"It's not hard to find gifts created for and by people of color this holiday season"
December 10, 2009 4:57 PM   Subscribe

The New York Times is offering a gift guide this season...specifically for people of colour. In case you were wondering what to get your friends of colour - henna or a gospel cruise may be what you have been looking for!
posted by hepta (64 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
not hard to find gifts created for and by people of color this holiday season.

This gift guide isn't really any different than the old FUBU brand of clothing. Seems reasonable.
posted by Lemurrhea at 5:00 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


To be fair, they have a ton of different gift guides. But back to the eyeroll, they think a frugal traveller would appreciate a $164 foldable bike. Ha!
posted by jessamyn at 5:01 PM on December 10, 2009


Yeah, I read this and thought "Things people of color like"
posted by cestmoi15 at 5:03 PM on December 10, 2009


'Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx/La Juez Que Crecio en el Bronx'' by Jonah Winter
"A judge grows"? It sound like someone planted a judge seed and she grew like a mushroom or something.
posted by delmoi at 5:07 PM on December 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


I did not see anything on that list that I want for a gift this holiday season. I could use some small kolinsky sable brushes. Perhaps I will make some art. And then sell it to people who are not of color.

White people.
posted by Mister Cheese at 5:10 PM on December 10, 2009


I want one of those Wise Latina babydoll tees. That's the kind of garment that gets people talking. Specifically, saying "what the hell is that white guy wearing?"
posted by gurple at 5:10 PM on December 10, 2009 [13 favorites]


It sound like someone planted a judge seed and she grew like a mushroom or something.
Best. Pokemon. Ever.
posted by lumensimus at 5:12 PM on December 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


"Baby Jamz"
posted by The Whelk at 5:14 PM on December 10, 2009


"A judge grows"? It sound like someone planted a judge seed and she grew like a mushroom or something.

I thought it was some sort of really awkward play on A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
posted by maqsarian at 5:15 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


a ton of different gift guides

Indeed. I'm on one of them. Couldn't be happier.

But still

"baby Jamz"
posted by The Whelk at 5:16 PM on December 10, 2009


I thought it was some sort of really awkward play on A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

Or A Lotus Grows In the Mud.
posted by hermitosis at 5:18 PM on December 10, 2009


My friends of purple persuasion don't see the humor in this.
posted by Balisong at 5:23 PM on December 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm getting them Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition.
posted by Artw at 5:25 PM on December 10, 2009


ALL of them?
posted by The Whelk at 5:27 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


And then sell it to people who are not of color.
White people.


I thought that, by definition, white people are of all color?
posted by Askiba at 5:30 PM on December 10, 2009


I'd like a $164 folding bike, that looks great.
posted by fixedgear at 5:36 PM on December 10, 2009


Yes.

Do you think they will like it? Should I get just the player manual or the DM guide as well?
posted by Artw at 5:38 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Really? This qualifies as MeFi material?
posted by mattholomew at 5:40 PM on December 10, 2009


Man, fuck that folding bike. I don't think you can even buy a single S&S coupler for $164.
posted by box at 5:45 PM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I keep rereading it looking for the in-joke, or at least some level of awareness that this isn't just strange. There's nothing really offensive or wrong that I can find ... and yet it all seems off.

Yeah, I'm nothing if not coherent today.

There are twenty or so people in my office, I suppose sixteen of them are "of color," and yet I can't imagine buying anything on this list for any one here. Some of them (Baby Jamz) would go right in the trash.




(well, maybe the henna kit would be cool).
posted by kanewai at 5:47 PM on December 10, 2009


This people of colour, it vibrates?

People of colour is just the most laughable term ever.
posted by fire&wings at 5:53 PM on December 10, 2009


That's pretty offensive, but not as offensive as the seventy-seven dollar Marc Jacobs baby booties in the kid gift guide.
posted by craichead at 6:02 PM on December 10, 2009


What's your favorite color, baby?

Living color.
posted by fixedgear at 6:03 PM on December 10, 2009


Oh man, my black friend is going to just love the gift I get him this year - maybe he will finally let me touch his hair!
posted by vorpal bunny at 6:03 PM on December 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


Merry Christmas, my black friend! You're black, so I thought you'd enjoy a gospel cruise! Sorry... the soul train was all booked. HAH HAH HAH!
posted by katillathehun at 6:03 PM on December 10, 2009 [12 favorites]


Can I appropriate the folding bike 'thang'? I'm not black or anything, but they look really cool.

