white and wealthy

anonymous asked:

What areas of canadina politics do u think aren't discussed enough/discussed incompletely?

canada’s role in imperialism as one of the primary hosts of mining/resource extraction companies worldwide, driving people in south america, africa, and greece from their land, murdering people who resist, and devastating the environment and communities. additionally the way these companies are supported by the canadian state, and how the super-profits these companies bring back to canada provide the ‘prosperity’ and ‘wealth’ many canadians think prove our economic system is superior to those countries we ravage and exploit.

gentrification and urban land development, specifically the details of how cities restructure and redevelop for capital accumulation through planning, rather than the framework that sees gentrification as almost this organic process based on wealthy, white people flowing into neighbourhoods causing changes

i think there are plenty of issues, like resource-extraction on indigenous territory, or the canadian border system, that get discussed plenty, but even the progressive framing on them often fails to discuss it in a way that understands how corrupt and rotten the canadian state is and how the colonial state and borders are the root problem, rather than institutions temporarily behaving badly.

wealthy white woman: *is sad* 

wealthy white woman: if i don’t backpack through the palm forests of sri lanka right NOW i might never be happy again 

My Rich American Family

by reddit user aliceinvunderland

I am part of a rich American family, in a rich American suburb, full of rich American people.

Life is hell.

Every morning, me and the rest of the Wives get up at 5:00am sharp. Fifteen minutes of jogging around the neighborhood, five minutes in the shower (set to cold), twenty minutes for hair and makeup, and then five to get dressed. If we’ve managed that in time, meaning no later than 5:45am, we might be allowed solid food with our coffee.

Keep reading

I listened to the debate between Jontron and Destiny. Here are some of Jon's highlights:

“I don’t recall Trump saying anything explicitly racist.” “There’s nothing wrong with white people wanting to keep the majority.” “Japan is an ideal society.” “[Mexicans] won’t vote in white interests.” “There is an absolute disproportionate amount of crime committed to whites by non whites.” “Wealthy blacks commit more crimes than poor whites. That’s a fact.” “A lot of them [Mexicans] are on welfare, you understand.” “[Immigration] benefits the global elites.” “Why does an economy have to keep growing forever?” “We have gotten rid of discrimination in our western country, it’s great.” “If you feel like we haven’t gotten rid of discrimination then you’re living in a fantasy land.“  "Oppression in America doesn’t exist, dude." 

You sure you’re not the one in a fantasy land Jonny?

I want to tell a quick story about how important representation in television is, and how Sense8 is really making a tangible difference. You can repost if you like, I thought your followers might enjoy it.

My dad is a wealthy, white, conservative male who voted for Trump. He’s not a hateful person…in fact he’s one of the kindest people you’ll meet and he can talk to a random stranger for hours. But he’s extremely fiscally conservative and tends to have a narrow world view. 

He and I argue a lot. He calls me a naive liberal who has no idea how the real world works. I call him a decrepit old man who wouldn’t know innovation if it kicked him in the teeth. It’s our way of keeping each other on our toes. 

But we love to watch TV together. Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Vikings are a few of our favorites. I always held off on showing him Sense8…I honestly didn’t think he’d like it. But one day he asked me “What should we watch next?” and I though…why not?

He absolutely loved it. Yeah he thought the sex scenes were a little gratuitous, but he couldn’t stop watching. He even started talking about it to all his brothers and friends during our BBQ. I was so pumped he enjoyed it. 

But it was one scene in particular that really changed things for him: Nomi’s speech during her sister’s rehearsal dinner in episode 2x8. 

You see, my dad thought Nomi’s relationship with her Mom was unrealistic. He said “Parents love their kids unconditionally. No real mother would ever say those types of things. I mean…she’s not abusive. She’s not a drug addict or an alcoholic. And clearly no money problems at home. A real mom wouldn’t hate their kids just because.”

I was floored and didn’t know what to say at first. He had called me sheltered and naive so many times…and then he says something like that. I realize that it’s because he loves me so much (and would still love me so much even if I were trans) that he found a character like Nomi’s mom not just unrelatable, but completely unrealistic. 

But eventually I say this. 

“Dad…about half of homeless youth are LGBT. Believe it or not, this is one of the most realistic parts of the show.”

To which he replies: “Oh. Really? I…didn’t know that.”

And then a few minutes later Nomi’s says her speech and I look over and my dad is tearing up, just a little. 

“You doing alright over there?”

“Yeah…yeah I just….I’m fine. But I think I get it a little more now.”

So that’s my story. Even old white guy who voted for Trump is heartbroken about Sense8’s cancellation. That says a lot about how big a mistake Netflix is making. 


