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Assimilating the Terminators -


To say that American Indians, First Nations, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians live in tension with the colonial states of North America is both a truism and an exercise in distance by use of academic jargon.  One reason academics use such clinical, bloodless language is that we are not supposed to get too involved with our subjects.  That’s especially true in the social sciences, where you can savage the career of an anthropologist by claiming he or she has “gone native.”

Academic jargon has an advantage in addition to emotional distance.  Precision.  It’s a way to isolate one idea—here, “tension”—and unpack it.  We quickly understand that “tension” either should not be singular or is a gross understatement.

There are conflicts between what we want and what they want and we see the conflicts as rooted in the colonial relation.  They have long since thrown off the colonial yoke of their native countries and do not think much of the land being occupied when their ancestors showed up.  Our continued existence forces them to think that thought, even when they no longer have a “homeland” to which they can return.

The only colonists who still want us physically exterminated are a few unhinged souls who think white people are the cream of humanity and they must kill to prove it.  In indigenous or colonial terms, they are criminals.

Colonial governments generally have a Holy Grail.  They differ only in methods of pursuing it.  We know it by the name “termination.”

At first, the conservatives wanted to kill us and the liberals wanted to assimilate us.  Which did the most damage is a valid question.

In our times, the conservatives want to declare victory and withdraw.  The liberals can’t go along with the predictable and genocidal outcome, so they are willing to continue paying for their sins and let their presumed cultural superiority take its natural course.

The leading intellectual of my generation, Vine Deloria, Jr., gave us a clear analysis of where we fit in the principal conflict of the times, the Civil Rights Movement.

African-Americans, Deloria held, are fighting the good fight for their people.  While they are not our people, discrimination against people of color is our fight, but it’s only part of our fight.  As Indians, we have to wrap our minds around conflicting claims so we can move white people to wrap their minds around the same apparent conflict: African-Americans have a just claim to integration while Indians have a just claim to segregation.

Those of us who retain a land base have every right to defend it.  That’s why many Indians erupt in anger at the idea we should be gifted with the authority to mortgage our land.  That’s why the Great Sioux Nation does not find poverty a sufficient reason to sell the Black Hills.  Our land and their money are not interchangeable.

If Deloria said the following, I haven’t read it, but it follows from his analysis.  When Hispanics and Asians fight for the right to use their languages, that’s our fight as well.  The Cherokee Chief at the time came out against the “English-only” crusade in Oklahoma because he understood that when the government shoots at Spanish it hits Cherokee.

I’m using moral language but notice how this plays out in politics.  When you are less than one percent of a population governed by elections, you need allies.  We have natural allies.

Because these fights can get nasty and because we come from a history of overt ethnic cleansing, it’s easy to dehumanize our foes.  We should resist that feeling and understand the legitimate part of their argument and why the Holy Grail of termination is rational.

You cannot be both rational and Manichean about assimilation, because that begs the question who is assimilating whom?  There is no human culture that cannot be improved by adopting something from another culture.

We obsess over what we have adopted from them—says the citizen of an Indian constitutional republic older than most republics in the world while writing on a computer.  This obsession feeds our children a narrative of inferiority when we neglect the myriad ways the dominant culture has adopted from us.

Conservatives prattle on about not owing Indians a living, so the U.S. and Canada should walk away.

Liberals accept responsibility on what Colin Powell called the Pottery Barn theory—if you broke it, you bought it.  That responsibility is pegged to dependence that government action caused, and so we are owed the support necessary to regain independence within the federal systems of North America.

Termination of responsibility for our welfare is the Holy Grail of colonial politics.  If we really intend to decolonize ourselves, it should be our goal as well, but in our own time and on our own terms.

Steve Russell, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, is a Texas trial court judge by assignment and associate professor emeritus of criminal justice at Indiana University-Bloomington. He lives in Georgetown, Texas.

(via rematiration-deactivated2013111)

African-Americans More Accepting of Same-Sex Marriage than White-Americans



This has been a post.

I’d say this is an inconvenient truth for people like Dan Savage, but the people spreading the “Blame The Blacks!” meme have never been inconvenienced by the truth.

