Tag Archives: media

On Media Reform and Hate Speech

by Guest Contributor Hannah Miller

The media reform movement is an offshoot and part of the civil rights movement. It was born in 1963, when Dr. Martin Luther King and Rev. Everett Parker of the United Church of Christ initiated a lawsuit against white-owned TV stations in the South for consistently portraying African Americans in a racist manner, while refusing to show any coverage of the civil rights movement.

Because of their pressure, the FCC shut down a Mississippi TV station, stating that the power and influence that media companies have gives them the responsibility to operate with the broader public interest at heart – with special consideration given to oppressed minorities.

Since then, political pressure has been brought to bear against the FCC and Congress on a wide variety of issues: female and minority ownership of stations and publications, the dangers of consolidation of the media, the need to build public communications infrastructure like cable access stations or city-owned Internet networks, and the need for everyone to have broadband access.

The percentage of our time that the American public spends with media has been steadily climbing for 40 years, and with that, its influence over our lives. The media is our environment, and the battle I am engaged in is over the nature of this environment: whether it is an environment in which ordinary people have a voice – or whether we are to passively absorb content controlled by a small number of people and corporations. Whether the media is democratic, and reflects a variety of voices.

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Us and Them

by Guest Contributor Missives from Marx originally published at Sociological Images

A month or two ago I commented on the New York Times Upfront magazine for high school kids. I recently came across their latest, which features a cover story titled “What We Eat.” The story is really just an interesting collection of photographs of families from nations all over the world, but with each family sitting with all the food in their house, like this family from Kuwait:

kuwait1

However, although the title of the article inside the magazine is “What We Eat,” the title listed on the cover of the magazine is “What They Eat.” The picture selected for the cover is not one of the family photos, but is, instead, a photo apparently selected to elicit the maximum negative visceral response possible from American kids:

what they eat

So the cover separates an “us” and a “them,” and shows the American high school students how gross and weird “they” are.

Check out the issue that preceded this one by just two or three weeks:

gun

Here American high school students learn that people around the world with dark skin are violent, dirty, and poorly dressed.

No wonder American kids grow up to be American adults whose voting habits reflect the view that American foreign policy should be paternalistic.

Note from Sociological Images:

This reminds me of some of Catherine Lutz’s and Jane Collins’s arguments in their book Reading National Geographic, in which show how that magazine represents other cultures in ways that reinforce the idea of the non-Western world as the Other. These images would be a useful accompaniment to the book and a discussion of how we represent people from other countries and what those representations justify, obscure, or challenge.

The Brazil Files: Link Love!

by Racialicious Special Correspondent Wendi Muse

For those of you who are interested in learning more about Brazil beyond what I cover here, which is mainly from the pop culture/race perspective, check out this awesome site: Eyes on Brazil . The author and blog moderator Adam covers many facets of Brazilian life and culture, and gives the perspective of an estrangeiro (“foreigner”) without patronizing, belittling, or exoticizing Brazil and its people. It’s also a great site if you have general questions about Brazil and/or want to work on your Portuguese as Adam is highly responsive to comments and posts short video clips on Brazilian Portuguese colloquial expressions and slang. Here’s a bit more about the site from the author:

Eyes On Brazil exists in order to give a deeper understanding of the Brazilian arts (as well as all things Brazilian) to an English-speaking audience. Personally, I’ve spent almost 10 years studying (and dreaming of) the sleeping South American giant known as Brazil. Seven of those 10 years were focused teaching myself Brazilian Portuguese, and as such, I consider myself fluent.

Adam also has sibling sites on Belem (Brazil), Salvador (Brazil), and even Colombia.Veja já!

Michael Baisden is a Misogynist Pig

by Guest Contributor M.Dot, originally published at Model Minority

I was riding through Ohio the other day on a road trip to Michigan.

Filthy was looking for NPR but we settled on the Michael Baisden show. I was intrigued because the show was about whether a woman, a wife, has the right to “Go on Strike” and hold out on sex from her husband. Seeing as my research interests are women and sexuality, I was intrigued about the possibilities that the discussion presented.

So, I am listening to the show, and at 6:40 Baisden says to a caller, “If you were my woman, not feeling like it is not a reason to give me some.” Word?

At 7:53 Baisden says, “If you are not in the mood, just lay there and take it.” [Laughter].

The woman caller says that if she doesn’t feel like it she isn’t doing it.

Then Baisden’s co-host says, “Your feelings are obselete, your feelings don’t matter for 30 minutes.” [Laughter].

Record scratch.

I understand that withholding sex from your partner is a very serious matter and typically indicative of other issues going on in the relationship.

However, “You should just lay there and take it” is a very serious line of thought and action for Black women for many reasons Continue reading

Should black folks save Ebony and Jet magazine?

By Guest Contributor Tami, originally published at What Tami Said

This weekend, I received the following breathless entreaty through a listserv that I subscribe to:

Ebony/Jet Magazine on The Verge of Financial Collaspse (J P)
Date: Thu, 12 Mar 2009 07:45:31 -0400

One of the most notable permanent fixtures in every black household (back in the days), was the Ebony and Jet magazine. If you wanted to learn about your history, the plight of Black America, current issues facing Black Americans, how the political process of America affects you, how politics works, who the hottest actors were, what time a particular black television show aired, who got married recently, who were the most eligible bachelors and bachelorettes in your town, what cities had black mayors, police chiefs, school superintendents, how to register to Vote, what cars offer the best value for the buck, who employed black Americans, how to apply for college scholarships, etc., more than likely, Ebony or Jet magazine could help you find answers to those questions.

