Racialicious

Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations. If you've been on the blog, you know how this Tumblr works, too. Including the moderation policy.
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Posts tagged "Black people"

blackfilm:

Lucky (trailer)

Lucky is a South African feature length film about a ten-year-old South African orphan who leaves his Zulu village to make his own life in the city…only to find no one will help him, except a formidable Indian woman called Padma. via Luckythemovie2011.com

available for instant screening on Netflix

A third pillar of white supremacy is the logic of Orientalism. Orientalism was defined by Edward Said as the process of the West defining itself as a superior civilization by constructing itself in opposition to an “exotic” but inferior “Orient.” (Here I am using the term “Orientalism” more broadly than to solely signify what has been historically named as the Orient or Asia.) The logic of Orientalism marks certain peoples or nations as inferior and as posing a constant threat to the well-being of empire. These peoples are seen as “civilizations”—they are not property or “disappeared”—however, they will always be imaged as permanent foreign threats to empire. This logic is evident in the anti-immigration movements within the United States to target immigrants of color. it does not matter how long immigrants of color reside in the United States, they generally become targeted as foreign threats, particularly during war time. Consequently, orientalism serves as the anchor for war, because it allows the United States to justify being in a constant state of war to protect itself from its enemies.
For example, the United States feels entitled to used Orientalist logic to justify racial profiling of Arab Americans so that it can be strong enough to fight the “war on terror.” Orientalism also allows the United States to defend the logics of slavery and genocide, as these practices enable the United States to stay “strong enough” to fight these constant wars. What becomes clear then is that Sora Han states—the United States is not at war; the United States is war. For the system of white supremacy to stay in place, the United States must always be at war.
Because we are situated within different logics of white supremacy, we may misunderstand a racial dynamic if we simplistically try to explain on logic for white supremacy with another logic. For instance, think about the first scenario that opens this essay: if we simply dismiss Latino/as or Arab peoples as “white,” we fail to understand how a racial logic of Orientalism is in operation. That is, Latino/as and Arabs are often situated in a racial hierarchy that privileges them over Black people. However, while Orientalist logic may bestow them some racial privilege, they are still cast as inferior yet threatening “civilizations” in the United States. Their privilege is not a signal that they will be assimilated, but that they will be marked as perpetual foreign threats to the US world order.

Andrea Smith on Orientalism/War as 1 of 3 pillars of white supremacy

taken from Color of Violence: the INCITE! Anthology

chapter 6: heteropatriarchy and the three pillars of white supremacy, rethinking women of color organizing

(via tranqualizer)

(via wretchedoftheearth)

nprmusic:

The Tennessee singer’s keening soprano shows off its twang, yet sounds totally contemporary. As she ranges across many musical paths — country blues, fiery hymns and more — Valerie June is careful to keep returning home to storytelling with just a few simple words and an acoustic guitar.

Stream Pushin’ Against a Stone now.

(via blackrockandrollmusic)

I went back and watched some of the footage of Jeantel’s testimony. I could see why some observers might be disturbed that the teen wasn’t able to express herself more clearly. At times she was barely audible, she didn’t always use standard English and she sometimes didn’t seem to understand what the lawyer was asking her. It can be painful for us to see inarticulate black folks propped up on a national stage, speaking to a mixed audience with an unpolished tongue—particularly when words like “creepy-ass cracker” and “nigga” are freely tossed into the mix, words that Jeantel told the jury that Trayvon used to describe Zimmerman to her.

It reminds me of the way my parents described their pain and cringing embarrassment whenever boxing great Joe Louis was being interviewed on television and he would give the English language a vicious beating. We have a desperate need to want to always put our best selves forward. If you are in a position representing the whole of black America—and let’s face it, any black person being covered on a national stage still represents each of us, as much as it hurts us to admit it in 2013—every syllable you utter is going to be vigorously scrutinized. With social media, the scrutiny is going to be magnified like an electron microscope. [Exhibits A, B and C: Charles Ramsey, Sweet Brown and Antoine Dodson]

I understand all of that. But let’s not take this thing too far.

Rachel Jeantel is a teenager, a 19-year-old girl who told the world what she heard that fateful February night on the phone with her longtime friend Trayvon. From the news reports produced by the mainstream media, you got the impression that Jeantel was genuine and believable. Of course reporters from outlets like the New York Times, Miami Herald and the AP are not going to feel the need to describe Rachel’s attitude or overuse of black English vernacular, but they will feel compelled to describe the effectiveness of her testimony. And I saw them use words like “transfixed” to describe the all-female, nearly all-white jury’s reaction to what Jeantel was saying. Perhaps if the prosecutors had done too much coaching of their star witness, her genuineness would not have shone through.

