Month: February 2008

February 26, 2008 / / Uncategorized

by Racialicious Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson

The blog SavvySugar recently posted about a college grad who did an experiment to prove the American Dream – he voluntarily went into “poverty” to see how quickly he could climb out.

Adam Shepard’s experience has – naturally – netted him a book deal. ABC summarizes:

But Shepard’s descent into poverty in the summer of 2006 was no accident. Shortly after graduating from Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass., he intentionally left his parents’ home to test the vivacity of the American Dream. His goal: to have a furnished apartment, a car, and $2,500 in savings within a year.

To make his quest even more challenging, he decided not to use any of his previous contacts or mention his education.

During his first 70 days in Charleston, Shepard lived in a shelter and received food stamps. He also made new friends, finding work as a day laborer, which led to a steady job with a moving company.

Ten months into the experiment, he decided to quit after learning of an illness in his family. But by then he had moved into an apartment, bought a pickup truck, and had saved close to $5,000.

The effort, he says, was inspired after reading “Nickel and Dimed,” in which author Barbara Ehrenreich takes on a series of low-paying jobs. Unlike Ms. Ehrenreich, who chronicled the difficulty of advancing beyond the ranks of the working poor, Shepard found he was able to successfully climb out of his self-imposed poverty.

He tells his story in “Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream.” The book, he says, is a testament to what ordinary Americans can achieve.

Fascinating. I mean, everyone loves an American Dream story, don’t they? The interviewer from ABC News was excellent, asking really targeted questions about the validity of the experiment and how Shepard came to the conclusions he outlines in the book. By directly asking about privilege and his upbringing, the interviewer tries to shed some light into the thought process of this young man.

Read the Post Has Class Trumped Race? Part 3.5 – An Aside

February 26, 2008 / / Uncategorized
February 26, 2008 / / Uncategorized
February 25, 2008 / / Uncategorized
February 25, 2008 / / Uncategorized
February 21, 2008 / / Uncategorized

by Racialicious Special Correspondent, Fatemeh Fakhraie

The New York Times has an article about the frustrations of Egyptian youth.

It opens with a profile on one Mr. Sayyid:

Once, Mr. Sayyid had a decent job and a chance to marry. But his fiancée’s family canceled the engagement because after two years, he could not raise enough money to buy an apartment and furniture.

Mr. Sayyid spun into depression and lost nearly 40 pounds. For months, he sat at home and focused on one thing: reading the Koran.

The NYT piece makes a direct connection between Mr. Sayyid’s loss of a chance to marry (like he’ll never ever get another one) and his interest in the Qu’ran. Enter the idea that Muslims are only Muslim because they’re sexually (or politically or socially) frustrated.

Then we meet Ms. Ashour, a 22-year-old university graduate. She wears the niqab. Why? Because she couldn’t get married, of course!

There was a time she dressed and acted like her friends, covering her head with a scarf but wearing blue jeans and bright shirts […]

She was engaged to Mustafa, whose last name she will not disclose, for more than two years….But Mustafa’s father had no money left after setting up two older sons, and the young man was unable to raise enough money to finish the construction. Ms. Ashour wanted to help, secretly, but she has been unable to find a paying job. When her mother told her to end the engagement, something snapped, and she sought solace in increasingly strict religious practice.

So, according to the NYT, she couldn’t get married, so she went crazy and covered her face!

Read the Post New York Times: Islam is a Last Resort

February 21, 2008 / / Uncategorized

by Racialicious Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson

Browsing the Seeking Avalon blog, I notice that she’s provided yet another post on the racism (both subtle and overt) that plagues the comics industry.

This edition: The Visual Bait and Switch.

Willow wonders:

Who is that behind Wonder Woman?

Is that Vixen?

The yellow jumpsuit looks like it belongs to Vixen, if slightly the wrong colour. As do the bangles on the wrist and the belt on the waist.

But last I checked, Vixen was not a white woman.

*Rechecks*

Vixen, Vixen, Vixen, Vixen.

Nope, not a white woman.

And while she obviously uses relaxer on her hair, I’ve never heard of the chemicals automatically bleaching skin. So no plot or reasoning will be coming from that direction.

Seriously, what the hell is up with that? You know there is no way that from writer to printing press Superman could suddenly show up in a series that’s part of current continuity, sporting braids and a darker skin tone.

Because people would call you on that!

LOUDLY.

Interesting. First, it was just the film industry using (what I assume to be) their discretion to change the Fox’s black roots to fit big budget film draw Angelina Jolie.

However, this was done by DC Comics. Don’t y’all check these things before you go to press? I just find it amazing that an industry that is trying to diversify in order to attract younger demographics (and to keep older fans engaged) would do something as obvious as race change one of their heroines.

It’s not like there’s a glut of black female comic heroes so we can afford to let this one go.

Read the Post Comic Heroine Vixen Gets a White Wash

February 21, 2008 / / Uncategorized