June 22nd, 2013

misc_i heart somebody with aspergers

Oregon Police Tase Autistic 11-Year-Old Walking Along The Highway

After a taxi driver spotted an autistic 11-year-old walking naked on the highway early Saturday morning, Oregon State police used a taser to apprehend her. Although police said the move was necessary to stop her from danger, a witness at the scene, Adam Bednar, disputed this account, saying she wasn’t walking toward the road. The local Newswatch 12 reports:

Bednar says he drove alongside her while he called police. He says the trooper who arrived called for her to stop, and when she didn’t respond threatened twice to taze her. After giving no response, two little red dots appeared on her back, then metal barbs.

“She seized up and she fell face first on the ground,” said Bednar.

Police claim they warned the girl twice before tasing her. But Bednar was walking around confused and unresponsive, and her father says his daughter has a severe form of autism and doesn’t respond verbally at all. Other state troopers have received calls before about the girl running away from home.

The officers involved have not been suspended and the department says it is investigating the incident. But misuse of excessive force on the mentally ill is a common police problem. A Department of Justice investigation of Portland, Oregon police last year found a “pattern of abuse” and excessive force, including tasing, on the mentally ill. And a study in Maine found that half of those shot by police were mentally ill.


As the mother of a child on the autism spectrum, I'm absolutely horrified by this. Hell, as a mother (and a human being!), period, I'm horrified by this. I also take issue with the labeling of autism as a mental illness, but I think that's the author of the article, not the actual incident (though, who knows).

(Also - in the paragraph that begins "Police claim they warned the girl", the article refers to 'Bednar', when in fact I think it was meant to be 'the girl', since 'Bednar' is the name of the person who found the girl and called it in.)
Stock - Pink Sakura

Paula Deen’s racism isn’t shocking at all

For people of color, the question isn't if someone will reveal their racial bias -- it's when
By Roxane Gay

One of the most popular songs in the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical “Avenue Q” is “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist.” The chorus goes, “Everyone’s a little bit racist sometimes. Doesn’t mean we go around committing hate crimes. Look around and you will find no one’s really color blind. Maybe it’s a fact we should face, everyone makes judgments based on race.” There’s a lot of truth to that song. Everyone holds certain judgments about others and those judgments are often informed by race. We’re human. We’re flawed. Most people are simply at the mercy of centuries of cultural conditioning. The better among us try, to varying degrees of success, to overcome that cultural conditioning — or, as recent revelations about popular, butter-loving Food Network host Paula Deen suggest, we don’t.

Paula Deen, who lives in Savannah, Ga., revels in Southern culture and her shows on the Food Network pay decadent and unapologetic homage to all manner of Southern cooking. She is a proud daughter of the South and, apparently, she carries the effects of the South’s complex and fraught racial history.

A former employee, Lisa Jackson, is currently suing Deen and her brother Earl “Bubba” Hiers for workplace harassment. A damning transcript of Deen’s deposition found its way online yesterday and in it, Deen revealed all manner of impolitic views on race. When asked if she used the N-word, Deen blithely replied, “Yes, of course,” as if it was a silly question, as if everyone uses the N-word. She’s probably right.

Deen went on to explain that she used the word to describe a man who put a gun to her head during a holdup at the bank where she worked, as if this should justify the epithet. As Deen noted, she wasn’t feeling “real favorable towards him.” That’s fair enough. No one would feel favorable toward a man holding a gun to their head. But one sin, however more grave, should not justify another.

She also discussed the racist, anti-Semitic and redneck jokes told in her kitchens and her husband’s regular use of the N-word. When asked what words she uses to describe a person’s race, she said, “I try to go with whatever the black race is wanting to call themselves at each given time. I try to go along with that and remember that.” The entire transcript is as revealing as it is fascinating; it’s a bit funny and a bit sad because Deen is so honest and her attitude is utterly unsurprising. I suppose I should be outraged, but I’m not. I’m actually baffled by how much play this story is getting in the news, where everyone seems shocked that an older white woman from the Deep South is racist and harbors a nostalgia for the antebellum era. Or perhaps my lack of surprise reveals my own biases. Though I know better, I have certain ideas about the South. Is this where I say, “I have Southern friends”?

