links for 2006-10-31

Brand-new “Addicted to Race” episode out now (#46)!

by Jen Chau and Carmen Van Kerckhove

A brand-new episode of Addicted to Race is out! If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our podcast in iTunes. Click here to launch iTunes and subscribe today, it’s absolutely free.

We hand the reins over to our listeners in this episode – it’s a special all listener feedback show! The topics we discuss include:

  • Asian-American women and interracial relationships
  • Our interview with Ad Age reporter Matthew Creamer in episode 43 about racial discrimination in the advertising industry
  • Our discussion in episode 44 about offensive Halloween costumes
  • Jen’s rant in episode 43 about people’s over-the-top reactions when they learn she’s Jewish
  • Our discussion in episode 44 about racial profiling
  • Our live show, podcasted in episode 45, about the dangers of positive stereotypes
  • Whether the average white person really considers himself multiracial
  • Opposition to an interracial relationship between a black woman and white man

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Duration – 46:35
File Size – 19.2 MB
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Move over CrackSpace, here comes NiggaSpace

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

niggaspaceAnd I thought CrackSpace was bad. The latest addition to the social networking universe is NiggaSpace. Ridiculous. :(

I won’t link to them because I really don’t want to give them any Google juice, but here’s the description from their site:

Welcome to NiggaSpace.com

You definitely don’t have to be black to join! We just want to embrace the black culture that continues to innovate and strive!

So if you want to meet some chill people, create an account!

(Thanks to this justin for the tip!)

While this bonehead was dreaming up this web site, a group of activists in Wisconsin held a symbolic funeral for the N-word, hoping to eradicate it forever. (Hat tip to MultiCultClassics.)

Anti-Racist of the Week: Mutombo!

by guest contributor Philip Arthur Moore, originally published at TheThink

basketball mutombo racist fanThe start of the NBA season is just around the corner, which means more opportunities for me to find news that’s either related to (1) black people, (2) black people and their white friends, or (3) racist fans.

On Thursday night Houston Rockets center Dikembe Mutombo got into an altercation with a fan who allegedly yelled racist slurs at him, including the word “monkey”, during a preseason game against the Orlando Magic.

A video of the actual exchange wasn’t available on ESPN but we were able to see the actual fan who got kicked out of the building due to the slurs he yelled at Mutombo, who was born in the Congo.

On whether he would be fined for nearly going into the stands after the fan, Mutombo had these words:

I am not going to take that. He was insulting my race, my family, my integrity. For him to call me a monkey … that should not happen today.”

[…]

“If I get fined, I will go straight into the stands the next time.”

The saddest part about this entire thing is that the fan looked like a person of color. I could be wrong, but check the video out yourself.

My best friend, being the near perfect woman that she is, convinced me to join her in a salary cap fantasy basketball league this year. I’ve never done fantasy basketball (I’ve been too busy Crushing Ass in football), but it should give me good reason to watch NBA news more closely this year. I’m glad Mutombo stood up for himself. You’ve got to respect the man for that.

8 Words: Go Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean Jacques Wamutombo!!!

links for 2006-10-28

Angelina Jolie to adopt child from India

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Ha! Props to taz at Sepia Mutiny for calling this weeks ago.

In a move that will surprise absolutely no one, Angelina Jolie is rumored to be adopting a child from India, where she is currently filming A Mighty Heart, or as I like to call it, A Mighty Bad Bronzer Job. From The Daily Mail:

Angelina Jolie is adopting an Indian baby to add to her growing international brood, according to US reports. Sources say the big-hearted actress and partner Brad Pitt have already applied to adopt a tot from an Indian orphanage.

An insider said: “They hope to be able to bring the child home by Christmas. “Brad would prefer a boy no older than 18 months to even out the sexes but Angie has told him she can’t guarantee she won’t fall in love with a little girl.”

Ok, I’m sorry but the following quote puts me over the edge:

She has said: “I want to create a rainbow family. That’s children of different religions and cultures from different countries.”

“I believe I’m meant to find my children in the world and not necessarily have them genetically.”

Sigh… You may remember that I was rather critical of her interview with Anderson Cooper back in June, when she talked about adopting a child like it’s a matter of picking what curtains go with your pillows (”It’s, you know, another boy, another girl, which country, which race would fit best with the kids.”).

The source told US magazine Globe: “Whichever they end up with, they’d like to name the child India to honour its homeland.” The pair are rumoured to have visited the Priva Darshini orphanage in the last month.

taz at Sepia Mutiny is not such a fan of this name choice:

Seriously?!?! It’s not like they went around and named your other kids ‘Cambodia’ and ‘Ethiopia.’ How come the other kids get cool names like Maddox, Shiloh and Zahara, and you want to name the desi kid ‘India?’ Like she isn’t going to be teased enough…

I once had this girl in my class, a Latino woman, whose name was Asia. I found it confusing. Now that I think about it, I may have met an India or two in my lifetime and I was always left feeling a little … put off. Being named after a country just never seemed, um, meaningful. But INDIA, really? Brangelina, don’t you think you could name the desi kid something else, while still honoring his birth land? Those poor children will be raised with such identity issues…

Madonna, Africa, adoption, and the white man’s burden

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Before I get started with this post, a few clarifications. First, I don’t think that Madonna is the evil, attention-hungry, Angelina-copycat that others are making her out to be. I’m sure she was guided by the best of intentions when it came to this adoption. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t buy into essentialist notions about blacks, whether she realizes it or not.

