Tag Archives: race relations

What you can do in the next 7 days to create change

by Carmen Van Kerckhove, originally published at Carmen Van Kerckhove.com

Just seven days to go until perhaps the most important election ever.

I urge all of you who are Obama supporters: Do not get complacent now.

Sure, several polls suggest that Obama has a double-digit lead over McCain — but that doesn’t mean we should assume that he’s got it in the bag.

As longtime Republican political operative Bill Greener recently wrote on Salon.com, when undecided voters have to choose between a black candidate and a white candidate, they tend to vote white:

If you’re a black candidate running against a white candidate, what you see is what you get. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re an incumbent or a challenger. If you’re not polling above 50 percent, you should be worried. As of this writing, Barack Obama is not polling consistently above 50 percent in a number of electoral-vote-rich swing states, including Ohio and Florida. He should be worried.

And let’s not discount the huge role that voter suppression will likely play. Jay Smooth from the video blog Ill Doctrine put together this “Poem for the Young Voter” to drive that point home:

So what can you do to help at this historic time?

First of all, make sure you protect your own vote by reading this 12-step checklist of what to do before, on, and after Election Day. And share the list with your family and friends by using this form here.

Then, do one or all of these 3 things:

1. Volunteer for the campaign.
2. Call or visit voters in battleground states.
3. Find and join an event in your local area.

What will you be doing in the next 7 days to work towards change?

VH1′s Best 100 Songs in Hip-Hop: The Evolution of Black TV

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

Two major things happened in Black television in the last week or so.

Rap City was canceled, TRL was canceled and VH1 presented the 100 best songs in Hip Hop.

All of these are interesting because they relate to hip hop. I remember when I first learned that 106 and Park audience surpassed TRL’s about 7 years ago, and I thought to myself, hmm thats interesting. In fact, I think Carson Daly had just left the show for Hollywood.

Recently, I read a quote in S. Craig Watkin’s book which said that black teenagers in general and boys specifically occupy a very interesting place in the American culture. On one level their presence is reviled, their bodies are policed (laws on sagging pants) and they are systematically undereducated (only 35% of Black men starting 9th grade in NYC graduate) yet their “cultural products” are in demand from Madison Avenue to Japan. Continue reading

Message to the Candidates: “Black White Whatever” and “That One Bigot”

by Latoya Peterson

I recently had the pleasure of watching two amazing videos that really cut to the heart of the racial issues at play in this election cycle.

The first is “Black, White, Whatever” by Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, a ridiculously talented spoken word artist who has appeared on Def Poetry. Her work and bio are found on her website, Yellowgurl.com.

In “Black, White, Whatever,” Tsai critiques the missing elements from the candidate’s political speeches – the fact that race in America goes way beyond black and white – and those who fall outside of the binary certainly aren’t just “whatever.” And as she says in the video, “Whatever doesn’t represent me.”

Also of note, from the Ill-literacy site comes a new(ish) YouTube video that really digs into McCain’s infamous “that one” comment from the debates. Unfortunately for McCain, vlogger Adriel Luis provides a hip-hop themed juxtaposition of clips and events detailing what “that one” really means – in the context of remarks and actions taken over the last eight or so years.

(Thanks to Joanna, Kai, and Nezua for the tips!)

GOP Women’s Group President: Obama’s Image Will Be on Food Stamps

by Latoya Peterson

Yeah, that about says it all.

From the California based paper, the Press Enterprise:

The latest newsletter by an Inland Republican women’s group depicts Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama surrounded by a watermelon, ribs and a bucket of fried chicken, prompting outrage in political circles.

The October newsletter by the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated says if Obama is elected his image will appear on food stamps — instead of dollar bills like other presidents. The statement is followed by an illustration of “Obama Bucks” — a phony $10 bill featuring Obama’s face on a donkey’s body, labeled “United States Food Stamps.”

Now, normally, something like that would just make me shake my head in disgust. But actually, the next reported paragraph made me smile.

The GOP newsletter, which was sent to about 200 members and associates of the group by e-mail and regular mail last week, is drawing harsh criticism from members of the political group, elected leaders, party officials and others as racist.

