12 Years A Slave: Black Suffering for White Consumption

What does any black person stand to gain from sitting in a dark movie theater—more than likely surrounded by white people—and being psychologically assaulted for two hours? Will we then turn to those white audience members and discuss how horrible it all was, how many tears they shed, and eventually breathe a collective sigh of ... Read More

Flexuality: Elastic Sexual Norms in the Work of Octavia Butler

An examination of how Butler challenges sexual norms, from the incest taboo in the Patternist series, to interspecies sex in the Lilith’s Brood trilogy, to pedophilia and rape in Fledgling, and arguably all three of these in her short story Bloodchild. These stories show us how norms, particularly sexual ones, are flexible between worlds, cultures, ... Read More

Those who cannot remember the past…

...are condemned to repeat it: The following passage is from The Principle of the Mercantile System, written in 1776 by Adam Smith, who ironically, has become a sort of symbol of the same type of "free market" capitalists who Smith seems to be criticizing here. More striking than any of that, though, is how much ... Read More

Indian Killer and the Skewering of White Liberals

Alexie points a finger at the self-satisfying ramblings of white liberals, who for all they may understand intellectually, lack any real personal understanding of the Indian condition, or of the fact that there may not even be any such monolithic condition…

Beauty and Self-Hatred: A Reading of Sherman Alexie’s Flight

In Flight, Alexie seems to be asking whether or not self-hatred can be neutralized through assimilation – that is, can Zits’s hatred of his own Indian-ness be dissolved into a claiming of his whiteness? Indeed whiteness itself is a product of assimilation, with Irish, Italian, German, and other European ethnicities blending within the “melting pot” ... Read More

Jihad, Violence, and Misrepresentation of Islam in Global Conflict

Even in accepting the apologists’ arguments, that Islam was essentially a peaceful religion, and it was only through a myopic and agenda-driven misinterpretation of the holy texts that the “Islamist” perspective emerged, there was still a problem. It seemed to me that all around the world, where there were “insurgencies” or other forms of violent ... Read More

Women, Islam, and the Paternalism of White Feminists

Gender inequality, even where it takes on a distinctly “Islamic” character, is not specific to Islam as a religion, or Muslim society. Rather, it is a consequence of patriarchy – a phenomenon that knows no religious or cultural boundaries. How patriarchy manifests in any given society, the ways that people – particularly women – respond ... Read More