- Katy Perry might as well just have been singing “LONG TIIIIIIIIIME I WILL LOVE YOU LONGGGGG TIMMMEEEEEEEEE” and mixing up her L and R sounds. That is how horrendously racist this performance was.
- This is absolutely no different than Miley Cyrus’ use of black female bodies in her We Can’t Stop music video and VMAs performance or Lily Allen’s use of black female bodies in her Hard Out Here music video or Selena Gomez’s use of South Asian culture in her Come And Get It music video. All of these videos and performances co-opt aspects of different cultures, cartoonize them, and then marginalize people from those cultures.
- I really honestly hope to see every single white feminist who vocally criticized Cyrus and Allen and Gomez out in full force against Katy Perry’s racist AMAs performance as well. Walk the talk.
- It is not a coincidence that the messages of Gomez’s Come And Get It and Perry’s Unconditionally are being used in conjunction with Orientalist imagery from Asian cultures. The literal messages from these songs — “when you’re ready come and get it” and “I will love you unconditionally” — are ripe for being used to feed the racist western stereotype that all Asian women are constantly sexually available and willingly subservient to men.
- When Perry bows and puts her hands together and cocks her head a little singing “I will love you unconditionally” at the end bit is just the subservient sexual availability of Asian women as it is understood in the west translated into pop choreography. That is what that is.
- This song is not an homage to Japanese culture. It is simply an orientalist portrayal of the Greatest Hits of Japanese Culture As (Mis)Understood in the West: there are geisha in vaguely kimono-looking-garments, paper parasols, imagery from the Great Wave off Kanagawa, and a torii. Nothing about it is truly authentic or respectful.
- This performance was a trainwreck and Katy Perry is a giant racist.
Bolding added for emphasis.
Also it occurred to me that when another culture is “presented” like this and White people like me can immediately recognize everything visually recognized by it, it’s not an homage, it’s the age-old orientalist perspective of that culture being recycled anew.
Perry wasn’t presenting an image of Japan, but an orientalist and racist stereotype of Japan.
Dr. Elizabeth Taylor is an Australian scholar, working as an Urban Studies Post-doctoral Research Fellow. She is also a blogger, musician and Radio Broadcaster with 3 RRR program, “The Urbanists.” Here she discusses the difficulties of academia in comparison to the work of being a musician. The interview is conducted by Australian sociologist Dr Sheree Gregory.
Read the whole post.
Jimblah (AKA James Alberts) is a South Australian Indigenous hip hop artist who has been an outspoken and creative critic of racism in Australia. While hip hop is very popular in Australia, the hip hop played by mainstream channels is predominantly American. Australian hip hop forums are dominated by white Anglo males who are both racist and sexist. This means that hip hop in Australia is exclusionary on several fronts: first in the type of artists that are given an audience by mainstream media; second by the exclusionary set up of the hip hop community online; and third by specifically marginalising Indigenous hip hop artists.
Jimblah says that most Australians aren’t interested in Indigenous issues or they’re put off by his message of racism. Jimblah runs hip hop workshops for Indigenous youth. He tells the Sydney Morning Herald that hip hop gives a voice to racial oppression. To put this into sociological terms, hip hop is a platform for exploring postcolonial struggle. Jimblah says:
These are things people don’t normally talk about in such a forthright manner - racism and oppression… It’s not only getting it off your chest, it’s also empowering people who are going through that kind of struggle as well.’
The Herald also interviewed sociologist Jon Stratton who argues that the Australian music industry is discriminatory against Indigenous music:
The effect of having an almost completely white population drawn predominantly from Britain and northern Europe meant that there was little knowledge of, or impact of, music that was not drawn from white sources…
The predominant music in Australia then was based in melody rather than rhythm, focused on a solo singer rather than a group and privileged lyrics at least as much as the musical backing.
Jimblah promotes hip hop as a way to fight racism. He is compiling a Reconciliation Mix Tape. The title refers to the Australian reconciliation process, which acknowledges the historical violence and human rights violations committed against Indigenous Australians. Reconciliation also promotes intercultural dialogue and unity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia.
Indigenous Australians did not have the right to vote until 1965 and they have continued to face various institutional barriers to equality. Indigenous Australians have a low life expectancy, they experience greater health problems relative to other Australians, plus they have lower educational and economic opportunities. Sociological research also shows that Australians generally think of Indigenous Australians as an "out group" who are stereotyped as being lazy, alcohol-dependent and not trust-worthy. At the heart of this collective racism is an inability to adopt Indigenous history, knowledge and practice into Australia’s national core culture.
Hip hop artist Hau Latukefu (of Koolism) sees that hip hop is one way to bridge the cultural divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
In my perspective, in my opinion, the top hip hop artist in the tier should address racism, you know what I mean, sexism… I always feel it’s a responsibility on that platform to say something worthwhile but not everyone is like that, some people want to make records about drinking and partying…
Hip hop has always been about expressing yourself, that’s why I feel that a lot of these people use hip hop as a vehicle to say whatever they want. In some ways it’s fair enough, hip hop can be used by anyone really, but it’s about uniting cultures. How can you be racist and listen to this music?
