I spotted this item in one of my ego feeds, and was fascinated to find that this blogger named Heloise has decided for me what my race is. Ah, it’s fun to be mixed isn’t it? Everybody’s opinion about your race matters, except your own.
#15 — May 28, 2007 @ 15:28PM — Heloise [URL]
Here’s her site. She is white and Chinese. But that makes her white, since she is not half black.
#27 — May 28, 2007 @ 19:20PM — Alec [URL]
RE: She is white and Chinese. But that makes her white, since she is not half black.
You’re joking here, right? I mean no one could seriously say that a person with Chinese ancestry is white. Is this some comical inversion of the old “one drop rule?”…
#29 — May 28, 2007 @ 22:13PM — Heloise [URL]
Who called them biracial? I did not. Biracial I thought always referred to black and white only.
A Eurasian is certainly white. Northern Indians or those whose language is traceable to European languages, can’t think of it now, are also “caucasian.” But the Brits are quick to call Indians the N-word.
…Northern Japanese are considered white. China is the root race for Caucasians, AmerIndians, Mexicans and Indians, DNA-wise. So it is a case of the root returning to the the progeny. She is certainly NOT black and that makes her white. That is the box she should check.
I have a sister who’s black, married a biracial man and their kids all have blonde hair and blue eyes and married whites. But they are black, and not biracial. Race is so complex, more than people know. The role of the biracial is that a person cannot change from one race to another when they reincarnate without going through a mixed race life first. That’s my conclusion.
But I found that Anglo Saxons think that anyone who is not strictly Anglo is not white. So where does that leave Mediterraneans? I go by the Anthropological definitions of race.
I was originally going to write a full article about all the patronizing, classist, and racist things Tyra & the Gang (T&tG) said on the most recently aired America’s Next Top Model Cycle 8, but our friend Malena Amusa over at Race Wire beat me to it :- )
So I thought I’d made a fun little game for those of you who have TiVo-d all the episodes or pre-ordered the Cycle 8 box set (no judgment—we all have our guilty pleasures). I mean, Tyra did say that ANTM “is not just about a pretty picture . . . it’s about more than that,” so here’s your opportunity to prove her right.
Please be warned, if you decide to use alcohol for this game (highly un-recommended considering the frequency of T&tG’s slip-ups), be sure to keep a cell phone pre-programmed with “9-1-1” close by. My suggestion, however, is to use water. You’ll be sure to get in your daily recommended dose of 2 liters.
Take a shot for each time anyone from T&tG (including, but not limited to Tyra Banks, Jay Manuel, Miss Jay, Nigel Barker, Twiggy, the contestants, and the special guest judges):
makes a reference to a track, weave, and/or wig when speaking to a contestant of color
says someone “looks foreign”
questions Natasha (the Russian contestant)’s ability to understand English
switches into an accent when speaking a person whose first language is not English
refers to Jaslene, the Puerto Rican contestant, as “spicy” or “fiery”
says the word “fierce”
questions Jael (the half black/half white contestant)’s “realness,” “blackness,” national origin, and/or racial identity
uses the term “ghetto” as a surrogate term for trashy, cheap, poorly made, and/or uneducated
attempts to speak for his or her entire ethnic/racial group, sexual orientation, and/or place of origin
asserts her “American-ness,” gratitude to America, and/or tells a sob story about her native country or old neighborhood
asks a contestant to say something in her native language
expects the contestants to behave in a stereotypical way, then questions their effort and commitment to the competition if they do not do so
uses the term “cha cha”
compares modeling to “acting like a ho”
treats his/her moment on television as a public service announcement on otherness
makes a sweeping statement about lesbians or gays
supplies Latin music as an aural backdrop to appearances made by Jaslene
supplies hip hop as background music during appearance made by Jael in order to remind us she is half black even though she “doesn’t look it”
*Please note, this game also doubles as a youtube scavenger hunt!
Yikes – Stefano Pilato of YSL says: “My fit model was a black model,” he says. “When I wanted to translate what I put on her, it was a disaster. It would need 13 times more work in the atelier to modify it to put on a more Caucasian anatomy.”
