Peanut Butter (or Lead) And Pineapples

Welcome to things atypical

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Raghu Rai, who had grown accustomed to my consistent presence on the photography scene, gave me a perfunctory smile when we first encountered each other at his most recent opening. Later in the evening, when I was sharing a moment with Mithu, who seems almost like the older sister I never had and who shares my complexion, he came over to us and stated, in Hindi, that now there were two Kali Mas in the art world.

His comment stayed with me. Barely an hour before, when you and I were driving to Jhandewala in your jalopy, we’d come across a tall, bold statue of Kali, and I’d asked you if you knew why she was dark. You didn’t.

The next day I looked it up online. The Encyclopedia Britannica spoke of her as the goddess of time, doomsday, and death, “or the black goddess (the feminine form of Sanskrit kala, ‘time-doomsday-death,’ or ‘black).” In the parenthesis appending the word Kali, is written: Sanskrit: She Who is Black or She Who is Death. “Kali’s iconography, cult, and mythology commonly associate her with death, sexuality, violence, and, paradoxically, in some later traditions with motherly love.” Another article by a certain Subhamoy Das says “her black complexion symbolizes her all-embracing and transcendental nature,” and cites the Mahanirvana Tantra: “Just as all colors disappear in black, so all names and forms disappear in her,” and goes on to qualify her nudity; “Kali is free from the illusory covering, for she is beyond all the maya or ‘false consciousness.’ Her garland of fifty human heads is meant to stand for the fifty letters in the Sanskrit alphabet, thus representing infinite knowledge.

I wondered why I had never equated the word kali with the powerful goddess or with the notion of time. I had always processed the word as an adjective and never as either a proper noun or as the verbal evocation of a divine entity. I had been called kali so many times, and so derisively, as if it were a life sentence, I had never imagined the subversive possibilities of appropriation.

Like that one time when I was walking through my neighborhood in Bombay, heading towards the Church, in broad daylight, when two women who were walking in the opposite direction and who would have had to have passed by me suddenly noticed the color of my skin. I was still a young girl then, and it was hard for me to make sense of their reaction. There was this moment of recognition, then a strategic maneuvering on their part so as to avoid my crossing their path. I had never equated myself with a black cat before. I had never seen myself as an appendage to a superstition. I spared them the inconvenience and steered my movement such that they wouldn’t have to contend with the inevitable bad luck I would have brought them had I strutted beside them.

Autobiography of Black

Filed under south asia anti blackness writing

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When People Are Property

In 1982, George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson introduced the Broken Windows Theoryto a national audience with an article published inThe Atlantic Monthly. Theorizing about policing in low-income, inner-city, and predominantly black neighborhoods, Kelling and Wilson put forth an argument that cracking down on public disturbances and petty crimes with foot patrol officers would stop larger, more violent crimes from occurring. The essay cites theNewark Foot Patrol Experiment, a study orchestrated by George Kelling and funded by the Police Foundation — created by the Ford Foundation in 1970. Using the study as evidence, Kelling and Wilson admit that while this way of policing shows no reduction in crime or any affect on crime rates altogether, it does give people (some residents and those with commercial interests in the neighborhood) a sense of safety.

Despite mentioning early on that“the foundation concluded, to the surprise of hardly anyone, that [policing during the Newark Experiment] had not reduced crime rates,”they go on to argue that thisfeeling of safety brought by the police presence prevents more violent crimes from occurring.

Occasionally evoking racist tropes, such as referring to people as “animals” or communities as “jungles,” Kelling and Wilson argue that the role of the police is to maintain a type of social control:

“We suggest the ‘untended’ behavior also leads to the breakdown of community controls. A stable neighborhood of families who care for their homes, mind each other’s children, and confidently frown on unwanted intruders can change, in a few years or even a few months, to an inhospitable frightening jungle.”

