"Being called 'black bitches' wasn’t quite the response two Cornell University graduate students thought they’d get from a professor after arriving at a conference on black intellectuals that he’d invited them to attend.
"The students — both African-American women in Cornell’s Africana Studies and Research Center who have asked that their identities not be made public — got to the event, at the University of Rochester, late. But they still didn’t expect that after their professor, Grant Farred, thanked them for making the unfamiliar two-hour drive, he’d briefly pause and then add, “When you came in, I thought, ‘Who are these black bitches?’ ”
"Sensitively told but unflinching in its determined frankness about several prickly, taboo topics, "La Mission" delves into the emotional thickets of homophobia, ethnic identity, domestic as well as street violence, and generational conflict. Above all, through Valdez's breakout performance in his theatrical film debut, it addresses the potentially difficult passage, en route to self-fulfillment, of a young, gay person belonging to a historically marginalized demographic group."
"I don't believe the black community is more homophobic than white America necessarily, but I think we do have a real obsession with masculinity – we're always correcting our boys for how they walk, talk, hold their hands – even if they cry or not. And when their behavior doesn't replicate 50 Cent, we verbally abuse them and strip away their self-esteem.
"So speaking up for themselves seems to do more harm than good."
"And the West (here, the U.S.) seemed more than happy to overlook its own social shortcomings and issues and use Japan as a forum to work out its own neuroses and fantasies.
"Because the West could always point to things it did not understand and simply say smugly, 'Boy, Japan is so weird! Japanese people are wacky!'"
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