changed.

The mayor said it comes down to simple business. If they don’t collect fire fees, the fire department can’t survive and if they make exceptions to the rule, no one will ever pay the fee.

Besides that, he likes the “pay for spray” policy and said it’s fair.

But that’s hard to stomach when you’ve just lost your home and everything you’ve worked for.

“In an emergency, the first thing you think of, ‘Call 9-1-1,” homeowner Vicky Bell said.

Firefighters came out.

Bell said, “9-1-1 said they were in fact dispatched and they showed that they were on the scene.”

But once on the scene, they only watched.

“You could look out my mom’s trailer and see the trucks sitting at a distance,” Bell said.

For Bell, that sight was almost as disturbing as the fire itself.

“We just wished we could’ve gotten more out,” Bell said.

It’s a controversial policy that we’ve dealt with before. If you live in the city, you get fire protection but if not, you have to pay the $75 fire protection fee each year. With this policy, the city makes no exceptions.

Well, it took long enough, but our government has finally devolved into the same environment that lead Marcus Crassus to his wealth. Countdown until we start letting the poor die when they can’t afford healthcare. Whoops, I mean countdown until Police don’t have to answer calls from poor people. Whoops, I mean countdown until poor people get arrested for sending their kids to well funded schools

Well, damn. I’d like to write a ridiculous, hyperbolic sentence about the next step in our disenfranchisement of the poor, but I can’t even top reality.

Voting is a right. It shouldn't cost $73.

Why am I opposed to the new Voter ID bill in Wisconsin? Here’s one reason: it shouldn’t have to cost you money to exercise your constitutional rights. In the case of a poor person, it can be a significant amount of money just to get a state ID.

Let’s walk through this. Here are my assumptions: a person working for minimum wage who lives on the north side of Milwaukee and was born in Milwaukee County.

The fee for a state ID card (not a driver’s license) is $28. But to get that, you have to have a birth certificate. To get that, you have to go to the register of deeds office in the Courthouse or mail your request. The fee is $20. Many people in poor neighborhoods don’t have checking accounts, so you have to get a money order. I don’t know how much that costs at one of the check cashing places so prevalent in poor neighborhoods, but it’s $1.10 at the post office. It takes 2-3 weeks to get it. You also need to show the DMV proof of identity. We’ll just assume you have a Social Security Card. If you lost yours, well, I don’t know what you do, because they require proof of identity like a state-issued identification card or a passport, which of course you don’t have. At least the card is free, but from personal experience, you’ll have a long wait in the Social Security office.

Whcih brings me to another point: time. The DMV is only open during the weekdays. If you work a minimum wage job, you’re unlikely to have paid time off. So it will cost you $7.25/hr to go to the DMV. First you have to get there. You don’t have a driver’s license, so it costs you 2.25 by bus. From 35th & North, the bus takes 30 minutes to get to the Downtown DMV. I’ve never been in and out of the DMV in under an hour, and the downtown branch tends to be busy, so let’s allow one hour at the DMV and one hour to and from. Then, of course, you have to get to work, so let’s allow another half an hour for that. That’s a bare minimum of 2.5 hours to get your ID card, or $18.13 in lost wages.

Let’s add it up!

ID card fee $28 

Birth certificate $20

Money order $1.10

Postage for birth certificate request 44c

Minimum wage $7.25/hr * 2.5 hrs = $18.13

Bus fare 2.25 each way * 2 = $5.50

Total: $73.17

That’s a lot of money if you’re poor. Didn’t we outlaw poll taxes because they disenfranchised poor voters? Oh yeah, they were abolished IN THE 24th AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION. 

How to Solve America’s Democracy and Poverty Crisis

Fifty years ago this week, President Lyndon Johnson promised to “strike at the causes, not just the consequence” of persistent poverty in America. His War on Poverty, he told a joint session of Congress, would do more than alleviate immediate economic needs; it would “strike away the barriers to full participation in our society.”