We have recently been informed that the Johnson Publishing Company is currently going through a financial crisis. The company is attempting a reorganization in order to survive. Many people have already lost their jobs with a company that has employed thousands of black Americans during the course of its existence.

In order to support this effort to save our magazine, my friends and myself have pledged to get a subscription to both Ebony and Jet magazine, starting with one year. We are urging every other club member who comes across this plea to do the same. Please post, repost, and post again, to any blog that you may own or support.

Please email this to every person that you know, regardless of their background. Let them know that Ebony and Jet magazines have been part of the black American culture for three quarters of a century, and that there is a lot that they can learn about black American culture from reading them.

We are currently discussing the idea of throwing an Ebony/Jet Party, where people can eat, drink, and sign up for their subscription on the spot. Please spread this idea around to all that you know. Your Sororities, Fraternities, Lodges, VFW Posts, Churches, Civic Groups, Block Clubs, Caps Meetings, Book Clubs, etc.

It would be a crying shame, to lose our historic magazine, during the same year of such an historic event as the election of our first black President of the United States.

Now, like a lot of other black people, I grew up with Ebony and Jet magazines on the family coffee table. I remember fondly sitting in the brown recliner in my grandparents’ back room reading a then-oversized Ebony with Billy Dee Williams, James Earl Jones and Richard Pryor on it. (Don’t know why I specifically recall that issue of the magazine, but for some reason it is one that remains etched in my mind.) I say this to illustrate that these magazines are part of my cultural history. Nevertheless, when I read the missive above, my first thought (after wondering if the message-writer understands that subscriptions generally account for far less of a publication’s revenue than advertising does) was…”Meh.” I’m not so sure that Ebony and Jet, as they stand today, are institutions worth going to the mat for. Continue reading

Do Poor Whites Even Exist?

by Guest Contributor Average Bro, originally published at Average Bro

This post’s title is a rhetorical question. Of course poor whites exist, but not that you’d know so if you’re informed by the mainstream media. While Ronald Reagan was successful in painting urban black women as “welfare queens”, whites receive nearly 2/3 of all welfare benefits administered by the federal government. Still, Shaniqua Jackson, not Samantha McMullen, is the face of American poverty.

Last Friday’s edition of ABC’s 20/20 tried to shed some light on the woes of dirt poor rural white Americans, a group of folks so routinely (and IMHO, intentionally) ignored they’re damn near considered invisible. And while A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains is a fairly nuanced portrait of life in the hills of Kentucky, it both informs and pisses off at the same time.

The promo trailer:

A young girl discusses her Mom’s drug problem.

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Unmarried nonwhite woman’s crapload of babies not considered “little gifts from God”

by Guest Contributor Kenny Darter, originally published at Hate on Me

“What color is she?”

White ladies have a bunch of kids and get TV shows. A Hispanic woman pumps out eight babies and gets scorn – and maybe a few high-profile interviews.

California woman Nadya Suleman birthed octuplets late last month after having six kids earlier this decade – all through in vitro fertilization. Having 14 kids isn’t the soundest family planning – throw diaper subsidies into the stimulus package, Barack! – but we’ve seen this before, and we’ve seen a celebration, not a simultaneous national gag reflex.

The 2003 remake, “Cheaper by the Dozen” and its 2005 sequel track the craziness and hilarity of a couple with 12 quirky, good-looking kids. Audiences saw that it was tough managing a small army of mouths to feed, but in the end, it’s all just really quite funny and heart warming.

“John & Kate Plus Eight” on TLC has tracked the trials of the Gosselin family as they manage their eight little offspring. They somehow manage, and viewers send money. Continue reading

The Boston Globe asks “Why Should a Journalist’s Race Matter?”

by Latoya Peterson


This could have been a good op-ed.

Reading through Jeff Jacoby’s rant about how some people have the nerve to wonder about racial parity in the press corps, I just kept shaking my head. One could have argued that if journalism, in general, is on the decline it follows logic that minority journalists will be disproportionately affected and start disappearing from the rolls. So, one could then logically argue to fix the racial gaps in the press corps, we would need to start by fixing the foundation of the press corps.

Or, one could have argued that as old notions of district boundaries and “ethnic” enclaves are eroding away, so should the idea of “ghettoizing” correspondents. So, it would be reasonably expected for a white reporter to be able to cover an issue outside of their community with the same level of insight and aplomb as a community insider. (I would say vice versa, but many minority writers, self-included, are expected to be able to “write white” already.)

Or, I could have even accepted yet another “post-racial” America type of commentary where they argue that since whites proved willing to cross the color barrier in voting for Obama, it means that journalists should be able to venture out and cover all issues, regardless of race, because a new level of understanding has been reached. (I would disagree with this, but I could accept it.)

But Jacoby’s piece is the same old, same old.

But why should it matter to anyone but a racist whether a White House reporter is black or white? Well, says Michael Fletcher, a colleague of Kurtz’s, “you would want to have black journalists there to bring a different racial sensibility.” By the same token, more evangelical journalists would presumably bring a different religious sensibility to the White House, more journalists from the Deep South would bring a different regional sensibility, and more Republican journalists would bring a different political sensibility. Do you know of any news organizations that are fretting over the “relative paucity” of evangelicals, Southerners, or Republicans on their payrolls? Me neither.

As if these things were equal. As if evangelicals, Southerners, or Republicans were systematically excluded from society (and the press corps) for years due to institutionalized racism and the pervasive idea of segregation. Continue reading