Earlier this week, Slate.com columnist Aisha Harris wrote a somewhat tongue-in-cheek piece arguing that Santa Claus needed a makeover. Instead of always being depicted as a jolly, fat, white man, Santa Claus should be a penguin. Harris wrote about growing up as a Black child and seeing two versions of Santa — on TV and at school, Santa was white, but at home, the Santa who decorated her house (and delivered presents) at Christmastime was Black, just like her. Harris described how this omnipresent white figure made her feel as a child:
I remember feeling slightly ashamed that our black Santa wasn’t the “real thing.” Because when you’re a kid and you’re inundated with the imagery of a pale seasonal visitor—and you notice that even some black families decorate their houses with white Santas—you’re likely to accept the consensus view, despite your parents’ noble intentions.
Depicting Santa as an animal, Harris argued, “could spare millions of nonwhite kids the insecurity and shame that I remember from childhood.” She continued: Keep reading »
Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa, an anti-apartheid peace activist and Nobel Prize winner, is dead at 95. Mandela spent 27 years in prison for his activism on behalf of civil rights for South Africa’s Black people, living in a six-foot wide cell on Robben Island. Mandela had been sick for a long time and died at home. [NBC News]
Hey guys, meet your first black girlfriend! Her name is Akilah Hughes, and she’s a writer and comedienne. Lucky for you, this isn’t her first time at the interracial relationship rodeo — so she knows exactly what to say when it comes to the “unspoken anxiety” and those “cringe-worthy moments” that are pretty much an inevitable part of the “white guy falls for black girl, foot-in-mouth syndrome ensues” narrative. In fact, she’s so familiar with it that she’s gone right ahead and cleared some of the big questions up for you in one brief, hilarious video. So go ahead and get the fried chicken. She doesn’t care! [via Refinery29]
Hey guys, great news. According to a tweet posted to the GOP’s official Twitter account — acknowledging the 58th anniversary of Rosa Parks’ refusal to move to the back of the bus in Birmingham, Alabama — racism has ended. I’m not sure when it happened, but it must have been recently. I was in Pennsylvania this weekend, though, and phone and internet service was pretty spotty up there, so I wouldn’t be surprised if racism ended over the holiday weekend, possibly even during Thanksgiving dinner. Talk about something to be thankful for!
But seriously. Racism has ended? O RLY? The ridiculousness of such a statement prompted Twitter user @FeministaJones – follow her! — to start the hashtag #RacismEndedWhen as a “satirical, subversive response to the GOP suggesting Rosa Park ended it.” You can check out a Storify of just some of the tweets after the jump. Meanwhile, the GOP backtracked and tweeted an update: “Previous tweet should have read ‘Today we remember Rosa Parks’ bold stand and her role in fighting to end racism.’” That’s better. [#RacismEndedWhen via The Daily Dot] Keep reading »
Earlier this week, we fell in love with 12-year-old badass Vanessa Van Dyke (and her supportive momma!) for not letting her private school enforce racist beauty standards on her hair. The Orlando, Florida, student complained about bullying from students over her Afro and school administrators responded by demanding that Vanessa straighten or cut her Black hair or face expulsion. The school’s dress code said hair must be a natural color and not be a “distraction,” but they only said Vanessa’s ‘fro was a distraction after she complained about the bullying. Fuck you, Faith Christian Academy! In honor of Vanessa Van Dyke, EBONY.com has declared today, November 27th, #NationalAfroDay. Women and men rocking natural hair are invited to submit their photos to Ebony, where they will be posted on a special “We Are Hair For Vanessa Van Dyke” Facebook page. Show Vanessa Van Dyke some love for staying true to herself in the face of bullshit. [EBONY.com, Facebook.com: We Are Hair For Vanessa Van Dyke]
Elle France beauty editor Jeanne Deroo has learned the hard way that, nope, dressing up in blackface to “honor” your favorite musician, Solange Knowles, isn’t okay. Keep reading »
Faith Christian Academy in Orlando, Florida, has forced 12-year-old Vanessa Van Dyke, a Black student who rocks a mane of natural hair, to either straighten her hair or cut it off — or be expelled.
The school claims her hairstyle is in violation of the school dress code, which says, “Hair must be a natural color and must not be a distraction.” It gives examples of inappropriate hair such as rat tails, mohawks and shaved designs. The “distraction” is apparently Vanessa’s complaint to grownups at the school that she was been teased over her hair. Keep reading »
One of the most intriguing characters on “Scandal” is First Lady Mellie Grant. She’s not just a WASP sent from Central Casting, or a put-upon wife of a philanderer. Mellie gave up her Yale and Harvard-bred ambitions for the full-time job of photo ops and glad-handing as the First Lady. Just like Lucy Ricardo always wanted husband Ricky to just give her one opportunity to be in a show, Mellie Grant wants to influence policy and make big moves wherever she can. At every turn, she is stopped, often angrily, by her husband the President and his apoplectic Chief Of Staff. Both men remind her, every episode it seems, that the First Lady is supposed to be pretty sidekick, not a policy wonk. In one episode, Mellie is witheringly informed her job is to be “ornamental.”
Watching Mellie Grant on “Scandal” has made me look at Michelle Obama differently for sure. It’s not hard to imagine she, too, feels a bit trapped in a golden cage. We don’t exactly know whether Michelle Obama feels like her intellect is being wasted, but we do know from Jodi Kantor’s book, The Obamas, a portrait of the Obama marriage, that Barack’s high-level staff has bristled in the past at Michelle’s involvement. But also we know that Michelle dedicated her first year as First Lady to acclimating her two children to their new home and school and has spent many years since promoting healthy eating and exercise. All this has been summed up by Michelle Cottle, a Daily Beast scribe in a piece for Politico Magazine, as a feminist failure. Keep reading »