The title of the article refers to a theory on deteriorating property that is not tended to: “one unrepaired broken window is a signal that no one cares, and so breaking more windows cost nothing.”The idea is that a broken window should therefore be replaced or fixed. Wilson and Kelling then apply this theory about damaged property to living and breathing human beings:“the unchecked panhandler is, in effect, the first broken window.”The United States has a long history of implementing systems of control for the black population — from auction blocks and slave patrols, to black codes and sharecropping — resting on the notion that black people are not free or human but rather, someone’s property. These systems of control, depending onfreeorcheaplabor, create greatprofitsfor the ownership class. It is quite revealing that the theory behind contemporary urban policing across America still rests on the concept that black people are property — and should be ‘handled’ as such.

Wilson and Kelling go on to detail the other types of humans they have declared damaged property. They argue that a group of young people saying things that aren’t nice deserve to be policed and criminalized simply because they make people uncomfortable:“a gang can weaken or destroy a community by standing about in a menacing fashion and speaking rudely to passersby without breaking the law.”

Searching for what is feared in the neighborhood, they zero in on a specific, irrational one — regardless of whether the majority concerns itself with that particular fear.

A “survey, in Baltimore, discovered that nearly half would cross the street to avoid even a single strange youth. When an interviewer asked people in a housing project where the most dangerous spot was, they mentioned a place where young persons gathered to drink and play music, despite the fact that not a single crime had occurred there.”

But instead of pointing out that this is profiling based on race and age (Kelling and Wilson are only discussing black neighborhoods); they use the irrational fear of young, black people to promote policing and criminalizing their existence. Kelling and Wilson want to purge the neighborhood of the undesirable — the homeless, the poor, the loud, the young and black — by harassing, abusing and forcibly removing them so often that they either no longer appear in public or get locked in a cage.

In the end, Kelling and Wilson cannot truly answer their own question,“how can a neighborhood be ‘safer’ when the crime rate has not gone down — in fact, may have gone up?”because it debunks their entire theory. The answer is an obvious one: It cannot. It is not. The Broken Windows method of policing offers nothing more than a false security, centered around irrational biases most likely developed from living in a country that has salivated and feasted on white supremacy for the past five hundred years.

Keep reading to understand how the Broken Window theory translates into increased stop and frisk, and arrests of bystanders and performers in spaces such as public transportation and homeless shelters

Filed under activism capitalism racism long reads

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More things to do: write/call your awful “representatives”.


People asked what to do besides going to protests, donating, and supporting BDS. Call government and businesses. There’s a call-in week organized. People to call:

  1. Contact President Obama at (202) 456-1111 and the State Department at (202) 647-4000. Demand that they immediately withdraw U.S. military aid from Israel and call on Israel to immediately end its attacks. Tell them to stop supporting Israel’s crimes with our tax dollars.
  2. Call the Egyptian Embassy at (202) 895-5400 and demand they open the Rafah border for injured Palestinians in need of urgent medical care. Alternate number: (202) 966-6342.
  3. Call Boeing. Boeing provides Israel with F-15A fighter jets, Apache AH 64 helicopters, tungsten or DIMEbombs to attack Gaza. Boeing’s headquarters are located in Chicago. Contact Boeing at (312) 544-2140 and demand they stop giving Israel weapons to use against civilians in Gaza.
    Visit this link to see other corporations that are involved in the current attacks on Gaza. Look for a corporation near you if possible and call them and protest at their offices:
  4. Call your U.S. Senators and ask that Congress demand an end to the siege of Gaza. You can find your senators at

Write your own letter and send it in. If you don’t know what to write, here’s one a friend edited off something else he found.

"I am writing to express my strong opposition to S. Res. 498. This one-sided resolution does far more to damage the prospects for peace than advance them, and fails to hold Israel accountable for its repeated and flagrant misuse of U.S.-supplied weapons.

Since July 7, Israel has killed at least 572 Palestinians, the vast majority of whom were civilians, including over 100 children, and injured more than 3,300 people. Tens of thousands have been displaced or had their homes destroyed. Israel continues to deliberately target homes full of Palestinian civilians who have nowhere to run and are worried about Israel repeating its actions during 2008-2009 of dropping white phosphorous on Palestinian families sheltering in UN compounds. NOW, in 2014, Israel is test-driving new military technology like the absolutely brutal DIME system.

The lives of Palestinian civilians hang in the balance and I urge you to work for an immediate ceasefire.

