Category Archives: Quoted

Quoted (WTF Edition): Frances McCaffery on Obama

Excerpted by Latoya Peterson

What was so beautiful about this? Well, although Obama has all the “presidential” characteristics – the capacity to inspire, the sonorous, soaring voice, the cool, soothing nature – we were all able to create him in the individual image we all needed him to be: someone who refused to be victimized, took control of his life and became self-realized; someone who lost his way and then regained his footing spectacularly; someone who was an insider-outsider, both simultaneously smooth and authentic.

To everyone saying we were swilling the Kool-Aid, charmed by his very image, I say this: this image was ours. It was ours! The idea of racial inequality being righted in our lifetimes somehow realized our American Dream.

—Frances McCaffery, “How Obama Carried Me Home,” in this month’s Adbusters.

Latoya’s Note: I don’t know if I can express how I felt reading this seemly innocuous passage on the metro yesterday. The rest of McCaffery’s article talks about feelings of alienation and reconnection, all from this one person. I’m not sure if the feelings started because I was reading this piece in Adbusters. I enjoy reading the mag and their overall message, but years have passed and they seem completely and totally disinterested in anti-racist, feminist, or anti-colonialist thought. They will occassionally publish criticism in their letters section asking why Adbusters is full of white images or why Adbusters didn’t quote radical feminist economic theorists, or why Adbusters is enamoured with the idea of “noble savages” unspoiled by our consumerist Western ways, but seem to have no desire to change these things – or even engage critically with these critiques within their pages. So, with that context, these specific words of hope and targeted praise seem a bit chilling.

Do they (McCaffery and Adbuster’s editors) really think that casting a vote “righted” racial inequality? Really? With that line, the ones before it talking about “refusing to be vicitimized” took on an ugly sheen. Like the neo-boostrap argument. Sounds like the same old bullshit and it Smells Like Teen Spirit. – LDP

Quoted: Van Hunt on Barack Obama

Excerpted by Latoya Peterson

I would like to congratulate Barack Obama on ascending to the pinnacle of American politics and public stature. Now, a friend asked if I was watching the parade for the new president. I told him “sentimentality and symbolism are not my favorite things, so I don’t enjoy watching them on full blast.” I’m sure some would say that I am negative or without hope, but, in my experience, hope is the excitement that accompanies opportunity, preparation, intelligence and a good plan. I don’t need Barack Obama to represent “hope” for me; but, I do want him to make it easier for me to have hope.

—Van Hunt, on his MySpace blog

Quoted: Gwen Ifill on the Question of (Biracial) Identity

Excerpted by Latoya Peterson

Biracial breakthroughs have come to occupy an entirely different plane of identity. Obama and other breakthrough politicians such as Maryland lieutenant governor Anthony Brown and Washington, D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty are biracial but identify as black. Still, many white voters are clearly more comfortable thinking of them as half-white.

Do you choose to believe a thoughtful man such as actor Don Cheadle, who told Harvard historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. in the PBS documentary African American Lives, “You are what you have to defend?” (As James McBride, a biracial writer put it: “If cops see me, they see a black man sitting in a car.”) Or should we listen instead to a thoughtful man such as Harvard law professor Randall Kennedy, who argues that black identity is a choice, especially for biracial achievers such as Tiger Woods?

—The Breakthrough, p. 166

Quoted: Will Smith on America

Excerpted by Latoya Peterson

“It was as if some part of me was validated [after Obama won the election.] It was something that I’ve known for a long time that I couldn’t really say: ‘You know guys, I really don’t think America is a racist nation.’ I know that I feel like that sometimes but I just don’t believe that. There are racist people who live there but I don’t think America as a whole is a racist nation. Before Obama won the presidency I wasn’t allowed to say that out loud because people would say: ‘Oh yeah, of course for you, Mr Hollywood!’ ”

–Will Smith, as quoted in The Daily Express

(Hat tip to Jezebel)

Quoted: ?uestlove on The Little Things

Excerpted by Latoya Peterson

Note: My boyfriend sent me this on September 23. As so often with conversations on OkayPlayer, the forums purge and the conversation is lost. The original link he sent to the topic comes up with an error. However, he did copy ?uestlove’s response to the thread, which was really a meditation on what it means to be a large black man, going about your daily business.

51. “well….i really wanna say skin”
In response to Reply # 41

but its like those are the small adjustments i have to make in everyday life to make white people happy.

here are some others.

-i remove the afro pick when im going to a city on a plane and we (the roots) are the only blacks aboard. im use to being a goldfish to people by now. but sometimes i just give up.

-i talk EXTRA job interview whenever the flight attendant reads the beautiful name my parents gave me aloud. just to assure the wall street journalites that im not going to pull the act you think im going to pull simply because you just heard two arabic names read aloud in first class.

-i turn my body hard to the left (as if in the dunce corner) when im on an elevator alone….

-actually part 2: i will get OFF the elevator sometimes cause the fear of entering the elevator is such a shock to some white women they will just play it off like they dont have to get on. so i get off….

….and next thing you know….they get on. Continue reading

Quoted (WTF Edition): Anonymous Source on Female Rappers

It wasn’t always like this. From 1998 to 2003, female rappers such as Lauryn Hill, Eve, and Missy Elliott were among the genre’s most bankable artists. But nearly all of their successors — including Lil Mama, Kid Sister, Ms Dynamite, and Jean Grae — have struggled to connect with listeners. And it’s harder than ever to launch new talent. ”Hair and makeup is killing female hip-hop,” says a source. ”The grooming cost to break a female rapper versus a male rapper is 10 times as much per appearance. That tends to have an adverse effect on a record company’s willingness to even entertain a female rapper.”

—- From “BET and VH1 Present…Awards Shows Without Women,” Entertainment Weekly

(Thanks Carmen!)

Quoted: Kate Rigg on Racism and Comedy

Excerpted by Latoya Peterson

Warning: Explicit Language

Is there stuff either of you won’t make comedy about? Is there anything you think will always be off-limits?

Kate Rigg: Not to me. […] That’s a very personal question, though. Do I think that people should get up on stage and wantonly use racist language? No, I do not. However, I do not think that racist language should be banned from a comedy stage, and I’ll tell you why: Because a word is not really the problem. It’s hatred, and it is oppression, and it is racism that is the fucking problem – and you [can’t] hide the fact that racism exists by going, “You can never ever say this word on stage, it’s bad!” Continue reading