Whites stereotype Asians, Asians stereotype blacks

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Check out this old Jell-O ad from the sixties that mocks an Asian baby trying to eat Jell-O with chopsticks. It has just about every offensive stereotype you can think of: the dreaded Asian font and a presumably white dude narrating with an awful fake accent and dropped words: “Chinese motha bling baby Jell-O. Famous western delicacy!”

And then on the flipside, check out this (by the looks of it, fairly recent) Japanese (possibly Thai?) toothpaste commercial, featuring a big black guy who helps a Japanese child retrieve her balloon, only to have her mother snatch her baby and run away, screaming. He’s just misunderstood and uh… somehow ends up sleeping on a giant toothbrush and morphing into dark toothpaste. You kinda have to just watch it.

Props to Adrianna for finding this site!

Solving the puzzle of the lying liars who brought us Armand de Brignac champagne

by guest contributor Clyde Smith, originally published at ProHipHop

armand de brignacIt looks like most of the important parts of the puzzle of Armand de Brignac, the previously unknown yet ancient champagne that magically appeared in Jay-Z’s comeback video, have been solved. Business Week’s Burt Helm follows up, drops by the offices and eventually clarifies that Armand de Brignac is both real and a fake.

You can read his post for clarification but the name is an old one for a champagne that hasn’t existed for quite some time and the champagne packaged in the revived Armand de Brignac brand is a new blend with very little history.

Key Point Alert:
I repeat, Armand de Brignac is a new blend with no history or positive reviews by serious taste testers or anything other than an infrastructure, an appearance in a Jay-Z video, a nice bottle and a bunch of frothy media coverage [with a couple of dissidents here and there who will soon be forgotten].

So the statements from the press release that “the brand is making its North American debut this year, after enjoying success as a premium, high-end brand in France” is an outright lie. It’s a new champagne wrapped in an old brand borrowing the design of a bottle for a cheaper product.

However, Helm drops the ball when he states that this approach isn’t that different from the sudden appearance of Grey Goose Vodka that was touted as the “World’s Best Tasting Vodka.”
I’d put best tasting in the hype category as one of those lies that we’ve come to accept. I’d put trying to pass off a resurrected brand and claiming it is as an ongoing successful brand with an old history as a lie that we should refuse to accept, though it’s one that fits the world of hip hop business practices like a glove.

At this point, it’s quite obvious what’s going on here. Though Helm is still at the “skeptical” stage regarding the various disclaimers about who did what and why, it’s clear that the whole thing is a setup, regardless of whether or not this charade was inspired by the Cristal boycott.

Key Point Alert:
The very idea that Jay-Z Inc. would put a product like that in a starring role in Jay-Z’s comeback video without prior discussion or deal doing is patently absurd.

But if you buy that one, give me call, I’ve got a barely used ’69 VW bug for sale. Really, only 37k on the original engine and those are all highway miles. You’ve lucked out on this one!

More details will emerge though I’ll bet they keep the backroom realities hidden. In hip hop business, your lies are usually only revealed when you are caught up in legal proceedings because, generally speaking, hip hop business is considered entertainment news. Besides all pr is good pr and telling the truth is awfully close to snitching, don’t you think?

Much thanks for the tip to Dariah H.

Sofia Coppola feminism: dependent on class, race, and cultural subjugation

by guest contributor blackamazon, originally published at Having Read the Fine Print…

powdered wig sofia coppola marie antoinetteI have recently taken to using a term “Sofia Coppola feminism” and I intended to define it and then had an awesome/interesting time for the past couple of days but with the rising of the ugly head of this, felt it was apropos.

In short, SCF or “hipster feminism” is a parasitic feminism that not only ignores but is dependent on class, race, and cultural appropriation and subjugation. It is a feminism that demands emptiness (real or invented) of reflection, instead replacing it with self involvement. It requires that culture and emotion be reduced to tropes and materials so that possession of these trinkets is possession of the cultural significance. Removing it from actual experience and grounding it in blank slate whiteness and upper class (educationally or monetarily) wrenches it from the hands of those who experience it and tries to force them into a position of subjugation if they reject the positioning.

I came up with the term in my head when I was reading coverage of Marie Antoinette, Coppola’s most recent film. The article was in GQ and there was this kind of flip dismissal of the French booing

with words like

“It’s booing they do it more in Europe”

or

Well it’s art?

or

THEY’RE JUST JEALOUS

or

It’s what the French do….

