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Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to see Community and Dan Harmon back together. But it’ll be a hollow victory if the show’s renewal comes at the cost of solid character arcs for Shirley, Troy and Abed. (Chang … well.) 

It’s a positive that Harmon admitted in “Repilot” that Troy, in particular, has suffered over the past few years. That’s through no fault of Donald Glover, mind you; but even if Glover’s able to make bits like the Zach Braff joke and “YOU STAGED A ROBOT FIGHT?!” work, it’s a far cry from the Troy we saw in Season 1, who was able to balance being a true student-athlete with his expanding horizons within the Group. Remember the Troy who showed he could lead the gang on his 21st birthday? It’d be nice to see that guy again before Glover leaves the show, especially since it won’t be that long.

For his part, Abed’s journey toward a post-Troy life was an unexpected highlight of last season, both in the InspecTiCon episode and his meet-cute episode with Rachel. (Although, typical of the season, the writers created a girlfriend for Abed and promptly forgot about her.)

If there’s any silver lining to Glover leaving, it’s the thought that it could give Yvette Nicole Brown some more screen time; the idea of Shirley rebuilding her professional life on top of her family life (how long ‘til the first Malcolm Jamal-Warner sighting?) should be enough of a story for Brown to dive into, if Harmon and his writers decide to bring the show back to its ensemble roots and veer away from making Jeff the center of attention. 

- AG


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


Injury & Insult: Trayvon Martin, racism in the system & a revolution amongst us by CeCe McDonald
August 5, 2013

As I sit and watch Michelle Alexander and Chris Hayes have a conversation about race, as well as all of the nation in light of the George Zimmerman acquittal, it can’t be any clearer that the injustice system has failed us once again. So with that it’s obvious to know how I feel at this time. Not just for myself but for all the “minorities” who have been affected by this faulty judicial system that treat us as second class citizens, even less than that. To be looked down upon and to add injury to insult, laugh in our faces, throw salt on our wounds, and even piss on our graves. Rapper Lil’ Wayne said it best, and I quote, “God bless Amerika, this ol’ godless Amerika… sweet land of kill ‘em all and let ‘em die.”

Highlighting on the injury to insult, many right-winged conservative foot-mouthed assholes, which include Zimmerman’s defense team, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O’Reilly, who have tried to justify Trayvon Martin’s killing by demonizing Trayvon by saying “he was wearing what most criminals wear,” referring to his hoodie or that his toxicology report came back with positive test results of marijuana so “he was up to ‘no good’.” So I guess that means that wearing hoodies and smoking pot, going to the store and walking home talking to a friend on the phone is deemed “suspicious” and therefore someone can follow you and kill you and because you seemed suspicious, your death will be overlooked. But we all know that this was more than hoodies and marijuana–it was about racial profiling and the (implicit) racism that still exist in what’s supposed to be a post-racial “color-blind” society.

I’m watching a news show when they did a segment on Rush Limbaugh doing his “angry white man” rant where he went on record to say that white people don’t have to feel guilty about slavery, that in fact they should be the last people to feel guilty about it, that a white man (referring to Abraham Lincoln) saved blacks from slavery and how the nation went to war just for that. But here’s a fact: Lincoln said that if he could save the union without ending slavery he would. So that goes to show that he didn’t care for blacks, or for that much wasn’t racist.

With that he continues to make ignorant and offensive comments about blacks, and then he says that Pres. Obama was “selfish” and “inconsiderate” for a comment the Pres. made at a press conference calling for mature conversations and discussions about race after the Zimmerman verdict where he said that “Trayvon Martin could have been him 35 years ago.” Tell me, how can a white man make any comment about a situation or an experience that he would have never dealt with (racism or discrimination) in his life, EVER? And how can someone be so oblivious and ignorant about race relations in this country? And why isn’t he, and others like him, being called out on their disconnect from reality with ignorance and deliberate disregard to the sensitive issues surrounding race and the inequality for minorities in this country.

