Friday, September 10, 2010

Martin Luther King Jr. Quote and a Memory of Ignorance

One may well ask: How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others? The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.
- Martin Luther King Jr.
I'll never forget the day I had to tell a "room full" of people (it was online) that this was a basic tenant of civil disobedience.  That, yes, civil disobedience meant breaking laws on purpose and that yes this was a foundational part of MLK Jr.'s philosophy for the Civil Rights movement (which he got from Gandhi) (never did manage to work Bayard Rustin or basically the more complete story at all into it because, well, I couldn't even get them to go with me on the very basic fact that Gandhi and MLK had the audacity to decide they had an obligation to disobey unjust laws).

I used this very quote to prove my point when they flatly refused to believe me.

Even now, looking back on it, I'm stunned at the ignorance. Just what the fuck did they learn about this man and the Civil Rights movement in school/growing up, that they missed this???

And, wow, how thoroughly has the kyriarchy managed to sanitize his story and legacy, eh?

Thursday, September 09, 2010

More stuff that I think I should have already posted about but haven't: Fat Hate

More in this impromptu series...
[For previous editions see: More stuff that I think I should have already posted about but haven't: Racism and Stuff I think about differently now; children, feminism and more]

Did you know that I'm (generally speaking) down with fat acceptance?

To me, this seems like an especially obvious thing, but, given posts I've read, especially recently, I guess it's not as widely held as I thought!

What often goes against fat acceptance, in both feminist and non-feminist conversations, is that "fat" is inherently unhealthy.  And of course, health is important and it's something we should be talking about, right? Well, if you haven't heard this before now I am just going to say, that premise is bullshit.  (Not about "health" being important, that IS important...but more on that later...)

I have a precisely healthy BMI (right in the middle) and am by most people’s definitions “thin,” if definitely not “skinny,” and after three flights of stairs I’m breathing pretty damn heavy.

That's not really that healthy for a TAB (temporarily able bodied) person!

Which is the whole problem with equating weight ("fat") with health: because it’s quite simply NOT AN EFFECTIVE MEASUREMENT TO GENERALIZE FROM.

Quite simply, our bodies are unique and an unhealthy amount of weight on one body is not going to be an unhealthy amount of weight on another body.

If we really want to talk about health, weight shouldn’t even come into it.


Because if a person has healthy habits, and their body is carrying weight it considers “extra,” that it doesn't need, that weight will go away. If that person with healthy habits’ weight DOESN’T go away then their body thinks it needs it, so let’s assume that’s correct!  Instead of assuming we know better...than that person's own body...what they person should look like and what they need to be healthy.  Fat, for some people, is a by product of unhealthy habits.  But as with so much Western thought, we attack that by-product instead of looking to the ROOT of the issue.

The far more important question when discussing health, imo, is: do we as individuals and as a population have access to healthy habits?

Cuz what I see is that MOST of us don’t. Really don’t. We’re too goddamned tired to put in the WORK (and it is work) to make 3 healthy meals a day. We’ve not got any time (or money) to spare to "just take a walk" or go to the gym.  And we’re too goddamned poor to go to the co-op or the locavore restaurant instead of McDonald’s.  Or there are literally NO grocery stores in our neighborhood to even TRY to get healthy food.  (Just for a start... I'm sure I could come up with many more examples).

These are STRUCTURAL issues working against our health, and aren't structural issues what we as social justice people are supposed to be concerned with? Wouldn't that be a more effective strategy in the pursuit of healthier communities?  Instead of just class and/or fat shaming individuals for “letting themselves go” or whatever?

So yeah, let's get on with talking about health but let's leave the fat hate at the door, folks.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Bay Area Event: Return to Daylight - Public Reading of the Qur'an in Berkeley on September 11th

I received this via the Bay Area Women in Black today:
Please announce and spread the word.

A Florida minister, Terry Jones, together with 50 of his followers, is planning an act of religious hatred and intolerance, the public burning of copies of the Qur'an (the Muslim holy scriptures containing the words of the prophet Muhammad) on Saturday, September 11.  This hateful act has been widely condemned around the world, including by General David Petraeus, commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

In response, and as an act of religious fellowship and solidarity, people of faith here in the Bay Area are joining others across the country for an interfaith public reading of the Qur'an on the same day.  The event will take place at Ohlone Park, in Berkeley on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010 at 3:15 PM.

We will meet at the corner of Sacramento and Delaware at 3:15 and together find a good spot in the park.

We shall all symbolically stand with Muslim Americans and read aloud in English parts of the Qur'an, affirming that we will not stand by silently while others perpetrate un-American acts of hate in the name of patriotism or religion.

All people -- of any faith or no faith -- are welcome to join us.  We will read and discuss the Qur'an for about 30 - 45 minutes. The official event will then end, but some of us may choose to stay and share our thoughts and feelings.

The park has facilities to entertain children while parents take part in the reading and discussion.

September 11 this year for Jews is Shabbat Shuvah, the Sabbath of returning and renewal between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  September 11th this year is also  just after the last day of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting, prayer, purification, forgiveness and renewal. Materials about Ramadan will also be available for people to learn about this important Muslim observance.  Please join us in standing up for religious coexistence and for the celebration of what we all can learn from people of varied faiths.
Please Spread
אור חדש
   Return to Daylight 
Defending and Restoring Liberty Under Siege

Robin Braverman
Joel Siegel
Project Coordinators

Sunday, September 05, 2010

OMG Y'all... White Nationalist Group To Protest 'Machete' Movie With Machetes This Weekend

via The Snitch

A group of white nationalists will protest the new Robert Rodriguez movie Machete -- which depicts a Mexican renegade attempting to assassinate an anti-immigrant senator played by Robert DeNiro -- at Bay Area cinemas this week. This gets even more interesting: The protesters will show up "armed" with machetes. Jessica Alba and Lindsay Lohan, beware.

Frequent readers of this site may recall the Bay Area National Anarchists -- BANA for short -- the white nationalist group that showed up at the May Day immigration reform rally at Civic Center Plaza to instead show support of the Arizona "papers please" SB 1070 immigration law. BANA founder Andrew Yeoman and two other members were allegedly beaten while leaving the rally by black bloc anarchists, two of whom are now charged withmisdemeanor assault.

BANA is also known for showing up to protest the Folsom Street Fair. But they will be doing a warmup act from Friday to Sunday at movie theaters showing the slasher film in the city, North Bay and East Bay, Yeoman says, "along with like-minded individuals and grassroots organizations nationwide." He even started a Facebook page to promote the protest.

I remember being intrigued by this movie when I saw a trailer. This kind of response honestly only makes me want to see it more, and promote the shit out of it. Anything that pisses white supremacists off this much must have something going for it, right?

But let's be honest, it's also a little scary, right?  I mean what's with the weapons becoming more and more common place at protests like this one?  In this climate, it's a bit, unnerving.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Bay Area Event: Escuela de la gente/People Skool

via POOR Magazine:

"Escuela de la gente/PeopleSkool @ the Race, Poverty Media Justice Institute Begins!

Orientation/Registration, Tuesday, Sept 7th

Classes begin Tuesday, September 14th- @ POOR Magazine- 2940 16th St #301 SF. Ca 94103- 1 blk below 16th st BART station

All Classes Taught in English and Spanish

Register by September 1 – Late Registration: First day of classes

Tuition on a sliding scale. Scholarships available from the Po’ Skolaz Fund

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

AOL Sessions

"Letterbomb" as performed by the cast of "American Idiot"

Gives me chills.