Category Archives: exoticisation

Racist Stereotypes At The Lupe Pintos Chili Cook-Off

By Guest Contributor Beth Frieden

[Editor's Note: Racialicious was contacted Monday morning and asked to remove the photos seen here due to copyright concerns. This piece has been updated in keeping with the request. - AG]

Lupe Pintos is a Mexican, Spanish, and American imports store in Edinburgh and Glasgow that I have enjoyed visiting from time to time since I moved to Scotland from the US, but I got a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach when I saw a flyer for their Chili Cookoff in my local social centre. Lupe Pintos are well-known and popular, having been open in Edinburgh for 21 years now, and started celebrating their fourth annual chili cook-Off this year on October 20th in Edinburgh, and will be in Glasgow on October 27th. So what’s the problem with this celebration of delicious food?

The poster advertised “Come dressed as Cowboys, Mexicanos, Wild West, Day of the Dead.” Come dressed as Mexicanos? Really? From a store that specializes in Mexican food? You would think the owners would have had ample opportunity to realize that “Mexican” isn’t a costume but rather a present-day real identity.

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“Your Women Are Oppressed, But Ours Are Awesome”: How Nicholas Kristof And Half The Sky Use Women Against Each Other

By Guest Contributor Sayantani DasGupta

I just saw the most problematic image on Facebook. It was a photo of four blonde female pilots in combat gear with the caption, Hey Taliban, look up in the sky! Your women can’t drive, but ours CAN!

Despite the issues I have with militarism, or this country’s campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, I’m all for cheering for female pilots (yea, bada&& flying ladies!). What I can’t just can’t stand by and let slide is this “your women are oppressed, but ours are awesome” rhetoric, a rhetoric which only illuminates how–both actually and metaphorically–racism, xenophobia, and imperialism so often play out on women’s bodies around the world.

To me, this photo represents how blithely and blindly women from the Global North allow ourselves to be used as (actual and metaphorical) weapons of war against women from the Global South. In fact, that offensive caption isn’t significantly different from comments I’ve been hearing this week like, “These are countries where women have very little value.”

Sadly, the place where I’ve been hearing such phrases isn’t on some conservative TV program or website (where I think that all-woman pilot photo originated), but rather, on the PBS film Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women, a well-publicized neo-liberal “odyssey through Asia and Africa” hosted by everyone’s favorite white savior New York Times reporter, Nikolas Kristof.
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Zayn Malik And Racism In One Direction

By Guest Contributor Marwa Hamad

One Direction member Zayn Malik. Via IrishCentral.com

I’ll admit it: I am a 22 year old part-time music journalist and full-time social-justice activist who gets relentlessly mocked on a daily basis for my immense and unwavering love for a little boy band sensation known as One Direction. If the glossy poster plastered by my work station of five UK boys grinning goofily at me is any indication, my loyalty as an over-aged fan of these kids is a truth that I’ve come to embrace.

The biggest chunk of this appreciation can be attributed to the fact that, for the first time in a long time, I actually feel represented in popular culture as an Arab, Muslim, and “brown” woman. Zayn Malik, the only Muslim person of colour in the band, is someone I can look to and think, you and I might have a thing or two in common. From reading his bandmates’ tweets about taking him out to Eid dinner, to seeing the Arabic script inked across the 19-year-old’s collarbone, I’ve found somewhat of a happy place in Zayn’s presence within the white-dominated world of mainstream pop music. I am now able to watch TV, listen to the radio, and open magazines to find something I can relate to for a change.

Alas, all good things must come to an end, or at least be horrendously tainted by the obvious fact that the inclusion of a Muslim person of colour in a boy band doesn’t mean the exclusion of racist undertones in the way that the media, the public, and his management choose to pigeonhole him.
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Diversity Is More Than A Bra Size: What It’s Like To Be A Woman Of Color In The Lingerie Industry

By Guest Contributor Cora Harrington, a.k.a. Treacle Tart, cross-posted from The Lingerie Addict

Photo of the author by POC Photo. Hair & Makeup: The Shanghai Pearl. Lingerie: Kiss Me Deadly.

Today’s post was really hard to write. I’ve been thinking about the things I’m about to say now for months, but it’s only become clear in the last few weeks they urgently need to be said.

I never know which articles people see first when they visit The Lingerie Addict, and we get a lot of new visitors everyday. So I’m going to say a few things which are probably obvious to my longtime readers but may be less obvious to visitors who are new or who don’t come around as much.

  1. I’m black.
  2. I’m a US dress size 10, bra size 34C.
  3. I weigh 175 lbs.
  4. I’m American.

I’m saying all that to give you a bit of context about who I am and the perspective I’m writing from because, for some time now, I feel like the conversation on diversity within the lingerie industry has been dominated by those who behave like diversity only matters along one axis–and that’s size.
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Excerpt: Adrienne K. Updates The Paul Frank Controversy

There were some hints in the email that this wasn’t going to be my typical dismissive conversation (they want to learn from their mistake?! They’ve taken steps to address the situation?!), so I was already feeling better about the whole thing going into the call. Mr. Dekel also reached out to Jessica Metcalfe (of Beyond Buckskin), so we decided to have a conference call with the three of us. Unfortunately, Ms. Beyond Buckskin is in Canada for a visit, and her phone was being mean and wouldn’t let her call in. So I talked to Mr. Dekel on my own (but then immediately filled in Jessica afterward, don’t worry). She’s going to be following up with him next week when she’s back home.

