Addicted to Race 108: Remembering Michael Jackson

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Addicted to Race is New Demographic’s podcast about America’s obsession with race. Here’s a rundown of what you’ll find in this episode:

We dedicate this episode to the memory of Michael Jackson and explore the role that race played in his life and career. In what ways did his music break racial barriers? What did the changes in his physical appearance say about his relationship to his racial identity? Carmen Van Kerckhove and Arturo Garcia discuss.

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links for 2009-06-26

Open Thread: Transformers and Race

by Latoya Peterson

Okay, I lied. This isn’t a real open thread as much as it is an announcement.

We’re going to do something on Transformers. Arturo plans to hit the film this weekend, he’ll have a fresh post up early next week.

So thanks for all the tips – we will talk about it officially after Arturo sees the film.

(As an aside, who knew so many Transformers fans read the blog?)

Here’s a quick summary from Yahoo (“Jive-talking twin Transformers raise race issues”)to get the convo rolling for those of you who have seen it or want to comment:

Harmless comic characters or racist robots? The buzz over the summer blockbuster “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” only grew Wednesday as some said two jive-talking Chevy characters were racial caricatures. Skids and Mudflap, twin robots disguised as compact hatchbacks, constantly brawl and bicker in rap-inspired street slang. They’re forced to acknowledge that they can’t read. One has a gold tooth.

As good guys, they fight alongside the Autobots and are intended to provide comic relief. But their traits raise the specter of stereotypes most notably seen when Jar Jar Binks, the clumsy, broken-English speaking alien from “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace,” was criticized as a caricature.

Open Thread: Remembering Michael Jackson


Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

The L.A. Times was the first “mainstream” outlet to confirm the news: Michael Jackson died Thursday afternoon, at the age of fifty.

Jackson’s legacy is at once sublime, sad and at times ridiculous. This was a man who America almost literally saw grow up in the public eye: his rise from being the precocious little brother in the Jackson 5 to the group’s lead songwriter (as The Jacksons) and into his own solo career. And, of course, his descent: the child-molestation accusations; the failed marriages; the skin-lightening treatments; the financial trouble; the drug addiction; and the ignominy of his final compilation album, King of Pop, not even being released in his native U.S.

But – and this is not to forgive or excuse anything he may or may not have done – it’s important to remember that, for a period of time, Jackson was the star in the music industry; Thriller was the album to own, as he became one of, if not the first performer of color to gain and maintain a foothold on MTV. Before “King of Pop” became a marketing slogan, his record sales and subsequent influence upon a generation of musical and dance performers made it a statement of fact. And as much as he might be remembered for the latter years of his life, there can be no doubt that the brightest moments of his early years still shine. Like this performance of “Billie Jean,” taken from the Motown Records 25th Anniversary Special in March 1983. We invite our readers to share their own thoughts in this space.

Love and sex: what’s race got to do with it?

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

A few years ago I was at a conference to deliver a workshop. During the break, a man came up to me and asked me what topic I’d be speaking on.

“Interracial relationships,” I replied.

As soon as the words came out of my mouth, his whole manner changed.

He started leering, and asked me in a low, suggestive tone, “Is this based on personal experience?”

Actually my workshop was all about debunking sexual myths and destroying racial stereotypes. But the minute he heard me say the word “interracial,” all he could think about was sex.

What is it about the combination of race and sex that makes it so explosive? How is race getting in the way of your relationships without you even knowing it? What racial dynamics are driving the unconscious choices you’re making when it comes to your relationships?

I’m going to share that and much more on a FREE CALL happening on Wednesday, July 1, 2009 at 1:00 pm Eastern time.

“Love and Sex:
What’s Race Got to Do With It?”

Sign up to reserve your line for this FREE call today

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

  • What “racial scripts” are and how they influence your interactions with others.
  • Why an increase in the numbers of interracial couples is NOT evidence that racism is declining.
  • What assumptions people are making about you right now based on the race of your partner.
  • How these assumptions can interfere with everything from the friendships you form to your career prospects.
  • Hidden influences you may not even be aware of and what to do about them.