I think a lot of people conflate references to African American religious disapproval of homosexuality with a desire to oppress. Anyone inside the community could have told you the conversation is much more complicated than that.

(via blue-author)

I’m noticing an ongoing trend of complete lack of support for trans women everywhere…



Like, even from people that are fucking awesome about everything else.

It never seems to cross peoples minds to be inclusive towards trans women.

It never seems to cross peoples minds to acknowledge trans women.

It never seems to cross peoples minds that without inclusive and acknowledging statements, trans women need to assume that we aren’t wanted.

We NEED to do this because we are tired as fuck of assuming that we are being included.

We are tired of coming into women’s groups and being victimized and abused.

We are tired of going to rape crisis centers and being turned away because our existence is triggering.

We are tired of wanting a safe space and then being told WE are the rapists, the deceivers, the monsters, and the child molesters.

We are tired of being the punchline and the joke. The fetish object and “best of both worlds” so long as we’re gone by morning.

Never mind the fact that many of us are victims of rape.

That many of us have dealt with child abuse.

That many of us have been physically assaulted.

That all of us live and deal with the constant deceptive nature of cis people.

We NEED to assume we aren’t wanted. Because the whole wide world is telling us we’re trash and we can’t be arsed to assume that you actually meant to include us when you said fucking nothing.

We don’t have the fucking luxury to assume that we are being included.

So yeah…

Make it damn clear that you want us around.

Make it clear that you won’t put up with transmisogyny.

Make it clear that you view us as women. That you view us as fucking people.

I’d like to see some fucking solidarity, but I wonder if this will even be reblogged?

And if it is reblogged I wonder how many people that aren’t trans women will do so?

I’m honestly not betting much, so I guess we’ll see.

Simple concept that somehow eludes more people than it should — which is to say anyone:  transgender women are women, transgender men are men. 

There’s several in my life, some of whom are reading these very words.  In case I haven’t made it clear enough in word and deed elsewhere, here it is again:  I’m glad each of you is here.

People with a problem with any of that need to step off now before they make utter fools of themselves in a forum that never forgets.

(via moniquill)


With solidarity for the shit that happened to jalwhite.


Like I said at 8am this morning, I plan to post about this all motherfucking day.

So late last night, someone told well known Black NDN jalwhite that “they need to stop talking about being Native because they don’t have the ‘Native’ experience; they just look Black”.

I’m a code expert, so naturally, this was translated in my head as “Hey nigger, get the fuck out of my pale as fuck Native spaces”. This is also going off poemsofthedead’s post that the anon who sent this was probably Native themselves. I’m gonna trust them on it because they’re one of maybe 2 non-Black Natives ever who actually gives any fucks about Black people at all.

Mind you, back when I actually saw Native posts on my dash, I OBVIOUSLY noticed the color. That said, there wasn’t much of it. Maybe ONE person in the picture post that went around in November actually “looked Native”. Most? Looked either white, just shy of white, or vaguely Latin/Southeast Asian.

So I just find it hilarious and amazing that in a group of people who go around complaining that “Natives can look like everything” and particularly pale and white-passing ones who go around talking about “Natives never deny my Nativeness, only non-Natives do”, SOMEONE in that community sent jalwhite this.

And I ain’t heard not ONE FUCKING PEEP from the giant LEGION of pale Natives, PEOPLE PRIVILEGED OVER ME, who were quick to call me “blood myth”, “pretendian”, and bring up blood quantum in a motherfucking post about me musing on my own lost history due to Blackness.


I see some Natives leaping to the bone EVERY time something vaguely appropriative comes along. All the Black-NDNs-who-know-their-tribe (because I refuse to pretend that we weren’t BOOTED or FORCED out of tribes that white people were allowed into like some of y’all) I follow continuously post in solidarity. I even reblog those posts, even though I say nothing.

Don’t never, ever, EVER see none of the non-Black ones, except poemsofthedead, EVER saying shit to help NO ONE else, EVEN PEOPLE IN THEIR OWN COMMUNITY LIKE JALWHITE.

