Sunday, January 25, 2009

I make things

As I am poor, yet somewhat talented, I have begun to make and sell clothing items and accessories.


Leila Majnoona Designs

We offer snoods, headbands, little odds and ends, and I am willing to take custom orders. So come on over and check us out.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Fat Failure

{I am putting a trigger warning on this post for eating disorders, body issues, and self-harm.}

I'm still new to the concept of fat acceptance.

I have been trying to love my body for years. I understand that I have tried everything short of weight loss surgery to lose weight and was never able to get lower than 140lbs. On a 5ft frame, that is still pretty big and still put me in the overweight category according to the BMI. I had to eat nothing but apple juice and saltines, plus throw up two to three times a day for a whole month to get to that weight too. When given the choice by my very scared (now ex)girlfriend between eating and not puking and being put in the hospital against my will, I decided to try to eat again. Within a few months, I had regained all but 2 of the 40lbs I had lost in that scary month, and had gained anxiety attacks and an occasional heart issue as well. When I tried to get my heart issue examined, I was told to lose weight first, regardless of my protests that I hadn't had a heart problem until after I had lost weight. I have come to the realization in recent years that my girlfriend's threat probably would not have been carried out, not from lack of intent on her part, but because by most medical standards, I was still fat even after starving and purging for 30 days straight.

When my Grandmother was on chemotherapy for her second (and eventually fatal) round of breast cancer, she drastically lost weight. All people at her office could see was that she was skinny. So what if she was going bald? So what if she was nauseous and tired all the time? So what if she was dying? At least she was finally thin!

And we reach my central point...the value we have on thinness. The myth that it is better regardless of how it is reached. I have been told that I should lose weight before I could get fertility advice, because I am supposed to put my health in jeopardy for arbitrary standards of what is attractive in order to win the right to reproduce.

As much as I want to love my body, I am buffeted constantly with images, people, advertisements and medical professionals telling me that fat is BAD and since I'm fat, I must be weak-willed, lazy, gluttonous, and immoral because being fat is a "choice" that I made. It started from childhood, with a schoolmate calling me "chubby" in the first grade to my dance teacher when I was 12 nick-naming me "mama cow" because puberty made me balloon to my school mates in junior high taking up the nickname and mooing at me in the hallways, and in the end, all of this is considered justified because I wouldn't be fat unless I wasn't trying to be thin, amiright?

I have accepted this idea of the morality of body shape/size to such a degree that when I don't do something right, I criticize my body. When I feel incompetent, I can feel my body very acutely, and the feeling of it touching my clothing reminds me of how big I am. I tell myself to stop being so damn fat as if my fat disappearing will take all of my foibles as a person away with it, and being thin will mean that I have attained perfection. It takes all of the mental energy I have not to freak right the hell out and break down crying when this happens. I know that its not true, I know that its a fantasy, and that just reinforces my feelings of being a failure. Its a nasty downward spiral that usually ends with me in the bathroom tearing my clothes off and punching my own stomach repeatedly.

My spouse tries to help by telling me that I'm beautiful when I complain about feeling fat. While the sentiment is well-meaning, and I know zie truly finds me beautiful, the problem still remains of juxtaposing a truth about me, my fat, with hir perception of me as beautiful. It translates in my warped, self-hating mind to hir loving me despite my fat. My fat is still bad, zie just tolerates it. That probably is not the case at all, but that is what happens in my head. My sister-in-law also makes such well-meaning gaffes. I try to talk about my fat as a morally neutral fact, in order to counter my fantasy of being thin, and it can help to a point, at least on the surface. She can always be relied upon to rush to reassure me that I am not fat! Not at all! She doesn't realize that she is assuming fat is always a bad thing. Then again, she and I are both dancers and have been subjected to the same brainwashing, so I can understand to a point why she does this. Her intentions are sweet, but not helpful at all.

All I want is to get a point where I don't actively hate my body and myself for having it.
Why the fuck does it have to be this hard?

