The 22nd Erase Racism Carnival

As I've stated previously I was getting some bad posts e-mailed to me for this months Erase Racism Carnival. So I decided to do some searching of my own to find some posts and, I'm pleased to say, I found some great ones, but not as many as I would have liked. So I please to announce this months (mini) Erase Racism Carnival.

We first start off with a post about white writers and white privilege from the blog We Can Always Dream:
Your privilege blinds you.

What is white privilege? You can look at that link (or Google it), but the basic idea is that in America, if you’re white:

  • you don’t have to prove you’re a good person
  • you were preferentially treated by everyone from your kindergarten teacher on
  • you don’t have to think about race, because being white is a given.

The word privilege trips people up. I can hear you now … “But I earned everything I got! I waited in line like everyone else! No one gave me anything!”

The problem is that you don’t know your history. Do some research.

This white privilege obviously propels this society together and affects leftist ("non-racist," supposedly) circles as well as Donna explains on her blog:

I got an email from the wonderful Elle PhD to alert me to the latest white women feminist shenanigans being reported at the Washington Post: To Women, So Much More Than Just a Candidate. Of course by women they mean the default women, middle to upper class white women, with some ageism thrown in for good measure since they show little respect for the decision making abilities of younger women too.

“During the NOW tour across Ohio, the makeup of each audience was almost exclusively white, middle-age women, many of whom had joined the organization in the late 1960s or 1970s.” People vote for who they think can best represent them. I understand perfectly well why this demographic is excited for Hillary Clinton, is showing up at her rallies, and is voting for her. But for some of us having a vagina isn’t enough, because she will be voting for white, middle aged, middle class interests. Not to mention corporate lobbyist interests, and starting wars to prove she’s as tough as the guys, which I hear is her excuse for her Iraq War vote.

And speaking of elections, the BlackAgendaReport weighs in on Obama from a post written by managing editor Bruce Dixon:
Obama's unconditional affirmations that America is “inherently good”, that white racism is not endemic, that “radical Islam” is the enemy, that apartheid Israel is a “stalwart ally”, and that his pastor and spiritual mentor, a man who accurately reflects the views of most of Black America is an angry, divisive old uncle stuck in the fifties and sixties --- all these may restore his credentials among whites as the candidate of “racial reconciliation”. But what is being reconciled here? Aside from the color of the president's face, what is being changed?
The Pudgy Indian weighs in on Rev. Wright's speech in a post titled "Wright Was Right:"
Wright...is right.

Racism is alive and well and it has taken on an insideous form that is commonly accepted by U.S. citizens. Barak, or ESPECIALLY those racist campaigners within the Hillary/Ferraro camp, could pick up this ball and bring a greater understanding of the issue of race and racism to this nation, but such a thing would never happen because that is NOT the way the system is designed and the next king or queen will have to play along with the system. That is why Barak will distance himself from Wright, that is why the Hillary camp will continue its racist methods to attack Barak, all without calling him "nigger," of course.
Which brings us to the Angry Brown Butch and her post on Ferraro in where she tackles similar issues that Donna brought up:
I mean, yes, sexism is certainly alive and well in our society. And one might even argue that subtly sexist language does get a pass more easily than equally subtle racist language. But one only need look at how race is one of most reliable predictors of things like poverty, incarceration, access to quality education and access to health care in American society to see the immense damage that racism does and the immense power that it holds in our society. But of course white feminists who take this tack would think that sexism is worse that racism in this country, because they’re not affected by racism. They possess the privilege unique to white people to ignore and elide the true affects of racism. I think that reason why I haven’t caught any prominent feminists of color putting forward this position is because, as women of color, we don’t get to ignore racism or sexism, and we realize that you can’t just put them on a set of scales and weigh them against each other.
And white privilege, obviously, affects the ever so popular blog Stuff White People Like, as explained by Gary Dauphin:
Nothing gets under my (colored, nearly-middle-aged) skin like the spectacle of a twentysomething white kid doing what twentysomething white kids do all the time, namely, play on some or another aspect of their race for smug fun and profit. Lander has already reportedly been offered a $350K-plus book deal from Random House. (Can a VH1 Special be very far behind?) People of color are constantly accused of playing various race cards, but "White boy makes good by being white" is hardly a man-bites-dog story.
La Chola was apart of a mini-blogging controversy over white privilege, supremacy, and the history of Planned Parenthood in where she gave us good advice on studying the history of institutions and organizations in a country defined by race and white privilege/supremacy:
It’s dangerous to not know the history of an organization–even more dangerous to not know its present. Yes, PP has done some absolutely amazing and brilliant things. PP has also done some detestable and horrific things–and it is WRONG to let the detestable and horrific things pass because of the good things. It’s even worse to call a woman of color who has had a bad experience with her reproductive life “stupid” because there is no critical analysis of how a historically “population control” centered institute is currently conducting its business. As I said in my comment, the only reason PP is where it is today is because women of color stood up to all the people who attempted to silence them with calls of “stupid” and “worthless” and demanded to be heard.
Abagond also draws our attention to the studying of history and white-washing history:
Its golden age was in the 1950s. From about 1955 to 1975, the civil rights movement, the Vietnam war and Watergate destroyed the faith of many. But now that most Americans are too young to remember those things, apple-pie America is making a comeback.

