Couldn’t Help but Judge by Comparison

“Over six years, they led the examination of the Indian residential school system, combing through myriad documents and witnessing the courage of survivors who shared their stories. Their final report invites all Canadians to confront the inequities of the past, and calls on governments and individuals alike to move forward, with greater understanding, towards reconciliation.”

Actor Tom Jackson, a past recipient of the Order of Canada, brought Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, to tears after the formal ceremony with a moving call to action to improve the standing of the country’s Indigenous people.

Governor General apologizes for saying Indigenous people were immigrants

Little White Womin… | Another Strange Fruit

Ain’t no sisters here: A long history of white feminism consistently excluding women of color and embracing white supremacism

White women voted for Trump in 2016 because they still believe white men are their saviors

[White women have a history of betraying their sisters. The 2016 election was no exception. The pattern of white women choosing white men over women of color underscores some of the more insidious machinations of patriarchy and the racism ingrained in the feminist movement. White women’s modus operandi for gaining power—economic, political, and otherwise—is simple: acquire power from those who have it. And those who have historically have had it are white men. This has resulted in white women’s historic abandonment of their black and brown sisters, as well as their more heinous adoption of white supremacist rhetoric to advance their own status.

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These ethically unjustifiable strategies are evident in some of the feminist movement’s darkest days, beginning with the fight for suffrage. After the decision was made to exclude women from the 15th Amendment, which gave free black men the right to vote, leading suffragists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton adopted blatantly racist rhetoric. Frustrated with the stonewalling of women’s suffrage, they actively courted and collaborated with white supremacists in exchange for financial assistance to advance their cause. By aligning themselves with white men, these early feminists turned their back on black women and even black suffragists. White male supremacists welcomed the coalition, as Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote in a piece at the Atlantic, because it would shore up white nationalism at the voting booths.
During the next wave of feminism in the 1960s and 1970s, a similar strategy played out, this time on a structural level. The organizations fighting for women’s rights deliberately excluded their black and brown sisters so as to appear more acceptable to the white male legislators who held the power.
The ethical failures of white women resulted in black women creating their own feminism—womanism—as well as their own groups such as the Combahee River Collective, which argued that ending the systemic oppression of all women was a political imperative. “[W]e are actively committed to struggling against racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression and see as our particular task the development of integrated analysis and practice based upon the fact that the major systems of oppression are interlocking,” they wrote in their mission statement.
White feminism, by contrast, is the calculated rejection of intersectional sisterhood in favor of the acceptance and appreciation of white men. In its most destructive form, it is racism masquerading as self-empowerment. This is apparent in Elle magazine interviews with a handful of female Trump supporters after the election, who claim that they are “absolutely not racist” and they really just care about the “economy” and “get[ting] a good job.”
White women account for 37% of the American voting population, which means the votes of black and brown women, no matter how impressively they turned out for Hillary Clinton (94% of black women; 68% of Hispanic and Latino women), were countered by the large swath of white women who supported Trump.

Instead of turning to men for political coalition and social acceptance, white women need to turn toward women of color. This is the message of the late Harvard lesbian-feminist Barbara Johnson, who wrote in her conclusion to The Feminist Difference that “conflicts among feminists require women to pay attention to each other, to take each other’s reality seriously, to face each other.” Only by doing this will we be able to eradicate women’s internalized misogyny. Johnson continued, “feminists have to take the risk of confronting and negotiating differences among women if we are ever to transform such differences into positive rather than negative forces in women’s lives.”

While racism is undoubtedly a significant factor in white feminists’ failure to engage in intersectional activism, history also suggests that white women have been largely risk-averse when it comes to building coalitions with their black and brown sisters. This is near-sighted and unambitious logic. As Audre Lorde famously wrote in 1984: “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house,” because “[t]hey may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master’s house as their only source of support.”]

It was a Hot, Dry August back in 1680 | The Pueblo Revolt and Colonialist Narrative

[Reducing first contact to a “clash of cultures” fails to acknowledge the true intention and goal of colonizers: unrestricted access to territory, resources, and Native bodies. When the Spanish conquistadores made contact with the Natives of the Southwest, they were looking to eliminate us, not to simply convert and enslave us, but to remove us from the land permanently.

