It is not a coincidence that the knowledge, perspectives and skills (obtained through degrees) that directly correlate to the betterment, uplift and empowerment of marginalized groups in a White supremacist capitalist patriarchal society are also the degrees often deemed “useless.” It is not a coincidence that other than medicine (and not because of the “care of life,” but because of how it is so amazingly profitable for the health insurance industry and other business industries—not even speaking of doctors here), any life, health, education or social/cultural knowledge-reaffirming degree or job is often deemed purposeless and assigned a low value in dollars (salary, the only way that value is measured in a White supremacist capitalist patriarchal society).
As I tweeted:
Lists of “useful” degrees are always shaded by sexism, patriarchy, gross capitalism and limited thinking as to how degree can be applied.— Trudy (@thetrudz)
We live in a society that conveys the message that studying people and their cultures is stupid and “useless,” but studying to own the companies that make and sell the objects of mass consumption that some of these same people make (often as slave labor or low-paid labor) is “purposeful.” And, we (including me—I, like every other person in the U.S., has goods made overseas) profit from it.
Studying business and economics today (especially within a frame that serves to protect the status quo) is often labeled as “purposeful.” Studying, for example, how the slave trade in the U.S. directly correlated to economic productivity and war in the 19th century, is deemed “useless.” Too much “race,” “humanities” and “cultural studies” are involved in the latter. The “purpose” evaporates if someone wants to examine how the American economy as is, is simply not possible without exploitative labor at its base and slave labor in its history. Too much “race” and “humanities” stuff.
Does it not seem even remotely ironic to some Black people (who seem to have no fear of sub-prime loans, upside down mortgages, and expensive car notes) that their student loan fears seems to scare them more than any other debt? Why is this debt more frightening than debt over objects (again, where studying the creation/production/ownership of these objects is deemed more important than studying the people who create them) that are foreclosed on and repossessed, in a way that an education cannot be? It’s because it is marketed as something to fear, while debt over consumption, or consumption itself, is not. (I know Black people with low-paying jobs, due to lack of education, who have astronomical debt from consumption, yet even $1000 in student loans frightens them. I do wonder if it is a smokescreen in order to stay away from school because of built up fear and discouragement over facing microaggressions and stereotype threat in their K-12 years, or simply being unprepared because they attended a poor-performing high school that ignored their needs.)
Do Black people understand that the sheer existence of more STEM jobs versus social science and art jobs bears zero correlation on actually acquiring one of these jobs? You’re still Black when you apply (whether your name is Sharon or Shemika). And, as I’ve watched many friends, this knowledge that is deemed “purposeful” did not make getting hired in these fields easier simply because more jobs exist in these fields or that these jobs are deemed socially “worthy” and rewarded with a higher income. It meant that they had more places to send a resume—not that they had an easier time get hired.
Even one of the most brilliant (Black) scientific minds, Neil deGrasse Tyson revealed his respect for the humanities during a talk about his book, Space Chronicles - The New Frontier. Someone asked him if historians (History…you know…one of the degrees often called stupid or “useless,” since it usually falls under the arts side of arts and sciences at universities) are important to society since he knows scientists are. deGrasse Tyson said this:If you don’t know the conduct of humans and what motivates them and the relationships between nations, then go back home, you’re not useful out there if you want to bring real solutions to real problems. Historians are really important in this, particularly historians who put things in context rather than just re-tell a timeline of events. Context matters. Attitudes matter. Cultures matter.
And…are Black people going to continue to fetishize Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg? Our stories will no more be their stories than their stories will be Trayvon Martin’s or Troy Davis’.
As I tweeted:
Blacks ignore class privilege, White privilege, personal exceptionalism, timing, connections & think they will be Jobs/Zuck as a dropout = :(— Trudy (@thetrudz)
If ONE (white male, class privileged, genius) Steve Jobs succeeded w/o college, but 50,000 Black lawyers succeeded with it, why choose A?— Trudy (@thetrudz)
These three messages are consistently portrayed to us and then eventually by/between us:
1) Education debt is the worst and scariest debt, so pursue consumption debt, on a lower paid job (due to lack of education), and skip education altogether.
