Submit an audio commentary to Addicted to Race

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Those of you who are subscribers to Addicted to Race may have noticed that I’ve fallen off my game a bit in the last couple weeks.

Last Monday’s episode didn’t happen because my computer basically chewed it up, and neither Jenn nor I were able to reschedule later in the week. And this past week I didn’t have any time to do a new episode.

Unfortunately the next few weeks are going to be a bit hellish for me: a combination of final exams and outside commitments (weddings, family stuff). But I don’t want to leave you hanging podcast-less for a month.

So here’s what I’m suggesting. For the rest of May, ATR episodes are going to be made up almost entirely of content submitted by listeners. This week I’m going to put out an episode of all the audio comments I’ve received since last episode.

And I’ll keep doing that for the next few weeks.

But in order to do this, I need your help! So will you please do me a favor and call our voicemail comment line at 206-203-3983 and leave an audio comment (or two or three)?

It can either be in reaction to past episodes, or to any of the things going on in the news lately. Not limited to these topics of course, but here are some to make you think:

  • Virginia Tech shooting and the media’s treatment of Cho’s ethnicity and immigration status, also the treatment of his name: Cho Seung-Hui or Seung-Hui Cho?
  • The recent discussions about misogyny in hip hop. What did you think of Oprah’s town hall meetings? How did we get from Don Imus saying some ignorant shit to blaming hip hop?
  • The “Stop Snitchin'” movement. Did any of you catch Anderson Cooper’s interview with Cam’ron on 60 Minutes? How has the media handled or mishandled this topic?
  • Racism on the radio. What are your thoughts on Rush Limbaugh’s “Barack the Magic Negro” song? What do you think of JV & Elvis’s racist Chinese restaurant prank? Is racism ever going to stop being a way to boost ratings?
  • The squandering of Katrina funds. Did you see this Washington Post article? “Allies offered $854 million in cash and in oil that was to be sold for cash. But only $40 million has been used so far for disaster victims or reconstruction, according to U.S. officials and contractors. Most of the aid went uncollected, including $400 million worth of oil. Some offers were withdrawn or redirected to private groups such as the Red Cross. The rest has been delayed by red tape and bureaucratic limits on how it can be spent.”

Rush Limbaugh and “Barack, The Magic Negro”

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

By now you’ve probably heard about Rush Limbaugh’s “Barack, The Magic Negro” song. If not, you can view the video here and read the background on Media Matters.

My take on it? Limbaugh probably wanted an excuse to say “Negro.” As Media Matters points out, “Limbaugh continued to refer to Obama as the “Magic Negro” throughout the broadcast — 27 times, to be exact.” It was like someone handed him a free pass and he went buckwild.

Jill Tubman from Jack and Jill Politics broke it down thus:

This video manages to attack both Al Sharpton and Barack Obama at the same time — a real feat. It also seeks to portray Obama as a DC insider and “not authentically black”. Al Sharpton is portrayed as a greedy opportunist shouting incoherently through a megaphone. Most insulting is the “dialect” accent the Sharpton cariacature is given. Plenty of dem, dese and dose. Charming.

Media Matters does a great job in covering the Rush Limbaugh angle of the story. Like Don Imus, Limbaugh is racist for a living. The question is whether we’re all still ok with that here in America on our public airwaves or if it’s time to expose his lies and hatred and give him the boot.

Laina Dawes wants to know if anyone will call for Limbaugh to be fired?

In Imus’s case, general stereotypes about the black community were used to deflect his actions, as far too many people somehow felt that the actions of all African Americans were the root cause behind Imus’s usage of words. Freedom of speech and the perceived constraints of political correctness were debated. Is now the time to take a firm stand against all media figures who espouse racial ideology to incite the public, or will Imus take the fall for them? Is the firing of one radio host enough to quell the actions of others? In Limbaugh’s case, he accuses the “left” of creating the term “magic negro,” claiming that Sen. Ted Kennedy first used the term, therefore insinuating that “the left” are just, if not more racist than him…

