Category Archives: images

How The Left Enables the Right’s Racism: The Obama Rape Comic

By Sexual Correspondent Andrea (AJ) Plaid


Well, this is a fine way for me to commemorate Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

I survived a young Black man raping me when I was five years old, and I’ve been subjected to decades of the stereotype of the Black male rapist and the racism behind it.  So, this cartoon triply triggered my reaction.

Obama As Rapist Cartoon

I rubbed my hands.  I walked away.  I wanted to cry but couldn’t because I was at work when I clicked on the link.  I shook inside, back to that frightened little girl who couldn’t possibly tell my mom the truth about what happened.  (I eventually did, about a decade later.)  I didn’t want to reflect on my experience—not like this.

But there it all was, splayed on my screen, demanding some sort of order, some sort of reason for it all.  To deal with it. Again.

As does the cartoon itself. Why this scenario? Why these stereotypes? Why all the justifications—again? (Yes, the poster said it can’t be racist because the woman is green.)

I’d love to say this cartoon was aimed at me, a Black woman who survived a rape, but I may be a side audience for this.  This cartoon’s intended audience is for people intent on holding onto their unchallenged notion of all Black men—as both capable and very willing to rape, even symbolically.  And their victims are always stereotyped as that embodiment of all that is ideally and virtuously feminine in the US, white women. Even symbolically, such as the paragon of US freedom and rights, the Statue of Liberty.  So, this cartoon is the wet dream—and dog whistle—to those folks who need to believe that a single Black man being president is using that power to rape “their” beloved country and the rights and entitlements this country (ostensibly) offers. Continue reading

Musing on The Window Seat Video

by Guest Contributor Renina Jarmon (M.Dot), originally published at New Model Minority

Earlier today, I was on the phone with Bacon Grits, chit chatting, planning my outfit, my day, flirting, and he asked me I had seen the Window Seat video? I continued looking for my fuchsia leggings, turned it on, put him on speaker, and continued to chat. I sat down in front of the computer half way watching, listening, and then I noticed, “Erykah Badu is stripping?”

Then I tell him, wait, is she going to get naked?

He says, oh you haven’t seen it, wait until the end.

We both sat there quiet as I listened, and watched. Absorbed. Continue reading

Window Seat: Does Erykah Badu’s Booty Obscure Her Artistic Message?

by Guest Contributor Noorain Khan, originally published at Jezebel

*Video Slightly NSFW*

A poll posted yesterday afternoon asks, “Did Erykah Badu Go Too Far in Naked New Video?” So far, almost 60% of respondents agree.

At the intersection of sexism, nudity, and art sits Badu’s latest artistic endeavor, the controversial music video for her first official single, Window Seat. And everyone’s been talking about it.

The video features Badu walking through Dallas’s historic Dealey Plaza, the site of the Kennedy assassination, while stripping down to nothing but a hat. The crowd of bystanders includes children. It ends with what appears to be Badu’s own assassination by gunshot, after she removes the last of her clothing.

The internet has been ablaze with wide-ranging reactions and commentary following the video’s debut last wekeend:

“It is not just about the nudity — it is also about where she decided to film this piece of junk….and then to include the gun shot….it was very disrespectful. … she did this with no regard for anyone else but herself.” – thm, posted on the Dallas Morning News site, March 30th

“I think Erykah Badu is brilliant. That video was the deepest, most sincere, undeniably real video I’ve ever seen. EVER.” –Tyeastia, posted on March 31st

“Sorry. I appreciate the statement and the thought behind the video, and I’m also a huge Badu fan. That said, the nudity and subsequent mock assassination? With the children present? Sorry, I’m not feeling it.” –Shola Akinnuso, posted on The Root, March 30th

Badu’s video is undoubtedly an atom bomb of visual imagery. As an artist who has never shied away from articulating her consciousness-raising agenda through metaphor, the Window Seat video has prompted many to ask, does Erykah Badu’s booty obscure her artistic message? Continue reading

Race, Clothes, and Perceptions of Criminality

By Anonymous, originally posted at Sociological Images

Note from Lisa, editor of Sociological Images: We are pleased to featured a Guest Post from a blogger at Sociological Confessions. Our anonymous blogger is a Sociology professor who teaches courses on race relations and does public sociology work on racial disparities in criminal justice. In this post, she poses a question based on an interaction with students who questioned her interpretation of an incident as racial.

