The Never Ending War Against Females Part 2

Boko Haram Kidnapping, Child Brides, Female Genital Mutilation

The Never Ending War Against Females Part 2

By N Oji Mzilikazi

Originally appeared in the Montreal Community Contact Volume 24, Number 10 May 15, 2014

In face of the awesomeness and majesty of the universe and the finiteness of man, religion as a system of unquestionable faith was birthed to motivate, sustain, make sense of life, and to control society, maintain personal and public order.

Religion became the great unifier — the culture and politics of the tribe, the state religion. However, its “divine” laws, rules, and doctrines disproportionally disadvantage, oppress and exploit females, keep females under the permanent heel of patriarchy.

Wars for resources, territory, and simply to subjugate and rule others saw victory positioned as evidence of the power of a tribe’s god(s), theirs being the one true god/religion.  The vanquished had to acknowledge the religious beliefs of the victorious, their new gods and dogma, convert or die, or feign belief to worship their ancient god(s) in secret.

Sometimes, in an act of benevolence or political expediency, the gods and religion of a defeated people were allowed existence.

Overlooking the effects of colonialism and western cultural imperialism, loving the reflection in the mirror is hardwired into people. Accordingly, all races and ethnicities have their own factors of beauty and attractiveness (And what is attractive to one ethnicity might be perceived as unattractive by another ethnicity.), and what constitutes culture.

Inevitably, environmental factors and cultural traditions of a tribe/people were fused into the religious tapestry, even positioned as God ordained or believed to be so.

Just as French is the language of France, Arabs speak Arabic. An Islamic Hadith says “Love the Arab for three things…,” one being that the language spoken in Heaven is Arabic. (Wouldn’t someone who only speaks French say the same thing?) Thus Muslims use a common language in prayers —language unites believers, and converts to Islam take Arabic names.

Sandstorms are common in deserts. Keeping sand and dust out of one’s hair and face makes a headgear a necessity. In Islam, that head dress has become a religious identifier, and its facilitation to veil – cover the nose and mouth from the sand was elevated as religiously binding on women, to protect them from lustful eyes.

All religions paint Heaven as a place of delights unattainable in our earthly existence. For a desert tribe, Heaven cannot but be a place flowing with rivers of water.

More often than not, religions depend on blind faith bordering on ignorance and fear to keep devotees in line. Should a critically-thinking believer venture to separate cultural practices or untruths from religion, they will be accused of heresy, excommunicated, and even killed.

Christians will tell you that the Bible is the word of God, and everything in it is truth; nothing could be added or subtracted from it.

Biblical scripture, Joshua’s miracle, his commanding the sun to stand still, and it did, and on that day Joshua slaughtered thousands of his enemies, was proof positive that the earth was indeed the centre of the universe, the sun revolved around the earth.

In 1633, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilee declared that wasn’t the case. The earth revolved around the sun. Pope Urban VIII gave Galilee the option of recanting or excommunication.

In the 1980s Pope John Paul II exonerated Galileo. He admitted that the church erred in insisting that the sun revolves around the earth.

Apologizing for doctrinal errors does nothing for the millions persecuted, reduced to poverty, and murdered in the name of God —holding opinions contrary to what was considered the true doctrine, or believing in a different god.  God beliefs continue to victimize and kill millions.

Perchance, it was on account of the short life expectancy of our progenitors, but puberty once defined adulthood, and girls were betrothed while quite young.

Since marriage between a very young girl and a much older man has its roots in antiquity, child marriage was perceived as religiously blessed, righteous, and — legal.

Pregnancy in a still developing or an under developed female resulted in high mortality rates of infants and women dying in childbirth. Hence, “Till death do us part” became an integral part of the Roman Catholic/Christian marriage vows.

Marriage has a long history of being motivated by family enrichment and politics, including brokering peace or to form or strengthen an alliance. Little girls/princesses/a chief’s daughter marrying royalty were nothing new.