Americans may have tired of Johnson’s war, but the struggle is far from complete. Not only does poverty persist across the United States today, but American democracy itself has become impoverished. The two are more entwined than is commonly thought.

As the foregoing articles in this series have shown, tens of millions of citizens, and would-be citizens, are struggling to earn their keep and keep their faith in a democratic system from which they are excluded. Millions more low-income citizens have a hard time making it to the polls for reasons that are partly within and partly beyond their control. Making matters worse, the politicians on whom they rely do not rely on them: a tiny fraction of wealthy Americans and special interest groups lobby the federal government, and a fraction of one percent of citizens provide the lion’s share of campaign funds.

However you slice and dice the numbers, people in poverty are at a serious, structural disadvantage when it comes to making their voices heard and having their interests represented in Washington. They are far from equal citizens in the public square.

Read more. [Image: Associated Press]

The Startling Urban Dynamic in Pennsylvania’s Voter ID Law

Something big is happening in Philadelphia ahead of this fall’s presidential election – the first in the state since a stringent new Voter ID law was passed earlier this year – although people there concerned about it are having a maddeningly hard time putting their finger on the precise size of the problem. The city has just over 1 million registered voters. About 800,000 of them are considered “active.” […]

The Pennsylvania Department of State recently released two lists of the Pennsylvania residents whose state IDs have expired since last November (and thus can’t be used to verify their identity at the polls this fall), as well as a list of the active voters whose names don’t match up with the PennDOT database as currently having an ID. This second list is terribly sloppy (one database spells names like McCormack as “Mc Cormack,” and there’s all kinds of chaos with hyphens and apostrophes). But nonetheless, the best official data available suggests that as many as 280,000 voters in Philadelphia may need to get an ID between now and November to have their votes counted.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

1) Africa’s Population Underdeveloped  

According to the World Bank, Sub-Saharan Africa currently has about 910 million people. That number would be much higher if it weren’t for the Europeans and the Trans Atlantic slave trade.
During slavery, the African continent had an abnormal stagnation in population in respect to the rest of the world and there is no causative factor other than the fact that millions of people who were of age to bear children were being shipped to the Americas.
One European scholar gave the following estimates of world population (in millions) according to continents:

Years: 1650 1750 1850 1900
Africa: 100 100 100 120
Europe: 103 144 274 423
Asia: 257 437 656 857

Africa’s population didn’t move at all during slavery. In other parts of the world such as Japan and parts of Europe the population growth allowed large socioeconomic development to occur while the lack of growth stagnated Africa.

2) The European Slave Trade Had Major Effects On The African Labor Force

According to some estimates, between 1445 and 1870 as many as 100 million enslaved African men, women and children left Africa during the Trans Atlantic slave trade. This loss of workers put a major dent in the African labor force.According to Walter Rodney, author of “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa,” the massive hit to the African labor force was made more critical because it was composed of able-bodied young men and young women. Slave buyers preferred their victims ages 15 to 35, and preferably in their early 20s; the gender ratio being about two men to one woman. Europeans often accepted African children, but rarely any older people.For four centuries, the lack of workers slowed further development of the African continent. 

3) The Distortion of The African Cloth Economy And Other Industries

It has already been indicated that in 15th-century Europe technology wasn’t superior to that of other parts of the world. There were certain specific features that were highly advantageous to Europe–such as shipping and (to a lesser extent) guns. Europeans trading to Africa had to make use of Asian and African consumer goods, showing that their system of production was not absolutely superior, Rodney said.He also said that by the time that Africa entered the colonial era, it was concentrating almost entirely on the export of raw cotton and the import of manufactured cotton cloth. This remarkable reversal is tied to technological advances in Europe and to stagnation of technology in Africa owing to the very trade with Europe.In the late 1800s, after accumulating a tremendous amount of wealth from the slave trade, Europeans made technological advances and vital inventions to produce clothes faster and cheaper. Through the initiative,  European countries were able to put the African cloth manufacturing industries out of business.The European cloth industry copied fashionable Africans and eventually replaced them as sellers, establishing a stranglehold on the distribution of cloth around the shores of Africa. This practice repeated itself in other African industries. 

