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arvan's picture

Announcing the Riot 2011 National Conversation Series: Who’s in Charge?

2011 National Conversation Series: Who’s in Charge?

May 3, 2011
June 7, 2011
July 12, 2011

Each 90-minute discussion begins Tuesdays at 2:00 pm Eastern

The Riot’s 2011 National Conversation series provides a forum for self-advocate leaders to talk about:
• What gets in the way of people being in charge of their own lives and support that helps people be in control (May 3rd)
• What gets in the way of self-advocates being in charge of their own movement and support that is helpful (June 7th)
• Ideas about what self-advocate leaders and others can do to strengthen the movement (July 12th)

Speaker List

Sharon Lewis – ADD Commissioner
Ari Ne’eman – ASAN
Beth Davis – self-advocate, Illinois
Betty Williams – SABE president, Indiana
Chester Finn – self-advocate, New York
Gayle B. Gardner – self-advocate, Oregon
Kate Fialkowski – Kennedy Policy Fellow, ADD
Katie Arnold – Sibling Leadership Network, Illinois
Sam Durbin – self-advocate, California
Stacey Milbern – NYLN, North Carolina
Steve Holmes – advisor SANYS, New York
Jennifer Knapp – advisor, Illinios

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!

ADD (the US Administration on Developmental Disabilities) is currently hosting five regional summits to discover what is happening with self-advocacy across the country and develop recommendations for action to strengthen the movement at the state and national levels. Self-advocate leaders from up to 30 states are attending to speak up about the movement in their states.

The Riot wants to hear from self-advocate leaders in all 50 states, Canada, and elsewhere about the self-advocacy movement in your state. Self-advocate leaders everywhere are invited to participate in the Riot 2011 National Conversation series to speak up about Who’s in charge!

Jaded's picture

Borrowed Memories And Half-Sounded Syllables

Last week, I saw ‘A Passage To India‘ with my parents and grandma, it started out as a hilarious exercise in pointing out just how many racist elements could one mesh in a movie — turns out more than we can ever count! — and making cynical notes in my head like, “Not all Indians are always smiling all the time, okay?” and “Not all brown women keep their gaze centered on their feet, no not even always in colonial times!” to the part where my grandma started laughing at the “Silly white women trying to speak Hindi!” and then she started telling us about her school days — some 65 years ago when she was roughly about 12 years old¹ — where she and her friends would race to the Colonial Bungalow near their school in Pune, about running right home whenever they’d hear the horses hooves — for almost always it was the British in their town on horses — and trying to touch the fence of the Bungalow but being too scared to physically try it out, to the time when she and her older sister got caught and were lashed for ‘something’ which she doesn’t tell us. She was laughing at how uneven and rough their Hindi sounded, but didn’t know what the movie was about as her English isn’t as good – partly because of the time she was born in and in part because of her own decision to never ‘learn that tongue’ as an adolescent – and for a bit there, mum was transcribing what was happening on-screen and stripping the dialogue, settings from its inherent racism — pretty ironic for  a woman who once protested against the ‘White Imperial Capitalist Hegemony’ in the mid 80′s I thought — and by the time my grandma fully understood why were the White women speaking to the sari-clad-purdah-observing women, it wasn’t funny anymore to her. It took her a couple of days and a few sleeping pills to ‘become’ herself again.

Something like this isn’t a routine occurrence in my household — contrary to popular belief I don’t crumble and break down every time I pass a colonial structure or when I watch English movies or while reading English books — but a movie as specifically racist to Indians as ‘A Passage To India’ or going to the museum, looking at weapons that may have been used on some of my student’s great-grandparent’s are times when I want to re-write history or break away all ties with ‘my’ colonial past — whichever comes first. When faced with historical markers in specific situations, it becomes a tad difficult to view things objectively², to take the position dad took while viewing the film that, “This was an anti-racist book written in the colonial times! Pretty courageous on Forster’s part, no?”, to concede it under the label of This Is How Things Were Back Then. On some level I do understand that Forster like Joseph Conrad was ‘trying to do the right thing’, critiquing colonialism while it was going on — not a terribly popular opinion at that — but I find it very hard to applaud individuals who were more ‘humane’ than others — seeing how both perpetuated harmful and lingering stereotypes of the ‘native’ they were both writing of — to give Shiny Activist Medals™ to Dead White Dudes — a formidable camp on its own — that in no way produced any nuanced critiques of the Empire, not even ‘back then’. While Forster was writing ‘A Passage To India’, talking about Memsahibs and the ‘fascination’ all Brown men must inherently have with White women, we had writers like Premchand³ and Pandey Becan Sharma Ugra writing decidedly postcolonial literature — and many, many Dalit and tribal writers whose accounts  live primarily in their specific community’s oral traditions considering they ‘lacked’ Premchand or any other upper-caste Hindu writer of the time’s privilege to education and position in the caste-hierarchy.