Judging from Obama’s speech on race in March 2008, most Americans seem to believe in it.


Most black Americans do not seem to believe in apple-pie America, much less live there. Their forefathers came to the country as slaves and they see how white people are still acting. They are not fooled.

But most white Americans do seem to believe in it, whether they live there or not.

This difference between black and white America is causing trouble for Barack Obama, a black man who would be president. The things his wife and his minister said come from beyond the apple pie and unsettles many who live inside it.

Tara blogs about comparing oppressions and the dangers of whites comparing their certain oppressions as similar to Blacks and other people of color in America:
I also need to say that if I hear the "fat is the last acceptable oppression" meme one more time, I am going to scream (louder). Fat hatred is often blatant, shameless, vitriolic, and completely public. But guess what? So is racism! (And classism, heterosexism, ableism, and sexism.) Racism is institutionalized into our laws, our classrooms, our work places, and our daily interactions. Just because some white folks think it's unacceptable to say the n-word, doesn't mean that racism is gone or that it's not "acceptable." When people in the fat acceptance movement say that fat is the last acceptable oppression, it alienates and invalidates the struggles of people of color, who know first-hand that racism not only exists, but that it is also very much "acceptable" in polite society.


Let's also talk for a minute about beauty standards. There is a significant portion of the fat acceptance movement that is fighting for the right to be seen as "pretty, too." They want to fight for the standard definition of beauty to include them too, as if they have been denied some god-given right to be seen as beautiful. But when this demand is articulated, there is no consideration or thought about the fact that women of color have always been excluded from this category, and are masculinized, exoticized, or otherwise been seen as exceptions to the pretty rule (i.e. "She's pretty for a [insert non-white race here] girl!"). So, arguing for the "right" of plus sized white women to be let into the pretty club does not address us or our struggles with the problematics of beauty standards.
In the blog RaceWire Julianne Hing writes about how media representations and immigration laws make immigrants vulnerable and how an immigration official, such as Baichu, is able to exploit immigrants:
Part of it has to do with the vast discretionary power immigration agents actually have. It’s a job with little oversight and nearly limitless opportunity to exploit immigrants – the power differential is too great for abuse not to be a near inevitability. But the recent jump in reports of sexual assault is not just about bureaucratic corruption. It’s a symptom of the post-9/11, anti-immigrant fever that continues to burn across the country. Mainstream media’s dominant characterizations of immigrants the last 7 years have been that of the criminal alien, the dark-skinned terrorist, the unwelcome foreigner. We’ve seen it more widely manifested in workplace raids, restrictive local ordinances, and the vitriolic daily debate taking place on talk radio. This cultural climate emboldens folks like Baichu to act with impunity against people who’ve been systematically demonized in the nation’s political debates.
Karnythia, on The Angry Black Woman, blogs about comments that Pat Buchanan made on his blog about race and affirmative action:
It’s this deliberate misinformation that bolsters the idea that black people are somehow magically getting ahead without merit, and fosters the resentment you see so often from whites that argue so vociferously against the concept of white privilege and against affirmative action. Never mind that the main beneficiaries of affirmative action have been white women. No, let’s just scream about that one time a POC “stole” a job that you really wanted/needed/preferred and ignore the part where you weren’t entitled to that job above all applicants.
Finally, we end with a post from "Suddy:"
Wherever I went, wherever I traveled, the mystery of Filipinas followed. No one really knew what Filipinas were about except what they had briefly observed in the news or the stereotypes projected by popular culture. Filipinas were sexy, docile, domestic workers or mail order brides. They were quiet, submissive, and eager to please. They loved serving their husbands and tending to their children. Filipinas, most importantly, were born in and from the Philippines.