Considering that the Spaniards were weak, hungry, and on the verge of death upon making contact with Pueblo people, they did not immediately descend upon us in a shower of violence. In fact they begged for our help, and that is what they got. It was not long before their genocidal intentions were made clear. Accompanying the unyielding raids, rape, and indiscriminate killing of Pueblo people, medicine people, women, and Two-Spirit people were victims of especially heinous acts of torture which included being burned alive and cutting off the breasts of women.

In 1675 when hunts for tribal leaders and medicine people were in full swing, Pope’ began organizing the most prominent revolution in Pueblo history. It is important to note here that the Pueblo Revolt did not occur spontaneously because people were fed up with the violence and oppression they were experiencing — this is another myth. This myth ignores the way we commonly understand the political development of such uprisings. At least five years of intense organizing had to take place before the Revolt could be successful. This kind of organizing required the support and participation of entire Pueblo communities and, most importantly, a common understanding of the social and political climate, which meant identifying a common enemy — the Spanish colonial regime….]

The 1680 Pueblo Revolt is about Native Resistance

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Chickens Coming Home to Roost

One thing Mr. Trump has been consistently doing the last few months is not challenge this country’s sensibilities, ideals or democratic convictions. Mr. Trump stands defiantly upright, proud and stubbornly in the middle of the room, seemingly uninvited, like a thorn under the foot -infected- being a crystal clear, non-distorting mirror.
And looking at ourselves in that mirror after a 300-year orgy with street hookers, expired pills and moonshine, hangover, blackout and all, seems like encountering an intruder. Pants down.

And without a gun.

[George Erasmus, an aboriginal leader from Canada said, “Where common memory is lacking, where people do not share in the same past, there can be no real community. Where community is to be formed, common memory must be created.”]

The Problem the Republican Party, and now the Nation, has with Donald Trump

 

As Compassion is Becoming Scarce | The Urgency of Empathy and Social Impact in Museums

[I think in moments like these, it’s important for museums—and the people who work for them—to pause and reflect on the roles that we serve within our communities. Yes, museums are institutions that hold collections. But they can also serve a powerful role with our communities as active spaces for connection and coming together, for conversation and dialogue, for listening and sharing. Museums can be spaces for individual stories and community voices. They can be a space for acknowledging and reflecting on differences, and for bridging divides. They can be spaces for growth, struggle, love, and hope.

Roman Krznaric is among a growing chorus of voices who see an urgent need for empathy and human understanding in an era too often marked by violence, hatred, resentment, self-interest, and toxic political and social debates. In his TEDx Talk “How to Start an Empathy Revolution,” he defines empathy:

“Empathy is the art of stepping into the shoes of another person and looking at the world from their perspective. It’s about understanding the thoughts, the feelings, the ideas and experiences that make up their view of the world.”

In September 2015, Krznaric put these ideas into practice in the realm of museums with the development of  the Empathy Museum,dedicated to helping visitors develop the skill of putting themselves in others’ shoes. Its first exhibit, “A Mile in My Shoes,” did quite literally that, setting up in a shoe shop where visitors are fitted with the shoes of another person, invited to walk a mile along the riverside while being immersed in an audio narrative of this stranger’s life, and then write a short story about it. With contributions ranging from a sewer worker to a sex worker, the stories covered different aspects of life, from loss and grief to hope and love.]  

Read the full article:

The Urgency of Empathy & Social Impact in Museums

Generic Signifiers of Why Some Lives Still Don’t Matter That Much | King Leopold’s Soliloquy

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[Mark Twain wrote a satire about Leopold called “King Leopold’s Soliloquy; A Defense of His Congo Rule”, where he mocked the King’s defense of his reign of terror, largely through Leopold’s own words. It’s an easy read at 49 pages and Mark Twain is a popular author in American public schools. But like most political authors, we will often read some of their least political writings or read them without learning why the author wrote them in the first place. Orwell’s Animal Farm, for example, serves to reinforce American anti-socialist propaganda about how egalitarian societies are doomed to turn into their dystopian opposites. But Orwell was an anti-capitalist revolutionary of a different kind—a supporter of working class democracy from below—and that is never pointed out. We can read about Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, but “King Leopold’s Soliloquy” isn’t on the reading list. This isn’t by accident. Reading lists are created by boards of education in order to prepare students to follow orders and endure boredom. From the point of view of the Department of Education, Africans have no history.]

When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren’t Called ‘Hitler’

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Freedom, the State, and Selective Sensitivities