There’s a lot of debates going around about Lifetime’s newest series Devious Maids. The series is about five Latina maids with big dreams working in Beverly Hills’ rich and famous homes. The show was originally planned to premiere on ABC, but the network dropped the pilot (wise choice), and the show ended up on Lifetime.
What’s unsettling is the fact that Latinas as maids is an ongoing racist and sexist Hollywood trope. Several writers have expressed their dismay over the show all agreeing that the series does nothing but rehash a damaging stereotype about women of color.
As I read the articles I realized that Hollywood is still in the business of portraying people of color (POC) as servants to rich and powerful whites. We’ve had movies from Hearts in Dixie and Gone With the Wind to much recent films like The Help and the soon to be released The Butler, a film about the life of Cecil James, a black man who served for eight different U.S. Presidents from 1952 to 1986. To the average moviegoer The Butler sounds like a must-see movie. To others it’s just another ‘servant for white folks’ movie.
It’s no secret that when it comes to race and women, Hollywood proudly fails to combat issues that affect anyone who’s not white or male. Instead, it sees “other” people as two-dimensional characters. To the worldly people in Tinsel Town, stereotypes are not only authentic, but they are way more entertaining and profitable. (I was being sarcastic, by the way.)
But there is more to it than just money and fame. It is about the goal of maintaining white supremacy on the big and small screens. The servant trope is one idea to re-enforce the notion that women and POC are meant to serve whites. It’s no secret that there are white people today who hold that belief in their hearts. Some of them miss the “good ole’ days” where whiteness was king of the world, and they terrified that it’s losing its throne.
What they miss the most is when POC were in their proper place, at the beckon call of white people when they need that quick fix feeling superior. They miss the days where there blacks and browns were quiet, devoid of free will and obedient. Hollywood helps bring back those days producing servant films to audiences who won’t move on and consider that maybe, just maybe POC would like to be seen as…people.
Don’t expect such films to stop coming out of the assembly line any time soon. Hollywood is still heavily whitewashed. Remember, there is nothing wrong with being a maid, butler or servant in general. But, there is something wrong with an industry that sees a people as nothing but.
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It is not wrong to be a maid, or even a Latina maid, but there is something very wrong with an American entertainment industry that continually tells Latinas that this is all they are or can ever be.
My grandmother was a maid in Cuba; my biological grandfather was her employer. My father, never claimed by his bio-dad, was a janitor when he first began working in the United States, as a teen immigrant. My father went on to get his PhD, sort of a real-life Good Will Hunting, and became a leading sociologist. He raised me to believe in myself and my voice; I went to Columbia, and I’m a bestselling author Tom Wolfe called one of the most important social critics of our time.
We don’t see stories about people like me or my dad. Indeed, network executives say to my face that I don’t exist. That’s the problem.
So Bcbgrl33 recently posted an article on my FB timeline about the “You CAN Touch My Hair” Event in New York, where a bunch of Black women with signs allowed complete strangers to come up and stick their fingers in their natural hair.
Now…I’m not knocking these women. Their bodies, their decisions – that’s what it’s all about. If that’s what they really want, good for them. Personally, for me, it screams “petting zoo” and I’m already bracing for the next time someone wants to ask me about my hair or touch it without my permission. See, “certain” people have trouble seeing blacks as individuals and won’t be able to differentiate between these black women, and your average black woman who’s willing to mail your hand back to you if you touch her hair without permission.*
The bottom line is in the larger scheme of things Zimmerman is powerless. Yes, today with all the emotions surrounding this case, he symbolizes injustice and hopefully he’s convicted and punished. But again just like the OJ trial didn’t end police terrorism in LA or systemic racism in the department. A Zimmerman conviction will not change policies like Stop and Frisk or even Stand Your Ground..It wont stop the people and organizations like ALEC that are behind those laws.. It won’t change the attitude of police who we saw just last week in Florida who feel they have a right to choke 14 year old boy holding a puppy in front of his mother because they didn’t like the ‘dehumanizing’ look given to them..Read about that HERE.
