The L.A. Riots, 20 Years Later [Voices]

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Courtesy: Los Angeles Times

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Quoted: Clinton Yates on Hockey’s Racism Issues

Joel Ward (r). Courtesy

When Joel Ward scored the overtime winner for the Capitals to end the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins’ season, a wave of racist tweets surfaced. They ranged from casually offensive to viciously hateful. None were shocking. But they illustrated the latent sentiment that exists in many pockets of the fan base that hockey is a sport to be played and enjoyed by whites.

Being a black hockey fan can be a singular experience. You can feel the racial divide at games. So when Ward lit the lamp last night, yes, personally, it felt good to see a black man score such an important goal for the franchise.

It’s about time that the NHL tackled its race issues head-on. If the league wants to move forward as a brand, they need to recognize that they can do something about racism. When Kobe Bryant yelled a homophobic slur at a referee that was caught on camera, the NBA swiftly and justly fined him and then produced a PSA campaign against usage of the word. FIFA, the global soccer association, has very publicly taken a stance against racism from fans with some of the world’s most popular stars.
– From The Washington Post

Racialicious Crush Of The Week: Oppressed Brown Girls Doing Things

By Andrea Plaid

Madame Owner/Editrix has nicknamed my new position of Associate Editor as “Tumblr-In-Chief” because I mostly curate–with generous help from said Owner/Editrix–that part of the R’s universe. There I’ve seen some slaying animated gifs on how white privilege works in everyday conversations about race (deliciouskaek, I’m looking at you) to some incredibly brilliant convos on Racism 101 and feminism (too numerous and ongoing to mention).

And then, to paraphrase comedian Katt Williams, something wonderful happens in the Tumblr World: Oppressed Brown Girls Doing Things.

Courtesy: Flickr

The funky-fun and ROTFLMAO offspring of the “Sh-t X Says To Y” meme, M.I.A., and Muslimah Media Watch, this Tumblr lacerates the whole Western Feminist Savior Complex  about women of color, as defined by the curator: “The title was made because of the posts about Middle Eastern women being oppressed specifically, but it could be related to all WoC.” (And to make crystal who she includes in the term of “women of color“: “Queer, non-binary, trans* WoC can submit as well!”) The curator chooses to center the Tumblr on Muslim and South Asian women because of the “insane amount of posts that talk about how awful Muslim/South Asian women are being oppressed” when the women themselves may have totally different ideas of what liberation and oppression means for their daily lives.

How OBGDT lays waste to Western feminists thinking that Brown women and girls are waiting to be rescued by them is the photo/faux-National Geographic Narrator caption combo, like this:


When I’m not being oppressed, I’m hanging with the Jawas. Courtesy: carriedinakangaroospouch


and this:

When I’m not too busy being oppressed, I like to read. Silly Western feminists, thinking I don’t know who Dumbledore is! Courtesy: insanepoet9



This despicably oppressed, brown teenage girl likes to stuff her mouth with burgers, while she is out with guys. Courtesy: allonsyidjits

and this:

This is me being doubly oppressed as a black woman in India. I was so glad when I finally held the American bills of freedom and wore tank tops at home, which is obviously related to being more liberated. Courtesy: kaminapan

I love this satiric take(down) of showing that Muslim/South Asian women may not need us Westerners, especially us Western feminists, the way we think we should be needed. As the women are doing things–like, you know, living their lives–the rest of us may need to rethink how we do things…like, you know, say we’re standing up for “women everywhere.”


The Friday MiniTape – 4.27.12 Edition

This week we’re going to turn the spotlight over to DJ Kuttin Kandi, a pioneer for women in hip-hop who’s currently in the fight of her life, as Colorlines’ Akiba Solomon recently revealed. If you’re new to her sound, here’s a quick video primer:

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America Healing: Discussion on Current Racial Climate

This is a liveblog of “Discussion on the Current Racial Climate.”

Moderator: Melissa Harris-Perry, Host of “Melissa Harris-Perry,” MSNBC

Judith Browne-Dianis, Co-Director, Advancement Project
Ralph Everett, President and Chief Financial Officer, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Inc.
Benjamin Jealous, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
Jacqueline Johnson Pata, Executive Director, National Congress of American Indians
Kathleen Ko, President and Chief Executive Officer, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum
Marc Morial, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Urban League, Inc.
Janet Murguia, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Council of La Raza
Rinku Sen, President and Executive Director, Applied Research Center
Philip Tegeler, President and Executive Director, Poverty and Race Research Action Council

4-26-12 Links Roundup

I have mixed feelings about the performance of “Think Like a Man.” I want to support the success of a film with a mostly black cast, a black producer, and a black director, especially one that so handily beat the odds and expectations for it. But I can’t help but wonder why it had to be this film that successfully crossed over. It may be a hit with a lot of black women, but there are plenty of us who aren’t feeling the patriarchal, anti-woman relationship advice that drives its plot (interesting side note: while its audience was over 60% women, Think Like a Man got even more favorable reviews from men who saw it than from women).

I’ll be honest, I’m not going to see “Think Like a Man,” for reasons other black women have mentioned (and also because I have a toddler and babysitters are too expensive to waste just any movie). But it’s fair to ask if the overly sexist title makes the film only seem more retrograde by comparison in a genre of movies that’s…actually pretty retrograde in general, almost inherently so. Is Think Like a Man really much more sexist or gender essentialist than “He’s Just Not That Into You,” or “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”? Probably not.

On the one hand, patriarchy sucks. On the other hand, hey, black folks can make gender essentialist patriarchal movies that “general audiences” are interested in, just like white folks! Progress? A tiny bit?

