Sunday, November 18, 2018

Cocktails & Popcorn: Hollywood Forgot To Mention #MeToo Started In Detroit - Tarana Burke

FUN FACT!  The term "Honkey" was given to males who were allowed to purchase and drive automobiles when they were first manufactured and sold abundantly, which was Detroit. These men would drive up to women and little girls of the darker persuasion and honk their horns as a calling card that they were willing to pay for sex, whether the woman or little girl wanted it, or not. It was a tradition for a mother to teach her daughter not to respond to the sound of a honking horn, forcing a man to walk up to the house and knock on the door as a sign of a gentleman. Mothers also taught their daughters no to respond to the term "Hey" because hay was for horses, and the little girl was not a horse, nor a baby, but a lady, and must demand to be treated as such.



This FUN FACT! was brought to you by another Detroit residual of the peculiar institution under chattel law.

And to think, Hollywood and the "Legal Geniuses" (trademark pending) bastardized it.

#MeToo founder Tarana Burke blasts the movement for ignoring poor women

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 Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement
She didn’t look like Alyssa Milano.

But maybe that’s because Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement that has led to complaints and indictments against dozens of men — and some women — for sexual harassment and assault, is a big, bold, fierce, powerful, outspoken black woman, who is finally being seen.

And in a keynote address at the Facing Race conference that brought more than 3,500 people to Detroit to discuss social justice, Burke brought down the house, defiantly challenging the movement she started a decade before movie producer Harvey Weinstein was outed for his behavior, saying that it better pay attention to the original survivors.

Those are the young black and brown girls in urban and indigenous communities where she has worked since age 14, women whose poverty and powerlessness made them easy prey.

“The No. 1 thing I hear from folks is that the #MeToo movement has forgotten us,” she said of black, Hispanic and Native American women. “Every day, we hear some version of that. But this is what I’m here to tell you: The #MeToo movement is not defined by what the media has told you. We are the movement, and so I need you to not opt out of the #Metoo movement. ... I need you to reframe your work to include sexual violence That’s how we take back the narrative. Stop giving your power away to white folks.

“You know how many people say, ‘The #Metoo movement — well Hollywood’s got it.’ F--k Hollywood. Every time somebody asks me how I feel about them taking my movement, I say, ‘You can’t take s--t that’s mine. This is not about Tarana Burke owning something. This is about a community that I have lived in, worked in, given my blood sweat and tears to. This is our movement. Stop opting out of it.”

Burke said she will not let her movement that she founded in 2006 and that has resulted in her getting death threats and having to challenge black leaders to support it, be co-opted by pretty girls and Hollywood.

“This is not about awareness. It’s about  action,” the 45-year-old activist said at Detroit’s convention center. “…With #Metoo being as big and loud as it is, we don’t need more awareness, This is about  what happens after the hashtag, after the hoopla This is about the work.”

Burke’s comments comes a year after her #MeToo movement, which she founded in 2006 became a global sensation when Milano used Burke’s #MeToo hashtag on social media to draw attention to widespread sexual harassment and rape. Some began crediting Milano, an actress and activist, with founding the movement that Burke has worked in since she was 14 and crediting Milano with the hashtag that Burke began using in 2006.

Burke said last Saturday that she wants people to change the way they view sexual assault and harassment, to stop working in silos as if sexual misconduct isn’t a part of every social justice effort.
“If you’re working on mass incarceration, you’re not dealing with health care. If you’re working on economic justice, you’re not dealing with racial justice — well you probably are — but not about sexual violence,” she said. “But we’re not seeing where this (issue of sexual violence) fits in everybody else’s work. What you need to say is the #Metoo movement is in my work. The #Metoo movement is in every single thing I said. It’s in our economic justice work. It’s in our mass incarceration work. It’s in our community health work. It’s everywhere.”

She recalled trying to get community attention focused on helping junior high girls whose stories fueled her work.

“I’m at the junior high school and I have sixth, seventh and eighth grade girls and more than half of these girls’ lives have been touched by sexual violence,” she said. “And what we heard back was they need more guidance counselors.

“… If an issue is affecting any segment of our community, it affects our entire community, and we need a community response,” she said to thunderous applause. “It was very difficult to get folk to rally around this issue.”

She said she faced leaders intent on “not tarnishing the legacy of community heroes and activists.”

“We heard every manner of excuse ‘It’s really about white supremacy because our folks don’t have a history of that kind of thing back in Africa’ or ‘the real issue isn’t sexual violence, it’s false accusations against black men’ or my personal favorite ‘This is not a social justice issue; this is a social work issue.’ ”

The most vulnerable victims of sexual violence and harassment do not deserve the silence they endure in their communities outside the larger movement that is at the top of the news, she said.

She cited statistic after statistic about women who aren’t famous but attacked because of their gender identity or economic powerlessness. But the worst, she said, was the fate of indigenous and Native American women “the group we talk about the least,” she said.

She cited a Justice Department study that found that an estimated one in three Native American women will be assaulted in their lifetimes, that 92 percent of Native American girls reported having been forced to have sex against their will — and that nine of 10 Native American women and girls who survived rape or sexual assault were attacked by assailants of a different color, most of them white.

“That’s definitely a racial justice issue,” she said. “And, at the end of the day, it’s a human rights issue.”

In a powerful moment after her speech, Burke talked about life on the front lines, something else she hopes the #MeToo movement does not ignore and something, in the telling, that moved her to tears before the crowd.

“This is hard,” she said. “… These are mostly women of color, queer women of color who are dealing with layers of s—t. I’ve gotten more death threats from black men than anybody else. After Cosby was indicted and R. Kelly took off, I got tons of threats from black men.”

Some of them were death threats, she said.

“Why do we have to die?” she asked. “And I’m not saying people writing on Facebook ‘You should die!’ I’m talking about coming to your house. I’m talking about having to relocate. … This is not a game. We are in the midst of a crisis around that. I’ve got a child. I had to pull my daughter out of school over some bulls—t. I’m sorry to keep cursing, but it’s just not easy.”

Burke is not going to stop, but she wants the movement to be a movement, one that includes all survivors and enlists the aid of all soldiers fighting for justice because every justice fight can help the fight against sexual violence.

“We come to work because we are the work,” she said. “We work in these different  fields because it’s our lived experiences and we have survived sexual violence in addition to other things. We watch folks find the intersection of every other issue except sexual violence. Do you know how painful it is to watch people actively not care about your lived experience? We experience it all the time.”

Burke said the movement, which began as her movement, must care as much about the original victims as it does actresses who wanted careers and producers who got away with career murder.
It was her movement that pulled the covers off what has been a way of life in America.

It was her movement that has now seen countless men felled and countless women empowered.
And her message for that crowded throng in a Detroit convention center ballroom  where hundreds of people screamed to her “We got your back!” was clear: The  #MeToo movement better not forget the survivors for which it was founded, the original survivors whose faces aren’t known and who don’t have agents.

They need help the most.

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