Image of the Day: April 23

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 05:39 pm
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Posted by By THE NEW YORK TIMES

Arvind Kejriwal, chief of the Aam Aadmi Party, filed his nomination to fight elections from the temple town of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.

Model Minority Suicide: Five Reasons, Five Ways

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 02:00 pm
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Posted by Guest Contributor

By Guest Contributor Scot Nakagawa, cross-posted from RaceFiles

It’s time to kill the Asian American model minority myth, and I mean really kill it.

That myth is one of the tenets of American racism, used repeatedly for decades to promote the idea that racism and structural racial disadvantage are either non-existent or at least entirely surmountable, while suggesting that some people of color, and Black people in particular, are just whiners unwilling to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. And that belief, that the black poor are just entitlement junkies, has negative consequences for all poor people because the tough “love” solutions this belief inspires, like cutting back on food stamps and other programs, see no color.

For Asian Americans, killing the myth requires destroying the veil of elevated expectations and assumptions that surround us to reveal the real face of our richly diverse communities and experiences. I call it model minority suicide. Need convincing?

Here are five reasons:

Reason 1:

The idea that Black people are a “problem” minority is the flip side of the model minority myth. Problem minority stereotyping is one of the often cited justifications for resistance to programs like affirmative action (and still is) and for tough on crime policing of low-income black neighborhoods, including the war on drugs. The economic costs of the related prison build up, not to mention the human toll on targeted communities, is just too high. We pay for it in the tragic currency of broken families, impoverishment, and the measurable financial consequences to tax payers of policing, prosecuting, warehousing, and post-prison supervision of far too many people, among whom a not insignificant number did nothing more than pocket some marijuana.

Reason 2:

While being idealized as a model of Americanism has a certain upside in the form of elevated societal expectations, we know all too well that all that idealizing wouldn’t stick if Asians weren’t too often regarded as inscrutable strangers in our own country. Only a group regarded as strangers could be so often found living side by side with middle class white Americans and yet be stereotyped as, in some regards, as very nearly an alien species. And strangers are easy targets when the going gets rough and scapegoating is on the agenda, as evidenced by the wholesale violation of the rights of those perceived to be Muslim in the U.S. in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy, and the continuing persecution of Muslim Americans 13 years later.

Reason 3:

In spite of the fact that most Asian voters identify as liberals, we’ve become a tool of conservatives. This quote from Charles Murray, the author of that veritable ode to eugenics, The Bell Curve, appeared in The National Reviewimmediately after the 2012 election,

… somewhere in the vicinity of 70% of Asians voted for Barack Obama in the last presidential election.

Something’s wrong with this picture. It’s not just that the income, occupations, and marital status of Asians should push them toward the right. Everyday observation of Asians around the world reveal them to be conspicuously entrepreneurial, industrious, family-oriented, and self-reliant. If you’re looking for a natural Republican constituency, Asians should define ‘natural.’

More recently, former Florida governor Jeb Bush made this argument during a TV interview in order to make the case that Republicans are failing to win over their “natural” constituents,

… I mean, if you look at Asian Americans, for example, in general, they have higher income[sic] than the median of our country, more intact families, more entrepreneurship, higher levels of education. And they supported President Obama 75-24; higher margins than with Hispanics …

Now, I ask you, if being family-oriented, entrepreneurial, industrious, self-reliant, and better educated makes one “naturally” conservative, what are “natural” liberals? Takers? Entitlement junkies? Nanny-State weaklings? I’m guessing all of the above with a heaping helping of lazy on top.

Reason 4:

The myth covers up some difficult realities, such as the fact that Asian groups such as the Vietnamese and Cambodians are among the poorest by ethnicity in the U.S., and 12.8% of Asian Americans lived below the poverty line in 2011. The very real service needs and challenges of these Asian Americans are obscured or minimized because of model minority stereotyping.

Reason 5:

The model minority myth also adds some steel to the bamboo ceiling, that invisible yet all too consequential barrier between Asian Americans and top-level leadership. Apparently, in the corporate world, being perceived as quiet, passive, and hyper-industrious makes Asians seem more suitable for technical positions and unfit for leadership. And that, it seems, is why Asian Americans, lumped together as we are, are simultaneously the most highly educated racial group in the U.S. and the least likely to make it to the top tiers of the corporate ladder.

