links for 2010-08-26

  • "Building off of new research that warns against carelessly lumping all Asian Americans together, Bouie writes: [Researchers] find that Asian Americans 'face crucial disadvantages preventing them from receiving quality health care taken for granted by other, more culturally assimilated Americans.' That we don’t notice those disadvantages owes itself to the prevalence of the 'model minority' myth."
  • "'I think that this incident should be viewed as a warning that should be heeded,' said Edina Lekovic, communications director for the Muslim Public Affairs Council. 'The hateful rhetoric that is being spewed by people like Newt Gingrich and then being amplified by mainstream media outlets poses a grave danger to the safety and well-being of everyday Muslim Americans like this cab driver, an innocent person.'"
  • "That complex, intertwined relationship has been mirrored in pop music. The involvement of Jewish Americans in African-American music has been well documented (perhaps too much so), from Tin Pan Alley through jazz and rock to hip-hop. The flipside of black artists exploring Jewish musical culture has been less discussed, but a new exhibit at the Contemporary Jewish Museum aims to change that. "Black Sabbath: The Secret Musical History of Black-Jewish Relations" shines a revealing light on this relationship. Presented by the Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation, a self-described group of "record-collecting dumpster divers" who aim to reexamine Jewish-American history by showcasing sometimes long-forgotten music, the exhibit makes a fascinating display of the influence of Jewish and Yiddish culture on black popular music of the 20th century."
  • "Budgets tended to fare worse in districts with a large number of white voters and a large number of nonwhite students. And in the four districts in the state where the majority of registered voters are white and nonwhite students make up the majority of the school population, the budgets were defeated.

    "Still, sociologists say the outcome suggests the possibility of a growing demographic divide over public policy — school spending, in particular — that has been identified elsewhere in the country between an older, white electorate and a population of voters who are younger and members of minority groups."

Table For Two: A look at Burn Notice

By Andrea (AJ) Plaid and Arturo R. García

Arturo: On occasion, Andrea and I will catch up via Google Chat on this, that and the other. And as it happens,we got to talking about a shared favorite show, Burn Notice.

If you don’t follow the show, here’s the premise: The Adventures of Unemployed James Bond, with a side of Bruce Wayne Angst for the protagonist, Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan), who does the whole A-Team “help those who can’t help themselves” thing while figuring out who and how he lost his job as a spy. Assisting him are his not-really-an-ex-girlfriend Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar), professional kept man Sam (Bruce Campbell, chewing scenery like Sam drinks mojitos) and his increasingly conflicted mother Maddie (Sharon Gless).

Shot with an Ocean’s 11-style pizazz and buoyed by Michael’s “Dummy’s Guide To MacGyver” internal monologues for the audience’s benefit, Burn Notice slots in well alongside shows like Psych and White Collar as shows that get by on “quirk” – sometimes to the point of excess. But as Andrea learned, there’s definitely a method to the mirth. Ain’t that right?

AJ: Basically, when I complained on twitter that I didn’t understand the point of the USA Network shows, beyond an excessive amount of quirk, some head honcho from usa network tweeted back that they tested the shows and found that the formula of funny action-packed show with happy ending worked. I responded that winning formulas win winningly … what I should have added is that it becomes a formula of diminishing returns if every blessed show is the same formula.

Arturo: Now, unless you’re willing to “turn your brain off,” the ::ahem:: monochromatic nature of the principal cast, as seen above, looks especially problematic when you consider the show’s set in Miami, a city with a sizable Latino population. In what might be a back-handed way to address this disparity, two POC players entered the fold this season: spy-master Vaughan (Robert Wisdom) and, more prominently, counter-intelligence officer Jesse Porter (Coby Bell).

SPOILERS AHEAD

Clutch Magazine Shows Our Editrix Some Love

By Arturo R. García

Latoya is too modest to bring this up herself, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t highlight her getting name-checked in a rousing post by Britni Danielle on Clutch Magazine’s blog regarding this decade’s vanguard of Black feminist writers, including, among others, Lisa Jones, Tricia Rose, Rebecca Walker and Joan Morgan:

I remember reading When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost when it debuted and thinking that Joan Morgan was speaking FOR me. I loved hip hop, hard. It was my first crush, the soundtrack to my youth, it inspired my passion for writing, but I always felt some kind of way about the ease in which women were relegated to the sidelines. With the exception of a few dope women (Latifah, MC Lyte, Salt-n-Pepa, Lauryn), women were almost always seen as sidepieces and groupies.

But I kept listening. Even though I danced to its beats, would argue about who was the best emcee, and would defend hip hop like it was my big brother, I always felt uneasy about its willingness to label other women (because clearly, they couldn’t be talking about ME, right?) bitches and hoes. Joan Morgan’s in-your-face exploration of women maturing in the age of hip hop articulated my own contradictory feelings about a culture I loved, but didn’t always love me.

This new brand of feminism understood that the struggle of women wasn’t about hating men. It wasn’t about writing them off and branding them as enemies. Our feminism—as beneficiaries of many movements of equality—was about claiming our voice, articulating our worth, and fighting our own, modern, battles.

From there, Danielle shifts the discussion toward online media, including …

RacialiciousRacialicious explores the intersections of race and pop culture. Blog editor Latoya Peterson and company cover everything from current hot topics (such as Dr. Laura’s “Nigger” problem), to discussions of TV shows, commercials, and other media sources that feature minorities. The aim of Racialicious is to hold the media accountable for questionable images of people of color. This collective blog is an amazing source for intelligent critiques and discussions regarding how we are viewed in the public realm.

So thanks much to Clutch for the shine, and to you for your continued support.