Tag Archives: youtube

Queen Rania’s YouTube Crusade

by Racialicious special correspondent Fatemeh Fakhraie, originally published at Muslimah Media Watch.

Queen Rania of Jordan has posted her own video on YouTube, entitled, “Send me your stereotypes.” Her aim is to break down stereotypes about Arabs and Muslims through YouTube (I assume she focuses only on Arabs because she herself is Arab; however, this is problematic for the majority of Muslims who are not Arab but whose cultures are stereotyped similarly). It’s an admirable aim, but is it going to work?

So far, there are 35 responses. They come from Italy, Canada, the U.S., Ireland, etc. There are genuine questions about the “truths” surrounding Islam and homosexuality, view of Jews, terrorism, etc. There are also people who’d just like to hear themselves talk, and some that I am pretty sure have aims other than addressing questions about racism and Islamophobia.

There are also some great examples of Islamophobia in the media; I was tickled purple to see the opening scenes of Disney’s Aladdin in the queue. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Aladdin, but it’s important to address the latent racism (not to mention sexism) in Disney movies.

The most positive of all the videos in the “dispelling stereotypes” category is entitled, “A Land Called Paradise,” and features American Muslims of all walks of life with placards that reveal their inner thoughts and confessions, humanizing tidbits that reveal that they are “just like us”: worrying about one’s mother, cheating in school, liking Grey’s Anatomy, etc.

Many of the stereotypes that are put forth deal with Islam and women. Several posters questioned why a woman in Saudi Arabia was murdered for chatting on Facebook, why (some) Muslim women undergo female genital cutting, why women are punished for adultery and not men.

The questions asked are valid, the stereotypes presented are real and harmful. But I’m skeptical as to how much of a change this is going to make. The ultimate goal of stereotypes is to dehumanize a person or group; even if these videos somehow change a few minds, will they humanize Muslims and Arabs? I’m a little skeptical.

Though Queen Rania is a lovely spokeswoman for this movement, we don’t know what perspectives she’s bringing. She hasn’t responded to any of the videos yet, and so it’s unclear as to whether she’ll be answering them all by herself, or if she’ll bring it other Arab and/or Muslim voices.

My main worry about this project is that it will be an excuse for Islamophobic ranting, with loud voices who aren’t interested in allowing others to refute negative stereotypes about Arabs and Muslims. That it won’t be a dialogue, that no one will learn anything. Or that the “truths” presented won’t be accepted because they are not black-and-white, but instead are complex and sticky: for example, explaining that female genital cutting is not an Islamic practice, but one that is tied to local cultures, might not satisfy a poster who thinks this practice and all who engage in it are barbaric.

Though I’m a skeptic at heart, I do laud this as a positive step. Videos on YouTube proliferate so many stereotypes about Arabs and Muslims; now is a good time to start fighting fire with…dialogue.

The conversation will continue until August 12, 2008 (International Youth Day).

Queen Rania on YouTube

Interracial Porn: Holding Us Back While Getting Us Off? (Pt 1)

by Racialicious special correspondent Wendi Muse

I am by no means an expert on porn, nor do I pretend to be. Yet considering the volume of hits on xtube.com or youporn.com that could be traced back to my IP address, one would assume so. If not that, one would at least be able to mentally file away my name with all the other people in the “creepy” category. Some of you may be wondering about this new obsession of mine that has developed during my period of hiatus, but I can fortunately hold someone else partially responsible.

In November of 2007, Courtney, a contributing blogger for Feministing, reviewed a book aptly titled Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity by Robert Jensen. Much like fellow feminist theorist, the late Andrea Dworkin, Jensen considers pornography a visual manifestation of misogyny—hatred of women captured on film. With sexual arousal distracting the viewer, acts of violence and subjugation of women are interpreted through a different lens than, say, if they were portrayed minus the element of sex. Yet also like Dworkin, Jensen’s work borders on misandrist, stating as his major thesis that “If men are going to be full human beings, we first have to stop being men.” Using pornography as a microcosmic representation of the world as a whole, at least insofar as relationships between men and women are concerned, Jensen proposes that masculinity must be abandoned altogether as, in his opinion, it is inextricably linked to a world in which women are viewed as stupid, submissive, and deserving of abuse.

I agree with Courtney in her mention of the many loopholes within the book, in particular her comments regarding women who enjoy submission or even pain during sex. I also concur with regard to her discussion of images and scenarios within pornography playing out in real life. Many once-taboo subjects and sex acts, including, but not limited to, threesomes or multi-partner sex, anal sex, BDSM, and even the use and purchase of sex toys, have become mainstream. Porn is not entirely the culprit, but its proliferation has certainly aided Americans in their burgeoning sexual open-mindedness. With an orgasm only a click away, pornography has experienced a similar transformation to that of the music industry, with the creation of mp3s and pirate sites, and the film and tv industry, with the onslaught of youtube and bootleg dvds of sidewalk entrepreneurs.

After reading Courtney’s review of Getting Off (which you can read, in full, here) I wanted to take Jensen’s argument a bit further. Despite my disagreeing with him on some points, I felt that Jensen’s thoughts on gender roles in porn could be easily applied to the use of race in porn, particularly interracial porn. Following his thesis, in short, that masculinity by definition supports a system of misogyny, a characteristic clearly demonstrated in (straight) pornography, and the only way to progress beyond this conveyance of hatred toward women is to eradicate masculinity in its entirety, I came up with the following: Continue reading

Arby’s to the Irish: can’t you take a joke?

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

This Arby’s commercial is making some Irish-Americans really angry. Check out this recent letter to the editor of Irish America magazine (hat tip HighJive):

A television commercial currently aired by Arby’s restaurants features a group of laboratory chimpanzees so happy to have sampled Arby’s product that they break into a traditional Irish step dance. Rather than elicit my normal belly laugh, I was immediately reminded of the horrendous Punch and [Thomas] Nast political cartoons that lampooned our people in the past. The sting was immediate, taking my breath away.

This web site has some examples of the way Irish people were regularly depicted with simian features as “hot-headed, old-fashioned, and drunkards” and as “uncivilized, unskilled and impoverished.” Let’s not forget that not too long ago, the Irish weren’t regarded as white.

So what was Arby’s response? Well, typical, really:

We’re sorry to hear of your dissatisfaction with our current advertising.

Many times we choose to use tongue-in-cheek humor and satire in our commercials in an effort to communicate information about the Arby’s menu in an engaging and entertaining manner.

MadTV turns Obama into a mandingo

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

As early as April, we began seeing emails floating around linking Barack Obama with a sexual desire for white women. Now the “he’s coming for our white women” sentiment has gone mainstream, thanks to this dumb-as-shit MadTV skit. (Thanks Wendi.)

Maybe I’m missing something, but to me this presidential race is about as sexual as Tay Zonday’s last visit to the optometrist.

Only a society that has internalized stereotypes about black men as sexual predators and women as sex objects could come up with as crude a sexual narrative as we see here.

MadTV has done some good commentaries on race in the past (especially Aren’t Asians Great? and Nice White Lady). But this piece of racist and sexist drivel is just a fucking embarrassment.