My Mouth is a Vagina of DOOOOOM!

Abby O'Reilly over at The F-Word blog has an interesting piece up on fellatio and where it fits in feminist sexuality. She argues that while fellatio has long been considered an act of either submission by the woman or domination by the man, it can be feminist. She draws a parallel between the vagina dentata myth (the myth of fanged hoohas used to discourage men from sleeping with strange women, in the same vein as "if you don't stop playing with it, it'll fall off!" threats) and fellatio; the mouth has a similar function to a vagina in delivering pleasure to the penis, but has the threat of teeth as well, therefore a woman pleasuring a man orally can be an act of power because she could choose to bite it off if she wanted to.

I'm not totally comfortable with this conclusion.

Sure, if we could completely remove a cultural context of male dominance, find a man who doesn't have warped expectations about sex and his pleasure versus hers, and pretend we have an even playing field in regards to sexual power dynamics, then her conclusion might be true. Hell, I would love to live in that world and fade into irrelevance with my crazy-lady rantings and ravings, but to the best of my knowledge, that world has yet to exist.

In current reality, we live in a world where female sexual pleasure is considered "dirty" even in pornography. How often do we see sex in porn that involves a woman actually receiving pleasure instead of kneeling in a circle of men with semen all over her? yeah, she looks like she enjoys being splattered in the eye with sperm, but I can tell you, that shit burns. We have (in the US at least) a public education system that only tells you not to have sex, and precious few resources talking about how to enjoy your body, so we learn from pop-culture and porn about how sex works.

I can't tell you how many guys I have dated who enjoyed fellatio not because it felt good so much as because it made them feel powerful. One of them specifically could not get off from a blow job unless I was on my knees or we were driving and he was forcing my head into his crotch.

The "power" that comes from the threat of harm is also problematic in Abby's piece. Women live in a culture that teaches us to submit to sexual advances regardless of our own feelings about it because we are taught that not submitting can lead to violence. I personally don't want to wield that over someone else. Its an abusive dynamic to fall into.

However, more importantly than that, we still live in a world where the penis is worth more than a woman. Think of Lorena Bobbitt. When she cut her husband's member off because he had been raping her, what did everyone focus on? The fucking penis. Nevermind this woman who had been abused for years, she dared to harm the almighty wang, and is now practically the devil, with horns on her head and a fanged vagina, no doubt.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Holy Shit!


Well, one of them anyway, the Global Gag Rule is fucking GONE! At least until the next anti-choice president reinstates it. Seriously, can we get some legislation on this already? We are talking about women's lives here, not some fucking ideological disagreement.

There has been some annoyance on my side of this issue about why President Obama (GOD but writing that feels good!) waited til the day after the anniversary of Roe v. Wade (when this was initially scheduled) to do this. While I can understand that annoyance, I don't share it. He fucking DID it people, and he did it in a way that doesn't have anti-choice assholes losing their shit.

As painful as I know this is, because we have been waiting for 8 fucking years for this, we can't afford to just upend the power structure that has been built over that time. Why the hell should we subject those who disagree with us to the same treatment we have been subjected to? What purpose does that serve except to foster more resentment that there already is? That and the bat-shit crazies that feel threatened by a liberal president who is also a POC don't need any more encouragement at this point.

Compromise doesn't have to mean what we have been told it means for so long. Progressives are regularly told to back down a little bit so we and vicariously, our message, will be more acceptable. The demand of compromise has regularly been used to silence us and block our efforts. So-called compromises have been made on their terms, and usually include us giving us the very issue that is central to our struggle (Example: civil unions instead of marriage for queers) while trying to placate us with crumbs from the table. That is not true compromise, and it never has been, but this troll's bargain has been dressed in the language of "reasonable compromise" for so long and used to paint progressives a rigid and inflexible, that any compromise is suspect. Any admonition to respect the other side is possibly a way to get us to shut our collective face and know our collective place.

