Tuesday, June 30, 2015

AVA DUVERNAY TO DIRECT BLACK PANTHER MOVIE FOR MARVEL COMICS?


Marvel has been courting Director Ava Duvernay ("Selma") to do a Black Panther Movie fo! a little while  now. Apparently, Duvernay has been stoking the rumors on twitter.  Rumors are solid enough to mention a 2018 release date. Duvernay is also rumored to be participating on an earlier Captain American film

It looks like this PANTHER movie is really happening.

It's about time.

The rumors are so solid, I think we should start picking out the star.

Hmmm...I wonder if Lupita Nyong'o could be a co-hero or at least a love interest?  That would be quite a coup after her upcoming STAR WARS role.  Let's start another rumor!





LUPITA NYONG'O photo by Gordon Correll
http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2015/06/marvel-taps-ava-duvernay-for-black-panther

A Little Dominican Racism Here And There

Tens of thousands of Haitian migrants who came to the Dominican Republic to cut cane, some of them more than half a century ago, now face the threat of deportation.
The passing of a deadline last week to register as a foreign national with the Dominican government has put an international spotlight on this country’s immigration policies, which local advocates and international human rights groups have widely criticized for de-nationalizing as many as 200,000 Dominican-born people who once qualified for citizenship here. The vast majority of them are of Haitian descent and black, fueling charges that racism has played a role in motivating the policies.


You know that thing where black people kind of acknowledge each other on the street or in a store

That thing where you just do a slight nod or very slight smile that says, "I see you."

Of course, one doesn't do this in a black neighborhood. Everybody there is black. There's no need to find a non-verbal way to say "I see you" or "I'm glad to see somebody like me in this unending sea of white people."



But I am an acknowledge-er anyway, generally speaking. No matter what color you are, if I accidentally make eye contact, I at least give slight-smile in acknowledgement of your existence. I was taught that this is polite.


But when my world gets really, really white, like a town I lived in a little further north from where I do now, I try to do the black-people-nod at anybody with a slight tan. Even if  I see somebody non-white across the street and down the block I'll try to find a way to cross their path.  If racially isolated for long enough, I'll run to the curb, raise my arm and wave like a crazy person. And when I actually did this in White Town X, e
ight times out of ten the other person would look relieved and wave back.

Well, when I was a kid, a teen or tween, I became aware of this group of people that looked black to me with my hypo-descent soaked brain. It took me a while to figure out that they weren't black.

Of course, not everyone is or wants to be an acknowledge-er.  However, black-to-black-nod and black-to-black-smile weren't simply ignored  by these black looking people.  And they didn't simply correct you like most dark-skinned Puerto Ricans I've met. These brown skinned folk met both nod and smile with looks of scorn.

High School Spanish Translation:  I am Dominican Just Like You. 

I learned that these people were called "Dominicans."


And more than one of these Dominicans said the words to my face, with more than a smidgen of outrage, "I am NOT black. I am Dominican."

Since I didn't come across Dominicans too often, after some time passed, I wondered if the dirty looks from those who didn't bother to speak were something I imagined. So I promptly forgot about these individuals. But I didn't forget the overall lesson.




All Your Skinfolk Ain't Your Kinfolk
Lesson One Complete

Then, there was that girl that lived across the hall from me with two white roommates during my freshman year of college.

Of course I know that head nods and smiles that say "I see you as human and I acknowledge your presence" can be ignored by anyone. Some people just aren't acknowledge-ers. I get that.  But when I met this chick? There wasn't just a non-response. There was extreme hostility in facial expression and body language.


I can't quite remember if she said the indignant, "I am NOT black" But my first non-verbal, "I see you and am glad to see somebody like me" was met with a look that said, "What the f__ are you looking at me for? I ain't like you!"


Lest the custom of ye olde blackish folkes be different in some parts of the country (a whole 5 hours from where I grew up) I gave her the black-to-black-nod at least once or twice more. I  got WTF-eyes back everytime.


This behavior is no longer surprising to me.

Black immigrants coming to the United States, just like European, Latino, and Asian immigrants watch white American TV in the countries they come from. Then they arrive here wanting to be on the WINNING TEAM in the land of opportunity. Therefore, it is in their best interests to believe what the winning team (white folk) about the losing team (poverty laden, criminal, and criminally lazy black folk). Many immigrants arrive here fearful  of blacks and surprised that 70 to 75% of us are above the poverty line most years.

However, when I was young, I didn't fully appreciate *the enemy of my enemy is my friend/the immigrant edition* despite having experienced it a few times before my freshman year at college.


So I was as surface friendly and polite as a good Christian girl with low self-esteem should be, despite the fact that Jane across the hall went out of her way to be that particular flavor of b*tch. You know, the one who pretends her target (me) is invisible alternating with smiling way too brightly at said target, but sans that maybe- you're- an- unstable- violent- welfare-queen nervousness of her white roommates. I promise you. She wasn't worried about my narrow behind at all.