Then there is Bill O’Reilly, who made the most outlandish comments about African Americans starting with something he said about black people who were dining at Sylvia’s–a soul food restaurant where he too was dining. He said that “there wasn’t one person yelling “I need more iced tea, m-f’ers.” It was like being in an Italian restaurant in a white suburban area. The tone of his voice made me think that he was sincerely surprised that he didn’t walk into some stereotypical idea of an African American establishment and of African Americans as people. As an if he were going to come upon a group of uncouth Neanderthals who have yet to discover how to use eating utensils and speak with proper grammar. But that was only one of the many insults aimed at the African American community. This very same man said that “to take on black crime, black culture needs to change,” the root of black crime is because of the disintegration of black families, and that “young black women need to be stopped from having babies out of wedlock.”… Really? See, it’s that kind of ignorant thinking that halts the progression of equality and perpetuates stereotypical ideas and racial profiling that stigmatizes the minorities who are nothing like the ideas others associate with our cultural backgrounds. These men, and many other people like them, are the pioneers of prejudice, and as long as they’re not being called out on their bullshit, they’re going to continue,

After the Zimmerman trial, many activists and organizations rallied and demonstrated for Florida’s Governor Rick Scott to call for a special session to reform or reject the “Stand Your Ground” law.” As of late Phillip Agnew with the Dream Defenders have been occupying the capitol building there in Florida until FL Gov. Rick Scott calls that special session. He stands with the SYG law, and feels that it needs no reform. Now… this law that has let a man get away with murder, has caused a Florida woman to spend 20 years in prison! Marissa Alexander, a 30-year-old African American mother, was sentenced to 20 years behind bars after she was charged for firing a gun as a warning shot at her then-abusive husband who admitted to the allegations. She never shot anyone, in fact no one was even injured–well, except her at the hands of her husband, and a man who shot a teenage boy in claims of self-defense. In the case of Marissa, she was denied the right to use SYG–not killing anyone–and sentenced to two decades in prison. Can someone please explain to me how an injustice such as this not make one question the biased laws and the discrimination that still exist in the “justice system.” And people wonder why the prison percentages between whites and non-whites are so disproportionate. More importantly when are people going to ACT on these injustices and fight for the equality of each person in this country, both free and in the “system.”

It’s hard for me having to watch the trial and seeing everything unfold. Where all of us speculating knowing that this whole situation, from the incident itself to the trial, is all based on race–racial profiling and racism spewing from it all, regardless of what anyone say or think. I know that people have been comparing my case to Zimmerman’s, and yes it’s obvious that laws are biased. But even I can say I came out blessed knowing that (a) the system was against me to begin with, and that (b) looking at other cases similar to mines, I didn’t have to spent extensive time–even decades–in prison. People don’t understand that I actually feel a guilt for that. I know that nothing beyond the incident and getting arrested was in my control, as it is for anyone who is a victim of the system. But for me it hurts–a lot. My heart aches for the Patreese Johnsons, the Marissa Alexanders, and the Chrishaun McDonalds. But no pain can bring back the Trayvon Martins, the Oscar Grants, the Matthew Shepards, the James Birds, the Gwen Araujos, and all of our brothers and sisters who were victims of hate in this world. I can say that survivor’s guilt is real. That I’m still, to this day, dealing with the fear and sadness of my experience with hate and discrimination. How blessed am I to have so much love and support from my family, and I say family which extends to all my friends and supporters around the world.

