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Raena Lamont, 3, wears a Captain America costume at a polling center Tuesday in Staten Island, New York. The polling station doubles as a donation site as Staten Island works to recover in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

i live.

All the feels on this Election night, y’all.

All. The. Feels.

P.S. Optimal photo shoot: Raena with Chris Evans and Samuel L. Jackson. #MakeThisHappen

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…the reimagining of Heathcliff, that “dark-skinned” “gipsy”…as a black man…Brontë’s Heathcliff was repeatedly evoked as “dark,” and culled from the slums of Liverpool (a port fraught with immigrants). But in movies and theater, he has always manifested as white, from Laurence Olivier to Tom Hardy. Brontë may not have intended Heathcliff to have been a full-on African—which in the 1700s meant being a slave—but Arnold’s coup turns the old story around, from a wicked love-lost tragedy into a crisis of a society suffering the guilt and ghosts of slavery.


So goes the story of my life as a first generation Filipina-American: absent of letters, recognition of my history, and a face that looked like my own. Growing up, my story was never told in movie plots or television scripts. My reflection was hardly mirrored in the magazines I devoured as a teenager, and my room was filled with magazine cutouts of celebrities that shared no resemblance to my own face or upbringing. Alas, all my life, I did not have the novelty of having a celebrity look alike.

While the search for a celebrity look alike may seem silly, the absence of one pointed to a much larger issue: when it came down to it, my version of beauty was not validated by a culture that relies on media to dictate what exists and what doesn’t. I didn’t see myself. I was invisible. And during those tender and formative years of my adolescence, I mistook invisible for being ugly. And the scary thing is, I wasn’t alone.

In the United States, Asian-American women ages 15-24 have the highest female suicide rates among all other ethnic groups in that age range, making suicide the leading cause of death for Asian-American women in that age group (CNN). Depression runs high among young Asian-American women, and self-esteem issues are partly the culprit. As fashion icon and Richard Avedon muse, China Machado once said in an interview with New York Magazine, “We [nonwhites] had no images. We had nothing that told us we were nice-looking. Nothing. So I didn’t think of myself as good-looking at all. It never occurred to me.” This was coming from the woman Avedon himself called “probably the most beautiful woman in the world.”

You see, Asian-American women like me come from countries where whitening creams are constant best sellers in the cosmetic industry. In Asia, skin bleaching, and in some cases, eyelid surgery (the procedure of getting eyelids sewn in to make the eyes seem wider) have become common beauty regimens. Speaking from experience, I came from a post-colonial Asian country of the Philippines, where brown women are pitted against impossible standards of beauty (remnants of a deeply embedded inheritance from the Spaniards and the Americans who colonized us). Add this history to our invisibility in American media plus the pressures to become “model minorities”, plus growing up with immigrant parents who don’t always understand our assimilation to American values, and the pressures come to a dangerous boiling point.

This is why, two years ago, upon reading Michelle Obama’s letter, I made a decision to write my own letter: A Love Letter to the Filipina. Published on my blog, it was a gift for my sisters to let them know that I believed in them, that I loved them, that I wanted them to know something I didn’t always know: that they are beautiful. Then, like Avedon, I made China Machado my muse.

—Ruby Veridiano, “The Glamourbaby Diaries Film: Self-Esteem For Asian American Women,” BlogHer 9/19/12 


Cross-Post: 20 Years of Black Lesbian Cinema Before Pariah

"But Pariah is also indebted to a cadre of often overlooked but no less important documentaries and coming-out films released during the height of black lesbian filmmaking from 1991 to 1996.

"In 1993 filmmaker Michelle Parkerson wrote about the birth of a "new generation" of gay and lesbian filmmakers of color whose work challenged stereotypes and stigmas about black lesbian and gay lives on the big screen. Filmmaker Yvonne Welbon, founder and director of Sisters in Cinema and curator of the “Sisters in the Life” black lesbian transmedia project, calls 1991-1996 the “golden age” of a black queer cinema.

