The ‘clarification’

He recognizes that there are many abandoned children who have yet to find homes. John McCain believes that in those situations that caring parental figures are better for the child than the alternative.

Wonder if McCain thinks of himself as a “caring parental figure” rather than a parent to his adopted daughter. In any event, I wouldn’t expect anybody who supported an Arizona constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages, who told Jerry Falwell he would support a federal constitutional amendment against same-sex marriages, who supports “don’t ask, don’t tell” and who has consistently stated a position against civil unions to “believe in” adoption by gay people.

Of course, I’m not too surprised he’s not supportive of equal rights for gays and lesbians, since McCain apparently didn’t even know what the acronym stood for.

Bimbos galore!

I saw in the Quebec French-speaking press that a new simulation game is attracting huge numbers of teenage girls. Apparently the site lets you evolve your avatar by getting breast implants, choosing the right chin and various other body-image-related atrocities. Click here and here to find out more. The Quebec site had 839,000 hits alone during the month of May, which is huge for a population of 7 million total.

What gets me, though, is the failure, once again, of the general public and the media to recognise that miss bimbo is not just purveying bad body image – it is symptomatic of institutional sexism.

When will people start to realise that we are cogs in the machine and we need to force an overhaul?

Interconnecting ‘isms’

From the Pacific Citizen, via Hyphen:

Today many APAs who identify as lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) can turn to countless support organizations like API Equality. But there was a time when APA groups did not consider same-sex marriage rights a priority, said Fong.

When others didn’t want to talk about it, JACL made history. At the 1994 Salt Lake City convention, JACL became the first non-gay organization – after the American Civil Liberties Union – to support same-sex marriage.

Howard Winant on Obama

I love Howard Winant. Some years back I read Racial Formation in the United States (co-authored by Michael Omi) and declared Winant and Omi the rock stars of sociology. I actually talked with Winant* briefly at some cocktail meet-and-greet thing and he is fascinating and brilliant, plus he seems genuinely nice. I don’t entirely agree with this article, but it’s an interesting read:

Obama Navigates the Home Stretch

We haven’t seen much anger from him yet, maybe a bit in his repudiation of Wright, but his chief emotion then seemed to be sadness. Obama needs to develop some serious and articulate anger at the powers that be. He’d better do it fast. Can a black man get angry in a national election? Can he channel the righteous indignation of America, not just black but also white? Can he represent BOTH class resentment AND racial tolerance? America’s future depends on the answer to that question.

*one of these days I’m going to write about my encounters with the famous.

**he also asked me if I knew Michael Omi. Heh.

Michael Omi on racism

Like the concept of race, the term “racism” is also under critical
scrutiny regarding its overall meaning, conceptual validity, and
analytic power. It is frequently suggested that the term itself is
subject to so many varied meanings as to render the concept greatly
limited in utility. Anything from individual acts of prejudice to
systemic, institutional forms of discrimination potentially fall under
the rubric of “racism.” John [*165] Bunzel, former member of the
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and current senior research fellow at
Stanford’s Hoover Institution, argued in 1998 that the President’s
Advisory Board on Race should call for a halt to the use of terms such
as “racism” and “racist” since they are “wielded as accusations and
smear words” that breed “bitterness and polarization.” n16 Continue reading

Breaking news! America no longer racist!

You heard it here first.

From Newsday.com: “Blacks who excel disprove notion America’s racist”

Blacks who succeed – who go to Ivy League colleges and law schools and excel – trouble the race men of yesteryear, because they disprove the maxim that America is racist.

This is not a new thought–the idea of the “crab mentality” (in which a crab trying to escape a pot will be yanked back in by the others) has been around for a long time. But if America is not racist, how do you explain social inequalities? Genetic inferiority? Continue reading

Adoption vs. surrogacy

This legal and bioethics expert thinks adoption trumps surrogacy. As if there are no commodification issues with adoption, particularly in India. And it isn’t mostly poor women who lose their children to adoption as well.

I don’t think one is better than the other. The same class, race and gender inequities frame both adoption and surrogacy. Adoptive birthmothers are deemed or deem themselves unfit to parent. Because society doesn’t think much of baby-selling, only adoption agencies and other middlemen profit from the transaction. Womb-renting, however, is apparently legal in India and the U.S. Surrogate moms in India waive their parental rights in exchange for money, usually for the benefit of their “own” families.  The “real” parents get to brag about the special way their children were born. Just as adoptive parents brag about the special way their families were formed.  

Perhaps I wouldn’t have such a problem with outsourcing pregnancies to India if it were rich Indian women with lawyers in tow who were contracting as surrogates. Women who would be able to define the terms of the deal themselves, who don’t need the money just to feed themselves and their families, who would be empowered enough to say in midterm or after birth, “I changed my mind,” and, in case of a miscarriage, still say “You owe me for my time.” Guess what, there would probably be no “renters” in such a world. 

The last acceptable prejudice

Lately it seems I’ve heard a lot about the “last acceptable prejudice.” That description has been used to describe any of a number of biases, but most recently I’ve noticed it with regard to fat prejudice. The explanation is usually something along the lines of “While racism is no longer publicly acceptable, it is perfectly acceptable for people to voice disparaging remarks about fat people.”

My knee-jerk response to this is I do not think that fat prejudice is the only one that is openly voiced and condoned. Continue reading