All posts by Joseph

The Racialicious Links Roundup 9.5.13: History, Apps, And Detroit

Lt. Thomas Grosvenor and his black servant Key, by John Trumbull, 1797 or after. Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn. Image via The Root.

  • Creator of GhettoTracker.com Surprised by All the “Negative Baggage”” (Gawker)

    “GhettoTracker’s “ghettos” aren’t identified based on mugging statistics or murder rates—or any hard data at all, really. Instead, “ghettos” are determined by the site’s users and delineated by their prejudices. It’s a new, crowd-sourced twist on stop-and-frisk: Just drop a little red dot anywhere you think upstanding folks should stop-and-avoid.”

 

 

  • A Black Man’s Role in American Revolution” (The Root)

    After resigning from the Continental Army, he studied painting in Great Britain with the American expatriate painter Benjamin West. He soon decided to devote his career to documenting the history of the Revolution in pictures, eight of which were to depict the major battles of the war. The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill was painted in London between late 1785 and early 1786.

    In the finished work, Lt. Thomas Grosvenor, the dashing young American officer seen here, stands to the far right. Beside him, a black man holds a musket. Both figures look toward the culmination of the action in the center of the scene. Gen. Joseph Warren, leader of the Revolutionary forces, has just been shot. In the middle ground nearby, British Maj. John Pitcairn, mortally wounded, falls into the arms of his son.

Quoted: White Is The New White

Orange Is the New Black defenders repeatedly tell me that Kerman is invested in prison reform. She very well might be. But the problem here lies in the fact that her investment in the issue has been repaid through a very different kind of investment in her by book publishers and budding media empires like Netflix. I don’t necessarily doubt that Kerman wants to see a change in the criminal justice system—just like I don’t doubt that she’s made a cottage industry for herself doing so. This started about a decade ago, when Kerman began selling “Free Piper” T-shirts through Paypal. As a bestselling author who’s sold the rights to stories of women that aren’t even hers, she’s profited from the criminalization of black and brown women who are disproportionately targeted for prison cages.

But most often, Orange Is the New Black fans tell me I need to give the series a real chance. If I can just get through the first two episodes, I’ll be content by episode three. And so I watched and cringed through six whole episodes, called it quits and hope to never again see another one in my entire life. With very little exception, I saw wildly racist tropes: black women who, aside from fanaticizing about fried chicken, are called monkeys and Crazy Eyes; a Boricua mother who connives with her daughter for the sexual attentions of a white prison guard; an Asian woman who never speaks; and a crazy Latina woman who tucks away in a bathroom stall to photograph her vagina (the pornographic image is indiscriminately paraded throughout an entire episode).”

— Aura Bogado, “White Is the New White” August 16, 2013. Read the full article over at The Nation.

True Blood Open Thread 6.10: “Radioactive”

Hosted By Joseph Lamour

mage via True-Blood.net.  >

Image via True-Blood.net.

The True Blood S6 finale ended with a lot of big-ish to enormously relevant moments to Sookie and company. Even with with the Killy Kill McKill mood of season 6, I’m elated to note that all of my favorite old and new characters survived to the credits. Although next season remains to be seen.[/caption]

Before we begin the long journey to accepting that we won’t see Jason Stackhouse’s abs for almost a year, partake in some. SPOILERY FINALE EPISODE TIDBITS for sharing — after the cut.

Continue reading

The Racialicious Links Roundup 8.14.13: White Friends, “The Butler”, Education

Image via Entertainment Weekly.

  • The Politics Of Being Friends With White People (Salon)

    I had only begun to have white friends the year prior when I found myself newly “tracked” into the higher-achieving second grade class based on superior reading ability. Scattered into a predominantly white classroom among only a handful of black students left me desperately wanting to culturally fit in and sound like my peers, especially since the vast majority of black children I knew stayed concentrated in the “B” and “C” tracks. My awkward attempts to fit in resulted in me being teased mercilessly by my black peers, who from then on through the better part of high school both accused and found me guilty of “talking too proper,” “acting white” and, perhaps most egregious of all, “thinking I was white.”

  • “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”: An Oscar-Worthy Historical Fable (Salon)

    I’d be hard-pressed to describe “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” as a good movie. It’s programmatic, didactic and shamelessly melodramatic. (Danny Strong’s screenplay is best viewed as fictional, although it’s loosely based on the true story of longtime White House butler Eugene Allen, who died in 2010.) Characters constantly have expository conversations built around historical markers, from the murder of Emmett Till to the Voting Rights Act. Every time Cecil serves coffee in the Oval Office, he stumbles upon epoch-making moments: Dwight Eisenhower (Robin Williams) debating whether to send federal troops to desegregate the schools in Little Rock; Richard Nixon (John Cusack) plotting a black entrepreneurship program to undercut the Black Panthers; or Ronald Reagan (Alan Rickman) telling Republican senators he plans to defy Congress and veto sanctions against South Africa. Cecil and Louis, the warring father and son played by Whitaker and Oyelowo, might as well come with labels: Cecil is following in the footsteps of Booker T. Washington; Louis in those of W.E.B. Du Bois.