Twenty-five years later after my freshman year in college, I walked into a college class I'd signed up for and sat down nearish the only other brown skinned woman in the room. She gave me WTF-eyes in exchange for an "I see you" nod too.

Yes, she was another "I-am-not-black" Dominican.  
Older, more confident, and meaner, I just laughed when her eyes widened with shock at being mistaken for "black" (Not mistaken by me. I recognize WTF-eyes quickly now.) 
I won't go into all the ways "I AM DOMINICAN" dismissed me as a human being and as an idiot while she sucked up to this teenage white girl 20 years her junior. But I will tell you it gave me tons of satisfaction drive the curve high enough to make sure "I AM DOMINICAN" got a "B" instead of an "A." 


No, I am not above being that petty. Sue me.


Even though upwards of 90% of my interactions with very few Dominicans  I've met went out of their way to tell me they were Dominican have been negative, I truly do understand the align- thy- self- with- winning- team -upon -arrival thing. Intellectually, I get it.  I'd like to believe I'd be above that sort of thing if I was in the same situation, but you never know.

By the way, this behavior is hardly exclusive to Dominicans.

I've had the "black people" of all shades from Africa, Jamaica and even Haitians treat me like garbage for being a member of the "weak" or "lazy" African American group.  Some were clearly just weak in the knees with fear that anything like what happened to Africans in America could happen to their group.


But I try to keep in mind that the weak-minded of a gr0up are nearly always the most vocal of the group. I'm sure plenty of Africans, Jamaicans, Haitians, and Dominicans are not all idiots who fall for everything that white American TV is selling. Still, I've had to work to remind myself that "Dominican" does not sound exactly like "Black looking brown people that speak Spanish who hate black people."



 Lesson Two
All Your Skinfolk Ain't Your Kinfolk
Complete

 
Despite the piling evidence, I do keep in mind that race is a social construct. And I understand that race is not constructed in precisely the same ways in each county. Therefore, "I am not black" can have a different meaning in each different country or no meaning at all. 
This is why I have heard people from Jamaica, Nigeria, and Brazil say "I am not black." But they say it by way of correction not indignation.  When a Dominican person says "I am NOT black. I am DOMINICAN" it seems to me that they are being specific.  They are saying "I am NOT black like those Haitians that we've seen ourselves as superior to for generations."

I say all this to admit that my bias may be showing, but this latest decision to kick the black Haitians born there out of D.R. seem like more evidence that Dominicans have an especially durable race hatred problem.
And this race-hatred problem tracks a lot more like white-supremacy-direct than it does government level black-on-black crime.

This is not the first time Haitians have been ethnically cleansed out of the D.R. This is just a less murderous variety of ethnic cleansing.


Not long ago, I saw a special on PBS where Henry Louis Gates Jr revealed that the statues of Dominican leaders honored in the Dominican Republic have had their features whitened (noses narrowed etc). 


The statues being made out of white marble or white stone wasn't enough apparently.
(Video: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/black-in-latin-america/featured/haiti-the-dominican-republic-an-island-divided-watch-full-episode/165/)


As I watched the documentary echoes of "Dominican" means "black looking brown people that speak Spanish who hate black people" rose within me again.

And I forced myself to make a contrary decision... again.


I decided that sometimes you just have to have faith --even though you may never counter your negative experiences with positive ones-- in your own believe that all people are equal, collectively speaking. When a people made up of ethno-racial-others do not look equal, it is faith that allows you to know that there are structural reasons that you do not see...yet...or maybe ever.

In an effort to balance out my opinion, I came across and decided to read some fiction and non-fiction by Dominican author, Junot Diaz. My reading has given me a little more perspective on the country and its people than I had before. I'm looking for other authors that incorporate history into their fiction. (Diaz is awesome. I highly recommend him. He seems like the down-est brother there is and is probably a feminist too. )

So now that I've come clean, you can take what I'm about to say with a grain of salt.  It seems to me what I've seen in the past were tiny symptoms indicative of nothing by themselves. But even a deaf, dumb, blind idiot can guess right 1% of the time. And I guess this is my 1% of the time.The Dominican Republic, collectively speaking, has a huge racism problem. 

The Dominican Republic and the people who elected the officials who are currently expelling the Haitians appear to have an even bigger racism problem than the white supremacy and patriarchy soaked, corporate oligarchy that is the United States.


And that's sayin' some sh*t since we're currently being shot by the barrel full despite being unarmed.


The briefest sketch of the two countries shared history shows us a little bit of the reasons why what's happening today, in 2015, shouldn't be that big a surprise.

Monday, June 29, 2015

WOMEN OF COLOR AND STREET HARASSMENT by Teresilla

When I first heard about the push back against “street harassment” I thought about brief, mostly meaningless experiences.

I simply hadn't put the men that had stalked, cursed and scared me from  2 minutes up to a long @$$ 5 minutes into the mild category called “harrasser.”

Sometimes "street harassment" is a hairs breadth from "assault."

