2010-03-31

Label and Celebrity Obsession


I was having a phone conversation with a friend the other day, in which we talked about what I call "label whores". The people who can't pay rent, but is wearing the latest and greatest name brands and labels. The ones who scour magazines and try to replicate looks of celebrities. My friend, who is black like me made a statement that I'm having an inner conflict with: Black people seem label and celebrity obsessed.

You know I can definitely say other races of people are the same way, and I can say it with confidence. But I understand where she is coming from with her statement. I think celebrity obsession would explain why Hollywood uses the same five black actors for everything, even in movies and shows geared towards "black people". I will give Tyler Perry kudos for the fact, he hires a lot of black actors, and not all of them well known names. From what I understand, his shows on TBS use actors from his plays. That's pretty awesome. More black people acting can't be a bad thing right? Their not shucking and jiving I hope. One can hope, but then I think about Madea.

I also have known many a broke black woman with $300 shoes, a $500 purse, and not a damn thing in their savings account. I've met black men who felt it was important to know what kind of car they drive, or what kind of clothes they like. Don't get me wrong, I've met white folks like this too, but it seems a bit more important for the black folks I've met to share such information with me. Again, don't get me wrong, I've known white people to forgo an electric bill so they can take a trip to Cancun.

If this stereotype or assumption is true, do you think it comes from black media, in particular hip hop, where people love to shout out the names of what they wear, drive, or drink? It seems most other genres of music try to avoid such things. Of course if I was shouting out the names of labels and products, I would make sure I was getting paid to do such things. For the right amount of money, I would give a shout out to Kmart or Wal Mart in a song. I have no shame.

So do you think that blacks are more label and celebrity conscious than other races of people? If so, why?

Emails

This morning, I received a bunch of "failed delivery" emails, indicating that my email address is being used for spam. If you get an email from me with just a link in it, don't click it, I didn't send it. ::sigh::

2010-03-22

How I'm Privileged

I just did a post on black male privilege. I also recently read this post and found it interesting. It was mentioned how many times those who are privileged fail to acknowledge their privilege. So I thought for once, I would acknowledge some of my privileges, at least some of the ones I know about.

As a black woman, I'm privileged in relation to black men due to my gender. As a black woman, I am less threatening to other races of people, since women are viewed as weaker or more docile than men.

As a person who has a degree, I have education privilege. Having two college educated parents, I was taught the importance of education at an early age. My parents knew how to navigate the education system. The importance of good grades and being involved in activities in high school. When to start applying to schools. How to determine my major. I had access to my parents knowledge of education, and I have benefitted from that education. In jobs I made more money than someone without a degree. It allowed me to take positions that others might not have the opportunity to have, or they would have had to start in a lower paying position and work their way up to get.

I have class privilege. I grew up middle class. I didn't grow up poor, and as a result, I had more access to things that those of a lower socioeconomic status would not. Better neighborhoods, better schools, better opportunities. I had the luxury of being able to go to college, not everyone know how to access loan and grant money to pay for college. Not everyone can find a job that pays enough and is flexible enough to let someone go to school.

Now don't get me wrong, I haven't forgotten that there are other privileges I don't have. I've written about those many times. I do however, think it's important to acknowledge our privilege so that we can see others and see that sometimes those who are disadvantaged or suffering have obstacles we don't necessarily think about.

2010-03-21

Going Back To Jim Crow

Since the election of our President, I have come to the conclusion that race wise, America is going backwards. This story about the tea party movement is especially telling to me. John Lewis, Barney Frank, along with others have indicated that they were called certain slurs by tea party protesters.

Now the discussion is healthcare. So why oh why is race or sexual orientation even mentioned? Honestly why does the Tea Party movement stay so silent, or even defend such things? Honestly if the tea party movement is really about government, then why, oh why, does no one from the side seem to condemn what is said, instead they say people are playing the "race card" or there is some conspiracy with democrats and liberals planting people in the tea party ranks to make them look bad. I'm sorry, the tea party movement doesn't need help to look bad. They do it all on their own. It seems like this movement is very much like the anti-civil rights protesters of the 1960s. They spread misinformation and many don't know why they are protesting, except their angry Obama won.