In 1396, Richard II of England, then aged 29, married Princess Isabella of France, the eldest daughter of King Charles VI, of France. The French princess was six-years-old.

It’s worth noting that Richard’s mother Joan of Kent was secretly married at age 12, to Thomas Holland, Earl of Kent, and a man twice her age. And at 13, was publicly married to William Montacute, Earl of Salisbury.

In the 6th Century, marauding Muslims periodically invaded India, for among other things, to seize, carry away young women. Inasmuch as Islam forbade the defiling of married women, the practice of child marriages as a preventative measure against kidnapping gained favour and became common.

In India, married Hindu females were identified by the Bindi, a red dot between their eyebrows or in the center of their forehead, so it was easy for Muslim raiders to distinguish the married from unmarried.

Though female abductions by the followers of Islam have long been a thing of the past, child marriages in India and elsewhere continue, sometimes driven by culture and other times by poverty. Child marriage (along with the selling of a child) is simply one less mouth to feed.

For all the moral condemnation in the west of child marriage, girls in fundamentalist Christian and Jewish communities are often married by age 15, and to older men.

The UN defines child marriage as marriage before the age of 18, and it applies to boys as well. That being said, regardless of religious or philosophical dressing, child marriage of young girls to much older males is criminal and nothing but legalized pedophilia.

Nine of the ten countries with the highest rates of child marriage are in Africa. The 10th country is Bangladesh.  According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) 7 March 2013, press release,In terms of absolute numbers, because of the size of its population, India has the most child marriages.

In positioning child marriage as a violation of the rights of girls, and affirming that “No girl should be robbed of her childhood, her education and health, and her aspirations,” the release proffers that Between 2011 and 2020, more than 140 million girls will become child brides.

As numerous studies have repeatedly confirmed, countries with high child marriages have significantly higher rates of maternal and infant mortality. Plus, child brides are quite susceptible to obstetric fistula, a debilitating injury —a hole that develops between either the rectum and vagina or between the bladder and vagina, on account of obstructed labour, severe or failed childbirth — their body not sufficiently matured to facilitate childbirth.

Religious belief that women are born to serve men and to be a baby making machine are at the heart of Boko Haram abduction of over 200 girls in Nigeria. In their eyes, education is not a requirement for that calling.

Religious belief in India that women are of no worth except to birth sons, along with the potential for indebtedness on account of having to pay dowry created a culture of sex-selection — gendercide, the abortion of the female foetus.  A 2011 study by Lancet alleges that in the past three decades over 12 million girls were aborted in India.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) which involves removing part or all of a girl’s outer sexual organs for non-medical reasons — and worse yet, with no anesthetic, no pain medication, no bona fide medical practitioner on hand, and performed in an unsterilized environment is recognised as a violation of the human rights of women and girls.

FGM psychologically scars, inhibits sexual pleasure, and engender sexual and reproductive health complications. Girls die from complications arising from FGM.

In Somalia, 98 per cent of young girls suffer genital mutilation. A 2013 UNICEF report revealed that in Egypt, 91 per cent of women between the ages of 15 and 49 have been cut.

In spite of legislation in Canada, America, and the UK against FGM, the practice is very much alive. Thousands of Canadian, British, and American born girls continue to be traumatised and victimized by this barbaric cultural practice as cutters are flown in, or girls are given a vacation trip to meet family back in the homeland of their parents, only to be seized and cut.

According to the World Health Organisation, “Between 100 million and 140 million women and girls are thought to be living with the consequences of female genital mutilation.

While we rightfully get worked up over the doings of Boko Haram, we also need to do what we can to help stop the exploitation and oppression of women. Women are our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters, lovers and wives.

Part 1 was published in the February 7, 2013, Montreal Community Contact

Donald Sterling: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Asinine Rants

Donald Sterling: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Asinine Rants

By N Oji Mzilikazi

May 9, 2014

In Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Time article: Welcome to the Finger-Wagging Olympics, Abdul-Jabbar states: I hope whoever made this illegal tape is sent to prison.” A statement that attests to the truism of: “It is better to stay silent and let people think you are a fool, than to open your mouth and confirm it.”

