Monday, November 30, 2015


Feeling Rebloggy
They were lawyers, feminists, Christians, transgender women, domestic workers, militants, favela dwellers, politicians, students and many more. Despite their differences in beliefs, education and income, on Wednesday they came together behind the one thing they had in common: being a black woman in Brazil. On that day, more than 10,000 black women from all over the country gathered in Brazil’s capital city, Brasilia, for the first national black women’s march—Marcha das Mulheres Negras.

The march’s tagline was, “Against racism and violence and for the well-being.”

“This is the first time black women coming from all parts of the country came to Brasilia with the same message,” said Ivana Braga, a march organizer from the state of Maranhão. “It doesn’t matter if a black woman is in Congress, is a civil servant, in academia or is a domestic worker; their skin color will continue to play a part in how their rights are denied.”

~The Root



Sunday, November 29, 2015


Hypothetically speaking,  I do care that men in India seem to beating their wives to death almost daily.  But I'd be lying if I didn't tell you I care more that my next door neighbor is beating his wife within inch of her life twice a month.

Proximity counts. Depth of Relationships count too.

Hypothetically speaking, if my Daddy was beating my Momma so she had black eyes 3x a year, I'd care more about that than the dead wives in India and the next door neighbor too.

You'd probably feel the same way if you were in my hypothetical shoes.

Therefore dearest black folk,

Please stop telling me what white women are not-doing over there when we're talking about  what black men are or are not doing to black women over here. I care quite a bit less about what the white women over there are saying.

Stop telling me what white men are not-doing over there when we're talking about what black men are not-doing and doing to black women over here. I care quite a bit less about what the white men over there are saying.

Stop telling me about who Stephen Collins is allegedly raping when we're talking about who Bill Cosby is allegedly raping. I don't even know what freaking series Stephen Collins was in as a TV Dad. And you probably don't either. And if you do, you probably didn't watch it very often.


I do care that there's a group of women in India who seem to have the right attitude toward men who beat women.  And I also care about the reasons white women and black men are so similar in their ability to ignore black women's issues.

And while I sorta care about the destruction of the Cosby show's legacy,  I do not care about it enough to protect the actor that plays Cliff Huxtable who is very, very likely a serial rapist, a man's whose tastes haven't deviated that far from his almost white wife or the white women he went to see at Hef's place regularly for decades.

What I am actually trying to figure out about the Cosby conversation is how it turned into a conversation about black women's loyalty INSTEAD OF a conversation about black male loyalty.

To be specific, the colorism aspect of the Cosby rape allegations alone should have turned into a conversation about how certain black men develop a penchant for light and white women once they get a little money or a lot of money ala Cosby, Kobe, and Kanye?

How is it that this conversation on
black disloyalty
 is not centered on
being disloyal enough to throw

all women, including black women, under the bus
so as to align oneself behind Cosby?

Black people, men and women, ignore the Beverly Johnsons and Anita Hills on the regular but NOT standing behind Bill Cosby is disloyal? Really?

Guess what? Oppressed or not, black men are raised bathing in the same patriarchy as white men and they are just assured of their primary importance in the world as compared to women. In fact, black men can worry so much about proving their manhood (sans the money that white men use to prove their manhood) that they can use non-monetary methods to dominate women. It is not a mystery as to why black women die at the hands of domestic abusers as so high a rate. Where the stress of poverty is higher, death by domestic abuse is higher, regardless of race. 

Even worse? Black women are bathing in the same dirty bathwater as men and also white, latina, and Asian women. So we as women reproduce patriarchy and misogyny too - which partially explains black female defense of the indefensible (Ray Rice, Chris Brown, Bill Cosby)

Black people need to learn black women's history. Black women especially need to learn black women's history. When you know your history, you know your worth,

When you know your worth, you don't have to close your eyes and pretend people close to you aren't the ones hurting you most.

When you know your worth, you become completely unwilling to let anybody tell you that you are less important than they are.

When you know your worth, you know what a real ally looks like. When you know your worth, you know how brave and rare a real ally really is.

When you know your worth, you can get closer to knowing the worth of your brothers and sisters.
When you know your own worth and the worth of your brothers and sisters, you become willing to demand that they behave accordingly.  And this is the moment at which we will all rise together, and not a moment before.

