Critical Readability

My critical readings of the best and worst of online media

Archive for the category “Identity Politics”

‘Cover Your Eyes,’ Iranian Woman Tells Chastising Cleric Before Beating Him Up : The Two-Way : NPR

“Of course, when the same type of incident is reversed — a ‘badly veiled’ women beaten in public by police — it’s simply a necessary enforcement of the dress code.”

via ‘Cover Your Eyes,’ Iranian Woman Tells Chastising Cleric Before Beating Him Up : The Two-Way : NPR.

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For Kansas City, Google Internet Drive Becomes Civic Cause – NYTimes.com

 

“On Saturday, Ms. May, the neighborhood council director, and Google workers set up a tent outside the Ivanhoe community center and urged passers-by to sign up, with the center using a private donation to pay the $10 deposits and giving out Rice Krispies treats. One woman who registered herself offered to register her neighbor’s address as well.” via For Kansas City, Google Internet Drive Becomes Civic Cause – NYTimes.com.

Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story | Video on TED.com

 

This is a beautiful depiction of the danger of a single story, while at the same time illuminating the power of an individuals’ story. In this Ted talk, novelist Chimamanda Adichie discusses the creation of a “single story” vis-à-vis literary, historical, popular, and media representations that are articulated, performed, reenacted, and reinforced through a process of cultural translation.

Like scholars F. Farahzad, T. Niranjana, G. Spivak, L, Venuti, and S. Faiq who have theorized the problematics of cultural “translations,” here Adichie explains that a “single story” is created through naivety, ethnocentrism, supremacy, hegemony, colonization, the white savior industrial complex, and above else, power. The result is a “single story” – a homogenized stereotype of difference that is uncritically cast upon an entire group of people.

“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes,” said Adichie, “is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete.”

Rather, people and cultures are multifaceted, and their ethical representation thus depends on the “balance” of stories – a conglomerate of individual stories understood according to the multifaceted identities performed within each story, as well as the profound complexity of their relationship to one another.

“Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also be used to repair that broken dignity.”  Watch the whole video here: Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story | Video on TED.com.

Maryland politician’s letter denouncing Brendon Ayanbadejo’s support of gay marriage – Yahoo! Sports

Unbelievable:

Maryland politician’s letter denouncing Brendon Ayanbadejo’s support of gay marriage – Yahoo! Sports.

And if you’re interested in the response by Viking punter Chris Kluwe, read it here.

Defriended Over a Wedding, a Straight Man Gains Perspective | evoL =

You’ll hear me say over and over that I believe in the power of an individual’s story. This is a particularly moving one:

The situation got me thinking: What if this hadn’t been about my brother’s wedding, but about MY wedding? What if it hadn’t been from a distant friend, but from a beloved family member?

via Defriended Over a Wedding, a Straight Man Gains Perspective | evoL =.

“Many women are shut out and silenced” – Salon.com

If you’re a woman, take a moment and think about what your life could be like in a few short months. If you’re a man with a woman in your life (which should be all of you), take a moment and think about what your life could be like in a few short month.

“During this campaign, we’ve heard about the two profoundly different futures that could await women—and how one of those futures looks like an offensive, obsolete relic of our past. Warnings of that future are not distractions. They’re not imagined. That future could be real.” via “Many women are shut out and silenced” – Salon.com.

Mitt Romney Accidentally Confronts A Gay Veteran; Awesomeness Ensues

 

I think this kind of candor is essential in this election. Here is a link to a really emotional video that captures a conversation between a gay veteran and Romney.

Mitt Romney Accidentally Confronts A Gay Veteran; Awesomeness Ensues.

Ten-year-old mariachi hopes to make it to America’s Got Talent’s semifinals

Okay, I’m going to “out” myself. I watch America’s Got Talent. Before I started this blog, I would basically critique the performances out loud and annoy my husband. Now that I have this blog, I’ll direct it at you instead of him.

I want to write briefly about Sebastian “el Charro” de la Cruz, a 10 year old Mexican-American mariachi singer. In the article linked below, Sebastian says “I wanna represent my culture and heritage to break the stereotype and show America the beauty of this music(Mariachi),” says De la Cruz.via Ten-year-old mariachi hopes to make it to America’s Got Talent’s semifinals.

Bless his heart (seriously, he’ s adorable). I have no that doubt he wants Read more…

Fears About Shariah Law Take Hold In Tennessee : NPR

I’m going to preface this by saying I am neither Christian nor Muslim. While I was raised within a Christian nation, having no belief in either religion or no formal education in either, I would consider myself more of an outsider than insider on the emic/etic scale.  Perhaps that is why I am baffled by this article, “Fears about Shariah Law Take Hold in Tennessee” and it’s seemingly obvious relation to the Biblical Literalism that is a mainstay of Evangelical Christianity.

Read Excerpt 1 from the previously mentioned article: 

“I don’t want anybody to persecute any religion including Islam, but we have a duty as Americans to understand that they intend to take us over and compel us to become Islamic,” Douglas says. […] The First Amendment may  Read more…

Female Bodies, Dancing Icons: Feministing Blog Competition

As a follow up to my previous post about this great blog post submitted to Feministing.com during their blogging competition, I thought I would also post my reaction to their choose of a competition name and icon: 

The first time I watched So You Think You Can Dance was during a period in my life in which I was conducting ethnographic research with Latin Dance communities in the United States. Like any good cultural critic, I quickly found myself immediately analyzing how troubling the new reality television show really was, particularly with regard to representations of race, gender, and sexuality.

Performances of the tango and salsa on the show, for example, are evocative of over a century worth of highly problematic caricatures of Latin America. Since the early twentieth century, the United States has had a fascination with Latin America in general, and Latin dance more specifically.  From the Latin dance craze of the early 1910s/20s to to the mambo & salsa craze of the 1950s/60s, and from Dirty Dancing to SYTYCD, caricatures of Latin dance emerge from Latin America’s history as a colonized and post-colonial region. It also points to the relationship that we in the U.S. have to formerly colonized regions: we sexualize them, we eroticize them, and we feminize them.

And when we’re talking about Latin dance (as opposed to say, music or art), we’re already dealing with an expressive form that is highly feminized. The primary tool of dance is the human body, and more often than not a queer body or a female body. The creative intellect behind dance (the mind), however, has historically been a male domain. In dance, male choreographers exert their agency on the female body – they exert their control of the female body.  Even into the twenty-first century, dance (and theater) as artistic and academic disciplines  remain highly divided along gender lines. Female and queer dancers = the body. Heterosexual male choreographers = the mind. Read more…

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