10 posts

Here’s Why Starbucks’#RaceTogether Initiative is Misguided

When Starbucks announced their new race initiative, #RaceTogether, that would see baristas attempting to hold conversations with customers surrounding race issues, the Twitter backlash was swift and conclusive. Downgrading the importance of race relations — or patronizing the efforts of those who work tirelessly to discuss race in more fitting environments by suggesting it can be easily dissected while waiting in a Starbucks line — proved laughable to most and just short of offensive to others.

Were it not for our collective eye-roll when it comes to the gimmicky nature of the corporate sanitization of various issues affecting our society, the outcry in response could have been relegated to just Black Twitter. However, given the diversity of social media, a community of citizens that is an actual microcosm of the world over, many, regardless of race, were unified in their expression of distaste. And that should tell Starbucks something. Continue reading

Please Know, World, Black Lives Do Matter

In the last week, this blogger has often been reduced to stunned silence and anguished utterances as she looked on with the entire world at the happenings in Ferguson, Missouri. To say that the images, information and lack thereof, coming out of this town have been enough to make one feel heartsick, rage-filled, and utterly helpless is an understatement. Continue reading

Colorado Legislator Connects Fried Chicken to Black Race Demise, Old Stereotype Still Has Pulse

Oh, that’s just what we all need. A Republican (naturally) Colorado state senator who praises all that scrumptious, finger lickin good barbecue and chicken but only to the extent that it kills the black race. What a pity that all those dangblasted grease eaters are taken out by luscious, innocuous Hallelujah chicken that’s completely safe when put in the hands of white people! And if it isn’t the sickle-cell anemia and diaUHBEETUS sent to reduce the black race to rubble, just like racist spirit guide and bigoted butter-rich cage fighter, Paula Deen, would say, then apparently it’s the chicken. Continue reading

Remembering Malcolm X

This article was first published on Crasstalk last year in honor of Malcolm X’s birthday.

Today would have been the 86th birthday of Malcolm X, had he not been gunned down at the age of 39 at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan while delivering a speech to the Organization for African-American Unity. In an editorial following his death, the New York Times called his worldview “distorted and dark,” his intentions based on a “ruthless and fanatical belief in violence.” Such opinions on Malcolm X were not uncommon; to many he was a demagogue, a troublemaker, the dangerous antithesis of Martin Luther King Jr.

While these charges are still thrown about today, you probably are not likely to hear or see this: “We respect anyone who respects us.” Continue reading

Incredibly Racist National Review Writer John Derbyshire Fired

National Review editor Rich Lowry announced yesterday that writer John Derbyshire has been fired. Derbyshire, who came under fire this week for an amazingly racist article in a web magazine, has lost his position at NR for advising people, among other things, that “If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on that date (neglect of that one got me the closest I have ever gotten to death by gunshot).” Continue reading

In Defense of Affirmative Action

On Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court announced that it would hear a case on affirmative action in university admissions. This case, like the landmark 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger decision, involves a white student who applied to a public university and was denied– and, according to the plaintiff, Abigail Fisher, minority students with lower scores than hers were admitted. In Grutter, the Supreme Court ruled that the use of quota systems for racial minorities in public university admissions was unconstitutional, but it also held that admissions committees may use race as one of a myriad factors that go into the admissions process– not unlike the way admissions committees favor students who are legacies or those who hail from Barrow, Alaska (so that they can claim in brochures that they attract students from all fifty states–and Guam!)In other words, race might be a factor that gives your application a little nudge toward the top of the pile, but it can’t be the sole determining factor in an admission decision. Continue reading

Updated: Hey! Rick Santorum Does Care About Black People!

Apparently we’ve all been terribly wrong about Rick Santorum and his lack of love for black people in this country. You see, he cares so deeply about black people that he’d like to address them directly, you know, comfortingly, and supportively. This is just his way, you know, with other races. He looks them square in the eye and says exactly what he thinks. Everyone will soon thank him for it, just you wait.

On an Iowa stop Saturday, Santorum tested his theory. Continue reading

I Worry That I’m a Racist

I grew up in a racist household. My parents and grandparents tossed around the n-word and s-word the way Lady Gaga tosses around glitter. I was discouraged from making friends who were not white. Hell, a mixed marriage when I was growing up, right outside Boston, was an Irish marrying an Eye-tal-yan.

