Apuntes que surgen del curso

Archivo para septiembre, 2012

New York Times. “The myth of the male decline”

September 29, 2012
The Myth of Male Decline
SCROLL through the titles and subtitles of recent books, and you will read that women have become “The Richer Sex,” that “The Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys,” and that we may even be seeing “The End of Men.” Several of the authors of these books posit that we are on the verge of a “new majority of female breadwinners,” where middle-class wives lord over their husbands while demoralized single men take refuge in perpetual adolescence.

How is it, then, that men still control the most important industries, especially technology, occupy most of the positions on the lists of the richest Americans, and continue to make more money than women who have similar skills and education? And why do women make up only 17 percent of Congress?

These books and the cultural anxiety they represent reflect, but exaggerate, a transformation in the distribution of power over the past half-century. Fifty years ago, every male American was entitled to what the sociologist R. W. Connell called a “patriarchal dividend” — a lifelong affirmative-action program for men.

The size of that dividend varied according to race and class, but all men could count on women’s being excluded from the most desirable jobs and promotions in their line of work, so the average male high school graduate earned more than the average female college graduate working the same hours. At home, the patriarchal dividend gave husbands the right to decide where the family would live and to make unilateral financial decisions. Male privilege even trumped female consent to sex, so marital rape was not a crime.

The curtailment of such male entitlements and the expansion of women’s legal and economic rights have transformed American life, but they have hardly produced a matriarchy. Indeed, in many arenas the progress of women has actually stalled over the past 15 years.

Let’s begin by determining which is “the richer sex.”

Women’s real wages have been rising for decades, while the real wages of most men have stagnated or fallen. But women’s wages started from a much lower base, artificially held down by discrimination. Despite their relative improvement, women’s average earnings are still lower than men’s and women remain more likely to be poor.

Today women make up almost 40 percent of full-time workers in management. But the median wages of female managers are just 73 percent of what male managers earn. And although women have significantly increased their representation among high earners in America over the past half-century, only 4 percent of the C.E.O.’s in Fortune’s top 1,000 companies are female.

What we are seeing is a convergence in economic fortunes, not female ascendance. Between 2010 and 2011, men and women working full time year-round both experienced a 2.5 percent decline in income. Men suffered roughly 80 percent of the job losses at the beginning of the 2007 recession. But the ripple effect of the recession then led to cutbacks in government jobs that hit women disproportionately. As of June 2012, men had regained 46.2 percent of the jobs they lost in the recession, while women had regained 38.7 percent of their lost jobs.

The 1970s and 1980s brought an impressive reduction in job segregation by gender, especially in middle-class occupations. But the sociologists David Cotter, Joan Hermsen and Reeve Vanneman report that progress slowed in the 1990s and has all but stopped since 2000. For example, the percentage of female electrical engineers doubled in each decade in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. But in the two decades since 1990 it has increased by only a single percentage point, leaving women at just 10 percent of the total.

Some fields have become even more gender-segregated. In 1980, 75 percent of primary school teachers and 64 percent of social workers were women. Today women make up 80 and 81 percent of those fields. Studies show that as occupations gain a higher percentage of female workers, the pay for those jobs goes down relative to wages in similarly skilled jobs that remain bastions of male employment.

Proponents of the “women as the richer sex” scenario often note that in several metropolitan areas, never-married childless women in their 20s now earn more, on average, than their male age-mates.

But this is because of the demographic anomaly that such areas have exceptionally large percentages of highly educated single white women and young, poorly educated, low-wage Latino men. Earning more than a man with less education is not the same as earning as much as an equally educated man.

Among never-married, childless 22- to 30-year-old metropolitan-area workers with the same educational credentials, males out-earn females in every category, according to a reanalysis of census data to be presented next month at Boston University by Philip Cohen, a sociologist at the University of Maryland. Similarly, a 2010 Catalyst survey found that female M.B.A.’s were paid an average of $4,600 less than men in starting salaries and continue to be outpaced by men in rank and salary growth throughout their careers, even if they remain childless.