My love and support is with Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin as they go through this journey of leaving a positive legacy for Trayvon. I couldn’t help but to cry after hearing Sybrina tell an audience at the National Urban League to “wrap their minds around that there is no prom for Trayvon. There is not high school graduation for Trayvon. There is no college for Trayvon. There aren’t any grandchildren from Trayvon” all because of George Zimmerman. When I went through my own incident, that was something that harbored on my mind constantly–how would my death have affected my family and friends, and how different would things have been if it were the other way around? That question was rhetorical. We know what the outcome would have been, just like we know what the outcome would’ve been if Zimmerman was black and Trayvon Martin was white. Or even if Zimmerman was black and it was just a black-on-black crime. Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin are catalyst for not just their own son’s death, but for all those who have been victims of hate and violence. They are heroes in my eyes. Strong and brave, creating a voice that has been long overdue to be heard, and they deserve the acknowledgment and respect that some, not all, have given them. I love them as if they were my own mom and dad, and we should understand that their struggle is our struggle.

Aside from the attention surrounding the Zimmerman trial, issues of racism and discrimination extend beyond that. The debates about immigration reform and the Voting Rights Act have pulled back the veil of intolerance of equality and acceptance in this country. The insults aimed at the African-American and Latino communities are disrespectful, dehumanizing, ignorant, unintelligent, and very hurtful nonetheless. Indeed it’s a blessing that the SCOTUS recognize the rights for gays and lesbians to get married legally in and have the same federal rights as hetero-marriages, but I don’t want people to lose sight of the other issues that will affect us all in the long run. Their deliberate efforts to minimize the minority by restricting voters rights is a slap in the face of the civil rights movements of the past and present that fought so hard for the rights of minorities to vote. And the idea that sending all the immigrants back and building large fences will solve all of America’s issues. But it seems that this policy only apply to black and brown people, and knowing all of this is the attempt of Republicans and right-wing conservatives to win elections that they’re obviously losing. So I’m guessing that insulting and stereotyping us will bring them those votes they need? These people need to get a serious grasp of reality, like really soon…. Not that I care for them to ever take office. Actually, I just don’t care for them at all, but I do believe we all deserve respect as humans, regardless of our race, gender, or social status.

I really want people to start thinking on how we can help minorities and the poor to help us all grow as a community and united front. Can we challenge ourselves to unite all races of this nation by taking an initiative to end our own preconceptions of each other? I know that I was extremely upset after having a visit from a close friend, and he told me that people have been criticizing him and my other non-Black friends for being in pictures that they post online. That divisive attitude is why I ask for a mend in race relations. Have these people ever thought how it feel for them, and myself, to have to deal with me being in prison. It’s always easy for someone to conjure up negative thoughts and reactions to my “white” friends who’ve gained popularity from their “black” friend in prison. First of let me say that there is nothing glamorous or “popular” about being in prison. And why can’t there be support for those who have went through this struggle with me instead of backlash. I love these people. They have been here for me since day one, and regardless of what others say, they will be my support and my family and at this point you’re either with us or against us and none of us have time for hate or divisive attitudes or ideas, especially at critical times like now. And that’s not just directed at those who are commenting about me, my case, and my fam–but for all people across the nation and around the world.

I feel a revolution is amongst us, and I know that there is no better time than now. I wish that I could march with the many of people who will be marching across Washington this August (8/25-26) in honor of the 50th year anniversary for the Civil Rights March on Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other prominent figures of the Civil Rights Movement of that era. I encourage everyone to join the march and the experience of unity amongst all people–races, genders, sexualities, social statuses, and cultural backgrounds. Even if you can’t make it to the march still get active and get involved however that may be.

Before I go, I just want to say that I love you all more than ever now. I couldn’t be more conscious of the love and support you all give me–my family, and that’s kin and chosen, and of course I have chosen all of you. You’re all my family and I will love and cherish and appreciate you all until there’s no more of me. We are the future, we are the revolution!

The quote of the month is given to us by author Ashley Smith:

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumblebee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”

Until next time my loves keep fighting, stay strong, and live out loud. Do you, cause no one can do it better!



(via ethiopienne)


image Gene Demby, Code Switch’s blog host, writes:

So you’re at work one day and you’re talking to your colleagues in that professional, polite, kind of buttoned-up voice that people use when they’re doing professional work stuff.

