Category Archives: eurocentric

Race + TV: Taraji P. Henson Isn’t A Person Of Interest On Her Own Show

By TV Roundtable Member Kendra James

Did anyone else know that Emmy and Oscar nominee Taraji P Henson is the third lead this season on Abrams’ and CBS’ new thriller Person of Interest?

No? Don’t be ashamed, because you certainly wouldn’t know given the advertising. The New York billboards feature the white male leads, Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson, and that same poster is the one you’ll see featured in magazines and papers all over, including this morning’s free Metro in NYC. As far as I was concerned these two men were the show’s only leads. I had no idea that an Oscar and Emmy nominated actress was the female star.

When TV Guide gave more of the same on the cover of their latest issue, Taraji took to her Facebook fanpage to speak to her fans:

WOW!!!! TV Guide is NOT including me on the cover with my cast members……..I am the female lead of a 3 member cast and I’m not included on the cover!!!!!! Do you see the shit I have to deal with in this business…..I cram to understand!!!!

The post was removed later and replaced with:

I swear you guys keep my spirit lifted cause it ain’t easy AT ALL for a sister in Hollywood. Your love is God sent!!!! Thank you ALL from the bottom of my heart. Wanted to tell you all this on live TV at the Emmys (if I’d won) but……oh well. Muah!!!!!

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Quoted: Hussein Rashid on ‘Hate Comes To Orange County’


Warning: Audio may be NSFW; contains harassment

There is no excuse for this behavior. It is pure, unbridled bigotry. There is no way to explain it away, and muddying the waters by saying there was anti-Semitic speaker there does not make it OK to call charity “terrorism,” or to terrorize young children.

The video also shows elected representatives speaking about a Muslim event—although it’s unclear if it is the same event. However, the point of these politicians is made succinctly by Villa Park Councilwoman Deborah Pauly, who said, “I know quite a few Marines who would be happy to help these terrorists to a, uh, early meeting in paradise.”

This is an elected representative presumably telling some of her constituents that US Marines should kill some of her other constituents—US citizens. For her, the people at the meeting were not human, were not citizens, were not constituents, but were “terrorists,” tried and convicted by her; and that is enough for her to call on the Marine Corps to exterminate them.

- Read the full post at Religion Dispatches

Sandra Lee’s Kwanzaa Cake and the problem with being inclusive

By Guest Contributor Tami Winfrey Harris, cross-posted from What Tami Said

Respecting and honoring all persons and their cultures is hard work in a society that privileges the majority culture. It requires honest acknowledgement that privilege allows some Americans to be knowledgeable and care only about their own beliefs and rituals. It requires dedication to learning about traditions beyond your own. And it requires resisting the temptation to see other cultures only within the context of your own. (i.e. believing Hanukkah is Jewish Christmas)

This all takes work. And, frankly, I don’t think most Americans wish to work hard at understanding other cultures. This time of year, the War on Christmasers balk at “Happy Holidays”–just a gentle acknowledgement that some Americans celebrate winter holidays other than or in addition to Christmas. But even the more evolved among us stumble, because rather than learning, say, what Winter Solstice or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa really are and what they mean to those who celebrate them, we prefer to simply be “inclusive.” And by “inclusive” I mean folks throw in a mention of these holidays from time to time during the season, usually conflating them with Christmas. Shove a Kinara or Menorah in the background of a talk show set or on a holiday graphic. Include other winter holidays in the consumerist frenzy that Christmas has become. And indiscriminately shout “Happy Kwanzaa” long before December 26.

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Double standards: What’s the difference between Russell Brand and ‘Superhead’?

By Guest Contributor Tami Winfrey Harris, cross-posted from What Tami Said

I am (blessedly) very close to finishing British comedian Russell Brand’s second memoir Booky Wook 2. While Brand’s first foray into writing, Booky Wook, was funny, literate and self-aware. The continued story feels self-aggrandizing and cobbled-together to capitalize on the star’s growing fame (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek). Two books in, Brand’s “beautiful fucked-up man” (TM Sarah McLachlan) schtick begins to wear thin.

Ultimately, you win no points for admitting that you are a predatory, selfish, womanizing asshole (albeit using flowery, anachronistic turns of phrase) if these self-revelations don’t lead to changed behavior. I was struck last night that Booky Wook 2 stands as a testament to society’s double standard regarding male and female sexuality. A young (white, straight) man can write two books regaling readers with tales of two-, three- and foursomes; obsessive masturbation; spitting in a woman’s face; hiring prostitutes (and making one cry through aggressive behavior); carelessly dispatching sexual partners; and, famously, calling an aging sitcom star to slyly allude to having had sex with his granddaughter.

And this all makes him just a lovable cad–one who gets much shine over on the ostensibly feminist site Jezebel. And folks buy in to the notion, advanced in Booky Wook 2, that Brand has been saved by the sweet, sweet love of a “good” woman–wide-eyed pop star and Christian-when-it’s-convenient Katy Perry, who Brand recently married. Brand can wear not just his promiscuity, but misogyny, as a badge of honor and be feted not just by the media at large, but in spaces reserved for women.

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Telling the truth and community accountability on Columbus Day/Thanksgiving

By Special Correspondent Jessica Yee

Does anyone ever wonder when “Columbus Day” will no longer be a nationally “celebrated” holiday? I mean really and truly – when do y’all think that will happen?