Alex Karydi's picture

7 “Unhealthy Parenting Behaviors” and how it’s affected you!

When I first began my career, it was working in a South African Orphanage for children with HIV/AIDS, ten years later after a career in the field of addiction, I find myself working with kids again. The deal with working with kids in a therapeutic setting is that caregivers and parents are included in the package.

There is nothing worse to me than seeing a parent that does not care or has lost the interest in doing what’s best for their child.  Unfortunately, that is not always the parents fault, kids do not come with manuals and life is not a simple flat road that we travel with ease.  I know they have been many time that my bad decisions have affect my child and made me a “shitty” parent in those moments.

All we can do as parents is learn to do better. Hopefully, this article will not only help parents but those individuals that are wondering what may have gone wrong in their family systems, and motivate some to restore some inner balance and peace.

Here are 7 “Unhealthy Parenting Behaviors” that may have been in your family system or that you are currently doing with your own children.  If you notice that you may be doing any of theses, it’s important to recognize them and perhaps even go talk to a therapist on how to change the behaviors into healthier ones.

arvan's picture

Call for Papers: Sexuality in Muslim Contexts

WUNRN

WLUML – Women Living Under Muslim Laws

CALL FOR PAPERS – SEXUALITY IN MUSLIM CONTEXTS

Women Living Under Muslim Laws is inviting papers for its forthcoming Dossier 32: Sexuality in Muslim Contexts. Since the 1980s, across the globe and in many Muslim contexts women have witnessed and contested a rising tide of politico-fundamentalist movements, in which social conservatives and actors linked to the religious right invoke Islam to control the expression of women’s sexuality. This control comes in myriad forms and includes restricting women’s mobility, socialisation and modes of dress, and their autonomous control of reproductive rights, as well as women’s ability to make free choices concerning marriage and sexual partners.

Young women are often denied access to comprehensive sexual education and sexual health services. Within marriage, women are also often denied the right to use contraception and protection, even when their husbands may have HIV or other STIs. This control of women’s sexuality is increasingly being legitimated across Muslim nations by legal means; through strict legislation and the creation of moral police forces charged with the right to reinforce, often violently, adherence to proposed moral codes. Across contexts ‘anti-pornography’ laws are being brought to the table, and sex work remains criminalised and stigmatised. Queerness and transsexuality remain incredibly taboo, though women’s movements in Muslim contexts are increasingly taking up the challenge of breaking these silences.

Besides papers that explore such topics, we are also interested in receiving short reports (1,000 words) on various initiatives that women have taken up to promote women’s sexual autonomy or to counteract and resist limitations imposed on women by state or non-state actors.

Possible topics to explore include:

· Violence against women as a mechanism of controlling women’s sexuality (‘honour’ killings, stoning, femicide, female genital mutilation, etc.)

· Sexual politics of human rights

· Transsexuality

· Anti-pornography legislation

· Sex work

· Moral policing

· Sexual orientation

· Dress codes

· Women’s autonomous control of their reproductive rights

· HIV and sex education

· Autonomy in marriage and divorce

· Marital rape

The above list is not exhaustive and we are also open to other relevant suggestions.

Articles should be 4,000-7,000 words including references. We would like to have abstracts submitted by 25 April 2011, with full papers received by 20 June 2011. We will also consider published papers which are not freely available on the internet that may be relevant to activists focusing on issues concerning various aspects of sexuality.

Please email abstracts to the WLUML Publications Officer: pubs@wluml.org

Unfeminist First

 

Hello, I'm Thursday, the other half of Weekday Blues. Today I'll be talking about bullying in social justice, seeing as I experienced prolonged harassment on the Tumblogosphere recently. Trigger warnings apply accordingly.

 

It takes a tremendous amount of courage for a marginalised person to say something is X-ist. To talk about the structure that kicks them to the ground and walks on them. & a person who stands up does not derive any grotesque pleasure from the callout: it's neither enjoyable, nor entertaining. They rightfully fear retribution.

 

This is even more the case when the person walking on you has a feminist card.

 

This is nothing new: there is bullying in social justice. I've experienced quite a bit of it myself, & so have people I'm close to.

 

Every time I speak, someone twists my voice.

