Category Archives: women of color

Three Sistahs Talk Feminism And White Women

By Andrea Plaid

Home Girls

Happy New Year, SBF family!

We deeply apologize for our silence. Tami and I are going through some deep life changes on our ends–my relocating to Philadelphia and starting a class on social-justice writing while looking for steady-income work; Tami becoming an adjunct professor; both of us pitching story ideas and writing for other media outlets–so, we haven’t been around as much.

Forgive us?

One of the the project Tami and I are involved in is our homie Sofia Quintero’s upcoming transmedia book, Feminists Hate Men, which takes on the myths we’re so familiar with about people who work towards gender equity. According to Sofia:

“The ebook is going to be free to download for those who register for the Feminist Love Project which is a telesummit I’m launching in March 2014. The event itself is free, too. Registration opens on Valentine’s Day.”

We’ll give you more details about the telesummit soon!

In the meantime, after the jump is an excerpt from the upcoming e-book of Sofia, Tami, and me discussing the notion that feminism is for white women. (Unfortunately, we don’t have the transcript yet. Sofia said she’ll provide it soon!)

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Sirius XM: Does That Umbrella Come With A Pink Slip For Babchik?

By Guest Contributor Alison Roh Park; originally published at Race Files

“I want to buy an umbrella [that comes] with an Asian girl…In my experience, girls who stand next to me longer than 20 seconds get a creampie.” Mike Babchik, Host of “Man Banter” on SiriusXM to an Asian American woman at Comic Con, October 2013

Mike Babchik. Image via 18 Million Rising.

Mike Babchik. Image via 18 Million Rising.

You may have heard about the racist misogynist Mike Babchik who sexually harassed at least one Asian American attendee at Comic Con this month, right here in my hometown of New York City. Mike Babchik is a creep. But we’re all familiar with creeps like him. All you have to do is walk outside or Google “Asian women” and these kinds of messages about Asian women’s servility, hypersexuality and availability to White men (and really all men for that matter) abound.

Here in NYC, I’ve experienced racist sexual harassment from [insert any expletive you want] like Babchik since I was 11 years old. And with 20 years of experience under my belt, I can tell you it isn’t about “free speech” or “irreverent humor” or any of the whitewashing terms that his corporate guardians at Siruis XM might throw at the public who is demanding Babchik’s termination—if they would even respond. How many APIAs and allies will it take for Sirius XM to even acknowledge the nearly 1,500 people who have demanded action?

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An Ode To—And A Complaint About–“White Boy Realness”

By Andrea Plaid

Charlie Hunnam, Actor/Underwear Whisperer

Charlie Hunnam, Actor/Underwear Whisperer

Latest report from my Interracial Mating/Dating Outpost: I’m catching up on my Sons of Anarchy watching—I’m near the end of Season 5–which was interrupted by my Superstorm Sandy displacement. Holding the center of this biker Hamlet production is Charlie Hunnam’s Jax (left), swaggering through this pile-on of a drama in his more convoluted and murderous attempts to aright the legacy of his father, the late John Teller, who wanted to get the Sons of Anarchy bike club out of the darkness of their lucrative illegal trades and into the marvelous light of some utopian, perhaps off-the-grid community.

Yeah, Sons is what that the critics say—great drama and all that. But I’m still looking at Jax’s swagger and some of the responses to it from Black women on Twitter.

Some of these sistahs—some of whom I admire for their brilliant takes on race, gender, class, and pop culture—I would consider “race women”: they love Black folks hard and sturdy, even as they lovingly critique The Community. And they profess to love the brothas hard, as comrades in the struggle and as companions, whether for the night or a lifetime of them. But when Jax saunters across the screen, those same sistas giddily tweet that their panties fly off.

And it’s not just Jax that “does it to them.” He’s the latest—albeit fictional—manifestation of “White Boy Realness (WBR).”

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Policing Latin@ Identities (a.k.a Who Is The Most Latin@?)

By Aimee Thorne-Thomsen

Puerto Rican Women's History

I’m a little brown gurl from New York. I’ve always been comfortable in that identity; it fits me like a skin. Part of that comfort comes from knowing who I am. And part of that comfort comes from knowing that other people know me, too. I don’t mean that other people know me well, or even deeply. What I mean is that when I walk down the streets of Washington Heights or Kingsbridge or Greenwich Village, people recognize me. They see a brown gurl, probably Puerto Rican or Dominican, maybe mixed…but definitely Latina, a woman of color. To be seen for who and what I am–and have that reflected back to me–was critical in shaping my identity as a Latin@.

