links for 2010-01-31

  • "After he performed “Down” and “Do you remember , Williams exclaimed to her guest, “You are, STUNNING!” She followed up with “You’re exotic and spicy, what is your background??”. Mr. Jhooti let her know that his “heritage” was Indian and immediately clarified that he did not, in fact, live in a “wigwam”, i.e. that he wasn’t THAT kind of Indian."
  • "Japan’s big three beef bowl restaurant chains, the country’s answer to hamburger giants like McDonald’s, are in a price war. It is a sign, many people say, of the dire state of Japan’s economy that even dirt-cheap beef bowl restaurants must slash their already low prices to keep customers. The battle has also come to epitomize a destructive pattern repeated across Japan’s economy. By cutting prices hastily and aggressively to attract consumers, critics say, restaurants decimate profits, squeeze workers’ pay and drive the weak out of business — a deflationary cycle that threatens the nation’s economy. "
  • "One way to give aid to Haiti immediately is to stop slandering and shaming its peoples in the international media. Another is to incorporate the perspectives of Haitians themselves into current news coverage. Let everyday Haitians, not just Wyclef, tell their stories, which are searingly different from Jean’s own. Black stories rarely get told on the evening news because the tellers are not white, educated, color or class privileged enough to influence decisions made by producers and editors. We do, however, hear the opinions of the Pat Robertsons of the world [...]"
  • "In fact, watching some of these films, you might wonder how, in a nation where some are more equal than others, Obama ever even got elected. Could it be that he triumphed because he is himself an embodiment of one of these stereotypes — what some film scholars refer to as the "black saint," or in Spike Lee's blunter term, the "magical negro"? The actor Sidney Poitier typified this figure, playing characters who, as described by Donald Bogle, one of America's leading black cultural critics and author of Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, & Bucks, is "the perfect dream for white liberals anxious to have a colored man in for lunch or dinner."
  • "To do that, Congress must hold food retailers accountable. "Retail redlining," national supermarket chains' practice of avoiding low-income African American and Hispanic areas, forces millions of Americans to rely on convenience stores, liquor stores and corner groceries that push junk food — often at inflated prices. The system is fueled by junk-food makers who pay retailers "slotting fees" to guarantee shelf space, pushing fresh produce and other healthy foods off shelves."
  • "The FBI is investigating a threat scrawled last week on a bathroom wall warning that black students would be killed Feb. 2. It bore the trademarks of just another casual – though chilling – threat of violence on a college campus, but students here aren't taking any chances. At least one subsequent note reading "kill the n——" was (also) reported."