Submitted by @fourforyouglencoco

melodrama through the eyes of a (fellow) synaesthete

hello everyone! just like lorde herself, i have a strong case of synaesthesia (I get colour visions, but also tastes and scents as well), so this is my attempt to review the masterpiece that is melodrama through my synaesthetical experiences

let’s go

green light: car air freshener, heated highway and the visions you get when you drive in heat (a la mirages), blackberry-scented cheap shower gel, a pistachio green silk scarf, old school adidas kicks, lemon juice drops on fresh summer salad, beige satin, old black cars (a la classic cadillacs and jaguars), maple syrup, the heat of cairo at around 11 am

sober: ripe honeydew, the smell of guitar wood varnish, red satin ribbons, smudged glass coffee tables, spilled lemonade on said tables, peach vodka, the feel of white plaster in old museums where security guards are very strict, cough syrup (both the colour and the flavour), artificial smell of mint, mint gum, velvet red carpeting in old and badly aired town halls, the humidity of rainforest

homemade dynamite: 4 am sunrise straight after a storm with torn dark grey, nearly black clouds being ripped, smell of gasoline, deep puddles in cracked pavement, dimmed street lights about to go out, magenta, white musk perfume from the body shop, deep indigo of the nearly sunrise of mid may, that walk home from a rowdy night out when everyone is more or less sobered up, but not sober enough to feel shy yet, still drunk enough to be honest with affection and cursing and slightly slurred speech

the louvre: bamboo blinds, bamboo shoots, bonsai trees, flowing honey, varnished birchwood, sunlit old halls in ugly grey soviet buildings, silver hellium-filled balloons, white shiny doors between a party-filled room and a closet where hook-ups and one-night stands take place, old oil paint, the sunny, lemon yellow butterflies, muddly skies of july, edelflower syrup in a glass of white wine, edelflower flower crowns, an expensive pool in a mansion-like house in hollywood hills, the eerie comfort and anxiety of the opening credits of twin peaks

liability: massive bouquets of lily of the valley, white lace curtains knitted by a grandmother, greyness of a sunday in a village on a last warm october day, a single light in an office on a late night in a massive skyscraper, dried flowers, drops of nosebleed on a crystal clean white sink, grey that turns into pastel lilac, the feeling of ripped paper

hard feelings/loveless: faint sunrise shining through the windows of a manhattan apartment in a skyscraper, all shades of orange spilling onto a hi-tec kitchen, cointreau liqueur, sunny warm nights on ocean beach, lukewarm bathtubs when the bath foam has fizzled, bonfires and burned marshmallows, just the beginning of feeling buzzed (like a glass of wine in), tender shades of yellow, rustiness of old heavy doors into a basement, scaffolding sounds, first sunniest days of spring after a heavy winter, sunset in the ocean, heavy fluffy sweaters / neon diner signs, anime eyes, porcelain dolls, peach-flavoured bubblegum, glass bowls

sober ii (melodrama): colour of crimson, heavy red velvet couches, smudged matte red lipstick, glass shards, ripped pearl necklaces and scattered pearls on sticky floor, red limelight, stilettos, tight black bodysuits, smoky-eyed tall models in revealing tight and latex dresses, marble furniture with golden decor, fistfights during a party, ripped suits and thrown ties and unbuttoned white shirts on boys with wealthy fathers

writer in the dark: light parakeet green, whitewashed starched tablecloths that crunch, old wooden tables, rusty cages for canaries, Advocat liqueur, big pearl necklaces on black dresses, big sunglasses (a la Audrey’s in Breakfast at Tiffany’s), sunny Sunday mornings on a patio with a cup of fancy tea, sunday clothes, white churches in greece, silver tears and crying in the backseat after a breakup, wilted flowers in a vase with dirty water

supercut: light green and orange, Love Is bubblegum, peaches, apricots, mint, Mojitos, fairy lights above people at a rooftop party, roadtrip one takes after a breakup with all thier belongings, flavoured water that doesn’t quench thirst, sparkling water with lemon and ice cubes, worn down picnic blankets, fancy dresses girls wear to the entrance into a nightclub, folding chairs, chilled champagne

liability (reprise): cold winter wind of february, the feeling on the tip of the tongue from scolding hot tea, big white rooms in museums, light green, light smoke of e-cigarette that smells like peppermint, the smell of sunscreen, the stillness of a swimming pool at noon in heat

perfect places: red wine, swinging chandeliers, red plastic cups, glass grand pianos, the last summer party in august, that warm feeling at the end of the party where everyone’s buzzed and affectionate and there’s a lot of kissing and hugging and swinging, big fake golden earrings, summer fruits, fancy hotels and luxurious lifts/elevators, skinny dipping, black velvet dresses that touch the floor, uncontrollable laughing in comfy sweaters

prejudice in fantasy lit and the use of metaphor

reallybigshadowhunterstvfan said:

what can you say about making Simon a shadowhunter, Mrs Clare? it seemed odd to me that after a whole series of battling for equality between species/races, the downworlder had to become a shadowhunter. not only he basically ceased being a minority, he also became a part of a privileged community, and it just didn’t sit well with me.