So, given these incentives, what are we to do about it? Here are five suggestions:

1. Don’t say things like, “we need to get beyond the black-white paradigm” because that paradigm is the foundation of white supremacy, and the injustice anti-black racism, both historical and contemporary, is not yet resolved (as evidenced by the continuing utility of the anti-black ideas at the root of concepts like the “entitlement junkie,” the “culture of poverty,” and the assumption that successful black people are undeserving affirmative action recipients).

2. Don’t call Asian American rights campaigns “the new Civil Rights Movement” as if the goals of the Civil Rights Movement were achieved, no longer matter, and/or only benefited black people. Asian Americans owe a great debt to the Black-led Civil Rights Movement, and our contemporary campaigns for civil rights reforms, at their best, aspire to move all people of color forward together into the new century.

3. Recognize that the “Asians suffer from racism too” response to the model minority myth is not enough. Side-stepping the damage that the myth has done to other people of color while raising the visibility of our own suffering actually reinforces the damaging “problem minority” flip side of the mythWe need to acknowledge that Asian Americans suffer from racism, but that white supremacy is perpetuated through an intersecting array of racist bigotries of which Orientalism is just one example.

4. Become an advocate for racial justice, not just for Asian Americans, but as a matter of pushing forward the unfinished business of winning democratic rights for everyone including women, LGBT people, undocumented immigrants, religious minorities, Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, and other people of color. And while raising a ruckus online is a fine way to get involved, joining a group in your community allows you to take concrete steps toward justice alongside those who suffer from racism and exclusion the most, including those on the other side of the digital divide.

5. Raise the visibility of Asian Americans’ political activism both of the past and in the present. We’ve been far from quiet throughout U.S. history and we’re making trouble and making noise today. Let’s turn up the volume.

The post Model Minority Suicide: Five Reasons, Five Ways appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

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Posted by By MANSI CHOKSI

Meera Sanyal, a candidate in Mumbai who once headed the Indian unit of the Royal Bank of Scotland, contends her party’s anticorruption platform is good for entrepreneurs.
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Posted by Racialicious Team

By Tope Fadiran Charlton, Arturo R. García and Kendra James

Olivia (Kerry Washington) and Rowan (Joe Morton) reconcile — for now?

After threatening to go out by blowing the president up, Scandal ended its third season by making him whimper, in an oddly melancholy episode that actually did seem to change everything for Olivia Pope and her associates — if not end them altogether.

Remember, the series has not been confirmed for renewal, even if signs suggest we’ll see a new season announced soon.

But do we even want to see the show return after a third season that was inconsistent at best? For this special edition, Arturo and Kendra were joined by friend of the blog Tope Fadiran Charlton, whose work can also be found at Are Women Human?

SPOILERS under the cut

So, what worked for you this season? Or was it a total write-off?

Tope: Rowan, definitely. He had the lion’s share of the best lines and the most memorable scenes. He’s the first character in a while that walks the line that Scandal at its best does so well: recognizably terrifying and thoroughly amoral, but still somehow a character that you (or at least, I) like and find yourself torn between rooting for and being appalled by. I especially love his unapologetic Blackness. I know I’m not the only Black viewer who found myself nodding along to his monologues about needing to be twice as good or how the white president is an entitled little boy. And nobody, not nobody, can tell someone about themselves like Rowan can. He must have been a dream for Shonda and the Scandal team to write, and so much fun to play for Joe Morton.

I have to confess I missed a few episodes in the second half of the season, so I didn’t get to see as much of Mama Pope. But what I did see of her had me a bit underwhelmed. She wasn’t as fleshed out or complex a villain as, say, Rowan or Cyrus.

Kendra: I have to agree with Tope. I’m still not onboard with the One Monologue Per Episode clause that’s clearly written into Joe Morton’s contract, but I found him to at least be one of the more consistent characters on the show this season. And he’s certainly the most intensely involved Black parent on television that I can think of since Sisko.

Tope: “Intensely involved” is a very diplomatic euphemism for Rowan’s parenting philosophy.