The phone call went so much better than I could have even imagined. Elie was gracious, sincere, and kind from the beginning, and truly apologetic. He took full responsibility for the event, and said he wanted to make sure that this was something that never happened again, and wanted to learn more so he could educate his staff and colleagues. We talked about the history of representations of Native people in the US, and I even got into the issues of power and privilege at play–and the whole time, he actually listened, and understood. Such a refreshing experience.

- From Native Appropriations, 9/14/12

Paul Frank Offends Every Native Person On The Planet With Fashion Night Out “Dream Catchin’ Pow Wow”

By Guest Contributor Adrienne K., cross-posted from Native Appropriations

Fashion’s Night Out is now in its fourth year–an annual night for residents of New York, LA, and other fashionable cities to get dressed up in sky-high heels and totter from retail outlet to retail outlet, pushing through hoards of similarly clad city dwellers attempting to partake in free cocktails and canapes. Stores host “celebrity” appearances — though it seems to be mostly reality TV stars and folks whose 15 minutes may have faded a few years ago. Overall, it’s a fun-filled chance to celebrate fashion and leave a huge mess behind for working-class folks to clean up.

Do I sound bitter and jaded about this “fun” and “fashionable” night of joyous revelry? I am. I am because this year, for Fashion’s Night Out, the PR team at Paul Frank in L.A. decided they would host an event called “Dream Catchin’ with Paul Frank” a “pow wow celebrating Fashion’s Night Out.” The Hollywood Reporter described the event as:

… a neon-Native American powwow theme. Glow-in-the-dark war-painted employees in feather headbands and bow and arrows invited guests to be photographed on a mini-runway holding prop tomahawks.

Jessica Metcalfe at Beyond Buckskin posted the photos of the event last night on her FB page, and I honestly couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Just looking at the flyer posted above was enough to send me into a cultural-appropriation Hulk rage. How clever, the font of the “Dream Catchin’” looks like teepees! How clever, the Paul Frank monkey is wearing warpaint and a sacred headdress! How clever, we put him in the center of a dream catcher, complete with pony beads and neon feathers!
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“People Don’t Want To See Problems On The Screen”: Why The West Won’t Watch Bollywood

By Guest Contributor Margaret Redlich

Kajol (l) and Shahrukh Khan in Dilwale Dulhania le Jayenga. Courtesy: planetradiocity.com

When they’ve tried to make realistic pictures about the poor and the middle classes, they get miserable attendance…People don’t want to see problems on the screen.

So says a 2001 article from Smithsonian magazine about the rise in popularity of the Indian movie industry, a.k.a. “Bollywood,” in the West during the 1990s.  And this is the general assumption many in the First World like to make about Indian film: that it is an escapist genre, and that all the poor people of South Asia need to be happy is three hours of brightly colored fantasy.

Indian films have been the main source of popular culture for all of South Asia and popular in many other countries throughout the world since the 1950s. The first international hit was Raj Kapoor’s Awaara in 1951, followed by Shree 420 four years later. Although the 50s are generally considered the “Golden Age” of Indian film, the Indian film industry had been around for 40 years before that, with the studio system already thriving within 20 years. Although the West, especially America, likes to pretend that they invented the movies and every other country is merely imitating them (as is implied in the very name “Bollywood”), in fact India has been making movies in its own style since the advent of the artform.

The West didn’t suddenly make a Columbus-like discovery of Indian film in the 90s; it was a result of a calculated strategy on the part of the Indian industry. A series of political shifts in Indian government had led to weakening import/export regulations as well as the legalization of investments in the Indian film industry. Therefore, there was suddenly more money around to make these globe-hopping song- and dance-filled extravaganzas. And that money could be turned into even more money by making plots that were universal and of interest to Desis and others living in the First World. What is more universal than romance?

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Project Runway’s Chicana: Deported From The Runway

“Project Runway” contestant Beatrice Guapo. All images courtesy of Lifetime.

By Guest Contributor Daily Chicana, cross-posted from Daily Chicana

In recent months, I have made a dramatic change in my life: I have been watching much less television than ever before. The only time I watched less than I do now was in my senior year of college, when I moved in with my then-boyfriend, a history grad student who saw himself as far too intellectual to partake of pastimes that entertain the masses. By contrast, the all-time high came when I was married, because watching television was more or less the only thing my ex-husband and I did together; each night came with a particular schedule of shows. It was very depressing. Lately, though, I’ve been so busy that I made an inadvertent, surprising discovery: The less I TV watch, the less I miss it. I realize now that for the most part, TV provided a background chatter so I didn’t feel so alone during the day as I worked from home.

That being said, however, there are three shows that I commit to watching, no matter what: Mad Men, Top Chef, and Project Runway.

So you can imagine my excitement that a new season of Project Runway just debuted last night. Woo-hoo! And–hold onto your seats, folks–there was a Chicana contestant vying for the ultimate prize!

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