Just for the record — I’m not Mrs. Clare; there is no Mr. Clare. I am married, but my pen name is not my husband’s property. :-) 

I think this is a very interesting question that brings up a ton of issues, but there are some aspects of it I’d love to clarify — for instance, I am puzzled at calling Simon “the Downworlder.” Is he more a Downworlder than Magnus? Things like that actually are really important when discussing stories — if he were the only Downworlder in the story, that would be one discussion, but he isn’t, and therefore his story does not speak for the experience of all Downworlders or even a small fraction. 

I am sorry you were surprised negatively by Simon’s story in TMI. Simon never wanted to be a vampire — he always hated it, and unlike Raphael and Lily, he never joined the community of vampires but instead spent all his time with Shadowhunters. Being a Daylighter had already changed him from being any kind of regular Downworlder, as did bearing the Mark of Cain: both made him even less “the Downworlder” and more of an anomaly. It also separated him from the other Downworlders, who treated him with distrust. In my experience, very few readers expected Simon to remain a vampire, given that it was something he never wanted or got used to, and that it was not his dream. More on that in a bit.

As to the question, to me the suggestion that Shadowhunters are “the privileged” and Dowworlders are as a block “the marginalized” — instead of being a complicated metaphor in which they sometimes but not always stand in for people who have had their rights curtailed —  overly simplifies the situation. It is an argument seems to ignore the fact that in fact, humans exist along axes of privilege and marginalization: that people can be privileged in one way and marginalized in another and that when Simon becomes first a Downworlder and then a mundane and then a Shadowhunter, he is not moving clearly from marginalization to privilege, but rather exchanging some types of privilege for others (he remains white as a Downworlder, and is a Daylighter), and exchanging some types of marginalization for others (the marginalization of being a Downworlder for the marginalization of being a mundane-born Shadowhunter and a Jew in a world where Shadowhunters are meant to have one religion). 

Because the argument disclaims spectrums of privilege and marginalization, it also suggests that the world of the Shadowhunter Chronicles is one in which there are no gay or POC or trans people in existence; one in which there is no racism, homophobia, ableism, cis privilege, or bigotry against the neuroatypical. But that is both problematic erasure, and also not true of these books. Downworlders don’t stand in for people of color or LGBTQ+ people because people of color and LGBTQ+ people are in the books; they have not been subsumed into metaphor. (I know the showrunners said there was no homophobia in the Shadowhunter world, only warlock-phobia, but that’s the show, not the books, and it has a different world and world-building. I notice this is a question I get since the show came out, and I sometimes wonder if it’s a question of confusion between the two different universes? It’s easy for that to happen.)

Fantasy prejudice metaphors are complex and confusing and they rarely work as a one to one comparison (in other words, there is a difference between saying that this fantasy situation is reminiscent of this real world thing and saying this fantasy situation is exactly the same as this real world thing. For instance, one of the really interesting things about True Blood is that it made many deliberate parallels between “vampire rights” and GLBT+ rights — referring to vampires “coming out of the coffin” and “God Hates Fangs” on church signs. However, its vampires were also often violent predators who killed and ate people. The argument that Simon “basically ceased being a minority” (while, somehow, remaining Jewish) is similar to making an argument that True Blood was saying that gay people kill and eat their neighbors; I’m fairly sure in fact, they weren’t. They were reaching for a resonance — the echo of a real world situation that would give a layer of relatability and meaning to their points about difference. But they were not creating a literal “these things are the same” comparison or they wouldn’t have had vampires chewing off people’s heads.

So: are Downworlders discriminated against? Yes, sometimes, by Shadowhunters, who are a small specific group. Do they “stand in” for a specific minority group? No, they cannot, because they are accessible as a metaphor to any marginalized group or groups whose rights have been abridged. Also: the world at large does not discriminate against Downworlders because they do not know they exist, nor do they privilege Shadowhunters because they don’t know they exist either. It would be one thing if this was a high fantasy and Shadowhunters and Downworlders were all there was, but these books are set in our world, and the characters experience real-world bigotry, racism, homophobia etc. because of it.