I was none of those things.

Which made her start her blog:
Bloggers need to raise awareness of the social injustices that jail the Filipina spirit (such as global sex trafficking, abuse of domestic workers overseas, immigration issues, and enslaving poverty) and they also need to be aggressive in their denouncement of Filipina commercialization. To enhance the online image is to affirm the authentic presence of the Filipina. It is time for us to come out of the dark with strong voices, accents, poetry, opinions, music, intelligence, theories, and ideas. Bloggers need to do this by promoting work, featuring accomplishments, and highlighting leadership roles held by Filipinas.

My online voice is the one facet of media in which I can contribute to a new definition of the Filipina.
And as we end with this months Erase Racism Carnival we should all realize that blogging and creating new forms of media will contribute in the fight against white privilege, racism, and to help solidify the voices of those whom are left voiceless in a white dominated media structure.

Image From:
Storied Mind


Steps to Success: Step One, GET ENSLAVED!

Cross-posted from The Blog and the Bullet.

Karnythia blogs at The Angry Black Woman on a recent blog post by Pat Buchanan:
It’s this deliberate misinformation that bolsters the idea that black people are somehow magically getting ahead without merit, and fosters the resentment you see so often from whites that argue so vociferously against the concept of white privilege and against affirmative action. Never mind that the main beneficiaries of affirmative action have been white women. No, let’s just scream about that one time a POC “stole” a job that you really wanted/needed/preferred and ignore the part where you weren’t entitled to that job above all applicants.

It doesn’t help that even in school the history books skim over what Ida B. Wells, the NAACP, The Black Panthers, the NOI and others were doing in support of the black community. Aside from the actual Civil Rights Movement marches and demonstrations that are discussed, there is very little mention of day to day life in black communities.


Announcement: Erase Racism Carnival

The Erase Racism Carnival will not be up today. I am shooting for the 30th or the 31st to keep it within the month of March. The reason being is that I got a dismal list of posts e-mailed to me from folks who don't exactly know what anti-racism work is about. So because of this I will be scouring the net for posts from the last month from people who I know will have some good stuff to say and then ask for their permission to link their post in this months Erase Racism Carnival. Sorry for the delay but this was a step that was needed to be taken.

Uprooting Racism

I was browsing through my local book store (mostly used books) looking for a good find when I stumbled across a book in the sociology section titled Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice by this guy I've never heard of, Paul Kivel.

As I flipped through the pages I realized I found a book to buy and to add to the Double Consciousness book section. While I haven't read the entire book, skimming here and there makes me think it's a pretty spot on book. The book is supposed to be an introductory book for white people who are interested in racial justice and want to do something about racism but don't exactly have a grasp on what to do and what white privilege and white supremacy are. So for anyone out there who is interested in doing anti-racism work I'd suggest picking up this book (from what I have read so far).

Some of the subjects the book covers are "What is whiteness?", "White benefits, middle class privilege," "What does an ally do?", and "Democratic, anti-racist multiculturalism."

