Monthly Archives: February 2012

Ignorance. Wrote a blog about it. Like to hear it? Here it go.


I didn’t think it would happen to me but I’ve been dragged into the Lin-sanity about Jeremy Lin.  His amazing athleticism didn’t do it to me.  I got sucked into the controversy over ESPN reporting on him.  It amazed me that two people were terminated from their job and there is no “official” news site that will show the original headline or video of what was said.  It’s astounding to me that in such a big news story that affects lives there is no way to choose for myself if I think the comments were racist.  When I blinked and missed Janet’s wardrobe malfunction, the next day, I could see stills of it in multiple newspapers.  Why do I get to decide for myself if a jeweled nipple offended me but not a word in a sentence. From what I understand the headline was stupid, if not malicious, but the sportscaster was using a commonly used saying that did not have it’s origin in racism.  Unlike getting jewed, gyped, or being called an Indian giver which all stem from bigotry, having a chink in your armor refers to an actual defect or gap in your gear.

We are so PC and litigious in this society we can’t talk about issues or repeat comments without someone being in danger of crucifixion.  A few years ago, I remember Dan Savage and some black spokesperson (that’s right I can’t tell them apart either sometimes) having a discussion with an NPR reporter about how we as a society have used curses and slurs to both help and hurt Peoples.  It frustrated me to no end because they specified these words by calling them the N, C, F, S, and F word.  That’s right, in a scholarly discussion about language these grown men were talking in code.  A code that began to confuse even them.  You see, fag and fuck both start with the same letter and a considerable amount of time was wasted when every five to ten minutes they had to keep saying, “the F word”, “the F word?” “No, the Other F word” until they were pretty sure they were all talking about the same F word.   I don’t understand how a country that is built on a theme of self-determination and autonomy can let supped up Powerpoints called news programs tell them what to think with no ability to review and make an informed decision for themselves.

I am an NPR nerd.  Sustaining member with the tote bag and everything.  Today, I turned on the radio to hear news of the killing of two journalists Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik.  As with most events that happen outside of the United States, immediate in-depth coverage was provided by streaming the BBC.  Why doesn’t the US have real world news like BBC International or CNN International?  Why do we only watch news that is wrapped up in a three-minute, biased, special effects bow?

In Baratunde Thurston’s book How to be Black, he suggests handing all responsiblity for fixing racism to white people.  At first, I thought that was a ridiculous idea.  In my experience, too many white people don’t even know what racism really is.  Racism is the thinking that makes another person less than you in your mind.   Not different, less.   Now, I don’t know.  Maybe white people should handle it.  Maybe they won’t get so caught up in the words and not the meaning.  ‘Cause I gotta tell you, most of the time I don’t even know which slur goes with which ethnic group.  That’s right, mick, spick, cracker, you’re all just white people to me.  Being the only black person in any room outside of my house 90% of the time since I was five years old makes me think about race more and less than others.  White people are just people unless they say or do something racist and non-whites are just people unless they do or say something that I think will fit into a negative stereotype of their race.

Ignorance is rampant and even sought out on a regular basis.  When we choose only to listen to people who think exactly like us, we are embracing a type of ignorance.  I framed most of this blog in terms of racism because it’s always been easier to see than economic, ethnic, or political differences.  I wish the US would teach history, real history, full of meaning and story.  We would all learn better.  We might even remember that each of us is different, but not less, past the test at the end of the semester.

Happy Valentine’s Day…I Paid for Sex!


That’s right people this Valentine’s Day I arranged with my pimps Barnes & Noble to buy Lora Leigh’s Forbidden Pleasure.  It was hard for me to open up to these new guys since I had had a good relationship with my previous pimp Boarders.  Sadly, he was busted last year and had to let all his rags go.

Anyway, I thought with all the recent talk about the morality of birth control, I would put this out there as an alternative.  ‘Cause if you don’t have birth control you might have an unwanted pregnancy.  Then you’ll be forced to have an abortion, or you could have the baby and not be able or willing to provide the financial or emotional support that child needs.  I think those things are so much more immoral than swallowing a pill or slipping a raincoat on a weenie.

Paying for sex is even common in the Bible.  That’s right, men paid good money for those concubines and slaves.  And they where always ready, if not willing.  Yes, just pay for sex like me and everyone will be so much happier. Hmm?  Masturbation is against the rules too?  You sure?  Even with your left hand?  OK then.  I see.  Nevermind.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Cover of "Forbidden Pleasure (Bound Heart...

Black people in movies. What happens when we ain’t the hooker or the hood?


I can’t help it.  I’m black and I love the movies.  So we all knew this post was coming sooner or later.  Why not now?  What is Black History Month for if not for posting polarizing commentary on the industry you love?

