Excerpted by Latoya Peterson His enemies list has grown as he sits in jail, and…
by Guest Contributor Nadra Kareem, originally published at The Whirliest Girl
In late 2005, I was visiting my Aunt Joan in Chicago. The visit pretty much entailed me trying to avoid the cold and, thus, spending much time with her remote in hand, flipping through the gazillion channels offered by her Satellite provider. One day I stumbled across a network called The N and was thrilled to find out that the MTV subsidiary ran repeats of shows like “Degrassi Junior High” and “My So-Called Life.”
As I relived my youth by watching The N, I discovered a new show the network was promoting called “South of Nowhere.” I was instantly hooked. Now, I’m bummed to find out that The N is canceling the show, which is in its third season. “SoN,” as it is called by fans, was groundbreaking in many ways. It chronicled a high school girl’s budding awareness that she is a lesbian and the reactions that her classmates and conservative Catholic family have to that realization. Yes, the girl, Spencer Carlin, is hot and her love interest is even hotter, but the relationship they have isn’t depicted in an exploitative way. My only real criticism of the relationship is that the actresses don’t have much onscreen chemistry.
As Spencer begins to accept her sexual identity, her adopted black brother, Clay, struggles with his racial identity. I loved that the adoptee character wasn’t added to be gimmicky, i.e. Natalie Portman’s brother in “Garden State” and the black, deaf, gay love interest of a character in “The Family Stone.” Instead, there’s genuine exploration of how growing up in a white family shaped Clay’s perceptions of race, which make him vulnerable as a black teen in Los Angeles (the Carlins are Ohio transplants), and the stereotypes that he has of other blacks, like his street-savvy classmate Sean Miller Read the Post Goodbye “South of Nowhere”: A Tribute
by Guest Contributor Wendi Muse, originally published at The Coup Magazine (blog)
At Corcoran, we understand that your home is the site of your family’s future history. So we go beyond what matters now. We listen to what will matter tomorrow – the hopes, the dreams, the visions, the goals, and the thousand wished-for moments that define you and those you love. Then we help you find a home that’s perfect for the family you are today, and for the family you hope to be in the future.
Live who you are.
built to last
When I first saw this ad, I thought to myself, “Wow, they have a biracial couple in a real estate ad!” Next I thought, “Wow, the couple happens to involve a black woman and a white male as the couple. I rarely see that!” To go further, my final thought was “…and she has dark skin, too! Amazing!!!” Read the Post Corcoran Goes Multicultural
by Guest Contributor Kate Harding, originally published at Shakesville
Latoya’s Note: This is a long post, but well worth the read. Please read the whole thing before launching into the comments.
So, everybody’s talking about the Vogue cover featuring LeBron James and Gisele Bundchen in a pretty blatant, uh, homage (*cough*) to King Kong, which many are–zanily enough!–calling racist.
Young’uns out there who haven’t taken film courses might not be familiar with the actual plot of King Kong, released in 1933 (not beyond “big gorilla climbs Empire State Building with woman in hand,” anyway) let alone with any analysis of its racist imagery. For a primer on both, let me point you to David N. Rosen’s article “King Kong: Race, sex, and rebellion.”
It doesn’t require too great an exercise of the imagination to perceive the element of race in KING KONG. Racist conceptions of blacks often depict them as subhuman, ape or monkey-like. And consider the plot of the film: Kong is forcibly taken from his jungle home, brought in chains to the United States, where he is put on stage as a freak entertainment attraction. He breaks his chains and goes on a rampage in the metropolis, until finally he is felled by the forces of law and order.
The causative factor in his capture and his demise is his fatal attraction to blonde Ann Darrow (Fay Wray). As Denham says in the last words of the film, “Oh, no, it wasn’t the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast.” If we look at KING KONG in terms of a racial metaphor, “Beauty” turns out to be “the white woman.” …
Aside from the sexual aspect implicit in the question of race, there’s the more direct, and somewhat delirious, sexual imagery in the film. The ape often functions as a most appropriate anthropoid symbol of “lower,” “animal” instincts. In this case we have a giant ape (literally a huge, hairy monster) and his unrestrained, headlong pursuit of a “blonde,” that archetypical Hollywood sex-object, ending on top of the world’s foremost phallic symbol.(1) The sexual theme touches on the standard racist myth of the black male’s exaggerated sexual potency, and the complementary notion of his insatiable desire for white women.
Emphasis mine. Any questions? Good.
Now, let’s have a look at that cover.
And at Kong:
And for good measure, check out this old U.S. Army recruitment poster (H/T Jill at Feministe):
Any questions? GOOD.
I first became aware of the Vogue cover the first time Jill blogged about it, two weeks ago, and like her, I probably wouldn’t have noticed anything without having it pointed out to me. But as soon as it was pointed out to me, I saw the screamingly clear Kong echo–and since I did study King Kong in a film class many years ago, I was well aware of the racist underpinnings of that story and its imagery. So it didn’t take long for the penny to drop.
Some people, though, are still not only not getting it, but insisting that those of us who do get it are hypersensitive, overreacting, “looking for racism everywhere,” etc.–the usual, in other words. For the most part, I can just roll my eyes at that, because it’s all so familiar. Anything short of someone saying on national TV, “If you see a black man, you should shoot him in the face, and let me be perfectly clear that I mean you should shoot him in the face because he is black,” might not be racism after all, because some white people can’t see it. And if not all white people can see it, then the benefit of the doubt should automatically go to whomever made the racist statement/took the racist action/produced the racist image, not to the people identifying it as racist–because there is NOTHING WORSE IN THE WORLD than being a white person unfairly accused of racism! You lucky people of color have NO IDEA how horrible that is!
