Sunday, April 05, 2009
F*ck Justin Timberlake!
Justin stays getting a pass! Why?!
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Eat the Cake Anna Mae- on Chris/Rihanna and Violence Against Black Women
And she became the most famous, richest black woman in the world. Does that mean anything?
"See, we could fight like Ike and Tina..." -- Alicia Keys, "Unbreakable"
Why is this your opening line, Alicia? And why would this song EVER be your jam?
The other day, a relative of mine asked me (Sum) what my opinion was of the Chris Brown/Rihanna saga. It was a curiously framed question that I didn’t quite understand. It had never dawned on me to have an opinion on the matter. Maybe this was because of the black interest blogs I read. On them, there are people actually choosing a set – Team Rihanna or Team Chris – and repping it. Besides, I had only been paying mild attention to the whole ordeal, and what I did know consisted of rumors and hearsay. And I’m not in the business of forming an opinion based on some shit some niggas might (not) have said. I was a nerd in a black high school for two years. I know how to avoid fistfights.
Though she probably wasn’t, at the time it felt like my relative was asking me pick a camp and join it. Choose which rumors to believe or not, and cast my allegiance accordingly. Misunderstanding or no, the question made me uncomfortable – so much so that I actually squirmed a bit. But it did get me thinking about black people, and (normalized) violence, and how and why the black public sphere reacts to domestic violence the way it does.
If there are any white people reading this (so doubtful), you’ll have to trust me on the following statement. (In this instance, my cultural capital is worth more than yours. Take that, suckas!) Black people – and yes, I mean all black people, including Michelle Obama – know and quote scenes from two movies: What’s Love Got to Do With It? and The Color Purple. On varying levels, both movies are concerned with violence against black women perpetuated by their male partners. To add, Tyler Perry, who is a descendant and beneficiary of the kind of influence these films have on black movie audience and black culture at large, is the most popular black filmmaker of the day; he continues to disseminate and profit from the collateral intimate knowledge of these movies provide. For instance, one of his most recent films, The Family That Preys, features a deliberately unlikeable black female character who, through her insubordination (shout out, moyazb for this line and so much more), emasculates (and therefore disrespects) her black, blue-collar husband. So much so that the climax of the movie is his justifiable reclamation of manhood via smacking the shit out of her. I say justified because members of the primarily black audience I was in the company of (don’t ask why I was in a theater to see a Tyler Perry movie) cheered when it happened. The homie, Maegs had a similar experience. I put up several blue chips that these aren’t statistical aberrations. So, really, what the fuck is this about?
“You told Harpo to beat me,” and “That’s all you got, Ike?” elicit two responses from black folk: laughter and the outward expression of our inner thespians. What we seem to forget in our collective re-enactment of these scenes is the violence against black women at the heart of them. That casual omission seems to suggest, on some level just barely beneath the surface, that domestic violence is not only normal and acceptable, but a source of amusement. I ask, as someone who has participated fully in these exchanges plenty of times, What the fuck makes this shit funny? No, seriously, that is not a rhetorical question. Why the fuck are we laughing? Why are these the lines we memorize?
We have to stop this trend of normalizing violence in the home to the point that it is a stock device that any black comedian can employ to garner a laugh. I see no irony in this, Chris Rock. We have to stop rewarding (NAACP, listen up) and financially supporting a man whose career is based on dressing up in drag and caricaturizing black women, recycling coonery for the 21st century, and perpetuating misogyny and a belief in a patriarchal structure that advocates violence if it means the reclamation of a (tentative-ass black) manliness. We need to check these black interest blogs for the way they deliver this “news” to us. (And I’m not making that last point because nobody is fucking with our shit, despite Sum-n-Saf's blatant genius.)
Most importantly, we have to stop normalizing this violence and responding to it (only) with laughter. My ex used to talk about how ironic it was that the only blacks on television starred in sitcoms, because there really wasn’t much funny about black life in America. Well, there isn’t anything funny about black women getting their ears boxed. And I see no point in choosing sides or turning this Chris Brown/Rihanna mess into t-shirts or Mortal Kombat sketches. I’m over it.
Here’s a dose of penicillin for that ass: How about we stop trying to make light of, debate and justify the actions of victim and/or victimizer of domestic violence, and fucking confront our pathology? WARNING: THIS MEDICINE WILL NOT CAUSE DROWSINESS, AND IT WILL NOT MAKE YOU LAUGH. IF ILLNESS PERSISTS AFTER SEVEN DAYS, CEASE TAKING MEDICINE, AND CONSULT A THERAPIST.
n.b.: This morning, I received this via email. See what I mean?
Saturday, January 10, 2009
To: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
This petition has been launched to object to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' announcement that it will give Jerry Lewis its Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Oscar Awards ceremony on February 22, 2009.
