Catcalling is a Cross Cultural Annoyance

by Racialicious Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson

[Note: Please read this post after reading Racism as a Lifestyle Choice. While the two posts are independent, it helps to understand how this post started, and why it is on a race blog and not a gender blog.]

Men, please grab your pencils and take a few notes.

I am about to outline the reasons why women hate being catcalled – What Women Are Thinking 101.

I know that for many of you, this lecture does not apply. More than a few of you are respectful and polite. You might think of one drunken episode where you behaved like an ass, but for the most part you approach women in bars, at speed dating, at work, on CL, at concerts, and other appropriate venues. You leave women in public in relative peace, and we thank you for that.

But we know you have one or two (or a few) ignorant friends.

Please pass this information along to them.

In a post titled On Thursdays We Grab Titties, TAN attempts to call Kim Klinger to task.

The source material comes from Kimberly Klinger, racist, who has been keeping some sort of cat-call spreadsheet in the interest of launching a two-part attack on the neighborhood heterosexual immigrants who harass her with come-ons once or twice a week. First Kimberly confesses she’s a racist (agh, aren’t we all sista-girl?), and explains why sexism trumps racism in her Court of Minority Offenses. Her dilemma: Kimberly went to college, so she knows she shouldn’t hate brown (excluding the hunky UPS guy of course), but what’s a pretty white girl to do in the face of such aggressive misogyny? Just lay out her vagine in a chalupa or bucket of fried chicken? In part two of Kimberly’s Mein Kampf she lays down the gauntlet and shares her Top 15 Hollas, so that we can get a little glimpse into her personal Holla-Hell (hella?).

[...]

These aren’t f’ing gorillas on the discovery channel sparring for a mate. More often than not, these are guys hanging out cause they got nothing better to do. This is a citified version of fishing. Just casting out the net and seeing what gets stuck. Maybe have some beers while you do it. You don’t need a sociology degree to know this (congrats on that, btw!). Just pop your head out of your ass for ten seconds. They’re just saying hello (and also letting you know that if you wanted to have sex or something they wouldn’t necessarily disapprove).

As TAN has pointed out, yes, most you are guys hanging out and trying to have a good time. Unfortunately, men’s ideas of what “saying hello” constitutes vary widely. For TAN and other guys, hollering at girls is just recreation, sport, a little fun. For the most part, the worst you’ll get is a girl who decides to catch an attitude and curse you out. No real problem there, especially when the payoff is a cute girl’s phone number.

What men fail to see is that women do not see a group of men as people who just want to say hello. A group of leering men is a potential threat. Rebuffing just one guy’s advances is difficult enough – rebuffing a man in front of a group of his friends is going to cause a situation – the guy feels like he has to save face in front of his friends, which means embarrassing you. Continue reading

Racism as a Lifestyle Choice

by Racialicious Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson

Listening to people rationalize their racism is both hilarious and infuriating.

This week, Carmen posted a link to a RaceWire posting about an article that explored one white woman’s journey into racism.

Initially I viewed the post with skepticism. My neighbors made me racist? Are you kidding? I perused the article, made a comment, and thought that would be the end of that. However, the rationalization of racist behavior continued with TAN pointing me toward a Washington City Paper article I had skipped last week, once again featuring a white woman spinning the same “woe-is-me, I-turned-into-a-racist completely by accident” spiel.

Okay, so now there are two white women, taking their “Oops, I did it (racism) again” moments to the press. Is this indicative of a trend? I decided to re-examine the two pieces with a more objective eye. After all, life experiences do contribute to the development of character – the idea that adverse life experience could influence feelings of racism is not so far-fetched.

The article in the St. Petersburg Times introduces the article with Cathy Salustri typing out:

I’m a white woman living in a black neighborhood, and I’m turning into a racist because of it.

The article goes on to detail her transition into racism:

As she wrote, she realized that the journey from tolerance to prejudice began two years ago when she moved to St. Petersburg’s Bartlett Park. Her Realtor, her parents, even her black friends told her that moving there was a mistake.

She didn’t listen. One of her white friends lived nearby and had no problems. She figured her experience would be no different. She took all the precautions Realtors suggest. She researched the neighborhood. Most of the crimes there were minor. She drove through at night and never saw any strange activity.

It was affordable; she could pay the mortgage with her income as a freelance writer. After multiple visits to the 1925 bungalow, she paid $72, 500. She closed June 10, 2005.

The first six months, things were good. [...]