Your mom or your friend or your partner calls on the phone and you answer. And without thinking, you start talking to them in an entirely different voice — still distinctly your voice, but a certain kind of your voice less suited for the office. You drop the g’s at the end of your verbs. Your previously undetectable accent — your easy Southern drawl or your sing-songy Caribbean lilt or your Spanish-inflected vowels or your New Yawker — is suddenly turned way, way up. You rush your mom or whomever off the phone in some less formal syntax (“Yo, I’mma holler at you later,”), hang up and get back to work.”

And congrats to friend of the R Gene Demby for being a part of this great NPR project!

But the Bengalis in the mixed-race community kept few written accounts of their lives. Bald’s evidence is their footprint in business—restaurants and shops—and their occupations listed in census tables, for example, as countermen, chauffeurs, porters, firemen and subway laborers.

My grandfather became a shopkeeper and lived the rest of his life in the black community of New Orleans. People from around the world melded easily into our location. In the 19th century, Tremé was home to one of the most powerful and liberal communities of free people of color in America, rooted not only in Africa but also Europe, the Caribbean and—I recently learned from a classmate—as far away as New Zealand.

My grandfather married a woman of French, Choctaw, African and possibly Mexican descent: a New Orleans Negro. They remained in Tremé until he died, just before the birth of their last child: my father.

But the neighborhood changed in that time. The year after my grandfather arrived, in 1897, New Orleans decided to locate its red light district, Storyville, on the edge of Tremé. As Bald explains, for the next 20 years, Storyville and, after it, the Iberville projects had the effect of decaying the area where many Bengali and black families had settled. And in the 1960s, the federal government erected an interstate highway down Claiborne Avenue, the heart of the black and Bengali business community, further eroding the ability to trace the settlers and their descendants.

Still, black Bengali descendants like my family in New Orleans clung to the oral histories of our immigrant ancestors who—whether by choice or common oppression—embraced the black community in eras of fierce white persecution. Our stories lacked, however, any details about Indian families abroad, the villages that peddlers left or the ways that they arrived in the United States. Bald reweaves this frayed context of lives and, on a larger scale, serves as testimony to the black community’s diversity.
Fatima Shaik, “Black And Bengali,” In These Times 3/2/13


Everyone asks me about my “long distance relationship.” You see, my husband (and my partner for 8 years) lives in Texas. I, however, live in New York. I used to live in Texas, but had to move for graduate studies. We are both immigrants and have applied for green cards (he was lucky enough to receive sponsorship from his employer). Because we are both immigrants, our visas dictate where we can stay, what we can do. Until further notice, he will continue to live in Texas and I will continue to live in New York.

Everyone asks me about my “long distance relationship.” How do I do it? Don’t I miss him? They don’t get it. They say they would never be able to do it and hint that they doubt the authenticity of our relationship.

But here’s the thing they don’t understand. We’re immigrants. We have “long-distance” relationships with everyone. Even our own selves.

My first “long-distance” relationship began a decade ago when I left India to come to the United States. I had lived in the same house as my parents for seventeen years and now all of a sudden, my relationship with my parents was “long-distance.” My relationship with my sister, all of my friends also became “long-distance.”

Of course, I made new friends in Texas. And then, like immigrants do, I moved. They moved. More long-distance relationships. It’s even hard to find love in these scenarios. What do you do if you move? If the other person moves? You can’t move. Your visa says you cannot move. You hope that your heart will fall for a citizen, but when it is someone else with a visa just like yours, you know you’re screwed.

Then there is the long-distance relationship I have with the part of me I left back in India. The long-distance relationship I have with India, with this idea of “home” that never will be home.

Sometimes I feel like I have a long-distance relationship with everyone. I am an immigrant after all, and like someone once said, I carry the border within me in my heart. I am often neither of here nor there, so even when I’m with someone, I might be far far away.

I try not to pity myself. I am one of the lucky ones. My partner and I might get green cards. We’re doing ok financially. We will move around a little more and then figure out a way to be together. It’s inevitable. We will be together.