Given the revelations, Donald Sterling racial animus to Blacks and Latinos was known by both players and insiders of the basketball fraternity, as well as a best-kept and well-kept secret.

Self-interest saw people, for the most part, willing to put-up to earn — be paid, or selectively being deaf, dumb and blind to be a recipient of his stingy largesse.

In August 2006, the U.S. Dept. of Justice sued Sterling for housing discrimination. In February 2009, Sterling was sued by Elgin Baylor, a former Clippers executive for employment discrimination based on age and race. Yet, the NAACP’s Los Angeles chapter was scheduled to give Donald Sterling a lifetime achievement award.

Thanks to the leaked recording, the NBA handed down a lifetime ban on Donald Sterling.

Thanks to the leaked recording, the NACCP rescinded the lifetime achievement award, and Leon Jenkins, the head of the Los Angeles chapter resigned.

People talk. Jenkins ought to have known better, known the history of Donald Sterling.

Wealth and power oft breeds the sense of invincibility and arrogance. Arrogant and well-heeled racist take no care to hide their feelings, share their odious views, and tend to engage in racist humour and racist put downs.

Abdul-Jabbar claims ignorance of Sterling’s racism. He worked for Sterling in 2000 — coached the Clippers for three months, and was invited to Sterling’s daughter’s wedding.

I guess it’s unthinkable for a well-heeled racist to invite a well-known and highly-regarded Black celebrity, and the coach for a team he owns, to such an intimate and closed door function.

That being said, if Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said he didn’t see any racism in and with Sterling, he didn’t. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is well-respected, and an honourable man.

As previously stated, people talk. On account of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s achievement and legendary status, he of all people would be privy to NBA gossip and inside information. Yet, Abdul-Jabbar never indicated in his article whether or not he ever heard Sterling described as a racist. Ergo, he didn’t. And Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is well-respected and an honourable man.

Thanks to the recording made by V. Stiviano, Abdul-Jabbar was made aware of Donald Sterling’s racism.

He was enraged by the revelations. For, he states: Racists deserve to be paraded around the modern town square of the television screen so that the rest of us who believe in the American ideals of equality can be reminded that racism is still a disease that we haven’t yet licked.”

The leaked recording did just that. Still, Abdul-Jabbar wants to see Ms. Stiviano imprisoned. And Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is well-respected, and an honourable man.

No! Abdul-Jabbar, you cannot eat your cake and have it too. Just like without Edward Snowdon whistleblowing, the world would’ve been clueless as to the depth of NSA spying and metadata gathering operations, without that leaked recording, Donald Sterling would’ve been still in power.

Illegal or not, all of us bent on dismantling and exposing racism owe V. Stiviano for her exposure of Sterling. But since Abdul-Jabbar saw an opportunity to capitalize, show white people and white Jews (given Sterling comments about Black Jews) that he is an unbiased statesman, a good kneegrow, he penned crap and took the aforementioned position.

And in furtherance of demonstrating statesmanship, actually appeasement and Uncle Tomism, Abdul-Jabbar stated on ABC’s This Week: “I did a little bit of research. More whites believe in ghosts than believe in racism.”

Ironically, the statement unwittingly betrays Abdul-Jabbar lack of knowledge in regards to racism.

Whites can afford to believe in ghosts. After all, they are the beneficiaries of racism and the power and privilege that come with it.

Centuries of legal entrenchment of race bias supported by race-based ideologies institutionalized racism, imbued white skin with unearned privilege and advantages in every endeavour. On account of institutionalized racism and the insidiousness of racism, even “good” white people, and non-racist at heart have been caught unconsciously and unintentionally engaging in acts of racism or displaying racist attitudes and behaviour.

Deconstructing racism cannot but bring white privilege into the mix. And as is fact, no one willingly relinquishes power or privilege, or would question their access to them; it is not in the interest of whites to give credence to racism.