In the last few months, the issue of race in the business of movies has been in the forefront.  I first noticed it shortly before Red Tails opened.  Suddenly, many people in the industry were talking about George Lucas being forced to use his own money for his passion project.  The story of how no studio would touch the movie because it featured a cast of African-Americans was repeated more times than the trailer.  During this time, the sustained success of The Help at various award shows ran as a constant backdrop.  I was so excited to have this issue out in the open for discussion.  Unfortunately, we didn’t discuss a damn thing.

A great number of people went out to see Red Tails to support George Lucas’ project.  I did too.  I encouraged others to go in my Trailer Park review.  Even after I saw it I still told people to go see it.  Now let me clarify, I did not tell people to go see Red Tails because I thought it would be or even was a good movie.  In fact, the movie bored me.  It lacked structure, emotional involvement, and the weight of being real.  I was so desperate to show that my community and I would support a black movie despite what those studio people said, I went.  We were right to do this, but we were also oh so wrong.  The word to go see this movie was so pervasive that my theatre was packed at ten o’clock in the morning on a Friday because black high school students were bussed in as part of their class.  Of course, white people were there too.  There is nothing that will get a white liberal to do what you want quicker than implying it might be racist if they don’t.  It was not exactly quiet in the theatre due to the kids being restless, but I was restless too.  What if we had brought all these people out for a good movie?  The kids would have settled down to watch and the rest of us wouldn’t have had the stereotype of black people not knowing how to act in a movie theatre reinforced. Wouldn’t everyone have been more likely to take a chance on the next movie with a primarily black cast?

The weekend after Red Tails overperformed in its opening, a fellow black screenwriter posted this on her Facebook page, “In regards to The Help…didn’t Hattie McDaniel already play that part and win an Oscar. In the 1930s. Wow. Progress.”  That post was followed closely by a link of “movie posters that told the truth.”  (The one for The Help is pictured.  All the posters can be found here.)  I was astounded.  Hattie McDaniel’s caricature of a happy, subservient, Mammy that only lived to please Scarlett, was no where close to the human beings portrayed in The Help.  I just don’t see it.  Skeeter didn’t swoop down and save anybody.  The decisions that Aibileen and Minny made were all their own.  They only expected danger from what this white lady brought into their mist, not deliverance.  All that talk confused me even more because I never heard it about Avatar, the biggest white dude saves the ignorant colored people storyline of the last twenty years.  We all should have known something was going on when there was a motion capture movie in production and Andy Serkis was nowhere to be seen.  If worst comes to worst at least actors of color can look forward to motion capture jobs in the future.

As I’m writing this, I finally see what the problem is.  Not all black people are alike.  Despite what we have been trained to think, no one black person can speak for all black people.  The backlash against Tyler Perry movies should be proof enough of that. This problem crosses many racial groups.  Asians, who are even more culturally split than black Americans, are all but absent from representation in movies.  They can’t be neatly put in a box to symbolize anything.  Well, except maybe mathlete or fetish fotter.  Historically, non-whites on the U.S. screen have only existed in relation to whites. We went to Red Tails because George Lucas, a white man, was saying he didn’t believe what the studios said and we wanted to prove him right.  We wanted to show what we could do if they gave us a chance.  We went to a movie devoid of substance because we need the white people in power to help us change things.

I wish a white person had told us to go to Pariah instead.  In spite of the off-putting name, I believe we should have mobilized for this movie too.  A sweet coming of age tale populated with people, who are unquestionably black, telling a universal story.  It was beautiful.  A story written for black actors that wasn’t about being black.

The white people I’ve met who have said they wanted to be black, all stated how badly wanted to belong to a community.  There is a community there, but it’s not specific, nor is the experience universal.  Just because we talk about being black, being black doesn’t define us.  So, if you are yearning to be black to belong, “Stop it and join the ornithology club!”  Or, you can be the only white person in a room full of black cast and crew.  Come on, we dare you.

No, you can’t touch my hair…but you can snack on it.

English: Cropped by : Fourohfour, to remove ir...

I just had a barely controllable urge to ask my mom if my hair felt like Cheetos.

This thought was spawned by watching a YouTube video on what white women say to black women.  Despite the hundreds of inappropriate questions about my hair I have received over the years, this is not one of them.   But it made me wonder. What if I carried around a small baggy of Cheetos and the next time someone asked to touch my hair I would say, “Oh, touch these Cheetos instead. Same thing.”

Mmm, evil thoughts.  “Yes, rub ’em real good.  Yeah, ’til all that orange stuff comes right off.  Now, touch your hair to compare.  Neat, huh?”

Yes, so evil.