But, think of the mother who crosses the border or the ocean leaving behind her two-year-old knowing that she might never see her again, but then maybe manages to bring her anyway ten, fifteen years later. Long-distance love.

Think of the woman who sponsors her parents and waits in line for years, hoping that one day she would be able to take care of them in their old ages as they did when she was young. Long-distance love.

Think of the man who sponsors his wife across the world and waits for their number to come, maintaining their love through skype chats and endless phone cards. Long-distance love.

And let’s not forget those who cannot use their marriage or their love or their relationships to apply for visas or green cards. Think of the woman who loves another woman and, for whom, Immigration has no answer, no matter how delayed.

We’re immigrants. After a while, we get used to that endless longing in our hearts - for another world, for a home, for that loved one. We wait. And our love is resilient.

A post to contemplate on International Women’s Day.

Hip-hop music is frequently described as violent and anti-law enforcement, with the implication that its artists glorify criminality. A new content analysis subtitled “Hip-Hop Artists’ Perceptions of Criminal Justice“, by criminologists Kevin Steinmetz and Howard Henderson, challenge this conclusion.

After an analysis of a random sample of hip-hop songs released on platinum-selling albums between 2000 and 2010, Steinmetz and Henderson concluded that the main law enforcement-related themes in hip-hop are not pleasure and pride in aggressive and criminal acts, but the unfairness of the criminal justice system and the powerlessness felt by those targeted by it.

Lyrics about law enforcement, for example, frequently portrayed cops as predators exercising an illegitimate power. Imprisonment, likewise, was blamed for weakening familial and community relationships and described a modern method of oppression.

Their analysis refutes the idea that hip-hop performers are embracing negative stereotypes of African American men in order to sell albums. Instead, it suggests that the genre retains the politicized messages that it was born with.

Sociological Images’ Lisa Wade takes a good look at what rap really says about the law enforcement/criminal system—suffice to say, it isn’t what’s been hyped. Check out the breakdown on the R today!

In 2007, I moved to San Francisco from Stockton – a place once named the most miserable city in Forbes, a place where empty storefronts and people hanging out in front of liquor stores are fairly familiar scenes. I attended the journalism program at SFSU and lived in the Sunset, but was immediately drawn to the Fillmore. I eventually started covering and writing stories about the Fillmore for my reporting class. While I researched the area’s rich history – including the disastrous urban renewal program, which pushed out many of the city’s African Americans in the 1940s through the 1970s – I began to understand why there aren’t many of us in San Francisco’s historically black neighborhood. Partly it’s because there just aren’t many black people here in the city these days (according to the 2010 census, African Americans make up 5.8 percent of SF).

It wasn’t until I graduated college that I realized that while I was writing about black businesses and black people, all my friends were white. This wasn’t a brand new concept to me. I spent my days in high school listening to indie rock and punk music. In Stockton, I was used to being the only black person at rock shows, and I was one of only two black girls in my graduating high school class. The racism I experienced in my hometown, while sparse, was overt and by strangers. But there was something different going on here in SF. Partying with the hipster white dudes in the Mission would start out fun, but our hangouts would end with me feeling conflicted. If these people were my friends, why did I feel so bad when I hung out with them?

Before all the hate mail rolls in, I’m not saying that San Francisco is racist and my experiences with assholes in the Mission can’t possibly be a statement about this city as a whole. That deserves a larger article. However, in this city that prides itself in being so progressive, it feels like we need to go back and master something both simple as well as incredibly complex – each other. We can learn to embrace our differences without making them a joke or a spectacle. It might take more effort than making bourbon ice cream, but I feel like we can do it.

Crystal Sykes, “I’m Not Your ‘Black Friend’,” The Bold Italic 2/5/13

At the Clínica Monseñor Oscar A. Romero in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights, Victoria Ortega, 33, focuses on women’s health, HIV prevention, beautification, and safety. As a transgender woman and community organizer, she actively incorporates LGBTQ issues into her community-building in the neighborhood.