Feeling Rebloggy

...In spite of all of the dialogue, one voice has remained deafeningly silent (or silenced) on the issue: women of color. Far from the stereotyped misnomer of our immunity to street harassment (at least to the extent that we are rarely discussed in social experiments such as this), women of color such as myself are also harassed on a day-to-day basis. Unfortunately, there is no amount of staring a hole into the pavement or turning up your headphones to full blast that can deter our harassers.
 - From Bougie Black Girl

READ MORE
http://bougieblackgirl.com/guest-post-women-of-color-and-street-harassment-the-unspoken-dialogue/

HANG TOGETHER OR HANG SEPARATELY - UNIVISION CANCELS TRUMP




Members of the coalition, NHLA for short, include business, media, and cultural advocacy groups like the National Council of La Raza, the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Presente.org and the National Hispanic Media Coalition.

It called on NBCUniversal to "withdraw from airing the Miss USA pageant and terminate its financial ties to Donald Trump."

Univision similarly canceled its airing of Miss USA, slated for July 12, in the wake of Trump's offensive remarks about Mexican immigrants. Trump, now a presidential candidate, has called Mexicans "rapists" and "killers," among other things.

http://money.cnn.com/2015/06/27/media/donald-trump-nbc-univision/

Sunday, June 28, 2015

PRESIDENT OBAMA: "I KNOW WHAT I'M DOING AND I'M FEARLESS"

"I see something in President Obama that I didn't see in him 6 years ago, even 6 months ago" - Donna Brazile

I saw something in President Obama in that Eulogy that I hadn't seen before either.

Our president was amazing. That speech he gave as a Eulogy was a heartfelt course on black history. And he was on track in a way I haven't heard from him before.

But he needs our support. He needs us to shout out about what we want done. If the protests you sign don't do anymore than communicate to the public and therefore the president what we want to change, then that was a whole 60 seconds well spent.





There's a story floating around that the president wants the KKK to have to name their members and supporters. But I'm less sure that President Obama actually expressed this idea out loud than I am that a Mayor in South Carolina that has spoken to President Obama thinks this should happen.

Read for yourself:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3140789/Obama-wants-KKK-forced-members-supporters-Charleston-church-massacre.html

Bree Newsome's Song for Freedom Fighters - STAY STRONG

Feeling rebloggy: 
"Newsome, 30, was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. A filmmaker, musician and activist, she is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of The Arts, where she received a BFA in Film & Television. Her undergraduate work as a student, earned her a spot to serve as the first-ever Artist in Residence at Saatchi & Saatchi, a global creative communications and advertising company headquartered in New York. Newsome created an animated short, THE THREE PRINCES OF IDEA which earned her a $40,000 scholarship. While many may be new to Newsome, she is not new to the world of activism. Newsome was previously arrested during a sit-in at the North Carolina State Capitol where she spoke out against the state’s recent attack on voting rights. At NYU, she wrote and directed a humorous public service announcement called YOUR BALLOT, YOUR VOICE encouraging youth voter turnout. The PSA went on to win the Grand Prize in a PSA competition sponsored by Tisch and MTV."
 Read More at the conscious tip 



SONG - STAY STRONG


HATE WATCH: Six Black Churches Burned In The South

"The series of fires – some of them suspicious and possible hate crimes — came in the week following a murderous rampage by a white supremacist who shot and killed nine people at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.
The fires also occurred at a time when there is increasing public pressure to remove the Confederate flag – one of the last hallmarks of white superiority — from government buildings and public places as well as banning assorted Confederate flag merchandise sold in retails stores and online."
-Southern Poverty Law Center

This doesn't frighten me. It makes me angry but a whole lot less angry than determined. We've seen this before. And we're going to see it more if we keep going forward into #BlackLivesMatter, the forefront of a New Civil Rights Movement.



If taking the confederate flag down is making these white racists fly out of the woodwork liked the winged rats they are, imagine what some real pressure to end systemic racism in this country will do.



And you know what else?  The more often I compare what Germany did to De-nazi-fy, such as giving people x years worth of jail time for flying a flag or presenting any symbol having to do with the Nazis, the angrier I get at just how much our letting those low-lifes hold onto that symbol of hate has damaged us all.

I do believe I've found at least a light correlation between where that flag flies free and unarmed deaths of black people by cop.


It doesn't appear particularly scientific, but THE GUARDIAN has a website up that is counting the number of people killed by police this year. Their database can be adjusted by state, race, and gender as well as other criteria like "unarmed." 


I don't think the site has every black person in the system as it appears the Guardian is collecting data via newspaper reports. But by my count, with the exception of the Month of May, near 60% of unarmed black people that wound up dead at the hands of police were killed in the South. And with the exception of New York and Maryland, the other unarmed black people dead at the hands of police were rather scattered across the nation. 
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2015/jun/01/the-counted-police-killings-us-database


While one of these churches located in formerly confederate states may have been set a blaze by a lightening strike, most of the rest are likely arson.