2) Skip college altogether since it works out for exceptional cases of people marketed as products (Black celebrities) or privileged White males in technology. (Americans, in general, love exceptions, special cases, celebrities, flukes, magic and other remnants of exceptionalism).
3) If you couldn’t be convinced to avoid or drop out of college…well then…major only in whatever is deemed “useful” and appropriate by a White supremacist capitalist patriarchal system. Evaluate education and degrees in a simplistic way: i.e. the Blueology major must be a Blueologist at Blue Inc., or he/she is not “using” their degree.
When the same people who control a White supremacist capitalist patriarchal society are the ones controlling the hiring (down to rejecting hairstyles, zip codes, and “ethnic names”) and are the same ones deciding what degree is valuable, the correlations can’t be ignored. If they decide that anything not of interest to (usually White) men individually or White supremacist capitalist patriarchy itself, has no purpose, and punish people for making educational choices outside of what currently serves a market that has no social or cultural loyalty to or interest in the greater need of social justice, then the “useless” label is really a social construction to exclude whatever can create a threat to the status quo.
If Black people are going to smile and nod and agree that anything on these “useless degree” lists are in fact “useless,” at least know WHY we are agreeing, and what this word “useless” is really conveying.
(I’m definitely not saying that post-secondary education itself doesn’t need a makeover in some areas and deconstruction/reconstruction in others. This post isn’t about how to reform schools, the cost of schools, 2 year/4 year state schools vs. proprietary schools etc., but about recognizing the source of some of the labeling in regards to education in its existing form.)
Say I’m 32 years old and you’re 22 years old.
In how many years will we be the same age?
Silly question, right? If you define aging as a process that stops at death, the only way we’ll ever be the same age is if I die first. If you don’t, then we’ll never be the same age. Every time you age a year, I also age a year. Since our ages increase at the same rate, you will never catch up to my head start. We have achieved a total equality of aging, but that does not change the permanent inequality of our age.
Okay, say I have a million dollars and you’re completely broke. If we both get a dollar a day, how long will it take you to catch up with me?
Now, this one’s even sillier, because if you have no other resources, your dollar a day is going to be eaten up by basic living expenses that it doesn’t quite meet, and I have an excess of money that can be spent on money-making opportunities that pay off far better than an additional $365 a year. I could literally burn the dollar I’m getting as part of our Totally Equal Income and still make more money in a year than you do just by sticking my money in the bank.
But still: both of us getting a dollar a day is totally equal, right? It means we’re being treated exactly the same.
And now, final problem:
If we have a world that contains structural inequalities, systemic imbalances, disproportionate danger faced by some, and unequal access to resources and opportunities, is “treating everyone the same” really going to result in equality?
Show your work.
(note: reblog as text.)
This may be one of the best TEDtalks I have ever seen. It’s just amazing. If you have twenty minutes to spare out of your day, you will not be disappointed as activist and fundraiser Dan Pallotta calls out the double standard that drives our broken relationship to charities. It’s thought provoking, and a call to action.
TEDtalk by Dan Pallotta. Interesting.
The incarceration rate in the United States of America is the highest in the world. As of 2009, the incarceration rate was 743 per 100,000 of national population (0.743%). In comparison, Russia had the second highest, at 577 per 100,000, Canada was 123rd in the world as 117 per 100,000, and China had 120 per 100,000. While Americans only represent about 5 percent of the world’s population, nearly one-quarter of the entire world’s inmates have been incarcerated in the United States in recent years. Imprisonment of America’s 2.3 million prisoners, costing $24,000 per inmate per year, and $5.1 billion in new prison construction, consumes $60 billion in budget expenditures.
This is it, exactly.