I also saw incredibly mean things said about her looks on social media, even seeing her described as “Precious”—referring to the movie character brought to life by Gabby Sidibe, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of the troubled overweight teen. Disturbingly, this has become the go-to moniker for overweight, dark-skinned girls—aided by rapper Kanye West, who leveled that scarily ignorant line in his song “Mercy.”

Plus my b*tch, make your b*tch look like Precious

Jeantel had to live through a close friend being murdered, watching his killer walk free for far too long, then sitting in front of the world and recounting the painful night with an intimidating older white man directing questions at her while she’s clearly scared out of her mind.

Now, on top of all that, she has to endure some assholes critiquing her looks?

Really, people? Grow the hell up.

Well dear readers, I have been watching a lot of documentaries lately (the product of waiting to go back to work) so I thought I would share the one’s I have seen and my thoughts with you. However, the list alone is a multi-page word document (when I commit, I commit; Oops) so I will start with the list of African American specific documentaries and go from there:

4 Little Girls (1997)

A Man Named Pearl (2006)

A Question of Color (1992)

A. Philip Randolph: For Jobs & Freedom (1996)

African American Lives (2006)

African American Lives 2 (2008)

All of Us: Protecting Black Women Against AIDS (2009)

America Beyond the Color Line (2005)

BaadAssss Cinema: A Bold Look at 70s Blaxploitation Films (2002)

Banished (2006)

Bastards of the Party (2005)

Between Black and White (1994)

Black American Conservatism: An Exploration of Ideas (1992)

Black Is – Black Ain’t: A Personal Journey Through Black Identity (1995)

Black Like Who? (1997)

Black on Black (1968)

Blacking Up: Hip Hop’s Remix of Race and Identity (2010)

Breaking the Huddle (2008)

Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin (2002)

By River, By Rail (1998)

Chester Himes: A Rage in Harlem (2009)

Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed (2004)Citizen King (2004)

COINTELPRO: The FBI’s War on Black America (2009)

Color Adjustment (1991)

Crisis in Levittown (1957)

Dorothy Dandridge: An American Beauty (2003)

Ethnic Notions (1986)

Eyes on the Prize Series (1987)

Fannie Lou Hamer: Voting Rights Activists (2009)

Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans (2008)

Freedom Riders (2009)

Good Hair (2009)

Goodbye Uncle Tom (1971)

Half Past Autumn: The Life and Work of Gordon Parks (2000)

Hoop Dreams (1994)

It’s a Damn Shame: Homosexuality in Hop-Hop (2006)

Jazz (2001)

Just Black?: Multi-Racial Identity (1992)

Ku Klux Klan: A Secret History (1998)

Lady Day Sings the Blues (2005)

Malcolm X: Make It Plain (1994)

Midnight Ramble: Oscar Micheaux and the Story of Race Movies (1994)

The N Word: Divided We Stand (2006)

Passin’ It On: the Black Panthers’ Search for Justice (2006)

Prom Night in Mississippi (2009)

Racism in America: Small Town 1950s Case Study

Ralph Ellison: Invisible Man, Celebrated Writer (2009)

Reconstruction: The Second Civil War (2004)

Roads to Memphis: the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. (2010)

Scottsboro: An American Tragedy (2005)

Secret Daughter (1996)

Sisters of Selma: Bearing Witness for Change (2007)

Slavery and the Making of America (2004)

Slavery by Another Name (2012)

Soul Food Junkies (2012)

Soundtrack for a Revolution (2009)

Strange Fruit (2002)

The Abolitionists (2013)

The Black List: Volume 1 (2008)

The Black List: Volume 2 (2009)

The Black List: Volume 3

The Black Power Mixtape, 1967-1975 (2011)

The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords (1998)

The Black Wall Street

The Central Park Five (2013)

The Darker Side of Black (1996)

The Language You Cry In (1998)

The Loving Story (2011)

The Massachusetts 54th Colored Infantry (1991)

The Mirror Lied (1999)

The Murder of Emmett Till (2003)

The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow (2004)

The Two Nations of Black America (2008)

Two Dollars and A Dream (1989)

Unchained Memories: Readings From the Slave Narratives (2003)

Underground Railroad: the William Still Story (2012)

Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson (2005)

Wattstax (1973)

We Shall Overcome (1988)

When the Levies Broke (2006)

With All Deliberate Speed (2005)

(via seanpadilla)

blacktheatrix:

Ira Frederick Aldridge was the first black actor to play Othello. Born in New York in 1807, he emigrated to England at 17 where he began his Shakespearean career. At the London Royal Theatre in 1826, Aldridge became the first black Othello, as opposed to the custom of the time to put white actors in blackface. In addition to Othello, Aldridge also played many other lead roles, including:
Macbeth in Macbeth 
Richard III in Richard III
London during this time was the epicenter of the pro-slavery movement in England, and Aldridge faced many trials because of it. He received scathing remarks in newspaper reviews. One paper, “The Atheneum”, objected to his performance on stage with actress Ellen Tree (playing Desdemona) saying that she was being “pawed about on the stage by a black man.” After a series of 11 performances at the Surrey Theatre, he was described in a press report as an “unseemly nigger.”
While ostracized in London, Aldridge was able to find fame outside of the capital. He was praised for his work in Manchester, Sheffield, Newcastle and Liverpool; he also gained international fame by touring Ireland, Berlin, and St. Petersburg, among other cities. 
Following a performance in Russia in 1863, French poet and novelist Théophile Gautier noted that Aldridge’s performance was “Othello himself, as Shakespeare has created him…quiet, reserved, classic and majestic.”
Aldridge died in August of 1867 and was given a state funeral.
(information gathered from arogundade.com)
(more information can be found here)

blacktheatrix:

Ira Frederick Aldridge was the first black actor to play Othello. Born in New York in 1807, he emigrated to England at 17 where he began his Shakespearean career. At the London Royal Theatre in 1826, Aldridge became the first black Othello, as opposed to the custom of the time to put white actors in blackface. In addition to Othello, Aldridge also played many other lead roles, including:

  • Macbeth in Macbeth 
  • Richard III in Richard III

London during this time was the epicenter of the pro-slavery movement in England, and Aldridge faced many trials because of it. He received scathing remarks in newspaper reviews. One paper, “The Atheneum”, objected to his performance on stage with actress Ellen Tree (playing Desdemona) saying that she was being “pawed about on the stage by a black man.” After a series of 11 performances at the Surrey Theatre, he was described in a press report as an “unseemly nigger.”

While ostracized in London, Aldridge was able to find fame outside of the capital. He was praised for his work in Manchester, Sheffield, Newcastle and Liverpool; he also gained international fame by touring Ireland, Berlin, and St. Petersburg, among other cities. 

Following a performance in Russia in 1863, French poet and novelist Théophile Gautier noted that Aldridge’s performance was “Othello himself, as Shakespeare has created him…quiet, reserved, classic and majestic.”

Aldridge died in August of 1867 and was given a state funeral.

(information gathered from arogundade.com)

(more information can be found here)

(via diasporicroots)

From Shadow and Act:

The terms just isn’t what it used to be - or doesn’t mean what it was once collectively believed to mean. It’s evolving. It’s no longer *uncool* to be called a nerd. In fact, it’s a label many wear very proudly, as it’s redefined.

I recall seeing a sticker on a parked car here in NYC that read: “If being a nerd means that I’m not the dumbest muthaf*cker in the room, then I’ll definitely be a nerd." Or something like that…
 
Other terms I’ve seen/heard include: “Nerd-chic” or “Nerd-cool”… and more.
Some have joked that President Barack Obama is the idol black nerds have longed for and needed, adding that he’s the best thing for black nerds everywhere, as he’s helped make it cool to be a nerd who happens to be black.
There have even been articles on the so-called new acceptance of black nerds, or “blerds” as I’ve heard some say, like THIS one from New York Magazine, titled Revenge Of The Black Nerd.
And so on, and so forth…
So I suppose it was only a matter of time before filmmakers hoped on and rode this wave of newfound black nerdom, we could call it.
 
Here’s one, titled Carbonerdious, from director Tony G. Williams… 

Yes yes, y’all! Actor and graphic novelist Erika Alexander (you may know her as Living Single's Maxine Shaw) approached the R to cross-post the very first post on her blog, Showbiz Is Glamorous—and we were thrilled to do so!!!

Check it out:

Why did I write an episode of Mad Men with Negroes? And by that I mean with “Negro” characters in it, not with.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Anyway, why did I write an episode of TV that I know will never be made? 

ThoughI work as an actress and have pitched and sold a television series or two in my time in Hollywood, I’m not a writer on Mad Men, so this episode won’t appear anywhere but here. Why, then? And why negroes? Aren’t we finished with all that? In honor of the Season 6 premiere, let me tell you about it.

I like Mad Men. A lot. I like the subject matter (advertising); I like the cast (Don Draper is hot); I like the look (sexy Eames meets Op Art); I like the writing (Matthew Weiner is a storytelling beast). I love the writing.

I have only one issue with Mad Men (OK, with a bunch of shows, but let’s stick with this one): I’d love to see more diversity. I’m a Black actress, so diversity is an issue that comes up for me. A lotMad MenGame Of ThronesGirlsVeep–these are cool shows, except for the fact that they would really rock with more people of color, series regulars or otherwise. I complain, wtf?…and bemoan, WTF!…but alas, for all my years in TV, I’m not able to make a difference in my own living room. Or am I?

The rest of the post is here, including a link to the script. Enjoy!

There’s a comforting-to-white-people fiction about racism and racial inequality in the United States today: They’re caused by a small, recalcitrant group who cling to their egregiously inaccurate beliefs in the moral, intellectual and economic superiority of white people.