I am not even going to hold my breath that but two people in the non-Black Native community give a fuck about what that anon said to jalwhite. I’m done with exercises in futility, I’m done with one-sided solidarity, I’m done with, once again, those closest to light and white getting what they need while niggers sit at the bottom again.


(via the-goddamazon)


its not long enough to be a manifesto,but it should be: dear white crusty punk girl in my class who tried to rebuttal me about the five college day of action




forgive me because i don’t have the class privilege to just go skipping out on my classes to be in solidarity with occupy wallstreet

i pity your inability to realize how inaccessible this movement is to people who can’t afford to walk away from their lives for the sake of solidarity

but sadly, there are tens of thousands of tragedy cases just like yourself who think you are making a difference

by not bathing, by having “punk” clothing, by listening to certain types of music and DIYing it up out the ying yang, but not actually critically engaging with ideas and how they affect somebody other than you 

by doing things to “fuck the system”, getting away with it scott free simply because you are white and youthful and white youths “make mistakes” which can be overlooked later on in life. and when you decide that play acting at poverty and a loss of privilege is too difficult for you, you can just go back to your previous life before revolution swept you up by the heels. 

quite honestly, i’m fed up with people like you. 

i’m an upper middle class african american woman

i didn’t get into college with a full ride and a free toaster 

i’m not going to miss class to stand in solitary with a movement and its people who refuse to understand that its not accessible to everyone who wants to participate, and the means of implementing accessiblity are usually hastily implemented to quelch criticism, and are a lot of times half assed. 

and when i have a strong opinion on how its ridiculous as fuck to walk out on your 50,000 per year, private liberal arts education to stand in solidarity with Occupy Wallstreet, don’t cop a fucking attitude with me as if i don’t know what i’m talking about and i don’t understand the reasoning behind it.

i do understand the reasoning of meaningful solidarity, and sadly missing class doesn’t cut the mustard for me. it doesn’t fit my definition of meaningful solidarity. 

sweetheart, i’ve seen people like you, you’re a dime a dozen and you don’t wind up changing the world in droves. instead you serve as a constant reminder as to how flawed current revolutionary movements are today, and how people need to check themselves before they get wrecked by reality. 

so until you’re willing to get some critical analysis under your three row stud belt 

sit down

shut up

and kiss my grits! 

I wonder if this crusty girl is friends with this guy.

Bolding mine.  I wish I could just bold the entire fucking thing but this.  THIS THIS THIS!




I believe we’ve already posted the video before but just confirming that the person that group of people were trying to help is Scott Olsen, an Iraq war veteran, who is now in critical condition with a fractured skull.

And the only defense the cops can muster for their pointless violent crackdown was “well they were tearing up the lawn…”


 This video is profoundly disturbing.  But it’s also really important to watch.  And…consider archiving what you’re able to, because of stuff like this.

(via ktempest)



Occupy Milwaukee, October 15, 2011.

“What love looks like in public.”



Occupy Milwaukee, October 15, 2011.

“What love looks like in public.”


"Am I Troy Davis? A Slut?; or, What’s Troubling Me about the Absence of Reflexivity in Movements that Proclaim Solidarity


Sister/Comrade Stephanie Gilmore, who spoke at SlutWalk Philadelphia, is, to the best of my knowledge, one of the ONLY anti-racist White Feminists who has PUBLICLY SUPPORTED the IDEA/PREMISE of SlutWalk while PUBLICLY CHALLENGING its CURRENT RACIST REALITY.

With her FULL PERMISSION, I have re-posted the text of her essay so that people who are not on facebook will be able to read it in its entirety.

Am I Troy Davis? A Slut?; or, What’s Troubling Me about the Absence of Reflexivity in Movements that Proclaim Solidarityby Stephanie Gilmore


On September 21, 2011, I joined hundreds of my friends and millions of people around the world to watch, through tears and in abject horror, as Troy Anthony Davis was executed by the State of Georgia. In the twenty years between Davis’ trial for the murder of police officer Mark McPhail and his execution, Davis maintained his innocence while witnesses recanted the testimony that sent Davis to death row. Despite conflicting testimonies and inadequate evidence, the state put aside lingering and longstanding doubt and instead, put Troy Anthony Davis to death.

