Of course, the headline on the post skips that one, but it stands out:
- Voters over age 65 oppose same-sex marriage 58-37.
- Voters under 65 favor marriage equality 52-44.
- White evangelical Christians oppose same-sex marriage by nearly 3 to 1.
- African-American evangelical Christians narrowly oppose marriage equality 47-45.
- All non-evangelicals, including other white Protestants, white Catholics, Hispanic Catholics, African American non-evangelicals and Jewish voters, support marriage equality by double-digit margins.
- White voters who do not have a college degree oppose marriage equality 56-40.
- Non-white voters without a college degree support marriage equality 54-38.
- White college graduates support marriage equality 56-41.
- Non-white college graduates support marriage equality 58-35.
Of course, I’m sure we’ll hear exactly zero from Dan Savage or Wil Wheaton on retracting their “Blame the Negros!”(TM) theories of homophobia…
And I’m telling you guys, we’re never fucking going to get anywhere as long as our economies of attraction continue to resemble more or less the economies of attraction of white supremacy. Finding people who practice decolonial love is as hard inside of a vast movement as it is outside. The actual standard of decolonial love, how little discussed, how little understood, and yet in many ways is the great test of who we are and of our praxis and of our communal praxis.
Asian-American says Latinos not only ones hit by SB 1070
Jim Shee says he never experienced discrimination, let alone racial profiling, until his 70th birthday.
Shee, a Paradise Valley real-estate investor of Chinese and Spanish descent, was driving to meet friends for lunch on April 6, 2010, his birthday, when he stopped on a side street in west Phoenix to check a text message.
A Phoenix police officer approached and tapped on his car window.
“Let me see your papers,” Shee says the officer told him.
“That is the very first thing he said,” recalled Shee, now 72.
Shee, whose civil-rights battle against Arizona’s immigration law Senate Bill 1070 is credited with highlighting the law’s impact beyond the Latino community, was taken aback.
Born in Tucson, Shee has been a U.S. citizen all his life. No police officer had ever asked him for his “papers.”
When he asked why he’d been stopped, Shee says the officer told him, “You looked suspicious.”
Less than two weeks later, Shee said, he was profiled again by police.
This time, he was with his Japanese-American wife, Marian, driving back to the Valley after taking her across the border in San Luis, Sonora, to have some dental work done.
On the highway near Yuma, an Arizona Department of Public Safety officer traveling in the opposite direction saw Shee’s car, made a U-turn across the divided highway and pulled him over. Shee was sure he hadn’t been speeding because his cruise control was set below the speed limit.
“Why’d you stop me?” Shee recalls asking the officer.
The officer told Shee the tint on his 2002 BMW was too dark and gave him a repair order.
Shee did not receive a citation in either case. But he believes both stops were motivated by Senate Bill 1070.
“I’ve never really experienced any type of discrimination and then … wham, bam. Twice,” Shee said, referring to the police stops. “It made me feel like I should carry my passport around all the time.”
At the time, Arizona’s immigration enforcement law was moving through the state Legislature on its way to being signed by Gov. Jan Brewer on April 23, 2010. The most controversial provision of the law requires police to check the immigration status of a person stopped, detained or arrested if there’s reasonable suspicion the person is in the country illegally.
Shee believes the law fostered a climate of discrimination that led police officers to think he might be an illegal immigrant based on his appearance.
Shee joined a civil-rights lawsuit filed in May 2010 against SB 1070 by a coalition of civil-rights and immigrant-advocacy groups. He is one of 10 individuals and the only Asian-American to be publicly named in the lawsuit. The other plaintiffs are Latinos.
The suit is pending in U.S. District Court in Phoenix.
By joining the suit, Shee demonstrated how SB 1070 has affected not just Latinos but also other minority groups, said Jessica Chia, an immigration and immigrant-rights staff attorney at the Asian American Justice Center. In October, the center awarded Shee its national American Courage Award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
“He has spoken so publicly and so courageously in the fight against really racist and discriminatory practices,” Chia said. “He has really raised the issue to a national agenda … for Latinos and Asians but also for citizens and non-citizens, because we all know that the harm of the law is much broader than just one segment of the population.”
