Do the Right Thing wasn’t ahead of its time. It was behind its time, and it’s ahead of ours. It came out in the summer of 1989, six months before Driving Miss Daisy, but if you can imagine it without hip-hop, it could have come out in 1939 alongside Gone with the Wind; without color, in 1929 with The Jazz Singer; without sound, 1915 and The Birth of a Nation. If you updated the soundtrack and the fashion a bit and released it next week, critics would praise its timeliness and how its depiction of police brutality and racial tension captures the angry zeitgeist surrounding the recent killings of unarmed black civilians by police officers. Some might even predict that it would ultimately end up feeling dated, as some did 25 years ago. If only. - Lessons from Do the Right Thing on Its 25th Anniversary
It's been over two years since Hennessy Youngman's made an Art Thoughtz video, but that doesn't change the relevance of what he's posted and the deeper meaning behind them all. (NSFW SLYT) [more inside]
Tired of being constantly asked "Where are you from?", Shing Yin Kor looks to the Yellow Ranger for advice.
V.V. Ganeshananthan at The Margins on writing outside of what you know and the literary establishment's willingness to suspend disbelief and praise authenticity of narrative. As Gracie Jin put it, "In a society masquerading as post-racial, it is still only the white man who can speak authoritatively for every man."
A frightening and violent mob swept through the normally quiet seaside community of Huntington Beach last night following a surfing competition in the area. Businesses were vandalized and looted, portable toilets overturned, and brutal fistfights waged right out in the open. It was an ugly display and a sad day for California. But more than that, it was a reminder that we must begin to seriously consider the values of our thuggish white youth.
(Oddly enough, do make sure to read the comments, they're amazing.)
"Entering into one of the fiercest competitions in existence, I found art."Sixteen mushers. 120 dogs. An adventure across one of the longest mushing trails in the world: the Beringia, a dog sled race stretching 683 miles across eastern Russia. Twilight on the Tundra [more inside]
Right now Baltimore, MD plays host to FemmeCon, a biannual gathering for those who "seek to explore, discuss, dissect, and support Queer Femme as a transgressive, gender-queer, stand-alone, and empowered identity and provide a space for organizing and activism within Queer communities". Some of the issues faced by queer femme culture include femme invisibility in larger queer culture, the lack of non-stereotypical role models, being classed 'femme' by default, dismissal as "too much", as well as intersectional issues of femme with race, gender, and disability. In the meantime, femme subcultures such as tomboy femme, hard femme, and FEMME SHARKS as well as femmes in specific regions come together for inspiration, expression, power, creativity and support from each other - as well as from appreciative butches.
James McBride talks about The Help, Hattie McDaniel, why black women are still winning awards for playing maids, how black culture is appropriated and represented, and whether marginalized groups in America all serve the purpose of "cultural maids". [more inside]
Results of a new survey by the Washington post and Kaiser sheds some light on black women in America in a way that some others have failed to do. 2011 saw a record number of articles, books and shows dedicated to analyzing the "plight' of black women in America. Naturally, most of it devolved into popular tropes about black women being undesirable, ugly, angry, and lonely. This new survey shows that for some black women, the path to happiness doesn't necessarily have to be through companionship with a mate.
We Simulated The NFL White Vs. Black Race Bowl On Madden So You Don’t Have To "Earlier this week, reader Dustin asked who would win between an all-white NFL All-Pro team and an all-black NFL All-Pro team. Mind you, this question was asked without ANY ROOTING INTEREST, and without any hint of RAYCESSNESS. Are we clear on that? Good. BECAUSE WE TOTALLY SIMULATED THAT RACE WAR ON MADDEN TO SEE WHO WOULD WIN." [more inside]
Categories as fundamental as fact and fiction, news and entertainment, gender and sexuality, have eroded away. In literature and architecture, in cuisine, in music, in fashion and furnishings, everywhere, everything—it’s fusion and mix. Barack Obama emerged as a literal embodiment of this age. To educated people, especially younger people with generally progressive views, other candidates suddenly looked parochial by comparison—or simply outdated. In his ethnicity and biography and in his personality and politics, Obama, the conciliator, was above all a combiner. Because he was from virtually everywhere—Kenya, Indonesia, Honolulu, Harvard, Chicago’s South Side—he was also from nowhere. The pastiche of his persona made him “his own man” in a new sense of the term.On the Politics of Pastiche and Depthless Intensities: The Case of Barack Obama
Code-switching is using different languages or language varieties in different contexts. Ta-Nehisi Coates does it. Jay-Z does it. The President does it. But, for African Americans, is code-switching necessary to escape poverty, an element of race as performed or neither?