I didn’t realize the power in that until college when I first encountered the policing of identity, specifically Latin@ identity.

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Too Old For The Freelance Economy Fairy Tale

By Andrea Plaid

Image via virtuemarttemplates.org

Image via virtuemarttemplates.org

I’m tapping out of the full-time freelancing writing life. I don’t have the constitution for it.

Or maybe there isn’t a constitution—a binding structure or a shape—to sustain this life for me…and others who leave the profession.

Of course, we’re warned that the full-on freelance writing life would be very hard, to be prepared for “feast or famine” cycles by having so much money to cushion you, to buy things in bulk during the flush times in order to survive the fasting ones when our pitches for blog posts/magazine articles/ news stories aren’t accepted or the check doesn’t arrive on time, if at all.

But what these warnings don’t tell you about is, to really maintain a certain quality of freelancing writing life over time—to be able to pay for a mortgage or rent, food, transportation, clothing, utilities (including phone and some sort of internet access), and some “pocket money” in order to attend those networking events to buy drinks—one also needs to what I call an “invisible income structure.” SBF homie Deanna Zandt touches on this at Forbes, but what this entails is having a financial safety net in place that bolsters the freelancer’s income, such as a steady-paying gig, having roommates, having a partner who works a steady-income job, living on public assistance (from unemployment to food stamps), living off parental support or an inheritance (be it money, property, etc.), student loans, living in a geographically inexpensive place, and/or some other break with expenses or monetary supplement.

Without that structure, how many freelancers are really “making it”—meaning that they’re able to not only pay for the basics, including the aforementioned “pocket money”, but are able to live a comfortable  middle-class or upper middle-class life strictly on their earnings, when the market is demanding more from writers for less (and by less, I mean “free”) or, at least, six bottles of wine? Especially in a metropolitan place like New York City, which still is seen as the literary/artistic nexus of the US and still the most expensive city in the nation?

And this life isn’t relegated to New York writers, the usually middle-class US-educated–though so many are still, monetarily speaking, the working poor–creative class and the working-class day laborers, some of whom are undocumented immigrants. In fact, this freelancing life is the reality of US working life. What actors and writers and fine artists have been told (and frankly, we tell each other) is our lot—under the romantic myth of The Starving Artist for —has now metastasized. The economic uncertainty that undergirds the Starving Artist Myth crept into corporate and non-profit “office culture,” with the rise (and rising acceptance) of the temp worker. It also inhabits academia, with the increasing dependence on adjunct faculty. Unlike adjunct professors and artists, the temp jobs held at one point held out the promise of full-time work, if not a 40-hour work week for a certain period of time—which some companies took advantage of—then going from a “temp-to-perm” position in a company, complete with medical and other benefits for one’s self and one’s family (depending on the structure of the family) when hired. With that acquired full-time job—as so many others presumably have in the company—one could build a life, like a home.

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Tell Someone “No,” Get Called a “Whore” (#StandingwithDNLee #batsignal)

Editors’ Note: We’re running this on SBF not only in support of Dr. DN Lee, but as a segue to talk about how not getting paid for creative work isn’t a feasible option for women of a certain age, particularly women of color of a certain age. We’ll explore this further on Wednesday.

By DN Lee, as told to Isis The Scientist; originally published at Isis The Scientist…

Earlier today my friend DNLee shared an interaction with me that really disturbed me. It disturbed me, in part, because it happened to her and and she’s my friend and I love her. It also disturbed me in part because I think that its the sort of thing that happens to many women. But, most of us lack the bravery and clarity of DNLee, and so we keep quiet about it. We tuck these experiences away and call them part of the female or minority experience. We don’t share them.

As a result, the men around us are shocked when they learn the way that the women they know are treated. I asked DNLee for the opportunity to share the amazing response that she wrote with my readers. In turn, I am asking (with her permission) all of you that read my blog and have your own blogs (or Twitter) to help carry DNLee’s story to your readers. Take what she’s written and repost it on your own site (with attribution to her). I’m heartbroken to learn the way that she was treated, but I’m more heartbroken by how many people don’t realize what the women in their lives are experiencing. I hope you’ll help me.

Here’s DNLee’s voice…

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