NITV news reported from Buunji, the National Indigenous Education Conference in early November.
Organiser Lillian Gordan says they are promoting Indigenous identity, Indigenous diversity and Indigenous sustainability and an improved delivery of education in a way that won’t interfere with traditional culture.
It’s about bringing everybody together. Buunji is a Wiradjuri word meaning ‘to share,’ that everyone is coming together pretty much from all across the nation, what they’ve done and what they’ve seen and what their hopes are into the future for Aboriginal education.
Alison Johnstone from the NSW Department of Education says:
My core role is curriculum so it’s imperative that I support principals and teachers in implementing Aboriginal perspectives into their curriculum, into their syllabus, and also supporting them in getting that access to the information and materials and sort of supporting and guiding them…
I went through a real, ‘Oh why aren’t they doing it’ but sometimes you’ve got to support them to find the information, and through curriculum and through education I believe that’s the only way we can re-tell history through our eyes, the true history of our country through our eyes because for too long it’s been suppressed.
Newly elected Senator of the Northern Territory, Nova Peris said:
I came here today as a person who’s always been an advocate for education, especially Indigenous education, and being the new Senator for the Northern Territory we’ve had significant cuts from the Northern Territory government, more than 120 teacher cuts from across the Northern Territory.
When you look at the COAG report that’s come out , you know Indigenous education is going backwards, teacher cuts, not providing resources and not moving forward with innovative programs which include culture and reflection of Australia’s true history, and these are the things we can’t ignore.
NITV Via SBS News.
- Reverend Gondarra, respected Arnhem Land elder.
Gondarra is fighting the Government’s push to take control of Indigenous communities through a “99 year township lease." Gondarra evokes a critique of Australia’s colonial laws, which dispossessed the traditional landowners for much of Australia’s history (and which continues in various ways to this day).
Upon European settlement in 1788, Australian law imposed a terra nullius clause proclaiming that the land belonged to no one, even though Indigenous Australians had inhabited our country for an estimated 120,000 years.
Indigenous human rights activist Eddie Mabo launched a 10 year legal battle in the High Court to challenge this law. In 1992, Mabo’s victory led to new Native Title laws. These have been continually challenged, most recently in connection to the resources boom in rural and remote parts of Australia.
Native title issues are complicated by drawn-out legal hurdles as well as poor community consultation processes. This past week, the Australian Federal Court has recognised Native Title rights for the Bandjalang people over land on the New South Waltes north coast. There are two Indigenous rights claims made on this land covering 2,700 square kilometres. The claims were launched in the mid-to-late 1990s, meaning it has taken more than two decades for these land right cases to be finalised. The native title process obviously needs to be expedited. Bandjalang elder, Warren Willams, says:
It’s an all too familiar story at native title recognition ceremonies - remembering elders who were there at the start of claims, but not there at the end.
Also under way is a Lands Review in remote regions of South Australia. The process represents a potentially significant overhaul of the 1981 Land Rights Act governing the APY Lands (Anangu Pitjatjantjara Yunkunytjatjara Lands). The review is experiencing several problems in trying to solicit adequate community input. The APY executive includes 10 representatives of several remote Indigenous communities (there’s a push to broaden membership for two additional positions).
There are issues of inclusive representation, with a need to improve recruitment of women leaders as well as leaders of the smaller, hard-to-reach communities. The local Indigenous people, the Anangu, seem to be marginalised as they live in small homelands. There are other disagreements about the qualifications and criminal history of Executive members. The review is considering not allowing Executive members who have a police record, which would mean the current Chairman could no longer serve on the Executive.
The review is running into financial problems, with some locals believing that Government is wasting money on hiring consultants who are not focused enough on community issues. Robert Stevens, one of the Executive members says:
Things are really crook - no-one ever talks about homelands, no-one. All our funding is gone, been taken away from homelands and there’s really no talk, no one speaking up, there’s nowhere to go, we don’t know where to go. Really lost.
The proposed 99 year lease and the legal issues associated with administrating native title rights represent a useful way to examine how colonialism continues in the present-day. Postcolonial theory shows that historical processes, including land dispossession, continue to affect Indigenous Australians. Indigenous Australians have both a cultural and spiritual connection to their land. Moreover, their unique knowledge of the landscape provides an important social resource for sustainable planning for the future.
Sources: NITV and SBS News.
Praying at the Saga Dawa Festival.
Saga Dawa means ‘fourth month’, and it is on the 15th day of this month on the Tibetan calendar that Tibetan and Nepalese Buddhists celebrate both his birth and the day when he died and attained Nirvana.
