Tag Archives: racial stereotypes

Jon and Kate Plus Race

By Special Correspondent Nadra Kareem

Editor’s Note: The episode discussed in this piece aired about a year ago, but as Jon and Kate’s marriage publicly disintegrates while many onlookers wonder what will happen to the children, this issue seems worth a bit of discussion. – LDP

This year has no doubt been a trying one for Jon and Kate Gosselin. Not only did the couple file for divorce but also the rumor mill linked Jon to a slew of young hotties and Kate to her beefy bodyguard. Given this, it seems hard to believe that just last year the Gosselins appeared by all means to be one very big happy family. Take the “Korean Dinner” episode which debuted July 2008. In it, Jon—whose father is French and Welsh and mother is Korean—tries to teach his children about their Asian heritage. Unfortunately, Jon, along with Kate, does a pretty abysmal job in educating the children about culture.

For starters, the first scene from the episode is of Kate bowing in stereotypical fashion. Moreover, when discussing the ingredients needed for his Korean dinner, Jon assumes a stereotypical accent. “Ancient Chinese recipe,” he says as if he were Mickey Rooney playing Mr. Yunioshi in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” To make matters worse, Kate assumes the same mock accent later on.


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Interracial Dating: Black Women Aren’t the Only Foes of Interracial Romance

by Special Correspondent Nadra Kareem

Do black women regard interracial relationships as a personal affront?

I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen this issue raised. On June 2, it surfaced once more when blogger the Black Snob posted a thought-provoking piece on those who oppose interracial relationships called “Sometimes the White Girl (Or Guy) Isn’t about You (Unconventional Wisdom).”

The post begins with the Snob recalling her days in school when two black girls unsuccessfully try to jump a white classmate who’s dating a black guy. Throughout the piece, the Snob not only questions the rationale the two girls used to justify beating up their white peer but the rationale that black women in general draw upon to oppose interracial relationships. Are black women being fair when they assume that a black guy dating a white chick is a sell-out? And how do the insecurities of black women in Western society factor into their objection of interracial relationships?

She writes, “Some black guys are going to date white girls. Attempting to beat up the white girls will not turn that tide. …You’d be better off learning to love yourself than becoming mired in bitterness and hate over that thing that’s not really about you.”

The Snob’s points are valid. However, after reading her piece and others like it, I find myself wondering why black women are constantly portrayed as if they are only ones who react negatively to interracial relationships. As a black woman who has been involved with a white guy for more than a year, I’ve faced my fair share of hostility from white women, and some Asian ones, who seem resentful of my partnership. None of these women have disapproved of my relationship aloud, but they don’t really have to. Their body language says enough.

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Spain’s Olympic Basketball Team Honors China with a “Wink”

by Latoya Peterson

Stay classy, Team Spain.

From the Guardian:

Spain’s Olympic basketball teams have risked upsetting their Chinese hosts by posing for a pre-Games advert making slit-eyed gestures. The advert for a courier company, which is an official sponsor of the Spanish Basketball Federation, occupied a full page in the sports daily Marca, the country’s best-selling newspaper.

The advert features two large photographs, one of the men’s basketball team, above, and one of the women’s team. Both squads pose in full Olympic kit on a basketball court decorated with a picture of a Chinese dragon. Every single player appears pulling back the skin on either side of their eyes. The advert carries the symbol of the sport’s governing body.

No one involved in the advert appears to have considered it inappropriate nor contemplated the manner in which it could be interpreted in China and elsewhere. No offence was intended by the advert, but whether the Chinese see it that way is a different matter and it is likely to provoke more criticism at a delicate time for Spanish sport. The failure to recognise the potential consequences is striking in the light of the problems Spain has had with issues of race and the Spanish Olympic committee’s continued desire to host the Games in Madrid in 2016 or 2020.

