Tag Archives: white

Quoted: Joe Francis

Excerpted by Latoya Peterson

His enemies list has grown as he sits in jail, and it was recently expanded to include Access Hollywood reporter Maria Menounos, who did an interview Francis didn’t like. “She called me the ‘ever defiant Joe Francis,’ ” he howls. “Fuck yeah, I’m defiant! It’s like that defiant Rosa Parks won’t give up her seat. Fuck you, Maria. The ever defiant Nelson Mandela just can’t stand apartheid. The ever defiant Martin Luther King. The ever defiant Jesus Christ. You fucking stupid whore. If I saw Maria Menounos, I’d punch her in the face.”

As the tirade ends, he quietly starts repairing the phone he busted by banging it against the glass. “I’m not comparing myself to Rosa Parks or Jesus Christ. I’m comparing myself to someone standing up for their rights,” he says. “I’m just saying you can have an unpopular person who is criminalized and demonized. Jesus Christ was crucified by Pontius Pilate at my age. He was not a popular guy.”

—From “The Prisoner in Cell Block DD,” originally published in the April 2008 edition of GQ.

ETA: For those of you who are not aware, Joe Francis is famous for producing the Girls Gone Wild DVD franchise.

Goodbye “South of Nowhere”: A Tribute

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 Continue reading

Corcoran Goes Multicultural

by Guest Contributor Wendi Muse, originally published at The Coup Magazine (blog)

Take a moment to survey the photo above. This is an advertisement for Corcoran Group Real Estate found in the March 31, 2008 issue of New York Magazine. The text in the caption reads as follows:

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!!!” Continue reading

Racism Fatigue

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. Continue reading

Model Minority: How Women’s Magazines Whitewash Different Ethnicities

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.

Continue reading

Dear America: A Few Things This Black Woman Would Like You to Know About Race

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. Continue reading

Old Navy – Nina Keita

by Guest Contributor Brigitte, originally published at Make Fetch Happen

I’d noticed these Old Navy ads a few days ago. First because the dark skinned model in the ads, Nina Keita, has been featured in quite a few Old Navy ads recently and second, because her “love interest” in the ad is white.

I guess I’m so accustomed to seeing these types of ads go in a different direction that changing it up a bit immediately transforms me into a deer-in-the-headlights.

Ordinarily, this type of commercial would usually show the group of young white women (with their one black friend) flirting with a groups of white guys (and their one black friend) at a mall or amusement park. The end of the ad would show everyone matched up by race having a great time sharing fountain drinks.

I always thought that this set up put way too much pressure of the black friends. What if they didn’t like each other? What if one of them was gay? Clearly, these were the only two black people in town. How was it that they were only just now meeting one another? Good Lord, what if they were related? Would their white friends care? Did anyone even bother to ask them how they felt about not being given a choice?

I’ve read many a designer complain that if they use a black or other non-white model in an ad or on the runway, then the consumer will pay more attention to the model than the product.

I think this is only partially true. I always pause at a ad with a person of color partly because of the rarity of black models in national campaigns but when I do I always note who is producing the ad. I can’t watch Nina Keita stroll around town in that Old Navy green tube dress without wondering how it would look on my body. On the flip side, models like Jessica Stam, Kate Moss and Gisele appear in so many similar advertisements that I’d be hard pressed to tell any of the campaigns apart.

How exactly does that work in the designer’s favor?

Lou Dobbs: “The Fact is Most Americans Don’t Have a Problem Talking 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! Continue reading