The guy that shot up that movie theater in Colorado? Cause he’s white, the news wants to talk about maybe he has a mental disorder, they want to talk about maybe he’s depressed, what went wrong, let’s understand how he’s feeling. If he was black, no one would try to understand him. If he was black, he’s just bad. If he was hispanic, he’s just bad. They wouldn’t be asking questions like that.
one of the smartest, most astute, bad-ass young women of color I know, who happens to be one of my high school freshmen-bout-to-be-sophomore.
We’re making plans for doing a project looking at media portrayals of people of color as criminals and drug users vs. actual crime statistics (and likely how those are skewed as well) as part of her algebra tutoring for the summer, and this came up today.
Emma Stydahar, 17, and Carina Cruz, 16, both SPARK Movement activists, were on CNN this morning to discuss their campaign to get Teen Vogue to promise to show real beauty in their pages. Carina: “As a young woman of color who has had weight issues, I’ve never seen myself represented; it’s always white and skinny.” To sign their petition, go to www.change.org/teenvogue
"Walking Home", short video by Nuala Cabral from Media That Matters festival.
I’m going to show this to my zine class next week. I have this crew of tough girls of color in the class, and they’re all outspoken about ways that men and boys treat them, and sexist messages in the media. They already held down an argument with two boys in the class about how girls of color are shown in the media and how much more complicated they are. (One of the boys was defensive because he really wants to not be a jerk to girls, because he is a sweetheart.)
Today we went over the topics they’re each writing about and got started asking why each of those topics are important to them and in society, and most of those girls are writing about some aspect of dealing with sexism as a young woman of color. I suggested that they all stay in conversation with each other to see what they’re each writing and how their experiences relate and differ.
So that is what I’m working on for the next couple of weeks. They’re going to make such amazing zines, they’re already putting amazingness on paper and getting each other riled up and supporting each other. I talked with one of them about how important it is for women of color to get reminders that we’re not wastes of space, to combat all the negative messaging we normally get. She and another girl are reading copies of a zine I gave them called Fat Is Beautiful and doing similar projects to support girls being okay with their body shapes and sizes. Another girl is writing about teenagers understanding their sexuality and orientation, and making a supportive environment.
I think with this round of the class I need to make sure we have time to distribute their zines around school or make posters from their zines to put up, because they’re all doing really important work to assert themselves and support each other and I’m already so proud of them omg!! These girls are gonna be running shit.
Yesterday one of my bad ass freshman girls and I were working on the beginning of a social studies essay she has to do. She had to read bits of articles about the US constitution and was right away going, “This says ‘all men are created equal,’ but they really only mean white men! All these articles are about equality in the US but that’s not even true!” Working with her is fun because she and I get each other riled up looking at racist and xenophobic stuff in her readings and in the news, and we bring other kids into it and all get yelling (such as last week when we made plans to snuff the Alien & Sedition Acts and go back in time to kill Columbus).
She also told me about being on the bus recently after school and hearing a lady yell at another girl, who the lady assumed went to our school. The lady called the girl “retarded” just like all the kids at our school. So my student stepped in and yelled at the woman for calling the girl names like that and talking shit on our students, because our students might be at a weird little school but they’re still really smart. She didn’t even know the girl she was defending.
So many of my freshman girls just drop gems like that, stories of being badasses or just stuff where they can call out racism or sexism or just bullshit no problem, and I’m just like, someday I wanna grow up and be that cool. They’re all fierce as fuck and they’re only freshmen, and I can’t wait until they’re seniors and their badassery has grown and there will be this gang of brilliant tough young women of color callin jerks out and running this town and New Haven won’t know what the hell hit it. We’ve been piloting a couple different young women’s leadership programs with them and some day soon they will be runnin shit.