Latino Muslims: the media’s latest obsession?

by guest contributor Tariq Nelson, originally published at Tariq Nelson

quran koranThere have been soooo many articles about Hispanics/Latinos (particularly Latinas) and their interest in Islam. Nothing else to write about? Why not yet another article on Latin Muslims? One has to wonder why so much emphasis has been put on Latino Muslims in the media lately.

I suppose since the biggest media issues have been Muslims and Mexican illegal immigration, this would be the perfect hybrid story. It’s just that they’ve gone there so many times…

With her hijab and dark complexion, Catherine Garcia doesn’t look like an Orlando native or a Disney tourist. When people ask where she’s from, often they are surprised that it’s not the Middle East but Colombia.

That’s because Ms. Garcia, a bookstore clerk who immigrated to the US seven years ago, is Hispanic and Muslim. On this balmy afternoon at the start of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month, she is at her mosque dressed in long sleeves and a long skirt in keeping with the Islamic belief in modesty. “When I was in my country I never fit in the society. Here in Islam I feel like I fit with everything they believe,” she says.

Garcia is one of a growing number of Hispanics across the US who have found common ground in a faith and culture bearing surprising similarities to their own heritage. From professionals to students to homemakers, they are drawn to the Muslim faith through marriage, curiosity and a shared interest in issues such as immigration. Continue reading

Did anyone watch Madonna on Oprah?

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Did any of you see yesterday’s episode of Oprah, where she interviewed Madonna about the recent adoption controversy? I only had time to watch half of it on the old Tivo, but I plan on posting my thoughts tomorrow after finishing the show tonight. In the meantime, here’s a very critical take on it from The New York Post.

If you saw it, what did you think?

links for 2006-10-26

Harold Ford Jr: Where the white women at?

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

UPDATE 10/26/06: I completely forgot about the incident earlier this month where the Corker campaign actually darkened a photo of Ford, in the same manner as that infamous Time magazine cover that darkened OJ Simpson’s mugshot. Thanks dcase for the reminder! Also, the latest in Ford racialiciousness (thanks Tariq for the tip!) comes from Memphis mayor Willie Herenton, who “sees Ford as getting a full pass on the racial front because of his light skin. ‘He can go places and do things that I can’t,’ says the mayor. As for Herenton himself, who faces reelection next year, ‘I’m just too dark.’” I can’t wait to see what’s next in this racial soap opera of a senate race.

Congressman Harold Ford Jr.’s bid for the Tennessee Senate seat has been quite a racialicious ride. Back in March, we reported that he felt the need to reveal that his grandmother was white — perhaps in a misguided attempt to appeal to white voters? Things then took a bizarre turn when his aunt refuted that claim, declaring that Vera Ford was simply a light-skinned black woman.

A few months later in July, we told you that Gawker received a gossip item about Ford having dinner with a white woman and another interracial couple. The email claimed that passersby were “upset at the jungle fever” and that Ford was a “Southern sellout.” What’s even more despicable than the blatant racism in the gossip item? It was sent to Gawker by high profile New York public relations firm, Rubenstein PR. And the whole thing was an attempt to get press for the restaurant Ford was dining at.

According to MSNBC, his opponent Bob Corker has begun airing a commercial that seems designed to appeal to people’s fears of miscegenation. “In the ad, a young white actress playing the stereotype of a “dumb blonde” talks about meeting Ford, a 36-year-old bachelor who is black, “at the Playboy party.” At the end of the ad, she winks and says to the camera, “Harold — call me.””

I don’t know if it’s funny or sad that the “he’s coming for our women!” tactic still works in 2006.

Here’s the video of the ad, which I found via DiversityInc:

Brand-new “Addicted to Race” episode out now (#45)!

by Jen Chau and Carmen Van Kerckhove

A brand-new episode of Addicted to Race is out! If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our podcast in iTunes. Click here to launch iTunes and subscribe today, it’s absolutely free.

In this episode of Addicted to Race, we share with you the recording of last Tuesday’s live show. On the show, we discussed the dangers of positive stereotypes. Why are we so quick to agree with positive stereotypes about our ethnic or racial group? How can we begin to see that these positive stereotypes exist at the expense of other groups? Are positive stereotypes just as harmful as negative stereotypes? Thanks to everyone who listened live and called in! We’ll be doing another live show next month – stay tuned for details.

Please help us reach new listeners by voting for us on Podcast Alley, reviewing us on Yahoo’s podcast directory and reviewing us in iTunes.

Check out this great introduction for the new podcast listener from iTunes. It breaks down all the different ways you can find podcasts, listen to them, subscribe to them, and so on.

Duration – 1:00:33
File Size – 24.4 MB
Right-click here to download an MP3 of Addicted to Race Episode 45
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click the button below to play it immediately

6th Erase Racism Carnival is out now!

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Head on over to Taking Place to check out the sixth edition of the Erase Racism Carnival. vegankid has collected posts covering a variety of topics; american vernacular to childrens books, team mascots to team players. A couple posts from our new blogs Anti-Racist Parent and Race Changers are also included. Thanks for that! :)
Autobiography of a Face is hosting the next edition of the carnival, so be sure to submit your posts. If you are interested in hosting a future edition of the carnival, please get in touch with vegankid or Rachel.

links for 2006-10-25

Yellow Trash: Jimmy Wang Yang

by Michael Park, originally published at Tripmaster Monkey

jimmy wang yang wwe wrestler asianAfter decades of racist characterizations, World Wrestling Entertainment (formerly the World Wrestling Federation) has finally broken its own mold—by merging two stereotypes into one. Meet one of the WWE’s newest faces, Jimmy Wang Yang, the Asian Redneck, played by real-life Georgia boy James Yun.

“He may look ‘Asian,’ but in reality he is one certified redneck,” the WWE Web site assures viewers. “If any Yankees slip up, Jimmy Wang Yang is sure to culture them with a good ol’-fashioned country-style whippin’.”

Yes, this counts as progress in the pro-wrestling world.

Consider the starting point: Against good ol’ boys like Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage, foreign-born and non-white villains like sneaky Oriental Mr. Fuji, Cold War automaton Nikolai Volkoff, snobby French pouf Rene Dupree and mustachioed Middle-Eastern strongman Iron Sheik were caricatured (and eventually dispatched) with comforting certitude.

Asians fared especially badly—Mr. Fuji, the perennial “heel” manager, was infamous for creeping up to “faces,” or “good-guy” characters, and throwing salt in their eyes when his wrestlers were losing. That is, when he wasn’t threatening to ruin the U.S. economy by selling us affordable cars with good mileage.

Okay, so what to make of Jimmy Wang Yang?

“Ain’t no yeller about me,” the 205-pound, 5’9” cowboy-hatted Yang drawls into the camera in WWE promos. You could read this statement in several ways:

1) He’s a self-hater who equates being Asian with being un-American, or even wimpy.

2) Group affiliations can overcome racial differences, i.e. red-state trumps yellow skin.

3) This isn’t your daddy’s Model Minority.

We vote for three. As the Asian Redneck might say, “Ain’t we got enough docters and lahyers and folks what can count?”

Race, Culture, and Identity in a Colorstruck World