While you were away: a quick round-up of everything we published over the holiday season

Just in case you were too busy partying to visit us, here’s a quick roundup of almost everything we published over the past two weeks, in (mostly) chronological order.

We have some new readers.  Some of the older readers have been forgetting the spirit in which we maintain this board.  So, here are some reminders about the comments:

If you are not here to talk about both race and pop culture, you should not be here.

If you are not here to share and learn from people of different backgrounds, you should not be here.

Stop playing the Oppression Olympics.

When whites fantasize about becoming other races, it’s only fun if they can blithely ignore the fundamental experience of being an oppressed racial group. Which is that you are oppressed, and nobody will let you be a leader of anything.

Of all the varieties of irritating comment out there, the absolute most annoying has to be “Why can’t you just watch the movie for what it is??? Why can’t you just enjoy it? Why do you have to analyze it???”…If you have posted such a comment, or if you are about to post such a comment, here or anywhere else, let me just advise you: Shut up…when we analyze art, when we look for deeper meaning in it, we are enjoying it for what it is.

Jeff Yang and I had a long (think two hours) conversation about the Princess and the Frog…But what stood out to Jeff the most upon viewing the film wasn’t racial politics.  It was conservatism, which he writes about a bit on his blog.

If you were to read “100% Cablinasian” outside of the context of Racialicious and outside of the context of my writing, it propagates stereotypes about black folks. That’s unacceptable, and that’s why I am writing about Tiger Woods again…

There are two problems with painting Woods’ philandering as being about blackness:
Problem 1): Doing so effaces Woods’ mixedness
Problem 2): Doing so reduces black folks to gross stereotypes.

I raised Problem 1, but I didn’t raise Problem 2, which is this: using Woods’ behaviour to talk about how all black folks think about relationships, is inherently stupid. Black folks are not a monolith, black folks obviously have a vast range of ideas about Woods’ identity (if they have any at all), and black folks have a vast range of ideas about Woods’ philandering, if they have any at all.

I didn’t speak to Problem 2, because that’s not what I wanted to write about. I realise now that was a big mistake…

While I made a lot of mistakes in “100% Cablinasian,” I said some things that I still stand by…my issue is not that all mixed race people should be seen as mixed race. It is that mixed race people should have the right to self-identify. So, if a mixed race person of black parentage wants to be seen as black, we should call ‘em that. If a mixed race person of black heritage wants to be seen as Cablinasian, they should be seen as that. If a mixed race person of white parentage wants to be seen as white, we should call them that…

While some people view Tiger’s fetish for whiteness and see black internalised racism, as a mixed race person I recognise a pattern of anguish typical to mixed race people in a racist culture: a hyper-consciousness of how others perceive your looks and appearance; imposter paranoia – the constant anxiety that others’ affection for you is based on racial qualities you don’t actually possess; and an unshakeable feeling that you are never enough of anything.

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Rise of the Hot Jewish Girl? Details Continues the Objectification

by Latoya Peterson


Reader Ilana tipped us to this Details article back in December – sadly it got lost in the holiday shuffle. But wow, is this article a winner:

Cheerleaders. Five-inch heels. Big, natural boobs. Those are merely the most obvious sexual fixations most men have, but there’s another undeniable one: ladies of the tribe. It seems that America can’t get enough smoking-hot Semitic tush lately.

In a recent poll on the porn blog Fleshbot, “Jewish girls” ranked second among kinks (the winner: “freckles”). Jewesses aren’t just the rage in the triple-X realm, either: They’re seducing goyim on Mad Men and Glee and giving movie geeks conniptions over reports of JILF-on-JILF action between Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis in Darren Aronofsky’s upcoming Black Swan.

That Jewish women have become the ethnic fetish du jour is all the more remarkable given that Jews represent a truly tiny minority (2.2 percent) of the U.S. population. In recent years, God’s chosen menfolk have been objects of affection, too, though they draw their appeal from cuddly schlubbiness, not sexual energy—consider Judd Apatow’s all-Jewish Frat Pack (Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill, Jason Segel, et al.). But unlike their funnyman brothers, Jewish girls have had to overcome the old stinging JAP stereotype of frigidity, whininess, and big hair.

Recently, however, the Fran Drescher rep has given way to a more smoldering image. Think cultural mutts like Rachel Weisz, Emmanuelle Chriqui, and Rachel Bilson—women who have little in common beyond sultriness and Star of David necklaces.