Second, we have no way of knowing exactly what transpired during this process. Was she really led to believe that David’s father’s whereabouts were unknown? Is it true that his father never visited David at the orphanage? Was David’s father misled into believing this was not a permanent adoption? We’ll just never know, and it’s best not to make assumptions about any of the facts.

Third, I do not oppose international adoption and no, I wouldn’t prefer to leave the orphans to die. But are those ever really the only two options?

Okay, with that out of the way…

I was struck by how many times Madonna used the phrases “I will give him a life” or “he didn’t have a life” when referring to her adopted Malawian child, David, during her interview with Oprah on Wednesday.

And I think this gets at one of the main problems I have with the way international adoption is discussed in this country. There’s always this unspoken, underlying assumption that:

  • keeping the child in the home country = no life or a bad life
  • bringing the child to “the West” = a good life

The situation in Malawi is dire, yes. But discussions about international adoption always make it seem as if every single child who doesn’t get adopted by an American family — no matter what country the child is in — is going to die. Like, right now. But that’s just not always the case.

Also, we really need to question the assumption that the benefits of international adoption will always outweigh the negative repercussions. I encourage you to read this post of Ji In’s at Twice the Rice, in which she writes that “there is irreparable pain and there are primal wounds inherent in adoption that no privileged upbringing can erase.”

Can a better standard of living, healthcare, education and loving adoptive parents ever make up for what is lost when a child is removed from his or her country and culture? Shouldn’t every effort be made to try and keep families together? Shouldn’t adoption be a final resort? I don’t pretend to have the answers to those questions, but I’m disappointed that the questions are rarely, if ever, even asked.

If a country is experiencing such extreme poverty that it cannot adequately care for its children or orphans, is international adoption the best solution? Or the only solution? If, like Madonna was, you are so moved by a country’s troubles that you feel compelled to do something to help, are there other things you can do? Things that could actually help solve some of the underlying, fundamental problems that have led to this dire situation in the first place? Those questions are never asked either.

I was surprised that Madonna so willingly and unquestioningly accepted the orphanage’s claim that no family member — not even the father — had ever visited David since his arrival at 2 weeks old. Not only did she fully believe it, but she immediately assumed that it meant that “no one was looking after David’s welfare.”And during the entire interview, she didn’t once acknowledge the fact that David’s father might have kept custody of his son, had he had the resources. Her focus was on his apparent gratitude to her: “Thank you for giving my son a life.”

This lack of acknowledgement of a father’s loss reminded me of the old slavery-era essentialist notions about blacks that were created to justify oppression. Black people were characterized as subhuman and bestial. That meant that the notions of democracy and freedom this country was founded on didn’t really apply to them. Black men were said to not love their wives and children the way white men did, therefore it was perfectly okay to split up families and sell them off to different plantations.

Could a similar essentialist/white supremacist notion be at play here? Does Madonna believe that David’s father couldn’t possibly love David the way she can? That the affection and parental relationship she can offer is inherently superior to his? Continue reading

Oprah forgets to ask Madonna the tough questions

by guest contributor Nina

madonna oprahTo call this an interview would be an insult to the very word. Oprah did not challenge Madonna on any of the complex issues associated with the adoption of David Banda, and let so much go unexplained. And then Madonna further exploited her newly adopted child by flashing his picture on the screen to the “aws” of the audience. “We applaud you” Oprah said. Sure the child is adorable. What 13 month old isn’t? But how can Madonna and Oprah not see that this is all so much more than Madonna trying to save the life of a child.

There were so many inconsistencies in Madonna’s comments. She claims that there are no “known laws” in Malawi but then goes on to explain the law that requires oral and written permission from the living relative of a child you intend to adopt. She also said that she could not abide by the customary law of remaining in Malawi for 18 months before leaving the country with the child. Oprah did not ask her why? No one asked Madonna to abandon her family. She certainly could have taken Lourdes, Rocco and the rest of the gang to Malawi, and with her wealth, lived quite a luxurious life, while following the laws of the country. What would be the harm in that? One less awful Guy Ritchie movie? One less overblown Madonna tour and sorry album?

Madonna stated that” nothing happens fast in Africa” yet she managed to adopt a child at lightning speed compared to the lengthy process one must go through in the U.S. and other parts of the world. And she truly believes her wealth and celebrity had nothing to do with that. Is she so removed from reality that she thinks that she is treated like a regular person? Oh that’s right, by her own admission, she doesn’t read newspapers or watch TV. So maybe, in her mind, she is just the girl next door…who goes on Oprah to “set the record straight.” Wish we all had that opportunity.

The most insulting thing to me though was when Madonna compared her child’s biological father to a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown and then later called him a “simple man who comes from a village, who has nothing.” This is the respect and gratitude you show a man who has given you his child?

Madonna has long been a master manipulator of the media. And now she looks all wide-eyed and shocked as the media (and lets face it, a portion of the general public) turns on her. Her fake accent and constant glances downward at what may or may not have been a teleprompter made the interview seem even more like a performance. A performance that fell flat for this viewer.