Chia said Shee’s involvement in the civil-rights lawsuit is particularly significant because Asians are less likely to speak out against discrimination than other minorities, in large part because they represent a much smaller part of the population.
Although Asians are the fastest-growing minority group in Arizona, they make up just 3 percent of the state’s 6.4 million population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Latinos make up more than 30 percent of the population.
The federal lawsuit’s main claim is that SB 1070 violates the 14th Amendment’s right to equal protection by subjecting minorities to police stops, detention, questioning and arrests based on their race or national origin.
Since the federal lawsuit, police across the state have received training developed by the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board on how to enforce the law without violating civil rights. The training says that language and ethnicity alone do not provide an officer enough reason to contact immigration authorities regarding a suspect’s immigration status, but they can be used to establish reasonable suspicion when combined with other factors.
The civil-rights lawsuit is separate from a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Justice Department. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the most controversial provision of SB 1070 requiring police to question suspected illegal immigrants about their status, could be enforced.
Shee traveled to Washington, D.C., in April to speak out against SB 1070 on the steps of the Supreme Court on the day justices heard arguments in the Justice Department’s lawsuit.
Shee’s father was a Chinese immigrant. His mother’s parents are from Spain. He speaks Spanish fluently and knows some Chinese.
The father of three, Shee is vice president of the Asian Chamber of Commerce. In the 1990s, he founded the Asian Hispanic Alliance, a group that is no longer active.
Madeline Ong-Sakata, executive director of the Asian Chamber of Commerce, said many Asian Americans in Arizona supported SB 1070. Shee’s helped change perceptions of how the law could apply to them, she said.
His involvement also reminded Asian Americans that many of their ancestors came to the U.S. illegally as “paper sons,” she added.
The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 essentially barred the entry of all Chinese immigrants to the U.S. except for the children of U.S. citizens. To get around the discriminatory law, Chinese men often falsely claimed to be U.S. citizens after the giant 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire destroyed government records, then returned to China to bring back “sons” who were not really their children. These children were sons on paper only, thus the name “paper sons.”
“A lot of Asians forget that,” Ong-Sakata said. “They have this false idea that (SB 1070) doesn’t include them and every so often Jim and I have to remind them that a lot of their parents came here illegally through the fake papers.”
What’s more, many Asian Americans ignore the fact that a large number of Asian immigrants are living in the U.S. illegally, she said. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that about one in 10 illegal immigrants in the U.S. is Asian.
Chia said Shee has also drawn attention to the connection between SB 1070 and the U.S. internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
“This is really important to us, not only because of the historical link to Chinese exclusion and the Japanese internment, but also because presently, it encourages Arizona law enforcement to stop and question anybody they think looks or sounds foreign and obviously this will have direct impact on Asian citizens and immigrants” she said.
1) good job, Mr. Shee
2) good lord, fellow Asian Americans. THIS IS WHY WE NEED TO KEEP WORKING AT SOLIDARITY.
3) i fucking hate SB1070 and recent US immigration legislation so much, i facilitated two discussions and wrote a class paper on it. (rage productivity = go!)
I wrote a post about White women and white privilege a few days ago—about how dealing with microaggressions and racism from them is often something I’m expected to ignore, and process racism as something that can only come from White men. From college days to corporate America to daily interactions in places of business to social media, I’m bombarded by experiences with White women that are shaped in everything from microaggressions to casual racism to institutionalized and overt racism. It is not comfortable. It hurts and angers. I find myself saying NO to them (sometimes outright, sometimes just in my mind) often…often like this…
No, I don’t work at this store that we’re both shopping at. You’ll notice that I’m not wearing a name tag and/or uniform for this store. No, I won’t be using my shopping time to help you find something that you are too lazy to find since you won’t ask a clerk that actually works at this store for help.
