Feminist sci-fi movies, queering Islam, and injustice in America
July 31, 2015
This week at AAWW we laughed, we rolled our eyes, we cheered and we winced.
After the news of Sandra Bland’s unusual death while in police custody broke earlier this month, the writers over at Black Girl Dangerous set the world straight on how to funnel one’s anger into support and action for incarcerated black women. Since then, Sandra Bland has been laid to rest in Chicago, while activists remain on the streets in protest. New autopsy reports find no ‘signs of murder’ although many still doubt the thoroughness of the investigation.
Nan-Hui Jo, a Korean women and survivor of domestic violence, who fled with her daughter from her abuser, has just been released from federal detention. As it stands, Nan-Hui Jo faces possible deportation after losing custody rights to her daughter who remains with her father, Jo’s abuser. Many activists have worked and continue to fight for Jo’s rights to be reunited with her daughter and offer more information on how to support.
Though many women of color like Sandra Bland, Nan-Hui Jo and countless others have and continue to fall victim to America’s faulty criminal justice and immigration system, in recent days, both Republicans and Democrats have come together to propose a bill which will hopefully reduce sentencing to “low level drug offenders” and allow them to join recidivism programs. Should the bill pass, it will cut down on prison costs and give those who are historically targeted (ya know, poor black and brown folks), a better shot.
Besides the ongoing debates on America’s justice system in the wake of police violence and at home terrorism, Americans are also caught up in discussions about intersectionality. It seems some people can’t fathom that being multi-racial is a thing or that it is possible to be both religious and proud of one’s sexual orientation. In a recent New York Times article, writer Mustafa Akyol asks the question: What Does Islam Say About Being Gay? His question comes at a time when many around the world believe that Islam and homosexuality are mutually exclusive. In Salon magazine, Lamya H lets us know in her personal account of being both queer and Muslim, that this is not true—and, moreover that there are communities of queer Muslims and they’re rocking it despite what people may think. Elsewhere in the discussion of intersectional identities is Aryanna Prasad, a student at Louisiana State University who shared her story at Brown Girl Magazine of what it is like growing up a first generation desi. Prasad, who is half-Indian and half-Irish, knows that she is not alone in her experience and she will push on and continue writing despite America’s assimilationist efforts and whack stereotyping.
Where conversations in political spheres and newspapers leave off, the artistic world picks up—particularly in movies. The science fiction world welcomed its first Asian American feminist movie, Advantageous which debuted at Sundance and hit American theatres this past June. Not only is the movie “good science fiction” as it questions “what it means to be human” as a Wired review suggests, but Advantageous also offers a complicated narrative of the body switching with regards to race and gender.
Following suite, Korean-American filmmaker and comic book writer, Greg Pak, also creates work which artfully engages race and multi-racial identity. His latest project, a children’s book called “ABC Disgusting” does just that, starring two Asian-American characters and tells funny, short stories of disgusting things.
And lastly two things that Americans love: saying Namaste at yoga and eating Thai food. Well, if you’ve ever wondered what Namaste actually means and how it is used, Deepak Singh of NPR is here to set the record straight. And since Thai food is such a staple for many American’s “ethnic” food adventures, satirical writer Jordan Alexander Stein, has written up a review of a Thai restaurant parodying David Brook’s op-ed piece on Ta-Nehisi Coates’ new book Between the World and Me.
This weekly link roundup was curated by editorial intern, Lillian Kalish. Lillian is a student of political science and Chinese and sometimes thinks about abandoning all future plans and become a chef instead. Lillian loves to eat spicy, sweet, and sour things and watch the Barefoot Contessa despite it’s older house-wife target audience.