Among married couples when both partners are employed, wives earned an average of 38.5 percent of family income in 2010. In that year nearly 30 percent of working wives out-earned their working husbands, a huge increase from just 4 percent in 1970. But when we include all married-couple families, not just dual-earner ones, the economic clout of wives looks a lot weaker.

In only 20 percent of all married-couple families does the wife earn half or more of all family income, according to Professor Cohen, and in 35 percent of marriages, the wife earns less than 10 percent.

Once they have children, wives usually fall further behind their husbands in earnings, partly because they are more likely to temporarily quit work or cut back when workplace policies make it hard for both parents to work full time and still meet family obligations.

But this also reflects prejudice against working mothers. A few years ago, researchers at Cornell constructed fake résumés, identical in all respects except parental status. They asked college students to evaluate the fitness of candidates for employment or promotion. Mothers were much less likely to be hired. If hired, they were offered, on average, $11,000 less in starting salary and were much less likely to be deemed deserving of promotion.

The researchers also submitted similar résumés in response to more than 600 actual job advertisements. Applicants identified as childless received twice as many callbacks as the supposed mothers.

Much has been made of the gender gap in educational achievement. Girls have long done better in school than boys, and women have now pulled ahead of men in completing college. Today women earn almost 60 percent of college degrees, up from one-third in 1960.

The largest educational gender gap is among families in the top 25 percent of the earnings distribution, where women lead men by 13 percent in graduation rates, compared to just a 2 percent advantage for women from the lowest income families.

But at all income levels, women are still concentrated in traditionally female areas of study. Gender integration of college majors has stalled since the mid-1990s, and in some fields, women have even lost ground. Between 1970 and 1985, women’s share of computer and information sciences degrees rose from 14 percent to 37 percent. But by 2008 women had fallen back to 18 percent.

According to the N.Y.U. sociologist Paula England, a senior fellow at the Council on Contemporary Families, most women, despite earning higher grades, seem to be educating themselves for occupations that systematically pay less.

Even women’s greater educational achievement stems partly from continuing gender inequities. Women get a smaller payoff than men for earning a high school degree, but a bigger payoff for completing college. This is not because of their higher grade point averages, the economist Christopher Dougherty concludes, but because women seem to need more education simply to counteract the impact of traditional job discrimination and traditional female career choices.

If the ascent of women has been much exaggerated, so has the descent of men. Men’s irresponsibility and bad behavior is now a stock theme in popular culture. But there has always been a subset of men who engage in crude, coercive and exploitative behavior. What’s different today is that it’s harder for men to get away with such behavior in long-term relationships. Women no longer feel compelled to put up with it and the legal system no longer condones it. The result is that many guys who would have been obnoxious husbands, behaving badly behind closed doors, are now obnoxious singles, trumpeting their bad behavior on YouTube.

Their boorishness may be pathetic, but it’s much less destructive than the masculine misbehavior of yore. Most men are in fact behaving better than ever. Domestic violence rates have been halved since 1993, while rapes and sexual assaults against women have fallen by 70 percent in that time. In recent decades, husbands have doubled their share of housework and tripled their share of child care. And this change is not confined to highly educated men.

Among dual-earner couples, husbands with the least education do as much or more housework than their more educated counterparts. Men who have made these adjustments report happier marriages — and better sex lives.

ONE thing standing in the way of further progress for many men is the same obstacle that held women back for so long: overinvestment in their gender identity instead of their individual personhood. Men are now experiencing a set of limits — externally enforced as well as self-imposed — strikingly similar to the ones Betty Friedan set out to combat in 1963, when she identified a “feminine mystique” that constrained women’s self-image and options.

Although men don’t face the same discriminatory laws as women did 50 years ago, they do face an equally restrictive gender mystique.