Thank you, members. Call things what they are. This is racist. But of course, the publisher of the newsletter doesn’t see it that way at all:

The group’s president, Diane Fedele, said she plans to send an apology letter to her members and to apologize at the club’s meeting next week. She said she simply wanted to deride a comment Obama made over the summer about how as an African-American he “doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills.”

“It was strictly an attempt to point out the outrageousness of his statement. I really don’t want to go into it any further,” Fedele said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “I absolutely apologize to anyone who was offended. That clearly wasn’t my attempt.”

Fedele said she got the illustration in a number of chain e-mails and decided to reprint it for her members in the Trumpeter newsletter because she was offended that Obama would draw attention to his own race. She declined to say who sent her the e-mails with the illustration.

Did you catch that? She was offended Obama would draw attention to his own race, so she decided to reprint a racist illustration. And how dare he state the obvious? The nerve of him! Continue reading

The Invisible Muslimah

by Guest Contributor Faith, originally published at Muslimah Media Watch.

What’s the first image that comes to your mind when you think of a Muslim woman? Is she Arab or South Asian? White or maybe Afghan or Indonesian? Notice that I haven’t mentioned African American (and also Latina). The media depiction of Muslim women usually does not include African American women. Often, Muslim women are depicted as coming from the Middle East or South Asia, and occasionally sub-Saharan Africa. Also, there has been increasing focus on Muslimahs of European descent, especially converts such as Yvonne Ridley and Dr. Ingrid Mattson.

When African American Muslims are depicted in the media, it is usually a male face (Siraj Wahaj, Abdul Hakeem Jackson, Malcolm X, Imam Warithdeen Muhammad, etc.) that is presented to the public. There are exceptions such as Dr. Amina Wadud. However, the overall trend is rather disheartening, considering how much African American Muslimahs do for other black Muslims as well as the whole Muslim community. I have often wondered why the stories, needs and concerns of African American Muslimahs are not focused on and come up with a myriad of possible answers. Continue reading

How We Are Getting Racists to Vote for Obama

by Guest Contributor SuzeNYC, originally published at Daily Kos (SuzeNYC’s Diary)

Yesterday, I spent the day canvassing with friends for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. It doesn’t matter where it was. It could have been any number of cities all over our country. I am shocked by my experience.

I’ve been working as a volunteer for almost a year and a half for this campaign and I have encountered a fair amount of people’s racism around Barack. I’m a white 44 year old woman. My support for Barack has meant that I’ve been spat upon, physically attacked, called terrible names, cussed at and, of course, had the door slammed in my face by people using the “N” explicative.

[UPDATE: It was brought to my attention in the comments that I am misrepresenting the canvassing experience and there is truth to that. While petitioning and registering voters on the streets, or while doing visibility on primary days I had most of those negative experiences. They were all completely un-provoked. I was wearing an Obama button and a smile. The only thing negative that has happened while canvassing is having doors slammed and being scared by dogs from behind a fence. On to the next door.]

As this campaign has progressed I always felt that it was a given that a certain percentage of Americans are racist and we just don’t worry about losing that vote because we never had it. We make up for that by registering tons of voters and making sure that they get to the polls. This is the work I’ve been doing with my band of friends who I’ve met through the campaign.

Well, yesterday that presumption disintegrated. Continue reading

White People Like taking credit from Asians: Who is Myles Valentin?

by Guest Contributor Restructure!, originally published at Restructure

#11 Asian girls” is the all-time most popular post of web-phenomenon Stuff White People Like, but it was written by Filipino-Canadian Myles Valentin, not White-Canadian Christian Lander. While Christian Lander received a $350,000 advance and receives royalties for his book, Stuff White People Like: the Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions, Myles Valentin is living paycheck to paycheck in East Vancouver.