 * * * * *

 Black Women History Books  

Saturday, November 28, 2015


Check out this one minute clip 
from the movie "Thelma and Louise"


Who would'a guessed that a black woman locking herself out of her own home would look so much like a scene from Thelma and Louise?


Fay ells had just gotten back home after playing soccer and found that she had locked herself out of her apartment. Soon after the locksmith got her inside, the Santa Monica police came to arrest her for breaking in.

A white man decided he didn't recognize her, called the police and leading edge of white supremacy came to get her, guns drawn like they were looking for Thelma, Louise, and their AK-47 toting twin sisters.

When Wells was dragged outside in handcuffs she counted a total of 19 police officers

"It didn’t matter that I told the cops I’d lived there for seven months, told them about the locksmith, offered to show a receipt for his services and my ID. 

It didn’t matter that I went to Duke, that I have an MBA from Dartmouth, that I’m a vice president of strategy at a multinational corporation.

It didn’t matter that I’ve never had so much as a speeding ticket. It didn’t matter that I calmly, continually asked them what was happening.

It also didn’t matter that I didn’t match the description of the person they were looking for — my neighbor described me as Hispanic when he called 911.

What mattered was that I was a woman of color trying to get into her apartment — in an almost entirely white apartment complex in a mostly white city — and a white man who lived in another building called the cops because he’d never seen me before." 

It also didn't matter that Fay Wells was a lone black woman. Nineteen cops? Were they racing to see who would get to shoot somebody?

You tell me, okay? Why would 19 cops show up for a break-in? Why do you have your guns out for a "maybe."

"Maybe" somebody is breaking in, right? Maybe. A 911 call is a "maybe," yes?  A 911 call is not a sure thing, right? That's why you don't show up to a possible break-in involving 1 or 2 people with your guns out. A 911 call is a "maybe."  That lack of sureness is also why a cop should never pull his gun out and shoot it at boy 2 seconds after he steps out of his squad car onto a playground, right? 

If the white guy across the street
had ACTUALLY seen
a black or Hispanic woman
with a gun breaking into an apartment
I still don't understand why 19 cops responded


Oh yeah. I forgot. Black and brown people have superhuman demon-like strength according to Darren Wilson. I forgot. My bad. Nineteen is totally reasonable. 

Wells has been fighting the Santa Monica police department, trying to get answers for what happened. Last I read she couldn't even get all the names of the cops that were there during her arrest. She got 17 of the 19 names from the Santa Monica Police Department and the list of names that she was given doesn't match the list Santa Monica Police Department sent to the newspaper editor that requested the same information.

Is there any question in your mind as to what happened to Skip Gates not long after President Obama was elected. Remember when the President said the police responded "stupidly?"  

The police in Massachusetts basically arrested Skip Gates for getting mouthy when the white officer, clearly suffering Slave Master Mentality, started ordering Skips about in his own home AFTER that cop knew Gates hadn't broken in.

I can't find the link, but be advised that I got the slave-master-mentality impression from Officer Crowley's rendition of events (in a police report ?), not Skip Gates' version and not from any "liberal newspaper" either. Officer Crowley made it clear that he thought he had the gawd given right to boss a little, old, black man on a cane around.

When Crowley's white wife was interviewed for a newspaper she inadvertently made sure everybody understood the same thing-- master mentality arrives in her husband with the putting on of his uniform. I believe she used the words something like 'my husband demands respect when he's in uniform.'

Sandra Bland is dead due to Slave Master Mentality as well. Encinias may register as white but he's pale enough to pass, and he passed as white with flying colors the day her arrested Bland. 

I think Mike Brown is dead for the same reason, Slave Master Mentality. I believed the friend when he said Wilson hit Brown with the door and it hit him in the face. Can you imagine the master in "12 Years A Slave" responding any differently than Darren Wilson apparently did? I can't.  

I hope to see that Wells is interviewed by a black magazine or a black news outlet soon because I'd really like to know more details about how she fits herself into the Black Lives Matter narrative.

I wonder if the Santa Monica police department's treatment of her stripped away any class protections she thought she had? I wonder if she was surprised by the fact that everything she said to them about belonging there, about being in her own home just evaporated into the air. She must have felt like her voice was being sucked away into a black hold where nobody could hear it.

