In case you missed it…

by Jen Chau and Carmen Van Kerckhove

Every Friday afternoon we sum up the week’s best posts from New Demographic‘s various projects. Here we go!

Race Changers
a community of people working towards an anti-racist future, one week at a time

  • Assignment 3 – Stereotypes in the Media: Stereotypes are all around us. Grab a friend, a co-worker, or a family member (or all!) and discuss some of the stereotypes that you see in film, on TV, etc. Since there are so many, we would like you to focus specifically on representations of black men and women in the media.

Addicted to Race
a podcast about America’s obsession with race

  • Episode 44: Jen and Carmen rant about the tendency for people to dress up as folks of other racial and ethnic groups for Halloween. They also do a Race Changers update by discussing the issue of racial profiling. They ask whether people would be less inclined to see protests to racial profiling as “political correctness” if they were likely to be the target of such profiling themselves.

Anti-Racist Parent
a blog for parents who are committed to raising children with an anti-racist outlook

  • I wish my parents knew…: As adults, my brothers, my mom and I have talked about Hebrew School. It was so interesting to me that my mother thought that we were just being lazy or stubborn and didn’t want to go for no good reason. When I explained that it was hard to be there because we were basically discriminated against on a regular basis, she was shocked. She had no idea. And why was this? Well, we didn’t tell her. No questions were asked about it, but we also didn’t say anything.
  • Columnist intro – Karen: white students who viewed me as “not really black” would confide in me their frank beliefs about black people. African-American students who considered my skin colour proof I was one of their own would make sweeping comments about white students – statements to which they were certain I would agree. Then there were the kids who were neither black nor white, but who found something familiar in my “foreign-ness”, and therefore would seek consensus in their opinions about students of all the other races.

Racialicious
a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture

  • The ad industry’s mascot of cultural cluelessness: When confronting issues of diversity and exclusivity, a Marc Brownstein openly displays passive bias. For guidance on race-based questions, a Marc Brownstein seeks counsel from a Black friend (who is often the only Black person in the Marc Brownstein social network).
  • 10 hints for my white friends: What follows are ten rules that may help you blend in easier with black Americans and reduce frictions between yourselves and them. Consider it a study abroad guide to black America.
  • Too hood for MySpace? Try CrackSpace!: From the man who brought you that masterpiece of African-American cinema, Soul Plane, comes a brand-new venture: a social networking web site called Crackspace.
  • YouTube Wire: conservatives, yellowface, and white teachers in the ghetto: Our intrepid YouTube correspondent Luke Lee sums up the latest videos you should know about. Michelle Malkin discusses racist and misogynistic attacks on her, an aspiring comic dons yellowface to mimic Kim Jong Il, the latest angelic white teacher in the ghetto movie Freedom Writers releases a trailer on YouTube, and more.
  • Foods that aren’t really “ethnic:” Most of you probably know (I hope!) that fortune cookies are about as Chinese as as a Burger King Whopper. But there are a lot of other foods marketed as “ethnic” that actually aren’t at all.

Foods that aren’t really “ethnic”

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

fortune cookieGrowing up in Hong Kong, I watched a lot of American sitcoms. I was always fascinated by things American families had on these shows that we didn’t have. Of course, Hong Kong’s technology was always at least 5 years ahead of the U.S., but there were certain gadgets we just didn’t have because there was no demand for them. Things like refrigerators with ice makers (so cool!) and wall-mounted phones in the kitchen with extra-long cords (how I longed to hide in the closet to chat on the phone!).

But I remember being particularly fascinated by episodes in which people would order Chinese food. What on earth were those cardboard contraptions with the wire handles? Or those things they called fortune cookies?