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.

We will record the call, but only people who have registered will receive instructions on how to download the audio recording. So even if you’re not sure if you can make the call live, register now!

This call is a content-rich preview to an exciting new program I’m launching called The Racialicious Experience. If you’re a fan of this blog, you won’t want to miss it! :)

Pink is for Tween Muslimah

by Guest Contributor Alicia, originally published at Muslimah Media Watch

It had to happen sooner or later. With Barbie and now Hannah Montana merchandise dominating the tween to early teenage market in Malaysia, products for young Muslim women in hijab are starting to appear, particularly on the bookshelves. And they look very pink.

The increasing pinkness of girl’s books can be directly connected to the uninterrupted rise of a global consumerist culture that worships Hollywood celebrity culture in Malaysia; from businesses that name themselves after American cities for prestige to the local edition of Cosmopolitan magazine that represents the arbiter of modern Malaysian female sexuality. And by following the lead of Barbie and Hello Kitty manufacturers’ lucrative use of the color pink, local book publishers do the same to gain a monopoly on young female readers.

Of course pinkness would not be complete without princesses. I’d like to point out here that although princesses have long been present in Malaysia, both in reality and in legend, none looks strikingly similar to a Disney princess as the female protagonist in Azian Aiman’s Sayalah Puteri Raja! (I’m the Princess Here!). Causing the most concern for me is its depiction of princesses as celebrities and objects of female envy, as revealed on the back of the book:

Zara steps out of the car and waves to a crowd that screams her name.

“Princess Zara! Princess Zara!”
“Oh, how beautiful she is! How wonderful it would be to be just like you, your highness!”
“I want to be like Princess Zara!”

A cacophony of screams fill the already chaotic air. Is she witnessing a mass hysteria? Zara cannot hide her excitement at being the object of worship.

Continue reading

Timing Is Everything: Nicolas Sarkozy Defends Women’s Rights by Restricting Them

by Special Correspondent Wendi Muse

I must open this piece by stating that as someone who believes in equality between men and women, I would not be happy if my country or my religion or my culture told me I must dress or look differently from my male peers. I am not happy when it happens in any country, including my own, the United States. When I turn on the television and hear stories of women spending countless dollars to look like a certain celebrity or see magazines marketed toward women that encourage them to do, act, or look a certain way to garner more male attention, whereas men participate far less  frequently in this charade, I am disgusted.

So when Afghanistan was the country of the moment leading up to the September 11th attacks and America’s subsequent response, I recall feeling angry every time I saw a woman in a burqa on television. My gut response was one tempered by the typical Western media approach to more conservative aspects of Islam. “Why must these women wear something covering every inch of their bodies, while men are left to dress according to their very whim?” I tried to put myself in these women’s shoes, knowing I would be incredibly angry if I went from wearing clothing I chose on my own to being forced to adhere to a new government policy that dictated my very move, even down to my personal style.I would feel trapped, limited, removed, alienated. I would feel separated from my former self, as I use my clothing and style to reflect my personality and my mood. Most of all, I would feel different, and ultimately inferior to the male peers with whom I was once, more or less, visually equal.

Yet now, as the burqa has resurfaced again in the Western media, my opinion has changed. Continue reading

Racialicious is going to Comic-Con!

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García


It’s official: yours truly will be part of the press corps at fandom’s biggest media expo – San Diego Comic-Con.

The full schedule isn’t out yet, but already on my agenda are:

* The panel showcasing The Last Airbender
* The “smaller” panel for the show that built a Roundtable, Heroes
* I’ll be doing my damndest to track down and talk to POC talent and fandom
* Usually there’s a POC-specific panel during the weekend, so I’ll be there, as well.

Anybody else going? Perhaps we can do a get-together, show LDP and the 212 crew how a meet-up can be done with a West Coast style, hmmmm?