Just as the feminine mystique discouraged women in the 1950s and 1960s from improving their education or job prospects, on the assumption that a man would always provide for them, the masculine mystique encourages men to neglect their own self-improvement on the assumption that sooner or later their “manliness” will be rewarded.

According to a 2011 poll by the Pew Research Center, 77 percent of Americans now believe that a college education is necessary for a woman to get ahead in life today, but only 68 percent think that is true for men. And just as the feminine mystique exposed girls to ridicule and harassment if they excelled at “unladylike” activities like math or sports, the masculine mystique leads to bullying and ostracism of boys who engage in “girlie” activities like studying hard and behaving well in school. One result is that men account for only 2 percent of kindergarten and preschool teachers, 3 percent of dental assistants and 9 percent of registered nurses.

The masculine mystique is institutionalized in work structures, according to three new studies forthcoming in the Journal of Social Issues. Just as women who display “masculine” ambitions or behaviors on the job are often penalized, so are men who engage in traditionally female behaviors, like prioritizing family involvement. Men who take an active role in child care and housework at home are more likely than other men to be harassed at work.

Men who request family leave are often viewed as weak or uncompetitive and face a greater risk of being demoted or downsized. And men who have ever quit work for family reasons end up earning significantly less than other male employees, even when controlling for the effects of age, race, education, occupation, seniority and work hours. Now men need to liberate themselves from the pressure to prove their masculinity. Contrary to the fears of some pundits, the ascent of women does not portend the end of men. It offers a new beginning for both. But women’s progress by itself is not a panacea for America’s inequities. The closer we get to achieving equality of opportunity between the sexes, the more clearly we can see that the next major obstacle to improving the well-being of most men and women is the growing socioeconomic inequality within each sex.

Stephanie Coontz teaches family history at Evergreen State College and is the author of “A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s.”


Discriminación por género en las ciencias

Este artículo demuestra que hay evidencia concreta sobre la discriminación en contra las mujeres en las ciencias. Para una posición de gerente de laboratorio, dieron dos solicitudes EXACTAMENTE iguales a los que estaban contratando, la UNICA diferencia es una solicitud tiene nombre de mujer y la otra nombre de hombre. Calificaron como mejor candidato al hombre para el trabajo, y ofrecieron $30K a él, versus $26 a la mujer, POR EL MISMO TRABAJO. Los hombres tanto las mujeres leyendo la solicitud fueron discriminatorios, demuestra la sutileza de los estereotipos en nuestra sociedad. Para leer artículo completo en inglés.

Queer Parenting for Heteros, by Jane Ward

But what, then, does all of this have to do with parenting?

Well, a lot has been said and written about queer parenting in recent years, but most of this commentary ignores the opportunity to actually engage queer theory and instead simply equates queer parenting with LGBT people raising children. But what happens when we attempt to apply the insights of queer theory to our relationships with children?

At the very least, we can conceptualize queer parenting as a way of relating to children centered on two possible interventions (no doubt there are more, but I want to get this conversation started!): 1) first, delinking “mother” and “father” subjectivity from female and male bodies; and 2) second, cultivating children’s genderqueerness. The great news is that within this framework, all people—regardless of the kind of sex you have or with whom—have the potential to create, or join, queer families.

Delinking “Mother” and “Father” from female and male

My partner Kat is a woman who is our child’s dad. Kat disidentifies with most of the gendered meaning assigned to motherhood, especially notions that equate motherhood with fertility, goddess energy, biological instincts, or the quintessential feminine. I am our child’s mother, and although I am also very critical of these notions, they are more incompatible with my political and theoretical orientation than with my gender presentation, which is—for better or worse—quite normative. The fact that Kat is our child’s dad is very challenging for most people, including (and sometimes especially) gay and lesbian people, who would like Kat to think of herself not as a dad but as a butch lesbian pushing the boundaries of motherhood. But why should the cross-gendering of parenting roles be so challenging or offensive to people?