This Zimmerman trial has the potential to be a stepping stone to major changes, but that’s only if we follow-up and don’t make the mistake of thinking the movement to end injustice ends with a Zimmerman conviction.
If you want to know what the issues are women face in a male dominated society, would you go to a male misogynist and sexist for some analysis?
If you want to learn the issues LGBTQ members deal with in a homophobic society, would you ask a heterosexual for his or her views, especially if they are homophobic themselves?
Finally, if you wish to learn what POC go through on a constant basis in a racist society, would you ask a white person with a history of racism?
Common sense would give you a ‘Hell no” on all counts. Sadly and truthfully, some people don’t operate on common sense. Most privileged folks are too privileged to have to think. So, it’s hardly surprising that a biased, unfair, unbalanced network such as Fox News asked a certain man to weigh in on the George Zimmerman trial…
Yes, that Mark Fuhrman. The same guy who was a policeman during the infamous O.J. Simpson trial a while back who was cited as being an overt hatred of black people, using the n-word numerous times during his career and the investigation. Media Matters report:
During the 1995 murder trial of O.J. Simpson, the defense produced a tape of Fuhrman, who collected evidence in the case, using the word n*****more than 40 times over a 10 year period. The person who made the tape said Fuhrman used the slur “in a very casual ordinary pattern of speech. It was nothing extraordinary. It was just conversation.” During the O.J. Simpson trial, a number of other witnesses testified that Fuhrman was a racist. Fuhrman, who testified during the trial that he had not used a racial slur in the past 10 years, pled no contest to perjury charges and was sentenced to three years of probation.
During a 2006 appearance on Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes, Fuhrman, who is a Fox News contributor, said that the type of “people” he “dealt with … for 20 years” while working in law enforcement will “kill somebody and go have some chicken at KFC. You will catch them eating chicken and drinking a beer after they just murdered three people.” Co-host Alan Colmes challenged Fuhrman for using racially charged language, an allegation Fuhrman denied. Fuhrman has also appeared on Fox to defend a group of white police officers who were videotaped beating an African American man.
Really, Fox News?
It’s not completely surprising given Fox News’ track record regarding race. Even if they didn’t invite a fucker like Fuhrman for his take on the case, they would’ve used someone else who would praise God that another black male bit the dust. And it’s not born out of sheer stupidity. It is a ploy to convince its audience that Trayvon Martin, like every young black male and female murdered, was poised to die violently due to their “natural-born criminality”.
Fuhrman has loads of privilege, which is why Fox News likes him enough to ask for his thoughts on a crime where a young black male was violently murdered by a whitewashed Latino male. They use him as a wrecking ball to help shatter any notion that race was a factor in Trayvon’s death. Ironic seeing as how they use someone like Furman on an issue they’re seemingly trying to squash but instead is helping to galvanize the problem.
But like I said, privilege people don’t get along too well with logic, and they don’t want to if it takes away their comforts. Those at Fox News would not ask for commentary from guests like Michael Eric Dyson, Mark Anthony Neal, Michelle Alexander or Angela Davis for their views on the Zimmerman case. And it’s not because they are stupid as hell. It is because they oppose their “values” which include that black males are default thugs and gangstas.
Yet, as clever as it seems, it is still illogical and amoral. Almost all of the continuous condemnation of Trayvon Martin is based on the presumption that he was “up to no good”. Zimmerman’s defense team along with the news media is trying to paint Martin as a young thug by accessing his personal phone records. They discovered that Martin sent text messages about being a fighter, smoking marijuana and contained photos of what is believed to be marijuana in pots and a .40′caliber Smith and Wesson handgun.
To many from a whitewashed point of view, Trayvon was a thug who was troubled. If George Zimmerman didn’t kill him, he would die getting shot eventually. And he did get killed fighting a man protecting his neighborhood. He died by living that thug lifestyle.
However, getting into fights is unfortunately a part of teen life, especially here in America, and no one can tell me what white teens don’t get into fights themselves or at least text about it. Not to mention that there are white teens that have images of marijuana, guns and other questionable images, tucked away in their phones. But since this was a black teenager, all of that is attributed to his color and the stereotypes that go with it.