  • 50 Years After the March On Washington: The Economic Impacts on Education (HuffPo Black Voices)

    …one of the most troubling aspects of higher education inequality is its economic dimension. A recent paper by Demos found that African Americans are 15 percent more likely to incur debt when obtaining higher education and 15 percent more likely to carry more debt on average. As a consequence, higher education debt is disproportionately weakening African Americans’ retirement savings and household equity, key sources of wealth.

6.9_TB600xo600

True Blood Open Thread 6.9: “Life Matters”

Hosted by Joseph Lamour

Image via True-Blood.net.
Ed.’s Note: Laffy’s looking ferosh. Pairing your purple suit accessories
to your purple eyeshadow is living life at expert level.

I think this was the best episode of True Blood in quite some time, don’t you think? After the end of the hour, I realized I didn’t roll my eyes at nearly anyone. I’m thinking the last great episode was in Season 4 when Sookie and Amnesi-Eric first slept together (two seasons ago!) and also in the same episode a bewitched Jessica walked into the sun and I had to wait a whole week to find out she didn’t die. (I remember being pretty sure that I would have stopped watching in protest if the almost-death of Babyvamp Jess was an actual one. Given the frequency of characters meeting their maker (at least 1 per episode these days) I’m pretty sure I’ll consider a boycott if/when she does — knock on a wooden stake.

Shifting back to this past installment, the cast and crew of this HBO show sometimes show to us from time to time; during the gore and the camp and the bizarre, they hit it out of the park and remind us, “We can be super awesome. Our boss did in make Six Feet Under.” Keep it up, television show.

Discussion points with a side of SPOILERS for True Blood 6.9: “Life Matters” are under the cut:

Continue reading

Racialicious Links Roundup 8.8.2013: A Black Batman — And More…

By Joseph Lamour

blackman

    • Why Batman Can’t Be Black (Blogtown/The Portland Mercury)

      People don’t like the implication they could be the bad guy on this issue. Racism is bad. That’s axiomatic. Thus, arguments against changing Batman’s race tend to go like:

      “It’s not that I don’t want Batman to be black. With the right writers, I bet it’d be cool! I’d love for popular culture to be more diverse! It’s just that, unfortunately, it simply can’t be done in the case of Mr. Bruce Wayne. There’s too much history and continuity. It’s a shame, but that’s just the way the world works.”

      Which is bullshit. Bruce Wayne doesn’t exist. He’s not real. It wouldn’t take a miracle of genetic engineering to somehow flip the needed switches in his DNA to transform him from a rich white guy to a rich black guy. He’s completely fictional. Of course he can be a black man. He’s been a lot of things over the course of his 70+ years in existence, most of them infinitely more ridiculous and unbelievable than possessing a darker skin tone.

 

    • Jew Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me: Weiner, Spitzer, Filner … Are Jews less likely to cheat? The data says no. (Slate)

      “What’s the matter with Jewish men today?” Josh Greenman, the opinion editor of the New York Daily News, raised that question after Anthony Weiner’s latest sexting relapse. Jodi Kantor, a Slate alumna and New York Times correspondent, responded with a 1,200-word essay on the troubles of Weiner, Eliot Spitzer, and San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. Although the three cases are very different, these “libidinous, self-sabotaging politicians are causing grimaces among fellow Jews,” Kantor noted. They’re discrediting the assumption “that Jewish men make solid husbands.”

      Where did we get the idea that Jews are faithful in marriage? Sounds to me like an old yente’s tale. The data don’t support it. Jews stray as much as—if not more than—spouses of other faiths.

 

    • An In-Depth Look at How “Orange Is the New Black” Compares to Real Life (Bitch Magazine)

      It’s historically been difficult to generate activist attention around criminal justice reform, but increasing media attention could add more hearts/minds/bodies to the thousands who’ve been battling these issues tirelessly for years, like The Sentencing Project, The Women’s Prison Association, Families Against Mandatory Minimums and The ACLU.

      And now we have Orange is The New Black (OINTB), the first American television program since Oz to so poignantly dramatize, eroticize, and criticize the system. Plus, OITNB does a thing Oz rarely did, which is make us laugh. As formerly incarcerated writer Joe Loya wrote about why he prefers the new show to Oz: “The show — though not a biopic, therefore not literally accurate — still captures truthfully the zaniness of prison. And the sex agonies. The fortunate camaraderie. The hidden likenesses between the guards and prisoners. The collaborations. The antagonisms. The pain of family visits.” Also: The humanity. You cannot write these people off.

 

Quoted: Rand Paul’s Racial Problem

rand

Image via Salon.com.

The latest episode in Paul family’s saga with white supremacy comes from John Harwood, who interviewed Paul for NPR. When Harwood asked the senator about Jack Hunter, who co-authored Paul’s book and served on his staff before getting fired when his arguably racist views came to light, the senator bristled. Paul agreed that some (though he did not specify what) of what Hunter wrote was “stupid,” Paul mostly defended his former longtime aide. “He was unfairly treated by the media, and he was put up as target practice for people to say he was a racist, and none of that’s true,” the senator said. “None of it was racist.”

To refresh, Hunter was, until way, way back in 2012, a radio shock jock and conservative writer who called himself “the Southern Avenger” and wore a Confederate flag luchador mask. Hunter praised the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, decried Hispanic immigration, and warned that “a non-white majority America would simply cease to be America,” among many, many other things.

— Alex Seitz-Wald, “Rand Paul’s shocking racial blind spot” Salon 8/7/2013