Earlier this week, I received an email from a new reader:
My name is B and I live in Florida. In fact, the neighborhood where I reside is a very desirable, mostly residential area centrally located near downtown and only a few short minutes to our lovely beaches.
The reason I am writing is because I just received the current issue of our neighborhood newsletter. The publication is several pages long and is in a glossy magazine style format. It is widely read not only by the neighborhood residents but also by other neighborhoods because of a general curiosity of all the events that take place here year round.
Well, each month, a regular feature is written called “Mr. Trivia, things you need to know, things you wanted to know, things you would care less if you ever knew!” I read it regularly and consider it mildly entertaining. However, this month, I was left with distaste after reading its opening paragraph.
“Senor Trivia est en Mexico on vacacione. He has ad to muy tequila. He as me too rite de newleter fo viktor pak. I not god en Englsh. He sho me ow to copy on cumputr. I hop u lik me yob. Senor Mex trivia.”
The article then continues in its regular format citing various facts and then ends with:
“I ride burro now and bring this to u.
Senor Mex trivia.”
I mentioned my dissatisfaction about the article to a friend and she felt I was overreacting. I’d considered writing the editor of the newsletter stating that I thought it bordered on a negative racial stereotype, though I have held off from doing because of my friends comment about my “overreacting”.
Do you remember Pauly Shore? I don’t find him especially worth remembering, but I think his new project, a movie called Adopted, deserves attention. Critical attention.
It seems to me that in the trailer below, Shore enacts a common white tendency: acting racist in a way that’s supposed to signal that you know you’re acting racist. And thinking as you do so that because you’re being ironic, you don’t really mean to be racist, so the racism you’re enacting is okay. And kinda cool and funny too.
The film’s official site describes it the following way, with, presumably, a heavy dose of irony. Tongue firmly planted in cheek, as people used to say:
For hundreds of years, Africa has existed in a state of despair. Famine, civil wars and rampant disease have left the continent without hope, but for the efforts of Western do-gooders. At first, they arrived with food, bibles and the magic of penicillin; more recently they have hosted rock concerts and sent plane loads of grain. And in the last decade of the 20th century they arrived and took babies home with them. First there was Angelina, then Madonna, and now…Pauly Shore!
You know, dear readers, I am sometimes entirely too curious for my own good.
But I’m going to blame Joseph for this latest bout of killing the cat, since it was his comment (#58) on the original HJNTIY thread that led me to the Friday matinee show.
Before I jump into my impressions of the movie, let me add a little background information. We often receive comments on Racialicious about how sometimes people just want to escape, or that movies are made for “intellectuals,” or that we critique everything and never like anything, or that we are busy judging things we haven’t seen or don’t watch or whatever.
These comments are generally incorrect. In the case of He’s Just Not That Into You :
I remember where this all started, as I watched Seasons 1 – 4 of Sex and the City, and sporadically finished out the rest of the series. (I enjoyed the series, glaring race and class issues aside – I just tend to lose patience with most shows after a few seasons.)
Not only do I remember the episode that spawned the book, I actually read He’s Just Not That Into You. The book wasn’t very memorable, but it is infinitely better than It’s Called A Break Up Because It’s Broken which made me want to gouge out my eyes with the spoon I was supposed to use to eat my break-up mandated pint of Chunky Monkey. (No, that’s in the book. The cover shot is an empty pint of ice cream.) Instead of reading that, I recommend Cindy Chupack’s Between Boyfriends. She also wrote for Sex and the City and while the book isn’t self-help, it’s probably more helpful than that mess.
I really enjoy escapist romantic comedies. Seriously. I deal with race, gender, class and activism all freaking day – what do you think I go home and do? All I ever want is a glass of wine and something funny. That’s all. However, I would prefer that comedy doesn’t actively insult my intelligence. (In another post, somewhere in the future, I’ll talk about one of my favorite romcoms – That’s The Way I Like It – and why it works using the romcom formula without becoming formulaic.)
So, I went to the movie cautious. While I hated the trailers, the alternate trailer (marketed to guys, natch) made the movie seem more interesting than I had anticipated. So after lunch, I suckered my boyfriend into going with me.
“Are Americans Ready for a Black President?” is a one of those news headlines circulating on the web.
So people call Obama black and McCain white, but I just did an algorithmic test. I measured the color of a large rectangle of each person’s forehead based on Wikipedia’s photo of them. A photo editing application will tell you the average color of that area. I then opened the WhatColor program, which will tell you the approximate color name for any color you point your mouse over. Using a rectangle filled with the calculated base color of Obama’s and McCain’s foreheads, I was thus able to pick the correct color names for Obama and McCain, which are, in this order:
- Tan - Dark-Salmon
As you can see, large parts of US campaign coverage may need to be rewritten now. People who think referring to a person’s color is important should now use phrasing like “tanned Obama” or “dark-salmoned McCain”. You may of course also use the terms “African-American” (for Obama) and “European-American” (for McCain).
And now, I’d like to see some “Are Americans Ready for a Dark-Salmoned President?” headlines. I’ll provide you with my answer to that question, too: yes, they are.
Just not this dark-salmoned one, please.
Race, Culture, and Identity in a Colorstruck World