Last month, the world imploded (for a little while anyway) when ESPN writer Anthony Frederico penned a headline about Asian-American basketball player Jeremy Lin with the phrase “chink in the armor.” He said he simply meant that Lin had screwed up his winning streak for the Knicks, but was promptly fired amid cries of racism. Federico said he didn’t realize “chink” was a racist slur, certainly didn’t intend to use it that way, and had used the phrase “chink in the armor” a bunch of other times when referring to non-Asian players messing up their game. If you missed the giant-ass kerfluffle in the media, you must have been in a coma.
This Tuesday, Jeremy Lin took Frederico out to lunch to chat. ”It went incredible,” Federico told Newsday. “The fact that he took the time to meet with me in his insanely busy schedule … He’s just a wonderful, humble person. He didn’t have to do that, especially after everything had kind of died down for the most part.” Keep reading »
Forget for a second that every guest on “Charlie Rose,” a PBS news program for wonks, looks like they’re struggling to stay awake. The cast of “Mad Men” appeared last night with guest host Gayle King and she pressed the show’s creator, Matt Weiner, with a good question: where are the black folks? “As you move through time, I’m wondering will we see some black people?” Gayle asked. Matt Weiner’s response is worth a listen in its entirety. Keep reading »
So much WTFery in one little flier: an elementary school class in Waxhaw, North Carolina, sent home this grammatically incorrect flier with students asking them to dress in “African American attire” for Black History Day on February 28. What exactly is “African American attire”? Well, that part isn’t clear. A Flava Flav grill, perhaps? Fur-lined Kanye West booties? (Something tells me it this teacher didn’t mean the J.Crew cardigan worn by First Lady Michelle Obama, a noted black person.) However, if students don’t have any “African-American attire” in their closet, the flier helpfully suggests kids come to school in animal print clothing or shirts with animals native to Africa like “zebras, giraffes, lions and elephants.” Nothing says Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did not die in vain quite like a leopard-print dress or a shirt with a zebra on it, right? Keep reading »
Jeremy Lin is not just the basketball player who has launched a thousand bad “Lin” puns — and prompted a refresher course on why the word “chink” is unacceptable for an ESPN headline.
His sudden emergence in pop culture has also underscored how strangely acceptable it is in America to make make racial comments about Asians, whether they are considered complimentary (like “all Asians are good at math” or “all Asian women are hot”) or insulting (like “Asian men are not sexy.”)
The thing is, if you’ve never seen an attractive, sexy Asian man, you probably ought to check either your eyes or your prejudices — like all hot men, they’ve been all around us all along.
Keep reading »
Earlier this week, xoJane’s sports blogger Daisy Barringer wrote a piece called “Do We Really Think That ESPN Headline Was Intentionally Racist?” In it, Daisy argued that the ESPN headline writer who penned the “Chink In The Armor” headline — after the Knicks lost on Saturday night — might have made an honest mistake when he used a racial slur for Asian-Americans in a story about the player Jeremy Lin. The writer, Anthony Frederico, has since been fired from ESPN; he maintains that he didn’t know “chink” was a racist slur and the incident was completely unintentional. He also has used the phrase “chink in the armor” in other headlines before when he wasn’t referring to Asian-Americans, suggesting that’s just a phrase he likes to use in headlines. So, Daisy gives him the benefit of the doubt because she claims she didn’t know until well into her 20s that “chink” was a racist slur, either.
Keep reading »
Two years ago, Levi’s debuted their new Curve ID jeans by blasting our eyeballs with ads about their three different “slight curve,” “demi curve,” and “bold curve” shape versions. The sizes ranged from 2 to 14 and each size offered versions for different shaped curves. Some women were apoplectic about Levi’s over these jeans: first, because the tag line was “All asses were not created equal,” and second, because none of the models were particularly curvy. Some critics said a line like “All asses were not created equal” implied that some asses are, in fact, better than others. Another point of contention was why Curve ID ads didn’t have more women of color in their advertisements, since they purported to be for “curvy” girls and plenty of women of color are rocking curves. Keep reading »
The rampant white-washing of models, actresses, and musicians of color is not a new concept. Freida Pinto, Rihanna, and Aishwarya Rai have all previously fallen victim to white-washing on magazine covers and in promotional images. Beyoncé’s skin was lightened dramatically in a 2008 cosmetics ad by L’Oreal, where she is the spokesperson. These incidents can be contributed to digital retouchers and the outlets that choose to release the images … but what about your own album cover and promo ads? The photos accompanying Beyoncé’s most recent release, 4, have stirred up controversy and it’s not a struggle to see why. Beyoncé is a fairly light-skinned black woman and she generally keeps her hair lightened to a shade that’s more caramel than chocolate. But these shots have her looking straight up like Lindsay Lohan with a subtle tan. If you showed me this image on its own and asked me who it was, Beyoncé would be my last guess.
Again, these light-skinned images are promotional ads for Béyonce’s own album, which leads me to believe that she absolutely approved the photos. [NYMag.com]
If you’re not already a fan of Melissa Harris-Perry, you will be soon: she’s a Tulane University political science professor who appears often on “The Rachel Maddow Show” and just scored her own show on MSNBC. Last night she went head-to-head with another talking head, the inimitable Stephen Colbert, while promoting her new book, Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women In America. As was to be expected, Stephen is not too keen on talking about this “race” thing. or stereotypes experienced by black women. I dare you not to snicker a little when he asks, “Of these stereotypes, which one are you?” This is Stephen Colbert and Melissa Harris-Perry at their best. [Colbert Nation]