Alec sighed. “Sorry to wreck your vision of our happy family. I know you want to think Dad’s fine with me being gay, but he’s not.” 

“But if you don’t tell  me when people say things like that to you, or do things to hurt you, then how can I help you?” Simon could feel Isabelle’s agitation vibrating through her body. “How can I—” 

“Iz,” Alec said tiredly. “It’s not like it’s one big bad thing. It’s a lot of little invisible things. When Magnus and I were traveling, and I’d call from the road, Dad never asked how he was. When I get up to talk in Clave meetings, no one listens, and I don’t know if that’s because I’m young or if it’s because of something else. I saw Mom talking to a friend about her grandchildren and the second I walked into the room they shut up. Irina Cartwright told me it was a pity no one would ever inherit my blue eyes now.” He shrugged and looked toward Magnus, who took a hand off the wheel for a moment to place it on Alec’s. “It’s not like a stab wound you can protect me from. It’s a million little paper cuts every day.”

 *** 

“He hurt you. It was a long time ago, and I know he tried to make up for it, but—” Bat shrugged. “Maybe I’m not so forgiving.” 

Maia exhaled. “Maybe I’m not either,” she said. “The town I grew up in, all these spoiled thin rich white girls, they made me feel like crap because I didn’t look like them. When I was six, my mom tried to throw me a Barbie-themed birthday party. They make a black Barbie, you know, but they don’t make any of the stuff that goes with her—party supplies and cake toppers and all that. So we had a party for me with a blonde doll as the theme, and all these blonde girls came, and they all giggled at me behind their hands.”

***

If we carry the theory through (Shadowhunters are THE privileged, Downworlders are THE marginalized) that means that Alec, as a gay Shadowhunter, is more privileged than Simon, a straight vampire. That Ty, who would be locked in a mental institution if the Clave discovered his autism, is privileged beyond white, rich, immortal and powerful Malcolm Fade. It’s saying that when Cristina encounters a wealthy, white, straight, misogynist male werewolf in Lady Midnight who tries to force sexual attention on her, she, a Latina woman, is the one who is the privileged character because she is a Shadowhunter and he is a Downworlder (though Sterling has arguably, given that he lives outside the supernatural world, never experienced a whit of prejudice because of it.) So I’m sure you can see where the problem lies.

It also erases Simon’s Judaism entirely. Stating without caveat that Simon has become “part of a privileged community” means ignoring the fact that Simon is Jewish; that he decides in Tales that he will continue to practice, and that he was the only Jewish protag written by two Jewish authors that I’m aware of having been on the bestseller lists last year. He didn’t think about being a vampire as he was preparing to transform — he never wanted to be one or consented to be one, nor was he part of the community, as Raphael constantly pointed out — though he does later think of having previously been a Downworlder when interacting with vampires and Shadowhunter prejudices. He thought of the important thing to him: his Judaism, which he both couldn’t and wouldn’t give up. To me it is personally painful to think that for any reader, Simon’s status as a vampire is more significant than his status as a practicing Jew.

I think sometimes it is possible to invest yourself so heavily in a metaphor that you forget the real world that surrounds the metaphor and the flexibility of metaphors in general. The Shadowhunter/Downworlder situation could stand in for the systemically privileged and marginalized of our world: sometimes it does. However it also can stand in for the way totalitarian governments abuse their own people: there are echoes in Shadowhunter history and current events of the Cambodian genocide, of Stalinist violence against intellectuals and resistors. There are also echoes of police brutality — what Shadowhunters have is the privilege of the Law, specifically: the Law is what allows them to enact bigotry in the name of justice, and when they abuse their jobs, it has resonances of the way police can abuse their jobs and use the privilege conferred on them by their authority to murder and abuse the helpless and marginalized. There are also echoes of the way soldiers carry out immoral orders given by superiors: the Shadowhunters are taught to be obedient to the Clave, and one of the ways we know who our Team Good is in any TSC series that they question that obedience. All of these are echoes and resonances: they are not saying that the Shadowhunters are the police, or the US military, or the Khmer Rouge; the resonances provide context and hopefully add a sense of realism to a situation that is fantastical in its nature.

 (It’s also a wise idea not to so totally buy what the Shadowhunters are selling about themselves. They think they’re special and better and awesome, but the books constantly question and problematize that. Shadowhunters also pay a high high price for their runes and their sense of superiority: they die young and often and experience brutal constant violence and the pressures of a repressive society that allows for little divergence from an idealized norm.)

