Category Archives: black

The Invisible Muslimah

by Guest Contributor Faith, originally published at Muslimah Media Watch.

What’s the first image that comes to your mind when you think of a Muslim woman? Is she Arab or South Asian? White or maybe Afghan or Indonesian? Notice that I haven’t mentioned African American (and also Latina). The media depiction of Muslim women usually does not include African American women. Often, Muslim women are depicted as coming from the Middle East or South Asia, and occasionally sub-Saharan Africa. Also, there has been increasing focus on Muslimahs of European descent, especially converts such as Yvonne Ridley and Dr. Ingrid Mattson.

When African American Muslims are depicted in the media, it is usually a male face (Siraj Wahaj, Abdul Hakeem Jackson, Malcolm X, Imam Warithdeen Muhammad, etc.) that is presented to the public. There are exceptions such as Dr. Amina Wadud. However, the overall trend is rather disheartening, considering how much African American Muslimahs do for other black Muslims as well as the whole Muslim community. I have often wondered why the stories, needs and concerns of African American Muslimahs are not focused on and come up with a myriad of possible answers. Continue reading

Being Married to a Black Woman is *Really* Exasperating!

by Guest Contributor SLB, originally posted at PostBourgie

I know it’s a little late to be bringing up Lakeview Terrace. Typically, reviews for feature films appear in publications the week the film opens. But let’s be real here: despite its Week 1 box office triumph, Lakeview Terrace is the kind of film you wait a week or two to see… at a matinee showing. And that’s exactly what I did. Frankly, though, I’m fairly certain I would’ve been better off waiting on the DVD release or the bad BET overdub on basic cable (You know it’s coming… in 2011).

But I’ve digressed.

I can’t imagine what drew audiences to this bizarre race film last weekend. Was it director Neil Labute’s arthouse reputation as a skilled provocateur? Was it the involvement of Will-and-Jada’s profitable Overbrook Productions? Was it Kerry Washington’s alleged “hotness?” Or was it simply that surefire, time-honored Sam Jackson delivery of the classic trailer line, “Ah’m the POE-LEASE! You HAVE to do what I say!”?

Maybe it was a little of everything. For me, morbid curiosity was the driving force. I took stock of the premise: black cop terrorizes the interracial couple who move in next door, simply because he’s anti-miscegenation and protected by the badge, and I decided that there was no way this could be executed well. But I certainly wanted to see folks try.

I’ll give you the short version of events here and please note that from this point on, there will be HEAVY SPOILERS. So if you still intend to support Will, Jada, Sam, Kerry, or Patrick Wilson with your box office dollars, STOP READING NOW. Continue reading

Vijay Singh: Categorically Black?

by Latoya Peterson

Over on the Hyphen blog, Erin writes about Vijay Singh, golf star and winner of the 2004 PGA Tour Player of the Year award.

In an entry titled What’s the New Black? Shifting Sands of Race, Erin takes a page from Jeff Yang (who made the argument that Barack Obama’s life story resonates with the Asian American experience) and speculates on Singh’s racial categorization:

In interesting counterpoint to that is a conversation I recently had with a friend who speculated that Vijay Singh — and not Tiger Woods — may be professional golf’s “colored person,” if by that we mean a category that renders invisible, unwelcome, or second-class those who are tarred with it. Singh has been cast as an uppity and hypermasculine threat to a gentleman’s game; he gets a fraction of the press he deserves, and seems to be the guy that the establishment would love to watch fall on his face. So, pointed out my friend Sameer, might it be said that Singh is categorically Black in a way that also transcends biological race?

Thoughts?

True Blood. Tired Stereotypes.

by Guest Contributor Tami, originally published at What Tami Said

Why is it that television writers, who are capable of creating story lines beyond our wildest imaginings, still can’t paint black characters that rise above tired stereotypes?

I’m hooked on Alan Ball’s (Six Feet Under, American Beauty) new HBO series, True Blood. The drama, based on the Sookie Stackhouse series of books by Charlaine Harris, centers on Sookie, a waitress in fictional Bon Temps, Louisiana. In the world of True Blood, vampires are “out” and fighting for their rights as American citizens. TruBlood, a new synthetic product produced by a Japanese company, means proud vampire Americans can get the nutrition they need without, well, you know, offing anyone. Now, the living dead and the living rub elbows at night, much to the chagrin of conservative citizens, and religious and political leaders, who don’t feel minorities should receive “special” rights.

Continue reading

I Know Why Zane Sells

by Guest Contributor M. Dot, originally published at Model Minority

Zane sells because her fiction allows Black women to be sexual in a culture that refuses to acknowledge that we are sexual, a culture that calls us hos if are so inclined to be sexual, talk about sex, or even look like we are human and have a sexual appetite.