YESSS oh my god this
Incarceration Nation via Black Agenda Reports
The U.S. imprisons more people per capita than any country on earth, accounting for 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, despite having just five percent of the world’s population.
America currently holds over two million in prisons with double that number under supervision of parole and probation, according to federal government figures.
Mass incarceration consumes over $50-billion annually across America – money far better spent on creating jobs and improving education.
Under federal law persons with drug convictions like Garner are permanently barred from receiving financial aid for education, food stamps, welfare and publicly funded housing.
But only drug convictions trigger these exclusions under federal law. Violent bank robbers, white-collar criminals like Wall Street scam artists who steal billions, and even murderers who’ve done their time do not face the post-release deprivations slapped on those with drug convictions on their records, including those imprisoned for simple possession, and not major drug sales.
“Academics see this topic of mass incarceration as numbers, but for millions it is their daily lives,” said Princeton conference panelist Dr. Khalilah Brown-Dean of Yale University.
Exclusions mandated by federal laws compound the legal deprivations of rights found in the laws of most states, such as barring ex-felons from jobs and even stripping ex-felons of their right to vote.
“Mass incarceration raises questions of protecting and preserving democracy,” Dr. Brown-Dean said, citing the estimated five-million-plus Americans barred from voting by such felony disenfranchisement laws.
Many of those felony disenfranchisement laws date from measures enacted in the late 1800s which were devised specifically to bar blacks from voting, as a way to preserve America’s apartheid.
During the 2000 presidential election Republican officials in Florida fraudulently manipulated that state’s anti-felon voting law to bar tens of thousands of blacks from voting. For example, many people with common names like John Smith who shared their name with a felon were also barred from voting, despite having clear records.
Yet George W. Bush won by Florida – the state where his brother Jeb served as Governor – by 537 votes. That victory in the state where George W.’s brother Jeb served as governor sent him to the White House.
Policies creating barriers to things like education and employment make it “increasingly difficult” for persons recently released from prison to “remain crime-free” according to a report released earlier this year by the Smart on Crime Coalition.
More than 60 percent of the two-million-plus people in American prisons are racial and ethnic minorities.
“The U.S. imprisons more than South Africa did under apartheid. A nation that promotes democracy has a racial caste in its prisons. We must break that caste system,” said the special guest speaker at the “Imprisonment” conference, Pennsylvania Death Row Journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, who telephoned from prison.
Racism is written all over the economically/socially debilitating practices embedded in mass incarceration.
A recent University of Wisconsin study found that 17 percent of white ex-con job seekers received interviews, compared to only five percent of black ex-con job seekers – a race-based disparity that is additionally devastating for people of color like Garner.
Ohio State University Law Professor Michelle Alexander, the featured speaker at that Princeton conference streamed live on the internet, said a major reason why imprisonment rates soared during the past four decades despite decreases in crime rates is anti-crime policies craftily manipulated by conservative Republican officials for political purposes.
Harsh anti-crimes policies of the 1970s and 1980s were largely a “punitive backlash” to advances of the Civil Rights Movement, said Alexander, author of the hugely popular 2010 book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.
Pennsylvania’s prison population, for example, soared from 8,243 in 1980 to 51,487 in 2010, while the California prison population leapt during the same period from 23,264 to over 170,000.
Incarceration costs are particularly obscene when compared to college costs.
A report released in January 2011 by Pennsylvania’s auditor general that noted the Keystone State now spends $32,059 annually to imprison one person…a cost that exceeds the annual $20,074 tuition for the MBA degree program at Penn State University.
A report released in January 2010 by a UCLA professor noted that the Golden State spends over $48,000 annually to imprison one person, more than four times the tuition cost of UCLA for a California resident. Back in 1980, California spent more of its state budget on higher education than on prisons, but that had reversed by 2010, with more of that state’s budget going for prisons than for higher education.
America’s corrosive War on Drugs – a “war” that basically ignores drug kingpins – has devastated black families, author/professor Alexander said.