I'm actually surprised more black people don't become more violent in such situations. The police are dragging you out of your own home like you don't belong there, where you have bills with your name on them, pictures of your own family, and passwords on your computers to prove that you belong there, even a receipt from the locksmith. And still nobody listens when you're clearly saying,

'This space is mine. I pay rent here. You are the ones that don't belong here' 

All it took for Sandra Bland to die was say she had the right to smoke in her own car after the cop had finished giving her the ticket. Who can defend such behavior except those who truly believe they own you? 

I hope Wells was only surprised by the number of officers that showed up and not the event itself. Black adults who are poorly mentally prepared for white assaults can go one of two ways. They can suddenly become outraged into protest action or they can become so disillusioned that they are hateful and suspicious of all white people, forevermore.  And I think I've seen that the latter is more likely.

In some ways, I'm very glad that my parents felt like they were forced, by the times we were living in, to talk to me about race from a very young age. I was five or six the first time I had nasty racial experience with other children. I was probably twelve before a white adult went beyond giving me nasty looks or refusing to touch my hand when giving me change.

It hurt me very much to be told about white racism so young. But I feel like you're more flexible when you're young because you allow yourself to be sad. The older you get the more you tell yourself the behavior of others doesn't matter and "I don't care anyway." In other words, you respond to hurts by making yourself harder and tougher instead of crying once you get a little older.

On the flip side, I keep wondering if it wouldn't be better to raise black children in an exclusively black environment sans any white imagery until they are seven or eight or nine -- old enough to have a very strong base for their self-esteem, old enough to see their own black looks as the most beautiful normal but young enough to cry and admit they are hurt when they are hurt by sexism, racism, and the petty evil that comes out of the human heart so often.

In other words, I wonder if black children wouldn't be better off learning a stronger sense of self before learning empathetic acceptance of the other.  I've been wondering this for years now. I still don't know

But I don't wonder about older children and adults being surprised by the depth of white racism in this country. I can't recall ever having seen a naive black adult move into accepting overt and covert racism for what it is in a mature and reasonable way. There's either a brittle hatred of all white people or three-quarters of the reality of white racism is stuffed into a box and hidden away. 
I feel like you can't help either extremist. It's like they're destined to suffer from B-PTSD* for the rest of their lives.

So, I hope Fay Wells was mentally prepared for what happened. And I hope we get to hear what she does with this experience in the future.
Fay Wells, who is the vice president of strategy 
at a multinational corporation, penned a piece  
in The Washington Post today, detailing the harrowing ordeal 
that took place on Sept. 6 and how she is still shaken up.
She writes, "I'm heartbroken that the place I called home no longer feels safe."

The police department's response, issued by a black female police chief, tries to divert attention from the only thing that matters - sending 17 to 19 police officers and a K-9 unit for a break-in and how it is the officers that knocked on Wells' door couldn't resolve it AT THE DOOR instead of dragging her outside in cuffs.  Any idiot can call the police. One idiot did, racist or not. The police response is the problem.

And I really thought we'd established that the swarm technique is a bad technique with the beating of Rodney King. Maybe that's not what I think it is -- sending 5x as many cops as is necessary to get the job done

The NAACP had already been to Santa Monica to discuss its poor handling of other cases. They Santa Monica PD is supposed to be producing a report on their handling of minorities in a report next year. 

Santa Monica Police Department Contact Information
 310.395.9931 •


Friday, November 27, 2015


"This is my wife taking a nap. In an hour she will wake up, put on her scrubs and get ready for work.

The tools and items she needs to perform her job will be gathered and checked meticulously - her hair and makeup will be done quickly. She will complain that she looks awful. I will disagree, emphatically, and get her a cup of coffee.

She will sit on the couch with her legs crossed under her and try to drink it while happily playing with the toddler that's crawling all over her."

"She will occasionally stare off blankly as we talk; silently steeling herself for the coming shift. She thinks I don't notice.

She will kiss the baby, she will kiss me and she will leave to go take care of people that are having the worst day of their entire lives. Car wrecks, gunshot wounds, explosions, burns and breaks - professionals, poor, pastors, addicts and prostitutes - mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and families - it doesn't matter who you are or what happened to you."