Thanks! On the part of white folk everywhere and big business, I salute you, PoC!
*Raises clenched fist*.
posted by sebastienbailard at 6:24 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Conversation: How Black Men and Women Can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships' by Hill Harper

I'm thinking some people might not appreciate getting this book for a gift. Nothing says "Happy Holidays" like a gift that implies that you don't know how to have a good relationship.
posted by MikeMc at 6:25 PM on December 10, 2009


The designer Maya Lake draws her design influence from tastemakers like Josephine Baker and W.E.B. Du Bois.
I think that may be the first time in history that W.E.B. Du Bois has been referred to as a "tastemaker."
posted by craichead at 6:26 PM on December 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


See, white people receive gifts like this... &c.
posted by brundlefly at 6:35 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]



Well, not the first time the New York Times has tried to look progressive or in-touch and come across as patronizing and clueless. It's a shitty newspaper.
posted by bukharin at 6:41 PM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


"by whites, for whites"

yes, reverse racism is alive and well.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:50 PM on December 10, 2009




That thing is like this thing.
posted by ScotchRox at 7:01 PM on December 10, 2009


I'm giving my black friends a hard time for Christmas.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:08 PM on December 10, 2009


tastemakers like [...] W.E.B. Du Bois

Who knew "the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line" was meant to announce a fashion trend? Thanks, New York Times!
posted by RogerB at 7:10 PM on December 10, 2009


Apparently, this has the internet all aflutter and you can read lots more details here.

I suppose it's worth pointing out that, according to the article I linked to, this guide was written by someone of color. So it's not clueless white people across the board, though I grant you it sure seems a little tone deaf.
posted by librarylis at 7:12 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


this guide was written by someone of color.

Yeah, that's the relatively standard "some of my best friends reporters are people of color" line of defense, which is to say: if something's tone-deaf, it's tone-deaf regardless of the personal qualities of the author, and pointing out those qualities as a defense is itself a little tone-deaf.

I don't especially think there's a lot in there to yell about, personally, but there's something a little off about the presentation for me. I think it's less the "what to buy for people of a certain group" part, although that's kind of icky, and more the vibe of "hey white people! this is for you! people of color, don't look, you know this stuff already and you don't want to ruin the surprise! white people, psst! are they gone yet? good, now, pro-tip: get them hairspray!"

You know? It's just a little bleh, which is inarticulate and yet seems quite accurate.

I did love this from the article you linked, though:

One Times reporter who asked to remain unnamed was mildly flabbergasted, saying, "After seeing the gift guide, I'm guessing all that ink we spilled after the election of Obama about a post-racial America didn't get read internally."

That's probably good, because it was all bullshit, and I hope you know that, nameless Times reporter.
posted by Errant at 7:28 PM on December 10, 2009


I thought that, by definition, white people are of all color?

But wouldn't that, by definition, make black people of lacking of color? Then the people of colo(u?)r would be pared down to the Asiatics, Hispanexicans, and AmerIndaNatives. That would make three groups: Colored, All Colored, and Lack of Colored. Don't those groupings sound pretty ridiculous and difficult to shop for?
posted by Mister Cheese at 7:42 PM on December 10, 2009


I'm gonna call bullshit on Linus Bikes from the list found in this comment. There is no way these are made in the USA. Matter of fact, it doesn't say it anywhere on the Linus Bikes web site, I think the NYT imagined it. This disappoints me, because although I am not a journalist, I understand the difference between 'made in the USA' (if that is still a selling point) and 'headquartered in the USA.'
posted by fixedgear at 7:57 PM on December 10, 2009


Indeed. I'm on one of them. Couldn't be happier.

Small packages?

But, no, really, which one, Whelkster? I don't have time to click through all of these!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:10 PM on December 10, 2009


...I thought that, by definition, white people are of all color?...

...But wouldn't that, by definition, make black people of lacking of color?...

People of colour is not a not a literal term, and quibbling over the semantics of a phrase whose intent is to express solidarity only makes you seem tone-deaf.
posted by embrangled at 8:14 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I found it kind of odd that the only Hispanic items on the list were Sonia Sotomayor-related. What, were they out of designer serapes and his-and-hers maracas?
posted by Madamina at 8:30 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


"People of color" seriously icks me out.
Probably 'cause it's just a semi-novel way to say "non-whites", while trying to sound all inclusive and shit while still being racist.
"People".
Is that so hard?
posted by signal at 8:33 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]



But, no, really, which one, Whelkster? I don't have time to click through all of these!


Graphic Novels. I have a story in the Act-I-Vate Primer.
posted by The Whelk at 8:52 PM on December 10, 2009


Well, I'm white and I wouldn't ever buy any of these things, so it must be spot-on.

*looks at other gift guides*

Well it looks like I'm out of luck all around.
posted by hermitosis at 8:57 PM on December 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


...I thought that, by definition, white people are of all color?...

...But wouldn't that, by definition, make black people of lacking of color?...

...People of colour is not a not a literal term, and quibbling over the semantics of a phrase whose intent is to express solidarity only makes you seem tone-deaf.


Yeah, I guess it's a bit tone deaf to quibble over that sort of thing. People obviously don't adhere to the additive color model. That'd be silly.

Now I'll be more serious: The article comes off weird to me. I understand that perhaps the author intends to foster racial awareness via the gift choices on the list. Personally, if I were given a gift like that from a white person, I would think it pretty tone deaf; if given by another person of color I would hope it were with several spoonfuls of irony. Maybe there are minorities out there really into that sort of thing, but there are probably just as many who don't.

