Monday, February 25, 2013

Idle no more: Exploring indigenous women's organizing.

Hi miners! Whistle while you work! Do you like my new spiked gloves? I bet you're peanut butter and jealous of them.

So this week, I planned on going to an event posted on the excavations list titled "OkCupid,, and EHarmony: Exploring Online Dating." I went to the location posted at the correct time and date, and it wasn't a completely different lecture taking place. One I found extremely boring and uninteresting. I wasn't excited. I don't want to throw the student's name under the bus that posted the wrong information but MOLLY KROHE!!!!!!!! Haha.

So I was stuck in a lecture about Indigenous Women's Organizations. This is the guest panel. Jodi Byrd, Lani Teves, and Christine Delisle (from left to right).

Jodi is part of the Chickasaw Tribe in Oklahoma. She went to the University of Iowa for American Indian Studies where her research interests included Indigenous studies and governance. She also researched Indigenous and postcolonial literatures, cultural studies, film, and theory. She has a new book out that argues the necessity of moving beyond a colonial framework in talking about Indigenous features. Next, Lani is a native born and raised in Hawaii. She received a masters in American Studies there. Her dissertation, "We're All Hawaiians Now: Culture, Indigeneity, Performance, and Politics of Aloha" focuses on the ways in which the representational strategies of Hawaiian performers can gain political and federal recognition. Lastly, Christine was born and raised in Guam. She taught at schools in Guam before moving to teach in Michigan and Illinois. One of her main concerns about Guam today consist of the military buildup and protests there that effect her Chamorro Tribe.

This lecture mainly spoke about the common organization these indigenous women belong to called "Idle No More". This organization explores local efforts to organize in solidarity with undocumented people in the United States. It's a social networking movement that was started by Indigenous women that organized local issues. The group has had much success, including breaking a Canadian Bill protecting Indigenous places. This group was started through Facebook, teach-ins, and Twitter. Then, a hunger strike took place that got nationwide recognition. Many people learn about their organization through social media. Without the social media, they believe that they wouldn't get any recognition as natives. This movement has not yet hit Guam where Christine lives. Christine strongly believes in the colonialism theory: Other tribes bring in people, they bring native things, and the rest of the area becomes accustomed to them and the tribes grow. She wants to use this "contagious" approach to expand the indigenous cultures. "Idle No More" is such a powerful organization because it's non violent in its way of changing the world. 

In the history of organizing their culture, women were always in the forefront of saving indigenous lands and tribes. Lani spoke about how women in Hawaii have to stay strong and be the rock in their community especially when times get rough. One of the hardest times was when the government sent their tribe a "Sorry Letter" for overthrowing their Chief. At times like that, it was hard for the men to not get violent. she stated: "We have an apology letter to build our land and tribes on. What are we supposed to do with that?" The women get together with "Idle No More" in order to keep sanity and tranquility in their tribe. 

Indigenous feminism is an issue too. Any indian man who marries a white settler can move onto the reserve. In contrast, any indian woman who marries into a white settler must leave the reserve and move away with the settler. These three women try to rework what gender means in indigenous culture. This is about women, and there is nothing the men can do to operationalize it. 

The White environmental movements have become an enemy to Hawaii. There is an ongoing reliance on military and food costs due to the white movements. Christine thinks they don't need the white movements, and she wishes they didn't spend money on the U.S. goods that get shipped to them. They can get fish from the ocean and live off the land to lower living prices. With "Idle No More", the tribes need to come together to question the priorities of indigenous living. 

Well, I hope you find this all interesting, because I don't! 

And if you're wondering, this is what I would look like if I were the Chief of my tribe. 

See you next week!!!

Mwuah <3
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Monday, February 18, 2013

Social-Personality: Brown Bag Lecture

Hi my little miners! How are you doing cause I wanna know? I have no idea what a brown bag lecture is, but I went to one. For me, I brought a brown bag in case I needed to throw up in it because I was so hungover. I hid incognito in the back of the class. 