I thought I would highlight some of Kivel's writings on whiteness:
"Do you defend yourself with statements such as, "I have friends who are people of color," or "My family didn't own slaves"? Do you try to separate yourself from other white people? ("I don't feel white." "I'm not like other white people.") Do you try to minimize the importance of whiteness? ("We're all part of the human race.")

...in our society being white is also just as real, and governs our day-to-day lives just as much as being a person of color. To acknowledge this reality is not to create it nor to perpetuate it. In fact, it is the first step to uprooting racism. (p. 13)


Racism is based on the concept of whiteness-a powerful fiction enforced by power and violence. Whiteness is a constantly shifting boundary seperating those who are entitled to haver certain privileges from those whose exploitation and vulnerability to violence is justified by their not being white.


The important distinction in the United States has always been binary-between those who counted as white and those who did not. (p. 17)

Essentially this is what our blog tries to show and explain and I think this book does a good job at pointing out the intracies and complexities of whiteness. From how it has changed over the centuries, to the privileges it holds, to how to act as an ally toward people of color, and to looking beyond just a Black and white racial relationship.

Image From



I've been listening to a lot of the work from the group The Last Poets recently and thought I'd share one of their pieces called "Opposites" from their 1971 album "This is Madness."
"Understand," said the old Black man,
"That everything works in opposites."
"Understand that Black is true and false is white.
Understand that Black is right and white is wrong.
Understand the white is weak and Black is strong.
Understand that white is suffocation and Black is a deep breath.
Understand the Blackness is reality and whiteness but a game.
Understand that whitey steals your future and lies about your past.
You understand what it means to be a free Black man!"
Image From:
The University of Buffalo Mathematics Dept.


Consciousness of White Privilege Has Great Potential

I often take notice when white people say things in public that reflect their lack of self-awareness in terms of white privilege.

For example, Geraldine Ferraro, you know that lady from the Clinton campaign who basically reduced Obama to a token "blackie" of the public.

I was recently directed to a very insightful Los Angeles Times article by Gregory Rodriguez, who writes about a less-obvious racism that takes place when some whites feel threatened by "minorities" in power (such as Geraldine Ferraro):

Rodriguez writes,
Geraldine Ferraro's remark that "if [Barack] Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position" was not racist per se; it did not presume racial inferiority on the part of any person or group. But it was remarkably arrogant, ignorant and, unfortunately, reflective of an all too common and growing sentiment in the post-Civil Rights era.
In 1999, the Seattle Times commissioned a survey that found 75% of whites agreed with the statement that "unqualified minorities get hired over qualified whites" most or some of the time. Two-thirds felt the same when asked about promotions and college admissions. Whether white disadvantage is real or imagined, the poll showed that a considerable number of whites feel threatened not only by the means of ascent but by minority advancement itself. Clearly, most minorities who advance up the professional ladder are not unqualified. (If you think that last sentence is incorrect, you probably are a true-blue racist.)
Unlike so many -- often media-created -- black leaders, Obama doesn't use a parochial message of victimhood or the zero-sum logic of "us versus them." Rather than spend a lot of time talking about racism, historical or otherwise, he preaches a form of collective can-doism. He sells himself as a symbol of reconciliation and knows that at this point in history, cries of racism are the quickest way to turn off white voters who are tired of being made to feel guilty for racial injustice.

Geraldine's case is not a new one, nor is it very fascinating. Yet talking about this kind of thing is important, because racism is popularly interpreted as a one-way thing--it's something someone thinks of someone else. Yet as Rodriguez's article points out, racism is more about what one thinks of oneself.

As I like to reflect on issues of people of color, it often crosses my mind how valuable it is when white people are conscious of their whiteness. Not in a patronizing way, but in a natural way, like how black people naturally know from a very young age that they will always have a natural disadvantage in society because of their skin color. What I like about this article is that it touches upon the subtle racisms of today that are rooted in racist structures of society.