I also demand that Israel be held accountable for the injuring and killing of Palestinians and U.S. citizens by applying the provisions of the “Leahy Law.” Individual soldiers and police who commit these crimes should be barred from getting a visa to the United States and military aid should be denied to units of the forces that commit these crimes, in accordance with U.S. law.

In addition, I am extremely concerned that U.S. military aid facilitates Israel’s ongoing collective punishment of Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation and the egregious and systematic human rights abuses Palestinian face on a daily basis. STOP FUNDING Israeli war crimes, genocide, apartheid, and occupation. End our complicity in these atrocities and human rights violations and name them the situation for what it is, a MASSACRE.

Amnesty International USA recently wrote Members of Congress that “the U.S. is the largest foreign supplier of weapons, munitions, police equipment, and military aid to Israel. As a consequence, the U.S. has special responsibilities in the context of Israel’s lack of accountability for human rights violations.”

I wholeheartedly agree with Amnesty that Congress should therefore “suspend transfers of munitions, weapons, crowd control devices, and military training to Israel.”

I look forward to receiving your response as to how the United States will take steps to ensure that our military support for Israel is no longer used to commit human rights abuses against both Americans and Palestinians. If you continue to support AIPAC and other organizations which cosign and promote this shameless collective punishment and murder, I want to make it absolutely clear: YOU DO NOT REPRESENT ME.

I would like a response to my letter. Thank you.”

Now do it.

Filed under palestine israel middle east activism

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After yesterday, the 15th day of the massacre of Gaza, the death count stood at 695, an average of 46 Palestinians murdered per day. Today 102 people were killed, including those who had taken refuge in a UN shelter. The figures have now jumped to 797 and 49 per day. 

I know statisticking Palestinian deaths is macabre and inappropriate, but it’s really the only way I have been able to make sense of what’s happening to my people. For the last 16 days, Israel has killed an average of 49 Palestinians everyday, all of them civilians and the vast majority of them unarmed. UNRWA also reported today that for the past two days Israel has killed one Palestinian child every hour. This is the horror that they live. This is why the people of Gaza fight back.

In 2009 and 2012, when the last two massacres of Gaza took place, Palestinians in the West Bank — and beyond the West Bank, to be fair — did not protest as loudly as they should have, mainly because the Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas made sure to clamp down on any sign of unrest. This is the function of the PA as the subsidiary of the Israeli occupation machine. This time, however, after 5 years of no progress despite countless hours of negotiation with the Israeli occupiers and in the face of yet another Gaza massacre, the PA seems to have lost control.

The 48K march (Maan fwiw is reporting more 10,000 protesters — the number 48 represents 1948, the year of the Nakba) is the largest protest that the West Bank has seen in years. And the Israeli response was predictable. As pax-arabica who took part in it reported, no one was armed, but the occupation soldiers killed three Palestinians and injured scores more anyway. The reality is that should this protest develop into a wider uprising against Israeli oppression, there are more deaths to come. 

Despite this barbaric onslaught of zionist aggression, in which entire families are exterminated in one second and people exercising their political rights are cut down, the Palestinian people are remaining steadfast صامدين. Even as our hearts break for their pain, I and so many other Palestinians in the exiled diaspora are so proud and in awe of their strength.

Filed under palestine israel

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If you’re in/by Philadelphia and would like transportation to the national Washing DC White House March For Gaza for August 2, send me a message. We’re organizing busses there.

Filed under palestine

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One of the primary consequences of this type of engagement is the creation of a “moderate Muslim” and subsequently the promotion of a “moderate Islam.” As has become more apparent in recent years, a moderate Muslim is not simply one who rejects violence and fundamentalism (the underpinnings of both of these assumptions demand their own critique), but one who is also uncritical of empire, liberalism, and neoliberal economic policies. Critics have repeatedly noted how the conceptualization of a moderate Muslim is intended to fit within a set of binary designations, the “good Muslim/bad Muslim” divide that gained traction during the Bush presidency. It is not simply a description of modes of ritual practice, but rather, of one’s residual benefit to the advancement of government policy. As Mahmood Mamdani asserts, “the implication is unmistakable and undisguised: whether in Afghanistan, Palestine or Pakistan, Islam must be quarantined and the devil exorcised from it by a Muslim civil war” (Mamdani 24). As Tariq Ramadan notes, the binary has existed since Western colonial incursion into Muslim lands—good Muslims were those who “collaborated with the colonial enterprise or accepted the values and customs of the dominant power. The rest, the ‘bad’ Muslims, those who ‘resisted’ religiously, culturally or politically, were systematically denigrated, dismissed as the ‘other’ and repressed as a ‘danger.’” In the US context, a “good” Muslim overlooks the role that US policies have played in political and socioeconomic developments in Muslim societies, and instead situates blame entirely on other Muslims’ understanding or interpretation of Islam. The role of the establishment in crafting this moderate Muslim subject by determining the lines of what is acceptable and unacceptable is evident through the patronage of particular voices in the Muslim community, as seen by the RAND reports.