Tyra Show explores kids and race

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

This Wednesday’s episode of the Tyra Banks Show is going to explore children’s concepts of race. I hope they’ll include Kiri Davis’s film “A Girl Like Me,” since it would tie in beautifully to this topic. Here’s the description:

Does skin color make a difference to a child? Tyra continues her series on race with a powerful and eye-opening look at how innocent children start forming stereotypical opinions of different races at a young age. A group of children were invited to participate in a social experiment where they were asked to look at pictures of people of all races and say what they thought about them. Their honest results will shock you! Body image expert Jessica Weiner, along with the kids and their parents, join Tyra in her studio to discuss how they believe children are exposed to stereotypes and what can be done about it. Then, Tyra speaks with white supremacist parents and their young children who are being trained to follow in their footsteps. Plus, an African American woman who hates Caucasians finds that her young daughter is determined to break her mother’s racist views.

links for 2007-04-28

Racism, Conflict, Hypersexuality, and…Personal Development? Lessons from VH1’s “Charm School”

by Racialicious special correspondent Latoya Peterson

If Flavor Flav is the modern day “Steppin Fetchit,” Mo’Nique seems determined to end the minstrelsy.

In her new show, Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School Mo’Nique desires to reverse the damage done to the girls while they were contestants on Flavor of Love by forcing them to reform. She employs the assistance of Mikki Taylor, the beauty & cover editor for Essence magazine, and Keith Lewis, director of two California beauty pageants and the director of a talent agency.

Now, initially, I was skeptical of the show’s concept. Mo’Nique was going on VH1 to teach the girls about etiquette? I love Mo’Nique – but I felt like it would quickly descend into the stereotypical “black woman telling it like it is” with her squawking outdated “sistah-isms” and her keeping it real in the neck popping, eye rolling kind of way.

[Note: This is not a reflection on Mo’Nique’s personality. Reality TV, as “unscripted” as it may be, still encourages everyone to act like they have lost their minds in order to create “good TV.” And if the characters fail to act up to their roles, creative editing is employed.]

However, I was happily surprised to find that this is not the case. (I still watched two full episodes before deciding to blog though.)

Already, the show has piqued my interest. The show seems invested in changing the girl’s attitudes about life and fame. In stark contrast to Flavor of Love, where the girls were encouraged to confront each other, Charm School intends to make the girls confront themselves. By forcing the girls through challenges that require both team building and competition, VH1 has managed to reveal some very interesting personality quirks in the contestants that were not revealed on Flavor of Love.

Race Watch!

During multiple points in the show, I almost choked to death on my sparkling water. There are major race issues in that household – and you almost don’t see them coming. Standouts from the first two episodes:

– Larissa (aka Bootz) gets confrontational from the jump, saying that she thinks Brooke (Pumpkin) was racist for spitting on New York. She quickly gets Shay (Buckeey – why the hell can’t Flav spell? He could spell alright the first season!) to join in on a thinly veiled reason to exert their dominance over Brooke. Brooke ends up in the bathroom in tears, with both Larissa and Shay holding on tight to their justification. Continue reading

links for 2007-04-27

What you missed on Race in the Workplace

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

In case you haven’t been checking out New Demographic’s latest blog, Race in the Workplace, here’s what you may have missed:

Promoting diversity in American classical music
Adina Ba interviews Aaron Dworkin, founder and president of the Sphinx Organization, a national non-profit founded in 1996 to overcome the dramatic racial inequalities in the field of classical music. Did you know that nationally, less than 4% of professional orchestras are comprised of Blacks and Latinos combined?

When you’re too honest during diversity training
Funny video from Comedy Central’s show “Dog Bites Man.” The diversity trainer they hire has no idea what he’s in for.

Recommended Reading
Why are non-white workers less likely to say promotions are based on merit? Is it a mistake to be a stay-at-home mother? How can you avoid an asshole boss? What’s the best way to ask for mentoring? Why are companies scared to fire problem workers?

Watercooler: The missing wedding invitation
Merq shares a story about a white coworker who not only refused to invite any non-white colleagues to his wedding but then proceeded to insult Merq with a racist joke.