Not Ready For Prime Time: The Racialicious Review of Chocolate News

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García, also posted at The Instant Callback

In mining the Daily Show and Colbert Report styles for new material, David Alan Grier is, unfortunately for him, showing his age more than his experience with Chocolate News.

Credit is due DAG, of course, for even having his own show right now: his nearly 30-year career spans stage, film, stand-up, sitcoms and, of course, sketch comedy. The problem is, instead of showcasing his range, he’s relying on the same tropes and mannerisms that characterized his work on the dearly departed In Living Color. “Girth Of A Nation”? That’s the ILC Black History sketches, retreaded more than remixed for this new generation of fans.

The show’s other “reports” suffer from the same lack of relevancy. “Wigga Rehab”? John McCain’s “Cleaner”? “Fat Black Mama Syndrome”? To borrow a phrase, Hated It! This stuff is more played out than the 3 Snaps Up, and shows a serious lack of juice. Dave Chappelle would have been able to put Tyler Perry into the FBM sketch. Continue reading

Links – 2008-10-31

Sad news for Jennifer Hudson – her mother and brother were murdered; the shooting has been categorized as domestic violence. An Amber alert has been issued for Hudson’s nephew, Julian King.

Stereohyped reports on an ING survey that states black women give away too much of their income.

Transgriot points our attention to the story of Cindy Thai Tai, “the most famous transgender person” in Vietnam.

Racewire brings news of a new project by Josefina Lopez:

You probably know the Chicana feminist Josefina Lopez as the writer behind the play that went on to become the hit movie Real Women Have Curves starring America Ferrera. [...]

Her new play Trios Los Machos chronicles the lives and friendships of three men who first meet during World War II as guest workers under the bracero program.

As young men, Nacho, Paco and Lalo suffer the humiliations of being sprayed with DDT before being sent to work the fields. They find refuge in the music of Trio Los Panchos and start their own band, singing for the other braceros and embarking on careers as musicians.

Raquel Cepeda publishes an interesting article in the Villiage Voice on how “The N-Word is Flourishing Among Generation Hip-Hop Latinos”:

With Nas threatening to name his latest album Nigga (he relented, eventually, but most fans still call it that anyway) a few months ago, and iconic Latino artists from the authentic urban native Fat Joe to one of my favorite internationalists, Immortal Technique, still flinging it about freely, the word, its meaning, and our sense of who can and cannot use it still dominates public conversation. The palpable racial tension that’s been rearing its head this historic presidential election, the subject of race and who is truly considered black or white in this black-and-white race, is something Latinos need to pay attention to. For many of us, especially those of Caribbean descent who make up a sizable chunk of New York Latinos, race should matter, and so should that one particular word.

Personal feelings, premonitions, and politics aside, I took the two young boys’ exchange as an interesting opportunity, an exercise in thinking about Afro-Latino identity in an unlikely way: through a hip-hop lens. Aside from the fact that we’re in the thick of a predominantly Dominican enclave (for now) in our beloved Uptown Manhattan, and the first guy I’d overheard wore an oversized white T-shirt emblazoned with our motherland’s flag, homeboy could’ve passed for an African-American man on any other stretch of blocks stateside. By comparison, his comrade looked more like Fat Joe’s skinnier brother, with light eyes and pale skin. Was it OK, or more OK, for the darker-skinned kid to use the term?

Introducing Our Newest Special Correspondent!

by Latoya Peterson

Netizens of Racialicious, I would like to present our newest correspondent – Arturo R. García! Arturo will be joining the team to primarily cover television and trends. I asked Arturo for a bio, and in typical Arturo fashion, he took the assignment and ran with it – so enjoy this mock interview:

… Let’s get back to the introductory press conference for Racialicious’ newest Special Correspondent, Arturo R. García, already in progress:

What does “Ni de Aquí, Ni de Alla” mean to you?
“Not from here, nor from there.” Pretty much the story of my life. Growing up bilingual in Mexico isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Sure, we all got taught English in school, but for whatever reason I spoke it “too well.” Add in the thick glasses and thicker hair – seriously, I used to need a haircut every month or I’d turn into a 5’3 Dr. J – and I understand why kids looked at me as if I were an … uh, maybe “alien” isn’t the best word.

But that improved when you moved to the U.S., right?
Overall, yes. For instance, I don’t know if I’d have been in the right place to get tuned into sites like Racialicious if I hadn’t had the experiences I had here.

Quit sucking up, man, you got the job.
No, really! I mean, when you’re listening to Maldita Vecindad at a Hispanic job fair and a Mexican kid tells you, “That’s not Mexican music,” that makes you think. When a Mexican co-worker tells you, “You know, I always thought you were a pocho,” you have to start asking questions. And when a white co-worker tells you to take off your watch before covering a funeral for a Mexican by saying, “Mexicans don’t wear that stuff,” you need to find people who can connect to those experiences, because otherwise you want to rip your hair out that all this sort of stuff still goes on. And I don’t know if staying in Mexico would have led me down that road.

So, where has the road led you?
I’ve worked in print and television journalism and currently work in Spanish-language commercial radio. I spent six years as part of the Rocky Horror scene, including founding one performance troupe in Kansas, of all places. Besides bringing some snark to Racialicious, I currently host my own blog, The Instant Callback, which, to be perfectly honest, I’m still trying to hone into something equal parts Dear Diary and Multimedia Superstore. And I’m developing two podcasts that would start early next year.

Anything else we need to know?
I’m an unabashedly loudmouthed geek, and I know full well what I’m walking into here, and plan to step it up accordingly.