The feminist movement has succeeded in disrupting the essential gendering of all other forms of work. Most people now acknowledge, for instance, that there are women who are doctors, and nurses who are men. But parenting roles remain deeply gendered and essentialist, such that female parents are always mothers, and male parents are always fathers. I understand “mother” and “father” as two distinct sets of job duties, stylistic approaches, or performative categories that should be available to all people regardless of sex or gender (akin to the way we now understand work and occupations). Cross-gendering the adult/child relationship (such as a child being raised by a female dad) demonstrates to children the social constructedness of gender in very practical terms, introducing them to a broader range of relational options for both female- and male-bodied people. It sets the stage for them to later choose, for themselves, from the conventions associated with mothering, fathering, or both.

Instead of flattening gender differences, queerness recodes traditional genders and celebrates their queer forms, such as transforming masculinity and femininity into butch and femme. Similarly, a queer approach to parenting recognizes differences that have long been associated with biological sex and detaches them from male and female bodies (some parents like to handle the sit-down emotional stuff, others prefer engaging kids in a series of physical activities; some want to parent fulltime, others find part-time parenting more enjoyable). So, while our ultimate goal may be to imagine parenting models that transcend the mother/father binary altogether, until we have achieved this total gender revolution, a queer approach recognizes that parenting, like all of our relationships, is gendered, and that we need not throw gender out of the picture in order to create just and fulfilling relationships with children. Instead, we need to be clear about what, specifically, we imagine are the unique contributions that femininity and masculinity bring to parenting, and then make those parenting styles available to all people (regardless of biological sex).

Cultivating Children’s Genderqueerness

The second principle of queer parenting centers on the importance of cultivating children’s genderqueerness, or their gender and sexual fluidity. The first part of this work involves simply refraining from imposing gender on children. I recall when I first met our neighbor and friend D., who is a lefty and dedicated stay-at-home father of two sons (J & C). At the time, the older son was a spirited 3-year old, the kind of kid who can run in circles for hours on end, and who liked to destroy toys, plants, etc. D told me the day we met, “J is a real boys’ boy” and went on to explain that J. had once tried to hit their family’s cat with a softball bat, and D., horrified, called a fellow stay-at-home dad for support. D was relieved when his friend told him, “look, this is really normal behavior for boys. J just has a lot of testosterone coursing through his system and he doesn’t know how to handle it yet.” D told me this entire story in front of J, who, as a result, heard his dad call him a “real boys’ boy with testosterone coursing through his body.” Of course another story that could have been told about J’s behavior is that older toddlers—regardless of sex or gender—have a lot of energy, are aggressive, like to break things, and don’t have a fully developed sense of the effects of their actions. Or yet another account could have simply emphasized that J—who is now a quite peaceful and more soft-spoken 7-year old—was a having a bad day when he picked up that softball bat.

Imposing gendered meaning on nearly everything that children do is a shockingly pervasive and, I think, very damaging, habit. D’s description of J as a “boys’ boy” is a phrase I have heard from mothers describing their male children as young as 7-months old, children who are doing things like throwing food, getting dirty, and banging on furniture (again, these are infant behaviors, not male behaviors). Kat and I have a male child (or, to be more precise, a child with a penis) who is a year and half old; his name is Yarrow. And we have observed as other adults explain his interest in mechanical objects or the pleasure he takes in organizing things as “boy behavior;” and we know that if he were perceived as a girl, the same behaviors would be filtered through that lens (just as gender is the interpretive lens that determines how we view adult women and men’s behavior as well). Strangers in the supermarket who observe Yarrow’s long hair and pink shoes tell us that he is a “such a pretty girl, and so well behaved.”

