Queer/Race

Around The World in February

Posted in Architecture by kaykay on February 26, 2010

Equality in the Military

The article, “Equality in the Military” proves that we need every able-bodied soldier serving in the military, whether gay or straight. It has taken many years to progress in a positive way for gays and lesbians in the military, but it is slowly but surely changing. If you serve in the military you should not have to hide your sexual preference. You are serving a job and should not be looked upon differently because of that.

England’s Anglican clerics back gay marriages in church

Across the world in London, homosexual partners are granted the right in marriage. The Clerical belief of the Anglican Church was the importance of religion and marriage, not of sexual orientation. They have realized that it is more important to celebrate the promise of religion and “to deny people of faith the opportunity of registering the most important promise of their lives in their willing church or synagogue, according to its liturgy, is plainly discriminatory.”

Gay Rights in China: Road to Respect

The U.S. military and people of the Anglican Church are not the only ones celebrating a piece of freedom. Pensioner, Ba Li, celebrates his 72nd birthday with his boyfriend after living years of being imprisoned for his sexuality. Ba Li is hopeful for the future of the gay and lesbian community, despite the hardships he’s had to face in the past. Although the community is slowly progressing, he believes that “people now enjoy more freedom than ever to express their sexuality” than ever in the past.

These three current events really stood out to me because they are all interlinked in the LGBT community as a celebration of progression. As shown in these three different articles, I believe that it is most important that we celebrate the progression of freedom. We shouldn’t shy away from talking about the setbacks, instead we should acknowledge them and see how we can move onward from them.

It is interesting to me that people the U.S. are not the only ones facing progression with gay and lesbian movements. As a world, and within each own’s culture, people within the gay and lesbian community face a discrimination whether dealing with the politics, religion, or acceptance of their culture.

I would simulate the first article in comparison to discrimination in the workplace. It’s not about your sexual preference, it’s about your ability to preform your job. It is such a sickening discrimination to separate someone from the military because of that. I’m glad that we are moving forward with removing that rule in the military. As for the marriage of gays and lesbians within the Church, I agree with the fact that marriage should be more an important celebration of religion (if applicable). As for the story of Ba Lai in China, it is an extremely hopeful and celebratory story. If more and more gays and lesbians can celebrate their freedom in a country that was once so repressed and against gays and lesbians, then the world will be moving in a positive direction. As I am Chinese-American, I have not dealt with such harsh environments, but knowing some background knowledge of the Chinese I am proud that they are moving forward from ignorance.

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Outrageousness as Responsibility?

Posted in Uncategorized by Keguro on February 25, 2010

Following our discussion on the relation between responsibility and pleasure, specifically that the two are often thought to be developmental stages and, to some extent, mutually exclusive (for instance, Freud argues that babies are narcissists while heterosexual adults have learned altruism), I am wondering about what feels like a responsibility to be outrageous. Perhaps another way to phrase it, not as an alternative, but as a think-along-with might be the responsibility to perform a particular kind of queerness (or something designated AS queerness).

While this “responsibility” shares something with the tokenism broached by AJ and suggested, albeit implicitly, by Connor, I am interested (or troubled) by how it functions to contain what might be radical, or perhaps a better word is rude or impolitic about a kind of queer presence, a queer embodidness. Here, the “image” of the queer as somehow “image”–well-dressed, fabulous, interesting, the “men” who “never age like other men”–serves hetero-masculinities and is, in some fundamental way, contained.

Might it be possible, then, to take Delaney as a point of departure to think of practices of pleasure and pleasantness, the “nice” and the “fun,” that are deeply crucial to queer survival? And I raise the specter, the ever-present specter, of survival because it seems so absent from the pleasure side of the pleasure-responsibility divide.

This is not to say that queerness, or certain versions of queerness, should not serve hetero-masculinities, but that such service should neither truncate certain queer versions and visions of pleasure and pleasantness, nor should it abstain from critiquing those forms of hetero-masculinities. (And the debate on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell raises really interesting points in the kinds of masculinities it seeks to protect and promote.)