Please join me in welcoming Arturo to the team!

take back the halloween!

by special correspondent Thea Lim

Thanks to the Toronto Asian Arts Freedom School for helping me figure out just why I have a hard time with Halloween, and for allowing me to share our strategies with Racialicious!

white rasta

I’m a Halloween party pooper. I do a dismal job of dressing up. My last costume consisted of a baseball hat with googly eyes and mouse ears. I’ve only given out candy once. Some years I’ve even hidden upstairs in the dark, ashamed of my lack of candy, pumpkin and sense of fun.

I’ve always felt like a bit of a jerk for not participating in the festivities. It doesn’t come that naturally to me – I spent most of my childhood in a country where Halloween wasn’t really celebrated, except as a club night. But since I moved back to North America 8 years ago, Halloween has seemed more like an obligation than a party zone, and every year I fail to rise to the challenge.

A year ago a new friend pointed out to me something that Angry Asian Man nicely illustrated on this here blog a few weeks ago: Halloween is not just a time to wear fake blood and fishnets, it’s also…racist!

white mexican

Mainstream North American culture likes to define itself as cultureless, but Halloween is a very cultural practice. Not only is it a little weird (Just look at it from the point of view of an outsider. Send your kids out to strangers’ houses and tell them to ask for candy? Decorate your house like a graveyard? Dress up like a sexy version of a public health worker?) it is also based on difference – the point of Halloween is to dress up as “something different.” So how do people who are often made to feel visually different – you know, like people of colour – experience Halloween? The average Halloween costume tells us a lot about what we culturally consider to be abnormal.

Continue reading

It’s Latin For “Meh”: The Racialicious Review of Heroes 3.7

by Guest Contributor Arturo R. García, also posted at The Instant Callback

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

Heroes is, at its heart, a family drama that deals with two main families in particular, the Bennet family and the Petrelli family.”

– Series creator Tim Kring, as quoted in Entertainment Weekly.

“Eris Quod Sum,” the series’ first episode since that unfortunate statement by Kring was published, inched things along for members of both families, but really, the episode just moved sideways. Is the show banking on another big finale to save its season? How are we to feel about the series’ other Heroes? More on that later.

This week’s best development was the prospect of a double-cross contest between the increasingly “good” Sylar/Gabriel and Mr. Petrelli. While breaking the de-powered Peter out of the Pinehearst facility at the urging of their mother, Gabe is detained by Arthur for a father-long-lost-son heart-to-heart, during which, we’re told, he revealed Mrs. Petrelli’s Deep Dark Secret.

When Peter later urges his new bro to “just kick his ass,” however, Sylar demurs, standing right by Papa P. and hurling Pete out of a seventh-story window. How does the mundane Peter stay alive? Looks like Sylar protected him, freeing his brother while he went undercover with Team Pinehearst. Hopefully this leads to a Lionel/Lex Luthor-like duel of wills between the newest Petrelli and the oldest. Hell, the show’s cribbed enough from the X-Men; why not throw some Smallville in? And can we get a side order of Buffy with that? What’s Principal Wood up to these days? Continue reading

Pelosi Suggests Permanent U.S. Slave Class

by Guest Contributor Nezua, originally published at The Unapologetic Mexican

AS SADDENED AND CYNICAL as I have become about humankind in my life, I still nurture a belief in the human heart and the sense of Right. I still feel that in most cases of wrong being done, all it takes is thinking, feeling people getting the real facts of a situation. And the facts of this situation are shocking and revolting to a thinking mind and feeling heart.

Buried in the final paragraphs of this article*, the Democratic Speaker of the House offers the LA Times a shocking idea: That millions of immigrants now in the USA—who are currently a deeply-enmeshed part of our commerce and communities—might be relegated to a permanent status of neither citizenship or deportee. What is left after you strike those two possibilities? As Duke said, an indentured class.

The estimated 12 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally “are part of the U.S. economy. We cannot send them all home, and we cannot send them all to jail, so we have to address it,” Pelosi said.

Any solution would have to be bipartisan, she said, so it may require sacrificing some of Democrats’ past priorities, such as giving illegal immigrants a path to citizenship.

“Maybe there never is a path to citizenship if you came here illegally,” Pelosi said. “I would hope that there could be, but maybe there isn’t.”

Pelosi says Congress unlikely to approve tax rebate before President Bush leaves office

DREAMactivist points out right away that many New Americans (migrants/immigrants) were in fact brought here. So what does Pelosi’s quote mean in that context? If the immigrant in question didn’t “Come here illegally,” but is a child who was brought here illegally? Does Nancy Pelosi believe that the child should then be relegated to detention? An indentured status? Permanent US Guest Worker in the Land of the Free? Continue reading

On Opposite Sides of the Immigration Debate

by Latoya Peterson

My friend Hae and I have been good friends for about four years. As an aesthete, Hae’s life tends to revolve around art and pop culture, both here and in Asia.* She is not a politically motivated person, so until we were sitting in traffic one day, I had no idea where her political beliefs fell.

The car in front of us had a bumper sticker that annoyed me, something that managed to convey support of erecting a border fence and insult Latinos in two short lines.

I sucked my teeth. When Hae asked why, I pointed out the sticker, and expressed how pissed I was at the sentiment. After all, in my opinion, the border fence is just an expensive (and ultimately ineffective) expression of ignorance. A porous border is not just a matter of physical obstacles. And tossing up a band-aid solution instead of identifying the other issues at play with immigration just seems like a waste of time. Not to mention the thinly veiled racism that often swirls around concerns about “illegals” invading the country.

“So, what, you support people coming over here illegally?” Hae asked me incredulously. She then launched into a mini-tirade about the overall unfairness of a system that would allow people to cross the border and in essence “skip the line” to immigrate to America. Since I can count on one hand the times I’ve seen Hae worked up about something, I was a bit taken aback by her strong feelings on the matter.

However, after further examination, I realized where we had experienced a bit of political disconnect.

We can chalk that up to different life experiences. Continue reading