The thefts started in December 2005. First a ladder. Then, a folding chair, a weed whacker, a Volkswagen carburetor. This past April, a scooter. When a suspect – who is black – was found with the scooter, something in Salustri switched.

Stereotypes ricocheted through her head.

He’ll be dead before he’s 30.

The slur she won’t say out loud blared in her brain. [...]

Last month, she went to court, where the scooter suspect appeared on drug charges. She needed to see his face, she said. “If I saw him on the street, I wanted to know the guy who stole my scooter.” In court, he smiled and waved at the people sitting on the right side of the gallery. Most of them were black.

That’s when Salustri lost it.

It was bigger than the suspect. She was disgusted with every black person in the courtroom. She didn’t know their stories and didn’t care.

F- – - – - – lowlifes.

Okay, let’s recap.

This woman moved to a cheap, affordable neighborhood in a not-so-great area. She was aware of minor crime issues in the neighborhood. And yet, she is shocked when her personal items were stolen. Continue reading

links for 2007-06-29

The Last Hero

by guest contributor Jennifer Fang, originally published at Reappropriate

(Hat-tip to Angry Asian Man)

Like most of y’all, I am desperately addicted to Heroes. I mean, where else can I get my dose of smart drama, good acting, good plot and comic book geekdom all in one sitting. Even though most found the Season 1 finale anti-climatic, I loved the emphasis on familial bond, the emotional evolution of The Flying Man, and the cheeky tinge of pre-destination. Who needs an epic battle? I was good with brief Peter vs. Sylar showdown, a certain foreshadowing for even more epic battles to come.

So, it is with great anticipation that I look forward to Season 2 next year, when we will pick up with amiably incompetent time-traveling Hiro, potentially trapped in samurai era Japan. However, I’m a little miffed with the news released that among six new actors hired for recurring roles for Season 2 of Heroes is the unmistakably Caucasian David Anders, formerly of Alias cast as the legendary samurai, Takezo Kensei. Angry Asian Man speculates that Anders might have been cast as some sort of bizarre yellow-face verrsion of Kensei, however, I believe that this will be a Last Samurai twist to the Kensei legend: the greatest master of Asian martial arts and a legendary Japanese figure will be a White man. Either that or Takezo Kensei will be a “figurehead”, with different men assuming the mantle at different times or according to some sort of mantle-passing tradition.

This is just the kind of plot device that White writers think are clever, and it certainly is in keeping with a long line of similar characters in Marvel and DC comics. After all, the writering staff of Heroes includes Jeph Loeb, a huge name in the comics world. And in both DC and Marvel, many of the genre’s best martial artists trained in Asian fighting styles are White; Batman, Nightwing, and Black Canary to name just a few from the DC Universe.

More promising about today’s announcement, however, is that the show’s creators are keeping up with their reputation for cultivating one of the most diverse casts in a primetime television show. The other actors that have been announced as joining the show include (left to right, top to bottom) Barry Shabaka Henley, Holt McCallany, Eriko Tamura, Lyndsy Fonseca, Dianna Agron, Nick d’Agosto, and Dania Ramirez.

I can’t believe we’re going to have to wait until next year to find out about who all these new heroes are! Although I’m not too thrilled about the Anders/Kensei plot twist, I’m still optimistic that the show has a long ways to go before it jumps the shark.

links for 2007-06-28

Jessie Davis and Bobby Cutts: It’s About Interracial Sex Folks

by guest contributor Rachel Sullivan, originally published at Rachel’s Tavern and Alas

Ok, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say something about the latest crime to become a media circus. I’m sure by now most of you have heard about the murder of Jessie Davis, who was almost 9 months pregnant and was likely killed in front of her two year old child by the child’s father. Since Davis and Cutts were a black/white couple and I am someone who studies black/white interracial relationships and who is in a black/white interracial relationship, I know many people are wondering what I think about this case. I’m not here to offer any opinions on the particulars of the case1 , but I do want to talk about the media coverage of the case.

I went around to a few blogs, and I visited AOL Blackvoices and a couple white supremacist message boards to see what they were saying, and quite frankly it was horrible. Many people were saying that the victim deserved it; that she was “white trash;” that her child was ugly; and that she was a sleazy, homewrecking whore. Not surprisingly, the accused murderer, who is the poster boy for anti-black stereotypes, was also being trashed as a violent womanizer who lusted after white women. I can’t tell you how many racist and misogynistic comments I read; and not surprisingly the white supremacists were giddy over this case.2

Terrence Says has a reasonable post, which anonymous bigots tried to take over in the comment thread, and in his post, Terrence engages with the question that many folks are thinking–is the media circus surrounding this case about race? Terrence cites a recent case of a white man who killed his white wife and three children:

Today, like Bobby Cutts, Jr. who was arrested in Ohio, Christopher Vaughn was also arrested. Christopher Vaughn was arrested two hours prior to the funeral of his family in St. Charles County, Missouri (suburban St. Louis) where the family originated; yet, so far, there has not been a mention of Vaughn’s arrest that I have been able to observe on the weekend news shows.

