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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

All the Supreme Court Decisions Are Important, Dammit

I woke up this morning and checked my phone as I do every morning and discovered that the Supreme Court made a ruling about the Voting Rights Act and decided to remove federal jurisdiction on states with a history of racial voting discrimination. Intrigued, I started reading a few articles about it. Turns out it's one of the biggest Supreme Court decisions this term along with the DOMA and Prop 8 decisions.

So, why haven't I heard about it until now?

You literally can't throw a stone on the internet without hitting someone talking about the DOMA and Prop 8 decisions. When the trial was going on, my Facebook feed was covered with red equality signs and other signs made to combat those red equality signs. Now that the decisions will be announced tomorrow, those signs are making their way back.

All of this is awesome. I love that these cases have garnered so much public attention, and that most of it is largely in support of marriage equality. Looking at the internet and seeing so many people saying that I should be able to marry the person I love feels amazing.

But let's compare that to the amount of coverage and buzz that the decision about the Voting Rights Act got. Even today, the day of the decision announcement, I haven't seen even a fraction of how much I'm sure I'll see of the DOMA and Prop 8 decisions tomorrow. And a whole lot of what I've seen has been preceded by qualifying statements somewhere along the lines of "Hey, the DOMA and Prop 8 decisions won't be announced until tomorrow morning, but there's this, too, I guess".

This seems like a fairly accurate representation of how the internet feels about this decision.
Really, all of these decisions revolve around the oppression of marginalized groups. The difference is which groups. Unfortunately, a lot of people have the "homophobia is the new racism and racism is over" mentality (like the Supreme Court, apparently) and thus don't really see this decision as a big deal.

It's a really big deal.

The day isn't even over yet, and Texas is already advancing a new Voter ID law and district map. Although, neither of those things is really new since they were already blocked by the federal court last year. For discriminating against black and Latino minorities.

And yet, the buzz is still minimal. Hmm.....maybe it's because a chunk of the LGBT community is white, and so those in power (also mostly white people) subconsciously value their rights more. Although, let's be real, marriage equality only really helps out the L, G, and B, and everyone always forgets about the B. 

All three of these cases are critically important. It just really sucks that they aren't all treated that way.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Shit Idiot White Cis Straight Men Say #2

Welcome to the second installment of my Shit Idiot White Cis Straight Men Say series. In the first post in this series, my girlfriend's ex-boyfriend insulted her "tiny female brain" and he was rightly torn apart and fed to wolves electronically. In this exciting episode, we shall experience racism and prejudice against Muslims. Fun for all.

But first, a disclaimer. I am white and not Muslim, which means I do not know or understand fully the experiences that Muslims and people of color face. If anything I say in the following comments and/or blog post is overstepping my boundaries and/or misusing privilege, please call me out on it so that I never say anything like it ever again.

Please feel free to say this to me at any time.
With that, let's begin.

 The link is to a Chicks on the Right post about a march to the White House that the American Muslim Political Action Committee plans to have on September 11, 2013 in protest of how their 1st amendment rights have not been upheld and how grossly Muslims have been treated since the events of September 11, 2001. Makes sense, right? Apparently not to this guy and the Chicks on the Right. I responded how I often respond to stupidity on the interwebs: sarcasm.

Really, Mr. White, Cis, and Straight? You need examples of discrimination against Muslims in America? I mean, at least you gave me something incredibly easy to find proof of, but have you really been living in that much of a bubble? It took me literally three seconds of Googling to find this article. I even gave him a quote so he didn't have to hurt himself actually reading the article.

Oh, yay! Another thing that I can find proof of in my sleep. Also, a lovely generalization of the Muslim religion, which he clearly knows nothing about. I gave him another article and quote for him to read (or not).

It's not like the quote I gave him just explained why that might be or anything, but whatever. I can spoon-feed information when necessary.