Kendra: Hah! As I said in one of the few recaps I wrote this season, I can at least believe that Rowan and Maya could have raised a child together. Neither of them misses an opportunity to remind Olivia that she’s made a career out of cleaning up after incompetent white men.

Other than Rowan’s (and Jake’s) character consistency I wasn’t overly enthralled with this as a cohesive season of television. Adnan, Maya, David, Harrison, and Abby all felt superfluous — like threads that weren’t properly woven in at the end. James’ death, while probably one of the better handled lines of the season, marked the departure of one of the few sympathetic characters left. Someone we’d actually been allowed to grow attached to through, amazingly, plot development, and screentime.

And finally: this marked a third season of dramatic tension overlayed with “Papa Was A Rolling Stone.” I love a show with a gimmick, but this has got to stop.

Tope: The music on the show, pardon the pun, is a little too one-note. Three seasons of funk is enough. Other music exists.

Maya (Khandi Alexander) kept her wits about her in jail. How will she handle the Hole?

Arturo: I felt there were moments where various members of the ensemble did more with the material they were given than perhaps even the show desired. Kate Burton managed to take Sally’s descent into instability in a compelling direction before Sally was snapped out of it and shunted into the background; Khandi Alexander provided a stellar counterpoint to Joe Morton, with Maya and Rowan turning into this show’s agents of chaos and order, respectively. And against all odds, Tony Goldwyn and Kerry Washington managed to make it plausible seeing two people seemingly so wrong for each other continue to insist on giving it a go.

I’d still call “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” my favorite episode of the season, since it provided enough warmth to counter the encroaching darkness facing the Gladiators. But as I’ve mentioned throughout this home stretch, playing each of these elements against an election story blunted all of them too much for comfort.

We left Harrison in an open-ended situation, since, theoretically, he still had time to talk himself out of B613′s crosshairs. Obviously, this is more complicated when one factors in Columbus Short’s apparent issues. Your thoughts on how the show should approach this?

Arturo: I can’t say I support him continuing to be in the show in light of these multiple allegations of assault. At least not at the moment, and the show has ample opportunity here to write him out while a) these allegations are heard in court and b) Short gets the help he apparently seems to require.

Kendra: I think we should all mentally prepare ourselves for a Harrison v. 2.0 next fall.

Given that Harrison’s most developed character trait is, “I wear loud suspenders” the show isn’t going to lose anything when it’s revealed that he’s not emerging from that room next season (as I suspect is going to happen). Aside from Olivia and Huck* I find most of Pope and Associates to be pretty replaceable and his departure might even do the show some good. Even before his IRL issues, Harrison wasn’t getting that much screentime or plot. I’m still blurry as to the full nature of his relationship with Adnan and the other disposable woman they found dead at a bus stop a few episodes back.

*(And, to be perfectly fair, Huck isn’t earning any points either with this Huck/Quinn thing.)

Arturo: So Huck goes from not caring that Maya’s loose because he’s hooking up with Quinn to telling her off entirely because she told him about her family to going to his family after getting encouragement from Olivia. I get internal conflict and all, but maybe Charlie had the right idea packing up and ditching the whole situation (even if he was ultimately wrong about the result of giving Quinn the file).

Tope: I’m assuming Harrison’s number is up, and that the same goes for Columbus Short. Shonda Rhimes has to cut that sucker loose. I get the sense she has little patience for behind-the-scenes trouble with her actors since the controversy over Isaiah Washington’s use of homophobic slurs (have to note that he’s since been pretty visible as an ally) and then Katherine Heigl bad-mouthing the show while she was still on it … and none of that involved physical violence or being charged with a crime. Heigl and Washington were both let go and it’s likely Short will get the same treatment. Which is right and appropriate, in my opinion.

The episode also delivered — at least for now — on the thread that Olivia really would be better off away from the Grants, the White House and Washington. How long do you give it?

Arturo: You know what this episode reminded me of? The Buffy The Vampire Slayer finales where she left town, or the Angel Season 4 finale. It felt like a point of demarcation — like the show picked this point to end this story and I’m betting we’ll go back to something closer to a Case of the Week format if/when the show returns. Hopefully we’ll get through 2-3 episodes before Olivia’s inevitable return.

I will say, though, I was annoyed at Jake going from “I’m just gonna have a beer and collect my unemployment” to hitching a ride on Pope Air. Way to fight for your job there, Ballard.