Religious observance is influenced and shaped by the culture in which it is practised. During Saga Dawa, people flock to villages and monasteries turning their prayer wheels and singing and dancing. It is also a festival of light, where butter lamps abound. Although picnics are common, as a day of strict Buddhist observance no meat is allowed.”
Source of information: Mythic Maps.
- Reblogged from npr
Immigrants as a Percentage of the Total US Population and of the US Civilian Labor Force, 1970 to 2011
Notes: The term “foreign born” (or “immigrants”) refers to people residing in the United States who were not US citizens at birth. The foreign-born population includes naturalized citizens, legal permanent residents, certain legal non-immigrants (e.g., refugees and persons on student or work visas), and persons illegally residing in the United States. The civilian labor force includes all civilians age 16 and older who were classified as employed or unemployed during the reference week of the survey or census.
Sources: The 2010 and 2011 data are from the 2010 and 2011 American Community Survey accessed via the American FactFinder. The 1970 to 2000 data are from the Decennial Censuses and were downloaded from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS). Steven Ruggles, Matthew Sobek, Trent Alexander, Catherine A. Fitch, Ronald Goeken, Patricia Kelly Hall, Miriam King, and Chad Ronnander.Ê Integrated Public Use Microdata Series: Version 3.0 [Machine-readable database]. Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota Population Center [producer and distributor], 2008.)
- Reblogged from saltysojourn
This is an excellent essay by Deputy Executive Director of Buzzfeed, Shani O. Hilton. Hilton deconstructs the problem of talking about “Black films” as a genre, including similar euphemisms: “race-themed,” “African-American-themed,” “Black-themed,” and “ethnically diverse.” Hilton notes that films that include a few African American actors does not mean it is “ethnically diverse.”
Hilton also raises issues of gender and class. Most so-called “Black films” are centrally stories about men directed by men. African American women directors have even more problems than their male counterparts getting their films recognised. Also, “Black films” tend to portray working class or struggling characters, and so well-educated, middle-class African Americans are largely absent from widely released films.
There’s a great discussion about the possibilities of new distribution and funding methods to increase the types of films that are made.
I highly recommend you read the whole thing on Buzzfeed and discuss!
I’ve been doing a visual sociology of the Western Suburbs of Melbourne via Instagram, which is why I loved this story from early November. The Western Sydney suburb of Granville had been hosting a bus tour highlighting the cultural diversity of Sydney’s architecture. People could also visit sites on foot and get historical and cultural information via their iPads. Tour curator John Kirkman says they focused on sites that had once been dominated by Anglo Australian businesses and had now diversified:
I think it’s really special because it’s a great representation of what Australia really is… When I grew up here it was mainly Anglo people. Now it’s not. It’s people from the Middle East, Africa, the Pacific, people who come to make Australia home live here.
The Western suburbs in Sydney and Melbourne have the highest proportion of non-English-speaking migrants in Australia. They are also predominantly working class suburbs that are often a source of derision amongst mainstream media. Most Australian news tends to only report on these suburbs when there are crimes and other social problems, such as so-called “race riots.”
SBS is much better in its reporting as it is our national multiculturalism broadcaster. They cover positive community events as well as other interesting analysis. I’d love to see more reports like this about everyday life and the history and experiences of people in the Western suburbs.
Video and quotes via SBS News.
Pisac is a Peruvian village in the Sacred Valley on the Urubamba River. The village is well-known for its market every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, an event which attracts heavy tourist traffic from nearby Cusco. One of its more notable features is a large pisonay tree which dominates the central plaza. The sanctuary of Huanca, home to a sacred shrine, is also near the village. Pilgrims travel to the shrine every September. The area is perhaps best known for its Incan ruins, known as Inca Písac, which lie atop a hill at the entrance to the valley. The ruins are separated along the ridge into four groups: Pisaqa, Intihuatana, Q’allaqasa, and Kinchiracay. Intihuatana includes a number of bathes and temples. The Temple of the Sun, a volcanic outcrop carved into a “hitching post” for the Sun (or Inti), is the focus, and the angles of its base suggest that it served some astronomical function. Q’allaqasa, which is built onto a natural spur and overlooks the valley, is known as the citadel.
Information via the photographer on Flickr.
In late August, a Senate inquiry found that many Australian households are struggling to keep up with the rising price of electricity, particularly young families, who have difficulties bringing down their power use during peak times. The inquiry notes that this forces families to choose between paying for their utlities versus their housing bills and groceries.
Over the past three years, electricity prices have risen by 40 percent. While the overwhelming majority of electricity customers are residential (88%), over 70 percent of the electricity use comes from businesses. The cost is being fed back to residential clients. The four major factors affecting the hiking prices include: ‘industry labour costs and executive salaries, dividend payments to state government utility owners, unnecessary infrastructure spending or “gold plating” and “opportunistic” profit-taking by operators.’
Link via SBS News.
- Source: zeezeescorner