It isn’t a fucking accident for a White man to put on a shirt with a Confederate flag. It isn’t a fucking accident for a White man to say he’s “got a lot to learn BUT.” It isn’t a fucking accident for a White man to whine about “walkin’ on eggshells” and “fightin’ over yesterday,” as if racism is a thing of the past and not something active and present in the here and now. It isn’t a fucking accident for a White man to say “we’re still paying for mistakes / that a bunch of folks made long before we came,” as if White Southerners’ lingering discomfort with slave history is the same fucking thing as the structural effects of slavery that inform the lives of Black USians’ to this very day. It isn’t a fucking accident to compare the Confederate flag to a do-rag or saggy drawers. All of this is thoughtfully conceived and deliberate bullshit.
Marginalized people don’t owe privileged people non-judgment and tolerance and indulgence of their gross redefinition of symbols of oppression in exchange for basic decency. The inherent power imbalance between privilege and marginalization makes the entire idea of an “equal exchange” of good will reprehensibly absurd.
If White people want Black people to trust us, then we should make ourselves fucking trustworthy. That means releasing our stranglehold on a lot of symbols and images and words and practices with racist origins, even if we like them a lot—boo fucking hoo!—instead of trying to argue selective context. Especially when there are always plenty of White folks who still value the embedded racism in those things. Brad Paisley, you are literally expecting Black people to be able to read White people’s minds and magically discern whether this one White guy is wearing a Confederate flag just because he has Southern Pride, ahem, or because he hates the fuck outta Black people.
That wildly unreasonable expectation is no accident, either.
When I watched the documentary Payback, based on Margaret Atwood’s book about debt and forgiveness, I really wasn’t there for Atwood. I’ve never took a liking to her literary self since developing an intense dislike for her most famous work, The Handmaid’s Tale. The book rubbed my proto-anti-racist self the wrong way when I read it years ago. What I didn’t expect is to have her introduce me to my latest infatuation, Raj Patel.
“It’s incredibly flattering, just for an instant,” Mr. Patel said of his unwanted status. “And then you realize what it means. People are looking for better times. Almost anything now will qualify as a portent of different times.”
Dwayne McDuffie left a lasting legacy on the world of comics that many writers can only aspire to. He will not only be remembered as the extremely gifted writer whose scripts have been realized as comic books, in television shows and on the silver screen, but as the creator or co-creator of so many of the much-loved Milestone characters, including Static Shock. The industry has lost a true talent.
– Dan DiDio, co-publisher, DC Comics, Feb. 22, 2011
This June, Felicia Henderson, Denys Cowan, Prentis Rollings, Eric Battle, John Rozum, Matt Wayne, John Paul Leon and others will contribute to a STATIC SHOCK Special, with a cover by JH Williams III.
This Special is our way of acknowledging the industry’s loss. It is not a tribute comic intended to raise proceeds for charity.
We regret if there was any confusion regarding our intentions caused by the solicitation of this project.
The short answer is, DC Comics doesn’t have to do anything to honor Dwayne McDuffie, who suddenly passed away last month. But the disconnect between the two statments above show that, even if the company’s intentions are good, its’ approach in this case came off as tone-deaf.
The main character and narrator of the story. Katniss is slender with black hair, grey eyes and olive skin. She is sixteen years old and attends a secondary school somewhere in Appalachia, known in the book as District 12, the coal mining sector. She is often quiet and is generally liked by District 12’s residents, mostly because of her ability to provide highly-prized game for a community in which starvation is a constant threat. Katniss is an excellent hunter, archer, gatherer, and trapper, skilled just like her deceased father. She and her father shared singing ability, too. Since his death in a mine explosion, which killed Gale’s father too, Katniss has been the sole provider for her family, a role she was reluctantly forced to assume at the age of eleven when her mother’s grief overcame her ability to function. Katniss is surprised when her sister is chosen to compete in the Hunger Games, and willingly steps forward to take her place out of love.
By Guest Contributor Yvonne Yen Liu, cross-posted from Colorlines
Juan Baten came to this country from Guatemala seven years ago in search of a better life. A bus in Cabral, Guatemala, hit his father so Baten left home at the age of 15, to make the journey north. He made his way to Brooklyn, N.Y., where he found work in a tortilla factory in an industrial corridor along the Brooklyn-Queens border. He worked six days a week, nine hours a day, from five in the evening until two in the morning, operating the machines that churned out tortillas. The $7.25 per hour he earned was sent back to his family in Guatemala, supporting his four brothers.
