Tuesday, November 30, 2010



  • Approach gender violence as a MEN'S issue involving men of all ages and socioeconomic, racial and ethnic backgrounds. View men not only as perpetrators or possible offenders, but as empowered bystanders who can confront abusive peers. 

  • If  a brother, friend, classmate, or teammate is abusing his female partner -- or is disrespectful or abusive to girls and women in general -- don't look the other way. If you feel comfortable doing so, try to talk to him about it. Urge him to seek help. Or if you don't know what to do, consult a friend, a parent, a professor, or a counselor. DON'T REMAIN SILENT.

  • Have the courage to look inward. Question your own attitudes. Don't be defensive when something you do or say ends up hurting someone else. Try hard to understand how your own attitudes and actions might inadvertently perpetuate sexism and violence, and work toward changing them.

  • If you suspect that a woman close to you is being abused or has been sexually assaulted, gently ask if you can help.

  • If you are emotionally, psychologically, physically, or sexually abusive to women, or have been in the past, seek professional help NOW.

  • Be an ally to women who are working to end all forms of gender violence. Support the work of campus-based women's centers. Attend "Take Back the Night" rallies and other public events. Raise money for community-based rape crisis centers and battered women's shelters. If you belong to a team or fraternity, or another student group, organize a fundraiser.

  • Recognize and speak out against homophobia and gay-bashing. Discrimination and violence against lesbians and gays are wrong in and of themselves. This abuse also has direct links to sexism (eg. the sexual orientation of men who speak out against sexism is often questioned, a conscious or unconscious strategy intended to silence them. This is a key reason few men do so).

  • Attend programs, take courses, watch films, and read articles and books about multicultural masculinities, gender inequality, and the root causes of gender violence.  Educate yourself and others about how larger social forces affect the conflicts between individual men and women.

  • Don't fund sexism. Refuse to purchase any magazine, rent any video, subscribe to any Web site, or buy any music that portrays girls or women in a sexually degrading or abusive manner. Protest sexism in the media.

  • Mentor and teach young boys about how to be men in ways that don't involve degrading or abusing girls and women. Volunteer to work with gender violence prevention programs, including anti-sexist men's programs. Lead by example.

Copyright 1999, Jackson Katz. www.jacksonkatz.com
Reprint freely with credit.

Monday, November 29, 2010

4 Days after T-Day: 2 Cents from an Undercaffeinated Soul

Although I don't love the history of Thanksgiving--what with the Pilgrims handing out blankets with a heaping side o' smallpox as a pre-cursor to the eventual land-snatching done against my AmerIndian homies--I deeply respect the notion of being grateful for the blessings we've been given in life. Though the majority of blessings we have are as obvious as the First Lady of Cameroon's love of Simba-esque aesthetics, some are as subtle as Tommy Menino's homage to Bob Dylan's speech.

With that in mind, I'd like to honour some of the obvious and subtle blessings in my life:

I am grateful for my family, especially my beautiful momma, who taught me how to love unconditionally. This karaoke-addicted, fried fish-preferring, sack o' rice-hoarding, Gil Grisson-crushing, pink-loving, curly-haired woman is the breath in my lungs. She has the ability to strike fear into my heart by dropping hints that she'd like to have a talkative grandchild now, but nothing evokes the feeling of safety and being loved more than one of her hugs.

I am grateful for old friends who knew me during my cheesetastic Power Ranger fanfic writing days and still love me anyway, and for new friends who allow me to use them as guinea pigs in one of my cooking experiments. Nothing else quite proves I'm there for you, I accept you as you are, and I love you than your best friend declaring out of the blue that they love your tomatoey nose or your friend hunting down elusive Anzer honey because of its health benefits. When you have friends who call, text, or Facebook poke you no matter how far you are or how busy your lives are, you know they're for keeps.

I am grateful that I not only found intellectual fulfillment at university, but learned how to be a kinder human being who can effect social change. For this, I can never tire of thanking D, B, M, and S. They teach and they advise, and are some of the best in their field, yet remain humble and continually engage in a genuine dialogue. They also have good taste, judging from the fact that they gave me an A.

I am grateful for mobile phone companies that offer unlimited (long-distance) calling, text messaging, and web browsing. Without them I'd be more broke than Toni Braxton.

I am grateful for cute kittens and fat babies. Whenever I get frustrated with people (especially the male variety), videos or photos of cute cats and fat babies never fail to cheer me up. Those, and watching a video of Ibrahim Tatlises and his mustache singing.

I am grateful that despite a painful history of physical/cultural/linguistic genocide, boarding schools, poverty, alcoholism, religious intolerance, and a high rate of violence perpetuated against Native women, hope still lives among AmerIndians and Hawaiians. We still have a long way to go to reclaim the pride we had in ourselves before the missionaries and conquerors Macarena'd their way into our home, but not punishing the sons for the sins of their ancestors is a huge step. Forgiveness is a powerful step out of the shadow of victimhood.

I am grateful for love, because it is the most powerful choice there is. In the words of a people who can never vanish, I say to you all: Gv-ge-yu-hi. Do-da-ga-g hv-i.

I love you. Until we all meet again.

Be kind to one another.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The True Story Of Thanksgiving

Originally written by Richard Greener for The Huffington Post.

