Tag Archives: W. Kamau Bell

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Watch: Race + Police Discussion Featuring Eric Garner’s children, Latoya Peterson, and Franchesca Ramsey

By Arturo R. García

Racialicious owner Latoya Peterson took part in a panel discussion moderated by Yahoo News host Katie Couric on Thursday regarding not only the death of Eric Garner, but the distrust characterizing the relationship between the New York Police Department and residents.

The discussion began with Couric interviewing Erica Garner and Eric Garner Jr., Garner’s children.

“Why didn’t the EMS help him if their job is to help people?” Erica Garner asked at one point. “I feel they treated him like an animal.”

Peterson and blogger Franchesca Ramsey then joined Couric to discuss how the case has stimulated conversation online.

“It’s just raw emotion, what’s happening,” Peterson said. “It’s not just unfortunately Eric Garner’s situation. It’s also in the aggregate, looking at everything that’s happened, with the summer, every 28 hours and all these campaigns, it’s really leading people to organize on social media and to be able to rise up and say, ‘We do not want to accept this any longer. This isn’t gonna be our world, and it shouldn’t be our world.’”

The discussion continued with a panel featuring comedian W. Kamau Bell, former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and journalist Dion Rabouin, a talk that featured several clashes between Kelly and Bell, who admitted he did not feel safe with Kelly in the room.

“I’ve been taught to treat cops like pitbulls,” Bell says at one point.

“Who taught you that?” Kelly responds.

“The Black community,” Bell shoots back. “Would you like their names and numbers?”

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A Storm Brews Around Lupita Nyong’o

By Arturo R. García

Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o. Image via her official Facebook page.

As Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o’s career prospects seemingly expand by the day, so, too, do the discussions surrounding her, with some fans imagining the sight of her stepping into some iconic franchises, and others side-eyeing the increased attention she’s been getting.
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Video: Jay Smooth and W. Kamau Bell discuss homophobia and hip-hop

By Arturo R. García

I thought W. Kamau Bell’s interview with Jay Smooth was worth sharing and getting our readers’ impressions.

After some talk about Kanye West’s run-in with Jimmy Kimmel and the appearance of a White Jesus character at the first show of West’s new tour, the discussion turns toward the LGBT community and hip-hop, and Jay acknowledges the generation gap at work — while acknowledging the presence of LGBT rappers — in commercial circles.

“There’s a sort of old-fogey, anti-gay Tea Party contingent among hip-hoppers my age,” Jay tells Bell. “They see the tide of history turning against them, so they’re becoming this really loud, freaked-out minority who thinks that our culture’s going to lose its moral center if people are openly gay or wear skinny jeans and things like that.”

Jay also name-checks James Baldwin and Bayard Rustin and points out that the modern LGBT rights movement began with a “bar fight” — the seminal encounter at Stonewall.

“There’s nobody more gangster than the LGBT community,” Jay explains “If they knew their history, like, Rick Ross would be pretending to be gay instead of pretending to be a drug lord.”

Racializens, your thoughts on the interview?

The Racialicious Preview For Facing Race 2012

Racialicious is pleased to announce we’ll be covering this weekend’s Facing Race 2012 conference, presented by the Applied Research Center, publisher of the Hillman Prize-winning analysis site Colorlines.

This year, Pulitzer Prize-winner and MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant recipient Junot Díaz will serve as the keynote speaker, and comedian/activist W. Kamau Bell and author Deanna Zandt will be the conference hosts.

Our team–Andrea, Arturo, and Kendra–will be tweeting from the conference all weekend (watch for the #FacingRace hashtag) and we’ll be posting video from the plenary sessions, as well as panel recaps, after the event.

But, you can also follow the @Racialicious Twitter as it live-tweets the following sessions:

Friday, Nov. 16

No Justice, No Peas: Good Food, Good Jobs
A growing movement is concerned about access to sustainable food as well as democratic control over food production. Globally, this is the food sovereignty movement; here in the United States it is known as food justice. Innovative organizers are bridging the worlds of good food and workers’ rights to create innovative solutions that will both transform our food system an provide sustainable livelihoods for food chain workers.
Speakers: Saru Jayaraman, Co-Director, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United; Navina Khanna, Associate, Movement Strategy Center; Suguet Lopez, Executive Director, Líderes Campesinas; Diana Robinson, Food Chain Workers Alliance.

  • One afternoon panel TBA

Saturday, Nov. 17

SURJ: Strategies for Engaging White People in Racial Justice
The economic recession and Obama’s presidency have triggered a largely white racist backlash by the Tea Party, anti-immigrant organizations and conservative political commentators. More white people are needed to show up and speak out against racism. Presenters will share experiences for recruiting and engaging white people in racial justice efforts and working in alliance with organizations of color.
Speakers: Dara Silverman, Principal, Rise Consulting; Carla Wallace, Coordinating Team, Showing Up for Racial Justice; Dottye Burt-Markowitz, Baltimore Racial Justice Action

What’s the Future of College for Students of Color?
Record numbers of students of color are headed to college, but is a degree still worth it? College is getting harder and harder to pay for, and young people are graduating with dismal job prospects and heavy loan debt. Even still, record numbers of students of color are graduating from for-profit colleges. What does this change mean for communities of color?
Speakers: Tiffany Loftin, President, The United States Student Association; Tressie McMillan Cottom, Research and PhD Candidate, Emory University [Ed’s note: Ms. McMillan Cottom has also been a Guest Contributor to The R - AG]

We’re looking forward to connecting with a lot of our allies, meeting some new ones, and sharing our findings with our fellow Racializens in the days ahead. Hope to see you in Baltimore!