On Facebook, Twitter, and other media outlets, I saw virtual and real friends declare that “I am Troy Davis.” They changed their profile pictures to a picture or image of Davis, or a black box, all in an attempt to articulate a sense of solidarity, a stand against the injustice of the prison industrial complex and a state thoroughly entrenched in the murder of a man who may not have committed the crime of murder. I agree wholeheartedly that the state was wrong in executing Mr. Davis and I grieve for his death as well as that of Officer McPhail. But in the weeks since Davis’s execution, I have been wondering if people really understand how and why Davis came to be murdered at the hands of the state. People insist that “I am Troy Davis,” but what does that mean?

In many ways, I am not Troy Davis. I am a middle-class, 40-something-year-old white woman. According to a 2008 Pew Center on the States report, one in 36 Hispanic adults is in prison in the United States. One in 15 Black adults is too, a statistic that includes one in 100 Black women and one in nine Black men, age 20-34.  Although one of my parents spent time in prison, and through incarceration joined the swelling ranks of 2.3 million imprisoned people and many more in the system of probation, halfway houses, and parole, I and my white peers do not face systemic racial injustice in the structures of imprisonment. And it does not begin or end with the prison system. Black children are suspended and expelled from school at 3 times the rate of white children. Racial discrimination in funding for education also affects children’s success in school, as cash-poor school districts are also overwhelmingly Black and Latino neighborhoods.  Schools have been and remain a pipeline to prison for many Black and Latino children, and generations of families, prison is a reality. One in 15 Black children currently has a parent in jail. People say that the system is broken, but I (along with others in the prison abolition movement) admit that the system is working exactly as it was set up to do. Can I really say, “I am Troy Davis” without giving serious consideration to the realities of racism in the prison industrial complex? Does that just become little more than the adoption of a slogan and a picture, without a real awareness of the racist realities of the prison industrial complex?


On August 6, 2011, I joined Slut Walk Philadelphia. It was a beautiful day and hundreds of people moved through Center City to end up at City Hall, where even more gathered to speak out against sexual violence. I had been following Slut Walks with great delight because I see the people power in the sheer numbers of women and men who are fighting back against sexual violence.  So when I was asked to participate, and to stand with queer people of Color in a more racially inclusive Slut Walk than I had seen to date, I said “yes” because the fight to end sexual violence is my fight. And fighting against a culture that perpetuates and promotes rape; cheers on rapists; and diminishes, humiliates, and silences victims through law, education, and entertainment will demands knowledge that the system, again, is not broken. It is doing the very work it was constructed to do – sexual violence is a tool of ensuring white status quo. And if we are to end sexual violence, we must acknowledge how it operates.

I have struggled to accept a movement that does not acknowledge the very problematic word “slut” and how historically many women have not been able to shake the label of “slut.” I participated in the struggle – the movement as well as my own internal struggle – because I wanted to engage in, create, and sustain dialogue. Indeed, many criticize the apparent move to claim “slut” – how can you pick up something you’ve never been able to put down? Black women have been most vocal about the longer legacy of sexual violence done onto their bodies – often against the backdrop of slavery and colonialism — simply for being Black. But I continued to push into these bigger conversations and analyses. I listened and engaged when Crunk Feminist Collective challenged Slut Walks, when BlackWomen’s Blueprint issued their “Open Letter from Black Women to Slut Walk Organizers,” and when individual women of Color (and only women of Color) spoke publicly about racist actions within individual marches as well as racism within the larger movement. White women I know made private comments about different expressions of racism, but never spoke up to challenge individual actions or larger frameworks of analysis, leaving me to wonder “why?”

And then I saw the sign from Slut Walk NYC bearing the words “Women are the N*gger of the World.” I don’t care that the quotation is from John Lennon and Yoko Ono. I don’t care that the woman was asked to take down the sign – although I certainly do care that a woman of Color had to ask her to do so while white women moved around her, seemingly oblivious. I am angry when I continue to see so many white women defending it expressly or remaining complicit in silence, suggesting that “we” (what “we”?) need to focus on sexual violence first, as if it is unrelated to racism. And I wonder, can I really claim to be a part of the nascent Slut Walk movement without giving serious consideration to the realities of racism within very publicly identified facets of it? Can I be a part of it when so many women – my very allies and sisters in antiracist struggle – are set apart from it, or worse, set in perpetual opposition to it?


