In defense of the sanctimonious women's studies set || First feminist blog on the internet

White supremacist murders nine people at Emanuel AME Church in an act of terrorism

On Wednesday, a shooter entered Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and killed nine people during a weekly Bible study. Emanuel, like so many other black churches, has been the target of racial violence in the past — most famously, it was burned to the ground in 1822 in retribution for a planned slave revolt — and no matter what people might like to convince themselves, it was again this week. It wasn’t about religion, it wasn’t about politics. It wasn’t, to any extent that authorities can determine, about any one individual. It was about hatred. The alleged killer, known and open white supremacist Dylann Roof, sat with his victims for an hour that night in Bible study, and then stood up and opened fire, saying to one man, “No, you’ve raped our women, and you are taking over the country … I have to do what I have to do.” And then killed him.

Well, I can see no way in which this will almost certainly go horribly wrong

Given recent mass outrage over police officers’ ability to kill black people with legal impunity and the brutal way they have dealt with peaceful protesters, William Bratton, Chief of the NYPD has proposed the obvious solution:

Give 350 police officers with machine guns, long rifles, and body armor, and send them to patrol the city, with a special mandate to deal with terrorists and protesters (you know, those two groups have so much in common, after all). Well, thank goodness! Why didn’t I think of that?

Bratton literally said these officers would be “dealing with events like our recent protests, or incidents like Mumbai or what just happened in Paris.” Because all those events go together. Peaceful protests against police brutality are so much like anti-semitic shooters targeting shoppers at a kosher grocery and murdering many of them.

Stop and think for a minute: Bratton thinks that what we needed in recent protests was the presence of cops with machine guns. To do what, pray tell? For that matter, how would these officers have improved matters in any of NYC’s crises over the past fifteen years?

Crime in this city is at its lowest ebb in quite some time, so clearly the best move is to deploy heavily armed cops like we’re in an issue of Judge Dredd or something. The cops enacted a slow-down for two weeks, refraining from giving out tickets for bullshit offenses, and anarchy did not overtake the streets. This is nothing but a naked grab for police power, an attempt to solidify authoritarian power, and intimidate protesters as well as regular people–particularly black people.

The title of this post is clearly mistaken. The thing to fear is not that this move will happen and go horribly wrong. The thing to fear is that it will, if enacted, almost certainly go horribly right, in all the ways Bratton is envisioning.

#JeSuisCharlie Anger, Grief and Solidarity #CharlieHebdo

Some lit candles, others held up copies of Charlie Hebdo, including one that had on the cover a Muslim kissing a magazine cartoonist, with the headline: “Love is stronger than hate.”. Others simply held aloft pens in protest at the killing of journalists. “We need to show the terrorists that they cannot win,” said Jules, a student.

“Revenge” shootings in Santa Barbara

[Content Note: shootings, murder, misogyny]

Andie and Donna have both posted links in the Open Thread to news items about the Isla Vista mass shootings, and rather than let this atrocity swamp the social thread I’ve decided to give this its own post.

I ask commentors to avoid speculating about possible mental health diagnoses. What we know as facts is horrific enough.

The strengths and weaknesses of #BringBackOurGirls

Currently circling the social media globe with the force of impassioned clicktivism is the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. Sometimes it’s accompanied by photos of African girls (not always Nigerian), sometimes by photos of Nigerian mothers gathered in protest, sometimes by links to news stories, sometimes by nothing at all. It offers solidarity and raises awareness — but it isn’t without issue. We need to show solidarity, raise awareness, and hold those in positions of power accountable. We also need to understand what we are and aren’t accomplishing when we retweet.

Is it time to talk about guns yet?

The suspect in the horrific shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin has now been identified. He is Wade Michael Page, a 40-year-old army vet and described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “frustrated neo-Nazi who had been the leader of a racist white power band.” He’d also washed out of the army after a reduction in rank for being drunk on the job and was ineligible for enlistment. He may also have just broken up with his girlfriend. Tell me again why we don’t worry about violent white men or their sense of entitlement?

He also had a 9/11 tattoo and an apparent inability to tell brown people apart. An inability he shared with a lot of dumbshits in this country:

Though violence against Sikhs in Wisconsin was unheard of before the shooting, many in this community said they had sensed a rise in antipathy since the attacks on Sept. 11 and suspected it was because people mistake them for Muslims. Followers of Sikhism, or Gurmat, a monotheistic faith founded in the 15th century in South Asia, typically do not cut their hair, and men often wear colorful turbans and refrain from cutting their beards.

“Most people are so ignorant they don’t know the difference between religions,” said Ravi Chawla, 65, a businesswoman who moved to the region from Pakistan in the 1970s. “Just because they see the turban they think you’re Taliban.”

There are around 314,000 Sikhs in the United States, according to the Association of Religion Data Archives. The temple in Oak Creek, one of two large congregations in the Milwaukee area, was founded in 1997 and has about 400 worshipers.

Threats against Sikh-Americans have become acute enough that in April, Representative Joseph Crowley, Democrat of New York and co-chairman of the Congressional Caucus on Indians and Indian-Americans, sent a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. urging the F.B.I. to collect data on hate crimes committed against them. In the previous year alone, he said in the letter, two Sikh men in Sacramento were slain, a Sikh temple in Michigan was vandalized, and a Sikh man was beaten in New York.