This DOES NOT have to be the case. We can define compromise as well, in a way so that our needs and rights are respected. We don't have to become what we despise, and we don't have to become what the other side wishes we were.

We won this one for now. I am content with that and ready to keep working.

Polish those teaspoons people, we have an ocean to deal with.

(and thanks Sady for getting my wheels spinning on this)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Blog for Choice day

Its Blog For Choice Day.

The 36th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade is traditionally marked by anti-choice(I categorically reject the term "pro-life" to describe these people. Anyone who supports laws that kill women and do not save fetuses is not "pro-life.") advocates widely protesting the fact that women are still worth more than an unborn fetus. Today, there are anti-choicers marching in DC showcasing "Women Who Regret Their Abortions." The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Not only are these... people... doing just that, they are running this campaign on faulty information.


Saying otherwise over and over again with no solid proof is the same as smashing your head against a brick wall: its pointless, and proves no other point than that you are a moron.

The concept of medical choice covers more than just abortions, more than just reproduction. It means that as human being we have the right to decide what will medically be done to our bodies. It all comes down, as Liss at Shakesville put it, to trust. I trust people to make their own medical decisions. I apply this universally: I trust people to decide when to have children, I trust people to decide if ther bodies are right for them, and I do not trust someone who doesn't know me or mine to make that choice for me.

What I want to see from our new pro-choice President is the end of the Global Gag Rule that pulls American federal funding from any organization that dares to think the word abortion and results in the maternal mortality rate world-wide going up. I want to see the end of the DHHS regulations that allow medical providers to refuse necessary services based on being offended. I want to see the end to the so-called "partial-birth" abortion ban. I want safe, affordable access to contraception, and abortion, as well as comprehensive sex-education programs.

Its not enough, but dammit, we deserve to be treated like people, not fucking brood mares.

More Privileged Whiners

Apparently there can't be one damn day that isn't about us white folk:
(from Incertus)
The discussion seems to focus on the line I used as the title for this post, the final rhyme that Lowery threw out there. Some commenters said that the line made them or friends of theirs feel slightly alienated, as though Lowery were calling out white people as the problem that all other races and ethnic groups should point fingers at in blame and accusation.

Now, for something completely different!

Oops, sorry...

Now for some Context!

Rev. Joseph Lowery delivered the closing benediction at the Inauguration ceremony (full text is here) and the line that has some white people all in a tizzy is at the end:
Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around ... when yellow will be mellow ... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.
Cue the hysterical screaming, accusations of "reverse-racism" and self-righteous harrumphs.
Apparently, some of the privileged want cookies just for not being complete and total assholes.
Some, like a commenter at Transgriot, neeed to prove that they are soooo discriminated against because Rev. Lowery clearly thinks that we are all just evil people because of the vanilla of our skin (some by writing novels for comments.)

Nevermind that the whole section was a play on a common phrase during the Jim Crow era, when black people had to face more obvious discrimination (which, please note, is not gone, but is only more subtle now) as well as a play on a blues song of the same era. Nevermind that it in no way blames white people for anything, or is accusatory.

The reactions to this is a classic display of white privilege. We live in a culture where the default is us, where discussions are designed around our world view and way of thinking. The assumption that a black man is calling us evil by implying that whites are privileged and ignorant of the ways in which they benefit from the color of their skin is a natural conclusion when you assume that its all about YOU, which your privilege allows, nay, encourages you to do. Sounds more like a guilty conscience projecting than anything else.

Seriously, how hard is it to acknowledge that as a white person, or a person who fits within boundaries of acceptable whiteness, you get benefits that non-whites don't? How hard is it to acknowledge that a great deal of white people don't accept this and continue to benefit from the marginalization of POC?