More broadly, I am interested in the social function of pleasure and pleasantness. I have in mind a scene from Modern Family in which intimate pleasure is divorced from familial responsibility, in which to enjoy pleasure is to take a “vacation” from certain kinds of hetero-responsibilities. What might this vision of hetero-responsibilities truncate or otherwise make invisible? Might there be a way that Delaney’s advocacy of pleasantness and pleasure might help us to have a more holistic view of hetero-responsibilities (what might be called heterosexual adulthood)?

More Black Male Worship

Posted in Uncategorized by connvoss on February 25, 2010

Andre Leon Talley, right hand man to Anna Wintour and a personal hero of mine, is a fashion god: one must wonder how sitting in the offices of Vogue magazine, Talley decided to join Tyra’s weekly circus of a show.  Is the affection and acknowledgement of a TV audience powerful enough to make such a mogul into a black/gay token character? After all, Talley’s promo video stars black/gay slang, preacher-like robes, and hearty laughs.  Or perhaps, Talley feels it is not harmful to his image or career: a friend of mine who has worked with Mr. Leon Talley says he has a good sense of humor despite being so powerful in the industry, a characteristic which will serve him well in such a ridiculous broadcast program.

Raynard Kington was unanimously elected to the position because of his place at the intersection of higher education, public policy, science, and medicine, however, his place at the intersection of race, sexuality, and class interests me more than his exquisite job qualifications.  The notice sent out to NIH employees, divulged none of his biographical information, and the majority of news coverage keeps his sexuality a footnote.  Of Grinnell’s three core values, one is the advancement of a socially diverse community, and another is the pursuit of social justice; also discussed in much of the coverage is the college’s progressive nature.  I cannot be more pleased for Kington’s achievement, and I cannot be more entertained at the widespread attempt to divorce his personal identity from his qualifications.  It may be worth mentioning that this man has more to him than a killer resume instead of imagining his location on the political spectrum is merely an oddity.

Diesel Washington has dominated his field of black gay porn stars since he busted all over the scene. He is awarded every year with something or another, and generally it is owing to his size and ethnicity.  The porn world makes no bones about the masculine appeal of a strapping black man, and many delight in the racial aspect of his body of work, however, recently he has been getting attention for his blog.  Perhaps someone has realized the importance of such a viewpoint, one that is colored by race, and twisted by a sexual minority’s wild sexual fantasies.

As a side note, Diesel attended awards ceremonies for Xbiz, Cybersockett, and Hard Choice with his diminutive, white date Andy Kay.  His critique of the situation was focused on the general response to his pairing with Andy Kay at the event more than anything else.

In conclusion…

The one-two punch of blackness and gayness has always played a political role in the spheres or academia and entertainment; my news choices attempt to draw together a few “achieving” black gay men to investigate.  In two cases, I believe that the identities of these men play a large role in their accomplishments, accomplishments which put them at the top of professions which have “othered” them in more ways than one.  Andre proves the accessibility of advanced fashion journalism (or reality television) to the minority communities to which he identifies.  Raynard in turn shows the same in fields of education and medicine. In the case of Diesel, his appearance and sexuality have in fact made his career, opposing the legions of a waxed, white, male “twinks.”  Yes, I believe being black and gay are deal makers in a wannabe-post-racial/post-…gaytial (?) sect of society, and solid buffers to mistakes and mishaps, but no, I don’t think these men are anything less than wonderful.

Also: I began to realize in compiling queer/race news, that I do not directly access racial topics, but rather reach them through queer news and other queer means.

Penis, Excrement and the Government

Posted in Uncategorized by erobert8 on February 24, 2010

It’s not very often that you go to a government meeting and discuss penises “wriggling around in excrement.” Whose mouth did this lovely statement come from? New Hampshire Representative Nancy Elliott. A Republican who is strongly trying to repeal same-sex marriage, Elliott went on an absolute rant in session; so far beyond any political discussion that cameras currently filming were turned off. In the video that’s shown on http://www.huffingtonpost.com, viewers hear from a remote voice off-camera, “Representative Elliot…Let’s keep our discussion directly to the bill.”

In a similar topic of the unusual, Craig Held, a man who is both gay and Republican (oxymoron to current society) attended the Conservative Political Action Conference and received some unique insight on what being a conservative homosexual means for politics at large. While some may consider this a “fluff” piece rather than hard news, I would urge these individuals to think again. Mostly because, how often do we hear of a Republican homosexual’s viewpoints that is actively participating in politics?