Kendra: I was more confused that Jake would get into any plane chartered by Pope Sr. given, y’know, everything we know about Rowan and planes.

Tope: Jake has been pretty consistent about the whole wanting to be with Olivia thing. Then the opportunity presents itself for him to do that and not have Fitz around to compete with? I would have been surprised if he hadn’t asked Olivia if he could go with her. When it comes to “love” the man is nothing less than a glutton for punishment.

Olivia contemplates her future away from Washington.

Kendra: Even with this season being shorter due to Kerry Washington’s pregnancy the serialized, season-long multi-episode arc didn’t work out too well. Something about the storyline wasn’t tight.

This felt like a series finale to me. It’s probably going to be renewed (even if all major players’ contracts are not), but it definitely seemed like it could stand on its own. And I think the show needs more episodes that stand on their own — maybe a few that focus specifically on character development for someone other than Mellie (or something that focuses on character development for Mellie that doesn’t center around her having a horrible life). Maybe a few episodes focusing solely on the relationships within the Pope family? Just something to pull the focus back in– not every episode needs to begin with a voiceover telling me I’m going to be on the edge of my seat during the last five minutes.

I think removing David, Abbie, and Quinn would help pacing a lot to be perfectly honest.

Tope: Oh god, the sooner RobiQuinndsay is off the show, the better.

I felt this episode could stand as a series finale. There isn’t a single major character—except maybe Cyrus—who doesn’t go through a huge game-changer or major transitional point in the finale, and it feels like resolution for most of them. And for all of the mayhem and violence in this episode, there’s something oddly hopeful about the end. Not just Olivia flying off into the sunset, but Huck going back to his family. Shonda basically hit a giant reset button for the show.

My favorite scene was Olivia and Cyrus’s conversation in the hospital. Finally Olivia realizes she’s not a white hat at all. That for her is the “price of a free and fair election,” letting go of her illusions of innocence. I hope that awareness is still there when she inevitably returns to OPA. Olivia’s conviction that she’s one of the “good guys” has been both increasingly annoying and one of the reasons why she’s worse and worse at her job.

Also: as much as the election part of this episode felt rushed (c’mon, saint Sally is television gold), I loved the arc from Fitz not being able to believe he was going to lose to getting the win he assumed he deserved at the cost of pretty much everything else. Now that is irony.

Arturo: It looked like the whole election story was set up just so we could see Fitz on his knees (again) when it was all said and done. Which, hey, nice shot and all, but now they’ve played themselves out of a solid story for whenever the show really is on its way out.

Kendra: Fitz ultimately losing the election would have piqued my interest a lot more. But Art, what I suspect they’ve played themselves into is the setup for an eventual impeachment plot. Defiance won’t stay silent in the second term.

Tope: I’m definitely ready for something different from Scandal, though, so maybe it’s for the best that they got this storyline wrapped up now.

Kendra: Removing Harrison from the cast would at least free up the money to bring Jasika Nicole in as a full time cast member. Anything to pull focus away from Huck/Quinn.

Arturo: I don’t see where they can really go with Huck/Quinn anymore; Huck’s apparently going to re-establish ties with his family, which is good. But Quinn’s in the wind again; we don’t know if she’s going to keep working for B613, and there’s little to no chance Abbie will hire her in this new incarnation of OPA. More crucially, though: Does anybody really care about Quinn?

Tope: That would be a no.

The Big Reveal, of course, was that Jerry Grant Jr.’s death was the key to Rowan’s plot to reclaim the mantle of Command. Your thoughts on how that played itself out?

Arturo: I thought the episode tipped its hand just a second too soon; when Rowan told Fitz he’d killed Maya, that’s when it came together for me. (Of course, it made sense for Fitz to believe that.) It also keeps the possibility of Eli and Maya teaming up open. Perhaps in time for the next sweeps period?

Kendra: Am I a horrible person for just not caring that Jerry died? It takes a lot more than what they gave us in that one episode (the Grant kids’ first introduction) to get me invested enough to care — especially given how detached that entire family is from one another. Fitz is already naming those two unborn kids he thinks he’s having with Olivia. I think they also had the unfortunate timing of airing less than a week after the other far more impactful death of child royalty over on HBO. Once again, I think it highlights the show’s weakness– the failure to cement emotional ties between the characters and the audience which comes back around to a lot of the characters being poorly developed.