This is Kisha Jones. Her entire lecture was about a theory called Adverse Impact, which is the selection ratio of any race, gender, or sexuality of any minority group getting jobs in America. She didn't talk about anything but black vs. white hirings, and to me it seemed pretty ignorant. 

I wasn't the only one. This lecture turned into a huge debate. Especially between her and these wise guys on this side of the room. They thought her research and points were inaccurate and unfair to make any sort of hypothesis. They seemed to know more information and statistics than she did. They pretty much burned her at the stake.

There was a lot of shade, eye rolling, and huffing and puffing going on. But what did I learn. Well, the U.S. is trying attempting to reverse the Adverse Impact in order to create a more diverse workplace. They do this in two studies. One, the Predictor: Cognitive ability tests were set in place instead of face to face interviews. This gives the companies a chance to hire based on intellect and not appearance. Second, the Criterion: The companies take job performance solely into consideration while hiring. They would hire people as interns and promote them with a job if they were great at what they did. However,  Kisha believed that the Criterion theory actually creates a higher waving adverse impact. She believes in the Supply Side Perspective. In this, minority and majority applicants should be as similar as possible in knowledge when applying for jobs. This leads to targeted diversity recruiting, where companies seek out different races to work for them and decreases adverse impact. The wise guys listening in on the lecture did not like this idea, and thought it was completely over the top and stupid. 

She went on to something I thought finally made sense: Vocational Interests. Jobs should be chosen by the applicant based on what kind of personality you have taking into consideration your situations, contexts, behaviors, and interests. This is based on Holland's Theory of Personalities in the Work Environment. (Graph Below)

Interests start in childhood. Her studies showed that men are stronger in the realistic section, and women more in the social. Black and white people showed differences as well. Black people rated high in social, enterprising, and conventional sections. White people then increased in realistic, investigative, and artistic sections. This through the wise guys over the edge and the debate began. She defended her research by stating that growing up, a black child develops a racialized schemata and bias of jobs Then, they age into race-based stereotypes from media and their surroundings in America. After this, they conclude their biases. I also thought that was a load of bullshit. We are all people, made up of the same DNA. We all need jobs, and we'll all get them if qualified. The end.

Oh, and one for the road. Me last night before I was hungover and threw up in my brown paper bag lecture.  

Kisses! See you next week.


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Monday, February 11, 2013

Hot Topics: Race, Gender, and Body Image in the Media.

Hello! I hope your week has been Gone With The Wind Fabulous! Today I looked like a teenage Dirtbag Rock Star. 

Alex and I went to a lecture this week hosted by the campus' Women's Resource Center about Body Image and Race in media. I spy a few miners in the back row!

This was the speaking panel. Only one was a graduate, the rest students. 

From left to right, Dominique started a feminist organization on campus to help women. Her issues with body image started because she is a belly dancer, and she knows that a large percentage of the audience thinks she's not fit. She overcame it for the love of the dance. Rachel, similarly, began at a dance academy when she was 2 which influenced her hate on her body. She feels she can give advice to others about being body positive, but can't take it. It's hard not to be affected in such a culture of body negativity. Next up is Meadow. She is an art education major and finds an interest in helping students feel more comfortable and diverse. She was anorexic when she was younger. Last, Shantel finds an interest in how the body is the center of the internet, advertisements, and social media. She felt self conscious as a young girl as a half asian half latina woman because no celebrities looked like her. Similarly, Dominique felt left out as a child because there were no barbies with afros or natural african american hair. It made her not like her hair and feel ugly. 

Throughout a lot of this lecture, I felt like this:

This topic is in fact a political issue. The media tells us not to worry about the way we look. If we worry and hate our body, we're self conscious and weak. If we love ourselves and are happy, we are vain and self absorbed. Society has a way to make you feel bad no matter what circumstance your in. cosmetic surgeries are rapidly increasing year after year because nobody seems happy with themselves anymore. Eyelid surgeries in Asia and skin lightening surgeries in Africa are among the top. As the opposite, tanning beds and bronzers and makeup helps white american women look and want to appear darker. Everyone is trying to look less and less diverse wanting the opposite of what they are. 