No, I don’t work at the library that you see me using my phone, iPod, computer or checking out books at, like the other patrons. The six to seven White librarians and clerks in the clerk area of the library do work here. While I’m the only Black face in the library at the moment, it doesn’t then place me in your servant status. No I can’t help you upload photos, make a Facebook page, check email or even figure out how to scan your library card.
No, I don’t think you’re exempt from possibly saying/doing racist things just because you have friends that are people of colour or think celebs who adopt Black children are cool.
No, I don’t know any single Black men as I am not a dating service or finder of Black penis for White women. Besides, if a Black man wants you, he’ll find you/you’ll find him and he’ll be certainly sure to inform me of how he thinks I’m inferior to you.
No, I don’t care or am angry if you “only” date Black men, but I will discuss how White supremacy, Eurocentric beauty myths, white privilege, and racism often impacts said relationships. I probably won’t want to be your friend though as I prefer to avoid headaches as these in my interpersonal relationships. Again, I don’t want to be used as a dating service. I’ve…already had this experience. Many times.
No, I don’t want the Black guy you are with. I’d bet money he doesn’t want me. Thus, there’s no reason to grab him and practically give him a lap dance when I walk by. I am no threat to you. I’m just trying to get to Starbucks, yo.
No, I am not interested in being your makeshift mammy therapist or sidekick. “You is not kind. You is not smart. You is not important.” Well…not any more than anyone else is.
No, I don’t have to talk to you (or anyone else, for that matter) in public spaces, and I am not rude just because I don’t laugh at your “jokes” in elevators, that are often in fact thinly veiled insults against me. No I don’t think the insults and monkey photo you used in a blog post about me are funny.
No, I don’t want to club or party with you. I don’t think being drunk is funny and I don’t want to go to happy hour after work to insult other White women who work at this job, and then have you all insult me when I leave, by asserting that I only got my job because of race.
No, I am not applying to a particular job just to secretly steal your job if I have more education. Either way, you will be paid more, even if we are both paid less than White men, overall. No, it wasn’t my attempt to trick you with my résumé. I can’t account for the fact that you screen for “Black names,” HBCUs, or Facebook photos, and I have none of that for you to have determined that I am Black before the interview.
No, I wasn’t hired as the new receptionist and I’m not from the corporate office cleaning company. I’m actually a project manager like…you know…the White men also hired for this job (who earn at least 10K more than me to double my salary for doing the same work).
No, I won’t pat you on the back when you blatantly appropriate Black culture, especially things specific to Black women and high five you as you use these things as “something cool” without regard to my feelings. I don’t think you appropriating our culture makes you a “fashionista” while it makes me “ghetto.” I don’t care if your particular appropriation makes Black men happy. Further, I won’t let you off the hook just because you cry hot white tears over your worry about being seen as a racist, (despite me not calling you one) instead of actually examining your White privilege.
No, I don’t want to discuss Occupy. I don’t view the 99% as a monolithic group and I know how unreasonable it is to substitute class for race, instead of viewing the multiple intersections of the 99%. I can’t pretend that a homeless person, one making 25K and one making 250K have the same experiences since they are all members of the 99%. I also can’t pretend that race doesn’t impact socioeconomics. While I too want the 1% and the corrosive false meritocracy held accountable and income inequality addressed, I can’t ignore the gaping holes and blind spots in Occupy.
No, I won’t join you on the SlutWalk. Plenty of Black women have written about why this is problematic for us. Further, if you can’t even slightly see how this would be problematic for us, I’m guessing your feminism isn’t one with intersectionality. While I too completely support stigma-free sexual freedom, I know that my perceived sexuality, experiences and rights are born out of a very different story from yours.
No, I don’t think every sociopolitical accomplishment for White women will “magically trickle down” to women of colour, especially poor ones. I don’t think placing White women in every sphere where White men are always means real change and success for women of colour.