These church burnings started simultaneously with a run on confederate flag merchandise at multiple stores, such as Amazon and Sears, that announced that they are planning to do away with confederate merchandise -- *a similar run on merchandise that did not take place (or didn't take place for long) after WWII because the Germans eventually attached a prison sentence to the Nazi's favorite symbols.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strafgesetzbuch_section_86a







Now, I hear that Germany is not a party for anybody not-white to this day. But I also don't hear that unarmed Jewish people are being hunted down and killed with the weapon of choice in that country either.


Again, burning churches doesn't make me scared. It makes me determined. And I am determined to see us take a small step while looking ahead to the next one.


We need to make hate more of a crime than it is now. And we need expand what "hate crime" means to include symbols like that flag. White racists know that symbols are important. That's why they are gathering them. We need to know the same thing. We need to get that confederate flag down in South Carolina and off all government property in that state.

Bree Newsome took the South Carolina confederate flag down just yesterday. And South Carolina, the first state to leave the union, had black workers put the flag back up yesterday too. If you don't think who South Carolina had put that flag back up wasn't symbolic too, your brain might be asleep at the wheel. 



Other southern states like Alabama have already started taking  confederate flags down. We need to keep the pressure on the state where nine died at the hands of the coddled, white terrorist that police officers took to Burger King before they took him to jail.


That anti-patriotic KKK symbol needs to come down. And while it's only a rumor that President Obama wants to force that domestic terrorist group to name the names on their membership roles, I think that's a great next step.




A black man, President Obama is interested in this personally. However, he only represents our interests. And he represents us best when we tell him what our interests are. So we need to choose a next step and start petitioning, marching for it. The President needs to hear us.



Like the President Obama I've been waiting for said himself in his eulogy for Clementa Pinckney, we cannot slip back into complacency.  


PRESIDENT OBAMA'S RACE SPEECH FOR CLEMENTA PINCKNEY






"President Barack Obama delivered the eulogy at the funeral for Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of the victims of deadly shootings at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina
."

  - PBS



EMBRACING YOUR SELF DOUBT AS THE KEY TO CONFIDENCE





POETRY LIKE WISDOM
FROM
HUMBLE THE POET








Saturday, June 27, 2015

BLACK HAIR, WHITE MODELS, PAPERBAGS, AND DOPE,

The latest but hardly greatest race controversy involves Teen Vogue Magazine putting black styles on white models.

Personally, I don't actually have a problem with white women wearing black hairstyles. In general, I would file this  under"cultural exchange." But putting black hairstyles on a bunch of white models sans any black models in a magazine known for it's absence of black models is called "cultural appropriation."

So let's put some arbitrary numbers on the "cultural exchange" thing for future reference.

When you decide to go the "cultural exchange" route for a magazine spread, make sure the borrow-ees out number the borrow-ers by 2 to 1.



However, the writer of the article captioned above. needs to look again. All models aren't white. Half of the models are white while the other half are pale enough to be mistaken for white.

That makes this a whole different kettle of colorism fish.


I see 7 models on this page. At least three of them are not white. 
This is the kind of thing that happens when black people are as skittish about talking about colorism as white people are about racism. Paler than pale people "mixed race" people are taken as representative of black women -- by someone who claims to be black.

Welteroth, the writer of the article, took to her social sites in attempt to defend the magazine model.
“How do you define black?” she writes in response to one poster. “Just curious. Is it about skin color? Eye color? Hair texture? I ask because this mixed race model is as black as I am.  Also, how do you define cultural appropriation? I ask only because I want to better understand your point of view.”

Well I got news for Welteroth. Race is more about sociology and maybe a dash of phenotype. It has very little to do with biology. Racism, however, is often based on the belief that race is hardcore biology.

That's why nobody asked Welteroth about the white looking model's mommy and daddy. People, directly or indirectly were asking about a bunch of white looking models in black hairstyles.


 * * * * * * * *  * *
Let's learn a little sociology of blackness by example:


Barack Obama

He is "African American" or "Black" just like I am because he identifies his life experiences as that of an "African American" or "Black" person. And he has identified HIMSELF as "African American" or "Black."

Whether he was racially mixed 50 some odd years ago when he was concevied or racially mixed 150 years ago as I was by my  great great grandparents (via rape of an ancestor by massa) he knows whether or not he should identify as "black" or "African American" He knows how he got to be WHO he is and with whom he identifies.



Halle Berry

She is "African American"  just like I am because she identifies her life experiences as that of an "African American" or "Black" person. And she has identified HERSELF as "African American" or "Black."

Whether she was racially mixed 40 
some odd years ago when he was concevied or racially mixed 150 years ago as I was by my  great great grandparents (via rape of an ancestor by massa) he knows whether or not he should identify as "black" or "African American" She knows how she got to be WHO she is and with whom she identifies  


Rachel Dolezal

She is NOT "African American" or "Black"  She did not have any life experiences from birth to the age she is now as an African American or Black Female. She did not have parents who have given her oral histories of her black people since birth. She did not grow up experiencing the joys and horrors of being a little black girl in the U.S.