Simply saying that Obama, or any person of color with cultural capital, has what he has because he is black points to the enormously ignored reality that in fact the opposite of this has historically been true: throughout our country's history, it is white men whose power is acquired because they were who they were. When we look at someone in power, we must become aware of our prejudices: when we make a claim about one person in power, why don't we realize that we are conveniently opting out of making a claim about everyone else who is in power?

Some may look at Obama and reduce his popularity to his race, yet how is it that so many white men have gone unquestioned in their positions of popularity or power in our country?

I disagree that Obama's blackness is his ticket to the White House, but I will not hesitate in asserting that Bill Gates and George Bush are in the positions they are in largely in part of their white masculinity. Being a white man has always been, and remains to be, the greatest source of cultural capital in our world--let alone our country--today.

It is important to explain, however, that when I say such a thing, I am not asserting that white people cannot understand the implications of white/male cultural capital (and of course I'm just touching on the surface issues, because I could also talk about the cultural capital that comes with heterosexuality, class, education...etc). As much as I point out privileges that naturally come with whiteness, what matters is what a person decides to do with knowledge of such privileges. I firmly believe that consciousness of priviledge has a lot more potential of power than consciousness of disadvantage.

In other words, a lot more progress can be accomplished when more white and/or male people are aware of the advantages that come with being white and/or male. I know of several white people who are conscious in this way, but it's not enough.

The more white people conscious of privilege, the more power they have to make change for the better of all people. Privilege combined with consciousness equals great power, and so to end on a cheesy note, with great privilege comes great responsibility--use it!


Ampersand Says Whaaaa?

That crazy ole Amersand. Looking for racism where it doesn't exist. Bob is not a racist and that is that!

No, but seriously, another great cartoon by Amersand form his blog.


Hunters View Residents Losing Their Homes

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
Every week in her notorious public housing development, Darlene Fleming watches another neighbor move out and construction crews come in to nail plywood over the vacant apartment's doors and windows. And every week, she says, more residents get eviction notices, possibly signaling that they could be the next ones forced out.

Of the 267 units at Hunters View, 110 are boarded up. Just 157 families remain at the violent and dilapidated development in San Francisco's Hunters Point neighborhood and 116 of them are in danger of eviction because they're behind on their rent or for other reasons.

It's just what many residents feared when city officials said their development would be the first in line for a complete rebuild that would include hundreds of new, market-rate homes built among the subsidized units.

Hunters View is a housing project in Bayview Hunters-Point and is considered one of the worst housing projects in the nation, edging out the Sunnydale housing project in Visitaction Valley, also in San Francisco.

For those of you who don't know this is what institutionalized racism and gentrification looks like. Obviously, for events outside of their control relating to the history of white supremacy in this country (see "Sundown Towns," "The Heart of Whiteness," "No Thanks to Thanksgiving," "The Construction of Whiteness"), many of the San Franciscans who call Hunters View home are Black and other people of color. And its no mistake that in order to "clean up" the housing project they need to demolish it and basically displace an entire group of Black people.

A Hunters View resident puts it best:

"They're finding all kinds of reasons to put us out of here," said Fleming, a 60-year-old great-grandmother who has lived in Hunters View since she was 9 and whose eviction case is winding its way through Superior Court. "The less of us they have here, the less they have to deal with."
Also, it should be noted that during the 1950s and 1960s it was white folks who were getting lones from the Federal Housing Authority, which was able to get many working class white folk homes and a place in the surburbs, but for Black folk (who are bared from getting loans from the FHA) they got federal housing (or "high-rise ghettos"); and because they got federal housing there were never able to own their own home and accrue wealth that could be passed on through the generations.

I've only passed by the housing complex by foot while heading to a few friends' houses in the area but from those short experiences I can tell you that Hutners View is in need of some repair, and many do recognize this:

Sara Shortt, director of the Housing Rights Committee, a tenant advocacy group, praised the city's plan to get Hunters View residents up-to-date on their rent, but also questioned the mayor's motive.