Lastly from the article on our wide source list spectrum for today, we see the “Republican source” of Foxnews.com. Sometimes it’s significantly helpful to read from a site that you don’t usually associate yourself with as a learning opportunity. In “Gay Discrimination Bill Will Stifle Free Speech, Advance ‘Homosexual Agenda,’ Critics Say” readers learn that that Student Non-Discrimination Act introduced last month attempts to present equality with LGBT issues in the classroom.

These articles not only demonstrate topics of interests, but also sources from different viewpoints: “liberal” slant, local angle and “conservative” slant. I decided to take the first from huffingtonpost.com because I was intrigued by how one of my good friends, immediately upon hearing my assignment, recommended this website primarily because it was supposed to have a liberal slant. However, I didn’t see a huge bias except for the part when it said that someone told the representative to keep the discussion primarily towards the bill. But to me, that just sounds like keeping the ball rolling on business as usual.

The bill discussed regarded same sex marriage, not asking for personal opinions regarding what said people choose to do in their marriages. Sticking any physical equipment in anyone’s body sounds repulsive to the general population among hearing about it for the first time (present company not included.) I think any reader could deduce that while politics doesn’t mean leaving your backbone behind when you feel strongly about an issue, it also means bringing facts and justice to an issue…not sordidly tossing out vulgar imagery in an effort to publicly demoralize the homosexual sexual encounter.

Metroweekly.com’s article representing a Washington D.C. perspective that provides local news gives what I believe an excellent insight into race-queer living now. We need to find not only the most relevant sources for our articles, but also ones that we are in close proximity to in order to feel a more direct connection and therefore a heavier, vested interest. Held is a junior at Pace University so he feels the pressures and struggles that many LGBT college students feel as well. His ability to transform party lines is admirable, even if others don’t agree with his political affiliation and/or sexual orientation.

Despite this, he still feels hope for change in the Republican party’s attitude toward gay marriage: “I think they’ve realized they need to stop alienating people,” he said, ”Being gay doesn’t mean you can’t be a Republican. True conservatism is for individual rights; it has nothing to do with gay marriage – with not allowing gay marriage” (Geidner, metroweekly.com) I feel that this demonstrates progress and an understanding that it’s possible to live outside the box or in this case, many boxes, in order to truly stand up for what you believe in. Honestly, that’s really admirable and it takes courage to place yourself in a position where you can openly be labeled and judged.

I know it may sound like a stupid question, but why must we always look to supposedly look to “liberal” sources for gay news? I found articles on other sites like Foxnews.com that have been dubbed “Republican” and presented the news in such a manner of opposition that it’s almost worth it to look at the sources that have a bias. They’re necessary in the sense that opposition groups tell you exactly what you’re up against and why they feel that way.

Journalistic preference/bias is by no means a valued or respected practice but inevitably it does happen, so the best way to educate ourselves and gain insight on race-queer living is to learn from those that are so strongly against homosexual rights. This will make a counter-argument even stronger by keeping your friends close and your enemies closer. Though they seem distant, all articles are tied together by their unusual factors which make queer news all the more fitting.

Queer News of the Week

Posted in Uncategorized by austone on February 24, 2010

“Lady Gaga Talks about Her Strap-On”

This article describes how famous pop-star Lady Gaga held a strap-on near her crotch on the front cover of Q, a British music magazine. There were rumors prior to this that Lady Gaga may be intersexed but rather than running away from the rumor, she played along with it.

“If Gays Were Allowed to Serve Openly, Think How Awesome the USO Shows Would Be”

This is an article (with video) from queerty.com detailing how African-American lesbian Wanda Sykes discussed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” with comedian Bill Maher and Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane. Sykes makes the comment that although gays are in the military, they are not Rupaul gays, but “Brokeback gays.”

“Maryland May Recognize Out-of-State Gay Marriages”

How could I skip this article? It explains how our beloved state of Maryland could soon recognize outside same-sex marriages. This could only happen, however, if: “Maryland General Assembly enacted legislation; the Court of appeals ruled to allow it; or through the regulations of state agencies.”

