“Have the last 64 days been a relatively colorblind time?

by Guest Contributor Tami, originally published at What Tami Said

What, Ann Compton? This reminds me of all those times that I have met someone who wants to appear all egalitarian and unbiased and unfazed by my black self, but then reaches to find random “black” topics to discuss with me, clearly illustrating that my race is top of mind. (My favorite such conversation, at a work dinner eons ago: “Hey, have you seen that new show ’24?’ Yeah, they have a black president on there. I thought that was really interesting…that they have a black president.” Okay…)

Ann Compton’s question seemed the equivalent to one of those eye-rolling conversations. (You can tell the Prez thinks so, too. Just look at his face as she’s asking it.) When every citizen is talking about the economy, wondering if they can keep their homes, wondering if they will keep their jobs, wondering if they can send the kids to college, wondering if they can retire, Compton stands before POTUS and all the world and basically says, “You’re black…and the president. Yeah, I think that’s really interesting.”

Worse than the subject matter of the question is the fact that it was vague and unanswerable. How can President Obama know how other world leaders perceive him? And, is it me, or was there an assumption in Compton’s question that other world leaders are not “of color.”

Ann Compton, Chuck Todd, Ed Henry–the ineptitude of the corp at last night’s presser was maddening and Obama’s deft and intelligent handling of the event made participating journalists look even more deficient in comparison. Sweet fancy Moses! Having a smartypants president sure highlights the failures of the modern Fourth Estate.

Will I see you on Wednesday?

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

I’m so excited at the amazing response we’ve had for my BIG call next week! Here’s a brand-new video I just posted in which I share more about what you’ll learn on the call.

Remember: this FREE, ONE-TIME-ONLY CALL is happening on Wednesday, April 8, 2009 at 5:00 pm Eastern time…

“The 5 Secrets You Must Know
to Implement a Successful Diversity Strategy
and Win the Respect of Your Organization”

On this lively, information-packed 60-minute call, you’ll learn:

  • The 3 worst self-sabotaging behaviors that get in the way of your own success (and how to avoid them)
  • 5 key strategies you can use to implement real, lasting changes when it comes to diversity at your organization
  • 3 quick and easy methods to start positioning yourself as your organization’s in-house diversity expert

Whether you’re the Chief Diversity Officer or simply a volunteer in your organization’s diversity employee networking group, you won’t want to miss this teleseminar.

The call is chock-full of specific information that will show you exactly why you’re not getting the results you want. Then, I’ll give you the resources to change that around so that you can win your colleagues’ respect and trust, and gain the influence you need to implement real, lasting change.

You know by now that I’m not going to waste your time by giving you fluff information.

So, won’t you join me?

Reserve your line for this FREE teleseminar now!

Limited lines are available for this call, so you’ll want to make sure you reserve your spot right away.

Just click the link above, enter your information in the boxes on the page, and you’ll receive the complete call details via email.

Apparently, “Slanty Eyes” Photos are The New Pink

by Guest Contributor Jenn Fang, originally published at Reappropriate

A few months back, Miley Cyrus (a Disney Channel ingenue better known for pop-star alter ego, Hannah Montanah, whom she transforms into by donning a blonde wig — wait, isn’t that the storyline of the Jem cartoon?) raised a blogosphere uproar for this picture of her (centre) at a party where she and her friends pulled their eyes back in a ludicrous “imitation” of slanted Asian eyes.

miley slant eyes

The Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) released a statement criticizing Cyrus.

The photograph of Miley Cyrus and other individuals slanting their eyes currently circulating the Internet is offensive to the Asian Pacific American community and sets a terrible example for her many young fans. This image falls within a long and unfortunate history of people mocking and denigrating individuals of Asian descent.

“Not only has Miley Cyrus and the other individuals in the photograph encouraged and legitimized the taunting and mocking of people of Asian descent, she has also insulted her many Asian Pacific American fans,” said George Wu, executive director of OCA.


Cyrus issued an official apology
, but also wrote on her blog that she was only “making goofy faces” and was not intentionally “making fun of any ethnicity”. Clearly, Cyrus did not fully grasp the context of her “goofy face” — yellowface makeup, including prosthetics that have purposely slanted eyes have been used in historical and contemporary media to disguise White actors as villainous or buffoonish Asian caricatures.

In the mid-1960’s, British actor Christopher Lee wore yellow makeup and invisible tape on his eyes to portray the insidious Dr. Fu Manchu, an infamous character who originated many of today’s modern anti-Asian stereotypes. (Inset shows Lee today, without makeup).
christopher lee fu manchu

Continue reading

Open Thread: On Language and Terms

by Latoya Peterson

So I noticed that one of the themes discussed on Joe’s Look Twice post focused around his use of certain terms. Specifically the words bitch and son of a bitch.

