Kanye West is white America’s worst nightmare. Because as much as one may attempt to dismiss him — by calling him an asshole or classless or deranged or various other adjectives that fill the comment sections of literally every article about him — you still have to turn on your regularly scheduled late night comedy program and stare him in the face. You can’t avoid Kanye. He’s made very sure of that.
Kanye is not a “new slave” in the same sense as the victims of the prison industrial complex, but he is still trapped in a world that expects him to not only be complicit with the struggle of his people, but to be appreciative that he is not one of them. And on top of all that, while he gets to exist in the world of the 1%, having the money and signifiers of success still aren’t enough to make his (white) 1% peers actually even respect him.
The ideals of Public Enemy are as relevant today as they were in the 80s, but hip-hop was nowhere near as dominant and omnipresent a cultural force as it is at this moment; to compare the reach of their messages is silly. Upper-middle class white families did not have to deal with Public Enemy if they didn’t want to. Similarly with politically-minded “noise rap” artists that have been name-dropped in reviews of Kanye’s new material — it’s all well and good for Death Grips and Blackie and even Killer Mike to espouse similar messages and sounds (and honestly, the sonic qualities of “New Slaves” and “Black Skinhead” are hardly at the top of the list of why they’re important), but none of them have anywhere near the amount of visibility and influence as Kanye, even if they did hit it first.
People in current positions of comfort and stability are so willing to dismiss the transgressive thoughts of an angry black man that they will use any convenient excuse to diminish from them; if someone says something that makes you uncomfortable, why not immediately change the subject to his girlfriend’s ass or that time he yelled at a papparazzi or that time he got drunk and embarrassed a white girl? When was it exactly that Kanye shifted, in the eyes of the mainstream, from lovable polo-wearing backpacker to perpetually and unanimously An Asshole? When, precisely, did everything he said get immediately categorized as a “rant” or “controversial” regardless of the actual content? I want to say it was around the time when he said that George Bush didn’t care about black people on live tv. Hmm. Odd." -Meaghan Garvey, Who Will Survive In America? (via machistado)
“After this I go to work at a pizza shop. My wife and I were college professors in Bangladesh. I taught accounting. But one dollar in America becomes eighty dollars when we send it back home.”
By Alice Farmer
Here’s a story to break your heart – thousands of Afghan refugee boys who roam Europe alone, without parents, without enough help from European governments, and at risk of destitution, detention, and death.
This sounds like a version of the “Hunger Games,” but this is all too real. At Human Rights Watch,we’ve been documenting abuses of unaccompanied migrant children for more than 10 years, and I’ve personally interviewed hundreds of these children. The kids I met with are sent abroad in a last ditch effort to find a better life or escape persecution. Traveling with smugglers—under trucks, by foot, and in rickety boats—at least 10,000 unaccompanied children enter the European Union each year. There may be thousands more, as the boys have a strong incentive to hide from registration with any government.
Afghan boys –a substantial proportion of the children I met—have fled awful situations at home. Family members might have been killed, and the boys themselves faced daily violence and deprivation. Some had been recruited as child soldiers.
An Afghan boy named Reza’s story really sticks with me. I met Reza (a pseudonym) in an abandoned, unfinished house under a bridge near Patras, a port city in Greece. To reach the house we walked through a gravel underpass, jumped over an open drain, and crawled through a hole in a barbed-wire-topped fence. A dozen or so Afghan asylum seekers lived in the house, on mattresses on the floor, with no running water or electricity. They introduced me to Reza, a tiny, narrow-framed boy with the faint traces of a first mustache on his upper lip.
Reza, who was just 14, had come to Greece by himself. His father had died, and his mother and older sisters had decided that he should leave Iran, where the family had sought refuge, and go to Europe. He told me he came to Europe to make money to support his mother and sisters. He traveled overland for months, crossing into Greece in the Evros region, where Greek police picked him up. They sent him to jail overnight, then let him go, without giving him any extra help or care, even though he looks like the young boy he is.
“I can’t stay here,” said Reza, speaking of Greece. “The police come at night and we have to run…. I have food, but not regularly.” Reza had a list—a mantra, really—of countries he hoped to reach to find safety. “To Switzerland, Sweden. Or Austria or Germany.” Yet Reza’s path ahead was not safe—he would have to dodge border guards and travel clandestinely further into Europe, perhaps stowing away on ferries or hanging underneath trucks for days at a time. Walking away from Reza after hearing his story, knowing he faced a very real threat of harm and even of death, broke my heart.
Picture: Reza stands outside the abandoned house in which he lives with other Afghan migrants in Patras, Greece. © 2012 Alice Farmer/Human Rights Watch
Even though the day was cancelled due to sequestration, a 5-year-old showed up to school because he was hungry.
And there are more devastating effects sequester budget cuts have had on kids and schools.
South Dakota Officials Miss Historic Meeting With Tribes : NPR
Federal officials met with South Dakota’s nine Sioux tribes on Wednesday for a historic summit in Rapid City. A year in the making, it was an effort to address long standing concerns over the high number of Native American children the state places in white foster homes. State officials, however, didn’t show up for the meeting.
State officials, however, didn’t show up for the meeting.
"I am a hard person to love but when I love, I love really hard."-Tupac Shakur (via larebellefleur)
"In one 1962 survey roughly 90 percent of White people believed Black children had an equally fair opportunity to get a quality education as White children. Wise recognizes that White Americans’ lack of awareness—and denial about the extent of racial inequality in America—is dated, calling it “borderline delusional”."-
(Unpacking the Snowflake - Kevin M. Hemer)
In 1962— before Civil Rights legislation, when Black people were literally having their houses bombed for moving into white neighborhoods, and Black neighborhoods were being bombed in entirety for having nice houses, white people were literally releasing dogs on Black children (my parents) for walking to school, Black children and teenagers were literally leaving school to protest and then being arrested for demanding to be treated equally, police commissioners were driving through Black neighborhoods in tanks to instill fear in them for wanting to be treated equally, everything was separate with Black people getting the shittier end, they literally had lower education standards for Black schools and Black people were still getting lynched and the KKK was strong—
White people when surveyed said “there is equal opportunity“… So don’t think it’s weird that 93% or so of white people still think “there is equal opportunity” today. They’ve literally always been wrong and still are.
This post isn’t about welfare, but it beautifully illustrates a point I’ve been making (or trying to make) since I started this blog:
Privileged people do not understand the realities of people who lack their privilege.
White people assume PoC have the same education and job opportunities.
People with permanent addresses assume homeless people can just fill out an application for McDonalds or Burger King, be hired, and immediately use their paychecks to secure housing.
People who don’t receive welfare assume people on welfare are lazy and intentionally having multiple children and not looking for jobs.
This is why I am always, always asking people if they’ve ever considered that maybe, JUST MAYBE, they don’t have the whole story about their cousin/neighbor/friend’s sister. Because people in privilege tend to ascribe their own circumstances to everyone, even when that’s the exact opposite of reality.
"People empty me. I have to get away to refill."-Charles Bukowski (via thatkindofwoman)