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 "racism"

thoughtsofablackgirl:

A photo campaign explores the diverse experience that black students at Harvard have to face. 

(via mythicgeek)

(via faineemae)

cognitivedissonance:

whitepeoplemadatthings:

As soon as the Coca-Cola commercial (where “America the Beautiful” is sung in a variety of languages) ended, I went straight to Twitter and Coca-Cola’s Facebook page.

Angry White People did not disappoint.

We all called it.

(via commanderbishoujo)

I just feel, and I always have, that dressing ironically in thrift shop clothing is such a white thing to do. And it is a total disregard for people that have to shop at Goodwill and Salvation Army. Someone walking through and laughing at all this stuff while some people are forced to shop there—I remember, personally, growing up in a house where my first blazer came from the Goodwill. So you never want to go back there; if you actually had to wear thrift shop clothing, you’d be dying to have something new. I would have liked to have a new blazer, and I was embarrassed by that fact.

I know the whole thing is a joke and it’s a very catchy beat he has. I get the Macklemore/Ryan Lewis attraction, but these guys are walking around in shit that they find at the Goodwill, and there’s a lot of funny shit at the Goodwill. You re-watch Napoleon Dynamite, and there’s a lot of thrift shopping that goes on in that movie; there’s a lot of funny stuff. It’s definitely amusing, and paying 99 cents for a samurai sword is amazing. But the song itself is sort of making light of anyone who has grown up in a low-income household who wants things.

Al Madrigal on why he hates Macklemore 

Just bringing this back since Macklemore won tonight.

 

(via coolshadowghoul)

(via dangercupcakemurdericing)

allerasphinx:

Tamera Mowry Responds to Critics of Her Interracial Marriage ( x )

Reminder that Tia and Tamera are also part white/biracial and yet.

(via posttragicmulatto)

As if you didn’t have enough of a reason to hate Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor, above), How I Met Your Mother went full-on Racefail Monday. As Angry Asian Man explains:

The hit CBS sitcom has had an ongoing seven-year joke about a series of allocated slaps that Marshall can “collect” from Barney — payment for losing a now-infamous season two Slap Bet. On last night’s show, in an attempt to deliver a devastating second-to-last slap to Barney, Marshall explains how he mastered the “Slap of a Million Exploding Suns.” This ended up being an excuse for the show to do some yellowface kungfoolery. To learn the powerful slap, Marshall must seek the wisdom of three great masters who can teach him mighty virtues of slapistry: speed, strength and accuracy. These Kill Bill-esque “masters,” of course, are played by the show’s stars, Colbie Smulders, Josh Radnor and Alyson Hannigan… rocking some mild yellowface looks, oriental orientalism and random background Asians. Lots of wind chimes and shit. At least nobody had their eyes taped back.

The episode was also protested online through the #HowIMetYourRacism tag on Twitter, with activists like Suey Park pushing the discussion. 

Now, some people will argue that the show “had” to go this route to depict the mastery gag. SPOILER ALERT: These people are wrong. 

The creative team didn’t “have” to do anything, first of all, because all of these people are fictional. But you could have done the same concept by putting an academic spin on it — cue Marshall building a ridiculous moving “slap dummy” machine in a classroom. Heck, there’s your chance for a Neil deGrasse Tyson cameo explaining the “SCIENCE!” without going for the lazy stereotype, and allowing for Dr. Tyson’s charm to carry the scene alongside Jason Segel. 