The Perils of American Muslim Politics

In many ways, this article is long overdue because it traces liberal and empire-collaborative tendencies in the American Muslim activist milieu that’s been happening for the last decade. What stunned me whilst reading this, not for surprise but more so the thrill and shock of having it all put together in comprehensive form in realization of how perfectly insidious and viciously effective the US government is in its agenda, was the revelation that US government-sponsored think tanks like the RAND corporation actively produce the moderate Muslim schematic and in a way inform and characterize the actions of Muslim individuals themselves. The community I have grown up with that lives to appease the white American, the parents who taught me the ills of American imperialism when Iraq was being bombed but who slowly became liberalized and put their faith in giving PowerPoint talks to schools on moderate Islam as a way to heal the rift between the West and the Muslim world, the farce that is interfaith, the numerous activist events I’ve been forced to endure that are insulting to Third World Muslim consciousness and utterly disregard the Muslim victims of American empire, were all a result of the United States government and associated institutions’ design. The entire reality of my community that I’ve been experiencing for the past ten years was produced by initiatives taken by institutions like the RAND corporation. That isn’t to discount the agency and accountability of American Muslims who willingly implicated themselves in this narrative. But this was a specific, documented, strategic design to make American Muslim constituents uncritical of American empire at best, and collaborators with it at worst.

In another report from 2007 entitled "Building Moderate Muslim Networks," RAND recognizes a parallel between the Cold War era and today. The report calls for the creation of an international database of potential and existing partners, formulating a well-designed plan for supporting these networks, and arranging for “feedback loops” to track the progress (xxi). It requires the creation of an institutional structure within the US government to guide, oversee, and monitor these networks. In this regard, the researchers

recommend targeting five groups as potential building blocks for networks: liberal and secular Muslim academics and intellectuals; young moderate religious scholars; community activists; women’s groups engaged in gender equality campaigns; and moderate journalists and writers. Functioning again in a foundation-like role, the United States should asset programs that promote democratic education, particularly programs that derive authoritative teachers supportive of democratic and pluralistic values from Islamic texts and traditions, moderate media, gender equality and advocacy for moderate agendas (xxii).  

It also includes an “Application of Criteria” that lists the qualities of a “moderate Muslim” and declares that secularists, liberals, and moderate Sufis are the best potential allies for American interests.

A white American Marxist, who I met through a liberal Muslim organization, once told me that the US state department was not ideological. “Not like AIPAC,” he said. Not like pro-Israeli lobbies which espouse Zionism, that is. In that regard, however, he was deeply wrong. This is the ideology of the American state department. American hegemony is exporting an ideology of ‘moderate Islam’ and ‘moderate Muslims’ that supposedly annihilates Islamic extremism/terrorism, i.e. the ‘bad Muslims’, but in reality maintains and reinforces American imperialism in Muslim countries and snuffs out challenges against it, including challenges that are secular, liberation theologist and/or non-bigoted in character. In the Cold War, various Leftist currents in Muslim countries were countered and eradicated by religious fundamentalists bankrolled by the United States. Now it is the same, only that human rights has become the official ideology of the United States government to produce imperialism masquerading as democracy, antiterrorism, gender equality etc. abroad. As Eqbal Ahmad put it,

After the Cold War, the West had no viable threat around which it could organise its policies. All powers, all imperial powers—especially democratic ones—cannot justify their uses of power only on the basis of greed. No one will buy it. They have needed two things: a ghost and a mission. The British carried the White Man’s Burden. That was their mission. The French carried la mission civilisatrice, the civilising mission. The Americans had, first, Manifest Destiny, and then found the mission of “standing watch on the walls of world freedom”, in John F. Kennedy’s ringing phrase. Each of them had the Black, the Yellow, and finally the Red Peril to fight against. There was a ghost. There was a mission. People bought it. Right now, the United States is deprived of both the mission and the ghost. So the mission has appeared as human rights.”