Hence, whites are generally defensive about racism, are quick to position charges of racism as anything but, and always call upon people of African descent to move on, let bygones be bygones — so they can maintain privilege.

Abdul-Jabbar assertion that more whites do not believe in racism does not negate the deep-rootedness of race bias, the structures that support racism, the past and current effects of racism, and the fact that there are people who actively practice racism, and that racism persists.

Abdul-Jabbar studied opinion is thus idiotic. No wonder the Huffington Post (4/5/14) held it up for ridicule, and to be a finger in the eye of conscious Blacks. Their bolded headline read: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar:More Whites Believe In Ghosts Than Believe In Racism.

Shame on you Mr. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar!

What a disservice to the race!

Racism And Enduring Hatred

Donald Sterling and the endless list of bigots that color our world

RACISM AND ENDURING HATRED

By N Oji Mzilikazi

Originally appeared in the Montreal Community Contact Volume 24, Number 09 May 1, 2014

Your beliefs become your thoughts
Your thoughts become your words
Your words become your actions
Your actions become your habits
Your habits become your values

— Mahatma Ghandi

After a lifetime of unpunished bigotry in words and actions, 80-year-old Donald Sterling, the son of Jewish immigrants, and owner of Los Angeles Clippers basketball team finally received his comeuppance.

Racist comments recorded by V. Stiviana, Sterling’s mixed-race girlfriend that was leaked to the media created such toxicity; the National Basketball Association had to act.

On April 29, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver imposed a lifetime ban on Sterling, fined Sterling $2.5million, the maximum allowed by the NBA under its constitution, and promised he will do everything in his power to force Sterling to sell the Clippers.

Seventy six per cent of the NBA comprises players of African descent.Blacks play for Sterling, make Sterling money, yet Sterling is heard on tape berating Stiviana for publicly associating with Blacks, and telling her to not bring Black people to the game.

There is also this exchange in which Sterling justifies racism, holds steadfast to racist values:

DS: It’s the world! You go to Israel; the blacks are just treated like dogs.

VS: So do you have to treat them like that too?

DS: The white Jews, there’s white Jews and black Jews, do you understand?

VS: And are the black Jews less than the white Jews?

DS: A hundred percent, fifty, a hundred percent.

VS: And is that right?

DS: It isn’t a question—we don’t evaluate what’s right and wrong, we live in a society. We live in a culture. We have to live within that culture.

VS: But shouldn’t we take a stand for what’s wrong? And be the change and the difference?

DS: I don’t want to change the culture, because I can’t. It’s too big and too [unknown].

VS: But you can change yourself.

DS: I don’t want to change. If my girl can’t do what I want, I don’t want the girl. I’ll find a girl that will do what I want! Believe me. I thought you were that girl—because I tried to do what you want. But you’re not that girl.

Silver found the views expressed by Sterling to be deeply offensive and harmful, and coming from an NBA owner all the more worse. Also, “Sentiments of this kind are contrary to the principles of inclusion and respect that form the foundation of our diverse, multicultural and multiethnic league.”

While all true, it is important to remember that racism is an ideology calculated to ensure white men remain privileged, the dominant power, and the owners and controllers of wealth.

To that end, return to an idealized past in which inferiority and inequality are accepted and whites are the overlords, ignorance over truth, proof and evidence, spurious scientific, biological and intellectual claims, and selected passages of “holy scripture” rule. Inclusion, respect, fairness and equality are simply abhorrent.

Given the odiousness of Sterling’s beliefs, words, and actions, one would think no one would step up to defend the indefensible or offer explanations or make excuses. But as we saw with Don Imus, right-wing personalities aren’t gun shy about stepping up. Hate is a right-wing family value.

In 2007 Don Imus called the Rutgers University female basketball team, “nappy-headed hos.” Republican presidential candidate and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani told reporters he “would appear on his program again.”

