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Well, we’ve been saying this all along. But it’s nice when an acclaimed director (and admitted undocumented American) Jose Antonio […]

Well, we’ve been saying this all along. But it’s nice when an acclaimed director (and admitted undocumented American) Jose Antonio Vargas says it too.

Vargas is the director of the documentary “White People,” and Vargas believes that whiteness cannot be ignored in the larger racial debate in the U.S.

“Too often I think when we talk about diversity or we talk about inclusion, we don’t include white people in the conversation,” he explained to TheWrap, adding that “diversity is the destiny of this country.”

And…

“We are living in such a politically charged and politically correct time that sometimes I wonder how willing are white people to say what they really think and really feel,” Vargas said. “I would rather you say it than not say it, because then you just internalize it … and we don’t talk about it at all.”

Right. We’re looking forward to seeing “White People,” which debuted last week on MTV. It is also available on MTV.com, the MTV App, MTV’s Facebook page and its YouTube channel, as well as the following morning on iTunes, Amazon Instant Video and MTV’s Video On Demand services.

15
Jul

Corporatizing gay pride

POSTED BY Admin POSTED IN Uncategorized

Many would call this progress. Others might decry the de-gaying of gay pride. This trend has been going on for […]

Many would call this progress. Others might decry the de-gaying of gay pride.

This trend has been going on for years, and not just in Chicago, and is likely to accelerate in the wake of the SCOTUS ruling in favor of same-sex marriages nationwide.

Some parade-goers have been complaining for years that Chicago’s pride festivities have gone corporate, and in the process turned into a commercialized spectacle and yet another excuse for straight people to day drink in the streets. Some LGBTQ revelers have simply chosen to stay home from the parade in response; others have turned to the growing Chicago Dyke March for a more indie alternative and still others have opted to bring their displeasure to the parade itself, as a group of #BlackLivesMatter protesters did last week, with a die-in style protest that brought the parade to a halt.

To test the theory, Illinois-resident Riley Kollaritsch crunched the numbers of parade participants, listed on the parade’s website, and graphed them with a pie chart by organization type.

Kollaritsch, 27, a writer and creator of the website Project Queer, found that corporate-representation did appear to surpass LGBTQ groups at this year’s parade—several times over. His graph shows there were 132 floats or parade slots held by corporations, compared to 11 LGBTQ groups, 1 bisexual group, 1 trans group and 5 groups related to queer people of color.

So, what does this mean for the future of the LGBT movement, which has not, contrary to popular belief “made it” after gaining marriage equality? Will greater acceptance by society – and coveting by marketers – mean greater assimilation into the mainstream? Will LGBT become “boring”? Will gayborhoods go away (as they’ve started to do)?

13
Jul

Gentrification has gotten a bad rap, with the term akin to “wealthy whites pushing out long-term residents of color and […]

Gentrification has gotten a bad rap, with the term akin to “wealthy whites pushing out long-term residents of color and driving up rents.”

In traditionally Latino Boyle Heights in Los Angeles, younger Latinos don’t have quite the same view about tradition. Their Latin identity, according to this report by local public radio station KPCC, extends as far as the dollar allows it.

Community activists like Gracian had their misgivings back then: were the businesses too cool? Would they change the flavor of what’s traditionally been a working-class immigrant neighborhood?

Turns out the business owners were themselves the children and grandchildren of immigrants. Some grew up in the area. They see the changes, not as gentrification, but rather the evolution of a neighborhood.

“I came and I started going, man, what do I want to do here?” said Guillermo “Willie” Uribe, owner of Eastside Luv, the wine shop. “This could just be an expression of who I am as a Mexican American, you know?”

In the story the owner of a trendy wine shop in Boyle Heights, Eastside Luv, has a rather transactional view about what makes a place of business “traditional Mexican” or for “hip, white folk.”

Still, the First Street strip on which Eastside Luv sits has undergone a transformation. Where an old-school Mexican restaurant once stood, a new taqueria sells green-tinged kale limonada, lemonade. A second bar catering to so-called “chipsters” – that’s for Chicano hipsters – now sits down the street.