That plot felt forced too — or perhaps it was just the staging and shooting of it. At first I assumed he’d been shot or stabbed, but finding out in the final few minutes that it was a rare strain of meningitis that they’d just found out was missing? That came out of nowhere.

Mellie (Bellamy Young) and Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) are together again, under the most horrible of circumstances.

Tope: We can be horrible people together, Kendra. The only thing that interested me about Jerry’s death was the total absence of Baby Grant. Where is the little rugrat? Mellie and Fitz should really look into getting some professional assistance with their disappearing children problem. Anyway, seeing Fitz grieve his son’s death was literally the first time in the entire series I’ve felt the tiniest bit sorry for him. But I was more torn up for Mellie—she’s just starting to deal with how she’d kept Jerry at a distance for fear that he wasn’t Fitz’s son, and then he dies. That’s especially tragic timing.

As for Rowan — I knew as soon as he said it that he hadn’t killed Maya. It was just too pat and tidy. But I totally did not see the Jerry reveal coming.

This will probably sound terrible…but it was kind of good to see Rowan back in top form? I never bought that Jake could take over as Command in a day. I loved the flashback montage of Rowan’s monologues, going back to the first time he tried to get Olivia on that plane. This is who Rowan has always been, the whole down-and-out act was just that, biding his time until he could make his move. Also worth pointing out: Jerry’s death is also a pretty ironclad way to keep Olivia and Fitz apart, which Rowan has wanted from the beginning. I wouldn’t put it past Fitz to leave his grieving wife, but that’s a line Olivia wouldn’t cross with him. And he uses it to catch Maya? It’s a win-win-win for Rowan. This is what happens when you underestimate Command.

I for one am SO THANKFUL that the trainwreck that is Olitz (please Jesus and Shonda) finally, finally over.

Kendra: Is it though? This is why I hate straight soap operas — this Olivia/Jake/Fitz love triangle has a good five seasons of “plot” left in it by soap standards whether there’s any meat left on the bones of the story or not. The show’s main relationship and the lack of likeable people is something I’m going to need see flipped around a bit if I’m going to consider tuning in next season. I know the antihero thing is very in right now and Scandal has them in spades– but they lack substance. This show is not going to be carried on Mellie’s shoulders alone.

Tope: I dunno, between Fitz’s guilt over Mellie suffering alone after being raped and burying one of their children … those are pretty considerable obstacles for illicit love. Maybe not for Fitz, but I think (I hope) definitely for Olivia. She’d have to be a truly horrible person to do that to a grieving mother. I also felt Mellie and Fitz’s reactions to Jerry’s collapse and death was reminiscent, in a kind of awful way, of how they came together when Mellie was in labor with Baby Grant. For the period that Mellie was in labor, they were a team again; it could be the same with the much lengthier process of coming to grips with the death of their child.

Kendra: I think all of that depends on the timing of when Season 4 dumps us back into the Scandalverse. If it’s a few days to even a few months later then they’ll get to spend the time they need dealing with the fall out. I just have the feeling that they’re going to pull another massive jump so they can deal with all of that in flashbacks and put most of their energy into the love triangle.

Tope: I’m putting together my prayer circle to rebuke that as we speak.

The post Table For Three: Scandal 3.18, ‘The Price Of Free And Fair Election’ appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

The Countdown to the Jaafari Law Decision

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 10:00 am
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Posted by eren

On April 30th the Jaafari Personal Status Law will be voted on in the Iraqi Parliament. The Jaafari Law, as it’s being referred to, has been controversial because it would enable Shia men to marry girls as young as 9 years old. Whereas the legal age for marriage in Iraq is 18 years of age, [Read More...]

El Nino fallout: food prices to shoot northward

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 06:43 am
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The weather phenomenon will bring down production, increase food prices worldwide

ei nino

The “boy” has arrived, throwing economic tantrums across the world. From Peru to India, from the power corridors of the White House to the outgoing Indian prime minister's office, the fear of the “Christ Child” or El Nino (LINK TO PIECE THAT EXPLAINS EL NINO) hangs heavy.