Fucking hell. The whole world, for the most part, is catered to white people. Why exactly do so many of us lose their shit when someone dares not to pander in our direction? That is equality people. No one is demonizing you unless you are saying and/or doing something racist, or you are benefiting from someone else's marginalization. Saying shit like "well why does color HAVE to matter?" is showing your privilege yet again. It has to matter because racial inequalities still effect peoples lives, and the fact that you think it should not matter shows how little you truly know about the experiences of POC.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hope Over Fear

Its finally happened...

Its over.

The nightmare is over.

For eight years I have been watching a sad, petty little man and his friends destroy everything this country has that can be good for the world and laugh in the process like some immature freshman frat-boy giggling that he got away with defacing a memorial to those not as privileged as himself.

I have few illusions about Obama. I voted for him, but I do have some concerns about his actual progressivity cred. However, I truly believe that we have a chance now. We now have a president who listens to the people, even those we wish he would not listen to (Rick Warren, anyone?) Even so, this inauguration heralds the end of Christo-fascist (hey, if they can make up insulting terms, so can I)control of a country that has the potential to be so much more than it is. I trust this man, and I will expect as much of him as he has promised.

It is not lost on me that we are facing one of the most historic moments I can ever hope to see, the end of the white male dominance of the highest office in the land. We have someone with a perspective shaped by a society that constructs him, his family, and those who share his ethnicity as worth less as our commander in chief. I don't pretend that this is the end of racism and oppression, but my god it is a step I never thought I would see.
Don't let us down sir.

The only thing I can say has been said better by Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay episcopal clergyman:
A Prayer for the Nation and Our Next President, Barack Obama

By The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire

Opening Inaugural Event
Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC
January 18, 2009

Welcome to Washington! The fun is about to begin, but first, please join me in pausing for a moment, to ask God’s blessing upon our nation and our next president.

O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will…

Bless us with tears – for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.

Bless us with anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Bless us with discomfort – at the easy, simplistic “answers” we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience – and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be “fixed” anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.

Bless us with humility – open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance – replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.

Bless us with compassion and generosity – remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.

And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.

Give him wisdom beyond his years, and inspire him with Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for ALL the people.

Give him a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain in these times.

Give him stirring words, for we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.

Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Give him the strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.

And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we’re asking FAR too much of this one. We know the risk he and his wife are taking for all of us, and we implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand – that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.


(h/t to Monica @ Transgriot)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fuck You, You Fucking Fuck

President Bush declares January 18th to be "Sanctity of Human Life Day".

Because women aren't human.

Because POC aren't human.

Because anyone of the LGBTQ, especially T, community isn't human.

Because Iraqis, Palestinians, Arabs in general, and Muslims are not human.

Only a (middle to upper-class white) fetus is human and has a right to live and this deserves a fucking holiday.

Fuck you Mr. Bush. You have overseen some of the most egregious actions and inactions by the US government resulting in the loss of human life that have happened in my lifetime, and you have the fucking nerve to pull your pud over the actions you took to treat women as incubators with legs.

Please let the door hit you on the ass on the way out the door, repeatedly if you don't mind.

The Crime of Being

Okay, this has been sitting in my head for way too long. I'm prone to depression and tend to end up in this strange fugue state where all I can do is play mindless free flash games online and try to pretend that the world is not as scary as it actually is.

What scares me?

Many things scare me; spiders, plane crashes, driving too fast (its an anxiety thing due to fear of police), losing my front teeth, water where I can't touch the bottom or see it (pools are okay, oceans and lakes? fuck that noise), getting cancer...

However, none of those things holds a candle to the fear that I feel for the lives of people that I love. I come from a position of relative privilege to them. First, my gender presentation and my body(along with the social assignment of my gender based on secondary sexual characteristics) generally match, and second, I'm white. For these people who are very dear to me, one or both of these things are not true. And what terrifies me more than the idea of driving too fast in a car filled with spiders, while on the phone with my doctor who is telling me I have cancer, just as a plane crashes in front of me, making me swerve into a bottomless lake and knock out my front teeth on the steering wheel, is the idea that for people like my friends who do not share my whiteness or my apparent cis-ness, they can be murdered for simply daring to exist, and their murderers excused because we live in a world that does not value the personhood of their victims. We live in a world that constructs my firends as mutilated freaks, sexual deviants and "faking it". They can't even lobby for laws to protect their ability to go into the bathroom that they are less likely to get assaulted in without being conflated with perverts, pedophiles, and sexual predators.