Please understand I have not seen this film yet but my first reaction, being familiar with the director, the subject, and the director’s previous work is

VIVA LA FRANCE!

SCF ( the acronym) is a feminism that takes the idea “the personal is political” and runs AWAY with it in an awful, self absorbed, culturally decentering, yet culturally parasiting way.

SC’s three films have the proud distinction of being movies that I can’t sit through.

And I mean I can’t as in I watched The Virgin Suicides in bits and pieces over seven years before my rolling my eyes as the dumbshit kicks in.

Her talent is very visual and shehas an amazing facility for capturing ephemera.

Except she constantly tries to force this ephemera, this barely there-ness into some heavy social context.

The Virgin Suicides focuses on whiteness and pureness as the holy grail, meanwhile almost unmoors it entirely from the specificity of time frame, and the graveness of the matter. Continue reading

links for 2006-11-03

Test your Native American knowledge

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

November is American Indian Heritage Month. How much do you know about American Indians? If you’re like most Americans – probably not much beyond what you saw in Dances with Wolves. ;)

Test yourself with this quiz. I found it at Newspaper Rock, a very cool blog about Native America and pop culture.

1. How many federally recognized tribes are there in the United States?

2. Who wrote: “The present King of Great Britain…has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers; the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”

3. Whose portrait is being carved in a mountain taller than Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota?

4. Which American woman has the most school buildings and monuments named after her?

5. Which two “Latin” countries have an indigenous majority?

6. What was actress Maria Cruz’s most famous role?

7. How did Christopher Columbus punish Indians who didn’t pay tribute on time?

8. Which three of the following plants are not Native American in origin? avocados, bananas, blueberries, coffee, papayas, peaches, potatoes, sugarcane, tomatoes, zucchini

9. What was George Washington’s Indian nickname? (Hint: The initials were T.D.)

10. Which ten sports did Native people invent? (Hint: Archery isn’t one of them.)

11. Which US state has the smallest Native population?

12. What were the Indians’ three greatest architectural achievements?

13. When and where was the first treaty signed between Indians and Europeans? (Hint: Name the century and the area of the “New World.”)

You can find the answers here.

Kimchi in aisle two!

by Jen Chau
kimchiGood news for you “ethnic” foodies out there! Looks like our tastebuds are changing enough that ethnic grocery stores are being noticed more and more…big supermarkets are even carrying more ethnic foods in order to satisfy our cravings for Chinese, Mexican, Indian, Korean and Cuban cuisine.

Mealmakers across the country are discovering small ethnic grocers that once primarily served immigrant communities. Even in overwhelmingly white regions like Albany, culinary adventurers like DeFrancesco troll the aisles of stores like Lee’s, stocking up on whatever unusual sauces, candies and snacks strike their fancies. Tracking the growth of these grocers is difficult; most of them are scattered wherever immigrant populations appear and want foods familiar to their heritages, says Michael Sansolo, spokesman for the Food Marketing Institute in Washington.

But the growth hasn’t gone unnoticed. Major supermarket chains are dedicating more space to ethnic foods, Sansolo says. It’s an attempt to draw shoppers who may otherwise head for these specialty markets.

Demographically, it makes sense. Hispanics and Asians now represent about 18 percent of the U.S. population, and account for more than half of the nation’s population growth since the start of the decade, according to the Census Bureau.

Basically, at this point, we still see that anything aside from apple pie and hot dogs is relegated to “ethnic food” aisles. It would be nice to see a bit more integration at the grocery store ;), but perhaps it will take a while since clearly, the way that we discuss ethnic cuisine sets it apart. Certain ingredients are easily labeled “unusual,” with only “culinary adventurers” as takers (Are they really that unusual? Perhaps people who find themselves closed to trying food “not their own” are the unusual elements here?? :)).

Ok, perhaps this is a small (even petty) thing to be analyzing, but I do think that this speaks to how Americans tend to be so confined in our thinking. So, if you are X ethnicity you are only meant to eat X food? And if you stray from that, then WHOA! You sure are adventurous!? I think I probably just take for granted that I live in a very diverse neighborhood where you can’t help but get familiar with a variety of cuisines….but I do recognize this is not the norm for others. Anyone want to head over to Stop and Shop, get some spicy daal, cilantro, dumplings, and have a wild and adventurous night? ;)

links for 2006-11-02

Race, Culture, and Identity in a Colorstruck World