And there he goes, pulling the "the mainstream media has a liberal bias" card that conservatives are ever so fond of. I'm just going off the few journalism classes I've taken, but I'm pretty sure that most of the mainstream news media (besides FOX News and MSNBC) try pretty hard to be politically unbiased in the stories that they present. Doesn't mean it always works, but they're definitely not blatantly liberal. Even if what he's claiming was true (which it's not), other biases would prevent those stories from being told.

Because his conjecture about Islam not being a peaceful religion is rooted in so much fact. And, you know, at least he got the white part of the media bias right. We can work with that. And manipulate his own misinformation against him later.

Totally, Mr. WCS. Repeating a tired cliche is definitely going to win you this debate. Especially since the only actions you're taking into consideration are the actions of an extremist group that most of the practicers of that religion reject.

Nobody's arguing that one, dude. And I believe this brings our "use of the phrase 'actions speak louder than words'" tally up to four.

It's extra frustrating because he clearly understands, he's just choosing not to accept it.

That is a different thing than the thing you were saying before, sir.

There are two possible explanations for that statement: 1) He's changing his previous statements to fit his present needs even though they don't line up or 2) He's so trapped in his little rural Iowa Christian bubble that he doesn't realize that there are really other religions outside of Christianity that atheism could possibly oppose. I'm going to assume it's a combination of both.

Everybody loves a good cop-out. Apparently that question was too much for him to handle. I'm taking that as a victory on my part.

Seriously, though, I think conceiving of different religions besides Christianity as actual entities deserving recognition is unfortunately very rare for individuals from the Bible Belt of this country. They haven't seen those people in everyday life, so the only knowledge they gather of their existence is from the mainstream media, which doesn't even provide genuine voices for those people. This is a big part of why I feel getting as many different voices in the mainstream as possible is of the utmost importance. Voices of marginalized peoples need to be heard without people having to strain to hear them because, unfortunately, not all that many people are willing to put the effort forward to hear them if they have to try.

In conclusion, I'm going to continue the tradition of putting adorable animals at the end of these. Here you go.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Pretty Little Liars Is Way More Than Just a Pretty Little Teenage Drama

The Pretty Little Liars season premiere is tonight, which makes today the perfect day to deconstruct my love for it in a blog post.

How can anyone not love those pretty little smiling faces?
Don't let the marketing of this show fool you. Almost every official picture I've seen for this show makes it look like your typical teenage drama where the girls are witches with a capital B. It took me way longer than it should have to find a picture of the four main characters in which they actually looked like friends. But, the friendship between these four girls is the backbone of the entire show. It's what keeps them together when A (the mysterious texting entity out to get them) threatens to tear them and their whole lives apart.

I feel like the way the show is marketed is detrimental to how it's perceived in the television spectrum. It's dropped into the "guilty pleasure teen soap opera" basket by viewers who then go watch Mad Men while scorning the people who actually enjoy it. I don't have enough fingers to count the number of scoffs I've gotten from people when I tell them Pretty Little Liars is one of my favorite shows. It's a tad annoying.

Felix is having none of your television elitist crap.
Sure, Pretty Little Liars has the tendency to be a little campy and over the top, but so did Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and there are college classes about how brilliant that show was.

The main thing that puts Pretty Little Liars at the top of its class is the impenetrable friendship the four girls share. I've only read the first book of the series the show is based on, and I couldn't bring myself to read the rest of them. In the book series, the girls aren't friends. They're thrown together by A torturing them, and that's the only bond they really share. Boy, am I glad that was changed for the TV show. Their friendship defies the stereotypes of teenage girldom, both in the show and out. The people of Rosewood assume that the girls are attention-seeking liars, while the people of the real world assume they are shallow and stuck-up. These characters break out of those boxes again and again.

This show also has one of the best portrayals of queer women I've ever seen. Queer women as in plural. As in several ladies who love ladies (and also sometimes boys because bisexuality is a thing that exists despite its erasure in the media) with distinct personalities and multi-faceted characterization which makes them essential characters instead of just ploys to get ratings.

In conclusion, Pretty Little Liars is a thing you should watch. You should probably start from the beginning, though. This show is twisty and complicated in the best way ever.

To further convince you, here's some more of their gorgeous faces.