I’ve worked hard not be afraid of men of color, because that’s what I was taught as a child. It was beaten into me, so that that it became an instinct. I’m proud to say my intellect has overcome my upbringing. Continue reading

How to Not Be a Menace to Minorities While Drinking Your “Juice” in the Hood (or Anywhere Else)

It has happened to all of us.

You and your friend of another race/ethnicity/nationality etc. are having a good time then all of a sudden you say something, your friend looks at you like you are crazy and immediately excuses themselves and you don’t hear from them for a couple weeks. You’d apologize, except you have no idea what to apologize for and your friend would call you but every time they think of that last conversation they get so pissed off smoke literally rises from their scalp.

So would he.

Well, I’d like to help put out the fires of discord.

Here is my attempt to address some commonly made mistakes that, let’s face it, predominantly white, straight, male people make, that make minorities of all colors, shapes and sexual orientations (critical race theory has some close cousins in queer theory) want to unleash the Kraken.*

  • Assume all members of a minority of a group share the exact same experience. This is called “the danger of the single story.” There is just as much diversity in the Mexican, Black, Vietnamese, Iranian and Nigerian (STOP using the term “African” unless you are referring to the elephant) experience as there is in the White experience. Sure there are some safe assumptions. A Mexican person probably enjoys salsa and knows 39 different ways to eat a tortilla but just to be on the safe side, let each individual person tell you who they are, where they are from and if they in fact enjoy hip hop music. You wouldn’t assume that all white people like, oh say, tuna casserole would you?
  • Don’t talk or behave like the unique physical traits of certain races are the last, recently discovered dodo bird. There are more people with so-called African hair than blond hair in this world and yet, most people don’t walk up to blonds and stick their grubby hands in their hair and say, “OH! I’ve never touched this before! How INTERESTING!” Furthermore, a lot of non-white girls have prominent asses. Some of us enjoy our asses, some of us wish they would go away forever. A lot of us hate the bitchy intro to “I like big butts.”
    Hands. Off.

    A lot of us hate the entire song. It doesn’t make us want to dance, it makes us feel exposed and sexualized in a completely non-sexy way.  So, stop talking about our asses unless you are trying to get us into bed and then only do if the individual girl gives you the green light. In regards to black men, a lot of them, at least in the United States, are big, strapping guys. Why? It is not an accident of genetics. It is because when black people were imported to the Americas and bred as work animals, like most breeds of work animals, the smaller individuals tend not survive the harsh conditions and are actively bred out of existence. It’s not a coincidence and it’s not really funny to joke about while watching football with your token black friend.

  • Learn your history. Ignorance is not a defense. My senior year two fucking idiots showed up at a frat party painted black from head to to with orange markings and called themselves “savages.” Their defense was that they had never heard of “blackface.” We live in the 21st century. Get your ass on the internet learn about the racial/cultural taboos in your country/community and then don’t fucking do them.
  • Do not ever, Ever, EVER tell someone that they aren’t really or don’t act like <insert minority group here>. This sort of relates to the first point, but this particular tendency requires special attention. Do not ever claim to be the voice of legitimacy on what is and what is not “proper” behavior/dress/etc. of a particular group if you are not a member of that group (it is also problematic for members within that group to set legitimacy requirements, but that debate is for another day). It doesn’t matter how many <insert minority group here> friends you have, you do not have authority in this arena. Keep your mouth shut.
  • Scarlett is your Goofus. Don't be a Scarlett.

    Know your own privilege(s). Are you educated? Rich? Male? Straight? White? One or all of the above? Well there are some handy things called “privileges” that go along with those characteristics. Pay attention to your life and figure out what they are. If you haven’t read this piece by Peggy McIntosh it is a great primer. Becoming knowledgeable about your particular set of privileges will help you understand the structural deficits that others operate under. So, when your friend says that they’d like to leave a place that is making them feel uncomfortable or when your girlfriend says someone said something disrespectful to them, that may have sounded completely innocuous to you instead of possibly discounting their assertions or feelings by brushing them off or asking them to “ignore” it (as if that were possible) you can help make constructive steps to remedy the situation.