During his decades of hosting the Labor Day Telethon, Jerry Lewis has helped to perpetuate negative, stereotypical attitudes toward people with muscular dystrophy and other disabilities. Jerry Lewis and the Telethon actively promote pity as a fundraising strategy. Disabled people want RESPECT and RIGHTS, not pity and charity.
In 1990, Lewis wrote that if he had muscular dystrophy and had to use a wheelchair, he would "just have to learn to try to be good at being a half a person." During the 1992 Telethon, he said that people with MD, whom he always insists on calling "my kids," "cannot go into the workplace. There's nothing they can do." Comments like these have led disability activists and our allies to protest against Jerry Lewis. We've argued that he uses the Telethon to promote pity, a counterproductive emotion which undermines our social equality. Here's how Lewis responded to the Telethon protesters during a 2001 television interview: "Pity? You don't want to be pitied because you're a cripple in a wheelchair? Stay in your house!"
Jerry Lewis has also made derogatory comments about women and gay men. His outdated attitudes and crude remarks are dehumanizing, not humanitarian.
Therefore, we the undersigned support the actions and arguments of the coalition group The Trouble with Jerry. We protest the Academy's characterization of Jerry Lewis as a "humanitarian." And we ask that the Academy cancel its plans to give Lewis the Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
View Current Signatures
Saturday, December 20, 2008
F*ck Burger King!!!
Shouts out to ann for posting this over at feministing. I can't believe that people don't understand why the shit is so problematic!!!!
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Teacher sorry for binding girls in slavery lesson
"If a student was upset, then it was a bad idea," said Superintendent Brian Monahan of the North Rockland School District in New York City's northern suburbs.
The teacher apologized to the mother who complained and her 13-year-old daughter during a meeting Thursday that also included a representative of the local NAACP. But the mother, Christine Shand of Haverstraw, said Friday she thinks the teacher should be removed from the class.
"I think the teacher should have gotten some discipline," Shand said. "I know if that was me, I would be uncomfortable going back to that class. Why should my daughter have to switch?"
Monahan refused to say what, if any, measures were taken against the teacher, Eileen Bernstein, who was still working on Friday. The school district said she was not available for comment.
"We encourage our teachers to deliver the curriculum in a variety of ways, to go beyond just reading the textbook," the superintendent said. "We don't want to discourage creativity. But this obviously went wrong because the student was upset."
On Nov. 18, Bernstein was discussing the conditions under which African captives were taken to America in slave ships. She bound the two students' hands and feet with tape and had them crawl under a desk to simulate the experience, Monahan and Shand said. Monahan said the girls were not the only blacks in the class.
Gabrielle Shand burst into tears at home, her mother said.
"There are other ways to demonstrate slavery," Christine Shand said Friday. "It doesn't matter the color of the kids, it's just not right to tie them up. My daughter is still upset, still embarrassed. She didn't go to school today."
Wilbur Aldridge, director of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said the history demonstration, first reported in The Journal News, "went wrong when she started to do that binding."
"I don't care what color, no one should be put in the position of having their hands and feet bound," he said.
Aldridge said he feared that the teacher still "didn't get it" after their meeting. He said the teacher apologized "because Gabrielle was upset, not because she admitted she did something wrong."
Shand said she had not decided whether to take any further action, including filing a lawsuit.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
really T.I.? really?!
and can we just talk for a min. about what it means that this is the cover of Black Men's Magazine?!
Friday, November 21, 2008
F*ck Ugly Betty!
But I have to say last night's episode hit a new low. Did they really try to claim that Betty was the affirmative action admission to the YETI program?! That Marc was overlooked even though he was the better candidate?! Who wrote this episode, bitter white U of M rejects? WTF?!
Betty's presentation apparently didn't warrant admission, nor did her family question the validity of this claim when she presented it. They wanted her to accept that if being Mexican helped in this one case she shouldn't care that she didn't actually "deserve" to be in the program. And Betty with her model minority heart of gold, turned down her acceptance!!!! Marc, an affluent white gay man that was able to wrangle Badgley Mischka to come to his presentation, not to mention his legion of Mode minions who were there to help as well, should have been accepted on merit. If that's not white privilege then I don't know what is! But of course there is no commentary on these resources at Marc's disposal. His ability to command a small army for his presentation compared to Betty's solo production is chalked up to his just being more prepared. The fact that Betty didn't even know about the competition until two days before the presentation deadline is treated as her bad, not the maintenance of the good ol' (gay) boys club that prevented the information from moving in her direction.
How is it that there is no commentary on Marc's white privilege but Betty's Latina heritage is the sole reason for her success? And we are also supposed to believe that all is forgiven by Marc's claim that he's not racist because some of "his hottest ex's were Latino" and Daniel's late but long winded letter of recommendation for his dutiful pet Betty absolves his neglect. It couldn't be that her magazine was actually interesting and represented a new way of imagining the women's magazine audience.
I'm not pleased. It dissapoints me too cause I thought Salma had more sense than that. Sigh . . .