My question is, how can we be in solidarity when we are not willing to be reflexive and to check ourselves, check each other, and be checked? Bernice Johnson Reagon acknowledged that coalition building is hard work, made even harder by people who come to coalition seeking to find a home. My sense, or perhaps one sense I have, is that many people came to the “I Am Troy Davis” momentum or the Slut Walk marches looking for a home, a place where they can sit back and feel comfortable in their hard (very hard!) work, and comforted by others who pat them on the head and tell them “good job.” This is not to dismiss genuine concern for the state of our world. Perhaps we’re all lonely, as the realities of social justice work have taken on different and palatable forms since WTO and 9/11. So many people are down for the immediate issue – the indefensible execution of Troy Davis, the indefensible perpetuation of sexual violence — and that matters. But I worry that many white people aren’t paying attention to the larger structures in place. They are not being reflexive about the realities of racism that undergird prison incarceration, death penalty, and sexual violence.

I am not Troy Davis; I never will be. A system built on the foundation of racism ensures that I will not confront the realities of prison incarceration in the same ways as Black and Latino people. I am a strong advocate against sexual violence, but I cannot fight in and for a movement that is not interested in the realities of racism and the ways that racism undergirds sexual violence, and instead so blindly employs racist language. (The “Occupy Wall Street” actions call for me again the realities of racism and its necessity within the existing structure of capitalism – and the insistence among white people that people of Color indulge a luxury of time and money to sit in with them is untenable and racist. Many others have pointed out that the language of “occupation” is inherently problematic because bodies and lands have been historically occupied, often through sexual violence and criminalization. The movement itself needs to be decolonized.) Even as I support openly the prison abolition movement, the end to sexual violence, and the uprooting of a socioeconomic system that ignores the 99%, I cannot do so without deep awareness of racism that is operating within and among these movements. It is my work as a white activist to speak to and be aware of these legacies and histories of racism. Women and men of Color need not be alone in the front lines of identifying racist action and reaction within the movement. Insisting that people of Color have a voice only when it comes to identifying racism perpetuates, rather than alleviates racism. As I look at the actions of some people within these movements, I am reminded again that the racism of the supposed left is even more damaging and hurtful than the naked racism of the right.

If we are to work together in solidarity, we must do so reflexively, conscious of our actions and the potential outcomes before we act. This is not a call to focus on criticism and self-reflection to the point that we are inactive. That is unproductive, to be sure. But it is a call to be mindful and vigilant about racist action and reaction, to come to terms with the fact that we must do the work of understanding racist underpinnings of prison incarceration, the death penalty, and sexual violence if we are to make significant progress. Undoing racism must be at the core of our collective work across movements. To echo Dr. Reagon’s statement, we need to be honest and ask if we really want people of Color or if we’re just looking for ourselves with a little color to it. So much of the movement work, as it stands, seems to be looking for a little color, when we need to be exploring the realities of racism as part of the problem, not an additive to the “real” issue. In the absence of reflexivity about the structural forces that are keeping us apart, we will never be able to engage in real coalition work that will be required if we are to take seriously our goals of ending sexual violence and the death penalty. These movements as they are going now may continue, but they will not do so in my name and certainly not without my consent.

So no, I am not Troy Davis. I am not a slut. I am not an occupier of Wall Street or any street. The fights are my fights, but the current methods and analyses are not mine. I cannot sit by and listen to people debate the efficacy of the death penalty without understanding that it is the larger complex of incarceration and the “elementary-to-penitentiary” path that tracks and traps Black and Latino youth by design. I am done with the handwringing and “white lady tears” of so many white women who keep defending racist approaches and actions and, at times, respond with violence when confronted and challenged. Such behavior only reinforces the fact that these movement spaces as they are currently defined are not safe. My friend, colleague, and sister-in-spirit Aishah Shahidah Simmons said it best when she commented, “It’s sobering to observe how White solidarity is taking precedence over principled responses…. ” Sobering, indeed. I will most assuredly fight to end the prison industrial complex, sexual violence, and unbridled capitalism, but I will do so from a space that centers the racist roots of incarceration, criminal “justice,” capitalism, and sexual violence.  Thankfully, those spaces already exist – even if they remain peripheral in the mainstream media (and in much of what is left of the lefty media). But it is time to pivot the center. Without reflexive analysis of racism and coalition work grounded in antiracist movement, we miss the real root of the problem as well as real opportunities to create change.