So why does it seem the Tea Party movement embraces racism? If the focus is on government, focus on government.

2010-03-20

White People Help Me Understand Glenn Beck And White Slavery In America?



OK I know that some white people are upset a black man became President. I just didn't know that there was modern day white slavery in America. I also don't understand how in the 3/5ths compromise did not treat black slaves as 3/5ths of a person for tax purposes?

I mean this is a great summary of the 3/5ths compromise:

The three-fifths compromise was an agreement between Southern and Northern states reached during the Constitutional Convention of 1787, during which the basic framework of the United States was established. Under this compromisecompromisecompromise, slaves were counted as three-fifths of a human being for the purpose of taxation and representation in Congress. As a result, slave-owners and the Southern states got a deal deal of political clout.


Seems to me black people (slaves) for the purpose of taxes and representation was only 3/5ths of a human being according to the Constitution. So yeah, we were 3/5ths of a person. I guess that is better than livestock.

I'm amazed that this man has an audience, but I guess the angry white people pissed off that we now have a black man in charge, need something to get them riled up. I mean honestly, were we talking about white slavery when W. was in office, or during the last census?

Also white people, when did minorities become more valuable than white people? What was this assessed value? What is this minority money he talks about? Where is my minority money? Did I forfeit it when I married a white man?

What is white slavery in today's America?

So white people explain or answer my questions for me. I don't quite understand it.

PS: For all those who plan to identify themselves as "American" instead of choosing a race on the census. I am going to assume "American" is white, as in Glenn Beck's world and for people like him, the only true Americans are white. Maybe the census should too.

2010-03-18

Black Male Privilege

I heard an interesting story over at NPR. It's about something that is discussed here, in not so formal terms, but something that is often dismissed. Black Male Privilege. Now let's not get it confused with white male privilege. It isn't the same. This privilege is relevant only within the black community. Black men and their privilege over black women. We tend to focus on talking about black men and their crisis, never do we focus on their advantages.

L'Heureux Lewis, the person who was interviewed in the NPR piece, pointed out an example of incarceration rates. When we discuss incarceration rates, we tend to focus on black men, while ignoring the issues that cause black women to become incarcerated.

Lewis also talks about sexual assault within the black community. How often sexual assault within the black community is easily dismissed. Remember the Rihanna incident? We do have a tendency to blame the victim, or rather protect the assailant. We tend to view incidents of sexual assault as trapping the black man. It seems to show sympathy for the victim is hurting or degrading black men, and we pretend assault against black women don't exist, or that somehow it's the woman's fault when these things happen.


I found it interesting that one focus of privilege within the black community was negotiating sex. Black men who are educated and employed within our community are at an advantage. Due to the imbalance between black men and black women who fit into this criteria, there has been actual discussion of man sharing, sleeping with married men, or for black women to "settle" for those who are not as educated or not employed in a professional capacity. I think we are the only race who does this. I've never seen a professional white woman be expected to date or marry a line cook at a fast food restaurant for hopes that one day he'll move up. They are expected to be with established men, where as black women are expected to help establish their men.

I do like that Professor Lewis also addresses "Denzel Principle" book that came out, showing black women why they can't get a man. Why aren't black men asking what they are doing that impacts relationships? It seems when relationships are mentioned, the focus is always on black women.

Do you think black men are capable of seeing black male privilege? Do you think it exists?

2010-03-13

The Hollywood Standard of "Looking Good, Feeling Gorgeous"





Howard Stern recently made some comments about Gabourey Sidibe, the star of "Precious".

Here is a sample of the comments:

“There’s the most enormous, fat black chick I’ve ever seen. She is enormous. Everyone’s pretending she’s a part of show business and she’s never going to be in another movie. “She should have gotten the Best Actress award because she’s never going to have another shot. What movie is she gonna be in?”


Unfortunately, Howard is right, she's big and black, and that will be held against her in Hollywood. Fat people and black people have a hard time finding roles. That's just how the movie industry works. To look good and feel gorgeous in Hollywood, you have to be skinny and light. The movie "Precious" was a prime role for her. She had to play a dark skinned black girl who's extremely overweight. She nailed it. But I don't think she nailed the role simply because she was fat and black. She nailed it, because she's a good actress. Her fat and her blackness helped her in that role, but her acting was what ultimately lead to her getting her Oscar nomination. Yes, Howard's an idiot, but he told the truth in regards to Hollywood standards.