After presenting lots of statistics about racial disparities in criminal justice, I showed my class the videos from ABC News What Would You Do? in which first White and than Black youths vandalize a car in a public parking lot. [See the videos at ABC: Part I and Part II.]

There is only one 911 call on the White boys, but ten on the Black boys. Plus, while the White boys are vandalizing, someone calls 911 to report people who are suspected of planning a robbery — Black kids asleep in a nearby car! Well, most of the class, as expected, saw this the way I did, as evidence of a racial problem. I was trying to emphasize that not arresting Whites when they commit crimes is just as important in racial disparities as arresting Blacks. Some students pointed out (correctly) that it was a demonstration, not a controlled experiment and wondered (fairly) whether the producers selected cases for their strong differences. But a few very vocally insisted that the difference was not about race at all, but that the Black kids were wearing “gang clothing.” They got somewhat offended when I said, “yeah, Black styles” and then cut off that line of argument, saying “OK we disagree on that, but I don’t want to spend the rest of the class arguing about clothing.”

Today I went back to the video and took screen shots of the kids. They are all wearing hooded sweatshirts and jeans, as I said. (One student had insisted that the White kids wore tucked in shirts! Not so.)

Continue reading

Embracing Precious: The nuances and truths in the individual and collective stories we tell

by Guest Contributor Imani Perry, originally published at Afronetizen

Precious Poster

These are strange days indeed. We are firmly into the 21st century, and yet the 80s are haunting us. For African Americans it is yet again a decade of dream and deferral.

Back in the ‘80s, for the young Black and college educated, the doors of corporate America and other professions opened up and broadened the spectrum of the Black middle class like never before. But also, back in the ‘80s, crack cocaine and the aftermath of deindustrialization crippled areas of concentrated blackness in major urban centers.

Now in the 21st century, a new Black elite floods the popular imagination as Capitol Hill, the president and his administration become more and more colorful. But also now, in the 21st century, the recession hits Black communities hardest, and at the intersection of devastating rates of imprisonment, joblessness, and inadequate education lie a critical, hurting, mass of Black Americans.

Then came Precious.
Continue reading

Princely Tails

By Sexual Correspondent Andrea (AJ) Plaid

(WARNING:  Totally NSFW)

Reader Grace nearly caused a pearl-clutching moment amongst us Special Correspondents with a link to these, ahem, enhanced drawings:

David Lilio and StitchAladdin

I look at these images as I do hentai and plushies:  some people getting off on the frisson of (hyper)sexualized ideals of taboo images and items connoted to belong to the kiddie world, like Disney cartoons and stuffed animals.   So, I do understand the squick with seeing these resemblances of lust-inspiring Calvin Klein and Armani underwear images because it’s like fucking with someone’s childhood.  And childhood, regardless of quite a few people’s realities about their early years on this earth, is held as sacrosanct in its idyllic innocence—especially sexual innocence– in US culture. Continue reading

An Indigenous Olympics?

By Guest Contributor Toban Black, originally published at

The 2010 Olympics logo is an altered version of traditional Arctic Inuit sculptures. This quasi-indigenous logo has been displayed in a barrage of Olympics branding. You can see two examples of this marketing in photos — from the summer of 2009 – shown below.

With this Olympics logo, and other Olympics promotional messages, marketers have been portraying the 2010 Games as ‘indigenous’ Olympics. Indigenous references are foregrounded in mass produced Olympics marketing.  The online Olympics store even sells “Authentic Aboriginal Products” (such as t-shirts and silk ties).

Some people who encounter this Olympics branding are bound to come away with the impression that natives (that is, individuals with a significant enough amount of native ancestry or culture) are respected, empowered, and well-integrated here in Canada. In other words, some viewers will view this marketing as a sign of harmonious bonds between natives and mainstream Canadian society.