"The city is stepping in and cleaning up the mess the Housing Authority has created, and that's a really positive thing," she said. "But at the same time, I think the mayor's working to prevent the political backlash that would occur if a flood of residents were evicted at the very first Hope SF project."

The problem is we've seen this before. A neighborhood that is economically deprived and is populated by mainly people of color is declared dirty because of its rundown conditions (which the government is supposed to upkeep by the way). With this the government says they need to clean it up for the good of the people. They come in, bulldoze homes, kick people out, hire contractors to build new homes, whites move in, businesses follow, and now the neighborhood is to expensive for the previous folks to live there. Thus forcing people of color out of the city. It happened in the Filmore and it might happen again.

In a previous post I posted an article written in the San Francisco Bay View, a Black owned and operated newspaper, in where the author, talking about the Marcus Garvey complex in the Filmore, wrote about how whenever a reformist minded group of people would run for the complex board the government would say that an inspection was coming, they complex might fail, and therefore might shutdown, then once the reform folks were defeated and the old guard reinstated the inspection would come and the complex would pass. So inspections and the shutting down of housing complexes are also political tools to get rid of "unsavory people," such as reformists and people of color.

Not only that, but even if the complex is "cleaned up" and ends up looking nicer it does not fix the actual socio-economic situation that the residents are in. It just alleviates the minds of whites by having them say, "See, look, we fixed it. It's nice and pretty. Work done."

The Chronicle ends with:
Public housing residents in San Francisco who are in jeopardy of being evicted can call Bay Area Legal Aid, working in conjunction with the Housing Rights Committee, at (415) 354-6353.

Image From:
[X]Press Magazine


Why is Whiteness Absent in Reports of L.A. Violence?

Los Angeles' "Dangerous" image is very racialized. Maybe this comes as a "no duh" to some, but it's a point that I can't help but stress in light of the commotion instigated by media reports all over blacks and Latinos and killings and so on.

Mandalit del Barco's Los Angeles Times article:

Sirens and gunshots are the soundtrack of South Los Angeles, formerly known as South Central. People thought changing the name would change the neighborhood's image, but it hasn't. L.A. is in the midst of a new surge in gang violence that is claiming some very young victims.

Barco's piece really captures the racialized negative image of the dangerous Los Angeles. What specifically bothers me is that articles like these are repeatedly emphasizing violence associated with themes of Latino gang violence, brown v. black divide, and so on.

It's angering for these media reports to capture these highly tragic events as isolated racial issues rather than as symptoms of a greater structural force of dominant white society.

For example, in Barco's article, one can look at the following description:
The parents of a 6-year-old African-American boy who was shot in the head when Latino gang members opened up on the family's SUV are experiencing similar pain.

That same week, a 42-year-old Latino man and his 20-year-old son were shot to death outside their home for no apparent reason as well.

Whiteness is completely absent in conversations about such tragedies. Yet I ask, isn't the absence of something like whiteness a presence? I cannot accept these racialized accounts because they indirectly forge whiteness out of the picture. In reading these stories, I feel as if I am being led to blame one minority over the other, or blame them both. I have no grounds to attribute accountability towards the white race, only blacks and Latino ethnicities.

I feel coerced. I feel stripped of my power to point to the oppression of blacks and Latinos because I am continually reading articles that clearly depict them as oppressing themselves.

How am I to argue about greater economic, legal, and societal systems of white dominance when these reports completely reject these factors from the start by not stating them as relevant? That's just it, I can't. I am silenced because my argument for the relevancy of whiteness contradicts the founding racialized assumptions of such reports.

Read Barco's article in full, there's so much more to what I've been able to conjure up in response.


The Beat Within: Black and Complaining

This week from our incarcerated youth.

Black and Complaining
My complaint isn’t a complaint
it’s an every day problem I’m facing
Why so many people in the world got to be racist
My complaint is why is it so hard for a black man
Everything we do, we say we hope,
but we never say we can
Wonder why we hustle too hard to get a job
Everybody else eating good,
but we living off corn on the cob, pretty much
Everywhere, even the ghetto we are the most hated
It seems like everyone in the good movie,
but we are x-rated
Best known for rapping, and sports
We became big time celebrities when we go to court
I love being black
but I’m complaining because it’s too hard
The sad thing about it is no one can change it
Not even the Lord.
- Reggie, Land

"Hands Off the White Woman!"