Allowing children to form their own relationship with gender means not imposing gender on them, and this is very hard to do in a gender binary world where there is no gender-free place that we can find and inhabit. So, one way to deal with this is to actually cultivate children’s genderqueerness, which means to make sure that children have as many gendered options available to them as you can possibly provide, with an emphasis on cross-gender possibilities. Many progressive parents take a kind of tolerant “wait and see” approach to their children’s gender and sexuality, wherein they basically produce a very normative gender socialization and presume their kids are heterosexual, and then wait to see whether their child manifests any signs of queerness, which they will attend to should the situation arise. But even though these parents are prepared to love their children should their kids someday present themselves as queer or gender variant, they aren’t actually communicating to their children that queerness is something worth celebrating now, as opposed to lovingly tolerating later. Queer parenting means that children are enthusiastically introduced to queerness and genderqueerness so they know that their parents really welcome any queerness that they want to explore.

Because heteronormativity and the gender binary structure all aspects of children’s lives (their toys, their books, their peers, their schools, their extended family), waiting to see how children unfold is basically defaulting to heteronormativity. This means that adults need to actively place queerness in their children’s paths—at least enough to equal the amount that children will encounter heterosexuality and gender normativity (which is A LOT!); otherwise, children perceive that being queer or cross-gender identified is not really an option, or at least not the preferable option. Queer parenting means that parents create a life for their kids that includes queer people, queer books, queer ideas, queer imagery, queer culture, queer music, queer narratives. And of course, heterosexual parents can do this.

Some people worry that this means pushing gay- or cross-gender identification on children, which is not the case. Instead, it looks like this: you and your child are playing with Ernie and Bert dolls (and if you have paid much attention to Ernie and Bert, you know they are two men who live together as life partners–you do the math…). While playing with Ernie and Bert, you don’t hesitate to insert their queerness into the narrative. Maybe Ernie and Bert are getting married, maybe they cuddle or kiss—whatever heterosexual love/romance script you would enact with your child as you play with dolls, why would you not also introduce its queer corollary? Another example: you are at Target buying clothes for a child too young to select his/her own clothes (pre-2 years old?). What do you know about your child’s fashion preferences? Probably nothing, or at least not much, if you have a 1-yr old child. What you do know is that your child has a vagina or a penis, but why let this fact determine which clothes you buy? Queer parenting dictates that you provide your child with the opportunity to be familiar with a range of possibilities: the full spectrum of colors, both dresses and pants, etc. Because if you only acquire pink or lavender or floral clothes for a female child, will it be any wonder if these end up being the clothes that she later reports are her favorite? They will be all she has ever intimately known, and it would take considerably more creativity or courage on her part to ask for a black hoodie (or conversely, for a boy to ask for a floral dress).

Introducing, normalizing, and celebrating queerness with your child is like introducing your child to a way of eating, or multiple languages, or a moral system that is important to you—you are cultivating a love of gender and sexual diversity in your child, because this kind of diversity is of value to you too. This is very different from telling your child that she or he is gay.

Raising children in queer ways need not have anything to do with the sexual identities of parents or children. Instead, queer parenting is about passionately and unrelentingly introducing children to queer ways of life, to the beauty and fun of gender exploration, and to the diverse possibilities of romantic and sexual partnership.


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una carta personal desde el espectador, mujeres y derechos

Hola Chloe!
Me gustaría publicar esto en el Blog. Un artículo del Espectador. Muchas gracias!
Nathalia C.