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  • romp

For Indigenous Women, Radical Art as a Last Resort

A man sprints down a deserted alley, away from a motorcyclist, only to reach a dead end. As the motorcycle screeches to a stop, a beautiful, leather-clad native woman jumps off and begins to beat up the man. The screen flashes, and the man appears as both a police officer and a thug interchangeably. When the woman is finished, she lights a cigarette and begins to speak.

"I've been on this warpath for six long, lonely years," she says. "White boys have been having their way with Indian girls since contact. Forget what Disney tells you -- Pocahontas was 12 when she met John Smith. It's pretty little lies like this that hide the ugly truth."

And so begins A Red Girl's Reasoning, a 10-minute film about a vigilante native woman seeking revenge on the privileged men who perpetrate violence against indigenous women with impunity.

Director Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, who is Blackfoot and Sámi, is one of many female indigenous artists bringing attention to violence against indigenous women in Canada through their art.

Canada's blind eye to violence

Since the 1960s, almost 600 indigenous women have been reported as missing or murdered in Canada, according to the Native Women's Association of Canada. In 2011, the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action and the Native Women's Association asked the United Nations to look into this human rights crisis.

Since this request was acknowledged by the UN, almost nothing has been heard about its status. It has been almost two years, and indigenous women continue to disappear.

In April 2013, a meeting of aboriginal affairs ministers from the provinces and territories in Canada was held in Winnipeg to discuss a national inquiry into the country's missing indigenous women. British Columbia representatives, in the middle of a re-election campaign, opted not to attend the meeting -- despite many of the missing indigenous women having disappeared from B.C.

At a cafe in Vancouver, Tailfeathers talked about Canadian society's ability to turn a blind eye to the violence.

"Violence against indigenous women globally is a huge problem," said Tailfeathers, taking a sip of her herbal tea. "But it's a big problem in Vancouver. It's something everybody knows about, but we [Canada] want to pretend it's not there."

Tailfeathers lives in East Vancouver. Hearing of the disappearances of indigenous women from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside helped inspire her film.

Although neighbouring the touristic and increasingly affluent area of Gastown, the Downtown Eastside is one of Canada's poorest postal codes. According to the results of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, over 60 women have disappeared from its streets beginning in the 1980s through 2002 -- the majority of them marginalized women of indigenous heritage.

Flipping reality

The murdered and missing women motivated Tailfeathers to write the screenplay of A Red Girl's Reasoning and enter it in Vancouver's Crazy8s Film contest. She was selected as one of the six winners in 2012, and was one of two female indigenous winners in the contest.

"The film itself started as just a short story, just me writing an angry rant," she said. "I really wanted to see a strong native woman taking justice into her own hands. The state continues to ignore [violence against indigenous women] all together. We're second-rate citizens in this country."

Winning the Crazy8s film competition provided Tailfeathers with the financial and logistical means to produce her film.

Eric Paulsson is the executive director and producer for Crazy8s, as well as an award-winning filmmaker. He says that Crazy8s winners are selected first and foremost for the strength of their story pitches -- and he considers Tailfeathers' story one of the strongest.

The film was screened at film festivals across Europe, as well as across Canada. A Red Girl's Reasoning also recently won the Kodak Image Award at the 2013 Vancouver Women in Film Festival.

"I think she is one of the most talented young filmmakers in the country," he said. "I don't doubt that she's going to make her first feature in the next few years. And I don't doubt that that feature film will probably get premiered at Sundance. That's my prediction."

His one point of contention is the violence in the film. Paulsson is a peace activist, but respects Tailfeathers' artistic opinions.

In A Red Girl's Reasoning, the heroine hunts down a white man who has been sexually assaulting native women. She drugs him, ties him up, and douses him in gasoline. The film ends with the heroine lighting a cigarette and placing it in the man's mouth, leaving him with the decision -- swallow the cigarette and live with the injury, or drop it and burn to death.

"Some people ask how violence solves violence," she said. "But it's metaphorical violence. Indigenous women, particularly in Canada, particularly in Vancouver on the Downtown Eastside -- these women live violence on a daily basis. It was interesting to flip that reality."

Flipping this reality is part of what has made this film so successful. Although violence against native women may not easily attract Canada's attention, when native women act violently towards white men -- especially on the big screen -- people begin to take notice.

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Didn't bold because this isn't breaking news or something you can skim for the "important" bits. Sorry.