The reality: racism and racial inequality aren’t just supported by old ideas, unfounded group esteem or intentional efforts to mistreat others, said Nancy DiTomaso, author of the new book, The American Non-Dilemma: Racial Inequality Without Racism. They’re also based on privilege, she said — how it is shared, how opportunities are hoarded and how most white Americans think their career and economic advantages have been entirely earned, not passed down or parceled out.

The way that whites, often unconsciously, hoard and distribute advantage inside their almost all white networks of family and friends is one of the driving reasons that in February just 6.8 percent of white workers remained unemployed while 13.8 percent of black workers and 9.6 percent of Hispanic workers were unable to find jobs, DiTomaso said

DiTomaso concludes, based on her research, that most white Americans engage, at least a few times per year, in the activities that foster inequality. While they may not deliberately discriminate against black and other non-white job seekers, they take actions that make it more likely that white people will be employed — without thinking that what they’re doing amounts to discrimination.

"The vast majority assumed everyone has the same opportunities, and they just somehow tried harder, were smarter," DiTomaso said of those she interviewed. "Not seeing how whites help other whites as the primary way that inequality gets reproduced today is very helpful. It’s easy on the mind."

So white Americans tell a neighbor’s son about a job, hire a friend’s daughter, carry the resume of a friend (or, for that matter, a friend’s boyfriend’s sister) into the boss’s office, recommend an old school mate or co-worker for an unadvertised opening, or just say great things about that job applicant whom they happen to know. But since most Americans, white and black, live virtually segregated lives, and since advantages, privileges and economic progress have already accrued in favor of whites, the additional advantages that flow from this help go almost exclusively to whites, DiTomaso said.

DiTomaso’s work does confirm that networks — not just the kind you build over awkward conversations, finger foods and watered-down cocktails but the kind you’re born into — matter, Austin said. It also points to just how different forms of inequality feed one another. Family-and-friends segregation feeds job and income inequality. That in turn feeds neighborhood and school segregation. That then leaves some kids less likely to receive a quality education and escape from the cycle, he said.

It’s not that black workers don’t attempt the same sort of job assists within their own networks, said Deirdre Royster, an economic sociologist at New York University and author of Race and the Invisible Hand: How White Networks Exclude Black Men From Blue Collar Jobs.

African Americans ask neighbors, significant others, the significant others of neighbors, relatives and friends about open jobs, too. But since black unemployment rates were far higher than white rates before, during and after the recession, the number of people in a typical black social network who are in a position to help is far more limited.

According to Royster, there’s an additional twist: When blacks are aware of a job, they describe the job, the boss, the company and its preferences and needs. Then they follow up with a warning.

"They give the person looking for a job all sorts of information and then they say, ‘But don’t tell them I sent you,’" said Royster.

Black workers are aware of something that researchers are still trying to explain: White bosses often worry, lack of statistical evidence aside, that black workers are more likely to sue them or band together in the workplace and try to change things, Royster said. That seems all the more likely if the black workers already know one another, she said. And many white hiring managers still assume, consciously or unconsciously, that black workers bring undesirable workplace habits and qualities, Royster said.

Janell Ross, “Black Unemployment Driven By White America’s Favors To Friends,” Huff Post Black Voices 3/29/13

Grace Lee Boggs, the 97-year-old feminist, activist, and philosopher, was born in the United Stated in 1915 to Chinese immigrant parents. Boggs earned her PhD in 1940; these credentials were no shield against discrimination based on her Chinese ancestry. When Boggs married African American activist James Boggs, over a decade before the Supreme Court of the United States invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage, she made the choice to add his name to her own. Their marriage would last until James Boggs’ death 40 years later.

In observing debates around the politics of naming, especially when it comes to gender, I often think of Boggs. Someone who knows little of her life and politics, or of intersectionality, might judge Boggs’ last name as an acceptance of a patriarchal naming tradition that privileges men. But is it?

The argument could also be made that by adding the last name of her black husband to her own Chinese name Boggs was putting into personal action the political solidarity between people of color traditionally pitted against one another by white supremacy. Perhaps her acceptance of the name was even a revolutionary act that flew in the face of the laws of a country that said race must determine whom you choose to love?

Or maybe, in 1953, a deeply political Chinese American woman marrying a black man simply had bigger fish to fry than worrying about her last name? Of course, these arguments are just as much speculation as the first. Still, I’d argue it is Boggs’ life-long record as a thought leader in the labor, civil rights, women’s rights, and environmental justice movements that actually defines her identity.

Boggs put into action hooks’ concept of ideas over identity long before the rest of us even started talking about it. That’s an example that could do us all some good.

—In all of the recent controversy about what women should and shouldn’t be doing with our last names, I think Dr. Sarah Jackson echoes my sentiment. Check out what she said on the R today!