Changing her hair texture, getting a spray tan, and getting braids a whole ten years ago did not make up for her lack of life experience as a black girl growing into a black womanhood.

 
And, I can't tell for sure, but did Welteroth hint at identifying as "Mixed Race" rather than straight "African American" or "Black?" 


Tyra Banks /Lupita Nyongo
Whether she did or didn't, let me say this: African American and/or Black Women do not pull this kind of garbage -- whether the woman herself is darker than Lupita Nyongo or lighter than Tyra Banks.


And Tyra Banks, who can pass that mental paper bag test that some of us are still carrying around, was absolutely devoted to making sure black models who look black were on her America's Top Model. Not only that, she made sure there weren't long flowing weaves on them every single time these dark skinned women were photographed. God love her, Banks was hyper-conscious of the potential effect she was having on little black girls of all complexions.

So what's wrong with Black-as-i-am Welteroth?

Oooh! Wait! Hang on! Where is Clarence Thomas's daughter working these days? Didn't she get married? Is her last name Welteroth now?

Just kidding.


Race is not an easy or clear cut subject. The only thing that is certain in the United States is that you cannot claim whiteness unless your hair is straight and your skin tone extremely pale. But if you are slightly darker than a sheet a paper you can claim blackness --some running to welcome you inside and some jealous of your arrival. But you can be black without too many questions (Just ask Becky D)

But when a person decides that they do not want to observe the one-drop rule (regardless of its ugly origin), that they do not want to identify as "African American" or "Black," then they should have to live with that decision. 


Let us remember that somewhere between 80% and damn near all African Americans are "mixed race," biologically speaking, thanks to the multitude of rapist masters in our recent collective pasts. The people calling themselves "mixed race" nowadays are only recently-mixed, making reference to two parents that are each of a different race/ethnicity.

This should make it even clearer why race is not about biology. This should also make clear why trotting out pictures of a model's mommy and daddy is not relevant and kind of insulting when somebody asks you where the black women are in a story about black hair styles. 

My culture, my family's history, generations worth of history, have been poured into me, making me a "black" or "African American" woman. So, my socialization didn't leave me much of a choice. I was pretty much born with a destiny to identify as black.

But those that do have a choice who choose not to be "African American" or "Black" but "mixed race" instead, that's fine.  Speaking for myself, I'll welcome you as a close ally. But y
ou don't get to represent us, the "African Americans" or the "Blacks," once you've decided you are NOT "Black" or "African American" but "Mixed"instead - -not without our approval.

Being an ally instead of *one of us* is great. But don't get it twisted. Choosing "mixed race" for identity is an actual choice with actual consequences. 


I'm  guessing, but I think an example of a consequence can be seen in Zendaya's  getting screamed out, kicked out of the Aaliyah movie (lucky her) while nobody said "boo" about Halle Berry playing Dorthy Dandridge.  

Regardless of the excuses made later, Zendaya being paler and whiter-featured than Aaliyah--quite a trick in itself--was the primary reason a lot of black women were angry about Lifetime Channel's choosing her to play Aaliyah. But the thing that got me was that I couldn't find one word about Zendaya identifying as "Black" or "African American" until after she lost the role of "Aaliyah."  Did her love of hair styles come afterward too?

Halle Berry, in comparison, has identified herself as African American for decades. And you wouldn't be confused if you saw her playing a black person because she's recognizable by phenotype as black.
This is not me inflicting my opinion on others. There are ugly consequences that affect me and mine when mixed race people do not make a choice.

Those who prefer to identify as "mixed race" can be assumed to be saying that there were not socialized as "black" - not entirely. Yet they are routinely mistaken for "black," and get credibility for being "black" then following up by making the mistakes a white person would make such as:


-Zendaya being completely unconscious about looking as appropriate as Britney Spears for the role of Aaliyah.  Note, I did not say she disagreed. I said she appears to be lacking consciousness as to the basis of the objections.

-Zoe Saldana putting on a fake nose, black face, and a fat suit to play Nina Simone because your features aren't right and your skin is too light.  Much of Nina Simone's identity was wrapped in her strongly black features. Yet it seems to have taken Zoe Saldana a full three years to understand why this was despicable to black women who know and understand Nina Simone in a visceral way, know that they are black and identify as "black" because they were raised as black.

Zoe in Black Face and Fake Nose,
lips poked out to look fuller?

And I know black people raised by white mothers who were raised as black. They made sure their children were socialized into blackness and how they will be received by the world. They recently-mixed sisters do not make these kinds of mistakes either. Even children strongly raised as "mixed -race" can seem well grounded. It's those that are raised "mixed race" with the "there's no such thing as racial identity" that seem weak, defenseless and offensive.
Conscious or unconscious about race, there are consequences to choosing to be the "mixed race" identity. 