As sad and tragic as the Jessie Davis story is, I can’t help but wonder if this story had involved a missing pregnant black or Latina woman if it would have the same media traction.

Well several of the anonymous commenters went crazy, saying that the case received so much attention because Davis was pregnant, because Cutts was a cop, because the child was left in the house alone, and everything but race. I certainly agree that all of those things make the story more sensational, but I really can’t fathom that it is much more sensational than the Vaugh family case mentioned above. However, I find myself having a slight disagreement with Terrence. I agree that white women victims get much more attention than Black, Asian, Latino, and American Indian women, and I agree that race is a big factor in the media attention the case has gotten, but I would be more specific than Terrence.

It’s about interracial sex. Interracial crimes make big sensational news stories, but crimes that involve interracial sexuality arouse the deepest passions of American bigotry. The OJ Simpson case, the Duke Rape, the Kobe Bryant rape case, and now this one–they all have tremendous sexual overtones. For a long time, I was surprised at how much attention the Duke case received, because I was focused on the fact that the accuser in the case was black, but I missed the mark. It’s more than the races of the people involved; if the crime is perceived as involving interracial sex, something snaps in people, suddenly they perk up. Continue reading

Around the World at 180 Beats per Minute

by Racialicious Special Correspondent Wendi Muse

A few years ago, when M.I.A. was more commonly known as a military acronym than as the stage name of a Sri Lankan-born singer with a seductive British accent, my friends and I were busy spreading the word via burnt cds and “have you heard?” interjections about Ms. Arulpragasam. Her tracks, which somehow touched on just about every form of music I’d ever loved, remained in heavy rotation on my faux-Pod. Her voice was unique, but what I enjoyed most about her music was what I heard in the background. It wasn’t until I went to her free Central Park concert in the summer of 2005 that I realized who was the culprit for the music behind the lyrics. Diplo, M.I.A.’s Philadelphia-based on-again/off-again love interest, was the one who had produced and remixed the songs on M.I.A’s underground cd entitled Piracy Funds Terrorism, which sparked M.I.A.’s first major release: Arular, an eclectic mix of reggae, funk, electro, bhangra, grime, and hip hop. He had helped to propel her career and make her a prime candidate for collaborations with artists like Missy Elliot and Timbaland and sampling by DJs worldwide.

Diplo was suddenly to underground music as Pier One was to imports.

He had successfully highlighted the talents of a Third Culture Kid, all the while satiating an American audience’s hunger for something “different.” He was welcomed by various ethnic groups and music junkies, mainly for his ability to highlight the new and cool without turning it into a cliché exhibition of the exotic. He invited us all to join in on this form of musical exploration, not simply as spectators, but also as participants, as he combined aspects of distinctive music from the U.S. like dirty south hip hop, to remind us of his roots, with a few notes from the international underground, to remind us that he had a well-used passport. We all had something to contribute as well as something to learn. And while some Americans still may not know of Diplo, it seems that the rest of the world, in particular the oft-ignored “global south,” is paying close attention.

And for good reason.

Though films, music, and tv shows from the U.S. have come to dominate the global market as the end-all, be-all of exportable pop culture, Diplo and his cohorts at Mad Decent, the record label he established in 2006, have worked to reverse this trend. Serving somewhat as a curator of global music and culture, he has used the label to promote his moving museum of sound throughout the club scene. Having already formed relationships with well-known DJs in countries like England, Sweden, and the United States by way of his mix albums and the club and music collective Hollertronix, the man known to his parents and friends as Wesley Pentz set out for countries like Brazil, Angola, Australia, and Israel/Palestine not only to play music, but to learn more about the musical traditions of the population. Fully knowledgeable of the power of subculture, as his success was due in part to his influence therein, Diplo has made a concerted effort to connect with members of the lower class around the world. Ironically, the ingenuity they exhibit despite their economic and social misfortune has become a key element in Diplo’s success, thus begging the question of whether or not his role is one of student turned educator or appropriator cum exploiter. Continue reading

links for 2007-06-27