These articles, all found on queer news sources, demonstrates the variety of information regarding LGBT matters. The first article about Lady Gaga’s strap-on is fascinating because she has been deemed by many as intersexed, the perceived ultimate taboo. Rather than running from the rumor, she embraces it on the front cover of a magazine. Her status in the LGBT community is well-respected as she is an outspoken proponent of equality. The second link is significant because it demonstrates much of society’s public outcry of the DADT policy. Many late night comedians such as Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have lashed out against the policy but Bill Maher’s inclusion of a lesbian informs viewers that queer people (and in this case an African-American woman) are no different than everyone else (despite what many conservatives believe). The last article is an example of the many queer policies being discussed and debated by lawmakers and these cover important information that affects the lives of queer citizens (“How will this affect
me?”). Some of these items may be regarded as national news (Prop 8 in California) but other stories like this one may make local news.

“Arts” Collage

Posted in Architecture by kth14 on February 24, 2010

queerrace    queerrace Hopefully, this works. It should be a collage on a powerpoint slide.

I decided to do a collage of pictures for the Blog number 3 option. I really like collages and I think that it works well for the idea of this class/the assignment because it intertwines the ideas of queer and race together. In order to find pictures, I googled (of course) under google images.

First, I tried queer. Then lesbians. Then gay men, black gay men, race and gay, gay families, lesbian families, gay pride and probably a few more combinations. One of the first things I noticed was how predominately white most of the people in these pictures were. I had to start searching with racial words in order to find more diverse people in those pictures. Also, most of the pictures I found at first contained only men, so I had to specifically look for lesbians, or black women or black lesbian women.

But, just searching “queer” resulted in almost all pictures of white, gay men (including many pictures from the show Queer as Folk, which I love, but also contains predominately white, male gay characters). A lot of the pictures of the men (and for the women as well, but less so) were very sexual or showed half (or more than half) naked men/women, together or alone. It was hard sometimes to find pictures appropriate for the collage. I just found it interesting how sexualized the queer community is within itself or made to seem.

However, when I searched for gay pride images, I found a little more diversity concerning race, although not much. I really liked the pride pictures,with all the rainbow colors and such that represent the queer community’s differences, yet the main image for this community which prides itself on being different and diverse is mainly white males, which is the main image for Americans in general.

One of my favorite pictures is the one of the two black men wearing shirts saying “Gay is the new black”. I love this image and it seems a perfect intersect of the two ideas we focus on: race and queer. I am not really sure what this saying is supposed to illustrate, however my interpretation is that the queer community is the new group of people who are fighting for their rights, like people of different races had to do previously (and still today fight against racism).

I guess the queer community is fighting queerism? Or is there a different word to describe the hate towards queer peoples, like racism or sexism?

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Queer/Race News

Posted in Today by ascheer on February 24, 2010

Compton Cookout

I found this post on the blog Racialicious.  The article details an incident at UC-San Diego where students organized an off-campus party called the “Compton Cookout” and used derogatory racial stereotypes of African Americans when advertising the event.  The event itself is inexcusable however there has been a well organized response to the incident that promises lasting change for black students at UCSD.

“Gaysians take over fashion week”

http://www.racewire.org/archives/2010/02/gaysians_take_over_new_york_fashion_week.html

The title is the most interesting part of this article posted on Colorlines Magazine’s blog, RaceWire.org.  Guest columnist Alex Jung describes the numerous successes of several prominent young Asian male designers.

“Obama’s new proposal: LGBTs still missing”

http://www.keennewsservice.com/2010/02/22/obama%E2%80%99s-new-proposal-lgbts-still-missing/

All of the gay related provisions from the original House bill for health care reform have been removed from Obama’s latest proposed compromise.  It is not likely that provisions will make it back into new incarnations of the bill.

I selected these particular news items because I believe they illustrate a useful spectrum of queer and race current events from culture, art, and politics.  After Obama was elected, there was a lot of talk about how the US had finally become a “post-race” society.  The first article, “Compton Cookout” I think very definitively shows that there is still a long way to go before that is the case.  I think the fact that this happened on a college campus, one where only 2% of the student body is African American, is especially telling.  The advertisements for the party went to great lengths to define what it means to be a black, “ghetto” man or woman and in doing so exposed how some people (of privilege) relate to and understand the bodies of poor people of color.

