Refusing to learn how to pronounce Quvenzhané’s name says, pointedly, you are not worth the effort. The problem is not that she has an unpronounceable name, because she doesn’t. The problem is that white Hollywood, from Ryan Seacrest and his homies to the AP reporter who decided to call her “Annie” rather than her real name, doesn’t deem her as important as, say, Renee Zellwegger, or Zach Galifinakis, or Arnold Schwarzenegger, all of whom have names that are difficult to pronounce–but they manage. The message sent is this: you, young, black, female child, are not worth the time and energy it will take me to learn to spell and pronounce your name. You will be who and what I want you to be; you be be who and what makes me more comfortable. I will allow you to exist and acknowledge that existence, but only on my terms.
“Just because I’m homeless doesn’t mean I don’t have a life,” Inocente Izucar tells the viewer at the beginning of the short documentary bearing her name. The film, which won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short on Feb. 24, follows the young undocumented immigrant’s journey toward becoming an artist despite hiding her homelessness from her classmates.
“If people would find out, they’d probably make fun of me,” she says. “Especially at the school I’m going to right now. Most of the kids here are like, really rich.”
Directors Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine met the young San Diegan while researching a documentary about homelessness in the area, but quickly opted to focus their project around her.
“We want to thank this young lady who was homeless just a year ago and now she’s standing in front of all of you,” Sean Fine told the audience as the trio accepted their Academy Award. “She’s an artist and all of you are artists and we feel like we need to start supporting the arts. They’re dying in our communities. And all of us artists, we need to stand up and help girls like her be seen and heard. It’s so important.”
With a tip of the hat to Lalo Alcaraz, you can watch the documentary and follow Inocente’s story above. And below the cut, for those of you who follow us on Twitter, the collected live-snarking of the rest of the ceremony.
Antron McCray climbed on stage in a Manhattan theater one night last week and stepped into the kind of spotlight that, until now, has almost always meant trouble for him.
Exiled from New York, his hometown, Mr. McCray was last seen in public two decades ago as a skinny 16-year-old, practically drowning in a suit that he wore to the Manhattan courthouse where he was tried on charges that he was part of a mob that raped a jogger in Central Park and beat her nearly to death in April 1989. In the television news footage, he often held his mother’s hand as he walked past screaming demonstrators.
The audience that had just seen him as a boy — in a baseball uniform, in a police precinct station house being interrogated, in the too-big suit going to court — and had listened to his voice throughout the film could now see him as a man. At 39, his shoulders were broader, and his waist a bit thicker.
There was something he wanted to tell the audience about his anonymity.
“Here’s the reason why I escaped New York: I just had to get away,” Mr. McCray said. “Start a new life.”
That logic took him to a shocking place.
“Actually, uh,” he said, “I don’t even go by Antron McCray no more.”
Saying that out loud seemed to take even Mr. McCray by surprise, a sudden tolling of what he lost. Words thickened in his mouth. On either side of him, two of the other men, Kevin Richardson and Yusef Salaam, squeezed his shoulders and patted his back.
By Guest Contributor Gene Demby, cross-posted from PostBourgie
After President Obama was re-elected last Tuesday, there was the predictable racist apoplexy from the knuckle-draggers on Twitter who wanted to voice their disgust. It was vile and stupid, but it’s hard to argue that spitting “nigger!” into Twitter’s river of digitized id has any real-world consequence. All you could really do is laugh at the horrible spelling and twisted logic and K.I.M.
But the day after the election, Jezebel’s Tracie Egan Morrissey decided to put some of those offenders on blast in a slideshow, in what was presumably an attempt to shame the tweeters. (Morrisey left their names and Twitter handles unobscured.) There was something about both the execution and tone of that post and the comments section that felt both cynical and self-congratulatory–look at how not-racist we all are, guys!1 And perhaps not coincidentally, this kind of stuff clicks really well. Continue reading →
I think this picture, brought to my personal TumblR dashboard by @so-treu, encapsulates all the feels about President Obama’s re-election amidst Superstorm Sandy and Winter Storm Athena:
Raena Lamont, 3, wears a Captain America costume at a polling center Tuesday in Staten Island, New York. The polling station doubles as a donation site as Staten Island works to recover in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Via CNN.com
I finally figured out that I change my hairstyle every decade or so. In my fourth decade, I decided to forego the bald and grow out my hair without going to locs, like I did in my 30s. This little child is my seriously cute inspiration:
Quite a few of you Tunblizens were feeling the little one’s cuteness, too.