 

Every time my voice is strangled, I must bear the brunt of their denial. Though we are all working for the same ideal so I must bear my burden in patience, no? That in itself is victim-blaming.

 

This is only going to happen again, and again, and again, and again. & again.

 

Every "bugger off" I have snapped in frustration is not without reason: the amount of time we spend fighting "allies" is ridiculous. It is exhausting. It results in worse cultural paranoia.

 

The various kyriarchal structures are not something to be debated. They are established fact. They need to be engaged with critically & worked through without privileged guilt because marginalised people don't need you giving yourself kudos for doing what a decent human being should have been doing in the first place.

 

There is that constant pressure of "needing to take sides" when there are no real sides. Because you know what? It's a continuum. Everyone screws up. It's how you deal with being wrong. & people with feminist cards hate being wrong. It's somehow worse than the apocalypse itself. Yes, some people are more guilty than others, but all are responsible. 

arvan's picture

TEDxBG 2011 - Yana Buhrer Tavanier - The Forgotten People of Bulgaria

Social activist Yana Buhrer Tavanier shares the shocking stories of the children and adults in Bulgaria's orphanages and social institutions.

Christina Engela's picture

Not Seeing Is Believing


Ever hear a child put his hands over his ears, or sometimes closing her eyes too, and chanting loudly, "I can't hear you - lalalalala"?

Aside from the old adage that "there are none so blind as those who will not see", there are different names for this concept, such as "selective ignorance" and "self-imposed ignorance". I often use another term, because I think "willful ignorance" fits better due to the fact that it takes a conscious decision to decide to stay ignorant about an issue on purpose - especially when there is so much information available. We are surrounded by it, and so as far as I'm concerned, to remain ignorant about some things must take a supreme effort of will.

Ignorance is not knowing something, and ignorance in itself is not such a problem - people closing their minds and being willfully ignorant, is. Some people are unwilling to accept facts or information that will either contradict their beliefs, or relieve their ignorance - precisely because the facts or truth will disprove their beliefs. That is what happens when people become set in their ways, old and inflexible. It is the same with belief systems. The same could be said for languages - when they stop growing and changing to keep up with the people who use them, they become obsolete and die. Basically, what I am talking about here is resistance to change.

Likewise, it's amazing how fragile religion can be, how like a house of cards? When its continued existence rests on the continued denial of actualities and facts, because the pillars of that religion have come to rest on assumptions, mistakes and outright lies instead of the foundations upon which it was supposedly founded?

Take an example. Some people who belong to a particular religion, say Christianity for instance, hate gay or transgender people. They say that gay and trans people are "evil" because they are gay or trans, and they use their religion as an excuse for their hate, and drum up other people who feel the way they do into a frenzy of anti-gay and anti-trans sentiment - leading to exclusion, discrimination and persecution.

The gay and trans people say "stoppie bus", protest - and say they didn't choose to be gay or trans, and in any case most feel they were born that way. Just ask Lady Gaga, she'll tell you. The haters refuse to accept this, maintaining that being gay or trans is a "sinful lifestyle choice" and see this as relevant and fitting because all "sin" is a choice. The ringleaders attempt to mask their hate by making idiotic statements like "hate the sin and not the sinner", clearly not understanding that our expressions of love or self-identification are precisely part of who we are as people, and obviously not realizing the brute stupidity and implications of such a statement.
Jaded's picture

Writing Over Bodies

My book obsession is quite well known, in most circles I move and am allowed in; there is a long-standing joke that I don’t need food but just a fresh page to live. So when my student asked me rhetorically whether I ‘ever tire of theory’, he was rather surprised to know I did — can’t entirely blame him for holding this view, after all I did spend the last seven months talking solely in theories and of texts — in fact, I agree with Spivak¹ when she accuses prose of ‘cheating’. We are taught theory in a manner that we will be able to ‘frame our realities intelligibly’ – pretty problematic on its own already — but when it comes to translating words to practice, somewhere we break and falter. I teach English to children of lower caste and socio-economic backgrounds — technically speaking — this is the space I should be unleashing my postcolonialism in, making sure the harmful ideas that say, “Only a person speaking Good English will ever get a job anywhere”, but I can’t. The truth is, they do need a functional level of English to be employed anywhere  and if I start saying, “Forget the Empire’s tongue! Let’s subvert it and smash the system”, I will confuse them and even humiliate them — for subversion happens once you’ve mastered the tongue — and as first-generation learners of English, learning this tongue is hard enough as it is. On most days, the best I can do is not scold them — as the institution ‘requires’ me to — and not shame them when they code switch² to their native tongues.