This isn’t the first post on Racialicious to spark some controversy over use of language. A while back, Fatemeh’s post on Halloween costumes prompted criticism for her use of the word slutty. I’ve had criticism leveled at me for using the words heifer and calling myself The Editrix.

Now, I understand the criticisms. But I’m coming at this from a slightly different perspective. So I am wondering…

1. Where in this is the author’s right to relate a story as they see fit?

2. At what point do the words used in the source piece encourage/discourage certain types of dialogue in the comments section? (For example, I’ve deleted scores of misogynistic comments [from men and women] on the Ciara piece and on the Esther Ku piece – though neither of those posts contained the type of gendered language that normally prompts an outcry.)

3. Is it possible for a place designed to encourage conversation to also be a safe space?

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency [Racialicious Review]

by Latoya Peterson

On Sunday night, I sat down to watch the premiere of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency after catching two or three specials on the making of the series while browsing HBO.

Now, let me just put this out there: I approached the series with some trepidation. First, I have never read the books. The novels, written by Alexander McCall Smith, are generally well received but knock up against some very strong views I hold about the narrative and stories of people of color. Since the voices of both women and PoCs tend to be marginalized in mainstream publishing, I try to seek out and support authors who would not otherwise be heard. So, instead of buying McCall Smith’s story about a woman from Botswana, I’d rather track down a book written by a woman from Botswana. I’ve written about this before in White Authors, Ethnic Characters and fleshed out my thoughts about times when it goes right and times when it goes wrong, but have decided to err on the side of supporting smaller authors (and smaller publishing houses).

However, the series was tempting to me from the get-go, as I love Jill Scott and like to support her work. In addition, the series is on HBO with a predominantly black cast in a time when diversity on television declines with each passing year.

Jill Scott
stars as Precious Ramotswe, a kind hearted “woman of traditional build” with a penchant for mysteries and bush tea. Anika Noni Rose is Grace Makutsi, Precious’ quirky secretary. Lucian Msamati (J. L. B.Matekoni) and Desmond Dube (B K) round out the cast. Continue reading

No, Really, We’re Okay Now!: The Racialicious Review For Heroes 4.8

ep8title

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García
Also Posted At The Instant Callback

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

angelapeterAre people’s expectations really that low for this show anymore?

Going into this week’s episode, the word seemed to be good from my friends: “Heroes ftw” one said on twitter; “we’re on an upswing,” another told me this morning. Really?

I didn’t even mind that this was a placeholder episode; everybody needs those, I get that. But Sylar and Dudley DoWrong playing Law & Order: Superhuman Unit to track down a fugitive shapeshifter was by far the most effective plot in “Into Asylum,” which in itself was nothing more than passable.

Not to say that our latest installment of As The Petrellis Turn didn’t have bright spots: Cristine Rose and Milo Ventimiglia each showed some more welcome shades of humanity in Angela and Peter, respectively; and best of all, no Mexicans were harmed in the filming of the Claire-Bear Goes To Mexico sequences.

Claire3In fact, Claire was downright clever in using her regenerative powers to swindle a spring-drunk American coed out of his drinking money. But the ensuing reconciliation between herself and Nathan just felt hollow, because if there’s one thing we’ve learned about this family – and Angela herself copped to this in her confessional – it’s that these folks are always gonna make the wrong choice.

Continue reading

The Divine Nine And Transpeeps – A Long Road Of Understanding Still To Travel

by Guest Contributor Monica Roberts, originally published at Transgriot

blacksororityshields

I was checking out the recent story of transman Devin Alston-Smith and the drama that ensued between him and his local Zeta chapter.

It made me recall a March 2007 post I wrote in which I asked the question are the Divine Nine frats and sororities ready to accept qualified transgender people into their ranks.

Judging by some of the negative responses posted in the comment thread of that story, there’s a lot of Trans 101 education that needs to happen with some peeps in the Black Greek Letter Organization (BGLO) world. But before y’all start bumrushing the comment threads assuming I’m going to defend Devin, hear me out first.

I and many of my transsisters and transbrothers have much love, respect, and admiration for the history, traditions and the historic roles that BGLO’s have played in uplifting our race and shaping our communities. I have female family members, female friends and my late godmother who are proud members of their respective historic Black sororities. I look up to them and many of the women in these organizations as role models in terms of my own Black feminine evolution.

But what happened to Devin wasn’t cool, nor is Devin off the hook either. It’s called Zeta Phi Beta SORORITY, Inc. for a reason, and there is the reasonable expectation that if you’re going to pledge ZPB or any sorority you at least be female bodied.

I’m Monday morning quarterbacking here at this point, so I don’t know what Devin’s state of mind was at the time he was asked to pledge or any of the other stuff that went on outside of what’s documented in the article. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, there are hurt feelings and misunderstandings, and ZPB will handle their business as always and sort things out.

But if Devin was contemplating transition, there were two bigger considerations here besides himself, the organization and the transgender community. Continue reading