It is Trayvon’s color that keeps whitewashed people from seeing that he was still a child, a child whose life was still valuable. The white privileged mindset will not humanize this young man, nor can they tolerate those that expect them to do the same. So, to ask them what they think on a case that resonates so much with African Americans will only help white privilege to prevail. It will change nothing. It will just prove that there’s still a lot of work to be done.
George Zimmerman’s trial for the murder of Trayvon Martin is starting. Even though Zimmerman isn’t a cop but a wanna-be vigilante, since then, police brutality continued and more black and brown people, including the youth, were treated or killed like animals by police at an alarming rate. The month of June has just started and according to Alter Net, there have been several examples of violent police behavior reported so far in the month of June.
1. Tremaine McMillian, a 14 year-old black male with a puppy, was tackled and choked by police. The excuse was that McMillian gave the police a “dehumanizing stare”. So much for our stoic expression, eh fellas?
2. Undercover cops bust a special-needs kid for pot even though he asked the kid to buy him some pot in the first place after he refused to sell him some prescription medication. I guess the police are just as desperate as the schools to throw more youngsters in prison huh?
3. Police beat a man to death with batons. The incident is caught on camera, but was then confiscated. Looks like we can’t spy on Big Brother, but they can spy on us and whoop our asses if they want to.
4. Police in Texas invaded the home of Jose G. Perez and his wide Maria Guadalupe Perez to search for drugs. When they couldn’t find any, they threatened the elderly couple to find someone who sold them, or else. But the police was not to bust whoever sold drugs but to take a cut for themselves. McGruff the Crime Dog won’t be happy to hear about this.
5. Again in Texas, an officer used a taser on 34 year-old Jarmaine Darden, an 350-pound, asthmatic black male, in a drug raid. The shocks from the taser eventually killed him, but I guess he shouldn’t have been hiding drugs in the first place, right? Oh wait! The police found NO DRUGS! The raid turned up nothing and the father of two perished.
6. Megan Graham of Washington state called 911 for help. Why? To get help FROM the police who was punching her in the face repeatedly. Yet, she could still face charges of felony assault on an officer even though she was the one being assaulted. Serve and protect, my ass.
7. Cary Ball Jr. was a St. Louis honor student. Despite this grand title, he was shot by police 25 times. Ball was a felon who – I guess – wanted to turn his life around. Yet, he was carrying a gun as conflicting reports suggest that there was one at the scene. Police reports say that he pointed a semi-automatic weapon at them, but witnesses say that he threw the gun on the ground before he surrendered and was shot multiple times.
8. Police tased foreclosed homeowners protesting criminal bankers. The criminal bankers continued to get away scot free. Eric Holder said that the banks were “too big to prosecute”. In response I ask Mr. Holder – the same Mr. Holder that made a speech that this is a nation of cowards – who are the real cowards in this case?
9. A diabetic high school girl falls asleep in class. You would think she would be punished by standing in the corner or detention. What she got instead was a beat-down and a trip to jail – another victim of the dreaded school-to-prison pipeline.
10. Philly police beat a woman named Angelique Gerald-Porter holding a toddler after a friend videotapes them. The woman including Salimah Milton who caught the incident on camera were both arrested. Gerald-Porter and her son, who was two at the time, were treated for injuries. The incident took place in May of 2011. However, the lawsuit was filed recently. As it turns out the cop Ian Nance has had several complaints citing physical abuse. None of the complaints have been sustained.
11. A California deputy Art Parra Jr. tasers and shoots George I. Ramirez to death after the victim’s family called 911 for help with his depression in April of 2012. It was noted that Ramirez did not provoke nor resisted arrest before he was needlessly murdered.
12. Baltimore police beat up a woman, Makia Smith, for filming them beating up another person. The police claimed that she was the aggressor. (Big surprise that they would say that.) The complaint stated that the police came to her, threatening and taunting her. One of them, Officer Nathan Church, made the comment, “You want to film something, bitch! Film this!” before he charged towards her.