Chief Stewart Phillip, the president of Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, conveyed a much different view of Olympics marketing when he asserted that,

We’re deeply concerned about the concerted and aggressive marketing campaign advanced by Vanoc [the 2010 Olympics organization committee] which suggests the indigenous people of [British Columbia] and Canada enjoy a very comfortable and high standard of living. The Disneyesque promotional materials suggests a cosy relationship between aboriginal people of the province with all levels of government and it completely ignores the horrific levels of poverty our people endure on a daily basis.

(Arctic indigenous branding on a McDonald’s cup in a
Wal-Mart store, in a city in Ontario, Canada)

In British Columbia, and elsewhere in present-day Canada, natives have communicated conflicting views about how the 2010 Olympics relate to their lives, lands, and traditions. Indigenous Environmental Network campaigners have been among the more vocal critics who have opposed the 2010 Games.

Some have found the cartoonish Olympic marketing imagery to be a mockery of native traditions.  For example, critics have argued that the 2010 Olympics committee has edited and re-packaged native culture — which also has been ripped out of its traditional contexts. The Committee is highlighting Arctic indigenous imagery — yet Vancouver, the centre of the Games, is a temperate city.  Arctic indigenous peoples did not live there — or on the nearby Whistler and Cypress mountains, where some Olympic events will be held. Other indigenous populations who did live in that area of British Columbia also are not represented in the marketing iconography.

The Olympics branding denies noteworthy differences among native groups spread across these areas. Passing theatrical gestures to native peoples during the open ceremonies could be considered to be more respectful, but Olympics marketers otherwise have been mixing up North American native traditions into a soup-like caricature. Natives have been consistently oppressed, but the various peoples who are considered to be native (in some way, or to some degree) certainly are not ‘all the same.’ Tacking Arctic imagery on to Vancouver-area Games implies that there is only one native essence (in North America, if not beyond this continent).

Continue reading

CBS Photo Fail: Fortune Cookie

By Deputy Editor Thea Lim

You gotta laugh or you’ll cry: reader Dov sent us a link to an article about a flight attendant who used Taekwondo to subdue a passenger on a bad trip from too many medical marijuana cookies.  The passenger was Chinese-American, so CBS decided to run a photo of fortune cookies and marijuana leaves as illustration for this quirky news bit.  Because that’s the only kind of cookie that Chinese people eat, right? Ha! Ha!

As Dov writes:

The story concerns a Chinese-American airline passenger who freaked out on a flight after having a bad reaction for medical marijuana cookies and had to be restrained by a flight attendant with a black belt.

The first two photos are of the flight attendant (in her gi) and the Chinese-American passenger. The third photo shows fortune cookies and a marijuana leaf.

Nowhere in the article does it say that the medical marijuana cookies were fortune cookies. The choice to use fortune cookies seems to be solely due to the race of the passenger.

I don’t know about baked good with drugs in them. (Really. I swear)  But I do know that fortune cookies are a task and a half to make.  Dear CBS, haven’t you heard that along with a ravenous appetite for fortune cookies, Chinese people also love efficiency? No Chinese person worth their salt would spend hours making marijuana fortune cookies when they could just make Sara Lee brownies out of a box…(/sarcasm)

While we’re on the topic, I should mention that fortune cookies are not exactly a good illustration of Chineseness.  Fortune cookies, while based on a Japanese prototype, are actually 100% AmericanFrom Wikipedia:

Makoto Hagiwara of Golden Gate Park’s Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco is reported to have been the first person in America to have served the American version of the cookie when he did so at the tea garden in 1890s or early 1900s. The fortune cookies were made by a San Francisco bakery, Benkyodo.[2][3][4]

David Jung, founder of the Hong Kong Noodle Company in Los Angeles, has made a competing claim that he invented the cookie in 1918…

Seiichi Kito, the founder of Fugetsu-do of Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, also claims to have invented the cookie…

Photo courtesy of – of course – CBS. Happy Lunar New Year to you too, jerks!