"She will take care of you.

She will come home 14 hours later and remove shoes that have walked through blood, bile, tears and fire from aching feet and leave them outside. Sometimes she will not want to talk about it. Sometimes she can't wait to talk about it.

Sometimes she will laugh until she cries and sometimes she will just cry - but regardless of those sometimes she will be on time for her next shift. 

My wife is a nurse. My wife is a hero."

Respect and Admiration are two different things. As a feminist, I've spent time trying to figure out how it is men so steeped in patriarchy mistake the second for the first and think they can demand it.

I'd started thinking of the craving for admiration as a bad thing. Maybe I still do. Or maybe if the admiration you crave is beyond 50% purity, that's when it's poisonous.  Maybe?

The thing I know for sure is that heroes don't demand admiration.

It shouldn't be a rare thing for a man to praise a woman as a hero when it's not mother's day. But it is. I'm glad I found this. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Why we fight to get on loving

I've been wondering

How your mind will leave you hanging

your heart lingering

Stay lost

then found

by whoever stays around,


There is a way to be yourself,
I assure you this

There's a way to catch your dreams
without falling asleep

You might as well 

get it while you can, babe

'cause you know you ain't getting any

Younger, Younger, Younger
Are you?

by SEINABO SEY - Sweden
A Victorious Song And Video below


There's a conclusion to my illusion
I assure you this
There's no end to this confusion
If you let it wish
you well
Soul to sell
Highest bidders, can't you tell what you're getting?

There is a light to all this darkness
I will tell you this
There's redemption in you asking them
just why it is
Some answers are better left unspoken
when you know you ain't getting any
Younger, younger, younger
Are you?
Younger, younger, younger
Are you?
You ain't getting any
Younger, younger, younger
Are you?
Younger, younger, younger
Are you?
Why we fight to get on loving
I've been wondering
How your mind will leave you hanging
your heart lingering
Stay lost
Then found
by whoever stays around,

There is a way to be yourself,
I assure you this
There's a way to catch your dreams
without falling asleep
You might as well get it while you can, babe
'cause you know you ain't getting any
Younger, younger, younger
Are you?
Younger, younger, younger
Are you?
You ain't getting any
Younger, younger, younger
Are you?
Younger, younger, younger
Are you?
There is a light
to all this darkness if only we
Fight against them telling us
how we should be
I refuse to have you break me
When you know you ain't getting any
Younger, younger, younger
Are you?
Younger, younger, younger
Are you?
You ain't getting any
Younger, younger, younger
Are you?
Younger, younger, younger
Are you?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Feeling Rebloggy

Police Officer Jason VanDyke "has been charged with murder for the death of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager who was shot 16 times after being stopped by officers on a Chicago street."

Here is how the police union described the shooting to the Chicago Tribune for 
an article published on October 21 2014:

...[Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Pat] Camden said of the teen. “[He] walked up to a car and stabbed the tire of the car and kept walking.”
Officers remained in their car and followed McDonald as he walked south on Pulaski Road. More officers arrived and police tried to box the teen in with two squad cars, Camden said. McDonald punctured one of the squad car’s front passenger-side tires and damaged the front windshield, police and Camden said.
Officers got out of their car and began approaching McDonald, again telling him to drop the knife, Camden said. The boy allegedly lunged at police, and one of the officers opened fire."

In the link below, a second by second account of the murder
if you don't want to watch McDonald's murder in the video below

Is anybody investigating the officers responsible for the multi-level cover-up?

After the shooting, according to Jay Darshane, the District Manager for Burger King, four to five police officers wearing blue and white shirts entered the restaurant and asked to view the video and were given the password to the equipment. Three hours later they left, he said.

The next day, when an investigator from the Independent Police Review Authority asked to view the security footage, it was discovered that the 86 minutes of video was missing.

On McDonald's 16 wounds



Feeling Rebloggy

"Shirley Chisholm made history in 1968 by becoming the first African-American woman elected to Congress, beginning the first of seven terms in the House of Representatives. In 1969 she became one of the founding members of what would become the Congressional Black Caucus. Not satisfied, Chisholm went on to make history yet again, becoming the first major-party African-American female candidate to make a bid for the U.S. presidency when she ran for the Democratic nomination in 1972. She was a champion of minority education and employment opportunities throughout her tenure in Congress. After leaving Congress in 1983, Chisolm taught at Mount Holyoke College and frequently lectured and gave speeches at colleges and universities throughout the country." 

