Saturday, May 31, 2008

Obama, Racism + Sexism, and Agreeing to be Offended

I came across Michelle Obama and the silence of the feminists on the blog THE G-SPOT while creating a subscription for the word "racism" on account at . This led me to the blog Jack and Jill Politics where I found the offensive image of Michelle Obama to the right: she's being branded by the KKK. The image apparently first appeared on a democratic site (not a McCain or Bush site) that supported Hilary Clinton. Jack and Jill Politics provides insightful criticism about this event. It's a must read.

I gave a workshop on racism on May 18th at Landmark Education's Conference for Global Transformation in San Francisco. The title of the presentation is "Agree to be Offended: Curious Connections in Conversations of Race." Stay tuned for a narrated PowerPoint presentation which will be available as a podcast on YouTube and iTunes in June.

I invite us all to consider it is what we never say but is there to be said about racism and being offended by racism or sexism that is keeping what we most despise (stereotypes, hate crimes, etc.) in place. It seems I would much rather flame about racism, gossip to the people who agree with my opinion of that it's wrong, I talk about the tip of the iceberg and end up ignore what's behind it, the mountain of racial and racist conversations from people I know and in the end I am left disempowered and waiting for the next time it happens.

I invite people to AGREE TO BE OFFENDED and STAY IN THE CONVERSATION with the very one whom you think offended you. This will happen at the person to person level first and foremost and it's likely to be your friends and family rather than the KKK whom you can intervene with. Get interested in what's behind their thoughts, actions and feelings.

From taking on this practice, I have seen people miraculously see the limitations of their own thinking without me telling them what I think. Just consider they haven't really been heard out and they keep screaming louder and louder or making images to spread their views without having to face opposition. If they were heard, perhaps they could stop their own hate. I just watched a video of Avenue Q, the musical, "Everyone is Little Bit Racist". What we have been doing isn't working to stop it. Let's try something new.

You may have lots to say about this image. But Michelle Obama continues to be graceful in the face of such harassment. She is going to be an extraordinary First Woman (and Lady). Hope feminists of all walks of life (including male feminists like Kevin Powell and Mark Anthony Neal blog about this one). The Obamas have brought something we have longed for to the country - powerful, authentic speaking and grace under fire. I am proud to be for the Obamas and am inspired to promote his campaign. I have never donated to a presidential campaign before and I've donated now 4 or 5 times. It is ok to be offended by the above image, but it's what you do, what action and talk comes after that that will make a difference. CONTRIBUTE TO and/or VOLUNTEER FOR THE CAMPAIGN OF YOUR CHOICE!! Si se puede!

Latinos for Obama Video
Love this video: had to share it with you all...Inspired by his previous work with on the viral web video "We Are The Ones," acclaimed music producer Andres Levin has united many leading figures of the Latin music and film community in an all Spanish language video in support of Barack Obama.

Song produced by: Andres Levin
Guitar by: Alejandro Sanz
Additional music and programming: Didi Gutman, Good and Evil
Assistant engineer: Ray Aldaco at Fun Machine
Video produced by: Scott Spanjich, Pilar O'Leary
Directors: William Garcia (Miami), Karen Fischer (NYC), Christian Suau (Puerto Rico), Jesse Dylan (Los Angeles), Bob Teitel (Chicago)
Executive Producers: Andres Levin, Scott Spanjich
Associate Producer: Alex Migoya

Talent: Alejandro Sanz, Paulina Rubio, John Leguizamo, Jessica Alba, Kate del Castillo, Cucu Diamantes (Yerba Buena), Pedro Martinez (Yerba Buena), Andres Levin (Yerba Buena), George Lopez, Luis Guzman, Don Omar, Voltio, Lila Downs, Lin Manuel Miranda, Frankie Needles, Huey Dunbar, Nydia Caro,
Ivonne Caro Caro, Brazilian Girls, Carlos MarĂ­n and family, Carola Gonzalez, Viva Nativa, Jose Alberti

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