I normally wouldn’t do something like this, but given the dismissive and disrespectful response we’ve received from the people responsible for producing and proliferating this offensive image for daring to speak out, I’m coming to you all for help.
The offensive image above was plastered across the halls of my law school and put on the internet as the cover photo as a joke to advertise a party. Given this nation’s history of using black women as props, mascots, and metaphors, women of all colors and those standing in solidarity with us were offended by this. Reasoned replies on the Facebook event explaining that the photo was offensive were deleted. Some who had their comments deleted were ignored. Others were sent dismissive and disrespectful responses explaining that the photo is “camp,” a joke, and bemoaned the fact that “we lost Joan Rivers too soon” because perhaps then we’d understand why this is apparently funny.
Because it was clear that honest and open critique would be silenced and ignored, myself and three other black queer/female students wrote an open letter outlining why the above image is racist and sexist and asking for an apology. Since posting the open letter, the people responsible for the image have not apologized, but have put up one response essentially reprimanding all of us who have voiced our opinions for daring to speak out in a way, tone, and forum of which they do not approve. Their response mischaracterized our critiques, were indicative of entitled and privileged thought, and were emblematic of the very issue our letter was meant to highlight and explain.
It is clear that those responsible for this image and for making the halls of my law school a hostile and alienating space will not apologize for or acknowledge their behavior until they are made to see that what they have done is offensive and not okay.
Please help by reading the open letter, sharing it, and reblogging this post to help us make clear that this type of mascot-ing and mocking of women of color will not be tolerated.
I leave you with an excerpt from our letter:
…This is not just racist or sexist in a theoretical, these-kids-can’t-take-a-joke sense. These images, when controlled by the wrong people (here, racially unconscious white men) are harmful to those of us, particularly to black women, who enter the halls of Berkeley Law and other law schools fighting a nearly insurmountable presumption that we do not belong, lack merit, and are ignorant and incompetent. Now, images of bodies like ours and dance forms which first found life in the minds of our sisters, for which we have been defamed, ridiculed, called outside of our names, and punished for performing and merely being associated with, have been stolen, bastardized, and reduced to jokes and posted for the consumption of the privileged white heterosexual men walking the halls of an elite, top-ten law school. These are institutions which have been historically hostile to us, but which we (perhaps naively) hoped could be a site of our overcoming. It hurts. It is a slap in the face–a reminder that our presence is only desired in the symbolic form of props, mascots, and metaphors.
“we lost Joan Rivers too soon”
Because that clearly unlocks the key to understanding humor.
The open letter is really spot on.
Anonymous said: Do you have any suggestions of jobs for people with anxiety? I'm 19, can't go to college because of my anxiety, I was homeschooled in High School and I just want to make money and work but my anxiety is hindering me :(
Hmmm not really sure on this one, my love… The only advice I can offer is this. Retail jobs may seem like hell, but believe me when I say a good retail job can actually do wonders for your anxiety. ANY job is going to be scary at first. But when you get good at retail you find yourself feeling so much more capable to talk to people, and people from all walks of life! It lets you get comfortable with that scripted sort of conversation, and whilst that may not seem like a worthwhile skill to have, I’d argue it is invaluable. Before I learnt it I couldn’t even talk to a bus driver without getting the ol’ nervous sweats. Now that I’ve got the pleasant superficial chats skill under my belt though I can at least go out and have a nice day in the world without obsessively avoiding all possible human interactions.
Try and find somewhere that isn’t hella busy so you won’t be constantly under the pump. Somewhere even that you might get some time to yourself. The main thing is though that you just have to push yourself to a reasonable degree. You have to sort of decide that fuck it, I’ll start this god damned job search and I won’t stop until I’m wearing some swish new shoes!! Don’t expect it to be easy, because it WILL challenge you. You are more than capable to be a superstar though, the only one who would tell you otherwise is yourself. And down the track when you do leave your first job you will have come so far from where you are now, in ways you couldn’t predict yet are so thankful for. You honestly have nothing to lose and everything to gain from giving the job search a crack- put your foot out there, see what job feels right, and I trust that you end up somewhere awesome with lots of hot customers.
~~Anxiety cat xxxx
this is a cool and sensitive answer, <3 u, Anxiety cat.
I haven’t been on my personal tumblr much lately but I have to say - I loved this conversation, and not just because Ivan is a dear friend of mine who I’ve been having great conversations with for years now about race, books, online marketing for the books we love, and so much more.
We’re 3 episodes in now at MiP and have some great guests coming up, including a bookstore owner, a roundtable on those publishing certificate programs with 2 POC who went through them, editors, and much more. Subscribe to us on iTunes!
Date night! [x]
Episode 1: Introduction to Minorities in Publishing -
In the first episode publishing professionals Bev Rivero and Jennifer Baker discuss their respective backgrounds (over 20 years’ experience) and their reasoning/inspiration for the Minorities in Publishing podcast, as well as what listeners can expect to hear in future episodes,…
This is a thing! And I will be posting the hell out of it everywhere when you can subscribe on itunes.
I made this thing that may be relevant for your Pride activities. My friends and I will be handing these flyers out during the Pride celebration because we’re frustrated! And feeling more invisible and angry than ever! ANYWAYS here you go team! If anyone wants a file so they can print this out themselves, please get at me and I can send it your way!
HAPPY PRIDE OR WHATEVER