But hey, if they wanted to keep people talking about this show as it nears the (merciful) end? Congrats. Hope they can handle the attention. 

lastrealindians:

The Seminole Nation of Oklahoma recently passed a resolution condemning the use of “Indian” mascots.

gradientlair:

#StandWithMHP is a hashtag—started by @laurenarankin (according to Topsy) several days ago and trended yesterday because of @IStandWithMHP and many #nerdland supporters including a great deal of Black women—to support Melissa Harris-Perry during this attack on her as a person, a political voice, as a Black woman and as someone very rare in political media. There was a segment on her show last week where the race of Mitt Romney’s adopted Black grandson was mentioned and the context it was mentioned in was perceived as “racist” by Whites, and you already know what forms that perception (their incorrect definition of racism in addition to projection, of course). However, Melissa Harris-Perry apologized via Twitter and on her show, without reservation, especially since some of the people who stated they were hurt (not the bigots trolling her and anyone who supports her) are families with transracial adoptions. 

(Links if you do not know what is going on: what happenedwhy MHP is facing racist attacks; some of the political issues behind this, my tweets thread regarding race/adoption and perception of this “controversy.”)

Since that first show aired, she and one of the guests, another Black woman named Pia Glenn have been under racist, sexist and misogynoiristic attacks. You see, Whites who think that mentioning the race of that child is “racist” think the adequate response to this is actual racism towards MHP and Pia. This must prove their love for that Black child Kieran Romney, of course! The same people who cheered for George Zimmerman and call these women “racist niggers” expect people to believe that they care about the adopted Black baby, Kieran Romney. Yeah ok…

In regards to the tweets above:

1) Yes, there are people calling them “racist niggers.” What they mean is “nigger nigger” because they think the word “racist” is a slur. Since their biggest fear is to be called racist (ahem, George W. Bush’s reaction to Kanye versus Katrina is an example), they project that fear onto Black people and think that they are calling us the worst slur ever, next to “nigger” stand-alone, of course. Because the Black people they call this actually understand what racism is—NOT the exchange of insults between Blacks and Whites that “go both ways" via imaginary structural power equity in America BUT IN FACT a system of oppression that privileges Whiteness (and oppresses non-Whites as well as incorporates anti-Blackness as its core by which to juxtapose Whiteness as superior) through structural power and institutional/ systemic beliefs, social norms, laws and practices in addition to microaggressive, dehumanizing, overt, oppressive and genocidal individual/group actions of Whites towards non-Whites, actions supported by the institutions that proliferate White supremacy and protect Whiteness through White privilege—they know that Whites calling Black people “racist” is just the former’s ignorance and deep seated fear, not a slur. “Nigger” would be the oppressive slur in that phrase. They don’t understand this though.

2) In 2012 she had an all Black woman panel who discussed natural hair. This year there was also a great panel who discussed Scandal. This matters since we as Black women are always talked about as objects, not subjects in our own lives.

3) Gabrielle Douglas (2 time gold medal winning Olympian and gymnast) interviewed by Parker, MHP’s daughter; Misty Copeland (professional ballet dancer); Rochelle Ballantyne (chess genius); Kelly Hall-Tomkins (violinist, chamber musician).

4) Episode where Black teen boys got national spotlight to speak of Trayvon Martin and Stop and Frisk as subjects, not objects and speak about growing up Black and male in America was important. I honestly have NEVER seen anything like this on national television where their own voices were included.

5) The MHP Show won the Momentum Media Award from the National Center For Transgender Equality.

The chart reveals the race and gender makeup of guests on the Sunday morning political shows. These Sunday shows are critical in shaping perception of public policy and actually influence policy making. Best believe that people in the White House and Congress watch these shows (and even appear on them). This chart…is why some now want Melissa Harris-Perry off of the air. It has nothing to do with what occurred on her show last week. They’ve desired this for a long time.

The MHP Show is not a perfect show. No such thing can exist in mainstream media with conservative conglomerates owning media stations. Melissa Harris-Perry is not a perfect person. No such person exists; being a Black woman means walking a tight rope (just for being alive) and an especially tight rope for her (in a media landscape dominated by White men where perspectives like hers coming from the body she embodies are ones attacked on the hour). However, the content on her show is unmatched by any on television in its genre. Voices heard nowhere else are heard there. Her work in Black feminist scholarship, art and politics from her professorship at Tulane, to her writing to her public voice advancing Black feminist thought matters. And she’s adorbs and I like her, so there. 