Read More On Other Medal Winners

Two minute video on Ms. Chisholm

(Strong on race rights and strong on women's rights, both)


This is one of the best videos on Cultural Appropriation that I've seen. Chescaleigh Ramsey discusses oppression, disrespect, and takes the time to debunk the usual excuses, and gives examples.

Ramsey even addresses how power differences in society makes actions that look the same be different.  The explanation of assimilation versus cultural appropriation is on point up to a point.

Part of me wishes Ramsey had taken the assimilation desires of people of color a little further, had described how that's not entirely harmless to people of color.

Yeah, copying the dominant culture is "normal" and harmless but its not harmless forever. Being marginalized to the point of feeling abnormal because you're not like the dominant culture in addition to a lack of acceptance from the dominant culture has had deep and lasting affects on people of color.

Ramsey says the videos aren't just about white people. But they are to the tune of 95% when you hit on a subject as deep as unconscious assimilation desires then skip over the fact that most of what white people can sometimes see as "black people appropriating white culture" (long, straight blond weave) is a reflection that some people of color have been harmed by being dominated.

What I'm clumsily trying to say is this: Numbers matter. How dominated the dominat-ed have been by the dominat-ors matters.

If 10% of black women had long straight hair and or weaves (blond or not blond ala Beyonce) and only 10% of black men of TV, film, and sports were dating and marrying women with natural straightish hair and/or long weaves then you could just call what we're seeing in black culture a style choice based on wanting to assimilate and fit in, as Ramsey says or even just a straight style choice.

But when you can look back over history
and see that 90% of black women had
straight, relaxed hair and weaves in photos and on film
with 90% of black men of TV, film, and sports
predominantly dating and marrying
women closer to white
who have natural, long, straightish hair
and/or dating and marrying black women
with long weaves
that shows a lack of acceptance of self.

And since the straight hair thing for black 
women still dominates us so much that characters from Claire Huxtable to Olivia Pope to Annalise Keating to Mary Jane Paul need long straight hair to look "professional" that's a reflection of the harm that has been done by white rejection, assimilationist dreams, and assimilationist pressures mixed together.

If a video heads so deep into cultural appropriation that it kisses assimilation (and internalized racism?) and you decide to skip over the deeper issues, then why not say the video is for white people?

It's okay if it is.

In my opinion white people need these separate and simple lessons more than anybody else in the culture. To say too much might confuse them.

In my experience, most white people's knowledge of things racial stays in the 8 year old black child range if their community is 90% white or better. I mean it. You can have a more meaningful conversation about race and ethnicity with an 8 year old black or latino child than you can with a white person that has the ability to avoid all meaningful dialogues about race on a day to day basis.

This is why the country is the way it is.

The damage to people of color from assimilation and marginalization is not part of Race 101 Class. It's more advanced. It's okay for the MTV videos to stay in Race 101 for white folk for now.

But if these videos are going to be an American lesson, a lesson for all people of all races and ethnicities, then the videos are going to have get a little deeper than hypocrisy, disrespect, and losing jobs over natural hairstyles.   

7 Myths about Cultural Appropriation Debunked ft. Franchesca "Chescaleigh" Ramsey!
Posted by MTV on Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Monday, November 23, 2015


If you ever get to watch the Latinx Series "Habla" please make an effort to see the 10th installment "Habla Women" It was affirming to see all these women talk about their joys and achievements and how the flavor of female life is different for a Latina.

I felt uplifted by this. I was given life by "Habla Women" in ways hard to describe.  I can't believe it's not available to the general public on DVD.

 I'm sure it'll be on again during Women's History Month or Hispanic History Month or both, with subtitles where necessary for us mostly English Speakers.

Find a few of clips below. 

Actress Gina Rodriguez from  "Jane The Virgin"

Gina Rodriguez - Habla Women from Alberto Ferreras on Vimeo.

Original link:

Chef Daisy Martinez

Daisy Martinez - Habla Women from Alberto Ferreras on Vimeo.