4) Social, Political And Economic Consequences of Colonialism  

Colonialism is the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically.The colonization of Africa lasted for just over 70 years in most parts of the continent. The negative consequences of colonialism for Africa sprang mainly from the fact that Africa lost power socially, politically and economically.The power shift from the African allowed direct appropriation by Europeans of the social institutions within Africa. Africans ceased to set indigenous cultural goals and standards, and lost full command of training young members of the society. Thus, the Europeans were able to set up institutions throughout African nations for their own interest.The negative impact of colonialism in political terms was quite dramatic. Overnight, African political states lost their power, independence and meaning — irrespective of whether they were big empires or small polities. Political power had passed into the hands of foreign overlords, Rodney said.With the new political and social power, the Europeans were able to extract the resources from the continent for their own benefit and not a single African state could flourish under colonialism. 

5) African Underdevelopment of Education

Pre-colonial African education matched the realities of pre-colonial African society and produced well-rounded personalities to fit into that society. Specialized functions such as hunting, organizing religious ritual, and the practice of medicine definitely involved formal education within the family or clan. Such educational practices all dated to communal times in Africa, but they persisted in the more developed African feudal and pre-feudal societies, and they were to be found on the eve of colonialism.According to Rodney, as the mode of production moved toward feudalism in Africa, new features also emerged within the educational pattern. There was, for instance, more formal specialization, because the proportion of formal to informal education increases with technological advances. Apart from hunting and religion, the division of labor made it necessary to create guilds for passing down the techniques of iron working, leather making, cloth manufacturing, pottery molding, professional trading, and so on.When the European colonizers came to Africa they introduced a new set of formal educational institutions which partly supplemented and replaced those that were there before. The main purpose of the colonial school system was to train Africans to help man the local administration at the lowest ranks and to staff the private capitalist firms owned by Europeans. In effect, that meant selecting a few Africans to participate in the domination and exploitation of the continent as a whole. It was not an educational system that grew out of the African environment or one that was designed to promote the most rational use of material and social resources. It was not an educational system designed to give young people confidence and pride as members of African societies, but one which sought to instill a sense of deference toward all that was European and capitalist, said Rodney.

Read More: atlantablackstar.com 

Texas Says It Will Appeal Ruling Weakening Its Voter ID Law To SCOTUS
Texas has decided that it will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review a major appeals court ruling against its voter ID law. "To protect the integrity of voting in the State of Texas, our office will appeal the Voter ID ruling of the Fifth Circuit to the United States Supreme Court,” Marc Rylander, a spokesman for state Attorney General Ken Paxton, said in a statement Tuesday.

I guess Texas is just really committed to its racism

The full Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in July that Texas’ 2011 voter ID law had the effect of discriminating against minority voters. The court sent the case back down to the district court level in order for the state and its challengers to hash out a remedy for November’s election. A district court judge last week approved an agreement in which voters who did not have the photo IDs required by the law would be able to vote, if they showed certain other forms of ID and signed an declaration saying they faced a reasonable impediment to attaining the required IDs.

To be so bold as to be told by a judge that your actions are racist and to say “yeah, well we are going to challenge your ruling anyway…”

Stay angry

The Voting Rights Act, that has been in place since 1965, has been edited on the grounds that the united states, particularly southern states who were previously under scrutiny for the enforcement of this law, are not as racist as they were in 1965.

A conservative judge even admitted that prejudice was still a problem, but it was deemed more unfair to monitor problem areas than to ensure voter’s rights.

The NAACP estimates that a quarter of black voters do not have the current government issue I.D. that is now required for them to vote, and only 16% of Latin@ voters.

He also claimed that the new practice could disenfranchise trans*gendered voters because of discrepancies with their presented gender/identity and what is recognized by the government. He went on to talk about his adopted brother and how, most likely for safety, his appearance to go and get an I.D. Photo may be different than his day to day comfort level.

The states that have opposed the practice of preclearance, which has been in place to keep them in check, are historically racist.