I support her voice being heard. I support her genuine apology. (I resent that it had to be issued for a “controversy” created by conservatives and marred by false equalizations crafted through ahistorical notions on race and racism. The links in the second paragraph explain why I think this way). I support many of the voices on her show and for the ones I don’t, I know that for some of those people, there’s no other space that they would be allowed. It’s important that this show stay on the air and that Black women like her and like us without such a platform, continue to speak out; by choice, not force.

I #StandWithMHP.

(Mitt Romney accepted her apology; I doubt this will be enough to stop the racist attacks on her, the show and her supporters, however.)

All of this.

(via mochafleur)


Western Privilege and Anti-Black Racism in Panama
By Guest Contributor Aliyya Swaby, originally published at Racialicious.com
In late September, I moved from New York City to Panama City to start a freelance journalism project. For two college summers, I had traveled in Latin American countries and did not see many people who looked like me.
In Ecuador, a friend told me I seemed more “French” than “Ecuadorean” black, because I wasn’t too aggressive. As I walked around Peru’s inland cities, men called out “Chincha,” the name of the predominately black coastal city.
I thought I would feel more comfortable in Panama, where the skin color gradient includes darker shades of brown. After all, my West Indian immigrant parents belong to the same diaspora as many Panamanian black people, whose ancestors were imported by the U.S. government as laborers on the Panama Canal.
But the reality is more complex. I recently found blogger BlackinAsia’s posts on being a black Westerner abroad, and immediately zeroed in on this quotation: “We inhabit a liminal space which is difficult to dissect, but that’s why a more nuanced analysis is necessary — with “Westernness” bestowing on us some privileges abroad (e.g. diplomatic immunity) rooted in the global power of our countries or origin, but our “blackness” leading to our oppression due to anti-black sentiments. We encounter and live both while abroad as black Westerners.”

As a non-Latina Black American journalist in Panama, I find this in-between space difficult on a daily basis. Although I share the skin tone and facial features of many Panamanians, I am easily identifiable as a foreigner. It takes people only a glance to know that I’m not Panamanian and usually several minutes of conversation to realize I’m from the United States.
I live with Central American roommates, who regularly consume and fetishize Black American culture. None identify as black. They are more current on mainstream American rap and hip-hop than I am, though they understand none of the English lyrics. (One of them, a Venezuelan girl, was shocked when I explained the backlash to Rick Ross’s “pro-rape” anthem U.O.E.N.O.) They mime exaggerated swagger and sag their pants and ask me whether they’re doing the correct “black” dances.
Based entirely on one-dimensional, dehumanizing stereotypes, their conception of American blackness is neither positive nor complex. But it is still very different than the common conception of black Panamanians, which is less “black cool” and more black indigence, criminality and failure.
Like in the United States, race and ethnicity in Panama correlate strongly with high poverty rates. Panama’s growing wealth inequality is leaving its majority black cities further and further behind. Two major groups of black people live in Panamanian cities: Afro-Antilleans, descendants of West Indian workers on the Panama Canal and railway, and Afro-Colonials, descendants of Colonial-era African slaves. Both are targets of structural and institutional racial discrimination.
I have been primarily reporting in Colón, Panama, where the Free Trade Zone generates billions annually, little of which is invested in the inner city. At the beginning of my project, I spoke with a Panamanian journalist who claimed Colón’s black citizens are merely lazy and self-segregating. They are continually offered jobs and opportunities, but reject them because they prefer to do nothing. She argued that racism was a non-issue in Panama and offered up her own heritage as proof — though her grandfather’s ancestors were African slaves, she is a successful member of the middle class. I asked her about the connection between color and socioeconomic status, and she brushed off my questions.
Colorblindness is a commonly expressed worldview here, as in many Latin American countries. Panama calls itself a “crisol de razas” or a melting pot. Everyone is Latin@, but white Latin@s happen to have more wealth and political power. No one discriminates, but Afro-descendants are disproportionally in poverty and in prison.
Protests in Colón often begin from this central avenue, which intersects all sixteen streets of the inner city.