There are reasons that the Downworlders were never constructed to be a specific marginalized group and their situation was never meant to be limited in its relatability to one situation— for instance, it’s very hard to not look askance at the argument that Downworlders are meant to be specific “race” when you can become a Downworlder and then stop being one: when you can, as Simon does, change what kind of magical creature you are, because there is absolutely no correlation between that and what race or ethnicity means in our world. 

 So yes, Simon becomes a Shadowhunter: however, what I don’t see acknowledged here is not just his ethnicity and religion, but the fact that he becomes a Shadowhunter partly because he is aware of the prejudice of Shadowhunters, and fights against the bigotry they show not just to Downworlders but also to their own. He is part of Magnus and Alec’s Shadowhunter-Downworlder Alliance. He continues to work for change from within the system, arguably something almost no one else could do, because there are almost no other Downworlders who have become Shadowhunters. It is odd to me to consider Simon as simply ascending to a height of blithe privilege when he is fact much more like someone who has become a police officer in order to root out corruption and racism in the police, and brings his own knowledge of marginalization (which he still experiences) with him.

That is why Simon in Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy is constantly fighting and bending the rules in the name of his evolving social conscience, though I understand if you haven’t read TfTSA. One of the things about having had a flood of new readers enter fandom because of the TV show is that I’ve seen a lot of arguments based on the idea that TMI is the entire story of Downworlders and Shadowhunters, or the entire story of these characters. I see people talking about characters getting a happy or sad ending in TMI even when those characters go on to feature heavily in the sequel books and could by no reasonable account be considered to have any ending, happy or sad — unless you thought TMI were the only Shadowhunters books that existed rather than a chunk of a larger ongoing mythology. In no sense has Simon’s story ended: you have no idea if he will remain a Shadowhunter or not. Perhaps if you consider the fact that TMI is not a story that has ended for Simon, but rather one that continues, the fact that he has now been two magical species and might well move on to become another will sit less poorly with you? After all, this is not “after a whole series of battling for equality between species/races” this is “in the middle of a whole series of battling for equality between species/races.” Usually the middle of a story isn’t the place it’s best to draw all your conclusions from. :-) 

Taylor Mason

I am really excited about Taylor Mason’s appearance in Showtime’s Billions.

Here’s Showtime’s behind the scenes introduction of Taylor on YouTube, with interview snippets with the actor and the writers.

I don’t know the show at all. It is definitely not my usual genre. No one does any science or magic, you know? It’s a fast-paced businessy financey drama thing. I don’t even remember how I found out, but when I heard that Billions claimed to have the first ever nonbinary character on TV… well, to be honest, I kinda did a skeptical face. The articles are all very US-centric, and explicitly nonbinary characters are not uncommon in some parts of the world. And anyway, “nonbinary character” usually means “gender non-conforming binary character” because that’s usually the best we can hope for. But yeah, I was interested, so I looked into it.

Here’s my TL;DR: Billions is the first mainstream US TV show to my knowledge that contains a character overtly described as nonbinary and whose they/them pronouns are stated in the show and affirmed by almost all of the other characters.

We’re introduced to Taylor, played by Asia Kate Dillon (also nonbinary, they/them pronouns), in the first episode of season 2 - toying with another character about being vegan. They’re a sharp, brilliant, think-outside-the-box intern.

In episode 2 it gets a bit more in-your-face:

That guy in the second shot, Bobby Axelrod, is the very rich, very arrogant boss of macho boy’s club Axe Capital. And he just accepts Taylor’s assertion of their pronouns, no questions asked, no raised eyebrows. Just, “okay.”

Taylor proceeds to seriously impress the very rich arrogant boss guy in the chair.

Taylor isn’t going through some coming out plot, working out their gender and discovering themself. Taylor is out and comfortable and confident in their identity. People who refuse to accept them get bulldozed, either by other characters or by the plot itself.

Later in that episode there’s a scene in which Taylor isn’t present, and Taylor is misgendered by that bald guy, Bill:

It’s hard to capture the tone in this scene. It’s an alpha male showdown, over a nonbinary person’s pronouns. The arrogant guy who misgenders Taylor gets corrected, and then has two guys above him in the pecking order stare him down until he concedes, in body language and facial expression. Taylor’s rich white old guy boss is not gonna tolerate you misgendering them. (Over the next few episodes it becomes clear that Taylor is replacing Bill as Axelrod’s “favourite.”)

Bobby Axelrod upholds the pronouns of every singular-they nonbinary person in this one scene, to everyone watching the show. After that the conversation continues as before. It all happens very naturally as part of a conversational plot to take down a business rival, like it’s important and yet no big deal at all to correct a colleague’s pronouns.