Richard Greener

Richard Greener

Posted: November 25, 2010 10:04 AM

The idea of the American Thanksgiving feast is a fairly recent fiction. The idyllic partnership of 17th Century European Pilgrims and New England Indians sharing a celebratory meal appears to be less than 120 years-old. And it was only after the First World War that a version of such a Puritan-Indian partnership took hold in elementary schools across the American landscape. We can thank the invention of textbooks and their mass purchase by public schools for embedding this "Thanksgiving" image in our modern minds. It was, of course, a complete invention, a cleverly created slice of cultural propaganda, just another in a long line of inspired nationalistic myths.
The first Thanksgiving Day did occur in the year 1637, but it was nothing like our Thanksgiving today. On that day the Massachusetts Colony Governor, John Winthrop, proclaimed such a "Thanksgiving" to celebrate the safe return of a band of heavily armed hunters, all colonial volunteers. They had just returned from their journey to what is now Mystic, Connecticut where they massacred 700 Pequot Indians. Seven hundred Indians - men, women and children - all murdered.
This day is still remembered today, 373 years later. No, it's been long forgotten by white people, by European Christians. But it is still fresh in the mind of many Indians. A group calling themselves the United American Indians of New England meet each year at Plymouth Rock on Cole's Hill for what they say is a Day of Mourning. They gather at the feet of a stature of Chief Massasoit of the Wampanoag to remember the long gone Pequot. They do not call it Thanksgiving. There is no football game afterward. 
How then did our modern, festive Thanksgiving come to be? It began with the greatest of misunderstandings, a true clash of cultural values and fundamental principles. What are we thankful for if not - being here, living on this land, surviving and prospering? But in our thankfulness might we have overlooked something? Look what happened to the original residents who lived in the area of New York we have come to call Brooklyn. A group of them called Canarsees obligingly, perhaps even eagerly, accepted various pieces of pretty colored junk from the Dutchman Peter Minuet in 1626. These trinkets have long since been estimated to be worth no more than 60 Dutch guilders at the time - $24 dollars in modern American money. In exchange, the Canarsees "gave" Peter Minuet the island of Manhattan. What did they care? They were living in Brooklyn.
Of course, all things - especially commercial transactions - need to be viewed in perspective. The nearly two-dozen tribes of Native Americans living in the New York area in those days had a distinctly non-European concept of territorial rights. They were strangers to the idea of "real property." It was common for one tribe to grant permission to another to hunt and fish nearby themselves on a regular basis. Fences, real and imagined, were not a part of their culture. Naturally, it was polite to ask before setting up operations too close to where others lived, but refusal in matters of this sort was considered rude. As a sign of gratitude, small trinkets were usually offered by the tribe seeking temporary admission and cheerfully accepted by those already there. It was clearly understood to be a sort of short-term rental arrangement. Sad to say, the unfortunate Canarsees apparently had no idea the Dutch meant to settle in. Worse yet for them, it must have been unthinkable that they would also be unwelcome in Manhattan after their deal. One thing we can be sure of. Their equivalent of today's buyer's remorse brought the Canarsees nothing but grief, humiliation and violence.

Dismantling Thanksgiving Myths: A Native American Story

Originally published by NDN News in November 2008, but the topic at hand is a timeless TRUTH of the history of our country. 

Dismantling Thanksgiving Myths: A Native American Story


by Aisha Ali, D.C. Youth Issues Examiner

In less than two weeks, Thanksgiving will arrive. The need for celebration may not come as easily for those who have lost their homes and have suffered many misfortunes throughout the year. However, one should be thankful for just being alive, shouldn’t they?

Nonetheless, I view Thanksgiving differently from others, even before this current economic crisis. While I always have expressed "thanks" for the many blessings God has bestowed upon me, with underserved communities experiencing destitution, living in substandard housing, being unable to properly care for their children; to afford health care; or to just overall survive, how could I be happy? To know many people would be homeless or starving on Thanksgiving certainly does evoke a "warm, light-hearted feeling".

The lives many Americans have experienced within the past few years, especially within the past year, have been the “ordinary” lives of many individuals for quite some time. Yes, the desolate life of others does intensify my gratefulness; however, as is the case with many middle-class Americans, my family has always been two or three paychecks away from homelessness. Still, this suffering of which I think on Thanksgiving does not discriminate me from others, as I am quite certain other Americans share the same sentiment. My view of Thanksgiving differs given my ethnic background as an individual of both African- and Native American descent. It is for this reason I always have held a jaded view concerning Thanksgiving, knowing its true history— or the true Native American story-- has yet to be published in many American history books.

In my eyes, Thanksgiving has never been about the Pilgrims-- and to many Americans, I question if this is their sole source of celebration, as many people blindly celebrate holidays and have no clue of their history. Although I am sure many people celebrate Thanksgiving as a way to express “thanks,” for me, Thanksgiving serves as another remembrance of how my Native American ancestors were maltreated; annihilated; ousted from their land; and consigned to reservations, eradicating every trace of their pre-existing life.

Thanksgiving rehashes memories of how the hospital staff, in its refusal to treat my great-great grandfather, sent him home to die from pneumonia because he was Native American. Thanksgiving reminds me of how my great-grandmother had “to pass” as a light-skinned black person to avoid being forced on a reservation. When thinking of Thanksgiving, I recall how my Nation, the Cherokees, was forced from its land in Georgia, leaving a “Trail of Tears.” As I sit around with my family and share thoughts while eating on Thanksgiving, I think of how the very ingredients with which my food was prepared, had been once picked by the hands of my Native American ancestors who served as slaves in North Carolina and the Caribbean. Needless to say, I also think of my African ancestors who toiled away in the fields to pick the very foods with which my food was prepared. America, to me, is not the “Land of Pilgrim’s pride," but should be and is to me, the "Land of Native American pride".

The national holiday, “Thanksgiving,” was not initially created in the way most Americans have come to know it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Quote of the Week


If you do not feel yourself growing in your work and your life broadening and deepening, if your task is not a perpetual tonic to you, you have not found your place.

--Orison Swett Marden 

We must never permit the voice of humanity
within us to be silenced. It is Man's sympathy with all creatures that first makes him a Man.

--Albert Schweitzer

Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.

--Viktor E. Frankl