Panama’s black activists have to take on the double task of proving to society that they exist and that they deserve better. Locally, in Colón, they lead protests against governmental land seizures and human rights violations. On a national level, they are currently collaborating on an initiative to criminalize discrimination, which would be the most comprehensive law of its kind in Panama to date [PDF].
In a country where almost everyone has African heritage, but only nine percent consider themselves black, what does it mean that my roommate recently greeted me using the word “nigger”? He argued it was the equivalent of the Spanish word “negro,” meaning black, even when I tried to explain the difference in the historical meanings of each. And Panama has its own set of slurs tied to a history of anti-black racism and oppression.
The Spanish word “chombo” is somewhat equivalent to “n-gger” — it refers to dark-skinned English-speaking black people from the West Indies. In 1941, then president Arnulfo Arias wrote a new constitution proposing to deport this group and take away their Panamanian citizenship. Even today, many Afro-Antilleans avoid teaching their children English, giving up part of their heritage.
As a black American abroad, I am privileged in being more easily able to separate myself from a one-dimensional stereotype of blackness, in ways a black Panamanian might not be able to, sometimes regardless of class or educational level. My parents were born in Jamaica and Trinidad, but here I am primarily American. It’s unlikely anyone would use the slur to describe me. But an Afro-Antillean Panamanian professor at the University of Panama told me students sometimes call her “chombo” as she walks down the halls.
The United States plays a significant role in anti-black racism in Panama. During the construction of the Panama Canal, the U.S. implemented a version of Jim Crow in the Canal Zone to control their ethnically diverse community of laborers. Black laborers were put on a lower-paying “silver roll” and were excluded from quality housing facilities, schools and social clubs.
Many older Afro-Antilleans have spent decades in the United States. Some chose to leave for economic purposes, for example, in Colón as the city slid into poverty and disrepair in the mid-twentieth century. Unable to flee, poorer Colonenses were left in the city center.
I have had trouble navigating this history while conducting interviews, because many Panamanians who self-identify as black have perceptions of race heavily informed by their time abroad. I could easily prioritize viewpoints just because they seem familiar or similar to my own. But I know that many approaches to racism in the United States would be ineffectual in this country’s context.
Generally, being an American journalist reporting on marginalized groups in a developing country is complex and difficult, irrespective of my race. Journalism is an elastic medium, guided by a set of ethics rarely policed on a higher level. When proposing my project last year, I was not required to get permission from the Yale Institutional Review Board, while a sociologist or anthropologist would have been.
Dominated by white, upper-class men, traditional journalism in the U.S. is often seen as “objective,” since it reflects the worldview of people considered to represent the societal norm. Just as important as striving for impartiality is determining how to integrate a wide variety of worldviews. Media outlets are beginning to value gender and race diversity in their staff, but still have a long way to go.
My identity and experiences give me insight into certain topics absent from mainstream media. But my blackness does not erase the power disparities inherent in my reporting in low-income Panamanian communities. When I choose to report on an issue, I am putting other people’s stories into my own framework. I have to be careful about the way I represent a culture that is not my own.
Last month I met the wife of a sociologist I have been trying to contact for weeks. She told me he might never respond to me — Western academics are constantly traipsing into the country, taking the information they need, and then leaving with it. Sometimes he never hears from them again. And even if he does, he rarely benefits from the information transfer.
I think about that often, and it can be paralyzing. But I’m trying instead to use that knowledge to be more intentional about the way I carry out my research in the next several months. Though I have limited resources as an inexperienced freelancer, I want to find ways of interacting with people and ideas that are not one-sided. I can’t be an expert on other people’s lived experiences, but I can work to record and present them in a way that is informed and responsible.
Aliyya Swaby is a freelance writer in Panama, reporting on race, poverty, and urbanization on a Parker Huang Travel Fellowship from Yale University. She is blogging her travels at aliyyaswaby.com and new to Twitter at @AliyyaSwaby.

