Site Break + Site Is Down!

Hello Racializens!

Some of you have noticed the technical difficulties happening on the site–we’re working to fix it, but with the holiday ridiculousness, it’s been slow-going. We were also planning to make an announcement that Racialicious is on vacation until January 7th. (Though, if we can get the site fixed, there will be some Easter eggs on the 1st – 7th.)

We will see you in the New Year!

Make a wish,

Team Racialicious

Racialicious Crush Of The Week: Isaiah Wooden

By Andrea Plaid

Isaiah Wooden (left) with Joe Morton. Photo: courtesy of the interviewee.

I met Isaiah while I was staying at the home of a mutual friend who seems to gather all who are Black and brilliant into his orbit. Isaiah being a native Baltimorean, I was able to chat with him about the physical and socio-economic layout of what I could see of the city when I was there for the Facing Race conference in November. Considering that he’s this week’s Crush, you know I find Isaiah rather amazing, and I’m all about sharing the amazing in this column, right?

So, here’s Isaiah, in his own words…

Isaiah, my first question is: whatcha studying at Stanford that pulled you way away from the East Coast?

First, I have to say: it is such a pleasure to be in conversation with you again! I so deeply appreciate the work that you are doing at Racialicious and, indeed, in the world. To answer the question: I am currently a doctoral candidate in Theater and Performance Studies (T&PS) at Stanford, where I am in the throes of writing a dissertation entitled, The Afterwards of Blackness: Race, Time and Contemporary Performance. The project begins with the premise that one of the more urgent questions to emerge in what has been theorized as the “post-soul,” the “post-black,” and/or the “post-civil rights” era is: what is the time of blackness? Attending to examples of expressive art, I analyze the aesthetic strategies and practices that several contemporary black cultural producers deploy to dramatize the deeply intertwined relationship of blackness and time and, correspondingly, to critique concepts of normative or modern temporality. The project, in many ways, is reflective of my broader teaching and research interests in twentieth and twenty-first century dramatic literature, theory, and criticism; performance studies; African American studies; (black) queer studies; and popular culture. It also evidences my continued engagements with both theory and practice: I have been fortunate to direct a number of the plays that I take up in the dissertation.

Part of what drew me to Stanford in 2008, in fact, was the T&PS Department’s integrative approach to the study of theater and performance. Stanford has been tremendously supportive of what I call my “directing habit” and, indeed, has provided wonderful opportunities for me to flex both theoretically and creatively during my tenure. I was reminiscing just a few days ago with the brilliant playwright A-lan Holt, a recent Stanford alum, about the time we spent in Kampala, Uganda devising a new performance piece that I staged, along with a colleague, at the National Theatre there. As you might imagine, it was a transformative experience. Beautifully, I have had many similar experiences since venturing westward.

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One Heartbeat: Idle No More Prepares To Drum Across North America

By Arturo R. García

At noon Central Standard Time today, the Idle No More campaign is calling for members of all indigenous nations to drum together in the highest point of a campaign, originated in Canada, that has gained traction since Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat in Northern Ontario began a hunger strike on Dec. 10.

As âpihtawikosisân explains:

Contrary to what some media outlets are reporting, she is not doing this only to protest Bill C-45 or even the deplorable treatment her community has received since declaring an emergency last year. She has vowed to continue her hunger strike until the prime minister, the Queen or a representative, agrees to sit down in good faith with First Nations leaders to rebuild what has become a fractured and abusive relationship. She is staying in a tipi on Victoria Island, which sits below Parliament and the Supreme Court of Canada.

Many native people across the country have been fasting to show their solidarity with Chief Spence, including Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus. Just search the twitter hashtag #TheresaSpence to get a sense of how much support this woman has from our peoples.

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Links Roundup 12.20.12

When a singular mass killing occurs in mainly affluent suburbs, it shocks the nation — and rightly so. But it might be a shock to some to know that this year alone 117 children died from handgun violence in Chicago. These deaths do not get discussed, let alone memorialized in the national conversation of tragedy.

There are at least two reasons for this. First, these deaths do not happen in a spectacular fashion. They take place in ones and twos, often in the lonely hours of the night when bullets depart from their targets and settle in the soft tissue of children asleep in their homes, or in the afternoon as they play on the sidewalk.

Take the case of April 12. One-year-old Jayliah Allen was shot while she slept in her bed, the bullet entering the window. Seven-year-old Derrick Robeteau was shot in the leg while playing outside his grandfather’s home and a 7-year-old girl was shot as she stood outside her home. Three children hit by handguns in one day, but in an unspectacular form.

Second, old racist habits linger. These are African-American and Latino kids, whose neighborhoods are considered dangerous. Which is why when Jayliah and Derrick were killed no one called their neighborhoods bucolic or thought that this violence was senseless. There is a hardness that has entered our consciousness, allowing us to avoid the sealed fates of these kids.

There are a couple of things that I don’t want to have to do when I go see a movie: cover my eyes much of the time because of graphic violence, and hear the N-word dropped every 10 minutes. So why see a Quentin Tarantino movie? Gun violence and the N-word are among Tarantino’s favorite cinematic vices. Yesterday, “Django Unchained’s” Harvey and Bob Weinstein announced that they were canceling today’s Los Angeles red carpet premiere of the film out of respect for the families mourning in Newtown, CT. And although they didn’t specifically cite a connection between the gratuitous gun violence in the film and the horror of all that occurred on Friday, perhaps they should have. So too, with the film’s egregious use of the N-word, given the flurry of racist tweets that were sent out when President Obama’s speech honoring Newtown’s slain children preempted the first quarter of the NFL football game on Sunday.

