An eight-year-old boy in Dallas, Texas, was shot in the face on Tuesday in yet another horrific act of gun violence. Donald Maiden, Jr. was allegedly playing tag around an apartment complex when he was shot by 46-year-old Brian Cloninger. Police “have not been able to determine a motive,” Raw Story reported. Cloninger, who was seen waving a gun at people before the shooting, is being held on a $2.2 million bond after being charged with injury to a child. Meanwhile, Donald Maiden had just celebrated his 8th birthday on Sunday and now he’s hospitalized in critical but stable condition. Our thoughts are with his family. [Dallas News] [Raw Story] [Image of handgun via Shutterstock]
When will fashion finally catch on to the fact that cultural appropriation is not style inspiration, it’s flat-out racism? At this rate, probs never. The latest offender is Nicholas K, who walked this headdress look down the runway just a few hours ago on the first day of New York Fashion Week. How many times are we going to have to talk about this before the fashion industry gets it?
What kind of racist bullshit is this?! A charter school in Tulsa, Oklahoma, sent a seven-year-old Black girl named Tiana Parker home from school because her dreadlocks were considered “unacceptable.”
But dreads aren’t the only hairstyle that’s not A-OK with Deborah Brown Community School: according to Raw Story, the school policy states that “hairstyles such as dreadlocks, afros, mohawks, and other faddish styles are unacceptable.” Keep reading »
On last night’s episode of “Big Brother,” 22-year-old Aaryn Gries was given the boot by her fellow houseguests and, as is customary, sat down for her live post-show interview with host Julie Chen. Over the past two-and-a-half months, Aryan Aaryn, as she’s jokingly been called online, has said a number of offensive and ignorant things about people of other races, all of which were caught on tape by the show’s 24/7 live feeds. She’s not the only one — almost half of the initial 16 houseguests have said one or more highly questionable things about race, gender, religion or sexual orientation. Under pressure from viewers to show what was really going on in the house, CBS finally made a point of addressing offensive statements in their edited episodes, with Aaryn’s remarks receiving the vast majority of the attention. So, when Aaryn emerged out the front door, to a subtle chorus of audience boos, and sat down next to Julie Chen, I expected that the topic would be addressed, but only briefly as Aaryn is now a member of the “Big Brother” jury and will continue to be sequestered from the outside world until the season has come to an end. That usually means continuing to be kept in the dark about what’s going on outside the house — including how she’s being perceived.
But I was wrong. Chen went there last night, actually reading some of Aaryn’s worst remarks aloud. Aaryn — who, in fairness, was not completely clueless that she was being seen as racist — was flustered, saying she didn’t remember saying those things. She initially made excuses about being from Texas and not meaning the things she said and blah blah blah. The audience laughed at her over and over. Aaryn teared up and looked utterly crushed. It was awful. And awkward. I was uncomfortable. Keep reading »
Everybody has feelings about Jenji Kohan’s “Orange is the New Black.” I have all the feelings. Since the show’s debut, we’ve tossed opinions back-and-forth about the cast of characters and the powerfully written narratives that reveal the unseen lives of American’s imprisoned women. But of the many conversations that have surfaced, the most discernible for me is of the legitimacy of Piper Kerman, the memoirist about whom the show was made.
In brief, after getting involved with an international drug dealer, Kerman (a white woman) was indicted for money laundering and spent a year in a woman’s prison – you know, the usual account of a well-to-do white woman who graduated from Smith. She subsequently wrote a best-selling memoir, which was adapted for Netflix. You can watch all of season one there now; I finished it in less than a week.
The show follows her into prison and tells the backstory of several other inmates, many of them women of color. The storyline is emotionally riveting. We’re met with race-related segregation, which mirrors the actual prison experience where racial categories and separation are often strictly enforced. Piper’s race and class privilege are checked in the first episode when it’s revealed that she “read up” on prison etiquette before she arrived. One inmate gives birth in prison and comes back to her bunk child-free, showcasing the reality that two-thirds of incarcerated women are mothers and busting the myth that women who labor in prison get to keep their babies. As a birth justice activist, I wished they’d shown the inhumane way in which many prisons shackle women during labor. Keep reading »
For the last several years, natural hair “trends” have been on the rise for African-American and other women in the U.S. Just last week, Oprah graced the cover of O Magazine donning an enormous Afro, much bigger than the one she wore in the late ’70s when she first started on primetime. Oprah’s gesture pays tribute to the millions of women who have tossed relaxers and weaves to the side and embraced their own hair — their natural hair.
As I wrote last spring, women of African decent, and some others too, sometimes use a product called a perm to make their hair “more manageable.” These began as a trend in the 1920s so blacks (both men and women) could more readily assimilate into white culture and evade the detriments of racism. If you’ve ever read or watched The Autobiography of Malcolm X, you’ll remember the scene in which he dunked his head in a toilet bowl to find reprieve from the smoldering “conk” (what a perm used to be called) he was using to straighten his hair.
Oprah’s hair was a wig designed by lock guru Andre Walker but the idea of it still persists – Afros, and other natural hairstyles are here to stay … or are they? Keep reading »
Everything you’ve heard about “Fruitvale Station” is true. The biopic, which won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film at Sundance, explores the final day in the life of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old Black man from Oakland who was shot and killed by a BART officer on New Year’s Day in 2009.
The movie flashes between the past and the present, exploring Grant’s relationship with his four-year-old daughter, his mom, and his girlfriend, who was with him on the night he was shot. After a scuffle on the BART, Grant and his friends, who are all people of color, were detained on the platform. Numerous witnesses filmed the incident with their cell phone cameras, including the moment when Grant, who was unarmed and being restrained by several officers, was shot in the back. That cop claimed he had meant to reach for his Taser; he served less than one year of prison. My three friends and I legitimately bawled for the last 10 minutes of the film. Keep reading »