Notable Links: 8-16/13

Why I Find It hard To Be Friends With White People

I had only begun to have white friends the year prior when I found myself newly “tracked” into the higher-achieving second grade class based on superior reading ability. Scattered into a predominantly white classroom among only a handful of black students left me desperately wanting to culturally fit in and sound like my peers, especially since the vast majority of black children I knew stayed concentrated in the “B” and “C” tracks. My awkward attempts to fit in resulted in me being teased mercilessly by my black peers, who from then on through the better part of high school both accused and found me guilty of “talking too proper,” “acting white” and, perhaps most egregious of all, “thinking I was white.”

 

I was grateful for the friendship of a white girl in my class, Amanda. I’m not sure why we were drawn to each other, but more and more, we became each other’s primary playmates during recess. By fourth grade, Amanda and I were joined at the hip, so much so that our teacher, a Black lady named Mrs. Gaulden, still my all-time favorite teacher, called us Ebony and Ivory after the famous song. Amanda directed the classroom production of “Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott,” starring yours truly as Rosa Parks.

Kal Penn Tweets in Support of Stop-and-Frisk

For a guy who launched his career with the stoner movie “Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle,” actor Kal Penn’s recent tweets in support of stop-and-frisk come as a surprise. Yesterday, he applauded NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s recent op-ed, saying “Great op/ed by @MikeBloomberg on the merits of “stop-question-frisk.”

In a series of tweets, which have since been deleted but were saved by The Aerogram, he responds to criticism from fans, saying he supports racially profiling black and Latino people because they commit most crimes.

The American Standards of Media Consumption

In America, nothing is truly validated until it’s accepted by the status quo.  One may rebut with the fact that there’s just more white people in America so the numbers determine what’s popular.  That’s a fair point but it doesn’t explain the expectation projected that certain people, places or things are classics, icons and etc., just because a bunch of white people say so and anything outside of that is just the musings of “others”.

Look at television.  How many popular shows are full of all white or majority white casts?  Friends, Cheers, Frasier, Dawson’s Creek, just to name a few hit shows over my lifetime that contribute to this mindset.  The creators of these shows decided to place little to no people of color in these shows.  Why?  Better yet, what would happen if they had?  Would it change the nature of the show?  Maybe.  Why is that though?  Because anything other than white is playing in the fields of the others and it no longer is the typical “American” show.  It’s considered normal if it’s a majority of white people but once you get others involved the show is no longer a reflection of American society. Otherness is rarely respected unless it has a heavy dose of something very emotional and tragic and/or its created by someone white and even then the content usually just reiterates stereotypes.  If something non-white does blow up, it’s sometimes a fetish more than anything (I think hip hop falls under this category). Look at what we see in  movies; look at our sitcoms and television shows or look at the magazine covers.  If something is a majority white, it’s laissez faire.  But if something is a majority African-American, Asian or Latino and has a heavy dose of their way of life in it, then white America sees it as just another black, brown or yellow form of media and not meant for them and thus the show rarely does well.

You ain’t funny or cutting edge: A Letter To Jason Horton

Jason, you once noted “I also grew up in the punk rock/hardcore rebellious culture. I really have a similar mentality when it comes to comedy. I think comedy should be dangerous.” What is dangerous about reinforcing many centuries of white supremacy?  What is dangerous in perpetuating stereotypes about oversexed black women seducing their white masters?  What is dangerous in profiting and relishing off black death?  Stereotypes?

You seem very invested in positioning yourself as cutting edge, as new, and as hip?  Congratulations, you just participated in a video that would make D.W. Griffith proud.  You just acted in video that seems to have taken cues from some of America’s most racist forms of popular culture.  Cutting edge is not 19th century minstrelsy.  Is that what you call hip? Is that what cutting edge looks like to you?  In your eyes, would Thomas Dixon be a cutting edge writer; would bull connor be a cutting edge police man; George Wallace an edgy politician; would Henry Ford be a cutting edge business man?

Does anyone care about black women?

One hundred fifty years after Harriet Tubman helped successfully free 750 slaves during the Raid at Combahee Ferry, becoming the first woman in U.S. history to successfully lead a military campaign, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons has chosen to commemorate her legacy by releasing a highly offensive web video titled “Harriet Tubman Sex Tape.”

In it, Harriet Tubman’s character played by YouTube comedienne Shanna Malcolm, can be seen willingly cajoling the master into sex, and even penetrating him with an unseen strap-on, in order to manipulate him into giving her freedom. Meanwhile, one of Harriet’s minions played by DeStorm Power hides in a closet with a video camera. The video was released by Simmon’s new YouTube network, All Def Digital.

At best, Simmons is utterly clueless about the realities of black female victimization during slavery; at worst, he’s a willfully ignorant misogynist who delights in minimizing the pain of slavery and rape for black women. This is one of the problems with the resurgence of black nationalist politics that inevitably follows the unjust killing of black boys like Trayvon Martin. With a scarily consistent frequency, black women’s political histories and needs are not only minimized but utterly discounted in service of a narrative of black male racial victimhood.

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16 thoughts on “Notable Links: 8-16/13

  1. I want to say thank you for posting those links. I just read the first one and it made me reflect on my own relationships with white people.

    I will detail later. 🙂

  2. And everyone that participated in that mess ought to be ashamed to. I never heard of the actors in the video, but they should be taking the walk of shame as well.

  3. In regards to friending white people, I have white friends but it was I regarded them with caution. But I have two that are like sisters.

    1. I had friends. Some of them are white, but I lost one when I made a comment about white people having guns are seen as patriots while black people with guns are seen as criminals.

      1. You’re just a racist tool! Blame whitey! Is that all you’ve got to say? You probably had friends until they found out what an asshole you are!

  4. those links are great I like the link about white friends, and I really like the links about Harriet Tubman. All involved in that vid are disgusting to me, but I have to wonder why they are putting all this stuff out, I mean they put out the movie the butler and now this. They are trying to demonize and downplay the roles of black ppl who fought back while up playing the servants and maids. More white supremacist propaganda. They trying o add fuel to the gender war with this mess. They want us to be mad at black men and want black men to disrespect and sexualize out female slave ancestors who were raped and beaten. Russell isn’t the first and he won’t be the last sell out hollyweird black man to degrade the legacy of black female slaves, I remember toure tweeted a couple yrs ago about black female slaves probably used sex to get what they wanted, again trying to minimize the rape that happened and put it on the victim and play into the jezebel stereotype. I think these black men are so damaged because they see how the black male slaves could not protect and were not allowed to protect black female slaves and they resort to attacking and making fun of the black female slaves instead of going after the real evildoers. Then some of them are so lost they can only see their own pain and nobody else’s that is how they can be all sad and ready to fight if someone that is their gender gets hurt or killed but not care when someone of the opposite sex gets hurt or killed.

  5. Wow, I guess your speaking the truth hurt. That’s one friend you don’t need. I don’t think some whites can handle the truth from black people.

  6. I hate the word “African-American”.

    Our People are not Amerikkklans. The police will never treat Us with the respect We deserve as The Original Huemans.

    I am Afrikan.

  7. I find it hard to trust White people in this sick nation. Heck, I find it harder to trust my own Black people as well because many of them will sell you out for the White man.

    BTW I have a few White acquaintances I talk to on and off but I would never call them friends. The few friends that I have are Blacks or they are Latino. I prefer it that way because they can relate to my experiences with racism and discrimination better than any so called White friend can.

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