When was the last time you saw a Black woman have a love interest and sex in a movie?

Or a tv show?

Yesterday, I was doing all this reading of Hortense Spillers, Tricia Rose and Hegel (whom I struggle with tremendously), as I am developing an outline for a writing sample.

When instantly, Zane’s popularity clicked for me.

Professor Spillers essay titled, Intercises: A Small Drama of Words discusses, the position of Black women’s sexuality in American culture.

She writes,

Our sexuality remains an unarticulated nuance in various forms of public discourse as though we are figments of the great invisible empire of womankind.

If I attempted to lay hold to any fictional text-discursively rendered experience of Black women, by themselves- I encounter a disturbing silence that acquires paradox, the status of contradiction.

Continue reading

U Go Gurl: Traveling As a Black Woman

by Guest Contributor Margari Aziza Hill, originally published at Just Another Angry Black Muslim Woman?

Most travel books don’t prepare Black Americans for the experiences they will have abroad. Ever since I first traveled abroad, I have been bemoaning the lack of resources for Black women who want to see the world. I receive frequent emails from Black women who are either planning to go abroad or are already abroad and looking for resources. Last year, I suggested that someone should compile our stories so that I could support other sisters who want to travel abroad. That’s why I was happy to find this web resource,
U Go Gurl and the book, Go Girl.

FINALLY A TRAVEL BOOK FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN.

A rich collection of fifty-two stories covering the globe. Sister-to-sister advice on everything from destination selection, to traveling solo, to saving money on airfare. Exploration and discussion of issues of particular concern to black women; dealing with racism, overcoming fears, claiming entitlement, etc. The book also includes a planning guide and a resourceful guide.

Maya Angelou tells the story of arriving in Africa a stranger but leaving claimed as a member of the Bambara tribe. Evelyn C. White writes about finding new pride in being black after visiting Egypt. Opal Palmer Adisa evokes the sights, sound, and aromas of urban Ghana where she traveled to meet her lifelong pen pal. Lucinda Roy brings alive the year she spent teaching girls in Sierra Leone and talks how the villagers’ friendship overcame her loneliness for home.

Alice Walker offers a quite meditation on how the beauty of the country stirred her imagination. Audre Lorde captures her experience of being refused entry to the British Virgin Islands because of her dreadlocks. Gwendolyn Brooks recounts the camaraderie and tensions of a trip to Russia with a group of American writers. Gloria Wade-Gayles explores the complexities of being both an American and a woman of color as a paying guest in a Mexican home. Continue reading

Of Race and Resident Evil 5

by Latoya Peterson

Resident Evil 5 is set in Africa. This was done intentionally, according to producer Jun Takeuchi, as Africa is considered the birthplace of civilization.* Since that is where humanity began, the development team thought it would be interesting to explore the origins of the T-Virus basing the plot in Africa.

And just like that, another twist is added to the increasingly infuriating puzzle that is Resident Evil 5.

The game is not even scheduled to be released until 2009 and already the controversy has raged on for close to a year.

In a fifteen minute video,
(h/t Ikue) the Capcom blog features game producer Jun Takeuchi explaining some of the ideas surrounding the plot and updates to the gameplay. (Note: Resident Evil is the US title; the game is called Biohazard in Japan.) Unfortunately, there still is not much insight to be had. Chris Redfield is still the main character and this is definitely his story playing out against an exotic backdrop.

Nothing close to the kind of insight I was looking for from Capcom. As such, I am still withholding a judgment call on the game until I actually play. (Which, dear readers, will actually be a huge struggle for me – I am not great at first person shooters and I have never been a fan of survival horror. While I enjoyed watching the past few games, playing them will be an exercise in frustration.)

However, I was directed to a wonderful article on the MTV Multiplayer blog, in which N’Gai Croal of Newsweek’s Level Up blog spoke very frankly on images, racial history, and gaming.

Here’s an excerpt:

There was stuff like even before the point in the trailer where the crowd turned into zombies. There sort of being, in sort of post-modern parlance, they’re sort of “othered.” They’re hidden in shadows, you can barely see their eyes, and the perspective of the trailer is not even someone who’s coming to help the people. It’s like they’re all dangerous; they all need to be killed. It’s not even like one cute African — or Haitian or Caribbean — child could be saved. They’re all dangerous men, women and children. They all have to be killed. And given the history, given the not so distant post-colonial history, you would say to yourself, why would you uncritically put up those images? It’s not as simple as saying, “Oh, they shot Spanish zombies in ‘Resident Evil 4,’ and now ‘black zombies and that’s why people are getting upset.” The imagery is not the same. It doesn’t carry the same history, it doesn’t carry the same weight. I don’t know how to explain it more clearly than that. Continue reading