Stephanie Gilmore is a feminist activist and assistant professor of the women’s and gender studies department at Dickinson College. For the 2011-12 academic year, she is a postdoctoral fellow in women’s studies at Duke University. She is completing “Groundswell: Grassroots Feminist Activism in Postwar America” (Routledge, 2012) and has started a new research project on how students negotiate sexual violence on residential college campuses in the United States.

(via madamethursday)




To those who want to support the Occupation of Wall Street, who want to struggle for a more just and equitable society, but who feel excluded from the campaign, this is a message for you.

To those who do not feel as though their voices are being heard, who have felt unable or uncomfortable participating in the campaign, or who feel as though they have been silenced, this is a message for you.

To those who haven’t thought about #OccupyWallStreet but know that radical social change is needed, and to those who have thought about joining the protest but do not know where or how to begin, this is a message for you.

You are not alone.  The individuals who make up the People of Color Working Group have come together because we share precisely these feelings and believe that the opportunity for consciousness-raising presented by #OccupyWallStreet is one that cannot be missed.  It is time to push for the expansion and diversification of #OccupyWallStreet.  If this is truly to be a movement of the 99%, it will need the rest of the city and the rest of the country.

Let’s be real.  The economic crisis did not begin with the collapse of the Lehman Brothers in 2008. Indeed, people of color and poor people have been in a state of crisis since the founding of this country, and for indigenous communities, since before the founding of the nation.  We have long known that capitalism serves only the interests of a tiny, mostly white, minority.

Black and brown folks have long known that whenever economic troubles ‘necessitate’ austerity measures and the people are asked to tighten their belts, we are the first to lose our jobs, our children’s schools are the first to lose funding, and our bodies are the first to be brutalized and caged. Only we can speak this truth to power.  We must not miss the chance to put the needs of people of color—upon whose backs this country was built—at the forefront of this struggle.

The People of Color Working Group was formed to build a racially conscious and inclusive movement.  We are reaching out to communities of color, including immigrant, undocumented, and low-wage workers, prisoners, LGTBQ people of color, marginalized religious communities such as Muslims, and indigenous peoples, for whom this occupation ironically comes on top of another one and therefore must be decolonized.  We know that many individuals have responsibilities that do not allow them to participate in the occupation and that the heavy police presence at Liberty Park undoubtedly deters many.  We know because we are some of these individuals.  But this movement is not confined to Liberty Park: with your help, the movement will be made accessible to all.

If it is not made so, it will not succeed.  By ignoring the dynamics of power and privilege, this monumental social movement risks replicating the very structures of injustice it seeks to eliminate.  And so we are actively working to unite the diverse voices of all communities, in order to understand exactly what is at stake, and to demand that a movement to end economic injustice must have at its core an honest struggle to end racism.

The People of Color working group is not meant to divide, but to unite, all peoples. Our hope is that we, the 99%, can move forward together, with a critical understanding of how the greed, corruption, and inequality inherent to capitalism threatens the lives of all peoples and the Earth.

The People of Color working group was launched on October 1, 2011. We can be reached by email at We can also be found online at We meet Sundays @ 3 PM and Wednesdays @ 6:30 PM under the large red structure in Liberty Square.

(via strugglingtobeheard)




so this made my day today::
Hundreds of students dressed in black holding signs that read “UC us now?” & “Don’t UC us?”, joined hands in protest against the “Increase Diversity Bake Sale”.
Do UC us?

I see you Berkeley folks of color and folks in solidarity! UNITED WE WILL ALWAYS STAND!

“It is our duty to fight for our freedom! It is our duty to win! We must love and protect each other! We have nothing to lose but our chains!”