Let me remind you that all of this is reported in the month of June, and it’s not been two weeks yet! These are 12 reasons out of hundreds why the police are not our “friends.” With friends like these, who needs gangs?
According to a top secret court ruling issued at the request of the FBI, Verizon has been ordered to hand over mobile and landline phone records of all of its customers to the National Security Agency. What do you think?
The companies whose servers are being mined are reportedly Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, and Apple. The classified program, dubbed PRISM, has been in operation since 2007 and has been a leading source of intelligence fed to the president in his daily intelligence briefings, according to the Washington Post, which broke the story at the same time as the Guardian today.
I never wanted to be a “strong Black woman”; in fact, I bristle when people call me one. I’m Black and I’m a woman and I happen to have a number of things about me that are strong: my mind, my personality, my resolve, etc. But putting them all together under that title reduces us to some sort of monolithical fembot who’s able to shoulder all burdens because she’s unable to feel. I don’t know about all of you, but my shoulders aren’t always broad enough for all your stuff and mine, and feeling? I like to feel. I need to feel.
Pennsylvania’s School Reform Commission voted on June 1 to approve a $2.4 billion budget, ignoring hours of pleas from students, parents, educators and community members who warned the budget would cripple city schools.
The plan would close 23 public schools, roughly 10 per cent of the city’s total. Commissioners rejected a proposal that would have only closed four of the 27 schools that were on the block for closure.
Without the means to cover a $304 million debt, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, students can expect to go back to school in September without new books, paper, counselors, clubs, librarians, assistant principals or secretaries. All athletics, art and music programs would be eliminated and as many as 3,000 people could lose their jobs.
All these white people writing about poorly how Michelle Obama handled the heckler need to shut the fuck up and sit down somewhere.
For one, I’m not a fan of hecklers. They’re the ones who cut into comic routines and crash the stage during concerts and ultimately waste people’s time. If you’re paying to see someone and hear them speak, then shut the fuck up and let them speak.
I’ve noticed that everyone writing about this is bringing up the fact that Ellen Sturtz is gay and are unsuccessfully using it as a shield. Sturtz’s behavior was wrong, and her sexual orientation does not magically absolve her of that. Her being gay doesn’t make it okay for her tell the First Lady to tell her husband what she, Sturtz, wants them to do…as though they were a couple of old house slaves.
It’s never easy being an artist of color. When it comes to race, the race itself is a rigged one. No matter how talented and gifted you are, there are legions upon legions of bigoted whites who are looking to attack, denigrate and discredit you.
As I learned from several white critics and readers with my debut novel, Hollowstone, black writers are not real writers. We employed some type of chicanery, especially if we got published before many aspiring white writers did. I was also whitesplained that publishers who target black audiences or other readers of color aren’t “legitimate” publishers. They’re just not real.
I hope President Obama appreciates the grand bargain he’s getting from African Americans: unwavering support, stratospheric approval rating, muted exasperation when he disappoints, vociferous defense when he’s under attack.
But what do black people get in return?
A recent spate of polls suggests that Obama himself is the payoff — that he need not do much more than be the first black president, the most powerful symbol of racial progress in American history.
Keep his nose clean and pants up and don’t speak ebonics at a press conference — and in the minds of most African Americans, Obama’s legacy as the greatest president of all time is assured.
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2008 Was one of the most depressing years of my life, especially due to certain news reports. During that year there were high profiled murders that was reported in the national news media, and a violent crime occurred within my general area. When I heard about them, the same feeling happens. I get a feeling of “pressure” on my heart as it feels like it’s dropping. I get slightly anxious. I begin to worry. The mental ticker illuminates the following words, “Please don’t let him or them be black! Please God! Please don’t let that person or persons be black!”
Like I said when I started this post, 2008 was a terrible year in this regard. In all of those violent cases the suspects and criminals were indeed black. Then, I am blanketed by a heavy coat of shame. The problem was that I didn’t feel bad for the victims. I felt bad that the criminals were black. They were black males and most of the victims were white females. Only a handful were white males.