Original Link

Poet Bruja

In the nearer future, "Habla Women" is playing on HBO Latin in the wee hours of the morning and in the middle of the work day.  Maybe you can set your DVR and catch it in early December. 

  • Wednesday, December 2, 11:05PM PT - HBO LATINO EAST

  • Thursday, December 3, 2:05AM PT - HBO LATINO WEST

  • Saturday, December 5, 10:15AM PT - HBO LATINO EAST

  • Saturday, December 5, 1:15PM PT - HBO LATINO WEST

  • Saturday, December 12, 11:30PM PT - HBO LATINO EAST

  • Sunday, December 13, 2:30AM PT - HBO LATINO WEST
  • Sunday, November 22, 2015



    As I was saying,

    1) I don't think Lee Daniels likes black folk much,
    2) I think maybe he despises black women for sure,
    3) And there might be a biracial-folk fetish in the mix 


    EXHIBIT A:   "
    Daniels managed to turn the book "Push" into a modern day "Uncle Tom's Cabin," the movie, with the casting alone. I was shocked when I found out that more than one black person had a hand in producing "Precious." (I had to rethink Aaron McGruder's claim that maybe Miss O isn't that bright) 

    VICTIM                                  VICTIMIZER                   NURSE/FRIEND              TEACHER             SOCIAL WORKER
    In  "Precious" the characters get lighter and lighter as the character has more power and agency.
    Why did he deviate so far from the descriptions in the book "Push?"

    Yet the colorism he allowed to be inserted into that movie by completely ignoring the physical descriptions in the book was a small matter compared to how he erased the sisterhood, friendship, and otherness of the women of color that built Precious up as she built the other female characters up in return.

    In the book, "Push," the sexual abuse that Precious suffers is not a punchline like it is in the movie. Her abuse is something she is overcoming day by day. You aren't wondering what's wrong with Precious that she is so powerless, so stuck, and defeated like you do when watching the movie.

    While watching the movie "Precious" you're hoping for Precious to just stand up for herself and move. When you read about Precious in the book "Push," Precious is up and moving, finding her feet. You wind up feeling, a lot earlier on, that Precious is going to leave the teacher her gratitude then go on to do something great.

     "Push" is triumphant. "Precious" is relief that the horror, that is Precious's early life, is finally over.  

    This is such a white approach to a black, inner city story. And the way "Precious" is cast, it's a half inch from a white savior story. And I'm certain that's why white Hollywood loved it so much.  If Whoopi Goldberg had played Miss Blue Rain, "Precious" would have been a FUBU movie as unfamiliar to white folks as "Set It Off."

    I can't stand "Daniels" for the way he showed black women in "Precious"  And, I didn't like him that much better for how completely flat and two-dimensional he made black women in "The Butler" either. But that's a whole other story.


    So now Daniel's has given us "Empire" with stereotypes piled on stereotypes,  a drug dealing, gangsta -sorta, music industry family with Taraji P Henson in it. And Henson being in it, insults me because she is good at her job and she's wasting herself in "Empire."

    Henson has won multiple awards as an actress and has been nominated for an Oscar. This woman had to calm the audience of "Person Of Interest" down via YouTube after her morally upstanding, police officer character was killed on that show --when she the only regular black female star and there was a slew of other white men they could have killed off for excitement. Now, Taraji P Henson is playing a neck-rolling, eye popping, angry, Cookie Lyons.

    Recently, in real life, Henson parted her lips to defend her co-star, Terrance Howard, serial dater of anything so long as it isn't a black female (Thank the Lawd)

    “Let’s pop the trunk to your life and see what’s dysfunctional and what’s bad … at the end of the day, we’re all human and we got flaws and we got sh*t,” Henson said.

    Well, let us check Howard's trunk first. There are the 5 or 6 people he's punched in the face, 5 of them women, 3 of the 5 being ex-wives and girlfriends-- and every single one of the wives/girlfriends is not-black. And he's made comments about why they aren't black (wants women to look like him he says)

    So it's not just that I can't stand the premise and stereotypes of "Empire." I cannot stomach  the thought that Daniels or Howard might make a nickel because I watch their show.