Most of you probably know (I hope!) that fortune cookies are about as Chinese as as a Burger King Whopper. But there are a lot of other foods marketed as “ethnic” that actually aren’t at all. Check out this interesting article from Chow.com. Here are some of the foods they “out:”

Navajo Frybread
What it is: Thick, round lard-fried dough, served with honey or powdered sugar, or wrapped around ground beef, taco seasoning, and shredded cheese (called an Indian Taco)
Faux origin: Navajo, traditional
Real origin: White U.S. influence, mid-19th century

Fried Chow Mein
What it is: Fried preboiled egg noodles, often served with vegetables and meat
Faux origin: Chinese
Real origin: Chinese-American, mid-19th century

Chicken Tikka Masala
What it is: Chicken pieces cooked in a tomato gravy, often containing cream
Faux origin: Indian
Real origin: British, 1950s–70s

Hibachi
What it is: Americans use hibachi to refer to two distinct things: a small aluminum charcoal grill, and the large multiperson hot-plate cooking technique used in certain Japanese-American restaurants.
Faux origin: Japanese
Real origin: Part Japanese, part 1960s American, with Japanese mistranslated origins

Pasta Primavera
What it is: Spaghetti with assorted vegetables, often in a heavy cream sauce
Faux origin: Italian
Real origin: Created by Le Cirque owner and maitre d’ Sirio Maccioni in 1976

Fortune Cookie
What it is: Thin, lightly sugared dough folded around a slip of paper
Faux origin: Chinese
Real origin: U.S. West Coast, early- to mid-20th century

YouTube Wire: conservatives, yellowface, and white teachers in the ghetto

by guest contributor Luke Lee, Racialicious’s senior YouTube correspondent

Check out Luke’s own blog at real men are not

michelle malkinRecently Michelle Malkin has been trying to finagle a piece of the YouTube pie by posting a bunch of crappy videos from her “Hot Air” series. Latest on the list is a staunchly conservative version of “The View” where she talks with some other women about current events as well as some of the comments they receive as women bloggers and women bloggers of color. Michelle and La Shawn Barber,specifically, mention how they’ve been called “race-traitors” and “sellouts” in addition to (though this applies more to Michelle) all the physically and sexually violent threats that they receive. Now, I loathe Michelle Malkin as much as anyone else because of her comments about Japanese internment, about racial profiling and such but I think it’s a sad comment when people will make the most vile sexist and misogynistic attacks at her not for her screwed up politics and baloney ideas but rather that she’s a woman and a woman of color saying her opinion (however much you may disagree with it).

And speaking of conservatives…

ann coulterThere’s an interesting collection of clips of Ann Coulter spouting off her trademark hyperbole and hate. Some material about “illegals” and “democrats are the real racists”…

yellowface kim jong ilI understand that given any political/global climate, the comedians and the impersonaters are going to come out and make fun. So when North Korea starts to dominate the breaking news, what do folks do? Impersonate Kim Jong-Il and make videos called “Spam fly lice.” That’s all fine and good and I almost expect people to crack the usual jokes about how he’s crazy and about how he’s got a funny haircut but I mean seriously, do we really have to make the usual Breakfast At Tiffany’s joke again? MrCook, the creator the video, is trying to entertain along with his god-awful “cooking” instructions so expectedly the quality of the video, the food, the humor, everything is just rock bottom…

mr pregnantRemember MrPregnant from last time? Well, he’s back again except this time he’s decided that the world must know this: MrPregant doesn’t like dark skinned women. MrPregnant likes women who look like his mother (blonde hair, light eyes) and this doesn’t make him prejudice because, uh, he only has “a preference.” What an idiot. In the beginning, I think people (as I admittedly did) assume that he’s talking about lighter skinned Black women but of course as he goes on, he gets all Freudian but wont really say that he likes white women specifically. I imagine mixed race folks get a ton of crap like this (this, “oh, your dad/mom is X so that must mean that you naturally prefer X’s!”) and this only heaps onto that stereotypical way of thinking. Honest to God, I don’t know why people feel compelled to tell others (strangers, I might add) information like this… Continue reading

links for 2006-10-19

Too hood for MySpace? Try CrackSpace!

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

From the man who brought you that masterpiece of African-American cinema, Soul Plane, comes a brand-new venture: a social networking web site called Crackspace. From EURWeb.com:

“MySpace is great but it doesn’t even come close to fully satisfying the hip-hop generation. CrackSpace was created by and for that generation. This is a place for anyone who loves the culture. We have to be very much in touch with the places where kids experience urban music and culture and really set the table for when the majority of sales are online. That’s really what this is all about.”

