How great would it be to share a dinner table with Sherman Alexie? The National Book Award winner, Spokane Coeur d'Alene Indian, and author of 24 books always has something smart to say, and his way of saying it is with a good-natured dark humor that illuminates the bad stuff of life with a warm and loving light. A week before Thanksgiving, Sherman and I talked about the holiday and how he's made it his own, imagining the traditional Thanksgiving feast as a celebration of survival.
Costumes aren't just a Halloween thing for a lot of Americans. Bitch Creative and Editorial Director Andi Zeisler talked with cosplayers at Seattle's Geek Girl Con this month, including Chaka Cumberbatch, about why they think costumes are powerful and what role dressing up plays in their lives.
In this 20-minute conversation from our Dress Up podcast episode, Bitch Creative and Editorial Director Andi Zeisler and Online Editor Sarah Mirk talk with independent fashion designer Adam Arnold and Portland fashion designer-manufacturer Cassie Ridgway about why people love to dress up sexy for Halloween.
A transcript of this conversation is below the cut.
Racism is an integral part of US culture, but the shape and nature of racism changes with every generation. This country’s roots in slavery and colonization gave way to Jim Crow, reservations, and racist immigration policies. Since the late 1960s, we’ve been living in the post-integration era where real progress in a few areas has created a pretense that racism is over. This things-are-so-much-better-now narrative continues in spite of people of color continuing to testify about how racism still affects every aspect of our lives on a daily basis.
As the context of racism changes, what it means to be a white anti-racist “ally” has transformed, as well.
Street harassment has been part of my existence since I was a young teenager, but it wasn't until I was in graduate school in 2006 that I even learned the term "street harassment." I found the term on the website of the Street Harassment Project (founded in the early internet days of 1999). When I learned the phrase, I was so relieved: there was a name for what I experienced. There were other people who hated it, too.
Egyptian comics character Qahera, a new Muslim superhero who fights street harassment and sexual violence.
At the beginning of September, around the time news broke of Ciudad Juárez's Diana, "Huntress of Bus Drivers," my dad informed me that a female family member of ours living near Mexico City was assaulted while waiting for the bus she took home each evening. So, after reading reports about Diana the Huntress from Mexican news sources like El Diario, I came to embrace the myth-worthy, middle-aged, black-clad vigilante with a shock of blonde hair who was quickly attainting superhero status for killing two bus drivers she alleged were rapists.
George and Shellie Zimmerman, appearing in court. Photo via.
In case you haven't heard, George Zimmerman went berserk Monday, punching his father-in-law in the face and pulling a gun on his estranged wife. Shellie Zimmerman, who is filing for divorce, called 911 screaming, "I'm really, really scared."
Zimmerman is the man acquitted of shooting Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager. When Shellie Zimmerman first began talking to the press about the divorce, she said the highly publicized trial ruined her life. But she also cited Zimmerman's verbal abuse and self-centeredness as reasons she wants to leave the marriage. "I have a selfish husband….George is all about George," she told the press. With this episode of domestic violence, she told authorities, "I don't know what he's capable of."
But we do know what he's capable of. He's capable of killing an unarmed kid and thinking the action is justified.
It's upsetting when an activist group winds up alienating the very people they're supposed to be supporting. That's exactly what happened to long-time social justice activist Emi Koyama two weeks ago at the Forging Justice conference in Detroit, which was sponsored by the National Organization of Men Against Sexism (NOMAS) and Michigan domestic violence and sexual assault agency HAVEN. During Koyama's talk, the NOMAS organizers turned off the conference livestream, so people watching online were unable to follow along. Koyama wrote a long, detailed piece on Shakesville about how some organizers continued to treat her in a way that was so upsetting that she had to leave the conference before it was over.
I talked with Koyama on Friday about took away from the experience and what's next for her.