(Un)Ironically, what I do end up doing is teaching postcolonialism, Said, Spivak and others to my IB students who are at times even more caste and class privileged than I am. We talk of the Subaltern, while when talking to the Subaltern — my code-switching students in this case — we still re-enforce the most heinous ideas concerning them, their languages and perhaps most importantly, routinely erase their Englishes. When this broken pattern of relating to people above and below us in the hierarchy of being is brought to light, the best we do is, “acknowledge privilege” and then hit a dead-end. The only difference is that now we have Shiny Good Activist Medal™. This isn’t to imply that my students — or even the Subaltern itself — don’t know about the neato colonisation thing, or the reason why certain texts are canonised and others weren’t, we’ve talked of those things — but that’s what it really is: rhetoric, words and talk. These words swirl out of my tongue, out in class, they nod and ask questions and we study on. When they see exam questions using standard forms of English — one they haven’t mastered particularly well — and their ‘intelligence’ is rated on how they fare in these exams, that are designed in an Othering tongue, so to speak. Then we hear stereotypes like,” Those damn Dalit buggers! We educate them, but what use? They still fail exams and waste our time and money. They are basically a waste of space and seats, I tell you!”, when we’re making sure they remain in the same position — one step under us.

Olga Wolstenholme's picture

Adventures in Menstruating

I got this great little zine from Microcosm Publishing (my new favoutite place on earth). I’ve only read one issue (issue number 5 as seen on the left) and I gotta tell ya, it’s pretty darn good.

I loooove the cover shot. The overall layout is super sleak and easy to read (some zines hurt my eyes the print is so small and cluttered).

Above all, the subject matter is king. There’s a great article about Activia (the yogourt) and how it’s marketed to women… and their hum..cycles.

I’ve had some really interesting conversations with people who menstruate over the years and it is really fascinating to me how so many people experience menstruating differently. Stories about the first time you got your period are almost as popular as stories about the first time you’ve had sex. I think people like to share stories about experiences that somehow speak to the people they have become.

I’ve written about my Diva Cup before and just recently that post got a lot of attention (someone linked to it on reddit or something like that)… Anyhow, someone commented on it and said “I think I just puked in my mouth a little”. Part of me is always a little tempted to be judgemental of people who think menstruating is gross, because it is such a natural part of our reproduction system. But I get grossed out by excessive amounts of drool or spit, so who am I to go all “natural woman” on your ass.

I do however think that it’s important to realize that a lot of the negative perceptions regarding menstruating were ingrained into her brains by marketing ploys set-up to… I don’t know… keep us in our place (?). Whatever, as long as your not being ignorant or oppressive you can go right ahead and think blood is gross. I give you permission (joking, almost).

(Posted at Cuntlove)

Christina Engela's picture

Spit Or Swallow?


Belief is subjective, you don't have to like somebody else's beliefs any more than somebody else might agree with folks standing in church waving their hands in the air. Some folks see religion as chicken soup for the soul - well, some folks like their soup with croutons, others with noodles. Some like tomato, others butter-nut. It would be a boring old world if we all just stuck to "hearty beef" now wouldn't it?

When I posted that on Facebook as a status, an old friend of mine replied, extending the metaphor: "Some people are vegetarian, others just hate soup, others say soup is for sick people, and some just eat soup cos they are too poor to eat steak."

What can I say to that, other than LMAO?

Be that as it may, some folks like to criticize other people for believing "a load of bullshit" because they believe in another religion different to their own - which they see as the only "true" or "right" religion. Somehow the irony in that completely eludes them.

Others like their own religion or belief system so much that they decide that other people should adhere to their belief system too, and cannot accept the possibility that other people might not want to, or would choose another belief system. You see, to them their belief system has become a lens through which they see the world, and without this lens they would be plunged into a world of darkness, terror and gloom, and for all intents and purposes, essentially blind. Substituting their own lens for another would not work for them either, as it would seemingly distort their view of the world to the point where the world would be overrun by monsters and demons and they would see their worst fears realized.

Yes, I have used yet another metaphor - this time substituting the religious views people have of themselves and the world around them with optical lenses, and each religion being represented by a different lens - each providing a starkly different view of the world. As in real optical lenses which come in different strengths, so too do religions. Christianity 25+ for example gives a different world view to that provided by Agnosticism -5. For one thing, the elephants look a little smaller, and things sure do look hazy, but not as hazy as for example when using Rastafarianism 0 (cough - cough, this is good shit, man). Yes, this is tongue in cheek, so please put down the gun and back away slowly and nobody will get hurt.
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