White Evangelicals and their "Toolsets"

An excerpt from my other blog about race relations and white evangelicals:
The racially important cultural tools in the white evangelical tool kit are “accountable freewill individualism,” “relationism” (attaching central importance to interpersonal relationships), and antistructuralism (inability to perceive or unwillingness to accept social structural influences).

Absent from their accounts is the idea that poor relationships might be shaped by social structures, such as laws, the ways institutions operate, or forms of segregation. Again, understanding evangelicals’ cultural tools illuminates why this element is missing. White evangelicals not only interpret race issues by using accountable freewill individualism and relationalism, but they often find structural explanations irrelevant or even wrongheaded…Evangelicals are thus also antistructural because they believe that invoking social structures shifts guild away from the root source—the accountable individual. However, evangelicals are selectively aware of social institutions—they see those both impact them in their own social location and tend to undermine accountable freewill individualism. For instance, they are aware of affirmative action because such programs can impact them in their social location, and they tend to oppose such programs because they go against evangelical understanding of accountable freewill individualism.


"Japan Probe" Here to Defend the Most Oppressed People on Earth...Whitey!

So while browsing through Twitter I saw a Tweet by the women over at Disgrasian that stated:
We Don't Care About White People, Apparently
They then linked to a blog post that took "offense" to their position on the McDonalds "Mr. James" ads over in Japan. In their blog post they wrote:
Interestingly, there are some foreigners and non-natives in Japan riled up about this humiliating depiction of themselves, going so far as to compare Mr. James to Stepin Fetchit. Because there aren't enough positive depictions of beautiful and sophisticated foreigners selling things to the Japanese, apparently.
Sothese riled up white people are actually comparing this ad campaign to Stepin Fetchit, who played every single bad and humiliating stereotype associated with Black people during the 1930s. Disgrasian blogs:
I find the outrage leveled at this Mr. James character by certain people to be verging on histrionic. Comparing Mr. James to Stepin Fetchit? Really? Stepin Fetchit was an African-American stereotype popularized in the 20's and 30's. He was known as "the laziest man in the world," and "a befuddled, mumbling, shiftless fool." But one of these fools is not like the other. It's important to remember context here, that Stepin Fetchit was a minstrel character created during the time of Jim Crow laws, segregation, and the systematized oppression of African-Americans that followed slavery. I mean, slavery, okay? Over two hundred years of slavery. It's morally bankrupt to put a fool like Mr. James on par with a fool like Stepin Fetchit; stereotypes like Stepin Fetchit were instruments, ultimately, in reinforcing the second-class status of blacks--and not just socially, mind you, but legally. Stepin Fetchit didn't merely offend. Stepin Fetchit made the abuse of our constitution, the miscarriage of justice, the legalization of inequality, and the back of the bus only that much easier to live with.
But, one thing that really undermines Japan Probe's argument is not just the stupidity of their argument but the fucking advertisements on their god damned page!

Such as this one
And if that one doesn't scream fucked up and racist this one sure as hell does!

Hey, Japan Probe, not that I want to give you sound advice or anything, but before you make an argument about...No, wait, never mind, I definetly do NOT want to give you dumb mother fuckers sound advice on anything.


Racial Targeting Within the Thin Blue Line

I recently read an illuminating article in the New York Times about the recent shooting of Black police officer Omar J. Edwards by his "fellow" white cop Andrew P. Dunton. Now its not exactly getting to the heart of the systemic institutionalized racism that is at the heart of this country (that would be expecting too much, unfortunately, from an elite newspaper) but it did do a good job in going over the incidents of inter-racial police shootings of fellow officers since the shooting death of John A. Holt Jr. (pictured) in 1940 to the present.

