Tag Archives: stereotypes

The Big Bang Theory, Nerds of Color, and Stereotypes

by Latoya Peterson

“Though you do add some much needed cultural diversity to an otherwise homogeneous group, your responses to [The Friendship Survey] were deeply disturbing.”

—Sheldon to Rajesh, The Friendship Algorithm

A few weeks ago, I discovered a new favorite show to watch. My boyfriend has been a How I Met Your Mother devotee for the past couple of years, and tends to always make his way to the couch around eight-ish on Monday nights.

One night, I was working in the bedroom when I caught an errant nerdy reference.

Oh, love! A discussion of the physics involved in Superman with a comic book reference challenge at the end? Be still my heart!

The next time I wasn’t paying attention, but I was in the living room, so I caught the reference that changed my life:

Rock, paper, scissors, lizard, spock. Genius!

But as I continued watching, a little nagging thought started interfering with my enjoyment of the series:

So, we only get one nerd of color? Continue reading

Policing Fashion in New York

by Guest Contributor Minh-ha, originally published at Threadbared


In New York magazine’s Spring Fashion issue, there are six feature stories on clothes, designers, and models including a story on a group of tenderfoot but fresh-faced white male models (“Fashion Week’s handsome rookies”), an interview with style icon Kate Moss on her clothing line at the much-anticipated and much delayed opening of TopShop in downtown Manhattan (recent reports have doors opening in April 2009), and a recession-minded article with an increasingly familiar theme, “Everything Here is Under $100″). In addition, there is the usual array of designer label advertisements and celebrity spokesmodels: Posh and Becks for Emporio Armani, Katie Holmes for Miu Miu, Gwyneth Paltrow for Tod’s, as well as an anonymous sea of puerile, well-heeled, ivory-faced Gothamites slinging everything from Marc Jacobs handbags to cocktails to lifestyles.

Jessica Lustig’s article, “The Fashion Thief,” was the only feature story or advertisement in the Fashion Issue that featured a person of color, any color. Lustig follows Kevahn Thorpe, an African American young man from Queensbridge Houses project in Queens, New York, as he is arrested and rearrested for shoplifting from high-end Manhattan shops like Prada, Bergdorf, Barneys, and Saks.

There’s a lot about this article that’s unsettling. 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.

Continue reading

Series Introduction: The Brazil Files

by Special Correspondent Wendi Muse

For those of you who are longtime followers of Racialicious, you may remember me as a Special Correspondent.

For those of you who are not, let me re-introduce myself! My name is Wendi Muse. I’m a graduate of New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where I created a major in “Legal and Cultural Studies of Oppressed and Marginalized Peoples,” aka I set myself up for a stint here at Racialicious. After having previously written exclusively for The Coup Magazine, I began writing weekly articles for Racialicious in 2007. My first article was about racism within the Craigslist personal ads, and the rest was history (you can check out my other Racialicious articles here.)

However, in July of 2008, I moved to Brazil to teach English and conduct research. Due to the simple fact that time did not previously allow, I was unable to continue writing here at Racialicious. Fortunately, I have a little more free time, and have come back to share some of my experiences in the magical world of race and ethnicity—Brazilian style!

Before I share my first piece, however, I caution readers that my articles are in no way representative of the entire Brazilian population, nor do I expect them to be a blanket portrayal of the thoughts of millions of people in the largest country in Latin America. That, quite frankly, would be impossible. I do hope, however, to put some myths to rest in addition to opening up the avenues of conversation surrounding race and ethnicity here at Racialicious. We often catch a serious case of myopia when it comes to discussing race in America, and it’s important that we hear the side of our friends down south, too. Their struggles, opinions, and perspectives are equally important and worth giving a listen as we try to make change here stateside.

With that said, I look forward to writing here again! Até mais!

Beijinhos,

Wendi

ALO Again: New Lifestyle Magazine More of the Same Old Orientalism

By Special Correspondent Fatemeh Fakhraie. An expanded version of this piece can be found at Muslimah Media Watch.

Last summer saw the launch of ALO Hayati, “America’s Top Middle Eastern Lifestyle Magazine.” Thanks to a gracious donor, I finally got my hands on a copy of the July 2008 issue.

All lifestyle magazines have an aspirational feel to them, and this one was no different. Chock full of advertisements for Dubai hotels and Swiss watches, ALO wasn’t particularly different than any other lifestyle magazine. Considering the economic situation of magazines, it doesn’t seem like an incredibly auspicious time to launch one aimed at a materialistic lifestyle. I wasn’t able to find any updates about the magazine’s publication on the website, and as far as I’m aware, this is the only edition, though in the magazine they refer to an earlier issue in some places.