When Boston Globe columnist Tom Oliphant appeared on the April 9, 2007, show, his salutation was, “Good morning, Mr. Imus, solidarity forever.”

In a November 2, 2007, New York Times opinion piece, Dick Cavett considered the Imus slur an offhand and ill-advised joke that “experts at exploitation and manipulation seized on.”

Like a Jack-in-the box, Donald Trump jumped up to declare that Sterling was “set up by a very, very bad girlfriend.”

Sterling’s racism brought flashbacks to former Toronto mayor, Mel Lastman.

Believing Toronto to be the ideal site for the 2008 Olympic Games, Lastman knew he had to lobby, convince the delegates on the International Olympic Committee that it was indeed so. Upon realising he had to go to Kenya to woo the African delegates, Lastman, deeply embeddedatavistic racism got the better of him.

In June 2001, Lastman petulantly and childishly declared:“Why the hell do I want to go to a place like Mombasa?…I just see myself in a pot of boiling water with all these natives dancing around me.”

When someone of Lastman’s stature could view Africans, and by extension Black people through that lens, and disparage the race, what can Blacks expect from illiterate, ignorant, and ordinary whites weaned on a diet of anti-Black and anti-immigrant bias?

Adding to the injury is that Toronto has the largest concentration of Blacks in Canada, and the annual West Indian Carnival Parade pumps millions of dollars to the city’s treasury.

One would think that Lastman, as mayor of the largest multi-ethnic and multicultural metropolis in Canada, and son of Jewish immigrants from Poland would be more circumspect, mindful of employing racist stereotypes given the attitude of many towards Jewry. Clearly, that was not the case, and neither was it with Sterling.

As Sterling and Lastman exemplify, racism is not the preserve of crackpots, or the poor and illiterate. Their face might be the one in the streets, and/or participating in things like the White Man March with banners proclaiming that Diversity = White Genocide, but it is rich and educated whites that manipulate them, set their agenda, capitalise on their ability to find or hold a job — that drive racism.

Cliven Bundy, a 67-year-old rancher in Nevada, has been illegally grazing his herd of cattle on public land since 1993. In a standoff with the Federal government, Bundy has become a poster boy for right-wingers, the darling of Fox News and lauded as a patriot.

Bundy has the support of Senator Rand Paul, of Kentucky, and Greg Abbott, the Republican nominee for governor in Texas, among others.

Two weeks ago, Bundy and his armed supporters chased away federal rangers from the Bureau of Land Management who, acting on a court order, tried to confiscate 500 cattle owned by Bundy.

Elated by the “victory” and buoyed by celebrity status, Bundy decided to share his studied insights on race with his fans and supporters. “I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro…They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy?”

Never mind that only a foetus could be aborted, and birth gives personhood and designations of baby, infant and then child, the notion that slaves had a family life shows how warped is the racist mindset.

Bundy use of Negro is calculated to deny identity. Not unlike Glenn Beck, who on his August 30, 2011, show railed against the African American appellation. He, a white man believed colored to be most appropriate, and not a bad thing.

While diseases we once though were eradicated are making a comeback, so are different strains of racism.

On September 29, 2011, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission ruled that Jamie Hein, white, violated the Ohio Civil Rights Act by posting the sign, “Public Swimming Pool, White Only.”

In March 2012, a supposedly atheist group put up a “Slaves Obey Your Masters” billboard in a racially diverse neighborhood in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The billboard had a photo of a slave manacled at the neck, and the quote with Colossians 3:22 written under it, to identify the biblical passage it was taken from. Hence, slavery is a scripturally approved institution and the domain for Blacks.

In Charting Success In This Racist Matrix (C.C. 20/3/14) I wrote: Don’t be fooled or tempted to confuse fortuity, sacrifice and hard work that have Blacks in positions of authority with racial progress/racial advance, or buy into the same. Racism is more virulent than ever…” And every day there is evidence in support.

Until we become a police state, no one should ever be threatened or punished for their thoughts or speaking their mind.  But people must be held responsible for their words and actions.