“‘That was the period of time when we had the most women producing the widest variety of work,’ Welbon said in an email interview. ‘Approximately 50 percent of all work produced was made during that five-year time period. Very little work is being produced today by out black lesbian media makers. So maybe Dee Rees is part of the trend of the mainstreaming of niche content that we see happening across all media platforms.’”

"In her essay ‘Joining the Lesbians’: Cinematic Regimes of Black Lesbian Visibility, film critic Kara Keeling attributes the rise of these self-identified ‘black lesbian films’ to their roots in the larger social movements of the late 1960s and 1970s. These filmmakers not only were children of the civil rights, black power, women’s and lesbian and gay movements, but also grew up as beneficiaries of a more nuanced identity politics with which they infused their work.

"Moreover, this golden age of black lesbian filmmaking should be considered part of the new wave of black cinema that included Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It and Jungle Fever, Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust and, of course, Marlon Riggs’ Tongues Untied and Black Is … Black Ain’t, two groundbreaking documentaries that explored racial and sexual identities."

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The Walking Dead: The Official Magazine hits stores Oct. 23 — but those attending New York Comic-Con on Oct. 11 will be able to buy a special copy of the publication with a cover by Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard.


All of the things I had grown accustomed to in the US were engaged often and early in my move to South Africa. I felt right at home after experiencing housing discrimination in my apartment search. Seeing airports filled with white travelers, while bus stations overflowed with folks who looked like me. It all seemed so familiar. South Africa was a long way from being post-racial. I could deal with that. I came from that.

What was pleasantly surprising was the level of activist engagement of the South African people. The documentaries I had seen were capturing something real. From service delivery protests to pushback against Wal-Mart’s acquisition of South Africa’s largest retailer, the people were not afraid to protest—nonviolently and otherwise.

South Africans won’t let you off the hook easily. In my role directing programming between the largest American trade union and its counterparts in West African, more than a few meetings with partners ended with tough questions about U.S. foreign policy and my employer’s take on positions supported by the American government. One had to be quick on the toes to navigate queries on Palestine, Israel, and Cuba. The activist community in which I had to engage expected that I would be able to respond to issues and concerns in and outside of Africa. As the only G20 member on the continent, politics beyond its borders mattered to my South African counterparts.

With the above in mind, I was wholly unprepared to be faced with the popularity of Tyler Perry in South Africa.

Well, guest contributor Christopher Keith Johnson gives a really interesting analysis on why Tyler Perry gets some love in South Africa on the R today. I see it as a great companion post to Tami Winfrey Harris’ post on Perry at Clutch

Racialicious=The Rutina Wesley Admiration Society.

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[ Description: A woman with dark skin and long dark hair styled in cornrows and braids. She is posed in profile facing the left of the image, wearing full-plate armour that doesn’t have individual breasts fashioned into it. She wears a an ornate multihoop earring with a skull-shaped bead at its centre. ]

The Huntress by S. Ross Browne

Karly’s experiences illustrate how the nexus of low expectations, as well as college preparation and course programming hurdles can combine to derail the most motivated science students. She describes battling with her school counselor to be programmed into the elite AP Biology and Physics courses that have become virtual gatekeepers for future college science majors. She remarks that “some counselors believe that you might not succeed. They say maybe it might be a little too hard for you.” In many instances parental intervention is mandatory for black science students at every step of the way. Although conventional wisdom holds that class status and income dictate interest and academic success in science, Hanson concluded that social capital by way of family support and investment in the community were the most compelling factors. Girls whose parents (regardless of income levels, education and family composition) were supportive and engaged in their educations were more likely to pursue science. In addition, girls who had higher levels of community involvement, volunteerism and participation in religious activities were also more likely to pursue a science major and have high achievement in science.