In later years until the present there were more incidences of crime or outlandish behavior where marginalized groups were involved. Some moments were small while others were more heinous. The latter would spread more rapidly than a virus. The first thought that goes through many of our heads will be a plea for the culprits not to be members of those groups. When it is revealed that individual members were responsible, we shake our heads in shame despite us having nothing to do with the incident.
Why do we feel guilty for the repugnant actions of a few ignorant and lost individuals? Notice that I’m using the word ‘individuals’ a bit. Reason being is that society sees certain groups as cracked, twisted monoliths. One screw up or crime reflects on the entire group, and in some cases it is call for immediate action against group. This cringe we feel is shared with fear, fear of some kind of retribution that the community must pay for. The most subtle response would be getting strange looks from privileged groups as if you’ve done the deed.
There is something deeper and uglier about this cringe. It is – in fact – a trap. It is part of Massa’s tools to bring ourselves down mentally and emotionally. It makes us not only angry with the people responsible but angry with ourselves for sharing the same characteristics (Sometimes you wish you weren’t one of them). It makes us feel that the individuals have set back the progress for equality. It makes you question why you should hope for change when there are those who prove “them” right show up. It makes us adapt to be more cautious not to fall into stereotypes by changing the way we talk, dress, walk or whatever. And it affirms that we indeed all think and feel alike, a contradiction to what individuality is.
White, straight, Christian males, and females to a smaller extent, do not have to suffer from the cringe. It is part of white privilege. Most of the time, they assume that whatever incident occurred was caused by members of a group they associate with who are prone to those particular actions. If there’s a bombing somewhere, they assume it was the work of Muslims automatically. If there was a murder involving guns, they think it was caused by blacks and browns. Stereotypes then live on, and racism continues.
They hardly consider that a white person could be the perp or that crime and terrorism is not limited to everyone else except white communities. When a (violent) crime or act of terrorism does occur by whites, and it happens more often than they care to believe, there is shock all around. The individuals responsible are usually painted as those who just snapped. Those who knew them will paint them as “good” people who needed help while they see people of color, women and non-Christians as just being prone to violence who can not be helped.
This is a double standard of how whiteness operates in our minds and hearts. Those of us who claim to be progressive still have some reprogramming to do if we are to fight this cringe. We must realize that we are human beings and not saints. We also must keep in mind that as white people see themselves as individuals and demand to be treated as such, so should we.
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Oh, Daily Caller! You wanted so badly to be “down,” and you accidentally called RNC chair Reince Priebus a nigger.
But in a cool conservative anti-PC hipstery way we guess? First they said Reince was rapping, and was HNIC (that’s “head negro type person in charge”), and then they deleted it real quick-like. So surely an apology and immediate execution of the already-dead Social Media Editor was in order, right?
When Jews cry foul on popular Islamist racism against them, like Morsi’s now-infamous comment about Jews being “the descendants of apes and pigs,” Islamists shrug. Arab politicians and presidents may duck and weave, attempting to explain their slips as they seek financial support from the West, but at the end of the day, Islamists don’t bother to deny their genuine belief that Jews are less than human. And so the question must be asked: Do our religious youth movements not express similar ideas? Do religious Zionist leaders truly believe racism against Arabs is “a serious mistake” to be corrected? And supposing they do—will they really fight for it, thoroughly and relentlessly? It’s tough to imagine. Their worldview is victim-like: it’s the “liberals” and the “progressive Jews” (i.e. the snitchers and the informers), on top of the Arabs, that provoke these Orthodox youths who are then pushed to retaliate and then, of course, are documented and shamed. Nowhere in this narrative is there a moment or a mention of open self-examination.
Sharpton asked Mark O’Mara about information released by the defense about Martin last week, about voice experts who have said the screams for help on the 911 calls on the night of the February 2012 shooting were not Zimmerman’s voice, and whether Sanford, Florida police erred in not initially arresting Zimmerman.
I mean…lemme get this straight. You’re a pizza delivery guy in a little shit town whose two claims to fame are murder and racism. You’ve clearly internalized a lot of that, so much that you’ve lost your job – in this economy – and created a national scandal which will likely haunt you as you apply for new jobs…and all because you got tipped more than you deserved and just didn’t how to say, “Thank you”, and call it a day.