Thx Latoya. “black women who in increasing numbers are seeking such procedures as nose jobs and laser hair removal…Many of these patients, doctors say, are also seeking treatments that seek to enhance — not obscure — their racial or ethnic characteris
“Over the last few years, Lou Dobbs has transformed himself into arguably this country’s foremost populist. It’s an odd role, given that he spent the 1980s and ’90s buttering up chief executives on CNN, but he’s now playing it very successfully.”
Thx Rob. “The most notable thing in HBO’s version of Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee isn’t the writing, acting, or directing…What stands out is the anti-Indian bias. How is that possible in a production based on one of the most pro-Indian book
“Being a white player in the NBA is more or less like being a white player in the NBA. Being a black American in the so-called real world is like being a black American in the so-called real world. Such comparisons serve no purpose other than obfuscatio
Thx Tereza. “Supreme Court conservatives on Tuesday made it harder for women and minorities to win employment-discrimination complaints, perhaps setting up Capitol Hill’s next civil rights battle…the court set strict time limits on filing such discrimin
Thx ineffability. “I am a Muslim who embraces peace. But, if we must attach stereotypical tags, I’d rather be considered “orthodox” than “moderate.” “Moderate” implies that Muslims who are more orthodox are somehow backward and violent.”
Thx Tereza. “In recent years, low-paid workers around the country have filed a growing number of lawsuits seeking thousands of dollars in back wages from bosses they say failed to pay the minimum wage or overtime.”
Thx Tereza. “The federal government is setting up a team of officers who will focus on tracking down and arresting undocumented criminals who have been ordered to leave the country. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will oversee the new office”
“I am suspicious that each article is simply taking an opportunity to “bring gender” to the table. No one really believes Obama is “giving up her career,” i.e. leaving the workforce. And I just don’t think anyone truly believes Mr. Obama is bein
“I mean, damn—what does it take to charge someone with rape in the United States? Even when there are three witnesses to the actual assault—a brutal gang rape of an intoxicated seventeen-year-old child allegedly committed by college athletes”
I’ve been following the media’s handling of race in its coverage of Barack Obama’s presidential bid very closely over the last few months. But right now I’m particularly riveted by the media coverage of his wife, Michelle Obama. Race, gender, and feminism are intersecting in fascinating ways. Here are some highlights.
As my fellow BlogHer Contributing Editor Laina Dawes wrote a few weeks back, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd has criticized Michelle Obama’s light-hearted comments about her husband being “just a man” and not knowing how to put his socks in the laundry. Dowd felt that these remarks were “emasculating”:
Many people I talked to afterward found Michelle wondrous. But others worried that her chiding was emasculating, casting her husband – under fire for lacking experience – as an undisciplined child.
Just a few days ago, Michelle Obama resigned from her high-powered job as vice president of community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Hospitals to focus on her husband’s presidential campaign.
Debra Dickerson, writing for Salon, declared that she is “in a feminist fury” about it:
Just as we watch curvy, healthy-looking singers and actresses like Lindsay Lohan become anorexic too-blonde hoochies before our very eyes, so we’re now in danger of having to watch the political version of that process: Any day now, Michelle Obama’s handlers will have her glued into one of those Sunday-go-to-meeting Baptist grandma crown hats while smiling vapidly for hours at a time. When, of course, she’s not staring moonstruck, à la Nancy Reagan, at her moon doggie god-husband who’s not one bit smarter than she is.
In response to Dickerson’s article, the new Gawker Media blog Jezebel (worst name ever, by the way) declared that Michelle’s “weird passive-aggressive comments” can only be explained by one thing: Barack obviously cheated on her:
…when Michelle Obama says stuff like “someday maybe he’ll deserve all the attention” or “he’s just a man” or calls him “the brother” even when she knows it makes the white folks uneasy is pretty simple: “The brother” fucked up! It wasn’t Gennifer or even Monica; it was probably just some one-night fling…
Mrs J, writing at Our Kind of Parenting, points out the Jezebel bloggers’ embarrassing cluelessness when it comes to African-American vernacular:
For the record, even if it makes white people uncomfortable, calling someone “the brother” (even if it is one’s husband) is not a diss. Especially when, in context, it is to say “The brother is smart”, as Mrs.O actually did recently (to an all black crowd)… This is a serious presidential candidate we’re talking about, ladies, not you’re effing ex-boyfriend. Save the cheap shots for someone else.