    I am not here for the new blacks, the black man that hit's women, the black woman that stands up for the black man that hits women, or the black director that goes out of his way to hire somebody that disrespects black women and hits non-black women.

    The protectors of people like Howard are undermining everybody really. Holding onto Daniels and Howard harms black women in front of camera, black behind the camera, and in real life. The images they present on TV, in movies, and the things done in real life aren't helpful to women's status in society either.  

    Taraji? She's on shakey ground with me. She has been so supportive of other black women when winning awards and such. And she's got a vibe like a "ride or die" chick.  But she does too much politicking for me to get a real bead on her.

    She backed off  and collapsed like a house of cards when she was disrespected by producers of "Person Of Interest" and this was before they killed her character.  The powers that be of POI didn't insist on her being on the cover a TV Guide with her two white, male co-stars. She wasn't supposed to be in a supporting role but a co-star.

     Okay. Yeah, she popped off in an unprofessional way at first.  But she still shouldn't have apologized like she was the one that did something wrong -- not without qualifying the apology with her main complaint.

    Yeah, I know you have to play the game the way the white gatekeepers want you to in order to stay on top in Hollywood. But you have to know where to draw the line And it seems clear to me  that Taraji knows where the line is but steps over it without any hesitation.
    "Even Henson said before the show [Empire] aired: 'The NAACP is going to get us. Barack Obama is going to hate us.' 

    With the possible exception of Denzel Washington, most black actors have had to take a series of stereotypical roles, play the hell out of them, then graduate to not having to take those roles again. Latifah has done it. Pinkett-Smith has done it. Taraji has been nominated for an Oscar. What the hell is she doing playing a character on "Empire" and defending Terrance Howard's worthless-@$$ in real life?

    And what is the NAACP doing giving her an award for playing "Cookie Lyons?" Her career should be beyond "Cookie Lyons" by now -- way beyond.

    But the biggest thing that gets me about Lee Daniel's is this. Between the lines I read him as making an effort to cash in on white views of black folks. The book"Push" was twisted into the movie "Precious" so that it would match white expectations of poor, black helplessness.  And casting the very pale  Paula Patton as the teacher, Blue Rain, instead of a Whoopi GoldFberg looking actress takes Precious three-quarters of the way into a yet another white savior fantasy.

    I'm not sure, but I'm thinking he twisted "The Butler" for white appeal as well.

    EXHIBIT C:  THE BUTLER(Forrest Gump-ish story about a black man
    who was a butler in the White House for 34 years)

    There is, in "The Butler,"  a two-dimensional but semi-realistic view of the main character's "black militant" son. At least the son does actually has realistic, negative views of white overt and covert racists. But the main character, Cecil Gaines? His true feelings about race, racism, and especially his feelings about white people are so watered down when he is at home with his family that the scenes feel cartoon-like in their simplicity.

    Of course there were real accomodationists, Uncle Toms, and Uncle Ruckus's among us during the Civil Rights Era. There were, are, and always will be. But none of these people are as at peace with themselves and their racial lot in life as Lee Daniels' Cecil Gaines character  Even Clarence Thomas, for example, has let his racism anger slip out.

    Plenty of my people, grandparents, great aunts and great uncles worked in white service back in the day. When they got a promotion or a pay increase from the white boss at work they knew it was because they worked twice as hard for half as much recognition. The gratitude for this half-ass recognition went 99/100ths toward God and nobody else.  I can only think of one exceptional white employer in my family's history and  THAT white man was a Jewish person who was still likely experiencing overt antisemitism in the 1940s and 50s. His empathy for the kind of racism my grandmother was dealing with daily was likely genuine and three-dimensional in type.

    I have never seen the kind of gratitude toward white people in the faces of my elders that I see in Cecil Gaines's face. Never.

    Of course men like this Cecil Gaines existed. I've heard tales. But anger and frustration in the white direction STILL slip out. There is STILL a much different face at home away from the white gaze. Cecil Gaines was drawn flat. The Gaines character was drawn in a what you see is what you get fashion--the way white people imagine "good black people" are.

    Black people have a mask they wear when under the white gaze. They take the mask off at home.  But we never see the main character, Cecil Gaines, with his mask completely off at home. Not completely. 