There are people watching this who are nonbinary and going “wow, that’s me.” There are nonbinary people who haven’t worked themselves out watching this and going “wow, maybe that’s me?” There are parents of nonbinary kids watching this and going, “wow, maybe using new pronouns isn’t so hard? Maybe my child is not just going through a phase?” There are nonbinary kids watching this with their parents, thinking “maybe now my parents see Taylor being taken seriously they will take me more seriously.”

This is incredible.

Naturally, I have concerns. I’ve got them on the back-burner because one TV show is not a pattern among TV shows. It does, however, fit a known trend of nonbinary visibility.

Taylor is white, AFAB, thin, young, wealthy, able-bodied, and masculine-presenting. They fit the nonbinary cliché so well that I can’t even find any deviation from it. In reality nonbinary people are very diverse in pronouns, gendered presentation, race, body type, and class. But when newspapers are interviewing these “new” and fascinating nonbinary people, they always seem to choose people mostly like me: white, thin, AFAB, young, apparently able-bodied, androgynous-to-masculine-presenting. (I’ve been interviewed by journalists for articles about nonbinary people that then didn’t even include me in the final piece, because I refused to be seen as a representative of nonbinary people in some way.)

Taylor is also autistic. I don’t know if it’s deliberate, goodness knows writers create accidentally autistic characters all the time, but if you know what to look for in TV-autism it’s really really clear. And people really like to draw attention to the way autism and gender non-conformity overlap, to the extent that articles have been written by and focusing on doctors who believe that some gender non-conformity is directly caused by autism and should not be treated. (Article link. Warning: Daily Mail, general awfulness, etc.)

So going forward, I’m hoping that if and when there are more nonbinary people in TV shows we get to see some femininity, some differing body types, some people of colour, etc. I’m also hoping that we get to see some nonbinary people who are not obviously autistic - characters who express emotion freely and are not somehow brilliantly sharp and intelligent and innovative in one particular area of interest, for example.

But for now, I am thrilled. A TV show is portraying someone like me. In this case I’m lucky because I fit that autistic nonbinary cliché down to the ground, and I am perfectly represented in a mainstream US TV show for the first time in my life. I want other nonbinary people to experience that too, and this is a huge step forward and a long-deserved validation of the nonbinary community. I am excited to see what happens next for nonbinary representation and visibility.

The overwhelming call for the redemption of Kylo Ren on tumblr is very much reflective of a culture of toxic white male privilege that I would venture to say most users would probably claim they reject. Ben is a wealthy white boy, the son of war heroes, the son of a princess/senator/general. He came from a loving privileged background. He had the best opportunities. He had an uncle who trained him to be one of the only Jedi in the universe. That wasn’t enough for Ben, so Ben becomes Kylo Ren.

In America, we see it one week after the next. A white suburban guy in his early 20s decides to take his resentment out in the form of murder. “He was such a nice boy, such a quiet boy.” The smiling childhood picture. His mother cries on camera, rather than the mothers of his victims. He gets a sensitive instagram picture on the cover of newspapers and magazines rather than his mugshot. “Bring our boy home.” How many innocent people has your boy killed?

So the desperate clamoring for this white boy who had it all and chose that he preferred the path of mass murder is a very profound, very deliberate choice of villain in a movie with a very deliberate lead cast – a woman, a black man, a latino man. I think this is a really fascinating subject, but it’s not the conversation that’s happening here on tumblr. Instead we talk about his fabulous hair and his absolutely essential redemption arc and his “temper tantrums” as if they’re not completely real and completely representative of something very sinister in our culture.

It’s not just a movie. Good science fiction never is. We all know that, otherwise we couldn’t care so much. 

acaramela  asked:

Hey can I ask you something and this is a thoroughly ignorant question but I'm Latina and I grew up learning that Castro killed his own people and that he just was a terrible dictator. I even have friends from around the region that support this and say that Castro and communism are responsible for the suffering of the Cuban people. Could you explain to me why this isn't the case? I just can't find any other reliable sources to inform myself. Thank you.

im sorry this is long, but read the whole thing, its all important information

First, Cuba isn’t a one-man or military dictatorship. A lot of people don’t know this, especially in countries allied with America, but Cuba is highly democratic, and even takes measures to stop corruption in politics. For example, elected representatives are paid workers’ wages, so there is no monetary incentive to run for office, all voting is by secret ballot, votes are counted in public, voting is voluntary, elected representatives can be recalled at any time, women make up 48.9% of the Cuban government (a hell of a lot more than the US which can’t even break 20% in its Congress), it is illegal to spend any money on political campaigns to advertise for particular candidates, and candidates’ biographies and their reasons for standing are posted on public notice boards so everyone has equal exposure.