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Interracial Dating: Grudgingly Heading Toward Acceptance

by Latoya Peterson

This is my second contribution to the interracial dating series. I originally wasn’t going to contribute after the intro post as my experience in this area is extremely limited. But, since we aren’t having the conversations I want to have, I’ll take a crack at it. I’m going to come off as a jerk, and I’m okay with this. Feel free to pose any questions you like in the comments, but I am going to ask that you refrain from making assumptions about my friends. If you want to know something, ask. – LDP


My best friend dates white girls.

It’s still painful for me to type that. Just the words, staring me in the face on the screen is like me pouring salt on a five year old wound. How the hell did that even happen?

Things weren’t always this way. Back in high school, I started kicking it with the guy who would eventually become best male friend (hereafter referred to as Bestboy). At the time, we bonded over a mutual love of reading, rock music, and dying our hair ridiculous colors normally only found in packs of Kool-aid. Bestboy was busy exploring his identity as a burgeoning black intellectual with a skateboard and back then his common refrain when it came to relations with the opposite sex was that he “dated the rainbow.” He found my insistence on dating within the race puzzling, I found his dating outside of it equally strange. But, as adolescents are wont to do, these minor disagreements were laid aside in favor of discussing more pressing matters like how many people could fit into a Honda Hatchback on the way home from HFStival.

Time passed, we graduated, and me and Bestboy kept in touch. Our hobbies grew in the same direction and we reunited around mutual adoration of art and anime. There was only one thing that became a quiet little undertone to many of our conversations. Over the last few years, the “rainbow” Bestboy spoke of had faded into one color: white.

Now, at this point, many of you may be wondering why I care about these things at all. Why do I care who my best friend dates? What does it matter the race of his partner as long as he is happy?

In a perfect world, these things wouldn’t matter. Love would just be love.

But the world isn’t perfect and these things do matter.

Love doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Continue reading

When is Black “Black?”

by Guest Contributor Danielle Belton, originally published at The Black Snob

“She needs to quit.”

That’s how the discussion got kicked off on One Drop Rule’s message board July 2nd. The person accused of needing to cease and desist was CNN reporter Soledad O’Brien who spent the past year working on a documentary for the cable news network entitled “Black In America” which airs this week. And the quitting in question was in regards to her black status.

“I have watched her with (African Americans) before and never once did she refer to (African Americans) in the first person, as in ‘I’ or ‘We’, or ‘we as a people’, etc. Maybe that’s just a journalism thing. But Tim Russert did identify as a Catholic when the Pope died, so?” wrote one commenter.

“Also, I have read at least one article … that says, rather Soledad says, that while her mother raised her/siblings to be just (African Americans), she sees herself as being bi-racial or mixed race. Now, she could just be saying that because she’s doing this show. Maybe on St. Paddy’s day, she said she was Irish.”

This attitude was sprinkled throughout many of the comments. At one point a few seemed to get an interview O’Brien gave to MyUrbanReport confused where she talked about her own upbringing as “black” and the story of a mixed couple she interviewed for the documentary who differed on whether to raise the children as biracial or black.

    “Here you have a kid to me who is completely biracial,” O’Brien said in the interview. “They’re little children, but their dad doesn’t necessarily see that (they’re black.) … My mom and dad were like you’re black. That was just the way it was. The way they were very clear about it made me clear about it in my head.”

O’Brien has repeatedly in the past given accounts of her life as a black Latina. In a profile with the Irish Echo Online, she talks about her identity (her mother is Afro-Cuban and her father is Australian-Irish) and the struggles her parents went through as a mixed race couple back when it was still illegal in some places and some restaurants wouldn’t serve them.

    O’Brien tends to treat her own ethnic mix with a light touch. She said that people laugh when they see her without makeup “because I have so many freckles that I look very Irish.” She also gently mocked the notion that her mixed-race background exposed her to unimaginable horrors.

    “I have had people say, like, ‘Oh, so you were a tragic mulatto?’ Well, um, not exactly. I was just a middle-class girl growing up on Long Island.”

    It isn’t possible, she contended, “to over-dramatize” what (her parents) went through … “They were doing stuff that for the time was very risky – socially risky and risky to their own physical safety. And they decided they were going to go ahead and get married and have six kids,” their daughter recalled.