There’s nothing like naming your company after a drug that has ravaged communities of color all over the country and taken countless lives. Clearly this is a man who cares about our children.

(First read about this on the always-fabulous Crunk and Disorderly.)

links for 2006-10-18

10 hints for my white friends

by guest contributor Philip Arthur Moore, originally published at TheThink

Before taking my first ever study abroad trip, I was told that there would be certain social and cultural norms that I would have to adapt to without pressing the issue too much. I knew that as a visitor into the Vietnamese community, no matter how odd, foreign, hypocritical, or just plain weird the people seemed, it wasn’t my place to call them out on it. To be sure, I found myself frustrated at times that I was unable to cause some sort of communal change in areas that I found a bit off, but that was the price I paid to study abroad. I knew that no matter how close I got to the community, through my acquisition of the Vietnamese language or friendly conversations, there were some things I just could not do as a non-Vietnamese person.

It is with this train of thought that I feel the need to enlighten some of my white brothers and sisters about how not to approach the black community in the United States. Now, I realize that black Americans and white Americans live in the same political state, but often times they might as well be defined as two separate nations. Young black children in predominately white schools might as well be on a study abroad trip as far as I’m concerned. White Americans who dare travel into predominately black, brown, or yellow neighborhoods often feel like they are living in another country among a sea of non-white people.

Little is admitted about the real lack of integration in our nation while whites kick back and enjoy television shows like Flavor of Love and think they’ve truly just enjoyed a slice of black life in the U.S. Non-whites watch television shows like Friends and think that most white people drink bowl-sized cups of latte. Many watch the newest season of Survivor (Cook Islands) and actually believe they’ve been schooled on diversity.

Of all the races in the United States, white people have the hardest time understanding racial oppression. This is a fact. Much like the men (including myself) in the United States who just cannot understand what it feels like to be a woman who is judged by her bra and waist measurements, white Americans cannot put themselves in the position of racial other-ness on a daily basis. Unless of course they go abroad or to New York, Chicago, DC, Altanta, Detroit, Philly, LA, Houston, or anywhere else with more black people than say, Altoona, PA. This is not to say that white people cannot understand racial opporession. It’s just that, well, most of them don’t.

With that said, I’ve put together ten pointers that will help my fellow American citizens integrate themselves more easily into a black America. Granted, many of my white brothers and sisters will never feel the need to voluntarily put themselves around people shades darker than themselves (unless it involves sex, economic or sociopolitical domination), but for those who do want to take on a grand adventure of integrating themselves with blacks in a comfortable fashion, look no further.

What follows are ten rules that may help you blend in easier with black Americans and reduce frictions between yourselves and them. Consider it a study abroad guide to black America. Now, surely there will be some white people who read the following rules and get upset about them, but just remember, when you put yourselves around a lot of black people, you are on a study abroad trip. Suck it up, deal with it how you must, and keep it moving.

Things White People Shouldn’t Do…
(10 Rules from your Half-brother, With Love)

Rule #1: Say the word “Nigger”.

This one’s pretty self explanatory. I understand that a number of my white brothers and sisters feel the need to sing along with rap songs and repeat a lot of the things that black rappers say. But, I asure you, this angers a great deal of black people. Many of us are very uncomfortable with the word “nigger”, and far fewer of us use it than is portrayed on television. For your own safety and the safety of those around you, please avoid using this word. For more explanation, please continue reading about the word “nigger”…

Rule #2: Throw “ghetto” parties (unless one actually lives in the ghetto) or dress up in blackface, brown-face, yellow-face, or any other-face that contradicts one’s own skin tone (Halloween exemptions on a case by case basis).

It seems that as of late, white people have been on the up and up when it comes to throwing ghetto parties. Perhaps this coincides with the birth of hipsterism, I’m not sure. In any event, these ghetto parties can lead to nothing but sore relationships between black Americans and white Americans who believe that dressing like black people is flattering, funny, entertaining, or harmless. For your own safety and the safety of those around you, please avoid painting yourself with shoe polish for kicks and giggles. That hurts black peoples’ feelings, and you wouldn’t want to do that. Would you? Continue reading

Race, Culture, and Identity in a Colorstruck World