The nomination and election of local candidates for office is done in public meetings, with return meetings happening every 6 months. There are limitations in higher levels of the government, where voters must choose to either accept or reject a single nominee, but as far as i know, the principles of recall and community nomination still hold true.

You can read more about Cuban democracy here:

Why Cuba Still Matters // Representative Government in Socialist Cuba // Cuban Democracy Fact Sheet // How to Visit a Socialist Country // 

As for the specific claim that Castro is a dictator, its on very shaky grounds (to say the least). Its true, of course, that Fidel and Raul have been the only presidents of Cuba since the revolution. However, the presidency isn’t chosen like it is in America, directly (well, its not even direct in America, but thats another topic). The presidency is chosen through the elected parliament (national assembly).

Delegates to the National Assembly are elected every 5 years, half nominated from municipalities and half nominated by mass organizations (like trade unions, women’s orgs, cultural orgs, etc.). Each nominee must receive at least 50% of the vote. All in all, there are 612 delegates, and 48.9% are women. 

The National Assembly votes on who belongs to the Council of State, which appoints the ministers, Presidency, and Vice Presidency. And following a 2011 Congress of the Communist Party, senior elected officials can only serve two terms (10 years) in office. That means in 2018, Raul Castro will step down and a new President will be chosen.

We should also talk about what exactly “dictatorship” means. All societies are dictatorial for some and free for others, because all states are institutions of class rule. Cuba, while I don’t believe it has a socialist economy (and thus not a socialist government) has absolutely shown what can be done with the support of the mass power of the people, and drawn a line between it as a free and independent country and imperialists.

So how is Cuba in service of its people? It raised literacy from 60-70% to 96% in two years- today 100% of Cubans are literate. It has a massive amount of doctors per capita and has lower rates of infant mortality, HIV, and malnutrition than the US. They have state subsidized SRS and HRT, some of the best current LGBT rights in the Caribbean, despite their historical struggles with homophobia. They are the most sustainable country in the world, despite the embargo. 

(The Embargo is absolutely devastating to the Cuban economy, too. Never let a discussion of Cuba’s economy go on without discussing the impact of the embargo)

Still, compare those achievements to Haiti. A country that has been and still is politically and economically crippled by US and French imperialism, which suffers under a neocolonial elite, which is paid starvation wages to make Levis and other commodities for the US, which receives little to no aid when natural disasters hit (which are exacerbated by the ecological devastation of the island).

What is really responsible for the suffering of the people, not just in Cuba, but in Haiti and all countries in the global south? Is it really the ideology of socialism that fights for greater rights and the accessibility to basic needs? Or is it capitalist-imperialism, which strangles Cuba with economic blockades, and parasitically leeches off of its neighbors?

As for the claim that Castro killed “his own people”… the phrasing of this (and of course this isn’t your fault, anti-communists always phrase stuff like this) makes it seem like its better if politicians kill others in imperialist war. Killing “your own people” is somehow far worse than killing the people of countries you want to invade or control. Castro and Che did kill people, yes Cubans. But again, we have to look at the class forces involved. Who were those fleeing? Who were being killed? Historical records show most were rich, white Cuban plantation owners or otherwise of the middle and upper classes, who backed the former military dictator Batista:

All weekend a Cuban exile contingent of right-wing ‘gusanos’ have been gathered on Calle Ocho street in Miami’s “Little Havana” to celebrate the death of Fidel Castro. However the hatred was always mutual; as Fidel characterized the first 1960’s waves of wealthy white parasitic former land owners who were part of the Batista dictatorship he overthrew as “gusanos” (worms), based on their reactionary politics, intransigent support for the blockade, and desire to team up with the CIA to carry out terrorist attacks all across post-revolutionary Cuba. (Note, not all exiles fall into this category, especially more recent arrivals).

The zenith of gusano interference was the 1961 U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion, which Cuba’s government defeated, and afterwards Fidel pointed out the wealth of many of the 1,100 exile soldiers that his troops captured (and later released back to the U.S. in exchange for baby formula). Within those 1,100 soldiers were: 100 plantation owners, 67 landlords of apartment buildings, 35 factory owners, 112 businessmen, 179 living off inheritances, and 194 ex-soldiers of Batista.

Over the decades since that time, the aging gusano contingent in South Florida has proven to be perhaps the most corrupt group (on a per-capita basis) in American politics—which is saying something. In their dying off ranks you can find Batista’s old BRAC secret police goons, ex Cuban mafia, CIA contract killers, and former oligarchs of vast latifundias. As essentially Miami is still controlled by the remnants of Batista’s dictatorship and their off-spring, a regime which killed 20,000 Cubans and tortured tens of thousands more.

