Tag Archives: media

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

Avatar: The Last Airbender Culture Comparison

Note: This video was created by Chaobunny12 in response to the ongoing Avatar controversy. In the beginning slide for the video, she writes:

This video is for those of you who argue that the Avatar characters look white, not Asian or Inuit. It’s for people who claim that he culture of the Avatar world is essentially American and don’t see any Asian culture in Avatar.

The video has no sound, but the images speak for themselves.

For those of you who can’t see the video, this is a great visual essay that does the same thing.

(Thanks to readers JSConnect and ali_wildgoose for sending these in!)

Update: For the readers that haven’t been paying close attention to the links, Avatar: The Last Airbender is a popular cartoon that is heavily influenced by Asian/Inuit cultures (see above.) A movie was recently announced based on the anime, featuring an all-white cast. Hence the ensuing controversy.

Perception Through the Lens of Slumdog Millionaire

by Guest Contibutor Sulagna

First, I have to say that this isn’t a critique.

It’s a serious of observations, an analysis of my viewing, and a reflection on one of the warmest and most electrifying movies I’ve seen in a while. Slumdog Millionaire wasn’t perfect, but I know that after I saw it, I felt incredible. I had already known I would like it before I had gone in, because it fit the type I liked—the interesting premise, the quirky storytelling device, and, of course, the overall familiarity of the subject matter, but it defied my expectations. The hopeful, love-themed story was at Bollywood levels of intensity (though better made), and I easily identified with the setting and characters.

Here is where I realized that I saw this movie differently than how perhaps my non-Indian college friends at college did. I saw layers underneath certain scenes in the movie that I doubt they would’ve.

When Jamal answered the question about the Hindu god Rama, I predicted the clash of religion. As the pulsing beat of the music and the main character’s mother’s anxious face forecasted the riots, frustrated emotions burst in my chest, the fatigue of the age-long conflict between Muslims and Hindus in India and Pakistan pressing me with its weight.

Wasn’t it just a little more than a month ago that my family and I had watched the news about Mumbai on fire during our Thanksgiving holiday? I had felt uncomfortably separated from it—India felt so far away, but I still felt a scrambling anxiety at the events, nervous about what this changed. Continue reading

I Didn’t Know My–Or Michelle’s–Ass Was That Interesting

By Sexual Correspondent Andrea Plaid

Did United Statesians electing its first president of color become an implicit invitation for liberal/progressive media outlets to talk about Black and brown behinds?

According to two of them, yep.

Salon started off the conversation with Erin Aubry Kaplan’s essay, “First Lady Got Back,” where she waxes ecstatic about First Lady Michelle Obama’s behind:

“…while it isn’t humongous, per se, it is a solid, round, black, class-A boo-tay. Try as Michelle might to cover it with those Mamie Eisenhower skirts and sheath dresses meant to reassure mainstream voters, the butt would not be denied.

As America fretted about Obama’s exoticism and he sought to calm the waters with speeches about unity and common experience, Michelle’s body was sending a different message: To hell with biracialism! Compromise, bipartisanship? Don’t think so. Here was one clear signifier of blackness that couldn’t be tamed, muted or otherwise made invisible. It emerged right before our eyes, in the midst of our growing uncertainty about everything, and we were too bogged down in the daily campaign madness to notice. The one clear predictor of success that the pundits, despite all their fancy maps, charts and holograms, missed completely? Michelle’s butt.”

As my friend Tom would say, “Stop, Miss Gurl.”

There’s more–infinitely more–to what makes our new First Lady beautiful and a challenge to the white-beauty standard than her boo-tay. If Aubry Kaplan would have delved into the beauty-brains combo she started to discuss (“She has coruscating intelligence, beauty, style…”), the piece would have been sort of all right. Nope, just Michelle’s ass.

Then here comes Alternet with Myra Mendible’s “Big Booty Beauty and the New Sexual Aesthetic. Her take on the ass thang:

“We should not underestimate the symbolic value of buttocks. Butt metaphors helped European cultures categorize and describe their others, ascribing bodily differences certain moral and intellectual attributes. Gilman argues that, “Beginning with the expansion of European colonial exploration, describing the forms and size of the buttocks became a means of describing and classifying the races. The more prominent the more primitive…” (Making the Body Beautiful). British culture, in particular, identified the buttocks with primitive or debased sexuality (Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex). Non-Western women were associated with the “lower regions” of the body and characterized in terms of their abundant backside. Similarly, in American culture, the U.S.-Mexico border marked a figurative divide between Northern mind and Southern body, rationality and sensuality, domestic and foreign. This bodily trope culled associations between the lower body and the inferior, more primitive “under” developed “torrid zones” south of the border; it often served to rationalize U.S. military interventions or corporate exploitation of Latin American labor and resources.”