The Coup Magazine blog analyzes reactions to Michelle Obama in relation to the “Strong Black Woman (SBW) syndrome” and points out that Michelle is damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t:
She can’t be funny. She probably shouldn’t work. After all, if she wants to counter the SBW stereotype and make her husband appear to be in charge, she cannot have a career. But when she quits her job, her motivation and commitment are called into question, and she risks losing credibility in the eyes of feminists. She can never have a hair out of place, appear aggressive, or ever be shown working out (one of her favorite activities), lest she characterized by someone as a “nappy headed ho.” In light of this constant and very public criticism, Michelle Obama can never quite be herself without being stereotyped as the aforementioned SBW—a categorization that could potentially destroy her husband’s presidential campaign.
And finally, Malena Amusa, writing for Racewire, suggests that Michelle is integral to Barack Obama’s racial authenticity:
Her presentation is a well-engineered counter to Barack’s Black masculinity that has been attacked for being diluted. Michelle proves Barack’s Black authenticity by her being so home-grown, down-home, and straight-up on the issues. Further, if Barack had said some of the things Michelle has, he’d be lumped under the Black nationalist umbrella held up by Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton, and so many white people probably wouldn’t like him as much.
Hat tip to HighJive. “The older youth, Umair Ahmed, 17, violated Harpal’s religious beliefs by forcibly removing the sobbing victim’s turban and cutting his waist-length locks in a Queens high school bathroom, authorities said.”
Thx Latoya & ampha. “Like neurotics obsessed with amputating their own healthy limbs, middle-class blacks concerned with “keeping it real” are engaging in gratuitously self-destructive and violently masochistic behavior.”
“Scholarships, new programs and recruitment have attracted dozens of whites to schools such as South Carolina State University, where they account for around 4 percent of the student body…The school has a minority affairs office for white students”
Thx Tereza. “In 1995, 58% said they favored affirmative action programs designed to help blacks, women, and other minorities get better jobs. That percentage has risen steadily since, and stands at 70% in the current poll.”
Thx Geraly. “What [Pat Buchanan] was talking about was his belief that people of color are inherently inferior and unable to perform educationally, so they need his protection in order to keep the social status quo.”
Thx nosnowhere. “He said he can’t sign since he’s not aware of the situation and needs to know more about it first. Fair enough. Give him a month or 2. That’s more than enough time for him to know the facts and make up his mind.”
Thx Tereza. “Fair acts as if the immigrant workers are carrying out ethnic cleansing against African Americans. They are not. We are, however, being cleansed from entire industries because of the greed of employers who are always looking at the bottom l
Thx Hiccups. “The employers around here are still afraid of hiring Hispanics,” says Baptist pastor Ariel Rodriguez. “They’re afraid that immigration agents are coming, the workers are going to disappear, and they’ll have to pay fines.”
Thx Bobbi. “For the past seven years, South Beach has been THE hottest Memorial Day destination for young blacks — the people that party promoters from Mag Entertainments affectionately called “ghetto tourists.”
“Many diversity trainers don’t push people to challenge their own racist beliefs. Instead, the seminars teach people to be more aware of the non-verbal cues (the fancy word is “microinequities”) they send out that may tip others off to their racism.
Did any of you catch Friday’s episode of the Oprah show? It was titled “Children Ashamed of the Way They Look” and included interviews with:
Kiri Davis, the young filmmaker who created the phenomenal short film A Girl Like Me
Grey’s Anatomy star Chandra Wilson about her own views on beauty growing up and how she’s raising her daughters
A black woman who prayed that her son wouldn’t come out as dark-skinned as her. The son, not surprisingly, has developed quite a complex about colorism.
Korean-American MTV host SuChin Pak, about beauty ideals in the Asian and Asian-American communities.
I’m not going to summarize the whole episode in this post, but you can watch clips of it on the Oprah web site.