“We were accused of being too sensational,” Mena said, “of focusing too much on la nota roja, killings, drug violence, and the like.” The goal, Mena said, was to show the devastation such acts wreaked on Spanish-speaking immigrants.

Linares and Mena talked about creating a newspaper from the Spanish-speaking communities, not about those communities. Reporters would not report from their desks or re-write press releases, it would be old-fashioned shoe leather reporting. Linares stationed a reporter to cover the Salvadoran, Guatemalan, and Nicaraguan consulates full time. The stories rained down on Hoy. “La Opinion didn’t cover Central Americans much,” Mena said, “so that’s what we started to do.”

The coverage wasn’t cozy though. “The problem with community organizations is that they invite us to the crowning of the beauty queen,” says current Hoy reporter Francisco Castro, “but when it’s reported that the beauty queen is harassed by the president of the organization they don’t want to answer the phone calls.” Linares hired Castro and mentored him so his boss’s death has hit him hard.

“¡A la yugular!” To the jugular, Castro remembers Linares telling him when suggesting a story angle.

The group was headed by a skinny 28-year-old named Dan Lee, and when he danced onto the stage that night the audience started dancing with him. Lee—whose nom de rap is Tablo—had a puckish charm, a sly grin, and a reputation as a genius. In South Korea, Lee was already a superstar. He had released four number one albums with Epik High and published a best-selling collection of short stories in both English and Korean. Talk show hosts almost always found a way to mention that he graduated from Stanford in three and a half years with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English. Though that would probably count against a rapper in the US, back home he was lionized as a symbol of success.

Now the group was building a fan base in the States. In addition to its New York show, Epik High had sold out major venues in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The crossover success was visible on iTunes, where the trio was soaring up the hip hop charts and would soon hit number one in the US, topping Kanye West and Jay-Z.

But then, at the height of the group’s fame, the comments sections of articles about Epik High started filling up with anonymous messages accusing Lee of lying about his Stanford diploma. In May 2010 an antifan club formed and quickly attracted tens of thousands of members who accused him of stealing someone’s identity, dodging the draft, and faking passports, diplomas, and transcripts. The accusations were accompanied by supposed evidence supplied by the online masses, who also produced slick YouTube attack videos. It was a full-fledged backlash.

By that summer, Lee’s alleged fraud had become one of Korea’s top news items. Death threats streamed in, and Lee found himself accosted by angry people on the street. Since his face was so recognizable, he became a virtual prisoner in his Seoul apartment. In a matter of weeks, he went from being one of the most beloved figures in the country to one of the most reviled.

“Walmart fueled its rapid expansion in Mexico with millions in bribes paid to get building permits and land use approvals through quickly. Last month, Wal-Mart suspiciously received building permits only about 12 hours before the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to temporarily block those permits,” James Elmendorf, Deputy Director, of LAANE told

In 2004, Elmendorf’s group LAANE led the defeat of a Wal-Mart sponsored initiative that would have exempted the company from zoning and environmental restrictions in nearby predominantly black and Latino Inglewood.

In March the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a motion to ban chain retail stores from Chinatown. But the evening before Robert “Bud” Ovrom, general manager of the city’s Building and Safety Department, told the council that Wal-Mart had just obtained the construction permits to renovate the ground floor of a building in Chinatown.

“This project is moving forward. This ordinance would not have any immediate impact on this project,” Ovrom told the council, according to the LA Times.

“I am confident we can do a better job of serving this growing population with themes that resonate strongly with them,” he told the audience at CinemaCon, the exhibition trade show taking place in Las Vegas this week.

Hollywood has had a hard time finding a way to cater to the Spanish-language moviegoing audience, even as television has been forging paths for new cable and other networks that appeal to that growing demographic.

“The numbers just jumped out at me,” Dodd told reporters at a briefing at CinemaCon on Tuesday. “I think an effort ought to be made to work at that.”

Yet, he said, Hollywood has to be careful about how it tries to attract this burgeoning audience by not merely making movies in Spanish or presuming that a single cultural approach would find broad appeal.

America Healing: Promising Approaches for Building Equitable Neighborhoods

This is the liveblog for Promising Approaches for Building Equitable Neighborhoods.

Moderator: Sandra Moore, President, Urban Strategies, Inc.

Janis Bowdler, Director of Weath-Building Policy Project, National Council of La Raza
Susan Eaton, Research Director, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, Harvard Law School
Brian Smedley, Vice President and Director, Health Policy Institute, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

Brown Girls On Film: A Conversation With The Writers Of Farah Goes Bang

By Guest Contributor Neelanjana Banerjee

Soon-to-be-made indie film Farah Goes Bang, co-written by Laura Goode and Meera Menon, follows three friends in their twenties–one Persian, one Indian, and one white–who hit the road to campaign for John Kerry in 2004. One of them is also on a quest to lose her long-lingering virginity along the way. The writers describe the film as “a valentine to contemporary feminism, youth in revolt, and the passionate politics of idealism,” but most of all it represents the pair’s common “bottom line” in storytelling, one not very popular in mainstream media today: to represent women in art as women see themselves in life.

Despite their common interests, Meera and Laura hail from very different backgrounds and artistic points of view. A filmmaker born and raised in New Jersey, Meera is a first-generation Indian American of Malayali descent; her father, Vijayan Menon, is a prominent film producer in her family’s home state of Kerala. Laura, a novelist, poet, essayist, and dramatist of primarily Italian and Irish descent, grew up outside Minneapolis, MN; her 2011 young-adult novel Sister Mischief, examines, among other things, this white-dominated suburban setting.

Here they discuss their different approaches to representation and how the script for Farah Goes Bang tries to build bridges, and how you can help make this film a reality.
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