Racialicious Crush Of The Week: Grace Lee Boggs

By Andrea Plaid

I need to admit something about the Crush posts about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Oppressed Brown Girls Doing Things I did in April: I partly did it because I wanted to give myself a birthday present that week, and what’s better than a sharing some love on one’s birthday, right?

Well, this week’s Crush just celebrated a birthday this week–like two days ago–and I try not to be selfish about sharing birthday love. So…the Racialicious Crush Of The Week is Grace Lee Boggs, who just celebrated her 97th year on this earth–and she’s still rocking the activism.

Grace Lee Boggs. Courtesy: boggsblog.org

 

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Louis C.K. Bucks Casting Trends With Susan Kelechi Watson


Sometimes, I really, really love Louis C.K. He is far from perfect, but he tends to keep things interesting. His bit on “Being White” is one of the top search results when you search his name, and he’s throwing some wrenches into pricing and comedy shows.

Interestingly, as we are dealing with the oh-so-tedious, faux-feminist ideas that criticizing shows like Bunheads and Girls for their lack of diversity is selling out women, Louis C.K. (after tweeting his support of Lena Dunham), decides to exercise his right to cast whoever the hell he wants in his created universe – which resulted in Susan Kelechi Watson being the mother of his children. Huffington Post recaps what was on Jimmy Kimmel:

On “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (Weeknights, 12 a.m. ET on ABC), he was asked about his decision to cast African-American actress Susan Kelechi Watson as his ex-wife and mother of his daughters in Season 3.

C.K. conceded that his TV daughters are “extremely white,” but said that race didn’t really factor into his decision to cast Watson in the role of their mom.

“If the character works for the show, I don’t care about the racial,” the show’s creator, writer, director and star said.

And yet…

Plus, there was another reason he went with a black actress.

To C.K., it’s all about line delivery. “When a black woman tells you to get a job, it’s just more … ” he explained with a laugh.

While my eye did a little twitch at that last bit (can we ever have anything?), Louis C.K.’s decision is a little bit of relief after a long season of whitewashing justifications.

The Friday Mixtape – 6.29.12 Edition

With Mexico’s presidential elections coming up this Sunday – under no shortage of shadiness, mind you – let’s kick off this week’s edition with Molotov’s “Gimme Tha Power,” (nsfw – language) which still resonates a decade after its original release:

Our next track is a find by our own Andrea Plaid: Esperanza Spalding, who we’ve featured before, teams up with jazz great Joe Lovano for a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Can’t Help It,” in a clip that winds its way thru NYC. And if you’re a fan of Wicked or Rent, keep an extra-close eye on her co-star …

Speaking of finds by friends, the dynamic duo at Disgrasian turned us on to this cross-continental collab between Japanese beatbox wiz Hikakin and Nonstop, a U.S.-based dancer:

Remember “Sh-t Men Say To Men Who Say Sh-t To Women On The Streets”? Check out this Egyptian counterpart, which was posted earlier this month. Directed by Anum Khan with help from HarassMap, “What Men Say to Men Who Harass Women on the Streets” packs an equally potent message.

One more track with a message to close us out: Jasiri X and Rhymefest went to the source when making the video for “Who’s Illegal?,” traveling to Alabama and Arizona and getting a view from the ground-level at the immigration fight in each respective state. The track is currently available as a free download on Jasiri’s Bandcamp site.

6-28-12 Links Roundup

At the same time, legislatures in Arizona, Alabama, Florida and other states have doubled down on policies to restrict access to abortion and contraception while at the same time making it harder for immigrant women and families to live with dignity and justice. It’s been a tough year.

But this week brings with it a measured victory, as anti-immigrant extremism in the states seems to have finally “jumped the shark.” In a 5-3 decision, the Supreme Court rejected the overreach of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, affirming such legislation violates our Constitution, as well as our national values and national interests. The court joins millions of Americans in rejecting these divisive and unworkable policies.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the most dangerous provision of SB 1070 remains intact — at least for now. The “Papers, Please” provision requires police to ask proof of legal status for anyone they believe to be in the country illegally.

