By Thea Lim Toi Derricotte is one of the founders of the retreat for black…
Month: June 2010
by Latoya Peterson I’m here at Silverdocs, liveblogging this panel on Building Community through Technology.…
By Guest Contributor Fiqah, originally published at Possum Stew
I recently had the pleasure of visiting New Orleans for the very first time. Having grown up in South Florida, the city by the river was intriguing, but not as big a draw for me as the metropolises that grace the Eastern seaboard. Going to New Orleans – with its similar swamps, oppressive torpor, casual appropriation of local Native American culture, and alligator jerky – sounded about as appealing as hanging out with a rowdy, sweaty cousin. However, years of being regaled with tales of every manner of fun that could be had in the Big Easy had intrigued me. NO ONE comes home without an epic anecdote. More than one jaded and well-travelled New Yorker in my circle got that faraway look in their eyes talking about New Orleans. My recent desire to explore the regional diversity of Southern cultures (I blame True Blood) and shake off some one-horse-town dust pretty much sealed the deal. So, with a deep breath and a few mouse clicks, I was ready to go.
And New Orleans didn’t disappoint. From the start, I was smitten: by the architecture, the streetcars, the museums, the sweetness of the regional drawl, the overpriced souvenir shops, the heavenly food, the decidedly French celebration of debauchery, and (sweet merciful McGillicutty!) the take away cup. By the second day of my trip I was calculating moving and living expenses. (Really. I was.) These were the thoughts that danced merrily in my little tourist head as I strolled down Chartres Street on my way from viewing the grounds of the Saint Louis Cathedral. I was feeling better than I had in weeks, maybe even months. So I was most unprepared to meet one resident of New Orleans who I would not soon forget.
This is Nola Mae.
by Latoya Peterson Liveblogging Asheru’s presentation. He is currently freestyling the Boondocks theme song. Yes,…
By guest contributor Macon D., originally published at Stuff White People Do
Most of the time, I’m like just about everyone else in at least one way — I don’t much care who occupies the position of “Alabama Agricultural Commissioner.” In fact, I didn’t even know such a position exists. But then I saw a couple of ads for Dale Peterson, a current GOP candidate for Alabama Ag Commish. Peterson’s ads immediately register as very, very “white” to me, and now I’m trying to count the ways.
Among the most obvious appeals to conservative white voters here is the nostalgic evocation of the Independent (White) Cowboy Myth. If you say “cowboy” to most white Americans, they’ll immediately think of a hat-wearing, horse-riding white man. And yet, as Mel at BroadSnark explains (in a post on “White America’s Existential Identity Crisis”), real cowboys weren’t actually all that white, nor all that independent:
There is a certain segment of the American population that really believes in the American foundational myths. They identify with them. They believe that America was built by a handful of white, Christian, men with exceptional morals. Their America is the country that showed the world democracy, saved the Jews in World War II, and tore down the Berlin wall.
These people have always fought changes to their mythology. They have always resented those of us who pushed to complicate those myths with the realities of slavery, Native American genocide, imperial war in the Philippines, invasions of Latin American countries, and secret arms deals.
And we have been so busy fighting them to have our stories and histories included in the American story that we sometimes forget why the myths were invented in the first place.
No myth illustrates the slight of hand behind our national mythology quite like the myth of the cowboy. In this mythology, the cowboy is a white man. He is a crusty frontiersman taming the west and paving the way for civilization. He is the good guy fighting the dangerous Indian. He is free and independent. He is in charge of his own destiny.
Peterson’s follow-up ad is even, um . . . better? Read the Post Stuff White People Do: Pose In Cowboy Drag