No Myths Here: Food Stamps, Food Deserts, and Food Scarcity

By Erika Nicole Kendall, cross-posted from A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss

When I was about 5 or so, I used to go to my grandmother’s house during the day while my Mother went to work. I remember catching the bus and sleeping across my Mom’s lap until we got there, and then her hugging me and heading off to do whatever it was she did all day. (I was five. Clearly, I had no idea.)

Grandma was cool, but there was always a bajillion people at her house. She lived in the projects*, and spent a big portion of her day being “Mama”to everyone even though she was well into her 50s.

I remember, as a kid, how the big thing was for us to run across the street to the convenient store and get a Big Red pop and a bag of chips. All for $0.50. I mean, it was how we spent every afternoon. Because Grandma’s house was full of people, it was never hard for me to get a hold of two quarters – ahhh, two shiny, glorious quarters – so that I could be like the rest of the kids and sit in the middle of the grass and eat my funyuns or my munchos and my Big Red pop.

(I’m from the Midwest. We say pop, thank you very much.)

It wasn’t that I was Grandma’s favorite, but…. well, I was Grandma’s favorite. She invested a lot of time and effort into me. She taught me to read – she’d hand me the newspaper and make me read every page out loud – and she taught me how to be a little lady. She taught me how to love, as a young girl, because outside of that typical adoration that a young girl has for her mother, you learn that that thing that binds you to Grandma emotionally and you understand it even more so once she’s gone. That made her valuable.

However, I must admit. If there’s one thing I don’t remember, it’s going to a grocery store with Grandma. We just.. we never went together. At least, we didn’t go to a grocery store as I know a grocery store to be today. The only store I ever saw her go to was the convenient store across the street.

And now that I think about it, there’s a lot of things I don’t remember about that time with Grandma.

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Why That Harvard/Tufts Study Isn’t Breaking News

By Arturo R. García

Another week, another head-scratching study result. Or so you’d think, right?

The study, conducted by researchers at Tufts and Harvard Universities, concluded that white people think the prejudices blacks faced during the Civil Rights era are literally in the past. But it’s not all rosy, apparently, for the majority of the 209 white people (alongside 208 blacks) surveyed. From the abstract:

We show that this emerging belief reflects Whites’ view of racism as a zero-sum game, such that decreases in perceived bias against Blacks over the past six decades are associated with increases in perceived bias against Whites—a relationship not observed in Blacks’ perceptions. Moreover, these changes in Whites’ conceptions of racism are extreme enough that Whites have now come to view anti-White bias as a bigger societal problem than anti-Black bias.

But, setting aside questions regarding the size of the survey group and the focus on white/black relations in an increasingly diverse country, one has to wonder: is this really a surprise?
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links for 2011-05-26

  • "Comcast has insisted the episode is the result of one rogue communications exec acting in haste and poor judgement. But it’s an apt illustration of the concern media justice advocates have voiced about telecom firms—that they have too much power and have proven themselves willing to abuse it. It’s also brought to the surface a host of perennially difficult questions for struggling community groups. How do you remain true to your politics while accepting (and seeking) funding from a corporation with politics that are at odds with yours? How do you bite the hand that feeds you?"
  • "'And I’ve noticed this in terms of white people who will cross the street before they even get there,' often going out of their way, or blatantly crossing the street near the center, she says. 'Sometimes there’s an assumption that because they are kids, you will have cracks thrown at you or something. But you walk by and you’re either going to say ‘hi’ and they’re going to say ‘hi’ back, or they’re going to make a comment and you ignore it, or they will most likely ignore you because you are not the center of their world.'"
  • "[N]ote that the tribe/reservation language seems to have been imposed by the filmmakers. It apparently wasn't in the comics. Why the change? Because the filmmakers evidently associate deadly creatures with savage Indians. I don't see any way around that.
  • "Scotland Yard says its computers randomly picked a codename for Obama, 'chalaque,' for his visit to the country. But the newspaper quoted a Sikh community leader saying the name is often used to 'denigrate' someone. Yahoo News then picked up the story, featuring it on its homepage under the headline: 'Obama Code Named ‘smart alec' in Britain.'"

I Haven’t Actually Been Called a Slut

By Creatrix Tiara, cross-posted from Creatrix Tiara

Not that I know of anyway – no one’s said that to me in my face. I don’t even know if I’ve been called a harlot or a whore or any other synonym for a loose promiscuous woman.

People don’t often tend to associate me with sexuality, at least when they just see me and don’t really know about what I get up to. “Unattractive” or “ugly” would probably be more common insults, asides from “you Bangla”.

But the biggest reason though is because I spent all my life in a society and culture where people didn’t even talk about sexuality. That thing about how women are sexualised in society through ads and media and all that? Not where I came from! You were meant to be pure, innocent, untouched, sweet…”sweet” was actually a word that got used a hell of a lot as a compliment, come to think of it.