This policy will undoubtedly contribute to racial profiling and harassment in Arizona, leave immigrant women more vulnerable to crimes like intimate partner violence and less likely to seek needed services like prenatal care, and contribute to an overall environment of stigma and bias against immigrant woman and all women of color living in Arizona.

“I played football in the neighbourhood. I would take the ball and play with the local boys,” recounts Honey Thaljieh, a member of the Women’s Football Committee at the Palestinian Football Association.

“That I was a girl playing with boys was of no concern to me. I was young. I wanted to play all the time.”

But they face many challenges. The pitch is often inaccessible thanks to a ring of Israeli checkpoints. And girls from Gaza cannot train with their counterparts in the West Bank.

Other challenges are found even closer to home – the conservative nature of Palestinian society still considers women’s football something of an aberration.

Ali said the best part is spending time with her daughters.

“Of course, every kid likes water and I wanted them to grow up like normal kids and learn how to swim,” Ali said over shrieking and splashing kids. “I want them to have fun. They’re really having fun. They’re very excited.”

But the classes aren’t just about cooling off and having fun. They’re the first step in making exercise more accessible for Muslim women in City Heights.

“They have diabetes, high blood pressure, and doctors are telling them all the time, ‘Go exercise,’” said Sahra Abdi, director of United Women of East Africa. “But where are they going to do it?”

The questions are probing, authoritative, but less accusatory. “What are you doing here?” “Do you live here?” “Can I see some identification, please?” During the pat-down, they ask, “Do you have anything on you?” They nudge further: “You don’t mind if I search you, do you?” They explain that someone of a matching description robbed a store a few days ago, or that the stop is a random one, part of a program in a high-crime area. Then they apologize for the stop and say the person is free to go.

In interviews with 100 people who said they had been stopped by the New York police in neighborhoods where the practice is most common, many said the experience left them feeling intruded upon and humiliated. And even when officers extended niceties, like “Have a nice night,” or called them “sir” and “ma’am,” people said they questioned whether the officer was being genuine.

Michael Delgado, 18, said he was last stopped on Grant Street in East New York, Brooklyn. “I was walking, and a cop said, ‘Where’s the weed?’ ” he recalled. “In my mind, I’m like, ‘Yo, this guy’s a racist.’ He started frisking me, his hands were in my pockets, but I didn’t say anything because my mom always tells me: ‘No altercations. Let him do his thing.’”

The new revelations of bias within Televisa, the world’s biggest Spanish-language broadcaster, challenge the company’s claim to be politically impartial as well as Peña Nieto’s insistence that he never had a special relationship with Televisa.

The unit – known as “team Handcock”, in what sources say was a Televisa codename for the politician and his allies – commissioned videos promoting the candidate and his PRI party and rubbishing the party’s rivals in 2009. The documents suggest the team distributed the videos to thousands of email addresses, and pushed them on Facebook and YouTube, where some of them can still be seen.

The nature of the relationship between Peña Nieto and Televisa has been a key issue in Sunday’s election since the development in May of a student movement focused on perceived media manipulation of public opinion in the candidate’s favour.

Televisa refused to comment on the specifics of the documents but denied suggestions it had favoured the PRI, saying it had done political work for all the major parties.

Black Panther: The Progressive African Avenger

By Guest Contributor Costa Avgoustinos, cross-posted from Pop Culture and The Third World

T'Challa, The Black Panther. Courtesy: Marvel Comics.

Since we’re all on an Avengers high, now is the perfect time for a close look at the fascinating sometimes-Avenger: The Black Panther, Marvel’s first black (/African) superhero. Specifically, let’s look at the 2010 BET animated TV series, Black Panther, because the politics in it are, frankly, stunning.

