Representative Pramila Jayapal Shuts Down Sexist Colleague for Calling Her A “Young Lady… [Who] Doesn’t Know a Damn Thing”

Representative Pramila Jayapal (Photo credit: Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)

In an exchange on the House floor that might otherwise have gone entirely overlooked, Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington, 7th District) — the first Indian American woman to be elected to Congress — shut down her colleague, Representative Don Young (R-Alaska) for addressing her as “young lady” and saying that she “doesn’t know a damn thing what she’s talking about.” (Transcript of the exchange available here related to Amendment No. 43.)

The exchange took place Thursday on the floor of the House of Representatives during a debate over an amendment sponsored by Representative Young that would repeal federal regulations against controversial hunting practices in wildlife reserves, such as the use of artificial lights and certain forms of bait to lure animals towards areas where they can be shot at point-blank range, as well as the shooting of bear cubs or wolf pups during denning season. Jayapal, who is 51 years old and a former civil rights attorney currently serving her first term in the House, gave remarks on the floor outlining her concerns with the proposed amendment. Reports The Seattle Times:

“These national lands are intended to be enjoyed by all Americans, including those who visit and hope to have the rare opportunity to see bears and wolves in their natural habitats,” Jayapal said. “These are reasonable regulations that prevent cruel hunting practices.”

Young, however, took issue with those comments, and took to the floor to attempt a patronizing, sexist takedown of Representative Jayapal. While dismissing her as a “young lady”, Young chastised Jayapal as someone who “doesn’t know a damn thing what she’s talking about.” Deriding her commentary as “really nonsense”, Young accused Jayapal of parroting talking points written for her by animal rights groups.

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Finally! A Simple Solution to Help Deal With Microaggressions: The My Oppression Card Project

The Oppression Card Project, by Sarah Doherty and Lauren Simkin Berke
The My Oppression Card Project, by Sarah Doherty and Lauren Simkin Berke

This is easily one of my favourite crowd-funded projects I’ve ever had the privilege of being able to support.

Have you ever been accused of playing your [race/gender/other form of oppression] card? Now, the next time someone treats you to some unrelentingly microaggressive behaviour, you can whip out your real life, actual oppression card and use it to help communicate your feelings about your most aggravating -isms!

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There Can Be No Room in this Movement for Misogyny

Eddie Huang
Eddie Huang

It’s not easy being a feminist of colour.

There’s this presumption that we as minority women can divorce our feminism from our race advocacy, and — more importantly — that we should. Among White feminists, the sticky issues of race and racism are rarely addressed; or when the existence of race is acknowledged, it is treated with such appalling clumsiness as to render theoretically feminist safe spaces decidedly unsafe for women of colour.

Among communities of colour, aspersions are also sometimes cast against WOC feminists. Sidelong glances are thrown in our direction because we understand that race oppression does not occur in a vacuum, and we dare to include within our race activism an integrated focus on the twin spectres of misogyny and male privilege. We present an intersectional politic that intermixes race and gender privilege with oppression, but we are often asked to mute our feminism and decenter ourselves in the name of blind racial solidarity. Talking about White patriarchy is okay, they say, but patriarchy in communities of colour must be taboo. The Movement, they say, requires a unified front. Feminism, they say, is a distraction from the Cause. Those of us who refuse to divorce our feminism from our race advocacy, they say, are misandrists and sellouts. Never mind, of course, that some of Asian America’s most dedicated civil rights legends — including Grace Lee Boggs, Yuri Kochiyama, Helen Zia and Patsy Mink — were self-identified Asian American feminists whose feminist work is treated as completely compartmentalized from their other advocacy.

To ask that feminists of colour be only feminist in feminist spaces, and only POC in POC spaces, is to ask the impossible: I cannot sometimes be only a woman and sometimes only be Asian American. I am both these things at all times; so too, therefore, are my politics.

Five years ago, long before Fresh Off The Boat became a runaway ABC sitcom hit, I wrote my first post on Eddie Huang. This was before Eddie was a star of Vice TV. This was before he was the author of a hit Asian American memoir. This was before Eddie Huang was a household name.