If you go back and look at the list of the dead for the Trans Day Of Remembrance, you may notice that when discussing violence against transpeople, we are talking about more that transphobia, transmisogyny, or homophobia. Considering that approximately 70% of the names on the list belong to women of color, we are also talking racism.

These cases are often treated with boxing gloves by the media and general public, with the assumption that a black transwoman must be a sex worker, and that she was probably killed when her john discovered her penis, and the persistent use of incorrect pronouns by the media, which is a basic journalistic no-no indicating more the refusal of the "journalist" to overlook their own biases while reporting. With the prevalence of the "trans panic" defense and how it seems to fly pretty well with the media and sometimes the court system, it seems pretty clear that black transwomen's lives are less valuable than the offended manhood of some schmuck that thinks that the appropriate way to react to a situation like this is killing someone. They are killed for not being the "right" kind of woman.

The media and general public opinion seems to want to construct these women as "bringing it on themselves" for "lying" about "what they really are," as if your very existence and the fact that it triggers some homophobia in the person who decided that murdering you is the only way to deal with it is your fault. When police in a city assault a black transwoman and she is later found dead, and in the same city, another transwoman is found shot three times there is clearly no official justice for these women.

In actuality, the lives of transpeople, especially transwomen of color, are in more danger than the average cis-person. Constructing transpeople as some sort of dangerous menace, beyond being insulting as hell, is factually inaccurate.

Even the cis-partners of transpeople are considered legitimate targets for this hate violence.

I have an obligation, to my friends and to my morals, to not be silent. To not let the hate of the world keep me hidden in my home, frozen and unable to act. These women were someone's daughter, someone's sister, someone's lover. They could be mine, or yours. regardless of their bodies and the social constructions that others must cling to so tightly that life no longer has value, they deserve to be valued.

I will not be silent about their lives. I will not be silent about the loss of them.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Relationship Troubles

In a comment on my post about imagined relationships with corporate logos, theczech left a comment that I feel the need to expand upon:

In the suburban Midwest, where I am from, we are trained in the ways you describe. As a matter of fact, we have little choice but to familiarize and accustom our tastes to national chains, as little else dots the consumer's landscape. In many situations, we literally do not have the choice to patronize a non-corporate business.

We come to think of this as right and normal, and to feel uncomfortable with a mom-and-pop store, a family-run restaurant that isn't a national franchise, a locally-run, quirky, fair-trade alternative. The sales associates don't have a uniform! We don't recognize all the menu items! Sometimes the store is closed for a family function!

There are entire cities choked with chains cropping up like weeds in every strip mall. How can the people who live in cities like this be otherwise than completely subservient to the corporations that dominate their communities? There is no cultural space in such cities that is not dominated by logos and advertisements. Eventually, the culture there becomes defined by these things, and people signal their allegiances or their individuality completely through brand choices.

In cases such as the one she describes, we begin to see a pattern of corporate action to create a world where people feel they need these brands for self-identification. In the end (and I probably should have made that more clear in the previous post) I put the responsibility for this situation squarely on the shoulders of corporate entities who care for nothing more than profits. That is not to say that individuals don't have a responsibility to themselves to fight this indoctrination, but in many places and cases, there is very little in the way of options with which to do this.

I lived in Idaho once, so very long ago, and even though I was living practically on top of downtown Boise, there were very few options for food or shopping of any kind that was not a large franchise, or too expensive for anyone but the very wealthy who lived in the foot hills. I hated going to Wal-mart, but when I needed furniture for my apartment, I didn't have much of a choice. Even the thrift store was more than I could afford.