  • Keeping those privileges in mind, affirmative action is not reverse discrimination. Reverse discrimination, as it is used by reactionary, angry white people, doesn’t actually exist. What affirmative actions aim to do is even out the levels of privilege experienced by advantaged groups (think white, straight, male, financially solvent, educated) and disadvantaged groups (everyone else). Similarly, when disadvantaged groups make criticize or makes jokes about the advantaged group, while it may be inappropriate, in poor taste and offensive, it does not operate the same way as when the advantaged group makes fun of the disadvantaged group. Advantaged groups typically have the power or the state and media behind them, they can set the narrative for disadvantaged groups that can cause substantial penalties for those groups. Disadvantaged groups do not have the same power to shape the message surrounding the dominant group and almost certainly do not have the power or opportunities to enact wide-spread penalties as a result of that, possibly erroneous, message.
  • Do not make the mistake of asserting that because members within a minority group make certain jokes, use certain words or wear certain things that it is then ok for you to do, say, wear those things. It is not and it is an easy and fast way to end a friendship. Also, do not claim that when members of a specific group do, say wear those things, even if it’s intent is mockery, it is a hate crime/discriminatory. It is not. People within a group are allowed to poke fun at themselves/their group, sometimes it is the only way that they can hang on to even a semblance of sanity. See: Brian Moylan’s Dustin and Jayden.

Whew! After all that, we need some Aretha to play us out.

As always, I look forward to any additional suggestions to the list or critiques.

*I realize that I am largely speaking to the choir here at one of the last bastions of internet sanity and intelligence.

Overt Racism is the New Black

Pun Intended.

So apparently white people ain’t foolin’ around no more. White people be pissed off and they don’t care whether the facts support their rage or how straight up stupid, evil and nineteenth century they sound when they open their mouths. Shit’s gettin’ real out there in the suburbs ya’ll. The Ford Explorers are gassed up and the sequined American flag sweatshirts are ON. White America is in revolt. They are standing up for their God-given right to be the HBsIC and brown and black people better get out da way…NOW.

The near future...as delusional people see it.

Recently, CNN posted a story that released some startling data about that rare and vulnerable animal: The American White Person.

Apparently 44% of American White People think they face racial animus that is just as or more severe of a problem as the animus faced by black people or other minorities. 56% of  white Republicans and 61% white Tea Partiers share that opinion.  Colleges are beginning to offer “Whiteness Studies” courses (because all those European and American history and literature courses really gave white people the short shrift) and there is a rise in scholarships exclusively offered to that rarest of college students: the White Male. Prominent white activists are even leading marches on Washington to reclaim their right to own everything, live where ever they want, be the standard of beauty and  be the only flesh color crayon in the crayon box. Times are tough and the movement is on the streets!

Things White People Are Scared Of

This trauma is something that brown and black people could never understand. We’ve never been in power, so we can’t imagine what it must be like to see black people taking our jobs ( Yeah Mr. President, that means you), stealing our women (Taye Diggs couldn’t you find a sista to rub your gorgeousness on?) and men (Heidi Klum, bitch don’t pretend I’m not looking at you). Not to mention that brown and black people have the temerity to reproduce at a rate that is kicking white people’s birth control using ass (my great grandma had thirteen kids and all their kids have all been prolific breeders- pretty sure we could double the population of Wyoming if we so chose. Watch out Wyoming! ).

So, given all that, I’m pretty sure what I’m about to say should get me registered with the Southern Poverty Law Center for committing a hate crime against a vulnerable minority group.

Oh well, let the Haterade fall!

In the last couple months, the Governor of Mississippi Haley Barbour, has been fighting the good fight for White America. He’s belittled the trauma of the civil rights movements and defended “citizens councils” in the South. It shows how committed white people are to this  movement that this guy is STILL in the running for the Republican nomination for President. I’ll say this about White America, they do a good job of promoting from within. And let’s be honest, he deserves that promotion. I know Nazi comparisons are persona non grata but in all seriousness the White Citizens Councils of the South were the closest this country has ever come to the S.S. and it was really, really close. They killed, raped and pillaged the black community with impunity and did a masterful job covering it all up for decades. But, according to Barbour, they were the “good” guys in the civil rights movement. Ok, and my ass isn’t a work of art that I carved with thousands of lunges and carb deprivation.