Hmm…embracing fetishization, references to pornography, reduction to body parts, desexualizing/hypersexualizing different genders, referencing stereotypes and plans for assimilation – I got BINGO! (Seriously, can someone make a race/gender bingo card please?) The worst bit?  That was the first four paragraphs of a three page article.

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A Broken System, Part I: Unconstitutional

by Guest Contributor CVT, originally published at Choptensils


What aspect of U.S. life wraps all the forms of oppression and inequality into one tidy little package? What system successfully keeps women, people of color, LGBT, religious minorities, people with disabilities, and people in poverty “in their place” more effectively than any other? Why, the education system, of course. And as a teacher and writer on all things unequal, it’s high-time I start specifically addressing education (in the States, and abroad). So I bring to you the first of a multi-part CVT special: A Broken System, Part I: Unconstitutional. Enjoy.

“Separate but equal” is inherently unequal. So what about “separate and unequal“?

This post is a long-delayed response to the ongoing situation at South Philadelphia High* and the U.S. public school system, in general; and it goes something like this:

We all know that the public school system in the U.S. is a problem. We all know that public schools in the richer areas of big cities, or in the suburbs, are drastically better than those in poorer areas of the country (whether rural or urban). This is not something that anybody would refute. We also know that, in many poor, urban schools, the student population is heavily skewed towards students of color. In those schools, we are also aware that race-related violence is a part of everyday life. We know that many of these schools use large portions of their federal and state money on security measures, as opposed to education.

So let’s take a look at this logically; summed up, we all know that a disproportionate number of students of color are in inferior schools with major impediments to receiving a decent education. Hmmm . . . and last time I checked, I recall reading that schools are getting more racially segregated over time. Sounds like “separate but unequal” to me. Continue reading

Quoted: Zoe Saldana on Race, Gender, and Star Trek


You’re playing a black ops soldier in the adaptation of the graphic novel The Losers, out in April. Do you enjoy roles that require you to run around and shoot a gun?

Zoe Saldana: Like you wouldn’t believe. It turns me on in a way that I shouldn’t be saying. It’s not the guns that turn me on, though—it’s seeing women in a commanding position. It’s boring to always play the victim. [In sobbing victim's voice] “Rape me! I’ll have your child!” Eff that! Why don’t you have my baby and wait at home while I go kill some motherfuckers? [Laughs.] It’s just very empowering. I just want to play roles that, in some way or another, resemble the kind of person that I am, the kind of things that I’m attracted to.

So what sort of roles won’t you play?

Zoe Saldana: I have a hard time accepting roles that typecast a culture. I don’t need to play Juana, the prostitute from Washington Heights, in every movie. If it’s been done before, you don’t need my help. Latinos, we’re not all pimps or prostitutes, we don’t all deal drugs; not everyone in Jamaica smokes weed; not every Middle Easterner is a terrorist. It’s boring, offensive, and hurtful. I’m not bitter about it, I’m just saying that I would like to retain accuracy of certain cultures. Some people will do these roles, but I’m fine with being poor. [...]

OK, we know you signed a non-disclosure agreement, but can you tell us any secrets about Star Trek 2?

Zoe Saldana: [Laughs.] I did make one request to J.J., which was that I really wanted my character to kick some ass, so he said he’s going to think about that. Just so you know, you guys aren’t the only ones in the dark when it comes to J.J. He’ll hold a surprise up until the last minute, even with the people that he’s working with.

—”For the Uncompromising Zoe Saldana, Hollywood is a Battlefield,” Complex Magazine, January 2010

(Image Credit: Suede Magazine)

Defending Mr Wasabi

By Guest Contributor lisa, originally published at Sociological Images

Kirsti McG. sent us her correspondence with the manufacturer of these:

Kirsti, who saw these on the grocery store shelves in Scotland, wrote to complain that the company mascot, Mr. Wasabi, “pack[s] together practically every stereotype about East Asians possible, from wooden toe sandals to buck teeth to samurai swords to kung fu…” (check out the website to see him animated).

Kirsti got a letter back castigating her for daring to be offended by the character.  They told her that hers was the only complaint they’d ever received (implying that she was crazy or over-sensitive) and that she was trying to make them into an “enemy.”

They also used the “some of my friends are Asian” response, explaining:

we have been cooperating with the Asian manufacturing company for 4 years, we have a registered company in Thailand and Japan in a different line of business, and everybody is delighted with Mr. Wasabi and the branding. It goes so far that the manufacturer has asked us permission to use the branding in their own markets in Cambodia and, hold your breath, Japan.

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