“A black child today is less likely to be raised in a two-parent household than during slavery,” she said. “In major urban areas almost one-half of black men have criminal records. Thus they face a lifetime of legalized discrimination,” encompassing exclusions from employment and access to financial assistance required to secure a viable quality of life.
Africa-Americans are 13 percent of America’s population and 14 percent of the nation’s drug users but are 37 percent of persons arrested for drugs and 56 percent of the inmates in state prisons for drug offenses, noted the 2009 congressional testimony of Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project and a conference panelist.
Both ex-felon Herman Garner and Dr. Eddie Glaude Jr., chair of Princeton’s Center for African American Studies, which hosted the conference, expressed similar views on the impacts of mass incarceration.
One of the hardest things for me is realizing I cna’t do this.
I can’t having to truck belongings from spot to spot, and prepare for a show, and work so I have money, do this. Visit my neighbors for more than moments, do anything but depend on google.
keep this blog as a resource for info.
I need these spread.
I need these to ” catch on” I need to have people talking about this far and wide. Because I can’t
I am a victim, I am displaced and I need the quality of life that we accept for people to be better.
This is turning into another reason to excuse horror.
” Well it’s a big storm how can we propose to help them?”
” They’re alive aren’t they?’
” It takes a lot to coordinate….”
It’s 30 degrees and the weather is dropping we’re two weeks from Thanksgiving and people without
are being told to go to the web to get help
so I am.
because right now it looks like my city, my state, and my country of residence
This is an amazingly powerful, clear and well-researched article that exposes how the “pro-life” movement is anything but.
Okay, while I’m always willing to pass on what I know, I usually prefer if people ask, rather than demand :)
I guess to me, being an intersectional feminist is the simple matter of not being a douche bag. It’s about thinking about how your actions affect others, and how the words you say can either be inclusive of others, or exclusive. And you don’t want to be exclusive.
Here are some tips that I try to follow on Tumblr:
- Follow a lot of blogs run by POC, particularly WOC and queer MOC. Many write posts regarding their experiences and the challenges they face. Read them. Don’t send them questions asking them to explain things to you, because they aren’t here to be your teachers. They’re here to have a safe space to write about their day, and they don’t need someone in their ask box asking to be educated about matters that are really important to them. I’ve seen many of them say that it’s mentally exhausting. So just read, and if you have a question—google is your friend.
- If you see a post written by a POC (particularly WOC) pertaining to their struggles or their point of view regarding their own community, don’t jump in. It’s not your place. Especially if you have different views. I don’t know for certain, but going by your icon, you look white. Which is cool, but just know that your opinion in these matters means nothing. You don’t have the experience or the understanding to comprehend what they are talking about. And a huge problem of white feminism is talking over WOC and their experiences.
- I’m not saying you can’t reblog their posts— you can, as long as they’ve signified they’re okay with that post being reblogged. But just know that the moment you put a post on your blog, you’re responsible for what your followers do with it. If one of your followers is super racist on the post, it’s your responsibility to shut that shit down. You’re the reason the OP is getting hate on their post from that person, and you need to make it right.
- When criticizing men in the media for violence against women, or violent lyrics in music, consider who you are going after. If the only people you are attacking are Chris Brown and Tyler the Creator, consider why that is. Because even if you don’t think you’re being racist, if you’re giving passes to the likes of Sean Penn, John Lennon, Avenged Sevenfold, and Eminem, that’s a big problem.
- When talking about the wage gap, keep in mind that the 77 cent figure only relates to white men and white women. The figures for WOC and MOC as related to white men are much lower.
- DON’T compare any oppression you faced with things like slavery, lynchings, the Holocaust or anything like that.
- Don’t culturally appropriate, or excuse/celebrate people who do.
Cissexism & Heterosexism
- Acknowledge the existence of trans* people and don’t leave them out of your discourse.
- Follow a lot of blogs run by queer people, and follow the same rules listed above about respecting their boundaries.