Like I said, the usual. But Wesley Morris at Slate has thrown a new twist into that argument. He (sort of) lays out the argument in favor of the Vogue cover being part of a long tradition of racist imagery depicting black men as primal brutes coming after white women, so he obviously gets it, but then follows that up with, “But even typing that just gave me a headache.”
The problem, you see, is not that it isn’t racist–it’s that all these discussions of racism are boring him. Read the Post Racism Fatigue
by Guest Contributor Alex Alvarez, originally published at Guanabee
Associate Editor Alex Alvarez, befuddled to find that her boobs and hips, or lack thereof, seem to fall in and out fashion like leggings and stirrup pants and poppers, takes a look at the American women’s magazine industry in an attempt to decipher just how, exactly, they can get away with telling women their bodies are ok – if only they’d look more like white girls. (Take The Quiz On Page 62!)
My name is Alex Alvarez. And I hate women’s magazines.
Don’t get me wrong: I like fashion and I’ve worked at several magazines over the past couple of years. I can talk about Courrèges and Two Girls, One Cup in the same breath. But so many women’s magazines, both “fashion” mags like Glamour and Vogue and “sexy” mags like Cosmo and Horse & Hound do women so much more harm than good.
Women’s magazines have long been accused of creating a standard of beauty that will forever be just out of the grasp of most women – prompting them, of course, to wait until next month’s issue for more advice on how to be perfect. (Hint! Transplant your face with this other face.) Selling women this promise not only keeps magazines on newsstands and subscriptions in the mail, it also helps appease the real driving force behind all magazines — advertisers and Satan. And what women end up purchasing is cosmetic “whiteness.” You know you’ve made it, baby, when you wake up looking like you faceplanted on Plymouth Rock.
In this feature, I’ll take a look at women from four, over-simplified ethnic or racial backgrounds and see just how, exactly, magazines are fucking them all up. Then, after a few dozen sex quizzes and several minutes of trying to figure out how you can both “Love Your Body!” and orient yourself on the latest “Plastic Surgery Tips Every Woman Should Know!” without wanting to gag yourself on an exclamation point, I’ll give the magazine industry a few tips on how to talk to women.
Brief Overview: Latinas are portrayed as being sultry and seductive. They can get away with playing the “bad girl,” possibly because they are allowed – and even encouraged – to have more overtly sexual bodies, with an emphasis on curves, dark eyes and bright, plump, shiny, slick, wet lips shown in loving close-ups, usually while the face to which they’re attached is growling or purring or doing something else that’s totally fierce. They also give better head. Oh. There goes my attempt at subtlety.
The ideal: Jennifer Lopez
Hair: Often enough, Latinas have “big hair” with lots of volume, possibly as a middle ground among the various hair textures found among Latinas of different races.
Skin: Latinas are often depicted as having an olive complexion, with lighter or darker generally ignored or unmentioned by mainstream media.
Ass: Big, round. Makes a “ka-ching ka-ching” sound when bouncing in time to a song about cars and beach houses.
Breasts: While Latinas are generally depicted with large backsides, breast size is allowed to vary. As long as they’re big.
How magazines fucked up: “Latina” is not a race. It’s a diverse group made of many racial, ethnic and religious groups. Some who don’t even look like J-Lo. Additionally, women can’t have it both ways. While Latinas have been “en vogue” for a period of time, certain celebrated icons of “Latina beauty,” such as Jennifer Lopez and Salma Hayek, have whittled down their once-celebrated curvy figures as the years have gone by. Wait until Jennifer loses all that baby weight. She’ll look so much better without Marc.
bu Guest Contributor Tami, originally published at What Tami Said
It is normal to be prejudiced.
…and in a country like America that was born and raised on the notion of white supremacy (See manifest destiny, slavery, Jim Crow, internment of Japanese citizens…), it is normal to be prejudiced against black people. So ingrained is the idea that white culture is right, or at least the benchmark for all other cultures, that even most black Americans devalue blackness (See “the doll test” as one example. See black hack comedians and their “black people are always late, broke, triflin’…” schtick as another.) So white America, modern prejudice is not all your fault.
Now that I have said that, now that I have absolved you of personal guilt, can we have the conversation about race that everyone keeps referring to? I mean a REAL conversation, not the one that has played out over the last month on talk radio and cable news and political blogs and Web sites, where black people attempt to shed some light on the ways race affects our daily lives and white people get defensive and angry and insist that race is no longer an issue. Read the Post Dear America: A Few Things This Black Woman Would Like You to Know About Race
by Racialicious Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson
Apparently, Condoleezza shocked the hell out of people by reminding them that she was black.
For those of you who missed it, here’s the text of what she said in response to Barack Obama’s speech on race:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday that the United States still has trouble dealing with race because of a national “birth defect” that denied black Americans the opportunities given to whites at the country’s very founding.
“Black Americans were a founding population,” she said. “Africans and Europeans came here and founded this country together — Europeans by choice and Africans in chains. That’s not a very pretty reality of our founding.”
As a result, Miss Rice told editors and reporters at The Washington Times, “descendants of slaves did not get much of a head start, and I think you continue to see some of the effects of that.”
“That particular birth defect makes it hard for us to confront it, hard for us to talk about it, and hard for us to realize that it has continuing relevance for who we are today,” she said.
Condi pulled out the racial big Joker! Oh snap! Read the Post Lou Dobbs: “The Fact is Most Americans Don’t Have a Problem Talking About Race.”