    The Cecil Gaines character being afraid to step a toe out of line is explained by generational differences; Gaines is aware of having to be twice as good to be considered half as good - which is possibly eternal for blacks in the United States; but having Gaines never be overtly resentful of whiteness, white people or their racism, never glad to be out of their oppressive presence, or relieved to be able to be able to be himself is just insulting.

    Cecil Gaines never says or does anything that white person wouldn't imagine he'd say or do until the last few minutes of the film. Heck, Gaines rarely says or does anything at home that he couldn't do or say at a KKK members house.

    I'm sure that Cecil's unswerving passivity made "The Butler" very comforting for the white audience.

    Despite all this, I really wasn't so sure that I was seeing white-sucking-up in this Forrest Gump like movie until the movie went through all the presidents except Jimmy Carter then cast a golden halo of approval over Ronald Reagan's head.

    We never see Jimmy Carter after seeing all the other presidents then near the end of "The Butler," Gaines has a reason to be personally grateful to Ronald Reagan--- the president that real life black people despise because of the overt racism he made more fashionable once again in the U.S. in the 1980s. If any president should have been skipped in a "black movie" it should have been Reagan.

    Even if those Ronald Reagan scenes actually happened in real life, any self respecting black director would have balanced that positive moment out with all the crap Reagan pulled on the black community and showed just how misguided the Gaines was before the very end.

    If you still don't find Lee Daniels suspect consider this: 

    Saaraa Bailey wrote in a review for

    Empire Creator Danny Strong speaks of a riding in a car and coming up with the idea of Empire while listening to a Jay Z or Puffy song. While I am sure this story read well on paper, it is problematic that a white man conceptualized Black wealth as intertwined with drugs.”

    I should have known that "Empire" was a white man's concept. "
    Empire" totally looks like the white imaginings of black people.

    In my mind it's completely predictable that Uncle Lee Daniel's would be the black director that jumped on "Empire" as a good idea.


    Have you ever seen so
    many biracial black men 
    in one movie 
    where being light-skinned or being biracial 
    wasn't a central subject?

    If Daniels were straight, would he be hiring light-skin, long haired black women for supporting cast?

    Is the casting simply a reflection of what Daniels finds attractive?

    Look at the "Precious Cast" again too
    All the actors that played characters with knowledge and common sense from start to finish are half white.

    VICTIM                 VICTIM-IZER               NURSE/FRIEND       TEACHER        SOCIAL WORKER

    In  "Precious" the characters get lighter and lighter as the character has more power and agency.

    It could really just happenstance that supporting cast

     NURSE/TEACHER/SOCIAL WORKER were all biracial
    then did the same thing 
    with supporting cast in 'The Butler"   
    But I'm watching him. 




    may not be problem free as far as black imagery is concerned, likely born of being a bit soap opera-ish in 2015. Flawed characters are in, flawed to the point that "Dexter," a series where a serial killer can be the hero.

    I miss Claire even if she was drawn rather flatly as well. But the black created and/or black influenced by black women do not go where Empire does.

    White conceived images of blackness on television, have much bigger problems.

    The only not white, not male main character gets killed for shock value and is replaced by a much whiter, but not white, female.

    The first three seasons of "The Walking Dead" had a black character named "T-Dog" who had 15 lines over three seasons, the other people of color being used like kibbles to throw the zombies off the scent of the white people that really count as human. The introduction of the "Michonne" character, who appears with two black male zombies being dragged behind her in chains made my jaw drop. Every time you think they must have hired black writers on that show, something else straight out of a 1980s can of instant black stereotypes drops into the storyline.

    "Empire" is a little different. Lee Daniels is black and he is capitalizing on white views of dysfunctional blackness and regurgitating this as entertainment. This takes the cake because some of black folk are eating this cake thinking it's safe because it appears to be something prepared by black hands.

    All of this is the reason why I'd rather my Uncle Ruckus-es come on out with it, just be bold and overt with whatever twisted mess they've got going on in their heads. Just let 'em say it. It simply creeps me out to think that stereotypes, racism, and internalized racism can just wash over me and others without notice.

    I'm still not sure I'm absolutely right about Daniels. I never did figure out what happened between him and Mo'Nique (star of "Precious"), by the way.

    But I'm watching him.  And you should too.