I think at times Hollywood, like the music industry has focused too much on the glamour and not enough on the substance, which is why we have sequels for each and every movie that comes out, and every movie seems to be a remake. I will commend the casting director of "Precious" for choosing Sidibe, instead of going with a more well-known actress and making them appear fat.

PS: Gabourey Sidibe at least for now is getting some work. She's slated to star in a movie and a TV series.

2010-03-11

Us Vs. THEM

So today we have discovered what people have been talking about forever. Minority births are on track to outnumber white births. Oh no, what are we going to do? The minorities are taking over!!!!!!!!!!!! Let's not get too excited.

Minorities aren't one big monolithic group. Blacks, hispanics, asians, and multiracial. Now you can't blame the blacks, asians, or multiracials, we aren't really growing in population. Blame the hispanics. That is what the news is doing. All these hispanic women of child bearing age procreating and such. Damn them. Of course hispanic isn't really a race of people, but rather a culture. You can be black, asian, multiracial, and yes even white, and be hispanic.

So exactly what is the news here. It seems the spin on this is now that whites are becoming a minority. When in reality they are still the majority. So 52% of births are white. That's just downright scary, in America the white population should be closer to 99%. The 25% hispanic, the 12% black, 4% asian, and 4% multiracial populations are all on track to surpass white people.

Watch out white people, you're still the majority. Now go freak out about still being the majority.

The media spin of the Us (white people) vs. Them (everyone else) diatribe is taking us back to a gentler time of Jim Crow era. Spread fear and concern that white people are dwindling in numbers so that the number of neo Nazi sympathizers and KKK members can increase. Now we can hear the conversations about white people paying for minorities on welfare (which is happening in the comments section of the article I linked as we speak), because we know only minorities are on welfare and leach off the government. No white person in the history of America has ever used welfare, and no minorities pay taxes.

2010-03-06

Questioning Beauty Standards



****** No I'm not saying that weave automatically means trying to be white, I said this in the fist post and people still were upset and made the same assumption. I am essentially asking if we are expected to adhere to beauty standards that target all women, but are based upon only one race of women*****


One of my most popular blog entries this one. It's about black women and beauty ideals. People on occasion will comment on this entry. It apparently makes some people mad. I've gotten some great comments, such as:

I notice it is mostly black women who already have long hair that have a problem with other black women wearing weaves. I have long hair. As a child I didn't and I would never wear a weave. Now that my hair grew long I will braid it up and get a full stocking cap weave because I never new how fun long hair was but it is also alot to manage so I'd rather do it to fake hair than my own. I also wear color contacts on my already light brown eyes. I change them as I change my eye make up. I would never change anything about myself permently. But I love being able to use modern discovery to have fun. And if a person black or white wants to change there hair with weaves or color or perm or relaxer. Maybe it's just because it is fun to do something different. Same goes for eye color. Most girls black, white or other enjoy long hair. It's not self hate it's just the joy of being a girl. And those who don't rock too.-Made4U2Wonder

It's called doing what you WANT TO DO. IT'S THEIR FACE AND BODIES so they can do w/e they want...also, blk people come in all shapes and forms just like other races...so the point of this commentary is?!


Omg most women(and im not zoning in on any one race) wear weaves for thousands of different reasons! Here think outside the box: jus becuz there hair is already long doesn't mean it's useless to get a weave, for example maybe they work out everyday and they're press sweats out, no one especially a black woman in their right mind would restraighten it EVERY DAY! That's wayy too much heat and will quickly damage your own hair. Now if they worked out with a weave who cares? The weave will dry straight after being drenched with sweat. There's no one reason for getting a weave. It's nice to give your hair a break for awhile so what? No one should be judged jus because they were born with long straight hair and want curly short hair or curly long hair for a couple months, they should do and get whatever they want!! Please stop judging bcuz you just sound rude and unthoughtful. [all black women aren't lil kim, Duh]


Sidditty I assume you are a man so I guess you thing we black women hate ourselves. I wear weave and I did not hate myself. I like the variety of hair styles I can wear. So I do not need a man telling me what to wear. I understand concepts that have been placed in our society about beauty but there are fashion statement. Well that is all you men are going to think what you want. I am pretty sure all races of men make comments about their women. I am liberated from what men think.