Carta abierta a María Alejandra, Natalia y Ángela María Ordoñez
Por: Catalina Ruiz-Navarro
“Les escribo porque me intriga saber qué piensan de la demanda que ha interpuesto la Procuraduría para sacar del mercado la Píldora del día después, o Postinor, alegando que es abortiva. Quiero saber qué piensan ustedes, no lo que piensa su papá, porque este es un problema entre ustedes y yo y todas las chicas de Colombia en edad reproductiva que tenemos sueños y planes de vida, y úteros.
Lo que piensa su padre no me importa. A él no le ha venido la regla, no ha tenido un retraso, no ha cruzado fuertemente las piernas ante la impresión de ver el video de un parto en el colegio, no teme a las estrías, no ha dado ni dará de mamar y su barriga solo es tierra fértil para el tejido adiposo.
Estoy segura de que ustedes, como yo, saben de una de sus amigas cercanas que haya abortado, y estoy segura de que aun la quieren y no la condenan como a una asesina. Imagino que si es una amiga cercana saben de la difícil decisión que fue abortar, física y emocionalmente, sabrán del frío y la maluquera que producen las pepas abortivas o del infinito desagrado de un aborto quirúrgico, de sus líos para conseguir un lugar seguro donde realizarlo, de su tristeza y de su valentía por tomar esta decisión.
También estoy segura de que conocen y quieren a más de dos mujeres que han tomado la píldora del día después, tal vez ustedes mismas se han encontrado o se hallarán en la necesidad de hacerlo. Se habrán enterado entonces de que una pastilla del día después es diferente de la pepa abortiva. La segunda produce contracciones que expulsan al feto, a veces sin éxito, y la pastilla del día después es una sobredosis de anticonceptivos que previene que el óvulo se fecunde o que se pegue a la pared del útero. Saben también que una vez fecundado el óvulo, es poco probable que el Postinor impida el embarazo, es más, de pronto conocen a alguien que quedó embarazada aun a pesar de tomar la pastilla, seguro que sí, yo conozco a dos.
Creo que ustedes, como yo, quieren tener la posibilidad de escoger quién será el padre de sus hijos, en el caso de que quieran tenerlos. Creo que también les gustaría llegar a la maternidad porque lo decidieron y están preparadas, no por error. Sé que ustedes, como yo, de ser posible, no quieren pasar por el terrible percance que es tener un aborto. Sé que como yo y como todas, un día se equivocarán, no se aguantarán las ganas, o se les olvidará el anticonceptivo, o se morderán el labio mientras él les dice que el condón se rompió. Pienso que entonces querrán echar el tiempo atrás, ctrl+z, abrumadas ante las imágenes de lo que se viene si quedan embarazadas. Debe ser muy difícil encontrarse en una situación así, más aun con un padre como el suyo, y no las juzgaría si quisieran correr a la farmacia, antes de 72 horas.
Imaginen que son alguna de las mujeres de Colombia estrato uno y dos, menores de edad, sin condiciones para criar un hijo. Ahora díganme si en ese caso no les gustaría tener la posibilidad de acceder gratis a una pastilla del día después.
Me dirán que porqué lo vuelvo personal, pero es que ¡es personal! es mi problema y su problema, es algo tan íntimo como la relación que tenemos con nuestros propios cuerpos. Es personal porque sus úteros son suyos, y mi útero es mío y no del Estado. Por eso les pido su respuesta y las tuteo. ¿Estarían dispuestas exponerse a la incertidumbre de un embarazo (que les puede joder la vida) por un error del que pueden o no ser culpables?”.
“Me dirán que porqué lo vuelvo personal, pero es que ¡es personal! es mi problema y su problema, es algo tan íntimo como la relación que tenemos con nuestros propios cuerpos. Es personal porque sus úteros son suyos, y mi útero es mío y no del Estado.”
Por eso es que deberíamos ser nosotras las que tengamos control sobre nuestro cuerpo, no el Estado. Al fin de cuentas, al que le cambia la vida, al que le toca renunciar a sus planes a futuro, al que le toca ver cómo va a hacer para sostener a una familia y conseguir lo necesario es a uno mismo, no al Estado! Somos nosotras las que debemos tener derecho, voz y control sobre nosotras mismas, NO EL ESTADO.