Like Tiger Woods, you don't get to tell the inside jokes such as  "black men have big dicks" once you've decided it bothers you to be called "African American" or "Black." That's as racist coming from those who identify as "mixed race" as it is coming from a dark-skinned or light-skinned Sammy Sosa. An outsider is an outsider, close ally or not.  

You also don't get to use the n-word as a term of endearment if you have decided you are outside of "blackness" and inside of "mixed-raceness" I may not like n-word usage at all, but somebody who has decided to be outside of "black" or outside of "African American" should be treated just like a white, latino, or asian person using the n-word, close ally or not.

This is difficult for some to follow because white supremacy is so weaved into all of us, even into black consciousness.

That's why there was an actual debate in the black community as to whether or not what Rachel Dolezal did was "a big deal." But I am going to suggest that even the highly desirable, palest of mixed race women doesn't get to say "I'm in...No wait, I'm out...No wait, I'm in...okay now I'm out" again depending on whether or not it benefits her to be black in certain situations.

White supremacy is so weaved into black consciousness that it seems too painful to discuss colorism openly. But there are consequences for failing at that as well.

For example: 

Because the white editors at Vogue are so in the dark about the depth of colorism,  when someone like Clarencetta Thomas can come along and lead them down the garden path of white supremacy and put light supremacy on the pages of Teen Vogue. They won't know or understand why black women are outraged until it's too late.
White Sundance Film reviewers of movies like "Dope" don't realize that the African American someone they're trusting to make an African American comedy has reproduced white/light supremacy on film by ensuring that every actress in that movie can pass the paper bag test in the dark. (This movie had multiple problems - entertaining or not, comedy or not. I was almost glad no instantly recognizable black women were in it.)

Don't misunderstand me. In my opinion, blackness doesn't need to be as exclusive as whiteness. In fact, I'm proud that blackness is not exclusive. Anybody who has the history and socialization can choose to be one of us.

But a choice should be demanded by those of us who are black.  People who are not us, who think their knowledge of race is superior are trying to represent us.


So decide.

In or out.

 
A person is black or they are not. Most of us are biologically mixed race--even white people if you go back far enough. That's not that special. The socialization is what is in question here. And if you decide you are in,  then you damn well better get the imagery right when you showcase black women's hair styles.

And if you are already in, be prepared to clown the Welteroths like a good black woman should. Real b
lack women do not play when it comes to e-race-sure or hair. 

P.S.

Dear Outsiders: When you ask an "African American" person if they are "African American" they say,

1) "Yes"
or

2)"I prefer 'black' "
or

3) "Who the hell are you walking up on me and asking me about...." (Black people, especially RECENTLY-MIXED and PALE black people get tired of that question from strangers. Some are a little touchy. By the way, don't reach up and touch a black person's hair. Ever.)

But black people, in response to the question "Are you African American?" do not say:

1) "I'm confused. What do you mean?
      (We'll just call this Dolezaling)

2) "Well I'm..." this, that and the other.

In short, black people know that they are black people. And they are proud of it. Black people, if they feel communicative, will tell you what they might be mixed with when the subject is ancestry. 



Friday, June 26, 2015

HELLO CUPID - EPISODE 2





Two friends decide to combine their efforts at finding love online. They exchange faces on an online dating service and get interesting results. 




VIOLA DAVIS & JENNIFER LOPEZ are "LILA AND EVE"


"I JUST WANT JUSTICE
FOR THE ONES WHO TOOK MY SON."


"SO LET'S GET IT!"


LILA AND EVE


"YOU THINK I CARE 
ABOUT GETTING OUT ALIVE?"


Watch the trailer


It looks like this "Lila and Eve" performed well at Sundance. So far it's scheduled to be in theaters on July 17th. I'm gonna be there!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

OBAMACARE LIVES

SHORT STORY:  Conservatives were not allowed to cut off subsidies and destroy Obamacare

"In a moment of high drama, Chief Justice John Roberts sent a bolt of tension through the Court when he soberly announced that he would issue the majority opinion in the case. About two-thirds of the way through his reading, it became clear that he again would be responsible for rescuing Obamacare.

"Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them," Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. "If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter."

JUSTICES IN AGREEMENT

John Roberts
Ruth Bader Ginsberg
Sonia Sotomayor
Elena Kagan
Stephen Breyer
Anthony Kennedy


READ MORE:
http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/25/politics/supreme-court-ruling-obamacare/




He was joined by Justice Anthony Kennedy



-- who is often the Court's swing vote -- and the four liberal justices.