That’s not to say that violence against Muslims would be fine, but if you’re going to have a beef against members of one group, don’t go after members of a completely unrelated group just because you can’t be bothered to learn anything about the people you hate.

I’m glad law enforcement is explicitly calling this an act of domestic terrorism, something that they’re seemingly reluctant to do. But we still won’t talk about guns in any kind of rational manner. But count on it, someone will speculate that if only the priest had been carrying, this wouldn’t have happened.

My Views On National Security As A Seventh Grader, and How it Took A Social Movement to Make Me Proud to Be An American


Baby, it’s complicated.

But like all complicated relationships, underneath it all, I love you.

It wasn’t always like this. We’ve been on quite a journey.

It started when I was eleven—my first week of Middle School. I heard my mother on the phone with my father in the other room.

“Oh my god. That’s terrible. Ok, ok, ok”

She came to get me to tell me that someone had crashed two planes into the World Trade Center. You might recall the event that I am talking about.

We didn’t know who had done it, or why or where. We were just watching it replay on the TV, again and again in complete shock and horror. I had no idea what the World Trade Center, or even New York City really was in the first place. I was eleven.

I just knew that it was horrible.

Everyone was talking about it. Everyone knew someone who knew someone who had a narrow escape. I can’t imagine what it was like to be in New York and to know someone who had not had a narrow escape.

One month later, I was watching the news with my family (I was a weird eleven year old), and the news broke that the United States had begun to bomb Afghanistan.

In my Middle School classroom, we shared news stories every morning—as eleven year olds, we were pretty tapped into things. A boy raised his hand and I assumed he would bring up that we were bombing Afghanistan, so I put my hand down.

“Barry Bonds got his 500th home run this weekend!”

I raised my hand tentatively. The teacher called on me.

“I think we started bombing Afghanistan this weekend.”


It’s one year later, and now we’re in a different social studies classroom. We were still bombing Afghanistan—but this time we were bombing Iraq, too. We were having a debate in my social studies classroom about whether or not this was right (remember, I grew up in the Bay Area).

Those who were for invading Iraq sat on one side of the room, those who were against it sat on the other. Gradually, more and more went and sat on the pro side of the room, seventh graders spewing out the ideology of Fox News that in order to have peace, we needed to have war.

I tried to see things from their perspective, trying desperately to turn needing war for peace into logic. Remember, I was a weird, emerging hyper-politicized twelve- year old who needed friends in Middle School.

Soon, I was the only one on the anti-war side of the room.

Was I crazy?


I was politically dissident. I was the only dark haired ethnic girl in a room full of blondes. I had yet to discover eyebrow tweezing, so even my forehead seemed like it was paying homage to Saddam Hussein.

I was un-American.

Luckily in high school I found some fellow social outcasts to befriend. I also found a socialist self-proclaimed comparative politics teacher to inappropriately fall in love with from a distance, a wonderful English teacher who introduced me to George Orwell and a drama teacher who remains a dear friend to this day who was not afraid to vent his political opinions—despite the school guidelines expressly prohibiting that.


I moved to New York City for college—and got out of my tiny town in California. The wars that started when I was mid puberty, had only escalated and I was very much a woman. They grew a lot more than my boobs ever did.

But Barack Obama won the election!

Everything was supposed to change. The troops would come home. We would have healthcare. The world wouldn’t hate us anymore.

I was proud to be an American for the first time—ever.


It has been eleven years since I raised my hand and told my class that we were bombing Afghanistan. We still are. Supposedly, we have withdrawn from Iraq—but we have decimated the country, and the destruction from the chronic diseases—both physical and psychological—has yet to take its toll. I’m not proud to be part of a country that has this global legacy.
However, last year something happened—Americans rose up.

Now, I have many mixed feelings and emotions about the Occupy movement—something I will probably have to save for another blog post where I do not divulge my entire perspective on national security circa 7th grade—but it did something magical. It criticized America—but with love and desire to reclaim America from a corrupt government and a corrupt culture. It criticizes corporate personhood, and the culture that endorses it, demands accountability for the banks that catapulted us into a financial crisis, and brought together dangerous people with revolutionary ideas.

It brought together the types of people who sat alone on the anti-war side of the room in their Middle School classrooms.

I realized that I wasn’t crazy that whole time.

So, today we celebrate a revolution. We celebrate proclaiming our independence from a country whose values we felt were aristocratic, exclusionary and claustrophobic. We celebrate the bravery and imagination to chart our own course as a people and create, rather than adhere to our future. I hope that we the people can reclaim our independence—and what it means to be American, away from how our politicians have defined it through destructive foreign policy and exclusionary immigration decisions that happen behind closed doors in Washington, DC.

I hope that we, the American people who will reclaim our independence are on the frontier of creating a new country, shaped by our unique identities and voices that is more economically and socially just, and a much better neighbor to our fellow citizens of the world.

When I look around at the dedicated, hard-working, creative and loving Americans who are coming together and doing everything in their power to make that happen, the weight I felt that I didn’t belong for so many years is lifted and I feel proud to be an American.

I’m gonna go drink beer now.