In any case, I don't think the list is anything to be outraged about. The US still has to figure out how to deal with this whole race thing and there will be lots more awkward-feeling-but-you're-not-really-sure-why events/writing/discussions to come out of it.
posted by Mister Cheese at 9:00 PM on December 10, 2009


I agree that it isn't worth an ounce of outrage, but still... the tonedeafness is really surprising, even for the Times.
posted by Forktine at 9:03 PM on December 10, 2009


It's sad that the description talks about how Iman had trouble with finding makeup in her color and she's photoshopped into looking completely plastic on the cover of that book. And totally unnecessary, since the woman looks amazing.

Also, just because the new Disney princess is black doesn't mean that the products by Carol's Daughter (or any of their products) are solely for minorities. They make some incredible stuff. Luckily, the Disney Store and its own website are selling those products in a cross-promotion.

And finally, um, give me a gift based upon my interests, not because I'm Hispanic. I'm sure lots of people feel this way. This list is pretty ignorant, as if ethnicity or race determine interests. I'd rather get a new slow cooker than a "Wise Latina" shirt.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:41 PM on December 10, 2009


Baby Jamz. Because clearly baby is predisposed to love blazin' hip-hop and r&b. It's just like how my dad was always blasting Pretzel Logic into my crib and shouting "LISTEN TO ALL THOSE ADD2 CHORDS, BABY MINTCAKE! DON'T FIGHT YOUR DESTINY!" and I was all like "Waaah!" and pooping on myself.

Maybe let the wee ones figure out what they like on their own. That's all I'm saying, Knowles family.
posted by mintcake! at 11:16 PM on December 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


If you liked it then you should've put a diaper on it.
posted by mintcake! at 11:19 PM on December 10, 2009


And finally, um, give me a gift based upon my interests, not because I'm Hispanic.

Indeed, this list does not have 1) beer 2) socks 3) a huge printer (like 20+ inches huge) 4) a million dollars
posted by kathrineg at 12:14 AM on December 11, 2009


By the way, I think that Baby Jamz thing is way more awesome than some sort of silly rug or makeup book. Who gets an adult person a makeup book, unless you're their passive-aggressive mother?
posted by kathrineg at 12:19 AM on December 11, 2009


True. The idea of putting a kid in a "hey, this is what you like" bag just squonks me out, I guess.

(My day gig is for a big chain bookstore, and part of our last big Mother's Day display table was supposed to be a book called "How Not To Look Old." Even the most clueless dudes walked by that one and went "ewww" in the 3 hours between the display going up and my quietly demoting that book back to the section... katherineg speaks the truth - don't do it, kids.)
posted by mintcake! at 1:39 AM on December 11, 2009


Metafilter: does not have 1) beer 2) socks 3) a huge printer (like 20+ inches huge) 4) a million dollars
posted by chavenet at 8:14 AM on December 11, 2009


But back to the eyeroll, they think a frugal traveller would appreciate a $164 foldable bike. Ha!

Here in NYC, that's a decent price for a good bike that can handle our much abused streets. We're no Portland, though. I have no idea if that particular one's any good.

Interestingly enough, that same foldable bike has been in New York Magazine, Time Out New York and several other local papers. Looks like someone went out and got themselves an aggressive publicist this season. :)
posted by zarq at 8:24 AM on December 11, 2009


I think the problem with the foldable bike is that it's too inexpensive, not that it's too expensive. $164 isn't enough to get a decent new bike, and especially not a decent folding bike. It's not "frugal" if you cart it halfway across the world and then it breaks the first time you try to use it!

(I'm to a bike snob. I ride a bike that I bought used for $40. But I'm thinking a $164 new folding bike is way too good to be true.)

Sorry for the bike derail. Now back to your regularly scheduled snarking about the tone-deaf POC gift guide.
posted by craichead at 8:29 AM on December 11, 2009


I dunno. I kind of liked it. This might make me an idiot, but there were a couple of items here that I would buy as gifts. Even though I hate the phrase "people of colour".

Even though it's a touchier subject I don't really see this as being any more insulting than a geek gift guide. And I can think of much worse kinds of racism than those that manifest themselves as poorly thought out & racially insensitive gifts.

Saying that, the relationship saving book made me feel a little icky too.
posted by seanyboy at 9:25 AM on December 11, 2009


Even though it's a touchier subject I don't really see this as being any more insulting than a geek gift guide.

I'm half Mexican, which half of these gifts am I supposed to like? Or should someone just buy me the Sonia Sotomayor book and saw it in half?
posted by kathrineg at 11:42 AM on December 11, 2009


I'm half Mexican, which half of these gifts am I supposed to like? Or should someone just buy me the Sonia Sotomayor book and saw it in half?

Why waste a book? I say, go for more than one gift. This way, you can get one that addresses each portion of your heritage. ;)
posted by zarq at 1:10 PM on December 11, 2009


where the white women gifts at
posted by kathrineg at 3:16 PM on December 11, 2009


They get Dungeons and dragons 4th edition too. It's the best gift for everybody!
posted by Artw at 3:17 PM on December 11, 2009


"People of Color" is racist.
posted by HTuttle at 5:20 PM on December 11, 2009


cite please
posted by kathrineg at 6:08 PM on December 11, 2009


Fuck you Martin Luther King, you racist!
posted by Artw at 6:34 PM on December 11, 2009


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