Entrevista con Angela Davis

Entrevista a Angela Davis
“Yo fui utilizada para infundir miedo”

Luciano Monteagudo
Página 12

“No creo que mis principios hayan cambiado en todos estos años. Ni tampoco mi compromiso político.” Quien habla es nada menos que Angela Davis, una de las activistas políticas más famosas de los años ’60 y ’70, una figura icónica no sólo por su discurso fuertemente revolucionario y por su prominente militancia en los Black Panthers sino también por su célebre y desafiante peinado “afro”, que hizo furor en su época entre las mujeres negras. Hoy, a los 68 años, esta intelectual y docente universitaria, formada en la Universidad de Frankfurt bajo la tutela de Herbert Marcuse, llegó al Toronto International Film Festival para apoyar el lanzamiento del documental Free Angela & All Political Prisoners.
Dirigida por Shola Lynch, la película da cuenta de la ordalía de Davis cuarenta y dos años atrás, cuando fue involucrada por el FBI en el secuestro y muerte del juez Harold Haley, del condado de Marin, en California. Cargo del cual finalmente fue absuelta, a pesar de la presión que puso en su momento el gobernador del Estado, Ronald Reagan, quien en 1969 ya había logrado expulsarla de la Universidad de California (UCLA) por la abierta militancia de Davis en el Partido Comunista.
Prófuga de la Justicia, de la que lógicamente desconfiaba, Angela Davis llegó a integrar, a los 24 años, la lista de los diez fugitivos más buscados del FBI, hasta que finalmente fue detenida, en octubre de 1970. Se desató entonces una campaña internacional por su liberación, que incluyó la solidaridad de John Lennon y Yoko Ono, que compusieron el tema “Angela” para su LP Some Time in New York City y de los Rolling Stones, que grabaron el simple “Sweet Black Angel”, incluido luego en el álbum Exile on Main Street.
“Nunca busqué ese grado de exposición pública y fue algo muy difícil de aceptar entonces”, recuerda Miss Davis en una entrevista exclusiva con Página/12, en una suite del Soho Metrotel de Toronto. “Mi aproximación original fue estrictamente política y ni siquiera en mis sueños más locos pensé que sería empujada en esa dirección. Pero al mismo tiempo fui consciente de que era algo con lo que iba a tener que aprender a vivir. Y que por lo tanto iba a tratar de usarlo, no tanto en mi nombre como en el de tanta gente que no tenía voz en ese momento.”
–¿Se refiere a sus compañeros de militancia en los Black Panthers?
–Exactamente. Porque la campaña nacional por mi libertad se inició originalmente bajo la consigna “Liberen a Angela Davis”, pero yo consideré que debía ser “Liberen a Angela Davis y a todos los presos políticos”, que es la frase que eligió ahora Shola Lynch para su documental.
–En la película, usted menciona que la triple condena a muerte que pidió para usted el fiscal no se dirigía tanto hacia usted personalmente sino hacia la construcción que usted encarnaba. ¿Puede ampliar esta idea?
–Me di cuenta muy pronto de que todo ese ensañamiento hacia mi persona excedía a mi figura y mi situación personal. En primer lugar, porque no me podían matar tres veces. Y me di cuenta también de lo seria que era toda la situación. Estaban decididos a matar a la construcción de este enemigo imaginario. Y yo era la encarnación de ese enemigo, por negra, mujer y comunista. Cuando el FBI comenzó a perseguirme, aprovecharon para encarcelar a cientos de mujeres negras y jóvenes como yo. Aprovecharon la situación para intentar infundir miedo en toda la comunidad negra.
–¿Qué cambió desde entonces?
–Creo que cambiaron muchas cosas. Y pienso que cambiaron en gran medida gracias a la lucha que llevamos a cabo. Cuando tuve la oportunidad de asistir a la universidad, fui una de las poquísimas mujeres negras que tuvieron esa suerte. Hoy ya no es ni remotamente así, aunque hay que reconocer que todavía hay una enorme desproporción entre la cantidad de estudiantes blancos y negros. Lo que hoy me angustia mucho es que en aquel momento, cuando luchábamos por la liberación de todos los presos políticos en particular y contra la institución carcelaria en general, nos sorprendía la cantidad de gente encarcelada que había en el país, pero hoy, en los Estados Unidos, hay muchísimas más personas tras las rejas. Hoy en mi país hay dos millones y medio de personas encarceladas. Uno de cada 37 adultos está bajo el control del sistema penitenciario. Lo cual es un porcentaje altísimo. Es el país con mayor población carcelaria del mundo.