In my opinion, it’s not as if the information does not exist out there which explicitly states that no, Columbus was never even near the continental mass of what’s now known as “America”. The “great” navigator that he was didn’t even know where he was going and never washed up here – ever.

What he did do with the full backing of the voyage was ensue genocide, apartheid, and colonization – all whose affects are deeply entrenched in existing assimilative federal policies, hierarchical societal structures, and the realities of Indigenous communities here and around the world.

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Understanding autochtoon privilege

By Guest Contributor Flavia Tamara Dzodan, cross-posted from Red Light Politics

Here in The Netherlands, racial matters and subsequent discussions are framed very differently from those in North America. I suspect that due to the fact that The Netherlands has lacked an equivalent to the Civil Rights Movement, race issues are still stalled in a colonial phase where oppressive language and the relevant discourse have never been properly deconstructed and challenged (and hardly analyzed at all outside academic circles).

To give a bit of background, the Dutch state has a classification system for those of us who live here. This classification is not necessarily framed on ethnicity but on place of birth (both for the classified subject and her parents). The Dutch state uses a word appropriated from biology, “allochtoon” to refer to us. This term originally denotes any organism which is non native to a given ecosystem. They have, in turn, created a scale of “foreignness” in which a Native Dutch (known as “autochtoon” in Dutch state parlance) is at the top of the food chain, followed by “Western foreigners” (i.e. Americans and other Caucasian Europeans) and then at the bottom of the foreignness pyramid, “non-Western foreigners” (i.e. everyone who comes from a country classified as non Western or underdeveloped).

This foreignness is determined not only by the place where one was born but also by the place where one’s parents come from. So, someone could be born in The Netherlands, but still be classified as a non Western foreigner because one of her parents hails from such place. Because I am South American, I am one such “Non Western Foreigner”. My status as an ethnic foreigner is also made evident by the way I look (I am consistently addressed in Arabic or Turkish because of my completion).

The laws of the country are such that I am obliged to disclose my “Non Western foreigner” status in a multitude of ways: if I am to apply for a job, I am obliged to tell; if I am to take a language course, I am obliged to tell; my healthcare provider demands to know this and I am obliged to tell (supposedly for statistical purposes); education plans and programs are put in place specifically for people like me (and my children if I had any).

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On Supporting, and Not Supporting, Molly Norris

islam

By Thea Lim

I heard about Molly Norris for the first time last week, on Fatemeh’s blog. Fatemeh wrote that she had signed a petition in support of Molly Norris, and gave this reason:

I was unhappy to read that “Draw Muhammad Day” creator Molly Norris had voluntarily gone into hiding. While I thought the concept of “Draw Muhammad Day” was ridiculous and viewed it in the same light as the South Park episode that supposedly depicted the prophet, I recognize that Norris’ intent wasn’t to be offensive or malicious. In Islam, intentions count for something just like actions, and no one should be punished for simple naïveté. It’s atrocious that Norris has received threats and feels unsafe enough to go incognito.

I have to say that after doing a little bit of reading about Norris, “Draw Muhammad Day” and the outpouring of support for Norris, I am finding it difficult to be as generous as Fatemeh.

When Fatemeh writes that she supports Norris, what I understand is that Fatemeh supports Norris’ right to live a life free of violence and threats.  That, I find entirely reasonable – I too support Norris’ right to safety, as I support anyone’s right to safety.  But what I am struggling to understand is exactly what all the other people who say they support Norris, are actually in support of.

Aaron Goldstein at The American Spectator writes:

Freedom of expression in America took another step closer to a slow death last week when the Seattle Weekly announced it would no longer be publishing the work of cartoonist Molly Norris because she had gone into hiding…I cannot help but wonder that if Norris had been more assertive in her own defense then others would have been more eager to stand beside her…So given the current political climate regarding Islam in America who among us could be the next Molly Norris?

James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal writes:

Where is President Obama? Last month, speaking to a mostly Muslim audience at the White House, the president strongly defended the right of another imam held up as a moderate to build a mosque adjacent to Ground Zero. The next day, and again at a press conference last week, Obama said he was merely standing up for the First Amendment. As far as we recall, it’s the only time Barack Obama has ever stood up for anybody’s First Amendment rights.

Now Molly Norris, an American citizen, is forced into hiding because she exercised her right to free speech. Will President Obama say a word on her behalf? Does he believe in the First Amendment for anyone other than Muslims?

Abigail R. Esman at Forbes writes:

Let me repeat: The U.S. government is suggesting that Ms. Norris change her name, strip away her past, possibly even change her appearance, because she has been targeted by Muslim extremists who are not amused by her work or her ideas. Rather than protect her, rather than defend her, rather than stand up for her Constitutional and democratic rights, declaring their intention to route al-Awlaki out and bring him (and others who are threatening her life) to justice, the American government, as it were, is itself in essence allying with him by taking away her freedom and her life.

Now listen. I will say this again: I emphatically support Molly Norris’ right to safety. I think it is terrible that she has to go into hiding, and I can only imagine the fear and distress that she is feeling right now.

But. I 100% do not support Norris’ right to mean-spirited mockery. I do not support anyone’s right to belittle, poke fun at, show insensitivity or thoughtlessness towards anyone else’s system of belief – but especially at Islam, seeing how it seems to have become some sort of Liberal American pastime to see who can make the most Islamophobic joke.  And this is while the rights of Muslims to pursue their system of belief is under attack, all across the Western world.

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