Another aspect of whiteness.

Cross-posted from The Blog and the Bullet.

Brother Peacemaker blogs about America's infatuation with white women:
It would be easy to blame the media for such obvious white women favoritism. But the real problem is our culture that places such emphasis on looks, youth, sex, race, money, and other features and factors people use to compensate for the shortcomings of their character. Media is only a hapless pawn serving to feed the insatiable hunger of its master the character weak, wealth exchanging, public so tremendously concentrated in the white community. Until we have a more even distribution of wealth among all racial communities and/or a realignment of people’s priorities away from the secular and more towards a true all encompassing community oriented spirit, be prepared to hear more stories in the news from the undiscovered Susan Smiths and Natalie Holloways that are destined to become pawn in society’s perpetual endeavor to make pretty white women the focus of our attention.
Image From:
Public Record Office Victoria


Erase Racism Carnival Coming Up

It's been almost a year since I hosted the Erase Racism Carnival, and this month I'm hosting it again. I've already gotten a few posts submitted to me but they're not exactly what the Double Consciousness team is looking for. We want posts that mainly cover:
  • White privilege
    • Explaining what it is, how it manifests itself, breaking it down, history of white privilege.
  • Combating white privilege
  • Racism in 21st century America
  • Institutionalized racism
    • Government, families, law, etc.
  • White supremacy
  • And generally posts on racism itself. Not just posts (some of which I have received) on how racism is bad and how we all need to just get along.
You can e-mail me your posts at jack [dot] m [dot] stephens [at] gmail [dot] com.

Image From:
Brother Peace Maker


Live from New York, Here's Your Saturday Night Minstrel Show!

From Aretha Franklin to Star Jones, Kenan Thompson is no stranger to making a spectacle out of the large black woman. The fictional character of Virginiaca Hastings literally takes the cake as Kenan's most minstrelesque role on Saturday Night Live.

This is not merely a matter of dressing in drag, but a much deeper racist and sexist mockery of the hypersexualized black woman.

As the skit opens, we are taken to the Baby Gap, and the high class narrative voice of a man says, "and now, shopping with Virginiaca." It's no accident; the man's upper-class intelligent voice serves to poke fun at the name itself--it's reminiscent of stereotypical black names like Laquesha.

Kenan Thompson then stomps into the store dressed as the stereotypical large black woman with a small cheetah-skinned purse and long nails. To top it off, he's stuffing cake down his throat. When approached by a young white male worker, who asks if he is looking for baby clothes, the conversation turns into "can you lift me up over your head," and "do you wanna see me in some baby clothes?" Then it gets worse, as "Virginiaca" pulls out her phone and calls for her daughter, "girl you are gettin' on my one big nerve, where is you?"

Then Ellen Page, the leading actress in Juno, runs in with a loud husky voice and a huge black afro. The two proceed to obsess over small children's pants as "booty shorts," and are insulted when the worker insists they won't fit Virginiaca's step daughter, who complains, "mama he's tryin' a seminate that I'm fat or sumthin'."

After complaining that they need the shorts for their "booty back and forths," they show the worker their dance--which is basically just them shaking their butts. The skit ends as Virginia stuffs her face with chips from her purse and hits on the worker by flaunting her large breasts on the counter and then jumping onto a table and shaking her butt. The worker proclaims, "I quit," and leaves the set, with Virginiaca still on the table.

The entire skit is a minstrel show--the mispronounced words, the exaggerated outfits, the big hair, the obnoxious voices, and of course, the dancing. The presence of the young white male worker is most important, for he is the character that non-black/female audiences are meant to immediately identify with. His purpose in the skit is to serve as the white male gaze and simultaneously lasso-in the audience into an us against them--the two "black women."