While the board eventually clears up the confusion over what O’Brien said versus what the couple she interviewed said, there seemed to be a prevailing hostility towards the reporter for her alleged flip-flopping on her “black status.”

I’ve heard this on more than one occasion, but haven’t seen much from O’Brien to back this belief up considering she routinely plays up her black heritage over her Irish roots. After awhile I started to wonder if this hostility was over the fact that she was white enough to pass, but still ensconced herself in black issues and news stories (she’s a member of the National Association of Black Journalists). Were their “lying eyes” keeping them from recognizing her as a woman of color? Especially with her straight hair and nondescript accent, standard for any TV journalist? Continue reading

Mexico’s Famed Monkey-Boy is Back, Black and on Wal-Mart Shelves

by Special Correspondent Nadra Kareem

Mexico’s favorite monkey-boy, Memin Pinguin, may now find an audience in the U.S. That’s because Wal-Mart has decided to carry the reissued comic books series, first released in the 1960s. There’s just one problem. Memin Pinguin isn’t simply a monkey-boy but referred to in the series as a “Negro.”

With that description comes all of the negatives associated with blackness. Other characters, who apparently beat him at various points, regard him as “stupid” and a “troublemaker.” Also of note is that one of the newly released comics includes a storyline about Memin Pinguin running for office, which some believe is an allusion to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.*

Though it seems clear that a comic book featuring a “Negro” monkey-boy is offensive, Mexican dignitaries think otherwise. Not only have they defended the country’s love for the comic book figure, they also issued a stamp in commemoration of Memin Pinguin in 2005. To the critics from the North, they say, because Americans don’t understand the culture, they have no right to object to the character. Continue reading

Meet Esther Ku, the Asian Sarah Silverman

by Latoya Peterson

So, while moderating the Interracial Dating with a Vengeance thread, I was doing my best to save the kittens* when someone brought up Esther Ku.

Alvin, writing on the Hyphen blog, says:

What kind of insecure person makes a career basically being self-racist or self-deprecating and saying how much you hate yourself, who you are, and your family?

He points to this Boston Globe article which gives a summary of Ku’s act:

The Korean-American comedian started with the words, ”I don’t really like being Asian, but I’m kind of stuck with it.” That, at least, received a few titters. But when she continues, ”The only good thing about being Asian, really, is it helps you get into college,” the crowd stays silent. It goes downhill from there as she mines the subject of Caucasians adopting Asian babies.

”Nigerian babies cost like 25 cents a day,” says Ku. ”Asian babies cost a lot more because they pay off.”

As the crowd erupts in pained groans and a smattering of uncomfortable laughs, Ku innocently asks, ”Did I go too far?”

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I’m Sure You’ve Got Plenty to Say

by Guest Contributor Calabar, originally published at Girl in the Machine

Natan: …

Remember the good ol’ days after the first world war when European vampires still embarked on sabbaticals to the American south-west, cat-people ran Hollywood from behind the scenes, and cheeky teenage detectives could break into high-security compounds like Alcatraz without consequences?

Oh wait—that’s not real life. It’s Shadow Hearts: From the New World (thank goodness).

There’s something about this irreverent video game series that I find incredibly appealing, but sometimes it leaves me scratching my head. The way the developers choose to represent characters can be a little disingenuous. In particular, minority characters have their differences from the mainstream magnified one hundredfold. Whether it’s the swishy Magimel tailors or the so-Mexican-it-hurts mariachi singer Ricardo, everything is so overblown that it’s difficult to take it seriously.

While discussing the game with BomberGirl and PlasmaRit, we became interested in the “strong and silent” Native American character Natan. We wondered how much he actually had to say throughout the course of the game, and I honestly couldn’t recall. It’s been a while since I’ve played it.

To investigate our suspicions, I combed through one hundred and ten pages of the Shadow Hearts: From the New World script. From beginning to end, the script is 30,324 words long.

Natan says 768 words. Continue reading