- Remember that not all women have vaginas, and not all men have penises. This is particularly important considering feminism’s tendency to relate penises with manhood. Having a penis =/= being a man. A lot of feminists will mock penises as a way to cope with living in the patriarchy, but that completely disregards women with penises. Trans* women are REAL women. Trans* men are REAL men.
- Jokes like “justin bieber looks like a woman!” are transphobic. Saying you can practically see a woman’s adam’s apple is transphobic.
- Respect a person’s preferred pronouns. If you don’t know, ask.
- If a person says they are agender or genderfluid, or any other gender configuration, then they are.
- Know that marriage equality is a priority, but it’s not the most important issue regarding the queer communiity.
- Respect a person’s sexual orientation. They aren’t lying about who they are or are not attracted to.
- People have the right to act as masculine or femme as they want.
- This is particularly important with Islam. Radfems LOVE to bag on Islam as a woman hating religion when that absolutely is not true. The vast majority of women who wear head coverings are doing so electively. In the words of Ainee, don’t confuse culture with religion.
- Respect the validity of other religions, even if they are not mainstream.
- Being fat is PERFECTLY OKAY. Fat people don’t owe their health to you. They can dress how they want, go where they want, do what they want and eat what they want without any judgment.
- The same goes for thin people, but know that thin people, while they will experience body policing to a certain degree, will never face the same kind of discrimination fat people do. Don’t compare the two situations.
- Body hair on women is not disgusting. Women have no obligation to shave their legs/underarms/genitals. Similarly, they don’t have any obligation to remain hairy if they’d rather shave.
Disabilities and mental health
- Be really mindful of the language you use. Ableist language is something I personally struggle with. Words like dumb, stupid, idiot, lame and other things are ableist.
- Don’t describe yourself as depressed, bipolar, schizophrenic, or having any other mental affliction if you are not diagnosed so. It trivializes the experiences of those who are.
- As a feminist, you probably already have a pretty good idea about sex positivity. But you need to acknowledge that the way sexuality is applied to other groups is different. White women can participate in things like slutwalks without even realizing that words like that can be empowering for them, but have been used to shame and hypersexualize WOC from a young age. Ditto trans* women.
- Also note that people have the right to be nonsexual if they want to. There is nothing wrong with being a virgin or abstaining from sex.
- There’s nothing wrong with bdsm and other kinks as long as the people involved are consenting to it. Nothing is degrading if the person wants it to happen.
- Supporting sex work is great and all, and individuals who want to participate in sex work willngly should be supported. But in your support, don’t ignore the fact that many people are forced into sex work and are not consenting in what is happening to them.
- Don’t assume that because somebody hasn’t had a formal education they are somehow less intelligent than you. Their points are still valid, and often stem from personal experence, which is a thing no classroom can teach you.
- Dictionary definitions don’t mean shit.
- Because something was written in a history book, it doesn’t mean it happened that way. History is written by the oppressors.
- When advocating for a more eco-conscious lifestyle, remember that not everybody has the ability or resources to live the way you are suggesting. It doesn’t make them a bad person for doing it.
A couple of other things:
- Know that you’re going to mess up. You can try as hard as possible not to, but it’s going to happen. You’ve been raised with several privileges that pretty much guarantee you’ll fuck up once. If someone calls you out for it, don’t get defensive. Apologize and learn. And don’t do any of those bullshit apologies like *I’m sorry you got offended* because that puts the responsibility on the person you upset. Just apologize for what you did and learn from it. Hell, I’ve probably fucked up a gazillion times in this post without realizing it.
- Recognize that none of the categories above are exclusive. There are black muslims and disabled trans women and Latin@ bisexuals and all the combinations in between. Don’t ignore their existence.
- Don’t be offended by posts calling white people crackers, or saying things like ‘die cisscum”. They are writing things such as that for a reason and no matter how much it might sting to read, nothing they write in their posts will ever inflict the amount of pain they have suffered in their lifetime just for being different than you.