And with all that said, I would like to call attention to one of the co-authors of the original Jadaliyya article quoted above. Abdullah Al-Arian is the son of Sami Al-Arian, a Palestinian American who was wrongfully detained on charges of funding a Palestinian militant organization in 2003. Just this last month charges against him were dismissed, but not after inflicting indelible wounds on him and his family. 

(via churayl)

(via fuckyeahsouthasia)

Filed under politics american muslim islam muslim islamophobia

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Hello everyone!

Many of you may not know this but I sustain myself financially. Unfortunately I have come to the end of my bank account and have had no luck finding jobs. I have spent the past month debating whether or not I should start stripping, escorting, or prostituting for money because of how desperate I am right now. My family has absolutely no money to help me and  this is my last effort to try and pay off as much of my debts as possible.

I ask that you can donate at least $1 or even just a reblog/signal boost! I am so desperate right now, guys. I really am. I have an interview with a stripclub next week, and I really don’t want to resort to that. 


This is the link to my gofundme account:

(via officialsmokescreen)

Filed under signal boost

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There ARE laws against this. It’s called rape by deception or fraudulent rape and basically, it’s anytime the conditions of your consent are compromised. In a situation like this, you consented to protected sex. By having sex in a way you did not consent to, a crime WAS committed and he could be charged if any physical effects like pregnancy or STD occurred. Remember, ANY SEXUAL ACTIVITY YOU DON’T CONSENT TO IS RAPE. 
If a guy does this, it’s rape. Call the cops. Ruin his life since he has no problem risking yours. Make him fucking learn. Rapists belong in jail. Rape by deception is rape, not a funny “meme”. 


There ARE laws against this. It’s called rape by deception or fraudulent rape and basically, it’s anytime the conditions of your consent are compromised. In a situation like this, you consented to protected sex. By having sex in a way you did not consent to, a crime WAS committed and he could be charged if any physical effects like pregnancy or STD occurred. Remember, ANY SEXUAL ACTIVITY YOU DON’T CONSENT TO IS RAPE. 

If a guy does this, it’s rape. Call the cops. Ruin his life since he has no problem risking yours. Make him fucking learn. Rapists belong in jail. Rape by deception is rape, not a funny “meme”. 

(Source: 2pacmadaddy, via nomorewaterthefirenexttime)

Filed under rape culture

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Amelia Boynton-Robinson, beaten, gassed, and left for dead by police in Selma, Alabama during the first Selma to Birmingham voting rights march. 3/17/65. (x)

Amelia Boynton-Robinson, later that year, meeting with President Lyndon Johnson at the signing of the Voting Rights Act. 8/6/65. (x)

#it is all of us who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice #and we shall overcome

1965 is  Modern history, not “ancient history”.

1965 really wasn’t that long ago….

It’s over so it’s history get over it.




Then again, you seem like the kind of jackass who would walk up to a distinguished woman like Amelia Boynton Robinson and tell her to “get over it”, because you’re apparently incapable of fucking BASIC HUMAN EMPATHY AND RESPECT.

People like YOU are the reason this fight ISN’T OVER, it can’t be relegated to history because PEOPLE LIKE YOU make the continuing fight necessary. People like you would SILENCE HER with “get over it”. SHE IS STILL FIGHTING NOW.

She lived to see the Voting Rights Acts signed into law, and god help us, SHE LIVED TO SEE IT OVERTURNED. She is over 100 years old and STILL FIGHTING FOR HER BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS AND DIGNITY.

Here is a playlist of an interview with her from the National Visionary Leadership Project.

(Source: mixtapewormhole, via kalimehndi)

Filed under civil rights african america history woc