No, I don’t think the experiences of all women are always the same and I can’t ignore race, class or sexuality just because we are all women. It all matters. It is not “oppression olympics” just because I speak of my experiences and they’re different from yours.
No, I don’t want to discuss feminism unless it is intersectional. Otherwise it is pointless.
Yes, I know that feminism is a continuum that many aren’t even on at all yet. Conversely, yes, I know that some White women actually are daily unpacking, deconstructing and challenging White supremacy and White privilege (while simultaneously benefiting from them…as privilege works this way) and these behaviors above probably don’t apply to them. (I should know. I talk to several like this on Twitter.) Yes, I know that class, sexuality, ability, and weight affects your experiences, despite White supremacy and having White privilege. I don’t minimize this.
Yes, I know the urge to say “well…all White women don’t do this” is at a virtual itch for you right now…on the tip of your tongue. However, not a single experience above is pulled from anywhere but my life in the last decade. Nothing I write is theory. This is my life.
Oh and finally, no, you can’t touch my hair.
In Sandy’s Wake, New York’s Landscape of Inequity Revealed
The shock of Sandy is still rippling across the northeastern United States. But in the microcosm of New York City, we can already see who’s going to bear the brunt of the damage. As Hurricane Katrina demonstrated, floodwaters have a way of exposing the race and class divisions that stratify our cities.
Though some bus and subway service is returning, many neighborhoods dependent on public transportation remain functionally shuttered. Not surprisingly, recent surveys show that Metropolitan Transit Authority ridership consists mostly of people of color, nearly half living on less than $50,000 a year in one of the world’s most expensive cities.
It’s true that Sandy’s path of destruction was to some extent an equal opportunity assault, pummeling the trendiest downtown enclaves and blighted neighborhoods alike. But residents’ levels of resilience to the storm—the capacity to absorb trauma—will likely follow the sharp peaks and valleys of the city’s economic landscape.
Even before the storm, inequities arose in the city’s disaster preparations. Many public-housing residents who stayed behind in evacuation zones were preemptively blacked out, left without elevators, heat or hot water. Meanwhile, once again, in a repeat of Hurricane Irene, the city was criticized for shamelessly denying the incarcerated at Rikers Island an adequate evacuation plan.
Now, floodwaters have ravaged the Lower East Side—a historical bastion of immigant social movements and a dense community of low-income people of color, mostly of Latino and Asian descent. Hundreds have taken shelter at a local school, community service organizations are struggling to stabilize neighborhoods, and some Chinatown activists have reported ugly run-ins with the police during their relief efforts.
Endemic social tensions may intensify as households and communities across lower Manhattan and the outer boroughs face both a transportation shutdown and large-scale displacement: public schools closed, battered storefronts practically abandoned. Many struggling residents will be depending on emergency food rations. In outlying areas such as Far Rockaway, seniors and people with disabilities are especially endangered by power outages combined with physical isolation. In old neighborhoods such as the historic Coney Island district, workers and local small businesses are further hobbled by a lack of insurance.
Now commuter routes are gradually coming back online, but not fast enough to meet the needs of those New Yorkers who can least afford to miss a day of work. The Transportation Equity Atlas of the Pratt Center for Community Development clearly maps out just how long and contorted commutes can be for the poor and people of color:
Three-quarters of a million New Yorkers travel more than one hour each way to work, and two-thirds of them earn less than $35,000 a year. By contrast, just 6 percent of these extreme commuters earn more than $75,000 a year. Black New Yorkers have the longest commute times, 25 percent longer than white commuters; Hispanic commuters have rides 12 percent longer.
In addition, as the Pratt Center’s director of policy, Joan Byron, told Working In These Times via email, the economic impact of the transit shutdown will be “more severe on low- and moderate-income workers, who have fewer options for taking time off or flexing their workplace and schedules.” Some might lose income because their workplaces are closed, and others could face the burden of “having to find childcare if your workplace is open but your kids’ school is closed.”
Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism notes that across the five boroughs, which span an “income disparity as high as China,” the hardest-hit workers belong to the forgotten ranks of “the janitors, the cooks and delivery men, the people who run newsstands and dry cleaners and cobblers and food carts” and the health care workers who respond to day-to-day emergencies. The mostneglected survivors will presumably be those who lack insurance, those living paycheck to paycheck, those without the legal know-how and social supports needed to navigate systems of disaster relief.
Sandy’s uneven impact isn’t isolated to the United States; in Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the destruction was especially acute in areas with deeper poverty and weaker infrastructure. Globally, the disaster highlights the irony that the poorest typically contribute far less to environmental damage than the elite, but face the worst environmental burdens (though they also manage in some places to respond and resist through innovative grassroots environmental initiatives).
But even within supposedly prosperous U.S. cities, natural disasters compound manufactured inequality. The aid effort following another disaster in New York, the September 11 attacks, was undermined by the government’s profound disconnect from the poor. A report by the Urban Justice Center found that after 9/11 hit local communities with huge job losses, “the main problem with disaster aid was not that too many individuals and families sought aid; to the contrary, despite potential eligibility, many economic victims we interviewed did not seek and were not receiving disaster aid at all.” In other words, entrenched economic and bureaucratic barriers ushered in a second wave of trauma for immigrants and the poor.
There’s one potential ray of light in the aftermath of Sandy: a wake-up call for a massive public investments to beef up the city’s defenses against climate change. A strong transit system is integral to an environmentally sustainable urban grid. And a targeted overhaul of New York’s creaky bus and subway lines could deliver equity to low-income neighborhoods in two ways: greater access to good jobs in other areas, and investment in decent local transit and construction jobs that help make neighborhoods more economically and ecologically resilient. Veronica Vanterpool of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, which advocates for equitable regional transit policies, tells In These Times that transit is sometimes glossed over in the debates about creating so-called green jobs in both building and operating mass transit systems. In fact, she said, “transit equity does encompass… increased opportunity to these [job] fields that traditionally have not been marketed to these marginalized communities.”
In the immediate aftermath, however, recovery work—from restoring electricity to rebuilding homes—will be grueling, hazardous and handled by unions that often come under political and economic siege. As Jamilah King points out at Colorlines.com, workers in the city’s transit union, long a bulwark of black and Latino labor (and of militant public-sector organizing) will lead the repair of a city whose politicians have been steadily eroding their working conditions and benefits.
New York will survive Sandy, but so will the city’s persistent inequalities and environmental precarity. So when the electricity comes back on, working people should understand that before the next crisis hits, they need to leverage the devastation to generate new political and economic power.
So let’s get it straight. The fight over who does and doesn’t deserve welfare is a fight about race and always has been. In fact, it has roots that stretch all the way back to the days of neo-slavery which, after all, was not completely abolished until 1948, 13 years after welfare went national. It is also very important to recognize the profound and vicious sexism that informs the paternalistic attitude shaping welfare policy, allowing us to talk about recipients but not with them, as though they have nothing to offer to the debate.
But, maybe most importantly, while racism has been used as a weapon to attack welfare, the fight isn’t just about race.
The real fight over welfare is over workers and wages. And while the fight over workers and wages cannot be separated from our history of slavery, coolie labor, and manipulation of immigration policy to maintain a pool of highly exploitable immigrant labor, race isn’t the only thing driving the dynamic.
This is why providing benefits to white widows who would otherwise be housewives was relatively noncontroversial. But when welfare became a program that interfered with the super-exploitation of Black women, all that changed.
That’s why conservatives are so obsessed with welfare when there are so many other areas of spending that are less popular and doing so much more to drive up the deficit. A robust social safety net drives up wages, just as the threat of poverty and unemployment drives wages down. The more vulnerable we are, the more desperate we become. That, to me, is what all the fuss is about.