- Don’t be a radfem and look down on women who choose more traditional lifestyles. Their choice to get married and have kids is just as valid as whatever choice you make for yourself.
- In the future, don’t come to me to tell you how to deal with groups I am not part of. I have absolutely no authority to tell you what will or will not offend people. I can only tell you what will or will not offend me.
And last thing, feminism doesn’t mean jack shit if you’re not intersectional.
Why the hell can’t I have hope for humanity for more than 24 hours … Really Gillard you ain’t shit
for everyone reblogging the video/quote/gifset of julia gillard kicking tony abbott’s ass, yeah, it was great.
but.. she’s still bad. not as bad as tony abbott, but still.
australian politics suck, there is no good team.
Yeppppppppppp. It’s nice when she lets that bogan fire out and singes the Opposition’s eyebrows just a bit, but don’t forget that she’s still a regressive, socially conservative puppet of the NSW Labor right and one of the key architects of modern day Labor careening over a cliff towards the sharp pointy rocks of irrelevancy.
One good deed a month does not make up for being Bronwyn Bishop with red hair.
Why Millennials aren’t buying cars or houses, and what that means for the economy
HAHA NO MONAY!!!!!
Maybe our generation aren’t buying houses and cars because EVERYTHING IS SO FUCKED
You want us to actually talk to bank people and get home loans and auto loans? They are still fucking us! Any time I go into a bank, I feel disgusted. You want me to do MORE business with the who want to charge me 5 dollars for every single swipe of my debit card? Get fucked!
You think I’m gonna buy a car? A car? Where am I gonna get the money for a car and the insurance and the insurance against the insurance company if God forbid they decide to do the same things they did to the poor Fisher family and countless others? And fucking GAS? Are you crazy? The planet is dying, and you want me to buy gas at $FUCK.YOU/gallon?
In the past 5 years since the economy fell apart, we’ve been adapting. We’ve been listening to countless horror stories of those who made the risk. Those who saved and did it right, and still ended up with an inferior product with inferior service that RUINS YOUR LIFE. It’s not like ordering a pizza, and instead of sausage, you get cheese. It’s like ordering a pizza and then your credit is ruined and you are flat broke. The pains of acquisition aren’t worth it if it can all be taken away like a bureaucratic fart in the bathtub. It would be smarter to save our money for tickets to god-damn Mars than to invest in these hideous, broken systems.
We aren’t cheap. We fucking hate doing business with you people.
All these pieces on Millennials are so mired in confusion since we don’t even trust journalists any more. The news, our entire lives, has been scary. Think about being 8 and processing the deaths of abortion doctors or homegrown terrorism. Now try to process the news when every asshole on camera just lies. The news hasn’t had an ounce of truth in it for 10 years. Can you not understand how much we don’t trust anyone who is older than us? How can you trust anybody when the president and vice-president of the United States lied to the Secretary of State so they could START THE WRONG WAR!
Also, that graphic? Is that what you think we all look like? Are you fucking kidding me, Atlantic?
I hope they never find out how to market to us. I hope we splinter so much that companies like Ford will have to make a decent product instead of asking the Vomit Spouts that created Jersey Shore how to create MORE fantasies about how great THINGS will make your life. We don’t attach to things because things break. We saw everything break.
But, that’s just me.
Hope for the future. I have it.
Well said, good sir!
Eeeeeexactly. It isn’t that we don’t want them, we are being practical; all the wanting in the world won’t give us $250,000 (or a loan for $250,000) for a medium-sized, old, and probably run down house (or the +$300,000 for a new house. ugh.). Neither is it all that useful when it comes to getting that new car. A decent number of us have cars—they’re just used. Probably from someone in our family or friends or something and was almost definitely made before 2005. If there was a way to turn our college degrees into gold that we could trade for nice cars and new houses, do you really think we’d say NO? As it is, debt is already a monster on our shoulders. Why would we ask for more if we’re still working through our school loans?
At least we have a chance at getting a smart phone with a data package.