Analytically speaking, what Mendible wrote is what Aubry Kaplan should have written: a more nuanced reflection on the history and meaning of the colored butt in the erotic imaginations and racial and gender definitions of white people and Black men and Latinos and how that loaded image became a policy of exploitation for both groups. In other words, a little intersectionality would have helped Aubry Kaplan’s essay. Continue reading

The IFC Media Project: Digging for the Truth About Israel/Palestine

by Latoya Peterson

So, I’ve noticed that a few readers have asked why Racialicious has been so quiet on the situation in Gaza. As the violence continues to escalate, it is hard to not post about what is happening.

However, as much as it troubles me to remain silent, it troubles me more to see the responses that the posts on Israel and Palestine receive. Generally, they are met with silence from normally chatty and informed commenters while the same six people rehash their opinions on thread after thread.

I’ve spent a lot of time wondering why this occurs. Why are so many people reluctant to discuss what is happening in Israel and Palestine?

Perhaps, they are too intimidated.

After all, this conflict is rich and multilayered, and most people new to the discussion exhaust their knowledge base within the first few minutes, lapsing into silence while those with the longest memories tend to dominate the conversation. However, I do not believe this is a worthwhile tactic – while those in the know debate strategies and bring up failed resolutions and broken promises, the majority of the people blink and begin to disengage. There is too much information. The opposing sides are ruthless in their arguments. And most tend to watch the conversation dispassionately, or click away.

On this blog, we try to break down social issues using a more human aspect to explain points of global policy or racial theory. But that has not been working. So it occurs to me that there may be a fundamental lack of information about the origins of the conflict and what is at stake. So, the question becomes how do we get more people this information in a way that they will find it accessible?

When I tuned in to the first episode of the IFC Media project, I didn’t know what to expect. I know I didn’t expect Gideon Yago to go off on a tangent about “missing white girls” dominating the news, or to see IFC clearly tackle race-based reporting bias.

And I didn’t expect the program to send someone to track down the issues involved in talking about Israel. Continue reading

BART Police Kill an Unarmed Man, Oscar Grant, on New Year’s Day

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

Oakland haunts me.

Last week, I started trying to convert my essays on the crack epidemic into a memoir and the above sentence came to mind.

As many of you know, on early New Year’s day , the BART police killed an unarmed man, Oscar Grant.

I felt my heart flip in my throat when I heard the woman say they just shot him.

Oakland haunts me.

I hate that moment. The moment in the hood where the violence sparks and we have no fucking idea of what is going happen next.

Richard at Fem-men-ist captures it when he writes about being at the riots,

    I head down 14th street towards Webster… and that’s as far as i get. A couple blocks further down, the crowd looms, and its a riot crowd. i can smell something burning, and Broadway is obscured with smoke that could be the source of the smell, or tear gas. A metal hulk slowly rolls out of a backlit cloud of smoke. it is a paramilitary tank with a mounted water cannon. Is this my neighborhood?

It is really easy to think of Oakland as the home of side shows, The Black Panthers, the spiritual seat of pimp mythology. It is easy to think of Oakland as San Francisco’s pathologized other. However, there is a very strong thread of Wild Wild West street justice that permeates the culture of Oakland. A shoot first and maybe ask questions later steelo that is both reflected in how the police and how the hood resorts to violence to deal with rage and retribution. Furthermore, there is a shoot first and ask questions later attitude associated with American foreign policy. Operation Iraqi Freedom anyone? Continue reading

Race & Video Games Update – Animal Crossing and Black College Football

by Latoya Peterson

As I have mentioned before, I am behind on my game related reading. So luckily, reader Tony sent in this item from Game Politics, as it would have slipped under my radar:

Louisiana game publisher Nerjyzed Game Studios is readying the launch of an Xbox 360 version of its Black College Football Experience game, reports The Advocate. The release of BCFx will mark the first-ever publication of a console game by an African-American owned studio.

A national ad campaign for Black College Football Experience will kick off today during the Bayou Classic as Southern University and Grambling square off in their 35th gridiron tilt.

I had read about Nerjyzed a while back in Black Enterprise so I was pleased to see that their game has finally made it out of development and into rotation.

However, I should have known that racism patrol was going to come out in full force. Continue reading