Baten also found love. Seven months ago, his common law wife Rosario Ramirez gave birth to daughter, Daisy Stefanie. They dreamed of a day when they could move their family back to Guatemala.
However, one Sunday, Baten’s arm got stuck in the blades of a dough-mixing machine and he was crushed to death. The 22-year-old dad’s story splashed across the pages of the New York tabloids, and his death led to investigations by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and state Department of Labor. The Workers Compensation Board discovered that the factory owner was not offering worker’s compensation to his employees and issued a stop-work order. The factory is now closed, pending payment of insurance and fines by the owner, according to news reports.
By Guest Contributor Aymar Jean Christian, cross-posted from Televisual
Note: To see Part 1, which featured a breakdown of several of the box-office performances of several leading black actresses, go here.
III. The State Of The Black Leading Lady
It’s hard to be a woman in Hollywood. It’s hard to be black in Hollywood. So, obviously, it stands to reason it’s hard to be a black woman. It can be boring to hear — “black women have it tough, huh, what else is new?” — but it’s true!
One good place to start is New York‘s new “Star Market,” which is a great resource for people wanting to know more about how stars are made and unmade by the throngs of publicists, casting directors, producers and studio execs in Hollywood. One theme from the feature rings clear: it’s much tougher for women. The 2000s haven’t been bad to black actors and actresses: stars like Will Smith and Queen Latifah rose in power; 22 actors and actresses were nominated for and 7 won Academy Awards — in the previous 70years, only 36 had been nominated and 6 had won. But the overall picture for black women is less rosy than for their male counterparts: most black-led independent and mainstream films are centered on men.
It’s hard to assign blame. Surely, the industry’s partially at fault: too few black/women directors, screenwriters, people above/below the line. But the industry also responds to what America wants, and year after year, movies led by white/men top the box office. Every once in awhile, something shakes the conventional wisdom — Sex and the City, or films by Sandra Bullock, Tyler Perry and Will Smith — but the conventional wisdom more or less remains because Hollywood is congenitally cautious. Once again, who’s to blame? Most films fail, and job security is hard to come by, so how much can we blame industry workers for not taking risks? I don’t know. Let’s talk about it.
Soledad O’Brien and Almighty Debt come closest to the program’s stated goal toward the end, when she asks Pastor DeForest “Buster” Soaries if he “pulled strings” to help one of his parishoners, Fred Philp, get into college, leading to this exchange:
Soaries: I picked up the phone to make sure that nothing got lost in the sauce and that Fred didn’t fall between the cracks. O’Brien: What’s that mean, “lost in the sauce”? Soaries: well, Fred was not your classic college applicant, and he was not heavily sought after in colleges. He had academic challenges, financial challenges, and I didn’t want to trust his high school counselors to be his primary advocates. And so when I heard that Fred was having some difficulty with the college of his choice, I thought it probably would help if I let the president know that Fred is with me.
Unfortunately, aside from that sequence and a couple of other statements later in the show, the issue is ignored. The irony of her church-oriented report is, the devil isn’t in the details – it’s in the lack thereof.
It was close to a year ago when I started research that would begin to answer the question, “so, who exactly is the audience for black rock?” Of course, the unspoken part of that question was the assumption that this was and continues to be, something fringe. But we know that’s hardly the case. In fact, the audience for black rock and black alternative music is growing, and that growth is powered by an ongoing cultural shift.
I won’t bore you with the demographic recap of those who took the survey (50/50 male/female split; 76% African American), as you can read it in the executive summary below. What’s most interesting to me is the psychographic—or attitudinal stuff—that the research uncovered. After all, attitudes drive actions.
These attitudes are important to note for another reason: It speaks to the need/opportunity for broader institutional and, yes, corporate, support for black rock and black alternative music. There’s still the belief out there that
Black folks are monolithic and;
We can all be reached by using hip hop.
The first supposition has never been true. As for the second, hip hop, particularly in its commercial form, is easily a shadow of what it could have been. Moreover, by virtue of its inclination for entertainment over substance, it has abdicated any right to say that it’s representative of black folks.