What settler colonialism does is that it sets a ceiling on what the future can be such that we cannot even imagine a future without genocide. This tendency then leaves us to develop critical visions only within the constraints of the possible and then infects all the work that we do.
For instance if we look at the Academic Industrial Complex. We whine and complain about how racist it is. As if the only problem is a few racist administrators who need to be fired. And if we just convince them how great Ethnic Studies is, they’d just give us more money. But if we were actually to imagine a liberatory educational system would this be it? Professors, do we say, “Tenure was the most fun thing I’ve ever done, I wish I could do it again”? Do students say, “You know, I love it when I work really hard for my finals and then get a bad grade anyway, how empowering was that”? We don’t even try to imagine building an alternative to the Academic Industrial Complex. We act as if the problem is that there is racism in the academy, not that the academy is structured by racism. And here’s where we can learn from the Prison Industrial Complex. Is not that the organizing against the Prison Industrial Complex puts forth a model of abolition that doesn’t just say that it’s about tearing down prison walls now but it’s about building alternatives that squeeze out the current system. Similarly, while we might have day jobs in the academic system, why can’t we start building alternatives to this system, build the educational system that we would actually like to see that could then squeeze out the current system as it develops. So, for instance, when Arizona says something like they’re going to ban Ethnic Studies, we think, “Oh no, there’s not going to be Ethnic Studies because the State says so!” We presume the state owns Ethnic Studies and it actually can ban it. We don’t say, “Uh, whatever, Arizona! Ethnic Studies is not a gift from the Academic Industrial Complex or from the state. It’s a product of social movements for social justice, and as long as they exist there will be Ethnic Studies wherever and whenever we go.” And did we ever really think Ethnic Studies was going to be legitimate in a white supremacist and settler colonialist academy? And if ever did become legitimate, we would know we had failed in our task.
STOP TRYING TO HONOR TERRORISTS JUST BECAUSE THEY’RE WHITE.
STOP TRYING TO HONOR TERRORISTS JUST BECAUSE THEY’RE WHITE.
STOP TRYING TO HONOR TERRORISTS JUST BECAUSE THEY’RE WHITE.
STOP TRYING TO HONOR TERRORISTS JUST BECAUSE THEY’RE WHITE.
STOP TRYING TO HONOR TERRORISTS JUST BECAUSE THEY’RE WHITE.
STOP TRYING TO HONOR TERRORISTS JUST BECAUSE THEY’RE WHITE.
Oh, the poor Aurora shooter was just a post grad drop out loner who had some psychological problems, baww.Oh, the poor Sikh Temple shooter was just a vet who likely had severe PTSD caused when he fought for our country, baww.
Shut the fuck up. They’re terrorists, not tragic heroes.
Two quick reactions to the Oak Creek violence raised the hackles of some of the sharp organizers in the South Asian American community:
* This was an act of senseless violence. “No,” said Rinku Sen, publisher of Colorlines magazines. This is not “senseless,” she noted, but “racist.” This is the fifty-seventh mass shooting in the past thirty years in the United States. Each one is treated as the work of a freak. Patterns are shunned. Structural factors such as the prevalence of guns and the lack of social care for mentally disturbed people should of course be in the frame. But so too should the preponderance of socially acceptable hatred against those seen as outsiders. Intellectually respectable opinions about who is an American (produced, for example, by Sam Huntington, Who Are We? The Challenge to National Identity) comes alongside the politician’s casual racism (Romney’s recent suggestion that the US and the UK are “part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage,” erased in a whip lash the diversity of the United States and Britain). Racist attacks are authorized by a political culture that allows us to think in nativist terms, to bemoan the “browning” of America. By 2034, the Census department estimates, the non-white population of the US is going to be in the majority. With the political class unwilling to reverse the tide of jobless growth and corporate power, the politicians stigmatize the outsider as the problem of poverty and exploitation. This stigmatization, as Moishe Postone argues, obscures “the role played by capitalism in the reproduction of grief.” Far easier to let the Sikhs and the Latinos, the Muslims and the Africans bear the social cost for economic hopelessness and political powerlessness than to target the real problem: the structures that benefit the 1% and allow them to luxuriate in Richistan.