Western Privilege and Anti-Black Racism in Panama

By Guest Contributor Aliyya Swaby, originally published at Racialicious.com

In late September, I moved from New York City to Panama City to start a freelance journalism project. For two college summers, I had traveled in Latin American countries and did not see many people who looked like me.

In Ecuador, a friend told me I seemed more “French” than “Ecuadorean” black, because I wasn’t too aggressive. As I walked around Peru’s inland cities, men called out “Chincha,” the name of the predominately black coastal city.

I thought I would feel more comfortable in Panama, where the skin color gradient includes darker shades of brown. After all, my West Indian immigrant parents belong to the same diaspora as many Panamanian black people, whose ancestors were imported by the U.S. government as laborers on the Panama Canal.

But the reality is more complex. I recently found blogger BlackinAsia’s posts on being a black Westerner abroad, and immediately zeroed in on this quotation: “We inhabit a liminal space which is difficult to dissect, but that’s why a more nuanced analysis is necessary — with “Westernness” bestowing on us some privileges abroad (e.g. diplomatic immunity) rooted in the global power of our countries or origin, but our “blackness” leading to our oppression due to anti-black sentiments. We encounter and live both while abroad as black Westerners.”

As a non-Latina Black American journalist in Panama, I find this in-between space difficult on a daily basis. Although I share the skin tone and facial features of many Panamanians, I am easily identifiable as a foreigner. It takes people only a glance to know that I’m not Panamanian and usually several minutes of conversation to realize I’m from the United States.

I live with Central American roommates, who regularly consume and fetishize Black American culture. None identify as black. They are more current on mainstream American rap and hip-hop than I am, though they understand none of the English lyrics. (One of them, a Venezuelan girl, was shocked when I explained the backlash to Rick Ross’s “pro-rape” anthem U.O.E.N.O.) They mime exaggerated swagger and sag their pants and ask me whether they’re doing the correct “black” dances.

Based entirely on one-dimensional, dehumanizing stereotypes, their conception of American blackness is neither positive nor complex. But it is still very different than the common conception of black Panamanians, which is less “black cool” and more black indigence, criminality and failure.

Like in the United States, race and ethnicity in Panama correlate strongly with high poverty rates. Panama’s growing wealth inequality is leaving its majority black cities further and further behind. Two major groups of black people live in Panamanian cities: Afro-Antilleans, descendants of West Indian workers on the Panama Canal and railway, and Afro-Colonials, descendants of Colonial-era African slaves. Both are targets of structural and institutional racial discrimination.

I have been primarily reporting in Colón, Panama, where the Free Trade Zone generates billions annually, little of which is invested in the inner city. At the beginning of my project, I spoke with a Panamanian journalist who claimed Colón’s black citizens are merely lazy and self-segregating. They are continually offered jobs and opportunities, but reject them because they prefer to do nothing. She argued that racism was a non-issue in Panama and offered up her own heritage as proof — though her grandfather’s ancestors were African slaves, she is a successful member of the middle class. I asked her about the connection between color and socioeconomic status, and she brushed off my questions.

Colorblindness is a commonly expressed worldview here, as in many Latin American countries. Panama calls itself a “crisol de razas” or a melting pot. Everyone is Latin@, but white Latin@s happen to have more wealth and political power. No one discriminates, but Afro-descendants are disproportionally in poverty and in prison.

Protests in Colón often begin from this central avenue, which intersects all sixteen streets of the inner city.

Panama’s black activists have to take on the double task of proving to society that they exist and that they deserve better. Locally, in Colón, they lead protests against governmental land seizures and human rights violations. On a national level, they are currently collaborating on an initiative to criminalize discrimination, which would be the most comprehensive law of its kind in Panama to date [PDF].