(from here)

Almost all (and i only say almost because i don’t know of any who were not) of those executed were members of Batista’s army, informants, rich landowners who backed Batista, etc. And, contrary to the idea that these were executions against the people, they were actually popularly sanctioned:

Serving in the post as commander of La Cabaña, Guevara reviewed the appeals of those convicted during the revolutionary tribunal process.[9] The tribunals were conducted by 2–3 army officers, an assessor, and a respected local citizen.[105] On some occasions the penalty delivered by the tribunal was death by firing squad.[106] Raúl Gómez Treto, senior legal advisor to the Cuban Ministry of Justice, has argued that the death penalty was justified in order to prevent citizens themselves from taking justice into their own hands, as happened twenty years earlier in the anti-Machado rebellion.[107] Biographers note that in January 1959, the Cuban public was in a “lynching mood”,[108] and point to a survey at the time showing 93% public approval for the tribunal process.[9]Moreover, a January 22, 1959, Universal Newsreel broadcast in the United States and narrated by Ed Herlihy, featured Fidel Castro asking an estimated one million Cubans whether they approved of the executions, and was met with a roaring “¡Si!” (yes).[109] With thousands of Cubans estimated to have been killed at the hands of Batista’s collaborators,[110][111] and many of the war criminals sentenced to death accused of torture and physical atrocities,[9] the newly empowered government carried out executions, punctuated by cries from the crowds of “¡paredón!” ([to the] wall!),[100]

thats from wikipedia, no less

Always remember- all states are the power of one class over another. Whether that class is the working class by itself (or in alliance with a progressive and anti-imperialist bourgeoisie as in Cuba), or whether it is a reactionary or imperialist bourgeoisie armed against the working class of the world (as in the US)- states are not just democracies or dictatorships- but institutions of class power. Its interesting how we call Cuba a dictatorship when the rich landowners flee or face persecution or god-forbid *gasp* their land is redistributed to campesinos! But the United States, which has the largest (mostly black and brown) prison population in the world (both by number and per capita), which is established on stolen land, and which regularly exercises its power to interfere in and mess with other countries independence, is seen as “free.”

Here are some more resources on Cuba:

[Documentary] Cuba: Defending Socialism, Resisting Imperialism // 20 Reasons to Support Cuba // Cuba: A Revolution in Motion // Cuba and its Neighbors: Democracy in Motion // Work and Democracy in Socialist Cuba // The Sugarmill: The Socio Economic Complex of Sugar in Cuba 1760-1860 // Cuba and the US Empire: A Chronological History // A Hidden History of the Cuban Revolution // Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War // The World Economic and Social Crisis // The Economic War Against Cuba // Race in Cuba //

Moonlight is more deserving of oscars than La La Land because of more than just its cinematic genius. La La Land, though a fine film, plays into the tired plot of heteronormative puppy love between two white media darlings. Along with painting Ryan Gosling’s character as the face of jazz music (which is historically black in origin), it serves as a distraction from the atrocities against minorities going on in our world right now.

In our current world, wherein black, gay, and poor lives are seen as subordinate to white, straight, and wealthy lives, Moonlight is a political and social protest. It doesn’t just offer sympathy to minorities, it offers celebration. Moonlight is revolutionary.

La La Land is white ambivalence.

Our culture tells girls in a million tiny ways to pay attention to guys’ boundaries and respect them. Don’t be clingy. Don’t be pushy. Don’t bother someone unless they actively request your company, otherwise you’re needy and pathetic. Don’t make a big deal out of it if you don’t get your way. Don’t be too loud, too uncomfortable to be around, too bitchy.

And then we tell boys, don’t let anyone disrespect you. Stand up for yourself. If you see what you want, go after it with everything you’ve got. If it matters to you, it’s worth fighting for. If you don’t succeed, keep trying. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do. Nice guys finish last. Get the girl.

This kind of interaction exists along other lines of oppression as well - white, cis, abled, wealthy, straight, etc., people are taught that they are the only ones allowed boundaries, and everyone else is being aggressive/needy/etc. for setting their own and should be squashed. 

Hierarchy is perpetuated by socially pressuring lower-tier groups to anticipate, learn about, and respect others’ boundaries, but not to have any of their own – while the same social pressures contantly assure more privileged people that they have a right to set boundaries so far out that they infringe on others’ autonomy.

In this paradigm, an oppressed person setting reasonable boundaries is treated as a deep insult to an oppressor who wants to override them. Not actively catering to an oppressor’s desires is treated as a tresspass instead of a default state.

We need to notice stories and language that glorifies some people’s entitlement and demonises others’ autonomy. Pay attention.