I am a 23-year-old black woman who, for a long time, tried to have discussions with white people about racism in America. I went to a white, liberal college in New York City where I thought such exchanges were welcomed. I actually believed there could be such a thing as a productive conversation on the matter, some type of engagement, a debate. I wrote speeches about the wealth gap between black and white families (a staggering $100,000 difference), the unforgivable incarceration rate of black men, the discriminatory education system. I even made a video about the misrepresentation and misuse of black women by pop culture and the media. Most of my revelations were met with silence and blank stares by my class of mostly white peers. Eventually the professor, typically a white man or woman, would clear his/her throat and ask, “Well, any questions for Tiffanie?” The students would whisper amongst themselves, but oddly, I was never asked to elaborate. It was understood, in their opinion, that I was the overly sensitive, angry black woman. The racist; a race baiter. Keep reading »
UPDATE, 1/16/14, 11a.m.: Commenters have pointed out to me that there were numerous errors in this post. I apologize for the errors and my ignorance on these differences.
Last night’s episode of CBS’ “How I Met Your Mother” is under fire for the racist decision to depict three of its white characters in “yellowface” — that is, dressing up like they are Asian,
in this case Japanese in this case Chinese. Alyson Hannigan and Cobie Smulders both dressed in kimonos Chinese gowns, their hair pinned up geisha-style, and ate using chopsticks; Radnor wore a silk jacket and a long Fu Manchu mustache. There were fans, references to Shanghai and jokes about noodles. Keep reading »
Queen Forever And High Priestress Of The Universe Meryl Streep has pissed off some people. Some powerful people. You see, Meryl Streep is on Walt Disney family’s bad side about she told the audience at an awards gala that Walt Disney was a “gender bigot” who, at the very least, told a woman animator only men could do the job and also supported an anti-Semitic lobbying group.
Jesus, Meryl. Next you’re going to tell us that Tom Hanks runs a puppy mill in his basement. Keep reading »
It’s not hard to understand why this picture went viral: 39-year-old Doyin Richards and his kids are pretty damn cute. As Doyin explained on his blog, Daddy Doin Work, his wife usually does his two-year-old daughter’s hair in the mornings but one day she was running late. He was on paternity leave in October, when the picture was taken, and offered to style the girl’s hair. His wife scoffed. So he set up a camera to capture himself with their six-month-old strapped in a pouch and the little girl getting her hair did by Daddy. Once it got picked up by The Good Men Project, it quickly went viral. But a picture like this, while adorable, shouldn’t be extraordinary. It should just be parenting. Keep reading »
Putting to rest (for now) a controversy over why the iconic comedy show has not had a Black woman on the cast for five years, Sasheer Zamata has joined”Saturday Night Live” as a featured player. According to Deadline Hollywood, Sasheer graduated from the University of Virginia three years ago and trained with the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York City. You might even recognize her from her appearances on “Inside Amy Schumer” and in a number of viral YouTube comedy videos, including “How To Politely React To Your Friend’s Terrible Engagement.” “SNL” executive producer Lorne Michaels had promised to add a Black comedienne to the cast after the show was criticized during the fall following remarks by Black male cast members, Keenan Thompson and Jay Pharoah. Keenan had suggested there weren’t enough Black women who were “ready,” while Jay said the show needed to get with the program and be more diverse. Sasheer will appear on January 18th, with Drake as a musical guest and host. Looking forward to it! [Deadline Hollywood, Sasheer.com]
The last time we checked in with “Tiger Mom” Amy Chua, she had just published a book, Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother, which argued that strict Chinese-style “tiger mother” parenting is superior to permissive, indulgent Western parenting. The Yale professor explained how her two daughters were never allowed playdates or sleepovers and were punished for not practicing music and studying constantly. She was successful, sort of: one daughter, Sophia, performed in Carnegie Hall at age 14 and is now a junior at Harvard.
Anyway, Amy Chua made a big kerfluffle in the media and sold lots of books. Now she and her husband, Jed Rubenfeld, who is also a media professor, are back with a new book. In The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain The Rise And Fall Of Cultural Groups In America, they argue that there are eight ethnic/cultural/religious groups who are the most successful in American society.
They are, in no particular order, Chinese, Jewish, Mormon, Indian, Iranian, Lebanese-American, Cuban exiles and Nigerian. Keep reading »
it has taken me a few days but i have been thinking and feeling very intensely and i would like to say i am sincerely sorry. it is obvious to me now that you were right; all those who said we can’t in good conscience go to that place and support it or look past for one moment what it deeply represents. i needed a wake up call and you gave it to me.
it was a great oversight on my part to not request a change of venue immediately from the promoter. you tried to tell me about that oversight and i wasn’t available to you. i’m sorry for that too.
know that i am digging deeper.
Oh thank goodness. Ani DiFranco has followed up her no-pology from last week — regarding her now-canceled feminist songwriting retreat at a former slave plantation — with a real and genuine actual apology today. This is the Ani DiFranco worthy of having her lyrics scrawled on Jessica’s wall. [Facebook]
Singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco has officially canceled her four-day “righteous feminist songwriting retreat” after fans and non-fans alike rightfully took issue with the event’s location — the Nottoway Plantation, one of the largest former slave plantations in the South. DiFranco posted a lengthy message on her Facebook page announcing the cancelation and offered a pretty weak explanation for why the retreat was ever scheduled at such a historically problematic location in the first place. (There is no explanation offered for why DiFranco refuses to use capital letters, but I digress.)
when i found out it was to be held at a resort on a former plantation, I thought to myself, “whoa”, but i did not imagine or understand that the setting of a plantation would trigger such collective outrage or result in so much high velocity bitterness. i imagined instead that the setting would become a participant in the event.
I’m confused. Is this an apology? Where are the words “I’m sorry”? Where’s the accountability? And what the fuck is up with the tone-policing of very real and valid concerns about hosting a feminist songwriting retreat at a location that currently describes the human beings it enslaved as “a willing workforce”? I mean, ”high velocity bitterness”? GTFO. Keep reading »
Ani DiFranco is perhaps one of the best known “feminist” singer-songwriters of the last twenty years. Her music, which I’m not personally a big listener of, has been long been anti-sexist and anti-racist. So, at first, it was cool to hear that DiFranco was hosting what she calls a “feminist songwriting retreat” from June 25-29, 2014. Oh but there’s one problem — the “Righteous Retreat in the Big Easy” will be held at the Nottoway Plantation in White Castle, Louisiana, a former slave plantation. Say WHAT?! Keep reading »