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My Current Research

Asks the question, can a white fiction author write in voices of or about People of Color? Let me know your thoughts!

Understanding Immigration Federalism in the United States

Central Oregon Coast NOW

Understanding Immigration Federalism in the United States

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signs a measure into law that expands state financial aid to undocumented students.

By Karthick Ramakrishnan and Pratheepan Gulasekaram | March 24, 2014
For nearly 150 years, the U.S. federal government has been pre-eminent in immigration policy. At the same time, Congress and the Supreme Court have also granted limited room for states to regulate the lives and livelihoods of immigrants residing within their borders, such as issuing business licenses and providing health and welfare services.
In the past decade, state and local governments have produced a flurry of legislation related to immigrants and immigration. Much of the legislation between 2004 and 2012 was restrictive in nature, making it more difficult for immigrants to reside in communities, work, and live their daily lives. Several cities, for example, imposed penalties on landlords who rented to unauthorized immigrants and employers who hired them.
These restrictionist laws reached…

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The “Trojan Horse” Technique in Popular TV

          Jenji Kohan is the writer and creator of the hit new Netflix series “Orange is the New Black” which explores the fictional lives of incarcerated women. In an interview with NPR, Kohan discussed her main character Piper Chapman, a wealthy white woman who the viewers follow into the prison. Chapman, as the interview details, was Kohan’s “Trojan Horse” into the prison world. As she said beautifully:
“In a lot of ways Piper was my Trojan Horse. You’re not going to go into a network and sell a show on really fascinating tales of black women, and Latina women, and old women and criminals. But if you take this white girl, this sort of fish out of water, and you follow her in, you can then expand your world and tell all of those other stories.”
        It seems like a brilliant technique to get support for a possibly controversial show: Allow the character who represents the “norm” of TV (aka white, wealthy, blonde, seemingly straight, etc) to experience the controversy and react to it as the audience would. 
       This interview got me to thinking, the Trojan Horse way of opening up a TV show is not a new idea at all; in fact it seems to be the basis of the writing of most popular TV on right now. For Example:

  1. New Girl: a sweet late- twentysomething woman is given access to the man cave of the apartment she rents a room in. 
  2. Big Bang Theory: A ditzy blonde woman is given access to the nerdy social world of brilliant scientists.
  3. The L Word: A straight woman moves in next to a lesbian couple and gradually gains access to the lesbian social sphere.
  4. Glee: The show starts with Finn a popular high school jock who gains access to the Glee club
  5. Queer as Folk: A nervous high school boy is given access to the social group of well-to-do gay men
  6. Lost Girl (an underrated show that everyone should watch): A seemingly normal woman gains access to an underground SiFi community.
  7. Once Upon A Time: A typical woman is brought into a fairytale town where time has stopped.
  8. Weeds: a regular housewife experiences the drug dealing business
  9. Adventure Time: Even this kid’s show follows a regular 12 year old boy who explores a post-apocalyptic world

    I’m sure there are many more! But this leads to a few thoughts:

    • Most of the people we follow into the world of each show is a woman (or in queer as folk a gay man). You almost never see a strong masculine character experiencing a new world or gaining access to a community he was not already a part of.
    • Is this because strong masculine (white) men are assumed to already have access? Is it because women are allowed more emotions to experience these new communities? Its is because women are foolish enough to get themselves into all of the drama of the show? or is it just because strong female characters are in?

No One is Born Gay (or Straight): Here Are 5 Reasons Why

Social (In)Queery

This post has been elaborated here.

1.  Just because an argument is politically strategic, does not make it true:  A couple of years ago, the Human Rights Campaign, arguably the country’s most powerful lesbian and gay organization, responded to politician Herman Cain’s assertion that being gay is a choice.  They asked their members to “Tell Herman Cain to get with the times! Being gay is not a choice!”  They reasoned that Cain’s remarks were “dangerous.”  Why?  “Because implying that homosexuality is a choice gives unwarranted credence to roundly disproven practices such as ‘conversion’ or ‘reparative’ therapy. The risks associated with attempts to consciously change one’s sexual orientation include depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior.”

Image Cynthia Nixon (right) and wife Christine Marinoni (left)

The problem with such statements is that they infuse biological accounts with an obligatory and nearly coercive force, suggesting that anyone who describes homosexual desire…

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Dyke Central

This is a wonderful web series. It highlights realistic stories of women of color and people under the LGBTQQIA umbrella. And its a lot of fun!

Those Damn Girl Scouts

How dare they teach and model these things

Guy Takes Women’s Studies Class, Sues Teacher Because He Fears Women

US State Anti-Gay Laws that are Not That Different from Russia’s

US State Anti-Gay Laws that are Not That Different from Russia’s

We’re shitting on Russia so we can avoid shitting on ourselves.

Public Shaming: Coca-Cola Racists

Public Shaming: Coca-Cola Racists

Just Posted Chapter 2

I’ve been working really hard on my senior thesis. Its my first attempt at writing a novel (besides the fist two paragraphs I’ve jotted down of other ‘novels’ without going back to them). It needs a lot of work, I just finished writing the rough rough draft and now begins the heavy editing. People always say that the editing is the hardest part so I’m pretty nervous. Anyway I started another blog where I put my rough drafts partly because I want to save it to a lot of different sources in case my computer crashes, but also to hear feedback. So here is the blog: http://adventuresofitzel.wordpress.com