Race + Politics: Rosie Perez Goes In On Mitt Romney

By Arturo R. García

One reason to keep an eye on the new Actually … politcal super PAC: diversity is in the mix from the get-go. The campaign, designed to pierce Republican arguments, features Rosie Perez, W. Kamau Bell and Jay Smooth in its introductory clip. And the first full clip to go live has Perez tackling Romney’s “jokes” about Latinos head on:

Transcript under the cut.

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Video: Ta-Nehisi Coates Discusses Fear Of A Black President

Courtesy: The Atlantic.

By Arturo R. García

In “Fear of a Black President,” which appeared this past week in The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates takes on the entirety of President Barack Obama’s approach to racial matters during his tenure. Or, as Coates defines it, his lack of an approach.

Confronted by the thoroughly racialized backlash to Obama’s presidency, a stranger to American politics might conclude that Obama provoked the response by relentlessly pushing an agenda of radical racial reform. Hardly. Daniel Gillion, a political scientist at the University of Pennsylvania who studies race and politics, examined the Public Papers of the Presidents, a compilation of nearly all public presidential utterances—­proclamations, news-conference remarks, executive orders—and found that in his first two years as president, Obama talked less about race than any other Democratic president since 1961. Obama’s racial strategy has been, if anything, the opposite of radical: he declines to use his bully pulpit to address racism, using it instead to engage in the time-honored tradition of black self-hectoring, railing against the perceived failings of black culture.

His approach is not new. It is the approach of Booker T. Washington, who, amid a sea of white terrorists during the era of Jim Crow, endorsed segregation and proclaimed the South to be a land of black opportunity. It is the approach of L. Douglas Wilder, who, in 1986, not long before he became Virginia’s first black governor, kept his distance from Jesse Jackson and told an NAACP audience: “Yes, dear Brutus, the fault is not in our stars, but in ourselves … Some blacks don’t particularly care for me to say these things, to speak to values … Somebody’s got to. We’ve been too excusing.” It was even, at times, the approach of Jesse Jackson himself, who railed against “the rising use of drugs, and babies making babies, and violence … cutting away our opportunity.”

At the same time, though, he takes issue with Obama’s remarks following the killing of Trayvon Martin, saying his weighing in with empathy toward the Martin family and recognition that, if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon, took the case “out of its national-mourning phase and lapsed into something darker and more familiar—racialized political fodder. The illusion of consensus crumbled.”

As I’m still wading through the piece, I do feel the need to point out that, had Obama not said anything–or offered only encouragement that justice be served–that illusion would have crumbled anyway, from any direction. It’s not like Rush Limbaugh, The Daily Caller, or the conservative hate machine around them were waiting for that particular moment to bring out the torches; they would’ve just changed the vitriol to focus on some supposed callousness on his part.

“Trayvoning,” a meme too disgusting to dignify with a link, didn’t come about because of Obama’s remarks–it happened because there are thousands of people too insensitive and too emboldened by relative anonymity who can’t resist making jackasses of themselves online. No speech could have prevented it. As MacDaffy put it yesterday at The Daily Kos, “President Obama’s blackness does not ‘irradiate everything he touches.’ Racism does.”
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Race + Comedy: Hari Kondabolu Balances His Conscience With His Craft

By Guest Contributor Caitlin M. Boston

Hari Kondabolu on stage. Courtesy: harikondabolu.com

I’m willing to wager that you don’t laugh at every joke you hear–to each her own fart joke, as it were. An obvious fact, but therein lies the challenge for stand-up comedians: how do you make as many people laugh as possible, while still being true to yourself and what you value?

Take that comedic quandary, bear-trap it to an ongoing graduate-level sociology course, and you are now in the head-space of confounded sui generis comedian, Hari Kondabolu.

A first-generation Indian American with roots in Queens, NY, Kondabolu’s comedy is nothing if not a direct reflection of what he values, a baroque product wrought from a first-generation American perspective, academic privilege, work as an immigrant-rights organizer, and of course, White people. Over the past several years as an internationally featured headliner he’s shared his truth in jokes about encountering the “ethnic section” in the grocery store, being colonized by an English girlfriend, ,and how Superman is an undocumented “alien,” yet no one seems concerned. His stand-up makes you feel like you’re ingesting a chuckle-coated vitamin of current socio-political affairs–something theoretically good for you, if at times difficult to swallow.
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