LIGHT FRAGILITY, WHITE FRAGILITY, AND INVISIBLE PAPER BAGS

DEFINITIONS





Light Fragility, parts 1 and 2



If your complexion is closer to that of the white folk, sometimes you get more access to acceptance from dominant culture in the form of validation of your opinions, jobs, promotions, and sometimes you'll get MORE just because of the general admiration for your beauty from the white people and black people alike. Please  read the "white fragility" definition to understand  the"light fragility" that all shades of black folk suffer. Change the word "racial" to "color." They are practically synonymous



If  your complexion and your features are closer to that of the white folk, you often get more access to acceptance from dominant culture in the form of validation of your opinions, jobs, promotions, and sometimes you'll get MORE just because of the general admiration for your beauty from the white people and black people alike.Please  read the "white fragility" definition to understand  the"light fragility" that all shades of black folk suffer. Change the word "racial" to "color." They are practically synonymous


Lately, I've been thinking maybe we pulled Malcom X forward from all those other equally profound, dark-skinned brothers within the Nation Of Islam simply because he was the "prettiest"  That's why Michelle Gordon Jackson's "Light, Bright, Damn Near White: Black Leaders Created By The One-Drop Rule" is on my reading list.


Back to the point.

Whether or not we all agree on all the varied points that could be made on what increases or decreases light privilege within the race or outside of the race, the thing that I don't think most black people realize is that all black people regardless of skin tone are capable and primed to love and embrace, not only light skin, but light-privilege too.

With no evidence at all, I'm pretty sure that this is how Rachel Dolezal came to be embraced by the Spokane NAACP when she was elected then embraced again later by her defenders in June 2015.

At best, as a woman in the white community, Rachel Dolezal is somewhere between homely and average. In the black community however, Dolezal probably achieved instant beauty queen status simply due to her fair complexion. And beauty, for women, in a patriarchal society, can be translated into power if you have just a few brain cells here and there.

More importantly, the reason Becky D was able to skate is because light privilege is as taboo a subject for black people as white privilege is for white people. Furthermore, black people of all shades will agree that agree that white privilege is a problem all day long. But black people dark as night will deny that light privilege and light fragility even exists. 


Some of the things that white privilege used to love to say is that "Race doesn't matter. I don't even see race. There's only one race the human race." However, some of the most unconscious of white people have gotten off this train. They've been forced off. Even if they don't understand why they aren't allowed to say, "There's only one race, the human race" anymore, even if some think of this as one more piece of political correctness that must be observed  - lest they be laughed out of the room, at least many white people have stopped saying it.


So when are black people going to stop saying the black equivalent?  "OMG we're all black!" is shouted by at least one person every single time light privilege rears it's ugly head (<---Light Fragility Symptom)



After all we've been through, how can we fail to easily understand that "There's only one race, the human race" and "Oh my God, we're all black" practically mean the same thing. And the one thing that they mean is:


"Shut up and stop talking about race, I don't even see skin-color. I am above bias." 
"Shut up and stop talking about color, I don't even see skin-color. I am above bias."


We are this unconscious:

At the very moment when black women were the most upset, not just by having their identity stolen and used like a costume by Dolezal, black female identity was made light of by the...

1)  oh-who-cares crowd*,
2) transracial-identity crowd,  and
3) cultural- appropriation- has- too- many- syllables- for- me- to- even- try- to- understand- it crowd
(*This crowd and crowd #1 may be the same crowd)

...more than one person thought it appropriate to post a meme like the one below.



There are times when this meme might be appropriate. But when black people are having an intense debate about the intersection of white privilege, light privilege, and cultural appropriation, that's probably not the time.

In fact, until black men collectively decide to own the fact that they are one-tenth of one millimeter from the center of the black female light-skin versus dark-skin debate,  I'd say black men would be best off never posting this meme unless it is in regards to something light-skinned men and dark-skinned men are arguing about in regards to themselves.

And black men should be particularly observant of this when the fairer skinned, light-fragility sufferers are cheering them on.

As black people we mostly understand that when a (more often than not) white person says they don't see race, what they are really saying is that they don't see racism and its negative effects. And now it is time for us to also understand that a black or brown person saying that they don't see skin color, that person is saying something very, VERY similar. They are saying that they  don't see colorism and its negative effects.

Regardless of the jealousy and scars suffered in childhood, their varying degree of privilege is real and must be addressed.


Our collective decision to be even deafer, dumber, and blinder on colorism than white people are on racism has left us having to deal with some bizarre problems that don't even make sense.


Rachel Dolezal is only one example.

Recently, a black feminist's social media site posted photos lauding the beauty of Iman at 60 in a fashion magazine spread. When I went to look at the headliner photo, I see that the site owner has put up a picture of a woman I don't recognize. Iman has been an icon and a hero for many black women for decades. She was one our "firsts."  But this Iman is so pale in the image chosen that I had to look at the caption to make sure it was Iman.

I can't figure out which is saddest:

A black icon leaving her career using bleached images, dressed up as in quasi-Asian Geisha imagery (cultural appropriation much?)


OR a black feminist website failing to recognize the bleached-ness of the particular photo she chose (again, some of the other photos show darker skin)


OR the failure of women like Iman and Beyonce to police their own images as black woman of power and standing in their respective entertainment communities


OR our own failure to realize that WE ARE FAILING one another when we do not call the Imans and Beyonces in.  




