Month: June 2008

June 30, 2008 / / Uncategorized

by Latoya Peterson

A few weeks ago, completely burnt out on all things intellectual, I scooped up a copy of “Secret Diary of a Call Girl,” the book based off the blog of one Belle Du Jour. I had seen excerpts from her blog online and liked her voice and her writing style.

I noticed that Showtime had picked up the show, and retained the original actors instead of just remaking the show. I tuned into watch the first episode, but I wasn’t planning to blog about it – the book’s characters had been overwhelmingly white and I assumed the show would be more of the same.

And it was. Except for an interesting snatch of conversation.

Belle (played by Billie Piper) is meeting with her Madam and some of the other employees of the agency over lunch. Her Madam passes around an illustration of a man who has been accused of passing around counterfeit money. She passes the picture to the purple haired call girl, who immediately makes a snide comment:

Purple Haired Call Girl: Eastern European (said knowingly.)

Blond Call Girl: You can’t say that!

Brunette Call Girl: That’s racist! Read the Post Race in Unexpected Places: Showtime’s Secret Diary of a Call Girl

June 30, 2008 / / Uncategorized

by Latoya Peterson

Diversity Inc.’s Ask a White Guy Column has posted a letter that should feel all too familiar to any anti-racist activist. An excerpt:

I am a white female and I can tell you that I don’t talk about blacks for fear I will be called a racist or be called to the table, especially in the workplace, for discrimination. We (whites), at my company, are not allowed to talk about blacks or any other ethnic group because we would get fired. I will say that whites are very sensitive now because we are discriminated against. Blacks can have the NAACP, BET (Black Entertainment Television), Black History Month, United Negro College Fund, etc. If white people were to start something like the before mentioned there would be a huge uproar.

The writer also manages to fit in all of the following gems:

* “[B]lacks that keep bringing up how their ancestors were slaves need to look a little more into history books. Blacks were not the only ones who were slaves, all races have had slaves, and even whites. ”

* “Nobody is forcing anyone to stay in America, you are free to leave whenever you please (and that is for every race), and, nobody took YOU personally from Africa or Asia or Spain or Italy or from anywhere else.”

* “I love the fact that America is a big melting pot, full of color and different cultures. ”

* “Until we get over the past we will never fully get along.”

* “Get over the color!”

Deep sigh. Read the Post Diversity Inc – “Why Whites Can’t ‘Get Over’ Color”

African American studies historic Yiddish-Black relations “Her doctoral dissertation, “Black Ashkenaz and the Almost Promised…

Read the Postlinks for 2008-06-30

June 27, 2008 / / Uncategorized

by Guest Contributor Brigitte, originally published at Make Fetch Happen

“Are we still talking about this in 2008?” asks Iman in an irate voice kicking off the “Is Fashion Racist?” article in the July issue of Vogue. I’ve certainly pondered that question myself over the past few years and I am sure that many other fashion enthusiasts have as well.

Really, why is it that an industry such as this one known for embracing a variety of outlandish personalities and ideas is so blind when it comes to putting new faces in its clothes, on its runways or in its magazines? For example, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen designer Philip Lim glorified on the pages of fashion tomes but I struggle to remember when I last saw and Asian model featured in a multi-page editorial. In spite of the fact that Pat McGrath, Andre Leon Talley, photographer Mark Baptist and designers like Tracey Reese are influential enough to sit at the proverbial table, that diversity hasn’t tricked down to model employment office. This seems to suggest that people of other races are welcome to provide the glitz for a shoot but must never be the one to wear the accessories.

I think about this topic often and it’s become the main focus of my blog because it wasn’t like this when I was growing up and first became enamored with fashion. I still remember the day my English teacher brought in a stack of old ELLE magazines to give away and I got my first taste of it. I spent hours pouring over those images back then. It was superficial and I knew but I didn’t care. It still meant something to me. Seeing the Beverly Peele on the cover of Seventeen when I was in high school back then made me feel good. It made me feel included in that fabulous something even though my bi-level two toned jheri curl was decidedly not happening. Side note: I still haven’t forgiven my mother for making get a jheri curl. I honestly think of it as child abuse.

My fashion jones followed me to college where I always had the latest pictures of Naomi Campbell tacked to my mirror for fierce make up inspiration. But then it seemed, things started to reverse themselves. Instead of marching forward and including larger cross section of ethnicities, fashion started marching backwards. The change was slow but deliberate. Black models became less visible as lighter skinned, more racially ambiguous Brazilian beauties hit the scene. They started dropping off too, save Gisele, in favor of Eastern European models, each new batch even more nondescript than the previous seasons.

Nowadays, when I talk about how it used to be I feel like an old woman rocking on my porch talking about the good ole’ days when they let us colored folk take pretty pictures. Read the Post Vogue Asks “Is Fashion Racist?”