Early voting could be eliminated, felonies disenfranchised for life, and student I.D.’s would not count.

In Virginia alone, the new I.D. law could render 900,000 people unable to vote.

Without federal regulations of the state governments, the floodgates are open for the creation of these laws. This is an enormous step back, and a ridiculous infringement of rights SIGNAL BOOST.

Sources: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/civil-liberties/report/2013/06/25/67905/state-and-federal-courts-the-last-stand-in-voting-rights/



TW/CW for trans*phobia and racism

And NPR.

Republican executives like Rick Scott have used felon disenfranchisement to depress minority voter turnout

In 2014, voter turnout hit new lows for a midterm election: The most recent census data suggest turnout was a measly 41.9 percent. It’s likely that turnout was even lower, since the census data, while the best we have, is slightly inflated by the fact that people overreport socially positive behaviors like voting. Data that directly examines the number of votes counted suggest that turnout was around 36.6 percent of the voting-eligible population. But, while census data aren’t perfect, they allow us to examine turnout among different demographic groups (though even here, there are flaws). Looking at the data, I find a pretty stunning gender gap among one racial group: Black men are far less likely to vote than black women, and this is likely the legacy of mass incarceration.

Veterans of Forgotten Voting War Count the Cost

On the night of June 12, 1963, Bernard Lafayette was walking up the driveway to his home when he heard the sound of footsteps closing in on him from behind.

He turned to see a muscular, thick-necked man with a crew cut staring down at him. “Buddy,” the man said as he motioned to a stalled car in the street, “how much would you charge me to give me a push?”

Lafayette sighed with relief, and walked toward the stalled car. Suddenly, though, the man whipped out a gun and started bashing him on the forehead. With blood dripping onto his eyelashes, Lafayette staggered to his feet and watched as the man stepped back, ready to pull the trigger.

The message from his would-be assassin was unmistakable: Leave town and stop trying to organize black voters.

Lafayette was saved by an alert neighbor. But he checked himself out of the hospital the next day and, wearing a bloodied shirt and with stitches embedded in his swollen face, returned to downtown Selma, Alabama, to resume his mission of urging black residents to vote. He was 22.

“I wanted to send a message to the people there in Selma,” says Lafayette today. “This was like a one-person demonstration, and as a result of that people came out of the woodwork. They wanted to register to vote; they wanted to get involved in this thing.”

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Courtdelivered another message. The court’s conservative majority issued a ruling that essentially strikes at the heart of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a momentous civil rights law for which Lafayette shed his blood.

The court voted 5-4 to limit the use of a key provision in the landmark law, in effect invalidating federal enforcement over all or parts of 15 states with past history of voter discrimination.

Section 4 of the law was struck down, the coverage formula used by the federal government to determine which states and counties are subject to continued oversight. The practical impact of the majority ruling means Section 5 can’t be enforced.

Section 5 requires Southern states and other municipalities with a history of discriminating against minorities to get federal approval before making any voting requirement changes.

Section 5 has been used not just to protect black voters, but Latino, elderly and poor voters. It was used in last year’s presidential election to halt a proposed voter-ID law in South Carolina, the reduction of early voting hours in Florida, and the drawing of a new congressional district in Texas that was deemed discriminatory against Latino voters.

While much of the coverage of the Supreme Court case focuses on the legal implications of a future without Section 5, there’s a human story behind the Voting Rights Act that’s been ignored. Many Americans do not know how and why the act was passed. And the terrible price people like Lafayette paid to make the act possible.

Lafayette is one of the founding fathers of the Voting Rights Act. He was part of a small interracial army of men and women who presented their bodies as living sacrifices for the act. Some lost their friends, their families, their minds – even their lives. But 50 years after their greatest triumph, many have died and their struggle is in danger of being lost to clichés about the civil rights movement.

When the Supreme Court held oral arguments over the Voting Rights Act earlier this year, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia called the sweeping law a “racial entitlement.”

For people like Lafayette, the act was something else: It was war.

(read more)