My dear UBB family I am reaching out to all of you and asking for your help. Long story short, my boyfriend of over 4 years was brutally attacked this past Memorial Day weekend in the lower eastside of Manhattan at 3-3:30 AM. He is a Bartender and works in the area and was on his way home with his twin brother, as two young black men, not inebriated, clearly were targeted when a group of 10 to 11 men were blocking the sidewalk and would not let them pass. The assailants were Italian/Western European and of Indian descent. The assailants were congregated outside of a lounge called Sutra and a local neighborhood ‘First & First Finest Deli’ convenience store. As my boyfriend and his twin were walking by 3 out of the 10 or 11 blocked their passage. As his brother calmly stated “We do not want to fight we are just on our way home” they immediately begin to assault his brother. My boyfriend then proceeded to step in to help his brother and was blindsided from behind by 7 to 8 men. Vastly out numbered, these “men” then proceeded to grab my boyfriend’s arms and legs, hold him down and brutally begin kicking him in the head onto the concrete.
The following is based upon Abagond’s article My supposed secret desire for white women and was requested by Ankhesen Mié to deliver a response blog post.
As a black male in America, do I secretly desire white women as expected by so many people who want to know if the age old stereotype of the negro’s lust for white meat is largely true? The answer is no, at least not the way that most people would assume.
Let’s turn back the clock.
When I was little, I watched a lot of music videos. At the time, I watched all kinds consider that there were all kinds of artists and genres showing up in mainstream television. Some videos were by white female artists, including Madonna during her heyday.
I admit. I had a huge crush on Madonna back then. I thought she was beautiful, especially when she shows her belly. I thought it was sexy. I never thought much about it, not even the fact that she was white. In fact I never thought about race growing up.
I saw many different women as beautiful and charming, in the media mostly. Besides Madonna, I also had a crush on Jayne Kennedy. Even though I was too young to notice, I was smitten and turned on by her.
There were so many famous and once-famous women of multiple colors in the media – from Janet Jackson to Jessica Rabbit – that I thought were beautiful and gorgeous. When puberty came and went, I was attracted to them. I wished I could at least meet them, never thinking about how was race was an issue, particularly when it came to nonblack women.
I also saw girls and women around my way as beautiful. In high school I had a lot of secret crushes, most of them were black females. I only thought one white girl – well, two since they were twins, were alluring. They were cute and thick, especially in the hips and rear, and was cool. Back then, white girls with booty was slowly, but surely, becoming a trend. And there were some that was blessed back there.
I continued to get struck by the beauty of women around me and in the media. Though, I was tight-lipped on the issue. Today, when it comes to physical beauty, I prefer thickness and curves. I love big booties and soft bellies with cute navels. I still think all women are beautiful in their own ways, but I place black women above all.
I used to believe that it doesn’t matter who you date as long as that person treats you with love, respect and dignity. But, we live in the United States, one of the most racist, judgmental nations on the planet. Here, image is everything. You need to judge a book by its cover as this is what society warrants. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That’s true. But what if the beholder is brainwashed?
In the West white women are the default of feminine beauty to where they placed way above every other kind of woman. Society expects everyone, especially black men, to lust for white women. And this is why you can expect to see some white women to be egotistic and some white men to be highly and insanely defensive and paranoid.
White men see white women as something so precious that they need their protection from their supposed biggest threat, black men. A white woman is seen as pure as the driven snow and as innocent as a newborn baby. A white woman who dates a black man is no longer pure in the eyes of white women. Instead, she becomes unworthy of the white man’s “affection”. In fact if she were to upset a white man so badly, he may wish ‘nigger rape’ upon her just to show her who’s boss.
But white people should really get over themselves when it comes to looks. Despite popular opinion, most black men desire black women, and that seems to drive white people crazy. It tells them that they, white women particularly, are not irresistible over black women and that they find black women more fetching.
That is the heart of the revolution to fight against white racism. Black love is what is needed and there is a lot of that going around.