A recent drowning tragedy in Shreveport, Louisiana has brought to light a startling statistic in America: a majority of black youth can not swim. [more inside]
Anyone who wishes to understand American society must be aware that explanations focusing on the cultural traits of inner-city residents are likely to draw far more attention from policy makers and the general public than structural explanations will. It is an unavoidable fact that Americans tend to de-emphasize the structural origins and social significance of poverty and welfare ... If, in America, you can grow up to be anything you want to be, then any destiny—even poverty—can be viewed through the lens of personal achievement or failure. William Julius Wilson on the political and academic failure to recognize structural causes of inner-city poverty. Wilson interviewed in conjunction with the article. [more inside]
A tempest in a Livejournal: It starts with author Elizabeth Bear's post Writing for The Other. Or maybe it started with Jay Lake's Thinking about the Other. It leads to a wide ranging, intense and angry debate on the portrayal of ethnicity in fiction, culture and the media. Avalon's Willow responds with an open letter on the racial content in one of her books, and relates it to media portrayals of ethnic peoples. Deepa D follows up with a post on, cultural appropriation. And then things get intense. [more inside]
'Race' graphically illustrated - "most Europeans" vs. Ashkenazim (previously; see also IQ & Gladwell, viz. ;) [more inside]
Zora Neale Hurston's Glossary of Harlem Slang. Profiles of black writers including Audre Lorde, Chester Himes, The Last Poets and Linton Kwesi Johnson. The complete list of Coretta Scott King children's book award winners. Lots of informative off-site links. A lively forum filled with juicy gossip, among other pleasures. Just a few things you'll find at the African American Literature Book Club.
While culling my clippings file for the big move, I came across Ragtime: No Longer a Novelty in Sepia, which led me to the The Rag-Time Ephemeralist, a labor of love by one Chris Ware , whose 'The Acme Novelty Library' and Jimmy Corrigan, Smartest Boy In The World I had long admired. The Ragtime Ephemeralist's mention of Out of Sight - The Rise of African American Popular Music, 1889-1895---here's a review from Musical Traditions--and, its very own links page, as a consequence, led to this post about Ragtime, Cakewalks, Coon Songs and Vaudeville, with a slight nod to Barbershop Quartets. There's more, of course...
Acting White *: In 1986, Professors Signithia Fordham and John Ogbu introduced this phrase into our cultural lexicon, presenting evidence that black academic underperformance might be partially or largely attributable to a devaluation of academic success by black students themselves. Needless to say, this theory was controversial ... [*via Arts & Letters Daily] [more inside]
Race/Music: Corrine Corrina, Bo Chatmon, and the Excluded Middle. Bo Carter is not the household name that, say, Robert Johnson is but he first recorded and most likely wrote one of the standards of the 20th Century. The essay linked deals with him, his song and the push me-pull you of race and culture in America. It's a post graduate thesis rife with postmodernist terminology--yet full of ideas and insights, not all of which I necessarily endorse or agree with--but which I've found thought provoking. (Details Within)
"In the end, we will need to give up any lingering fantasies of a color-blind Web and focus on building a space where we recognize, discuss and celebrate racial and cultural diversity. To achieve that goal, all of us -- white folks and people of color -- will have to shed the defensiveness that surrounds the topic of race." So says Henry Jenkins in a Technology Review article on Cyberspace and Race. On the Internet, nobody knows you're oppressed?
Bush is an ignorant hick, with his racial slurs that are explained, but not apologized for. Mel Lastman, after a similar gaffe, said he was really really sorry. I think the President should apologize to the Pakistani people.