Having already seen “The Fault In Our Stars” and “Glee,” I don’t think I’ll be tuning in for Fox’s “Red Band Society,” a new dramedy produced by Steven Spielberg about teenagers living in a hospital. But it’s come to my attention that on a promotional ad for the show, which debuts September 17th, the Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer, who is Black, is labeled the “Scary Bitch.” Portraying Black women as unpredictable and scary — gee, we’ve never seen that in Hollywood before. To be sure, the show’s labeling of other characters in the promo ad isn’t too original either. For example, the hot blonde girl is the “Mean Girl” because of course she is. Still, Spencer’s “Scary Bitch” label stands out as especially harsh and problematic. There are plenty of ways to portray someone as an antagonistic character without relying on a tired stereotype. Would “Nurse Ratched” have gone over America’s collective heads? (If so, go watch “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” now.)
The New York Attorney General’s office announced this week it has found “loss prevention officers” at Macy’s department store to have followed Black and Latino customers more often than white patrons. In response to these findings, Macy’s has agreed to a pay a $650,000 settlement, hire an independent monitor, and release an anti-racial profiling memorandum to employees, among other responses. (It is perhaps too soon to say “reforms.”)
This fall, both Macy’s at Herald Square and the upscale department store Barney’s in New York City drew attention after several Black customers were detained by police and accused of stealing items which they had rightfully purchased. Macy’s most high-profile incident was actor Robert Brown from the TV show “Treme” and the movie “Finding Forrester,” who was detained after making an expensive purchase at the store, then frisked, accused of holding fake ID, and told he didn’t have enough money to buy the pricey item. Keep reading »
I woke up last Wednesday, August 13th, and took to my twitter, preparing myself to ingest yet another round of bad news. It had been a trying week, with more hateful, scary events taking place every day. While I knew I’d find evidence of this in my twitter feed, I expected to find solace in the kind sentiments of the liberal people and publications that I follow.
Instead, I was confronted by a Thought Catalog article entitled “Ferguson, Missouri, Looks Like a Rap Video,” by TC writer Anthony Rogers. The article is deeply racist, and, regarding the looting in Ferguson, includes the sentence “You cannot find Jordans, rims, or weaves … in Ferguson, MO.”
The article came on the heels of another offensive and disturbing piece of writing that was published on August 12th. Written by former Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes, “Transphobia is Perfectly Natural“ is so full of visceral hate that it’s almost unbearable to read. “What’s the matter with simply being a fag who wears makeup?” the author recalls thinking when he sees a trans person on the streets of New York. “To justify trannies is to allow mentally ill people to mutilate themselves,” he continues. (Both McInnes’ and Rogers’ articles now feature the above offensive content warning.) Keep reading »
For the last week, the world has watched Ferguson, Mo., set ablaze by racism and the calculated indifference of the town’s police force. And over the course of the same week, the media, which was slow to do any reporting at all, has now cannibalized a story about the murder of an unarmed teenager at the hands of a police officer, into one which villainizes the dead and dismisses the living.
Now dead for a over a week, there is no shortage of ink devoted to understanding who Michael Brown was, despite the fact that he is dead and his killer remains free, alive, anonymous, and enjoying paid time off. To justify racist paranoia about the perceived threat of black life, blacks who die at the hands of white vigilantes and police, the reputation of the dead undergoes an active smear campaign, perpetuated and promoted by the media. Keep reading »
As sometimes happens, I came to it — rockabilly — for the clothes. I started collecting vintage clothes from the 1940s through the early ’60s when I graduated from college and was entering the working world, because I wanted more than black pants and a sweater for business casual. I clicked away hours on my laptop, gleaning important bits of knowledge from old photos and bloggers everywhere from Australia to Austin. These stylish women were wonderfully put together for work and play, and danced to a soundtrack of music more powerful and raw than what I’d been listening to at the time. Keep reading »