Tag Archives: the soapbox

The Soapbox: Replacing Sexism With Racism Is Not a Proper Hollaback

street harassment

This post is reprinted from The Huffington Post with the permission of its authors.

What’s the biggest myth about street harassment? That men of color comprise the majority of offenders.

It’s a myth as old as this nation: the idea that Black men are more likely to be sexual predators — especially of white women. Consider D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth Of A Nation,” that builds an entire narrative on the idea of the black brute. From the Scottsboro boys to Emmitt Till, history as well as popular culture, the justice system and virtually all other facets of American society still hold the deeply entrenched notion of Black men as people to be feared.

But the myth doesn’t stop with history. In a recent New York Times article, a White woman living in a mostly Caribbean community (Crown Heights, Brooklyn) gets physically assaulted by a Latino man and wonders if it’s her fault, as if moving into a mostly Caribbean community was the city-dwellers equivalent to “asking for it.” A few years ago, a woman, also writing for The New York Times, reported on her experience doing aid work in the Congo and hearing repeatedly from other European aid workers that sexual harassment, violence, and rape in those areas “is cultural,” instead of, as she duly notes, “a tool of war.” The myth that Black and Latino men are innately sexually aggressive is one that extends beyond our national borders. Keep reading »

The Soapbox: Why Will Ferrell’s New Female-Focused Production Department Isn’t Cause For Celebration

The Soapbox: Why Will Ferrell's New Female-Focused Production Department Isn't Cause For Celebration

Yesterday, Will Ferrell’s company, Gary Sanchez Productions, announced that it is launching a female-focused film and television department called Gloria Sanchez Productions. The idea came from Jessica Elbaum, an exec at Gary Sanchez, who will head the division.

This is exciting news, but I think they missed a major point. I believe people are at their funniest, smartest, most moral and most complete when they exist together. Gary Sanchez Productions is like an apartment with no living room. Yes, it’s vital and sanity-saving to have your own room, but all the best stuff happens in the living room, where people congregate and everyone feels like they belong. While I love the new Girls Room of Gary Sanchez Productions, it doesn’t improve what has been going on in the Boys Room at all. Keep reading »

The Soapbox: Piers Morgan, It Shouldn’t Be So Hard For You To Interview Janet Mock

CNN Chyron: "Was A Boy Until Age 18"
Janet Mock Q&A
Frisky Q&A: Janet Mock, Author Of Redefining Realness
Janet Mock speaks to us about being a transgender woman of color. Read More »

If there was one thing Piers Morgan got right in his interview with writer Janet Mock last night, it was when he called her, “brave, frank, and honest” about coming out as transgender. Sadly, the interview sort of falls apart after that.

From almost the start of the interview, the header “Was a boy until age 18” ran across the screen, insinuating that Mock wasn’t truly a girl or woman until she had genital reconstruction surgery. That is not only incredibly reductive regarding gender, but missed the entire point of Mock’s new memoir, Redefining Realness: My Path To Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More about her road to girlhood, which began far earlier than one moment in Thailand at age 18.

Instead of treating the topic of disclosure with the nuance and sensitivity that it deserves, Morgan went straight for the sensational, wanting to know how the various men Mock has dated have reacted when she finally told them about being trans. He treated Mock, her body, and her past as a spectacle, rather than with respect as befitting the lived experiences of a fellow human being. (You can read the transcript here, although Morgan’s responses on Twitter are a better illustration of his blowhard behavior.) Keep reading »

The Soapbox: The Real Problem With Skin Lightening Cosmetics

The-Soapbox--The-Real-Problem-With-Skin-Lightening-Cosmetics

Whitenicious, a cosmetics line created by California-based, Nigerian-Cameroonian pop star Dencia touts its ability to help customers even out their skin and get rid of discoloration. The product is essentially a skin bleaching cream in a golden jar, sold for $150 a pop– well, at least that is what anyone would gather from Dencia’s “transformation” as seen on the advertisement, from a mocha beauty, to a caramel, Beyonce look-alike, to a washed-out corpse.

So why is this never explicitly stated? More importantly, why is the purpose of Whitenicious — to make a dark skinned person have lighter skin — intentionally concealed? The advertising campaign for Dencia’s product leads consumers to believe that the function of her “cosmetic” is to “nourish your skin and lighten dark knuckles, knees and elbows.” Keep reading »

The Soapbox: On Blackface, White Privilege & Why Distancing Myself From White People Doesn’t Make Me Racist

The Soapbox: On Blackface, White Privilege & Why Distancing Myself From White People Doesn't Make Me Racist

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 »

The Soapbox: I Kept My “Maiden Name,” Deal With It

The Soapbox: I Kept My "Maiden Name," Deal With It

It started innocently enough at the mailbox.

I reached in and pulled out the usual bills, Victoria’s Secret catalogs, and fliers for the local pizza joint. Because it was the holiday season, there was also an envelope befitting a Christmas card. “Oh! [Redacted family member] sent us a card!” I said to my husband as we made our way into the house.

Then I looked at who the card was addressed to: the Bogadnovs’.

Bogdanovs is my husband’s last name. My last name is Wakeman. We were addressed both by his last name. Keep reading »

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