What politics? Well, here’s the premise: The Black Panther is the leader of the fictional African nation, Wakanda. Wakanda is the exclusive home to a precious mineral called vibranium, an impenetrable metal with exceptional properties, and so The Black Panther’s job is to protect Wakanda’s borders from bastards that want to invade and exploit its riches. This includes French colonialists, ruthless mercenaries and, in the TV series, the modern U.S. government.

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Steampunk POC: Nivi Hicks (African-American, Spanish, Lebanese)

Nivi Hicks of SLC, Utah. All images courtesy of Nivi Hicks.

By Guest Contributor Jaymee Goh, cross-posted from Silver Goggles

It’s the first Friday of the month, all over again! Time for another steampunk POC interview, and today, Nivi Hicks of Salt Lake City, UT, claims the spotlight! Nivi’s been seen in her Bombay steampunk outfit, and her style threads influences from South Asia and the Middle East. She’s also one of the organizers of SaltCity Steamfest. Without further ado, Nivi Hicks!

How do you do steampunk? Or how do you steampunk or how do you participate in steampunk? Or what steampunk media do you do (lit, fashion, events)?
I’m a steampunk enthusiast and supporter within my community here in Utah. Events, fashions, icons–you name it, I try to support it. I’ve even taken up the reigns with a group of fellow steampunkians to create Utah’s first ever Steampunk Convention, SaltCity Steamfest. Eventually, I would like to expand into fashion as a model more.

When asked “what is steampunk?!” what do *you* say? 
My escape that lets me dress pretty without having to live to a cookie-cutter expectation (like cosplay can do). It’s what happens when you take the industrial revolution, lengthen it, add steroids, a more exciting history and technical output, some lace, and fantasy–va-la!
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Holy Tara And The Unholy Roller: The Racialicious Roundtable For True Blood S5, E3

Michael McMillian as Steve Newlin. All images courtesy of True Blood Wikia.

Meet the new (public) boss. And Steve Newlin sure isn’t the same as the old boss. This week, the Vampire Authority made Steve Newlin the organization’s public face. Meanwhile, we got more insight into Tara’s new powers and their effect on her, and Bill and Eric took part in a particularly clever bit of product placement, albeit one with deadly implications.

Confused? You won’t be after Alea Adigweme, Kendra James, and Joseph Lamour analyze “Whatever I Am, You Made Me.” Spoiler Alert is, of course, on for everything under the cut.
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The Atlantic Article, Trickle-Down Feminism, And My Twitter Mentions. God Help Us All.

By Guest Contributor Tressie McMillan Cottom, cross-posted from TressieMC

Courtesy: kveller.com

This is one of those posts that can go nowhere but down.

There are things you simply cannot do in this life and slaying unicorns is one of them.

What do I mean by “slaying unicorns”? It’s an old Livejournal term. It means providing evidence that one’s sacred emotional belief or object is either not a) universal b) all that great or c) grounded in reality or supported by empirical evidence.

I am really, really bad about this. I tend to slay unicorns even when I only mean to make an observation or intend to honor my own truth or even when I just mean to get through the day. I end up slaying unicorns way more than I’d like. My hands are filthy with their rainbow blood.

So, I wanted to leave alone The Atlantic article about women having it all.

An initial tentative reaction about not seeing my experience as a black woman in the article provoked such passionate responses that my mentions on Twitter took two days to recover. And, I don’t mean the responses that disagreed with me. I mean I got tweets that charged me with not being a feminist or not understanding because I don’t have children and one lovely message that seemed to intimate that I was just too stupid to “get it”.

I decided to leave that unicorn alone.

But that did not mean that I did not want to make sense of it myself. After a great deal of thinking I think I can finally articulate my reaction and I owe much of that process to this tweet:

I’m a Reagan baby. You can’t say “trickle-down” to me and not evoke a response.

I went back and re-read The Atlantic article. I’ll try to take my thought process step-by-step in an effort to do minimal damage to the unicorn.

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