Hi I do not have a problem with any type of enhancement. I have been through all of the stages of the hair weave thing. I will say this white women wear more of it then any other race and no one says anything. Actually when they wear it they are put in the spotlight and it is so cute. I will admit I am a artist and I consider it art. Being able to alter your appearance be attaching or extending something to your body is the oldest form of art. Study history. I wore a afro for 3 years straight and I wanted a different look so I tried weave. It is all about a look. Hair is a fashion now and basically always been people have been wearing wigs for ages. Now since black women have been wearing it we are considered fake. That is intriges me. I want to see people make comment about white women and their fake stuff. The reality show "Wives of Orange County" all those women are fake and they do not get put down. What baffles me about black men is they will say nasty comments about black women and fake hair. But will be fascinated by fake boobs on white women. To sum it up in America is fake we eat fake food and that is worst then what you put on. So what is better fake food or fake hair. Besides who are men to tell us what to wear. Let's talk about what men are wearing. Why so much beating on black women. We still have not escaped the Willie Lynch Theory.


If you notice, people have accused me of being a man, being rude and unthoughtful, and that I am a victim and perpetrator of Willie Lynch(yes, I'm aware this has been dismissed as a hoax).

Now, I don't think I personally went out to insult black women with this particular blog entry, I just questioned why some black women desire for weave, color contacts, and hair dye). Why in particular we aim to have hair styles and eye colors not normally associated with people of color, but white people?

I'm not against choice, I'm really not, but it seems some women's choices tend to go towards the mainstream (read white) look, and to me that's sad. I have nothing against the white look, but I do have a problem with people of color being expected to adhere to beauty standards that we can't achieve without sticking some glue in our head and putting weird colored contacts in our eyes.

I don't think I am a hater of weave, but I admit I don't understand it, but then again, I've never worn weave, and I never thought weave was a good way to give my hair a "break", that is what protective styling is for. I also don't understand that if you do have waist length hair,how a weave will help protect that hair, instead of damaging it, I guess depending upon the weave.

I also understand that white women wear weave, they are also victims of unrealistic beauty ideals.

So I guess the point of the blog is this, is the concept of weave, color contacts, and hair dye a result of white or non black beauty standards, or are people just trying to enhance themselves or go for a different look? Do mainstream beauty standards have no impact on black women at all?

The Doll Market

So now that I have a girl, I'm looking at dolls. Not that she cares now, honestly she doesn't care about much now, except about when she is going to eat and if someone can change her diaper, but I was looking at dolls. The husband and I decided that it would be best if we purchased dolls of all hues, and I remember as a kid wanting a doll that looked like me skin tone wise, as it meant to me as a kid that I was pretty too, and that Barbie wasn't the only pretty girl out there. Now, I'm a child of the 1980s, which means that the concept of racial inclusiveness when it came to dolls was that black Barbie would look just like white Barbie with darker skin. It was better than nothing, but it still wasn't where it needed to be. Now we are in the year 2010, and I know that by now things have improved and changed in the doll market and the multicultural niche was filled. It hasn't.

It seems that the major doll manufacturers haven't stepped up the game. It appears most the "black" dolls are still pretty white looking.Yes they have tans, but they seem to be lighter hued, or have green or hazel eyes. They all tend to have silky straight hair, and there is no such thing as a biracial dolls to the major doll manufacturers. Luckily, there is a niche market that appeals to this segment of the population. Unfortunately the dolls all tend to be blond with "kinky" or "curly" hair and have hazel eyes, because apparently biracial people all come out looking mostly white with some black features. Just to give you an idea, when I did a google search for biracial dolls, this is what I came up with:






Not to mention these "niche" dolls tend to be kind of expensive.

So I guess I will look forward to having to search for dolls for Rabbit.