One thing that is most glaring that (except in one incident presented by the article) all of the shooters were white and all of the victims were Black or Latino. Yet in the color blind ideology that pervades our present day society many folks are quick to point out that while racial motivations might have been a factor in the past they weren't a factor in this one. What is a factor is "training." In fact, one of the interviewees pointed out:
“Same deal always,” he says of the deadly encounter between colleagues on Thursday night. “They’ll say it’s about training.”
In fact, that is what exactly was said in a article in that same days paper:
“[S]omething is going to have to be done,” added Mr. Glenn, an officer with the 67th Precinct in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, choking up. “Maybe more training or something. I don’t know what we are going to do.”
I'm not suggesting that more training won't prevent more inter-racial shootings but by focusing solely on reactionary training people are ignoring the causes of the shooting, racial prejudice.

Obviously, as Edwards' father-in-law points out, Dunton didn't walk onto the streets with the mindset of actually wanting to kill a fellow Black officer but what was in his mind, more than likely, are all of the stereotypes of Blacks that are perpetuated by our media, national mythologies, everyday conversations, and our society in general. One succinct quote sums it up well:
“If you speak with nine out of 10 officers of color they would tell you that when they hear sirens, in their head they are thinking: ‘I hope these cops know that I’m one of the good guys.’”
All of this points back to the systemic racism that makes Blacks and people of color in general more likely the victims of police misconduct, shootings, harassment, and target ting. A system in were people or color are ghettoized by political institutions while many whites get to live in suburbs. Unless we address this system (as the police force is a part of that system and is obviously made up of folks who grew up in this system, which is everyone) shootings like these will continue to happen, and it won't just be cops of color who are the victims.


Crazed Euro-Centric Whitey Bullshit I Deal With at Graduate School

Cross-posted from The Mustard Seed.

Whitey committing genocide against the Native population...No wait...I need to be "objective." I mean, whitey "negotiating land rights" with the Native population...there we go.

As those of you who have read my About page will know I am pursuing my Masters in Divinity (same as Masters in Theology but one extra year of "pastoral formation" and such) at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. Here is an example of some of the great fantastic knowledge I have to put up with.

For an online class (in where we meet for discussion once a week) one of the questions was this:
What are some ways the new context of independence and establishment of the United States shaped American religion?
And my very mild answer was this (bold was added for this blog, just me being slightly snarky)...(Click here to read the rest)


SPEAK! CD Radical Women of Color Speak Out

Cross-posted from The Mustard Seed.

Found it via cripchick's weblog:
Compiled and arranged by Liquid Words Productions, the spoken word CD weaves together the stories, poetry, music, and writings of women of color from across the United States. The 20 tracks, ranging from the explosive “Why Do You Speak?” to the reverent “For Those of Us,” grant a unique perspective into the minds of single mothers, arrested queer and trans activists, excited children, borderland dwellers, and exploring dreamers, among many others.


John Hope Franklin, Black Scholar and Activist, Died at Age 94

John Hope Franklin, a prolific scholar of African-American history who profoundly influenced thinking about slavery and Reconstruction while helping to further the civil rights struggle, died Wednesday in Durham, N.C. He was 94.


In an article in The Atlantic Monthly in 2007, he wrote, “If the American idea was to fight every war from the beginning of colonization to the middle of the 20th century with Jim Crow armed forces, in the belief that this would promote the American idea of justice and equality, then the American idea was an unmitigated disaster and a denial of the very principles that this country claimed as its rightful heritage.” (Read the rest of the obituary here)


Black is SO hot right now

If ever there was a company that didn't need to hire a Black model it's Sanrio. I know I'm stuck on this, but I am SUPER excited about this Hello Kitty Kouture (MAC). And then I was looking at the ads, and I was even more juiced that the new image of Hello Kitty is Black. And not just a black cat, a Black woman! (and she lightweight looks like me, vanity at its finest). I don't know how this is a step forward for Black people, and I'm sure it had more to do with MAC Cosmetics than Sanrio, but this makes me proud to rock the Kitty.


Skin Color: Hispanic

I logged into Myspace right now and was notified of an "AMBER Alert" in my area (end of post). I clicked on it only to find the worst possible description ever: the young four year old girl and her kidnapper have the skin color "Hispanic."