In a country where almost everyone has African heritage, but only nine percent consider themselves black, what does it mean that my roommate recently greeted me using the word “nigger”? He argued it was the equivalent of the Spanish word “negro,” meaning black, even when I tried to explain the difference in the historical meanings of each. And Panama has its own set of slurs tied to a history of anti-black racism and oppression.

The Spanish word “chombo” is somewhat equivalent to “n-gger” — it refers to dark-skinned English-speaking black people from the West Indies. In 1941, then president Arnulfo Arias wrote a new constitution proposing to deport this group and take away their Panamanian citizenship. Even today, many Afro-Antilleans avoid teaching their children English, giving up part of their heritage.

As a black American abroad, I am privileged in being more easily able to separate myself from a one-dimensional stereotype of blackness, in ways a black Panamanian might not be able to, sometimes regardless of class or educational level. My parents were born in Jamaica and Trinidad, but here I am primarily American. It’s unlikely anyone would use the slur to describe me. But an Afro-Antillean Panamanian professor at the University of Panama told me students sometimes call her “chombo” as she walks down the halls.

The United States plays a significant role in anti-black racism in Panama. During the construction of the Panama Canal, the U.S. implemented a version of Jim Crow in the Canal Zone to control their ethnically diverse community of laborers. Black laborers were put on a lower-paying “silver roll” and were excluded from quality housing facilities, schools and social clubs.

Many older Afro-Antilleans have spent decades in the United States. Some chose to leave for economic purposes, for example, in Colón as the city slid into poverty and disrepair in the mid-twentieth century. Unable to flee, poorer Colonenses were left in the city center.

I have had trouble navigating this history while conducting interviews, because many Panamanians who self-identify as black have perceptions of race heavily informed by their time abroad. I could easily prioritize viewpoints just because they seem familiar or similar to my own. But I know that many approaches to racism in the United States would be ineffectual in this country’s context.

Generally, being an American journalist reporting on marginalized groups in a developing country is complex and difficult, irrespective of my race. Journalism is an elastic medium, guided by a set of ethics rarely policed on a higher level. When proposing my project last year, I was not required to get permission from the Yale Institutional Review Board, while a sociologist or anthropologist would have been.

Dominated by white, upper-class men, traditional journalism in the U.S. is often seen as “objective,” since it reflects the worldview of people considered to represent the societal norm. Just as important as striving for impartiality is determining how to integrate a wide variety of worldviews. Media outlets are beginning to value gender and race diversity in their staff, but still have a long way to go.

My identity and experiences give me insight into certain topics absent from mainstream media. But my blackness does not erase the power disparities inherent in my reporting in low-income Panamanian communities. When I choose to report on an issue, I am putting other people’s stories into my own framework. I have to be careful about the way I represent a culture that is not my own.

Last month I met the wife of a sociologist I have been trying to contact for weeks. She told me he might never respond to me — Western academics are constantly traipsing into the country, taking the information they need, and then leaving with it. Sometimes he never hears from them again. And even if he does, he rarely benefits from the information transfer.

I think about that often, and it can be paralyzing. But I’m trying instead to use that knowledge to be more intentional about the way I carry out my research in the next several months. Though I have limited resources as an inexperienced freelancer, I want to find ways of interacting with people and ideas that are not one-sided. I can’t be an expert on other people’s lived experiences, but I can work to record and present them in a way that is informed and responsible.

Aliyya Swaby is a freelance writer in Panama, reporting on race, poverty, and urbanization on a Parker Huang Travel Fellowship from Yale University. She is blogging her travels at aliyyaswaby.com and new to Twitter at @AliyyaSwaby.

sourcedumal:

This fucking rings true today

Folks love to say ‘well it’s better than before!”

Is it really?

Is it really?

Dig deep and look at the way things have gone.

We’ve just gone from overt to covert in terms of racism.

That’s all.