I found the “Gaysians Take over Fashion Week” article interesting because the headline makes very clear connections between the race and sexuality of the designers and yet the article itself, aside from photographs where some of the designers appear flamboyant, does not itself address sexuality at all.

The finale article, “Obama’s new proposal: LGBTs still missing” reinforces the US government will not willingly recognize LGBT people as humans deserving of access to quality healthcare.  In doing so, I believe politicians are sticking to this idea that Middle America cannot handle LGBT people or issues, which I just do not believe to be true.



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The World Wrestles with the War of Queer Issues

Posted in Uncategorized by Becca on February 24, 2010

Gay Soldiers Don’t Cause Disruption, Study Says

This article provides insight into the debate concerning the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy with the U.S. Military.  The article argues that quickly changing the policy proves to not be as disruptive as political leaders may assume.   Studies show that in foreign military, the queer population did not cause consequences that some Americans fear.  The part of the article that I found most interesting was the comment made by the governor of Minnesota: “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

College Wrestler Champions Gay Rights

This short article speaks about Hudson Taylor, a UMD wrestler.  Although he identifies as straight and is engaged to his girlfriend, Taylor feels a strong need to stand up for LGBT rights.  Because of his strong opinions regarding LGBT issues, others often label him as gay.

How to Respond to Teachers Pushing Pro-Gay Curriculum:

Family Group Advises Parents

This article speaks about a battle between teachers and parents in B.C.  Canadian teachers have received a sheet that helps them confront parents who are not happy with their inclusion of homosexual teachings in their curriculum.  The parents have written responses to the teachers that support homosexual teachings.  Parents argue that they support the teachers explaining such issues as race or disability because those are not a choice.  These parents argue that homosexuality is a choice and that the teachers do not have the right to teach about it without their consent.

I picked the first article because although it does not deal specifically with the crossover of race and queerness, I feel that it mirrors racial issues that America dealt with during the Civil Rights Movement.  I think that many people might sit next to people of other races in schools and have no connection to the times of Brown vs. Board of Education, yet only fifty years ago these same issues regarding the speed of racial integration and how it would effect our schools were present in this country.  Now, we are dealing with the speed of integrating Gay individuals into the military. I also personally am intrigued by the Governor’s remark, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”  This reminds me of the point of view of segregationists during the Civil Rights Movement who felt that things were fine as they were.

The second article reminded me of the discussion pertaining to the idea of self-definition of queer versus queer labels given by society.  Hudson Taylor is not queer, yet because of his stance for LGBT rights, others label him queer.

Lastly, the final article challenges what it means to be queer or a particular race.  Rather than exploring their cross-over, the parents from the school in B.C. form a clear distinction between the two, stating that race is not a behavior, whereas homosexuality is.  This speaks a lot to how these particular individuals view race-queer living now.  To them, the main argument stems from the idea of choice and that unlike things such as disability or race, queerness can be prevented.

Around the World Over the Week

Posted in Uncategorized by cni1 on February 24, 2010

Around the World Over the Week:

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/afp/100224/world/britain_religion_homosexuality_marriage_anglican

Pretty self-explanatory—clerics of England’s Anglican church called for an end of the ban on gay marriage at religious locales.  They cited that gay couples are denied the same rights as straight couples in this regards.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchina/2010-02/24/content_9493922.htm

A 72-year-old man celebrates his birthday by recalling the shift in attitudes towards homosexuals in China over the course of his life.  Chinese policy is still inconsistent, but shifting in the direction of toleration and education.

http://www.nst.com.my/articles/20100224075045/Article/index_html

The US Defense Chief voices his concerns about lifting the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy in the military.  His rationale being that being in two wars over the span of eight years is not the proper time for such talk…essentially.

Being Episcopalian myself (the US part of the Anglican Church), the first article is something of interest.  The US media has a tendency to expose anyone from beauty pageant contestants to Republicans that can claim the Bible specifically states something against gay marriage—you know, minus the whole “clear-cut citation” part.  Over in Great Britain, Anglican clerics are calling for a repeal of bans preventing gay couples to marry in their church, labeling it as “discriminatory.”  Waheed Alli, the first openly gay member of Britain’s House of Lords is to propose an amendment to the equality legislation to allow gays to marry on a religious premise, and to allow religious contexts to appear in civil union ceremonies.  As far as Christian communions go, Anglicans are the third largest group behind Catholics and Eastern Orthodox.