I am neither an ardent nor a reluctant fan of Tarantino’s films. I recognize that he is a talented filmmaker who has managed to tap into the vein of cultural appropriation in a way that makes it seem like something else. And that subtle ability, that seemingly benign bit of exploitative trickery, is something that needs to be explored. Regularly.

If you haven’t seen the music video for 2 Chainz’s “Birthday Song,” the refrain is, “All I want for my birthday is a big-bootied hoe.” The video reduces women to bouncing breasts and backsides; one women is actually laid out on a table covered in frosting.

This video is simply the newest addition to a long-standing pattern of degradation of colored women in the media, specifically in music videos. Between the songs and videos that reduce women of color to a large backside and a willing mouth, and the very real violence that confronts many women, the assault on women — both lyrically and literally — is stunning.

As a member of the SPARKteam, a group of girls fighting objectification of women in the media, I recently had the privilege of becoming involved in the fight against the degradation of women in the media industry. To fight back against the culture of misogyny, especially towards women of color, that has continued to spread throughout our culture, the media literacy group FAAN MAIL, which stands for Fostering Activism and Alternatives NOW, is pushing back against these degrading images. Based in Philadelphia, FAAN MAIL’s founder, Nuala Cabral, wrote this moving and poignant criticism in the form of an open letter to CEO Lucian Grainge of Universal Music Group.

The nation doesn’t stop when the Heavens and Aliyahs of the world are snatched from us too soon. How many outside of our own communities demand gun control legislation when the victim is brown-eyed and kinky-haired, and not blue-eyed and blond?

White American children in this country who become victims of gun violence are a sign of shattered innocence, an anomaly that must be analyzed and dissected to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Black and Brown American children who become victims serve as an indictment of our communities, our homes and our parenting.

“It would allow Zenit to maintain the national identity of the club, which is the symbol of St Petersburg.”

Zenit have been the only top club in Russia to have never signed an African player while the northern city of St Petersburg is known to have a strong right-wing nationalist influence.

The fans said they want more home-grown or European players in the team.

“We only want players from other brotherly Slav nations, such as Ukraine and Belarus as well as from the Baltic states and Scandinavia. We have the same mentality and historical and cultural background as these nations,” the letter said.

Meanwhile, On TumblR: Intergenerational Afropolitan Genius

By Andrea Plaid

This photo of literary/cultural African American female icons got lots of love this week:

L-r: Nikki Giovanni, Toni Morrison, and Angela Davis. Photo credit: Jim Stroup.

This video of Os Kuduristas, a troupe of kuduro dancers from the Angolan diaspora, caught my soul–like, it’s-on-replay caught.

According to Okay Africa, Os Kudurista (the people dressed in blue and gray) just performed in NYC and will be in Washington, DC at the Tropicalia Club, 2001 14th Street NW, on Friday, 12/21. I say, if you’re in DC and if possible, give yourself a treat and see them…

…and check out what other treats Racializens love on the R’s Tumblr!

 

Video: Franchesca Ramsey’s Powerful ‘How Slut Shaming Becomes Victim Blaming’

By Arturo R. García

Screenshot from Franchesca Ramsey’s video “How Slut Shaming Becomes Victim Blaming.”

Late last week, Franchesca Ramsey shared her immensely intimate and painful story regarding sexual assault as part of a critique of a video by comedian Jenna Marbles. The video and a transcript are under the cut, but be advised that it carries a heavy TRIGGER WARNING due to the subject matter.
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In Immigration Reform, A Path To Citizenship Is The Only Option

By Guest Contributors Tanya Golash-Boza and Amalia Pallares; a version of this op-ed was originally published at Counterpunch

One of the supposed lessons of Obama’s electoral victory was that Republicans could no longer afford to advocate an enforcement-only position on immigration reform. So, it says something that the party’s first nod in that direction was extraordinarily weak.

At the tail end of 2012 and of their careers, retiring Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) introduced the ACHIEVE Act, which would provide legal status to a narrow group of undocumented youth. However, this proposal does nothing to appeal to Latin@s because it provides no real path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Whereas the DREAM Act provides undocumented youth with legal permanent residence and then citizenship, the ACHIEVE Act offers a W-1 visa, which leads to a W-2, and then a W-3, with no direct path to citizenship.

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Sex On Screen: An Intro To The Hella Brown Series (NSFW)

By Guest Contributor Crunkonia; cross-posted from The Crunk Feminist Collective

[Watch Racialicious for the first interview in this series coming soon.]

Porn is what’s hot in the streets (a.k.a halls of the academy) now.

There are brilliant scholars who historicize and build upon black feminist participation in conversations about pornography. And there are others who simplify the argument into a false then vs. now paradigm that presents our foremothers as prudes, not as the women who made it possible for us to talk about sexuality in the ways that we do today. I believe these others wish for the day when black women can talk about sex as if they were white men, with no cloud of controlling images over their heads.
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