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Quickies: Girls and science, the right to restrooms, and no one wants Julien Blanc in their country

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  • On getting girls interested in science – “Here’s the big misconception: girls don’t need help getting interested in science, the scientific fields need help retaining girls in science. We are all born inquisitive and curious about our world, but girls are actively told that this is not okay through a variety of ways as they grow up.”
  • Women in India agitate for their right to pee – “According to government figures, Mumbai has 3,536 public restrooms that women share with men, but not a single women’s-only facility — not even in some police stations and courts. Enter the Right To Pee movement, a coalition of NGOs fighting for more — and safer — toilets for women.”
  • My family’s Thanksgiving on the reservation is a rebuke to America’s colonialism – “On Thanksgiving, we aren’t celebrating the Mayflower landing in the New World or the systematic genocide that decimated Native populations. We’re enjoying a meal no different than any other meal in our house, but with a little extra food on the table that day. Lakota people don’t need a national holiday to come together as family to eat and give thanks.” From biogeo.
  • After outcry, Britain bars “pickup artist” from entering – “This week, Julien Blanc became possibly the first man ever denied a visa on grounds of sexism.”
  • Cute Animal Friday! From Criticaldragon1177, some gamer kitties (and a bunny). And here’s a bunch of kittens and ducklings.
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10 Comments

  1. Um… the Lakota reached their political-economic-cultural peak on the backs of their neighbors. Ask the Blackfoot, Arapaho, Cheyenne etc. about how peaceful the mythical ‘Native American’ culture was. And ‘systematic genocide’ is a mythical notion. The vast catastrophe for New World peoples started, and almost finished, with medical disasters that Europeans did not have the capacity to stop or encourage—yes, lord Amherst DID suggest the deliberate spread of small-pox, but there doesn’t seem to be any indication that the plan was ever tried, or would have worked under those conditions.

    Millions of native peoples died of European disease decades before a single European got even close to their lands. The economic destabilization caused by (for example) the beaver-pelt trade put many groups in the path of imperial conquest by OTHER native groups, e.g. the Hurons.

    It doesn’t diminish the tragedy of the New World, or lift a gram of the weight of responsibility, to deal honestly with the nature of the disaster. Disease, displacement, the introduction of horses, local wars of extermination, alcohol etc. etc. The near depopulation of two continents began before 1500, our North American focus on the 19th century is misleading.

    • Starting a comment with “Um…” in this manner comes across as super condescending.

      Your statement about the history of the Lakota may be true (I will assume it is; I am not particularly knowledgeable about this area of history), but it is an utter non sequitur, as well as poisoning the well, and perhaps a bit of a straw man. No one made any claims about American Indian cultures being especially peaceful, and whether or any particular culture was peaceful or warlike is not relevant to whether genocide was committed upon it. And no one is talking about “the mythical ‘Native American’ culture”; the author of this piece was careful to be clear that he was giving the viewpoint of a young Lakota man, and specifically said “Because there are more than 560 federally-recognized tribes (and many more unrecognized) in the US alone, I can’t speak for all Indigenous people – their views on Thanksgiving are as varied as their cultures, languages, and traditions.” Why are you so quick to attack this point which was irrelevant to what the linked article was discussing?

      But my real objection here is this: “And ‘systematic genocide’ is a mythical notion.” Speaking as a white American, this is fucking bullshit; I find this as offensive as Holocaust denialism. I absolutely do not understand how anyone with a passing knowledge of American history can continue to deny the genocide of indigenous peoples by the colonial Americans, before and after independence. Are you not aware of the unilateral land claims by the colonial powers and the American government, which were backed by force of arms and which displaced or killed the resident tribes? Are you not aware of the Trail of Tears? Are you not aware of the boarding schools to which children from numerous American Indian tribes were taken, with the express goal of assimilating them with European-derived cultural mores, a practice which continued well into the twentieth century?

      I think “to deal honestly with the nature of the disaster” means not suggesting that because the bulk of the depopulation of North America was due to epidemics, and that there was also warfare among the various American Indian tribes before and during American colonial expansion, that there was not also a systematic genocide on the part of the colonial powers. I think it also means not depersonalizing the history as “displacement,” “local wars of extermination,” and “alcohol,” as though these phenomena had nothing to do with political and individual action on the part of the colonists. Yes, the arc of history is long and complex, and many factors have contributed to the current state of native peoples in North America. Among these factors is the fact that European colonizers committed fucking genocide, both complete and partial, repeatedly and on numerous cultures as they expanded across the continent.

      • Well, the other John provides us with Holocaust denialism. We have groups like CERA, CERF, ELF, ALF, Sea Shepherd, Wise Use, and a bunch of militias to play the role of Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad. And now we have Stephen Harper saying how we’re all dishonest thieves.

        Jon (Elder of Mato Tipila)

    • “Ask the Blackfoot, Arapaho, Cheyenne etc. about how peaceful the mythical ‘Native American’ culture was.”

      Funny how two of the peoples you mentioned were our traditional allies. You could’ve at least said Pawnee or something.

  2. I remember my history teacher (in Australia) telling us that the native Indians were ‘defeated’ in large part due to the overhunting of the Bison by the europeans to near extinction. The Bison being the primary food and clothing source for the Indians. I’m not sure if this is a reliable historical ‘fact’.

    • Not all indigenous Americans lived on the great plains so even if that were true (and I highly doubt it is, at least fully) it wouldn’t be true for the indigenous peoples in other areas of America (including all of South America BTW).

      It was far more complex then your standard history class is willing to get into so they come up with just-so tales like the bison hunting story.

      @biogeo gave just a hint at that complexity, the only thing I would add is the entire shit show was considered a fait accompli ordained by the colonists’ religious beliefs. They called it manifest destiny and it is one of the sicked inventions ever conceived by the mind of man, right up there with the crusades, gulags, and kristallnacht. It’s despicable but we need to stop hiding from it.

    • I have heard a version of this idea in which American colonists on the Great Plains were explicitly encouraged to overhunt bison in order to deprive the Plains Indians of their major food resource. I don’t know if it’s true; one thing that makes me doubt it is that the dominant belief in 19th century America seems to have been that natural resources on the continent were literally inexhaustable, and believing that would seem to be incompatible with believing that a strategy of overhunting bison would successfully deprive Plains Indians of food. But, like @mrmisconception said, even if this is true, it would represent only one tactic in a larger strategy, specific only to the Plains Indians in the 19th century, not the main explanation.

  3. “This week, Julien Blanc became possibly the first man ever denied a visa on grounds of sexism.”

    Miri, over at Brute Reason disagrees with the “on grounds of sexism”:

    “Blanc was not denied a visa because he holds sexist beliefs. He was denied a visa because he was threatening to assault people and encouraging others to do the same.”

    • Thanks for the link; Miri’s point is really good. Sexism is not good grounds to deny a visa into a country in which people are free to hold any beliefs, however repugnant. Advocating and practicing violent sexual predatory behaviors is. The NY TImes reporting it as though it were about sexism ends up providing fodder for PUAs/MRAs nursing a persecution complex.

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