Cynthia Najdowski, University of Illinois at Chicago
“Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check.”
The GOP wanted to build a base of support from the failed public opposition to anti-segregation laws – and it worked. Anyone who was upset that Black people could vote, could serve in the military, and that drinking fountains and businesses were no longer segregated could continue harboring their racial sentiments behind the banner of welfare fraud. It worked so well, in fact, that Americans were still blaming their economic woes on “welfare queens” as President H. W. Bush bailed out the Savings and Loan industry, costing taxpayers a total of $124 billion by 1999.
“This image of the lazy African-American woman who refuses to get a job and keeps having kids is pretty enduring,” says Kaaryn Gustafson, the author of Cheating Welfare. “It’s always been a good way to distract the public from any meaningful conversations about poverty and inequality.”
The New York Times
Published: June 10, 2012
By Ashley Hayes, CNN
Even though black women comprise less than one percent of servicemembers, they represented 3.3 percent of all don’t ask, don’t tell discharges. Women in general appear to have been targeted under the policy. According to a 2010 Service Women’s Action Network report, women were 15 percent of the armed forces in 2008, but comprised 34 percent of the don’t ask, don’t tell discharges. People of color represented just under 30 percent of active duty personnel, but 45 percent of don’t ask, don’t tell discharges. The Pentagon discharged more than 14,000 service members under the policy between when it took effect in December 1993 and its official end last week.
Many women who have been discharged under don’t ask, don’t tell were reported to their commanding officers as lesbians after they rebuffed a fellow servicemember’s sexual advances. Sexual harassment and sexual assault remain serious problems within the ranks. Recent reports continue to indicate that the Pentagon has not done enough to address them.
The Defense Department’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office indicated in a March 2011 report that there were 3,158 reported sexual assaults in the military in 2010. The Pentagon estimates that this figure represents less than 14 percent of the actual number of rapes and sexual assaults in the armed forces during this period. Furthermore, the SAPRO report indicates that 90 percent of sexual assaults and 80 percent of sexual harassment go unreported.
Are there parallels between efforts to mitigate sexual violence in the military and to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly?
Here are a few of the news stories we’ve been paying attention to over the past week:
- Check out Lizz Winstead’s interview with the Village Voice about her benefit for us: http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2011/09/lizz_winstead.php
- Joan Walsh also wrote…
…I’m gonna begin making an issue out of this, because few others do… and it’s something that needs to be talked about..
Notice how Native Americans are not included. Notice how Native Americans are generally never included in these statistics and/or conversations/discussions of oppression whether that be economic or not. The only reason why there is as much talk about Native issues (particularly cultural appropriation) here on tumblr is because we Natives have stepped up and forced everyone to see that we are still here. But this is no the case in many places.
This trend in leaving out Natives effectively allows the public to believe we’ve died out and/or trivializes our experiences on the off chance there is some discussion.
I am glad that light is being shed on the oppression (economic or otherwise) of blacks, asian, and latinas… but I refuse to be silent when I see these kinds of things. Sometimes it’s just as much about what’s left out of the ‘picture’ as we is left in.
They bring up an important point.
I’ve wondered about this too. If studies can account for race and as well as latinidad (an ethnicity), then I don’t see why they can’t include indigeneity.
Except, ya know, the nationalist project relies on the extinction narrative. It’s crucial that people not be able to identify as Native and claim rights or be counted.
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