Okay, this is just off. A "Hispanic" skin tone does not exist. Anyone can be Hispanic, and you might not even know it.

Asian Latino and former astronaut Franklin Chang Diaz, Afro Latina singer/actress Cristina Milan (Flores), and white Latino James Roday (Rodriguez) from the USA series Psych, are but a few examples.

Well, since Latinos/Hispanics have every possible skin tone under the sun, maybe they should start replacing the skin tone description of "Hispanic" with "George Lopez." Just as offensive, but it would get more to the point, I would say.

In all seriousness though, I hope this girl is found:

ATTENTION: There is an AMBER Alert in your area.
Please CLICK HERE to find out more information.

Missing From: Thousand Palms, CA
Missing Date: 2/23/2009 12:00 AM

Contact: Riverside County Sheriff's Department

Circumstances: On February 23, 2009, at 0930 hours, Monica Ruby Morales was abducted from Thousand Palms, Riverside County, California.

Missing Child
Name: Monica Ruby Morales
Hair Color: Brown Eye Color: Brown
Skin Color: Hispanic Age: 4YO
Gender: Female
Description: Short hair, wearing a yellow shirt with white print on the front, blue pants, yellow sandals

Name: Unknown Unknown
Hair Color: Brown
Skin Color: Hispanic Age: 30YO
Height: 5FT5 Weight: 150LBS
Gender: Female
Description: Wearing a white shirt and jeans

Vehicle Information
Model: Van
Color: Green
Vehicle: Full sized



Creative Expression, a Catalyst for Social Change: In Honor of Oscar Grant

Photo by Nina Sparks

Editor's Note: My goal is to gather the creative works dedicated to Oscar Grant from artists, musicians, writers, photographers and others. Any form of creative expression will be accepted. It could be a video of a dance work, audio, song, comic strip, photography, art project, links to website pieces, etc. Selected portfolio work will be featured in several Bay Area publications including Race, Poverty & the Environment, Street Spirit, Media-alliance.org, and InColor.net(print and online). If you have any questions or would like to contribute to this project please contact christinejoy@urbanhabitat.org. All submissions should be sent to artwork@urbanhabitat.org by March 21, 2009.

People are angry. Early morning on New Year’s Day, 22-year-old Oscar Grant III was shot and killed in Oakland, California by a Bay Area Rapid Transit agency police officer. Grant was unarmed. The young black man’s arms shackled behind his back. His face—pressed down against the cement. Onlookers video-phoned the horrific spectacle as his life was taken from him.

Thousands have been appalled by the Oscar Grant shooting and have taken a new stand to fight injustice. Many have chosen to creatively express their stance through art. Songs have been written and dedicated to Oscar Grant. Poems, paintings and posters have been created. Graffiti artists have painted murals.

Illustration by Pitzeleh8

These visionaries protest against the injustice of police brutality, discrimination, prejudice, racism, and white privilege.

Throughout history, from gospel singing in the Civil Rights Movement to today's t-shirts and posters donning portraits of Che Guevara and President Barack Obama, art plays a very important role in social movements. Art has been used for framing, to attract resources, to communicate information about themselves, to foster useful emotion, and as a symbol (for communication a coherent identity, marking membership, and cementing commitment to the movement), explains Jacqueline Adams in her article “Art in Social Movements: Shantytown Women’s Protest in Pinochet’s Chile.”

The struggle continues. Don’t stop creating.

Oscar Grant's Glimpse of the New Year
By Rashida Mack

"I am an African American 22 yr old man,
I am told to hit the ground,
pushed down,
I am lying on a [Oakland] platform,
As commanded,
Face down,
I hear a shot,
Then feel pain
I am shot,
Fading black.