As usual, I was a bit annoyed by the treatment of the eyelid issue. Anytime the mainstream media covers this story, it always makes the same few assumptions.
First, it never mentions the fact that there are many, many Asians who do have eyelid folds. I’ve never seen any statistics, but it seems to me that there are at least as many eyelid-having Asians as non-eyelid-having Asians. Actually I wouldn’t be surprised if the eyelid-having Asians are in the majority. (Excuse my crude terminology here – just trying to keep the language simple.)
Second, it equates getting eyelid surgery with wanting to look white. I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. As I wrote in this comment on Reappropriate awhile back, there are many Asians with eyelids. Often they are considered to be more attractive, and yes, that is because of the omnipresent Western beauty ideal. But people who want to get eyelid surgery are doing it so they look more like those Asians with the big eyelids. Not so they look like Caucasians. White supremacist ideals may be informing the desire indirectly, but it’s not such a direct link of wanting to be white.
And finally, I was a little taken aback by Pak’s assertion that eyelids are the no. 1 beauty issue in the Asian and Asian-American community.
In my experience, the no. 1 beauty/looks-ism issue by far among Asians and Asian-Americans is weight. The standards of thinness among Asian women are far more punishing than those among white women. Growing up in Hong Kong, it seemed as if pretty much anyone over 105 lbs was considered a fat-ass.
And then in my opinion, the no. 2 issue would be skintone. No surprises here: fair is good, tanned and darker skintones are undesirable.
Eyelids do come up, but in my experience it trails far behind weight and skintone. But of course, that’s just my experience.
by Racialicious special correspondent Wendi Muse, originally published at The Coup Magazine
“It was completely trivial” said a spokeswoman for Iberia Airlines’ new ad. I suppose that should be expected, but it never ceases to amaze me that some people consider the degradation of historically oppressed groups as “trivial,” “fun,” or “just a joke.” Maybe that’s because our society has a history of accepting stereotypes as truths, so veiling them in humor is its feeble attempt to disguise the simple fact that it can’t distinguish between one or the other. It may also be a result of the belief some hold that we are all equals and treated fairly. If this condition of equality is a given, then debasing one group or another is not expected to cause harm, embarrassment, or any real long-term affects. Maybe Spain’s national airline felt that they were engaging in harmless fun, simply teasing their colonial little brother Cuba, but not everyone shared Iberia’s interpretation. Ruben Sanchez, a spokesperson for Facua, a Spanish consumer rights group, found the commercial to be sexist and generally offensive to Cubans. Facua called for the advertisement, which is part of a set of commercials for Iberia’s website, to be pulled. Iberia complied. They apologized, stating that the ad was not meant to offend anyone, and removed it from television on May 16th. But considering that someone had thought up the commercial and allowed it to air in the first place, the damage had already been done.
When I saw the ad for the first time, I thought beyond sexism. Before me was a representation of women of African descent that has somehow lasted for more than three centuries. I saw an animated articulation of the remnants of European colonial dominance over a Caribbean nation and its women. There was so much to take in from such a short clip that I wanted to slow down and think about it in parts. I watched the video again, this time in silence. After muting the volume, I began to mentally catalogue the images I saw. Before the clip commenced, a tableau appeared of a fair-skinned baby in a rocking chair surrounded by two brown-skinned, dark haired, large lipped women frozen mid-dance, holding maracas and wearing bikini tops with Daisy Duke cutoff shorts. Once the video unfolded, it seemed. . . fairly harmless, but three things stood out to me:
1. The color contrast between the baby and his adult playmates. Both women featured in the commercial have brown skin, one a shade slightly darker than the other, and the men who provide musical accompaniment for the commercial are also varying shades of brown, from light to dark. This contrast is common in tourism advertisements, particularly those in Europe and the United States (with the exception of the recent Bahamas vacation ads). The tourist is almost always white and the “natives” are always brown, black, or yellow. Last time I checked, people of color also go on vacation, but maybe advertising executives don’t want to confuse the consumer audience by featuring them as tourists alongside people who look just like them. Funny enough, this never seems to be a problem in white-on-white ads encouraging people to go to European countries. Continue reading →
Race, Culture, and Identity in a Colorstruck World