Body image is more than just people with an eating disorder. There are much more complex issues with body image, especially for transgendered folk. How can you tell someone to love their body when they feel they are born in the wrong one? This topic interests me because I try to change what society thinks is beautiful with my fashion and beauty photography. I don't exactly fit society's mold of a man and everything he needs to be. However, I am a man, and I like being a man. I don not want a sex change. Nonetheless, I do wear makeup and I do fashion. In the gay community, there are different categories of gays. Transexuals are individuals who have had the sex change. Transvestites are men who dress in women's clothing for sexual pleasure/fetish reasons. Drag queens are men who dress in women's clothes for performance purposes. I don't fit any of these categories. I'm a man who just likes to wear makeup and fashion. With my photography, I push the androgyny because I want to create a category for us men who like to dress this way just because that's how we want to dress/feel ourselves in. I know there are a lot of gays like me out there, and I know they are just as confused and don't know what to call themselves either. And if you don't have anyone to compare yourself to or call yourself to make your feel more "normal", that can lead to an identity crisis. If nobody creates this category, then I will!

Is it a man? 
Is it a woman?
... Do you care? 

See you next week!


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Monday, February 4, 2013

An Evening With Keith Boykin: A Celebration of Black LGBT History Month.

Hi! I'm back this week in a pretty scarf. Do you like it? Great.

This week, I walked into a lecture sponsored by an LGBT organization on campus. I saw quite the familiar crowd. There was a WHOLE ROW of miners!!! So funny.

11 of us. Anyway, the speaker of this event was Keith Boykin (In photograph Below). He came to talk in honor of "Black LGBT History Month". 

Boykin was a troubled child, but was always into politics. When he was younger, he pretended to be the president all the time and rode his imaginary limo. Little did he know that he was going to grow up to become highest paid gay to work in the White House. However, it wasn't always success. 

He first began by traveling across the country to help campaign their elections for presidency. His family and friends did not support this idea of his because they didn't think he would make money or be successful, but Boykin thought it was important to take the road less traveled. When he wasn't very successful, he went back home and taught history classes for money. Doing this made him realize that politics is what he loves, so he began to consult the city government. He started by helping campaigns of governors and senators in hopes to work with presidents again in the future. Finally, he decided to apply to law school. He applied to Washington where he had a full ride scholarship, and Harvard Law. He got into Harvard and went there with Barrack Obama. There, Obama was the first black student president of the school.  
While at Harvard, Boykin created the Coalition for Civil Rights which was to help support diversity on campus for minorities such as the handicapped, latinos, LGBT's, etc. He believed that diversity helped everyone because everyone can learn from each other. The group boycotted a lot of events. One time, he asked the dean of students to politely come talk to the group. The dean turned toward the door, and Boykin grabbed his picket sign and made his way toward him. The dean started to run from him, and he chased him around the quad. The next day, there was a photo of the scenario on the cover of the newspaper. This was the first instance he knew he had power. 

One day, he came to terms with the fact that he was contemplating his sexuality. He went to the Harvard library, checked out a book nervously from the LGBT section, and read it in one night. The next morning, he came out to himself and his mother. He wanted to be out, but not have to deal with coming out to everyone. He told friends and family, but his grandmother did not approve. On his graduation day, his grandmother decided to sit next to his boyfriend and tell him she didn't approve of their lifestyle. Boykin was upset, and decided to travel again. He quit his steady job after college that paid well, taking a rish to start campaigning again. He campaigned for dozens of politicians, but they all kept losing. Finally, he won with Bill Clinton, which is when he became the highest paid gay man to work in the White House. Years later, he left the White House to write books to help LGBT individuals and guest speak around America. 

He ended the lecture by saying that the LGBT community should be proud of the power we have. Gay marriage has been an issue in politics for years, but has rapidly progressed. In the past, issues the segregation and slavery took hundreds of years to fix. We are in a good place with a hopeful future. 

See you next week everyone!!!


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