Your Happy New Year to me,
Now called a mistake?
Glock 9mm,
Taser gun,
Glock 9mm,
On my stomach,
Face down,
Taser or Glock,


Dear Tatiana (Letter to Oscar Grant's Daughter)
By Ruckus, produced by Kid Konnect

Artist Unknown. Photo by Frederic Larson, San Francisco Chronicle

ONE (Ode to Oscar Grant)
By Shiko

"...the one man in uniform holds out his one gun and shoots
the son
the father and
the friend
Black silence
born from years of white oppression
effective white brain wash that taught a black man to be a
taught him that he is worth nothing
taught him that even after emancipation he was still three fifths of a man
effective brain wash that caused the black men to be submissive
leaving thoughts of change to his "white washed" brethren
but now I hear protest
black voices raised in unison


Novel dedicates "Mad World" to Oscar Grant
By SOHH Soul Rebel

"Out of the cradle endlessly rocking
Five score years ago,
Out of the mocking bird’s throat, the musical shuttle,
A great American signed the Emancipation Proclamation
Out of the ninth-month midnight,
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free"


Poster Illustration by Melanie Cervantes and Jesus Barraza

First posted on February 3, 2009 on http://www.in-color.net


The Art of Balancing Your "Scary" Muslim Ties

Remember when Obama's campaign was working hard to dodge the negative Muslim/Arab tag during the elections? Such as how one time, two Muslim women were barred from a campaign event so that they wouldn't appear in pictures with him, and that other time when a disheveled old woman rambled on about how she was scared of him being an Arab at a McCain rally.

Well, it's funny now that this comes up:

Excerpt from the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. "In his first post-inaugural interview, Barack Obama says to an Arab network what he couldn't say on American television."

My favorite part: "Wha...wait? Why haven't we met them? Don't you think they would have enjoyed sharing in the campaign process? ...That would be like if the first thing John McCain did after winning the presidency was go on the AARP network and let them know that he too sometimes forgets where he is."



Update: BART Police Officer Pleads 'Not Guilty' To Murder Charges

The police officer who killed Oscar Grant has been charged with murder. From KTVU.com:
Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff made the rare decision to file a murder charge against a police officer for an on-duty incident.

"At this point, what I feel the evidence indicates, is an unlawful killing done by an intentional act and from the evidence we have there's nothing that would mitigate that to something lower than a murder," Orloff said at a news conference. He said he would not speculate on whether the charge would end up being first-degree murder or second-degree murder.

The officer has plead "not guilty" to the charges, as reported by SF Gate:
The former BART police officer who fatally shot an unarmed man early New Year's Day pleaded not guilty Thursday to a murder charge during a brief but tense court hearing, at which his attorney said he planned to seek a bail reduction that could allow his client to be released from jail before trial.

Johannes Mehserle, 27, entered his plea in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland as about two dozen supporters looked on, including his parents, Todd and Agatha Mehserle. The couple were escorted to court by police officers a day after their Napa neighborhood was evacuated when two suspicious boxes were left on the porch of their home. The boxes turned out to be harmless.

I've seen a few of the videos of the shooting on YouTube and they make it quite clear why the ex-officer is being charged with murder.

We'll see what happens...


Late Night Thoughts: Tracy Morgan's 'Post-Racial America'

Here are my two-cents on the recent remarks by not-so-talented Tracy Morgan:

1) Cate Blanchett is Australian. Are you drunk again, mister? Just kidding.

2) There is no such thing as a "post-racial America," nor could there be a face of such an America if it were post-racial.

If you're wondering what on Earth I'm talking about, this all has to do with the Golden Globes ceremony on Sunday. The one where Tracy Morgan accepts the award for the people of 30 Rock (because Barack Obama won the presidency) and oh so humbly assumes the poster-boy role of a new era: post-racial America.

Here's what he said:
"Welcome to post-racial America! I am the face of post-racial America. Deal with it, Cate Blanchett! We'd like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press ... especially me, 'cause a black man can't get no love at the Emmys. I love you, Europe! That's what's up!"
So apparently Tracy Morgan now represents all the ethnicities and minorities that once divided America...does that even make any sense? Sounds like gibberish to me.

