If there's a silver lining to the bizarre arrest of prominent Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, it's his newly-inspired interest in exploring and exposing the racism that exists in our nation's prison system. Police arrested Gates this past Thursday after a neighbor saw him trying to push open his jammed front door, assumed (ostensibly because of his skin color) that he was an intruder and reported him accordingly. The event was a reminder of our justice system's tendency to disappear minorities, which is one of the unfortunate consequences of advanced corporate capitalism that deserves to be examined under a microscope by as many brilliant minds as possible (Angela Davis can't do it alone, people!)
Gates says that his arrest was a huge eye opener for him, and he has declared his intent to research and film a documentary that deals with racial profiling. He told the Washington Post that the project will ask, "How are people treated when they are arrested? How does the criminal justice system work? How many black and brown men and poor white men are the victims of police officers who are carrying racist thoughts?" I personally can't wait to see it, but if I could make one small request to Professor Gates, I would ask him to not forget about the women.
I know in my day I've had my fair share of rock star fantasties. It'd be amazing to stand on stage and display your art to the masses. Whether "the masses" encompasses ten of your best friends or hundreds of strangers who want to be your best friend, it must be a glorious feeling to actually make it to the point of making music, and then after that, taking that music on the road. Sara Jaffe and Mia Clarke, of indy ladybands Erase Errata and Electrelane, respectively, recently released The Art of Touring, a photo heavy diary of sorts that chronicles the journeys of the vans of such bands as Times New Viking, Pit Er Pat and Le Tigre. Why does this matter as anything more than a kewl, voyeuristic glance into some of your favorite bands' knapsacks and polaroid collections? Find out after the jump!
Throughout recent history, society at large has stereotyped ladyfolk as demure and pure certainly not interested in The Sex (save for sluts, a shameful variety of the ladyfolk who *gasp* enjoy having sex, sometimes even before or outside of marriage). Well, the female musicians and bands that follow give tired sex-related gender roles a big ol' slap in the face with unabashed lyrics and straight-up badassness.
The Welfare Rights movement of the sixties and seventies rarely receives the amount of historical attention it deserves, and as a grassroots movement that addressed class, race, gender, and consumption issues all at once. Although made up of thousands of women around the country, Johnnie Tillmon was one of the main activists, who rose from a reluctant welfare mother to Executive Director for the National Welfare Rights Organization.
In 2008, 58 teenage girls published their take on body image, family, politics, and pop culture in the anthology Red: Teenage Girls in America Write on What Fires Up Their Lives Today. Page Turner caught up with five of them to talk about feminism, teen-girl falsehoods, and what's happened in their lives since their essays left off.