Supreme Court to probe illegal mining in Odisha

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 06:08 am
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Hearing on plea to stay illegal mining to be taken up next Monday. Petitioners argue that the illegally recovered wealth from the miners should be utilised for the development of the backward mining districts in Odisha

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Supreme Court will monitor road safety now

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 05:18 am
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Appoints three-member committee to give recommendations to reduce road accidents across the country

road.jpg

image

Terming road accidents as one of the biggest challenges to orderly human existence, the Supreme Court of India on Tuesday ordered Central and state governments to implement the existing road safety laws and rules seriously.

Image of the Day: April 22

Tuesday, 22 April 2014 04:18 pm
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Posted by By THE NEW YORK TIMES

Women cleaning the Dal Lake, in Jammu and Kashmir, on the occasion of Earth Day.

Beyond the Politics of Voting

Tuesday, 22 April 2014 02:00 pm
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Posted by Guest Contributor

By Guest Contributor Alexandra Moffett-Bateau, cross-posted from The Feminist Wire

As a political scientist, during any given election year, I’m bombarded with questions about my assessment of the current electoral slate. The look of disappointment is always palatable when I tell folks that, that isn’t what I do. After all, what good is a black political scientist that doesn’t study black public opinion?

As a scholar, one of the things I’ve struggled with is pushing back against the dominance of voting based politics within black communities in our post-civil rights era, without minimizing the importance of showing up at the polling booth. After all, in a midterm election year, just like in presidential years, whether or not our communities show up can be a make or break for the services and programs that are desperately needed for our communities.

Yet, and still, political engagement cannot and should not, be only about politicians. We do a severe injustice to ourselves, and especially young people, when we insist that to be political, we must be limited to engaging with politicians in someway. To be clear, this is not to say that pushing against institutional structures and the people who populate them is not important. But it is to say that in order to politically empower marginalized populations, we have to identify, celebrate and make meaningful, the everyday resistance strategies present in our neighborhoods.

When I was interviewing women in a public housing development on the south side of Chicago over the course of the year, this became increasingly apparent to me. In particular, one example comes to mind.

During the fall of 2011, during the height of the Occupy movement, other “occupy” groups like Occupy the Hood, Occupy the South Side, and so forth, were beginning to spring up. In large part, this was because a lot of folks of color, particularly those living below the poverty line, just didn’t feel as though their particular set of needs were being addressed by the Occupy organizers downtown. While this began to change over time, initially, it was a major problem throughout the Occupy movement across the country.

As a result, the women at the development decided to begin their own Occupy movement. Except they weren’t protesting the banks, or local government institutions and bureaucracies, instead, their target was a local grocery store.

This particular grocery store is the only grocery store within 10 miles of the development. As a result, the markup on the prices of food (according to residents) was, in some instances, twice as much as other stores throughout the city. In addition, the grocery store refused to accept food stamps, which was another major barrier to many of the women I spoke with that needed to feed their families.

A resident-run environmental justice organization put together the Occupy action and was able to recruit women from all over the development to participate. For almost two weeks, the women stood on the sidewalk in front of the grocery store, flagging down cars and turning them away. They had huge colorful signs and loud voices. When a car would pull up, somebody would go over to the vehicle and explain what was happening. While they weren’t always successful, over the course of two weeks, the group was able to turn away almost 200 hundred cars from shopping at the small store.

Eventually, the storeowners were so frustrated by the loss of business that they asked for a meeting. According to organizers, the store agreed to start accepting food stamps, and to start lowering the prices on basics like dairy and poultry.

While this story still features a somewhat traditional style of political organizing, I share it here because I think it helps to make an important point that often gets missed in mainstream conversations about what constitutes political engagement. During my interviews when I asked women “what do you think of when I say the word ‘politics’” I wasn’t surprised when most said things like “white people,” or “the white house.” Even in my own life, most of my family and friends outside of the academy tend to think about institutions, politicians and voting when the word politics is mentioned.

What I think is important about this story is that it shows that every part of our lives, can and is political. Where you get your food (and whether or not you are able to access a grocery store), where you live (and what you can afford to rent), transportation, treatment in medical facilities, education, all of these things can be, and I would argue, should be, sites for political action, as well as resistance.