If you wanted to denote someone as slutty, trashy, harlot-like, you know what you’d call them?

Sexy.

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Open Thread: Oprah Says Goodbye

By Arturo R. García

Every single day I came down from my makeup room on our elevator, I would offer a prayer of gratitude for the delight and the privilege of doing this show. Gratitude is the single greatest treasure I will take with me from this experience. Opportunity to have done this work. To be embraced by all of you who watched is one of the greatest honors any human being could have. I’ve been asked many times during this farewell season, “Is leaving the show bittersweet?” Well I say, all sweet, no bitter, and here’s why: Many of us have been together for 25 years.

We have hooted and hollered together; had our “a-ha!” moments; we ugly-cried together; and we did our gratitude journals. So I thank you all for your support and your trust in me. i thank you for sharing this yellow brick road of blessings. I thank you for tuning in every day along with your mothers and your sisters and your daughters, your partners – gay and otherwise – your friends, and all the husbands who got coaxed into watching Oprah.

I thank you for being as much of a sweet inspiration for me as I’ve tried to be for you. I won’t say goodbye; I’ll just say, until we meet again. To God be the glory.

- Transcript of Oprah Winfrey’s closing monologue, aired on May 25

Like her or not, Oprah Winfrey’s three-day farewell tour was, at times, as larger-than-life as the financial empire she built over the past quarter-century, out of a morning talk show on WLS-TV in Chicago. The roster of guests for the first two episodes, taped at the United Center, included the usual cavalcade of stars. But Winfrey signed off in front of a more traditional studio audience. Of course, with the arrival of her own network, Winfrey might have been a bit on the nose in going with an open-ended departure.

But for now, we’re curious, dear readers, about your thoughts regarding this “final” Oprahpalooza. Where do you think she’ll go from here, and what does that mean for you as viewers?

links for 2011-05-25

  • "Over the last few years, the organization I work for has developed a pretty comprehensive understanding of the area we cover, which at times has been one of the most heavily traveled sections of the entire border. We’ve formed a fairly clear picture of where traffic starts, where it goes, how it gets there, where it’s busy and where it’s slow at any given time, where the pinch points are, and so on. I honestly believe that if I worked for the Border Patrol I could basically point at a map and tell them how to shut down the whole sector. It’s really not rocket science. Keep in mind that all of our work has been done by untrained civilian volunteers, armed with low-end GPS units, a few old trucks, run-of-the-mill mapping software, cheap cell phones with spotty service, and a very limited budget. Does it seem logical that we could figure this stuff out while the government of the United States of America cannot[?]"

SlutWalks v. Ho Strolls

By Guest Contributor Crunktastic, cross-posted from The Crunk Feminist Collective

Today, we had initially planned to bring you a review of the new groundbreaking book Hey Shorty: A Guide to Combatting Sexual Harassment in Schools and on the Streets. And you can read it here. But in light of the SlutWalk movement that broke out in Toronto earlier this year and the embrace of the movement in U.S. feminist mainstream over the last few months, I would like to add a few more thoughts to the discussion, in light of recent and much-needed calls on the part of feminists of color for a much more critical race critique in the SlutWalk movement.

SlutWalk Toronto started as an activist response to the ill-informed, misguided words of a Toronto police officer who suggested that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” Women in Toronto were enraged and rightfully so, and SlutWalks have become a way to dramatize the utter ignorance and danger of the officer’s statements. And on that note, I fucks very hard with the concept and with the response, which is creative, appropriate, and powerful.

What gives me pause is the claim in SlutWalk Toronto’s mission statement of sorts that because they are are “tired of being oppressed by slut-shaming; of being judged by our sexuality and feeling unsafe as a result,” they are reclaiming and reappropriating the word “slut.”  Um, no thank you?

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Welcome to East Willy B! [Culturelicious]

By Sexual Correspondent Andrea (AJ) Plaid

Sometimes there’s love in laughter. And the cast and crew bringing the new web series East Willy B have a lot of love for the real-life neighborhood of Bushwick, Brooklyn, and (most) of the fictional characters.

The series’ heart is Willie Reyes, Jr. (Flaco Navaja) the 30-something Puerto Rican-proud bar owner who inherited the business from his dad, including the barfly crushing on him, Giselle (Caridad “La Bruja” de la Cruz). Wille is trying to keep his bar, which has served as the nabe’s hangout and nerve center, from closing down due gentrification in the form of his ex-girlfriend Maggie (April Hernandez) and her new white beau (and Willie’s longtime rival), Albert (Danny Hoch), and the incoming white hipsters looking for cheap(er) rent.

Transcript of the premiere episode after the jump.

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