Category Archives: random

A Racialicious Halloween: Target Shopping Edition

By Sexual Correspondent Andrea (AJ) Plaid

From the same store that stays sold out of Princess Tiana dolls (especially the green-gowned ones), from the same store that stays sold out of the latest Black Barbies (I was lucky I got this one, button not included)….


I saw this display for some Target “Spook-tastic Savings”….


Which is fine–I still watch and collect DVDs, even though they’re becoming an obsolete medium–so I’d purchase some…until I saw exactly what was on sale.


If my photo’s too blurry or the print too small, my deepest apologies. I tried surreptitiously to take the photo.  What’s on the shelf:

The BrothersThe Color PurpleDiary of a Tired Black ManEve’s BayouThe Five HeartbeatsGifted HandsGood HairPurple RainMenance II SocietySchool Daze…

…to name a few.

To those who may not know:  “spook” is a racial slur for Black people.

To answer the question of where I saw this, the display was in a Target in downtown Brooklyn, NY, where a large number of its on-floor staffers are Black and has a very racially and ethnically diverse customer flow.

Of course, we can talk about intentions–the usual variations of “they probably didn’t mean it” that I heard from a couple of customers–but the impact is the continued perpetuation of an single old stereotype, even with a display of new(er) and varied representations of Blackness.

Just in time for the holiday.

I called over a sales associate, a very sweet young Black man.

“‘Spook’ is an offensive term referring to Black people. Having ‘spook-tastic’ and Black films together can be considered offensive.”

He looked at the display with surprise and apologized. “Oh really? I’m so sorry.  I’m not in charge of the display.”  He looked at it again, the “aha” moment spreading across his face.

“Is there a manager? If you want to let the person know…maybe I can speak to him or her?”

“Sure.” He found a manager in the next aisle.  He discussed the situation with her and came back to me.

I said to the sales associate, “Maybe you can find some horror films to put up on the display, which would be more appropriate. But “spook” and Black films…just nah.”  When I finished what I said, the manager peeked her head around the corner.

I walked away to try out my iPod on a display stereo to see if music was coming out of one speaker just on my speakers or if it was just jainking up on other equipment.

When I left the store, the associate, the manager, and a security guard gathered around the display, discussing it.

ETA: The sign was changed to something about their “low price promise.”  And I purchased a green-gowned Princess Tiana doll.

Photo credits: Andrea (AJ) Plaid

The Root’s Confab and Random Thoughts About Talking About Race

by Latoya Peterson

After I hit up the AAA conference on race, I had to dash over to the Root’s offices to make a 4 PM podcast.  Natalie Hopkinson had kindly invited me to join them on The Confab, The Root’s Podcast.  Here’s the description:

This week on The Confab: Why is Haiti so unlucky? How has new media impacted earthquake relief efforts? And, will someone tell Pat Robertson to please shut up? Plus, the ever-evolving state of race? How possible is it to have a productive discussion. Join The Root‘s media and culture critic Natalie Hopkinson as she talks with managing editor Joel Dreyfuss, Jesse Washington of the Associated Press, Natalie Y. Moore from Chicago Public Radio and Racialicious’ Latoya Peterson.

You can listen to the Confab here.  Regular readers and listeners to ATR will notice that I start to get a bit frustrated midway through.  While I enjoy Natalie Hopkinson’s work, and found Jesse Washington a nice and funny guy, it can be challenging – particularly in a radio/television format – to break down complex ideas about race in a few seconds without getting cut off.

Sometimes, this is just the medium.  I was asked by Jesse Washington who are white professional anti-racists outside of Tim Wise, and I couldn’t think of any off the top of my head. I referred to Nezua, the Unapologetic Mexican as someone who had more experience dealing with white anti-racists, but it came out wrong.  It sounded like I was saying “Nez knows all the white people” when really, I was thinking about this video that he made for News with Nezua (transcript here):

News With Nezua | The White Professional Anti-Racist from nezua on Vimeo.

(Also, see what happens on Nez’s site when he posts this video, and the reaction from a “White Professional Anti-Racist”.)

So there’s that.  But Washington also asked me if I was an “anti racist activist” which actually gave me some pause. Continue reading

Comments That My Eyes Cross

by Latoya Peterson

Moderating comments is an interesting mixed bag of insight, rage, and strange ideas, sprinkled liberally throughout with WTF moments. And of course, there are people who think a multiracial site makes an awesome recruiting ground for their talk show/reality show/dating needs. While I generally let all these things slide right into deleted comment purgatory, one recent comment made me do a double take (emphasis mine):

Lee Anderson | |

We are producers working for an Emmy Award-winning production company is producing a pilot for a prime-time reality show on a well-known, respected cable network. We are seeking willing men and women who have kept a secret close to their heart and now would like to reveal the truth to someone who will be significantly impacted by your revelation.

The act of sharing your secret could help both you and others and it may allow you to find peace and closure. You and the person you are telling, will be supported through the process and will not feel alone in dealing with your revelation.

We are experienced in honoring sensitive and intimate stories. We are not interested in any revelation that would exploit or others.

Here are some examples of the types of stories that we are seeking:

. Do you have a secret crush on someone that you work with or have known for a long time? Are you ready to tell them?

. Are you a person of color who has passed as white and are ready to embrace your ethnic heritage?

We would love to talk to you if you are ready to tell your story. If you contact us we will tell you what broadcaster is involved.

Contact us at or

Please know that your response does not necessarily guarantee that your story will be chosen, nor does it obligate us in any way to use it once you have told it to us in confidence, because we may hear like or similar stories. If the secret you choose to reveal at this casting call involves a crime or is of a criminal nature, we, of course cannot offer you protection.

Apr 24, 5:17 PM — [ Edit | Delete ] — View post “From a Mixed Race Child: Tips for a White Parent”

How is racial passing on par with a crush? Can you imagine that scenario?

“James, I’ve loved you ever since I saw you 36 years ago on the school bus and we had the same tooth missing in our second grade school picture.”

“Hanan, for the last three years, I’ve been sneaking into your cubicle and sniffing your chair so I can inhale your scent after hours.”

“Yeah, honey, about that uh,monochromatic country club we were about to apply to…I think there’s something you may need to know in case they do a DNA test…”


Oh yeah, and nothing says peace and closure like dropping a bomb on someone for a TV show.