This is important.

Thousands and thousands of young black girls are looking up to these women, wanting to emulate them -- regardless of how much black pride is spouted at the dinner table.

This is important.

Thousands and thousands of young black boys and gay black girls are looking toward these women as examples of what girlfriends and future wives are supposed to look like -- with little = or no dinner table discussion on how light-skinned desires are based on white supremacy. (<---light fragility symptom)

It is not unity or unifying to pretend that colorism doesn't exist and isn't having an effect. At some point or other, most of us have wanted to tell white people over and over again that pretending race doesn't exist isn't going to make racism go away.

So, when are we going to make the same decision about colorism?

Back in the day, black people mostly didn't talk about colorism and preferential treatment. That's the same behavior as today. But there were also black clubs and organizations where black people darker than a paper bag weren't allowed inside these clubs and organizations
In general, I find that black adults (of all shades) are sensitive to the feelings of other blacks who are light-skinned that feel left out as adults. And I think this sensitivity is probably present in adults in a way that's sometimes not possible as children. When children are jealous some get mean, evil even. But this is not all that's going on as far as the reluctance to talk about light privilege and the attending light fragility. 

The paper bag is gone. But the attitude is not. Some of us, regardless of our own shade, rush to welcome into the race those lighter than a paper bag.  Becky D, Iggy A,  Kim K and the rest of Kardashians appear to have figured this out. And Becky probably figured this out days after landing at her first HBCU. (Have you seen the naked pictures with floor length braids, yet?)

I just finished reading a book that covered 1862 to 1931. It is just mind-blowing how consistent and unchanging our silences and denial responses to colorism have been over the last 150 years. 





And I, myself, am still so in the dark on colorism that I had to read a fictional story, set in America, written by a Nigerian author to find out that she saw more a lot more light skinned people than dark at our Ivy League Colleges to this day. 

I'm tired of the avoidance and lack of movement on this. Aren't you?

Becky D's antics should have been at the center of a new colorism conversation in June of 2015. Instead black women found themselves defending themselves from an attack from within - talking about braids on white women, blond weaves of black women, and how the cultural appropriation of black female identity is actually important.
 

Yes, colorism isn't going anywhere if we don't talk about it. But maybe we have other issues to resolve first. 
 





References:

Light, Bright, Damn Near White: Black Leaders Created By The One Drop Rule AND other books.  




Calling in versus Calling out: http://thankherforsurviving.blogspot.com/2015/04/black-girl-dangerous-on-calling-in-less.html

Iman 2013 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/18/iman-brag-gala-2013_n_4122297.html





 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

HENRY LOUIS GATES Jr, SUSPENDED BY PBS



FOR HELPING BEN AFFLECK LIE ABOUT HIS SLAVE OWNING ANCESTORS 


(Yes, a lie of omission is a lie)
Feeling Rebloggy

"I want to thank PBS for its thoughtful internal review. I sincerely regret not discussing my editing rationale with our partners at PBS and WNET and I apologize for putting PBS and its member stations in the position of having to defend the integrity of their programming. Throughout my many years of producing genealogy documentaries, I have always operated with rigorous ethical standards.


We have been working with PBS and WETA to create new guidelines to increase transparency going forward..."
TheRoot.com 


I didn't watch "FINDING OUR ROOTS" that often. But it was pretty cool when I did. More than that I learned something.

When I first started watching it, I THOUGHT, the black people had more Native American Ancestors than they do. You can't throw a stick in a room full black people and not have it hit someone that claims a Native American ancestor.

I have a great, great, great light-skinned grandmother in there somewhere with hair all the way down to her backside because she was mostly Native American. Don't you?

But DNA testing doesn't lie. 

We have a lot fewer romantic, Indian lovers in our heirs --that would have taken great, great, great grandma as a young black slave girl away from the plantation if he could have when he ran for his life-- than originally supposed. DNA tests of several black hairs from several black stars revealed that we
 simply have a lot more white massa rapists in our collective ancestry than I originally thought.

Oh well... 

I hope the show comes back. And I hope PBS screens everybody a bit more carefully. This shouldn't have happened. 

Original Story:
http://blackchickrocked.blogspot.com/2015/04/hiding-slave-owning-ancestor-is-sop-and.html

Read More:
http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2015/06/finding_your_roots_is_suspended_by_pbs_over_ben_affleck_story.html

Love Is Something Different - Melanie J Williams


“The truth is that the more intimately you know someone,  the more clearly you’ll see their flaws. That’s just the way it is.
This is why marriages fail, why children are abandoned, why friendships don’t last. You might think you love someone until you see the way they act when they’re out of money or under pressure or hungry, for goodness’ sake.

 Love is something different.

Love is choosing to serve someone and be with someone in spite of their filthy heart. Love is patient and kind, love is deliberate. Love is hard. Love is pain and sacrifice, it’s seeing the darkness in another person and defying the impulse to jump ship.” 




- Melanie J Williams