Look, you can try to argue your case for what a post-racial America means, but I cannot accept it. I mean come on, how can you be the face of something post-racial? What would that even look like?

...I know, oldest joke in the book.


Do I look like I sell drugs?

Originally published in InColor Magazine

“Do I look like I sell drugs?” I never thought to ask someone that question. I’ve never smoked or injected a narcotic. I don’t know how many different drugs exist. I can list maybe four. It took me a while to figure out what the hell NUMP, E-40 and The Federation meant when they were rappin’ “Who got purple? I got grapes.”...wait, what? I’ve never witnessed a drug deal or lived in a neighborhood infested with addicts. I doubt someone would assume that of me either. Maybe it’s because I don’t fit the “characteristics” of a dealer…that dark skinned, somewhat thuggish individual from the hood, sporting a fitted style with an abundant excess of gold, who wears baggy pants that sag from the buttock.

And even if someone were to experience all of the above, why should that make he or she any more suspect? You really never know who’s hustlin’ and who’s not. It’s time to get that imagery out your head. Anyone can be a dope boy.

For all the plenty of young colored folks that get dirty looks and don’t deserve it, DJ Al Azif does a smashing job of knocking a social construct while remixing Adam Tensta’s latest single “Dopeboy,” a Sweden-born Hip hop artist influenced by electro/house styles.

Al Alzif broke out his digitalcam and filmed a bunch of ordinary citizens rocking out to “Dopeboy” each holding a piece of paper that reads the song’s hook, "Do I look like I sell drugs?" The home video features various individuals—from artists, the homeless, to Paris Hilton blondes, nurses and small business owners—poking fun at that very question. And while the straight lyrics, beat, and rhyme intoxicate, it’s just damn entertaining. You’ll laugh at the sight of the bald, ripped white farmer on the tractor and smile at the little kid flinging the crinkled inquiry over his head.

Ridiculous isn’t it? And yet, it ironically caused me to think critically about the world around me—about the bias we have, the assumptions we make and the institutions that continue to perpetuate racial stereotypes and profiling.

All over the world, those that are the most disproportionately impacted by drug control are not the major drug traffickers or ‘kingpins.’ Instead, the victims are the peasant farmers, small time dealers, low-level drug offenders, and its users. According to the Beckley Foundation Drug Policy Programme, the majority are poor, ethnic minorities who come from marginalized communities.

The stereotype of drug dealers is that they are people of color. In the United States research by Human Rights Watch has shown that African-American men are sent to prison on drug charges at 13.4 times the rate of white men. Furthermore, 63 percent of all drug offenders admitted to state prisons were African-American and only 35 percent of whites are locked up, according to the Physician Leadership on National Drug Policy. African American’s make-up 13 percent of our U.S. population compared to the 80 percent that is white (Whites are the majority of drug users/dealers).

Major props to Al Azif for shooting a creative home video that doesn’t discriminate. Whether you intended to or not, you moved me. So once again I must reiterate, this is for all people, especially colored people, who get dirty looks and don't deserve it. Bob and groove to this.

To find more info and music by Adam Tensta and the funky DJ skills of Al Azif hit up:



Oscar Grant, young father and peacemaker, executed by Bart police

Originally posted on Alas, a blog. Slightly modified.

This is absolutly apauling (if you want you can see the video for yourself, I don't want to though, but you can find it pretty easily). I will be at the protest today at the Fruitvale Bart station at 3 pm if any other Bay Area folks who read my blog want to come along.
By now everyone has seen the horrific videos of an Oakland BART police officer shooting an unarmed Black man, Oscar Grant, while he lay face down on the ground and was fully cooperating. The man who was killed execution style was the father of a 4-year-old girl and was considered a peacemaker. In fact moments before he was shot he was pleading with his friends who were all cuffed up to calm down and be cooperative with police. Grant was seen begging the police officers, who had pulled tasers out and pointed them at the heads of his friends, not to shoot...(Read More)