–¿A qué lo atribuye?
–A los índices de pobreza, sin duda. La mayoría de los hombres jóvenes negros hoy están desempleados. Este es obviamente un problema político y también de racismo. Es verdad que los libros de texto ya no expresan abiertamente el racismo como sucedía antes y que oficialmente ya no hay segregación racial, pero en muchos sentidos la situación está peor hoy que hace medio siglo.
–¿Incluso con un presidente afroamericano, como Barack Obama?
–Sí, es triste decirlo, pero las cosas están peor con un presidente afroamericano en la Casa Blanca. Esa es la ironía. Porque hace medio siglo hubiera sido impensable que alguna vez un hombre negro pudiera ser presidente de los Estados Unidos, cosa que hoy es posible. Pero también hay que decir que hoy a nadie en la Casa Blanca le importa que un millón de hombres negros estén presos. Y esto tiene una relación directa con el desmantelamiento completo del sistema de bienestar social y con la desindustrialización que está viviendo el país, con la consiguiente pérdida de puestos de trabajo. Antes la población negra tenía fuentes de trabajo en la industria siderúrgica, en la industria automovilística y tantas otras industrias que ahora se han mudado a otros países donde la mano de obra es mucho más barata. Yo nací y me crié en Birmingham, Alabama, y allí la industria siderúrgica era la principal fuente de trabajo. Todavía lo sigue siendo, pero con muchos menos puestos de trabajo que antes. Y si a eso le sumamos la falta de contención social, la falta de educación, la falta de un buen sistema de salud pública, sucede que la cárcel se convierte en la solución por default de todos los problemas sociales que no se atienden políticamente.
–Hablando de prisiones… ¿por qué piensa que Obama no cumplió con su promesa de cerrar la cárcel de Guantánamo?
–Eso es lo que debió hacer desde un primer momento, no bien asumió el gobierno. En muchos sentidos debemos decir que la llamada “guerra contra el terrorismo” lo sobrepasó. Pero también tenemos que reconocer que la primera razón por la cual no cerró Guantánamo es porque no salimos a la calle a reclamarlo. En muchas instancias, la gente que eligió a Obama no se mantuvo unida y alerta. Habría que haber creado un movimiento detrás de este tema para poner presión y que la cárcel de Guantánamo se cerrara. Y también para crear un mejor sistema de salud pública, mejor educación, etcétera, etcétera. Y eso es todavía lo que tenemos que hacer.
–¿Para las próximas elecciones?
–Absolutamente. Tenemos que salir a ocupar espacios, adquirir una dimensión de lo que es posible y necesario hacer.
Fuente: http://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/suplementos/espectaculos/5-26451-2012-09-16.html

Un beso de Dick

Les recuerdo no fotocopiar el libro. Se encuentra en la mayoría de las librerias del país incluyendo a la Madriguera del Conejo y Lerner….

Mensaje para SCS 201220 2-320pm

Hola Chloe,

qué pena por mandarte este mail tan tarde, se me había olvidado. La información para la actividad con las familias de los presos es la siguiente:

Las familias tienen la oportunidad de visitar a los presos en las horas de la mañana los últimos deomingos de cada mes. Esta vez les daremos agua de panlea con pan, por eso les agradecemos su ayuda si pueden traer panela el jueves (no es un producto costoso). Los interesados en acompañarnos pueden contactarme a mi celular (301 785 9767) pues tendremos un punto de encuentro para salir juntos (la actividad es de 5:30 a 7:30 am en la cárcel de la Picota). Los organizadores hacen parte un grupo católico PERO en este día no se realizará ninguna actividad religiosa (misa, etc) porque tanto algunos voluntarios como personas a las que vamos a brindarles este apoyo no comparten las mismas creencias.

Gracias a las personas que nos quieran ayudar de alguna forma u otra.

Cristina Umaña.

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