* Sikhs are not Muslims. The second argument, now clichéd, is to make the case that this is violence at the wrong address. Sikhs did nothing wrong, they are peace-loving and so on. It assumes that there are people who did do something wrong, are war-mongering and therefore deserve to be targeted. The liberal gesture of innocence has within it the sharp edge of Islamaphobia. It seems to suggest that Muslims are the ones who should bear this violence, since their ilk did the attacks on 9/11 and they are, all two billion of them, at war with the United States. The attack on Sikhs is not a mistaken attack. Sikhs are not mistaken for Muslims, but seen as part of the community of outsiders who are, as Patrick Buchanan puts it in States of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America, “a fifth column inside the belly of the beast…Should America lose her ethnic-cultural core and become a nation of nations, America will not survive.” Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker is not far from all this, being a fan of the Arizona anti-human legislation. The Sikh Coalition, an anti-bias group, is fully aware that this is not simply a situation of mistaken identity. Its 2008 report, Making Our Voices Heard, notes that although it is not the case that Sikhs are members of the Taliban or clones of Bin Laden, it is this recurrent identification that has by now “created an environment in which Sikhs are regularly singled out for abuse and mistreatment by both private and, at times, public actors.” Strikingly, forty-one percent of Sikhs in New York City reported being called derogatory names, half of the Sikh children reported being teased or harassed because of their Sikh identity and one hundred percent of Sikhs report having to endure secondary screenings at some US airports.
In 2008 Michael Phelps took home EIGHT gold medals. We celebrated him as an American hero.
This week, a pretty seventeen year old American swimmer took home a gold for USA. It’s Olympic history! Somebody get that girl some theme music and a reality T.V show!
Also this week, a female sixteen year old swimmer from China won the gold and swam faster times than the men. WHAT! THIS IS AN OLYMPIC MIRACLE! AMAZ-
Sorry, what’s that? You’re suspicious of her? She gets no congratulations, no inspiring montage of her family watching at home, nothing? Nothing. Her win is taboo. What should be an inspiring story of a young girl making history at the Olympic Games is ruined by press and public scrutinizing her body, and the ethics of her home country.
So why, exactly, should we have reason to suspect foul play? The obvious answer is because men are stronger than women, and no woman should be able to compete on the same physical level as a dude in peak shape, right? Alright, here’s the deal. This is the Olympics. It’s true that generally, male athletes have more sheer physical strength than female athletes, but it isn’t so unreasonable to think that one woman on the planet could have the ability to outswim the boys. And if she existed, she’d probably be really famous and like, go to the Olympics, right?
Amazing shit happens at these games all the time. Gymnasts break their ankles sticking landings and still take home medals. Michael Phelps is human (probably) and took home eight golds in one game. There’s a whole list up of world records that have been broken in the 2012 games already. This quote, by entitled swimming coach dude John Leonard, is a great example of bigotry against women in sports:
“To swim three other splits at the rate that she did, which was quite ordinary for elite competition, and then unleash a historic anomaly, it is just not right. I have heard commentators saying ‘well she is 16, and at that age amazing things happen’. Well yes, but not that amazing, I am sorry.”
My favorite phrase here is “historic anomaly” as opposed to “historic achievement” which is what it was. He also makes a comment on how whenever people come out looking like “superwoman” they’ve been discovered to be doped up. I guess men probably don’t look like superwomen when they make Olympic history, huh?*
So on behalf of America, I’d like to make an apology to Ye Shiwen. You’re an extraordinary swimmer. You’re disadvantaged because you’re young, because you’re Chinese, and of course, because you’re a woman, but you swim like a BAMF and you deserve to be celebrated. Keep on keepin’ on, girl. Don’t let the haters get you down.