As a consequence, we get a minstrel show which focuses primarily on the large black Virginiaca who throws herself at us constantly. Along the lines of Eddie Murphy's horrible Mrs. Rice character. We are then supposed to derive a perverse pleasure out of watching her big, overeating, big-breasted body disgust us nonstop.

Yes, perverse. It's a disgusting pleasure that comes from observing a large, sexualized black woman made into a complete spectacle by a black man dressed in drag.


Saturday Beats: Would Anyone Know?

More writings from our incarcerated Bay Area youth.

Would Anyone Know?
I wonder if I were to die in here, would anyone know,
would my sister know, would my brother know?
I always wondered.
If I were to die would I have a funeral?
Would I have a tux with a casket
or will I have a sheet in a cold refrigerator.
I wonder if they would notify my father.
I wonder would I be buried or will I just be dead.
Most likely nobody will know…
I’ll just be another dead person in the world.
No one would miss a beat ….
no one would care I’ll just go and nobody will know.

Always Eat NutRageous

As a complement to "Where Race Matters" (which is everywhere), here's a Michael Moore video that illustrates very well the very real effects of race in America (and by effects I mean a hail of hot fucking lead).

Where Race Matters

During work today I was talking to one of my co-workers about jury duty. He said the last time he had to do jury duty was two years previous when a young man was given around two years of prison time for "selling" drugs. He said he felt bad for putting him away and that he didn't want to and was creating a hung jury because of it, but he eventually relented. Curious I asked him about the case.

Basically, the case involved a young Latino man who was arrested at a club because of an incident involving a few people. Someone was caught with a gun and everyone was searched. When this young man was searched they found eight pills of ecstasy on him. OK, bad for him, he got caught in possession of an illegal substance. Except the problem was some young white hot shot prosecutor (as he called her) decided to lock this kid away for a much longer time and decided to bust him for selling instead of being in possession.

During the trial the white prosecutor kept mentioning the phrase, "If you walk like a duck, talk like a duck, and act like a duck, you're probably a duck." Now this young man was Latino and wore typical hyphy regalia to the courtroom (big mistake, I know, at least wear a nice collard shirt and some slacks, but hey). They had no evidence on the guy whatsoever, it was pretty much circumstantial, he was caught with some pills. Yet the jury (mostly white, a few Asians) believed that he had been selling despite the protets of my coworker that there was no actual evidence of this.

Now let's go back to the "duck" phrase. Why did this prosecutor keep harking on the phrase, "If you walk like a duck, talk like a duck, and act like a duck, you're probably a duck," over and over again. What evidence did she have that he sells drugs, or is a gang member? All she knew was this boy liked to dress in baggy cloths and have prints on his shirt, and that he took ecstasy at club events ("Oh No! Not pills!"). Yet she was "convinced" (or just looking for a nice win in here record) that he was some "gang member."

Essentially what she was preying on was the jury's feelings on race and on youth. In society we are conditioned to look at people a certain way by what we see on the news, in newspapers, books, TV shows, music videos, etc. More often then not young Black and Latino men who are dressed in baggy cloths are shown as gangsters, drug dealers, dead beat dads, ignorant, dangerous, etc. This is the image that is imprinted on the mind of many whites (and anyone for that matter); not to mention the hundreds of years of racial history ingrained in us.

So when this prosecutor kept harping on the "duck" phrase she was, consciously or not, exploiting the fact that this man was young, brown, and liked to dress in hyphy attire. What she was essentially saying was, "If he walks like a brown man, talks like a brown man, acts like a brown man, he's probably a gangsta." Which is essentially saying, "If he's brown and dresses in the cloths most kids dress up in these days he's a danger to (white) society."

If the kid had been white and had been able to afford a decent lawyer (not a public defender) than more then likely the trial would have ended in charges of possession; because honestly, when seeing a bunch of white kids (like the kid pictured above) walking down the street "aping" like their Black, what cop is going to pull them over?

This is why being critical of race matters.

Image From:
Silly Dad