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Why Are White People Expats When the Rest of Us Are Immigrants?

March 15, 2015 in Blogs

By Mawuna Remarque Koutonin, The Guardian

Surely any person going to work outside their country is an expatriate? But no, the word exclusively applies to white people.


In the lexicon of human migration there are still hierarchical words, created with the purpose of putting white people above everyone else. One of those remnants is the word “expat”.

What is an expat? And who is an expat? According to Wikipedia, “an expatriate (often shortened to expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of the person’s upbringing. The word comes from the Latin terms ex (‘out of’) and patria (‘country, fatherland’)”.

Defined that way, you should expect that any person going to work outside of his or her country for a period of time would be an expat, regardless of his skin colour or country. But that is not the case in reality; expat is a term reserved exclusively for western white people going to work abroad.

Africans are immigrants. Arabs are immigrants. Asians are immigrants. However, Europeans are expats because they can’t be at the same level as other ethnicities. They are superior. Immigrants is a term set aside for ‘inferior races’.

Don’t take my word for it. The Wall Street Journal, the leading financial information magazine in the world, has a blog dedicated to the life of expats and recently they featured a story ‘Who is an expat, anyway?’. Here are the main conclusions: “Some arrivals are described as expats; others as immigrants; and some simply as migrants. It depends on social class, country of origin and economic status. It’s strange to hear some people in Hong Kong described as expats, but not others. Anyone with roots in a western country is considered an expat … Filipino domestic helpers are just guests, even if they’ve been here for decades. Mandarin-speaking mainland Chinese are rarely regarded as expats … It’s a double standard woven into official policy.”

The reality is the same in Africa and Europe. Top African professionals going to work in Europe are not considered expats. They are …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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“That Would Be a Great Sex Toy!”: How New Age Crystal Dildos Changed One Sex Shop Worker’s Life

March 15, 2015 in Blogs

By Jenny Kutner, Salon

Introducing the chakrub.


I have to admit: I don’t buy into the whole crystal thing. I certainly have my new age-y tendencies — I did live in Austin, Texas, for several years, after all — but faith in the power of crystals (or anything vaguely supernatural, really) has always eluded me. I tend to rely more on what science has to say about the natural world than anything else, and the research behind crystals’ purported healing abilities is iffy, to say the least. As far as medical studies are concerned, there’s no evidence that crystals can clear diseases or other physical ailments.

But we’re all afforded faith and free will, so it’s difficult to see the harm in indulging in some crystal healing when one isn’t doing anything extreme or putting her or his health at risk. What if, instead, someone is aiming for a different sort of “healing” power — such as the kind where 15 minutes alone, a MacBook and a crystal (or any vaguely cylindrical object devoid of sharp edges, really) might be useful?

Turns out, whether you’re at all mystical or just looking for a nice new way to get off, crystals might be able to provide a bit of sexual healing — even if it’s just in the form of good ol’ basic genital stimulation. And a woman named Vanessa Cuccia has made it her business to prove it.

Cuccia is the founder of Chakrubs, a line of crystal dildos that aim to “bring a sense of sacredness to your playtime.” The former sex shop employee came up with the idea to sell handcrafted stone phalluses while she was doing some of her own sexual healing in California, shortly after she met her spiritual mentor and began learning about crystals. “I created Chakrubs because I have a desire for the products,” Cuccia told me recently by phone. “I made something that I wanted.”

But she also made something she believes in, which she understands won’t be the case for everyone who buys a Chakrub. For those who have faith in crystal healing, the Indian Jade Chakrub might seem …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Robert Reich: Why Americans Are Screwed and Europeans Are Not

March 15, 2015 in Blogs

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

The U.S. economy is picking up steam but most Americans aren’t feeling it.


The U.S. economy is picking up steam but most Americans aren’t feeling it. By contrast, most European economies are still in bad shape, but most Europeans are doing relatively well.

What’s behind this? Two big facts.

First, American corporations exert far more political influence in the United States than their counterparts exert in their own countries.

In fact, most Americans have no influence at all. That’s the conclusion of Professors Martin Gilens of Princeton and Benjamin Page of Northwestern University, who analyzed 1,799 policy issues — and found that “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

Instead, American lawmakers respond to the demands of wealthy individuals (typically corporate executives and Wall Street moguls) and of big corporations – those with the most lobbying prowess and deepest pockets to bankroll campaigns.

The second fact is most big American corporations have no particular allegiance to America. They don’t want Americans to have better wages. Their only allegiance and responsibility to their shareholders — which often requires lower wages  to fuel larger profits and higher share prices.

When GM went public again in 2010, it boasted of making 43 percent of its cars in place where labor is less than $15 an hour, while in North America it could now pay “lower-tiered” wages and benefits for new employees.

American corporations shift their profits around the world wherever they pay the lowest taxes. Some are even morphing into foreign corporations.

As an Apple executive told The New York Times, “We don’t have an obligation to solve America’s problems.”

I’m not blaming American corporations. They’re in business to make profits and maximize their share prices, not to serve America.

But because of these two basic facts – their dominance on American politics, and their interest in share prices instead of the wellbeing of Americans – it’s folly to count on them to create good American jobs or improve American competitiveness, or represent the interests of the United States in global commerce.

By contrast, big corporations headquartered in other rich nations are more …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Patton Oswalt to Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins: It’s OK To Be an Atheist, but Not To Be a Jerk

March 15, 2015 in Blogs

By Tom Boggioni, Raw Story

“Being an atheist means you don’t give a f*ck about what anyone believes in.”


In a sit-down interview with Salon editor-in-chief David Daley, comedian Patton Oswalt expressed his displeasure with the no-holds barred atheism of HBO host Bill Maher and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, comparing them to Fred Phelps, the late leader of the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church.

Oswalt, who has engaged in a low-level war with Salon, over what Daley called “political correctness, about jokes that we’ve thought have gone too far or hit the wrong targets,” was asked about how he felt about Maher’s “aggressive” comments about religion.

The comedian and author said he’s not a fan, while also including Dawkins.

“I feel, as an atheist, about people like Richard Dawkins and Bill Maher the way that Christians must feel about Fred Phelps,”  Oswalt explained. “Look, being an atheist means you don’t give a fuck about what anyone believes in. I don’t think any of it’s real, but you can go ahead and do it. I’m not trying to destroy religion. I just don’t care about it.”

After stating that he lives by his own moral code, Oswalt stated that he is not inclined to assign blanket blame to religion when people use it to justify their actions.

“I live by experience, failure, learning, that kind of stuff. Everyone that goes, ‘But all the war is because of religion, blah blah blah,’ well then you’re no different than the housewife that’s like, ‘My son killed himself because of a Judas Priest record.’” he said. “No, your son killed himself because he was an unstable idiot. Those people started wars because they were unstable idiots. They stumbled across this religion thing, but if they hadn’t found that book, they would have found something else.”

Maher was recently involved in a recent dust-up with actor/director Ben Affleck, with Affleck saying of Maher’s criticism of Islam “It’s gross, it’s racist.”

(H/T Friendly Atheist

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