This was also way before Eddie Huang fucked up royally on Twitter last week.

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“Misogynasian” and Why Gender Discrimination in Tech Must Be an Asian American Issue

ellen-pao

Three years ago, Ellen Pao — former junior partner of Silicon Valley venture capital group Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers — filed a lawsuit against her former employers, citing a pattern of bias against female employees; yesterday, lawyers in her suit against Kleiner completed their closing statements with a plea for greater efforts to address gender equality in the tech industry. Pao’s suit alleges that Pao was harassed, and eventually fired, from Kleiner for challenging a culture of sexual harassment within her former company.

Throughout the Pao trial, Pao has courageously endured the usual victim-blaming, character assassination and mudslinging used to dismiss, invalidate, and insubstantiate the experiences of women. She has been tone policed. She has been slut-shamed. She has been labelled a gold digger. She has been accused of being untalented, amateurish, and unprofessional. The message Kleiner’s lawyers are trying to communicate is clear: Ellen Pao is lone voice trying to capitalize off an imagined gender problem in Silicon Valley.

The problem for Silicon Valley is that Ellen Pao is not alone.

Last week, Taiwanese American Chia “Chloe” Hong filed a civil suit against Facebook for gender discrimination. Days later, software engineer Tina Huang filed a civil suit against Twitter, also alleging gender discrimination in the company’s failure to promote women to management positions.

It should escape no one’s notice that all three of these high-profile gender bias lawsuits have been filed by Asian American women.

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Masculinity vs. “Misogylinity”: what Asian Americans can learn from #UCSB shooting | #YesAllWomen

The wreckage of Elliot Rodger's black BMW sedan after his deadly shooting rampage Friday evening. (Photo credit: Jae C. Hong / AP)
The wreckage of Elliot Rodger’s black BMW coupe after his deadly shooting rampage Friday evening. (Photo credit: Jae C. Hong / AP)

On Friday evening in the residential neighbourhood of Isla Vista in Santa Barbara, California, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger stabbed his three young Asian American housemates – George Chen, 19 , Weihan “David” Wang, 20, and Chen Yuan “James” Hong, 20 – to death while they slept. Rodger then drove his luxury BMW coupe to the Alpha Phi sorority where he opened fire with two legally purchased handguns on three female passersby; two – Katherine Cooper, 22 and Veronica Weiss, 19 – were killed, while a third is recovering in hospital. Rodger proceeded to the nearby I.V. Deli Mart and fired randomly into the store, killing Christopher Michael-Martinez, 20. He then drove through the streets of Isla Vista, shooting randomly at pedestrians and striking two cyclists with his car; by the end of the night, he had wounded 13. A brief firefight ensued between him and sheriff deputies, which ended when Rodger crashed his car into another vehicle. Rodger was found dead in the drivers’ seat of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

By Saturday, several YouTube videos created by Rodger – including one uploaded just hours before the attack that appeared to offer a motive for the deadly shooting – were discovered, along with a 140-page autobiography-turned-hate-fueled-manifesto. These items, along with Rodger’s frequent posts on BodyBuilding.com and PUAHate.com forum boards paint a disturbing – and disturbingly detailed – portrait of a narcissistic, mentally disturbed, lonely, woman-hating man-child so deeply twisted by American racism, classism, and sexism that he found a way to rationalize mass murder. Sparked by an abundance of macabre primary source material, over two hundred thousand news articles and think-pieces have now been written about Rodger (according to Google’s latest count) and the feminist hashtag #YesAllWomen – initiated in response to Rodger’s documented misogynistic motives – remains one of the top 5 trending topics on Twitter.

I have over the last four days stayed silent on the UCSB shooting as I tried to parse my own thoughts on Friday’s violent attack. I watched some of the YouTube videos and read Rodger’s manifesto.

In the end, I couldn’t shake the same chilling reaction I felt when I first read about Friday night’s violence: I had seen Elliot Rodger’s brand of radical hatred before. I had seen it within the comments section of my own site for a decade. I had seen it from members of my own community.

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