Not to be out done Governor Paul LePage of Maine (whose picture you will see if you look up Good Ol’ Boy in the dictionary) informed the local chapter of the NAACP that they should “kiss his butt,” for having the temerity to question his decision to blow off Martin Luther King Jr. day celebrations. Sounds like this guy is channeling the supernatural to distinguish himself from the pack of average, ho hum, white racist dudes. Perhaps he was channeling the late, infamous Governor Faubus of Arkansas? The WHITE frosting on top of this WHITE cupcake? The man also thinks that women growing beards (not to mention tumors) as a result of exposure to BPAs is also no big thang.

I believe that for every ten actual racists, there are two people who are just too dumb or mentally imbalanced to understand the meaning behind the adjectives, nouns and verbs they string together in front of a microphone. GLoM may just be one of those individuals.



Moving right along, on the Stupid Things Governor and Former Governors Say Express, we have another southerner acting the fool. Former Governor Mike Huckabee (who lately is giving Governor Christie of New Jersey a run for his lunch money for the illustrious title of Governor Sandwiches) decided that President Obama, who was raised in Kansas and Hawaii, was influenced by madrassas as a child. Because there were so many schools that teach a “fundamental” extremist interpretation of Islam in Kansas and Hawaii in the sixties and seventies. Of course, because the President’s absentee father happened to be from a mostly Muslim country and the President has a name other than George, Bill, or James he MUST have been influenced by a world view that this country did not even regard as a threat until the man was an adult and employed by the state of Illinois.

President George W. Bush spent a lot more time hanging out in the Middle East and entertaining Middle Eastern visitors than President Obama and yet no one has a word to say about his influences. Possibly because most of us recognize that the man is too damn dumb to be capable of absorbing information from sources that don’t come with illustrations.

But I digress.

My last little example to support my reasons for building a bunker and starting my own little Black Panthers chapter, is the fine  state of Texas (isn’t it always Texas?). I may look black on the streets, but I’m a Mexican in the kitchen (and you know, genetically) and as a Mexican I want to fly down to that state and smack state Rep. Debbie Riddle upside her, “let’s find a convenient loop hole around the thirteenth amendment so I can keep my gardener and maid, treat them like shit and possibly not pay them” head. Rep. Riddle would like to criminalize the hiring of illegal immigrants, punishable with jail time, UNLESS those immigrants are employed as household staff. Immigration debate aside (and trust, that issue is chock full of plenty of awful all by itself), this would (once again in the Eternal Return of the Same that perfectly encapsulates the current state of American political discourse) create an underclass of brown people who are open to exploitation, abuse and whatever special hell lurks around the corner for people who are completely dependent upon employers for their financial, social and legal welfare.

The things Americans are proud of...

Despite the incredible disconnects from reality that make each of these incidents individually, darkly hilarious, this trend is actually a fairly terrifying. If you study ethnic conflicts, the first step to conflict (and by “conflict” I mean wholesale slaughter and imprisonment of minority groups) is the dominate racial or ethnic group starting and sustaining a victim narrative that they use as impetus to pass laws that protect their privileges at the expense of the basic rights of minority groups. We’ve seen this in New York, where mostly white people sought to deny Muslim people their right to have a community center in order to protect their privilege to not have to be confronted with people practicing a religion that they find somehow distasteful.

Chris Rock tells a story about moving into his wealthy suburb in New Jersey. There are only four black people who own homes in his neighborhood, Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z, Eddie Murphy and Rock himself. Two of the best stand-up comics in the game today, one of the greatest R&B singers ever and a hip hop mogul. Who is Rock’s next door neighbor? A white dentist. Rock’s point? “Black people (and all non-white people) have to fly to get someplace that white people can walk to.”

It is troubling that, in 2011, 44% of White Americans either can’t or don’t see this.

This is your racism trend report for March 2011.

Gotta go refill my glass of Hate Hate Juice.

Peace. Love and WHITE chocolate chip cookies.

At least they are upfront about it.