On the other side of the other ocean bordering the US, a man celebrates the progress China has made towards gay rights.  Ba Li (pseudonym) has faced hardship and oppression in his country from family members to public humiliation.  He was sentenced to a hard labor camp in the late 70s until the mid-80s for sodomy.  When he was released, he was jobless, but volunteered within the increasingly active gay community to promote AIDs prevention.  He witnessed the laws forbidding sodomy repealed in the 90s, and in 2001 homosexuality was officially no longer labeled a mental illness in China.  Family pressure and public distaste still is a cause for concern, with many admitting to having suffered abuse over their sexuality.  Secrecy is another seeming popular call, with the Chinese favoring silence.  The government has, however, taken some measures to study the spread of HIV and AIDs and to educate the public on tolerance.

Meanwhile in the US, high-ranked officers express their concerns over allowing gays to serve openly in the military.  With vague words, they believe that it would be upsetting in the midst of two wars that have lasted eight years to “complicate” matters.  Those are the details they have given.  The “how/why/what” in regards to details is a little unclear.

Race and Sexuality à la the Socialist Worker

Posted in Uncategorized by cpeverley on February 20, 2010

The Socialist Worker is a newspaper and daily web site that describes itself as “presenting a wide array of left voices involved in today’s struggles and taking up today’s political questions.” Similar to the way in which Prof. Cruz-Malave presented 42nd St/ Times Square as a confluence of culture, race, and class under the sign of “gay,” the Socialist Worker unites under the umbrella of “leftist”/”socialist.”

Sherry Wolf (LGBT socialist activist who I think is awesome) discusses the judicial challenge on Prop 8, Perry v. Schwarzenegger. She talks about the irony of the fact that Olson and Boies (the challengers) plan to use the (essentialist) claim that sexual orientation is immutable and that, like racial minorities and religious groups, gays and lesbians should be treated as a “suspect class,” while the right wing is taking up the constructionist view. Also, she noted that Judge Vaugn Walker (who NOM is challenging because he is gay) ruled that the proceedings should be taped for YouTube, which I think is really cool!

South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer made an absolutely horrendous statement comparing welfare recipients to stray dogs. A blogger talks about her frustration with the statement, and with the country’s lack of frustration with the statement, a phenomenon that she attributes to the lack of political representation of the poor.

This article discusses the media coverage of the group of “missionaries” who are in prison under investigation for kidnapping after trying to take Haitian “orphans” (two thirds of whom had at least one parent) to the Dominican Republic, with the intention of finding American, Christian adoptive parents for them.  The media is practically portraying the group as victims, and the blogger the role that cultural and religious imperialism play in the coverage of the situation.

I chose these three articles because although they are not directly related to each other, they all address the underlying ideologies and hegemonies that influence these current events. (In my experience, if there’s one thing that socialists do well and reliably, it’s identifying instances of hegemony!) Sherry Wolf points out the essentialist/constructionist conflicts in the trial of Prop 8, and thinks about how the success or failure of each ideological approach to the case could have long-lasting repercussions for LGBT people. The blogger of “It’s racism, and they know it” looks at the realities of identity politics and the non-unity of people under identities of “class,” the underlying assumptions that we make about the nature of activism and how it affects current movements, and at the relationship between race and class in politics.

The article about the “Christian Right kidnappers” goes beyond the logistics and legality of the situation and instead looks at the ways in which notions of cultural, economic, racial, and religious superiority affected the reaction to the situation. The blogger points out that the same action by, say, Muslim missionaries, would have been met with outrage at their audacity at seeking to convert young children in the wake of a natural disaster… which is exactly what the Christian missionaries tried to do. Because the missionaries were white, middle-class, American, and Christian, though, the media has almost embraced them as victims. This reaction to their actions reflects an underlying (or not-so-underlying) affinity of many Americans to have these kinds of imperialist impulses and feelings of cultural/racial/economic/religious superiority.