As someone who enjoys a good glossy every now and then, I delighted over advertisements with Kim Kardashian, and interview with exclusive designer Bijan, and a fluffy piece on intercultural relationships (though I did not care for the cover teaser: “Shocking Intercultural Stories”).

The magazine featured an interview with Leila Ahmed, which was a great one, likening the current western media representation of Muslim women to the same patronizing Orientalism that played out in the first wave of colonialism in Middle East. Her interview shed lots of light on the history and future of the headscarf. Despite the educational qualities of her interview, I kept thinking, “Who is this educating?”

While not every Middle Eastern person is going to be familiar with the history behind the headscarf, it seems sort of odd to have an educational feature about hijab in a magazine aimed at a demographic that has a fairly lengthy history with headscarves, even if many of them aren’t Muslim. Something about this piece tugged at me. It almost felt as if it was aimed at people who were not Middle Eastern. Continue reading

Racialicious at the Movies: He’s Just Not That Into You

by Latoya Peterson

You know, dear readers, I am sometimes entirely too curious for my own good.

But I’m going to blame Joseph for this latest bout of killing the cat, since it was his comment (#58) on the original HJNTIY thread that led me to the Friday matinee show.

Before I jump into my impressions of the movie, let me add a little background information. We often receive comments on Racialicious about how sometimes people just want to escape, or that movies are made for “intellectuals,” or that we critique everything and never like anything, or that we are busy judging things we haven’t seen or don’t watch or whatever.

These comments are generally incorrect. In the case of He’s Just Not That Into You :

  • I remember where this all started, as I watched Seasons 1 – 4 of Sex and the City, and sporadically finished out the rest of the series. (I enjoyed the series, glaring race and class issues aside – I just tend to lose patience with most shows after a few seasons.)
  • Not only do I remember the episode that spawned the book, I actually read He’s Just Not That Into You. The book wasn’t very memorable, but it is infinitely better than It’s Called A Break Up Because It’s Broken which made me want to gouge out my eyes with the spoon I was supposed to use to eat my break-up mandated pint of Chunky Monkey. (No, that’s in the book. The cover shot is an empty pint of ice cream.) Instead of reading that, I recommend Cindy Chupack’s Between Boyfriends. She also wrote for Sex and the City and while the book isn’t self-help, it’s probably more helpful than that mess.
  • I really enjoy escapist romantic comedies. Seriously. I deal with race, gender, class and activism all freaking day – what do you think I go home and do? All I ever want is a glass of wine and something funny. That’s all. However, I would prefer that comedy doesn’t actively insult my intelligence. (In another post, somewhere in the future, I’ll talk about one of my favorite romcoms – That’s The Way I Like It – and why it works using the romcom formula without becoming formulaic.)

So, I went to the movie cautious. While I hated the trailers, the alternate trailer (marketed to guys, natch) made the movie seem more interesting than I had anticipated. So after lunch, I suckered my boyfriend into going with me.

*WARNING: SPOLIERS AHEAD* Continue reading

When Xenophobia Meets Homophobia

by Guest Contributor Marisol LeBrón, originally published at NACLA and Post Pomo Nuyorican Homo

An ugly blame game ensued after the passing of California’s Proposition 8, which restricted the definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman. With exit polls reporting 70 percent of Blacks and 53 percent of Latinos/as supporting the ban on gay marriage, many white members of the LGBT community blamed people of color for the ban’s success.

The December issue of gay news magazine The Advocate stepped into the fray. The cover of the issue provocatively announced, “Gay is the New Black.” Although the cover story’s author, Michael Joseph Gross, dismissed blaming Black voters as a “false conclusion” and a “terrible mistake,” comments posted to the site took him to task for other reasons. Most comments strongly disagreed with Gross’ Black/gay comparison, but many others asked why communities of color and queer communities are still considered mutually exclusive in the mainstream LGBT rights movement.

A comment posted by “Greg J,” pointedly charged, “Gays of color, transgender, and yes, even lesbians are missing from the larger discourse of the gay rights struggle – primarily the gay marriage issue. The gay right’s movement was and remains the ‘gay, white, middle class’ movement!”

The Prop 8 fallout shows how much work remains to be done to connect the LGBT rights movement with other struggles for social justice across a spectrum of issues. Unfortunately, it may have taken the brutal murder of Ecuadoran immigrant Jose Oswaldo Sucuzhañay to highlight the invisibility of queer people of color – particularly queer immigrants – in LGBT rights discourse. His murder will hopefully provide an impetus for coalition building.

Jose Sucuzhañay and his brother Romel were attending a Sunday evening church party on December 7, 2008. They later decided to end the night with some drinks at a local bar in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. The two brothers left the bar at 3:30 a.m. and walked home arm-in-arm to support each other. Three men drove up to the Sucuzhañay brothers, one man got out of the car and began to shout anti-gay and anti-Latino slurs at them. Continue reading