In the end, a critical examination of the morality of advertising techniques and business practices as used by large corporate franchises must occur. Profits should never come before people.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Mmmmm...Cowardice in Hypocrisy Sauce

Y'all are not gonna believe this shit. Unless you've been paying attention, then it just fits perfectly with the line of bullshit spin that these groups regularly dish out.

So, the state of California has a law that requires that donations to legislative measures and political party campaigns be made public knowledge. Its an anti-racketeering law to ensure that organized crime syndicates haven't bought politicians or legislation (oh the IRONY, which will be apparent shortly.)

Several groups who have donated to the anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 are suing to be exempt from this law.

"Why?" you may ask, "why would these upstanding citizens who claimed to only be protecting their own right to be bigoted and limit the rights of those they despise so worried about being known as the defenders of (their own) rights that they clearly are?"

Well, cause they claim to be afraid of "threats" such as blacklisting and boycotts. They claim that these things will violate their First Amendment rights. The AP article linked above cites other threats, like fliers calling them bigots being distributed in their neighborhoods, and threatening emails.

However, Justin McLachlan has an interesting bit of info that the Associated Press mostly ignored in their article:

BTW, is the same group that used public campaign disclosure records to threaten a San Diego business that donated to the "No on prop. 8" before the campaign. The registration documents they want to make secret are the same ones that I used to show the campaign was being organized through a mutual benefit corporation -- California Renewal -- that the state had suspended for failing to pay taxes.

Excuse me, I need to go laugh til I puke. Gimme a second.

::exits stage right::


::re-enters stage right::

Ok, I think I can get through the rest of this with only minor giggling.

I have said this before but its worth repeating: the freedom of speech inherent in the First Amendment applies equally to everyone (at least it should.) Yes, people in this country have every right to give money to a piece of legislation that they agree with. People have the right to express ignorant and hateful views. However, this right DOES NOT protect them from the First Amendment rights of others. Boycotts of businesses who donated obscene amounts of money to take away your rights is also protected by the concept of free speech. Having the right to publicly be an ignorant ass does not protect you from people calling you an ignorant ass. Freedom to speak is not freedom from criticism.

Please note that I can't condone violent threats against supporters of Prop 8, but I can understand why someone would feel that angry. Acting on those threats is crossing a line into territory that I think we can still rise above.

As much as I'm sure these hypocrites would like it to not be the case, there are consequences for your actions, especially when those actions oppress others. If you were worried about your profits, you might have considered the fact that queer people and their supporters have money too, and that hitting you in your wallet is a fitting price to pay (ooh unintentional pun! HOW WITTY AM I!) for treating other people as less than a full legal person.

(h/t to Keori)

Oscar Grant: Killed for being Black

I don't have the energy to make a comprehensive post about this incident, so I am offering a link round up with a note or two.

Jack Stephens at Alas, A Blog:

-Oscar Grant, young father and peacemaker, executed by BART police

-Fruitvale Bart Station Protest: The Rally

Renee at Womanist Musings:

-Oscar Grant: Black In The Wrong Space

Holly at Feministe:

-Execution style

The Czech:

-Police in CA Murder Oscar Grant on Camera

Elle at elle, phd:

-Since When...

Melissa at Shakesville:

-Oscar Grant

whatsername at The Jaded Hippy:

-On: Oscar Grant

My only note on this roundup is in regards to whatsername's view that this incident may have been an accident. Now, I love whatsername, and we agree on most things, but I had to point out that the only way this was an accident is if the officer did not intend to fire his weapon. Beyond that, he should not have been drawing his weapon in the first place, and the suggestion I have seen in a few places, that he was intending to draw his tazer, seem like a stretch. There was no real conceivable reason to reach for the tazer or the gun, and the only seeming reason for the altercation at all was that Oscar and his companons were in the wrong place and were the wrong color.