Some area schools are not receptive and fail to see the potential in their students [the program’s founder said]. ‘I get responses like, ‘You know, the type of students you’re looking for, we just don’t have…That is just not right.’ Chuck Uzoegwu, 19, participated in the program in 2010 and is now studying business and is pre-med at USC. He first noticed a slow attrition of fellow African American classmates when attending King Drew Medical Magnet High School. In the summer program, he was one of only a few African American students. He returned to the hospital this summer to volunteer in the lab and said he has yet to meet a role model there who looks like him. ‘It disturbs me. It’s nice to come into a place and see other people that are like you,’ he said. ‘It definitely feels like the higher up you go in education, the higher up you go in any organization, the less African American males you see.

Uzoegwu’s experiences reflect the hard reality of many high schools where the number of African American students who are encouraged to pursue science is criminally low. At the elite level of enrollment in Physics and Advanced Placement (AP) science courses the numbers thin out even more. Nationwide, African American students are underrepresented in AP course enrollment and exam taking. At 14% of the U.S. student population they comprise only 3% of those enrolled in AP courses or taking AP exams. Native American students are also underrepresented. With the exception of a few states like Hawaii and South Dakota, there has been greater success in closing the AP gap for Latino students than Black or Native American students. In addition, some schools don’t even have AP courses, placing students who want to go to college at a significant disadvantage. According to the Harvard Education Press, “students who took AP math or science exams were more likely than non-AP students to earn degrees in particular physical science, engineering and life science disciplines.” Jacqueline Hernandez, a Watts resident enrolled in the Children’s Hospital internship program, decries the lack of AP classes at her school. Hernandez once feared her college dreams would be derailed by teenage pregnancy like those of her three sisters. In 1999 students from the Inglewood Unified School District in Los Angeles successfully sued to get more AP courses at their schools. The suit charged that Black and Latino students were systematically denied access to college preparation courses that were standard fare at white schools in Los Angeles County.

Conservatives who disdain “liberal multiculturalism” in higher education dismiss such concerns about diversity in hiring as handwringing. According to this view there is only one standard academia should use; objective and unbiased, untainted by affirmative action. Yet white students are beneficiaries of cradle to grave affirmative action. White students grow up seeing the dominant image of rational, trailblazing scientific discovery (from films like Dr. Strangelove to 2001: A Space Odyssey to Close Encounters to The Right Stuff, etc.) as spearheaded by courageous rugged individualist white males. They are socialized to believe in a template of “purely” meritocratic success and individual achievement. Meritocracy becomes gospel and lucre. They can take it to the bank and use it to repel the less qualified savages. Racial or gender others who make it into science’s inner sanctum are either interlopers scrounging for handouts or shining exceptions bootstrapping up from the inner city wilds. At the insular level of college Physics and Engineering white male dominance is perpetuated by “boy’s club” peer groups, networks, faculty and administrative support systems that facilitate access for the racial majority. While she was at UCLA Devin Waller was the only African American woman in the Astrophysics department. On the first day of her upper division classes she recalls being asked by male students befuddled by her presence whether or not they “were in the right class.” Since peer networking and study groups in some science departments are largely white and male, white academic success and scholarly legitimacy in science become a self-fulfilling prophecy. For black women in white male dominated professions, showing vulnerability and having any kind of public failure are simply not options. Like many women of color Devin’s approach was that “You kind of go in there and set a precedent. Everything you do is watched. You have to establish yourself as intelligent. There were no black women in my classes. No one who looked like me.”

Sikivu Hutchinson, “Beyond Starship Enterprise: Racism, Sexism, And The Sceince Pipeline,” Feminist Wire 8/15/12


Care to make a list, tumblr?

[Editing post with replies, check op for updates fuck yeah, women of the rainbow] Note that I haven’t read all of these, so I can’t vouch for all of them but If you have any issues, or I tagged something wrong, message me @ ef, my tumblr here.  


  1. *Token minority
  2. **Later on
  3. ***Nonhuman
  4. ~Problematic shit

An awesome way to read a bunch of these is http://www.comic-rocket.com. Yay for e-comic readers. Hopefully they still get page views and whatnot. Happy reading!

Update: Please feel free to shout out your own webcomic!

For your weekend reading…

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