Scholars like Robin D.G. Kelley and James Scott have done important work in showing how everyday behaviors like refusing to pay rent, squatting, story-telling, social media, gossip, and cultural forms like music, all can be forms of political resistance and rebellion. While there is a temptation to exclude these things as “simply” part of political culture, they are in fact, important avenues for information transmission, reputation destruction and the diffusion of power.

Whether we are talking about the way women in hip-hop forever changed the way women and sexuality are thought about in the public eye, or the subtle erosion of a politician’s reputation after a rumor is spread. All of these day-to-day activities, that on the surface seem meaningless, matter a lot when we think about how populations empower themselves, and dis-empower those who behave badly.

These daily acts of resistance took on a variety of forms. For some women resistance against bureaucratic power structures looked like; painting walls in their apartments when they weren’t supposed to, owning dogs when the rules around animals were debatable and picking up trash around the development. This work mattered (and still matters), because it contributed to an internal sense of power that contributed to their confidence in dealing with power structures. For many, successfully pushing back in making their spaces beautiful, allowed them to face down other power structures in their lives, later.

Ultimately, what I am trying to argue here is that we need to be more expansive in our idea of what constitutes politics. As activists, organizers, loved ones, academics, and students, we stand to gain a lot by valuing the work and engagement of the people in our lives. By pointing out to someone that their communication on twitter is significant, or that their music could be powerful, we stand to politically empower a new generation (young and old) of socio-political minded folks.

At the end of the day, we have nothing to lose by affirming how others chose to show up in the world.

Alexandra Moffett-Bateau is a member of Echoing Ida, a project of Forward Together. She is a Ph.D Candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago. Alexandra is currently in residence as a Pre-Doctoral Fellow in the Carter G. Woodson Institute at the University of Virginia. You can find Alex her at twitter, on her website, and Facebook.

The post Beyond the Politics of Voting appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

What sways the urban voter?

Tuesday, 22 April 2014 09:54 am
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Posted by Srinivasan Ramani


Gujarat bucks the urban trend when it comes to identity voting, while cities in the prosperous northern states place high emphasis on choice of MP candidates. Srinivasan Ramani discovers several interesting facts on urban choice, through GIS mapping of data obtained from a voter perception survey.

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Posted by admin

Asks government to pay victims and recover the money from pharma companies sponsoring the drug trials later

Guinea pigsThe Supreme Court of India on Monday pulled up the Central government over non-payment of compensation to victims of unethical drug trials who suffered serious adverse effects (SAE).

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Posted by By MAX BEARAK

A Human Rights Watch report documents the discrimination at public schools experienced by children in the lowest strata of society in India.

Ashish Bose: a man who counted

Tuesday, 22 April 2014 07:17 am
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India’s foremost demographer had a lively interest in a host of societal issues, specially the state of the aam admi

ASHISH BOSE

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Posted by By BETWA SHARMA

The only foreigner to have unfettered access to the front-runner in the race for India's prime minister said it was easy to get Narendra Modi to open up for a biography.

Book Review: “Normal Calm” by Hend Hegazi

Tuesday, 22 April 2014 06:00 am
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Posted by samya

According to statistics provided by RAINN, the United States-based Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, “1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.” The organization further notes that women who have experienced sexual assault are at higher risk for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, [Read More...]

Chennai voters wary of disappearing acts

Tuesday, 22 April 2014 04:23 am
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Posted by Lavanya Donthamshetty


They make an appearance before every election with a basket of promises and some patchwork to impress the electorate, only to disappear later. Chennai residents tell Lavanya Donthamshetty how tired they are of such politicians, wishing for a leader with vision and the commitment to turn it into reality.

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Posted by admin

Students’ unions and trade unions that actively participate in blood donation camps are busy campaigning

The ongoing general election seems to have adversely affected blood donation and  availability of blood in West Bengal.

Secretary of West Bengal Voluntary Blood Donators’ Forum (WBVBDF), Apurba Ghosh, said that generally 10,000 units of blood are collected through voluntary donors in a month.

In April, it is estimated that hardly 4,000 units of blood would be collected. “It is a tough time and I am getting at least 100 desperate calls in each day for blood, but I am helpless,” he said.

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