Myles Valentin has written #11 Asian girls, #15 Yoga, #30 Wrigley Field, #31 Snowboarding, #44 Public Radio, #45 Asian Fusion Food, #56 Lawyers, #57 Juno, #66 Divorce, and #74 Oscar Parties. However, Valentin is rarely mentioned in articles about the blog Stuff White People Like, except being credited as Christian Lander’s Filipino friend. Even Racialicious, an anti-racist blog about race written from the perspectives of people of colour, credits Christian Lander as the “The Man behind Stuff White People Like” and makes no mention of Myles Valentin.

While it is true that Lander wrote 90.7% of the full list and Valentin wrote only 9.3% (89.1% and 10.9% respectively before the official book deal announcement), it nevertheless seems unfair that Valentin received no book deal, is rarely mentioned, has never been interviewed, and is not the co-author of the book that spawned from the blog. A white man receives 100% credit for roughly 90% of a blog, and his friend, an Asian man, receives 0% credit for roughly 10% of the blog.

This may appear only slightly unfair to some, but what if it was a white man that received 100% credit for roughly 90% of a blog, and his friend, another white man, that received 0% credit for roughly 10% of the blog? Ceteris paribus, we expect that everyone should get their fair share, even if the inequality is not tremendous. If Valentin was a white man, we would expect him to sue for his share of the profit, and we would not disagree with the lawsuit as a means to uphold “meritocracy” and protect white man’s intellectual property.

Asians are stereotyped as uncreative, lacking a sense of humour, and as people who are unable to criticize social conventions. When an Asian writes successful satire of white culture, why is his contribution forgotten?

Christian Lander’s name may go down in Web 2.0 history, but will anyone remember the name Myles Valentin? Will white people still ask, “Where are all the bloggers of color?

Edited to Add:

CORRECTION: Valentin’s monetary gain from the Stuff White People Like brand is greater than 0%. According to the LA Times’ interview with Lander, Valentin receives all the ad revenue from blog. According to Valentin, he uses this money for horse-racing. Lander gives Valentin credit as the co-blogger of Stuff White People Like, but the mainstream media portrays Valentin as (just) Christian Lander’s Filipino friend and inspiration.
– Restructure

Picking at The Root. (Again).

by Guest Contributor G.D., originally published at Post Bourgie

Okay, so we know we pick on The Root a lot around here. It’s not that it always sucks, just that it routinely offers up some real head-scratchers.

Por ejemplo. In today’s edition, Delece Smith-Barrow offers her rationale in deciding to go to a predominantly white university. Seems pretty innocuous, right? I mean, most black college students/grads claim ‘white schools’ as their alma maters. But just in case you don’t think so, Smith-Barrow has some some preemptive and completely unsolicited defensiveness for that ass.

At my private, predominantly white high school, I was one of eight African-American students in my graduating class. After that, the idea of being in an all-black academic setting seemed overwhelming. I would have to go from one end of the racial spectrum to the other, and after four years of all-white, all the time, I was tired of extremes. While the idea of going to school with more people who looked, acted and even sounded like me was definitely alluring, the idea of various shades of humanity co-existing within the parameters of one campus intrigued me much more. I wanted to be a part of that experience. I wanted to teach others about my race while also learning about theirs through everyday interactions, dynamic classroom discussions and events that promoted mixing and mingling across color lines.

Get it? See, she was ‘tired of extremes,’ and so opted for an environment that was most like the one she was leaving. Annoyed yet? No? Okay. Here’s more.

We could teach other races an important lesson on what it means to be black and nix some erroneous, preconceived notions about our race. For the white student whose only knowledge of black people has come from BET, we could show him that we don’t all aspire to be rappers. This learning experience could also go both ways and prove to blacks that not all white people are The Man.

Ah, there we go. That good problematic, served up piping hot. Now, one of the problems with debunking stereotypes is that, well, there’s no real way to do so. Whenever a white teacher told me I ’spoke well,’ I was never operating under any assumption that this ‘compliment’ would spur some reevaluation of her ideas regarding the intellectual capacities of Negros in general — in her mind, I was just not like the rest of them. If you’re a Jewish person who also happens to be a spendthrift, to the bigot who lazily clings to that stereotype, you’re just the exception to the rule. Continue reading