Ortega has built a great nonprofit career for herself and recognizes the employment and career limitations transgender women face. “There is a lack of leadership-building for trans women,” she says.

Latino/a transgender people often live in extreme poverty. According to a National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) survey, twenty-eight percent of transgender Latinos reported a household income of less than $10,000 a year, which is nearly double the rate for transgender people of all races, more than five times the general Latino/a population rate, and seven times the general U.S. population rate. For non-citizen Latino/a participants, the poverty rate was 43 percent. The unemployment rate for Latino/a transgender people is 20 percent.

When Alexis Martinez, 63, came out in 1998, her successful printing business began to suffer because she was losing clients. She says she was also harassed by workers because of her gender identity.

Martinez says she was aware of her gender identity from a very early age. “When I was four years old, I knew what I was,” she says. At nineteen Martinez began taking hormones, but she stopped at the age of 29. As a result, she became depressed and battled alcoholism and cocaine addiction until she resumed hormone treatments at the age of 43.

“There are multiple challenges– housing, jobs, and medical care– exacerbated in the trans community,” Martinez says.

Erika L. Sánchez, “Transgender Latin@s Forge Their Own Path, Help Others,” NBC Latino 1/4/13

The closing lyric of “The Only Black Guy at the Indie-Rock Show” goes, “I wonder if white folks who like Jay-Z often feel as alienated as me,” which opens a conundrum. Somewhere between the Beastie Boys and Eminem, hip hop became one of the most popular art forms on earth, one socially acceptable for white people to like. Whereas American society quickly co-opted and overtook rock‘n’roll, crafting it into its own (white) image, hip hop remained in the category of “black” music and ultimately became the easiest way to stick it to the Baby Boomer Establishment. Soon, African-Americans were recognized as the arbiters of cool — finally recognized for our contributions to American popular culture, dating back almost an entire century — and whiteness became a synonym for squareness.

The reason why the Stuff White People Like humor genre has so many holes in it is because the vast majority of the things lampooned are not white-specific, they’re creature comforts of the middle class. But the lines between race and class are getting blurrier and blurrier by the day, and there are quite a few people of color being born into comfortable financial situations who will likely never know what it’s like to be poor. Thus, memes like White Person Bingo end up portraying a common theme in popular culture: class stereotyping poorly and tastelessly masquerading as race stereotyping. This is hugely problematic because it implies people of color are exempt from liking or owning things that are associated with the middle class. Sometimes the people who make these jokes don’t realize there’s a not-so-fine line between craft beer and malt liquor, and it’s not a line of color.

There is the implicit notion that indie rock is generally linked to the “highbrow middle class” end of American culture. (If your Average American Joe drew a line that connected NPR, indie rock, and white people, that line would be straight as an arrow.) Critics and fans suggest it’s an auteur’s medium, while areas of art chiefly practiced by people of color are most often celebrated for their immediacy and accessibility. (In layman’s terms, the most acclaimed works by POC are things you don’t have to think hard about.) This line was less defined in 2012 (Channel Orange and goodkid, M.A.A.D. city, for instance), but the topic of race and class frequently come up when an artist of color creates something widely considered “highfalutin’” or “artistic.” And then critics fall out of their seats to praise genres of music they generally don’t care about, they pretend the entire world has changed because a person of color has created a challenging piece of art. “These artists are moving beyond the artistic vocabulary of the environment,” they’re likely to say.

But what about those kids of color born into the middle class? It’s likely that they’re going to be turned onto the culture all on their own, without the cooler older siblings who passes down their Pixies records. Also, what about the kids of color born into poverty, ones who take solace in skateboarding and punk? Couldn’t we safely assume the vast majority of people who regularly read this website have Screaming Females (or at least Screaming Trees) listed after Schoolboy Q in their iTunes libraries?

Martin Douglas, “The Only Black Guy At The Indie Rock Show,” MTVHive.com 1/16/13