But Uribe and others still describe a grass–roots vibe.

“I think that is what Eastside Luv is,” Uribe said. “It’s really just an expression of our Mexican-American-ism, and it is a wide spectrum. We can be as American as we want and as Mexican as we want. And there’s a lot to play with in between.”

This is an example, from a retail perspective, of the increasing fluidity of Latino identity, and we’ve seen this in attitudes of Latino consumers for years. What makes a person Latino (or Hispanic, or Mexican-American – see the terms are varied, too) is increasingly individualistic and dependent on the circumstances. “As Mexican as we want to be” is not just a cute slogan. For younger generations of Latinos, especially in urban areas, identity is increasingly malleable.

A new report is out from the ACLU that shows black Americans were unfairly targeted by banks in the run-up to the housing crisis. The report says that blacks were subjected to redlining, or denying services and being charged more for services.

A new report is out from the ACLU that shows black Americans were unfairly targeted by banks in the run-up to the housing crisis. The report says that blacks were subjected to redlining, or denying services and being charged more for services.

How blacks suffered far more from the housing crisis, from the Guardian:

The resulting economic downturn has adversely affected them to a much greater degree than white homeowners, said the ACLU’s Rachel Goodman, who said the findings suggest banks knowingly preyed on black mortgage-seekers when it came to issuing sub-prime mortgages.

“Race must have been a factor somewhere in the decision-making, because it otherwise doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Goodman said. Goodman pointed out that the report differs significantly from other studies of wealth by race, in that it compares people who are all homeowners and thus presumably fit some definition of “middle class”.

Goodman said the black families in the study, which surveyed 3,000 households (741 of them black), had been subjected to “redlining” – denying or charging more for necessary services – loans to people in historically black neighborhoods, which made the residents of those neighborhoods particularly susceptible to predation by fly-by-night mortgage outfits pushing sub-prime loans so they could turn them around on the then-booming secondary market.

The ACLU didn’t have any recommendations based on its findings. But we can imagine most people hearing this might advise the banks to, in general, stop being scumbags.

There’s a reason for that.

Today, after a young white supremacist opened fire in South Carolina’s historic black church, killing nine, we get the usual apologists who say:

There’s a reason for that.

Today, after a young white supremacist opened fire in South Carolina’s historic black church, killing nine, we get the usual apologists who say:

- Well the government couldn’t have stopped this.

- Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

- He was crazy, crazy, and we can’t stop all crazy people.

And this one: It was a hate crime but it was an attack on Christians. Because it happened in a church. Get it? Therefore preachers should be armed. That trope was peddled on Fox News today. We won’t link to it. No need to give them the traffic.

It was a hate crime. But this white supremacist didn’t shout anything about Christianity. He said Black people are taking over his country and therefore they had to die. He said this. Pretty clear what his motivation was, isn’t it?

But then there’s the flag, the Confederate flag. Still flying at the SC statehouse. At least some in the country – and some even in the old Confederacy – think this is an insult to those who died. From Vox.

This is more than just an awkward juxtaposition. As Cornell historian Edward Baptist explains in a series of chilling tweets, the Confederate flag isn’t just a symbol of the pro-slavery rebellion, it’s also a symbol of post-Civil War white supremacy — including the KKK and other groups that expressed that supremacy violently, at times by attacking black churches. That it’s flying today, after what Charleston police are describing as a hate crime, is profoundly ugly.

It is ugly. Take it down.

By now you’ve probably seen or heard about the video of McKinney, Texas, Police Cpl. Eric Casebolt’s outrageous and abusive behavior toward a group of black teens at a pool party celebrating the end of the school year, which included pulling a gun on obviously unarmed teens in their bikinis and swim trunks. It is truly must see to believe, so if you haven’t viewed it yet, do so here.

By now you’ve probably seen or heard about the video of McKinney, Texas, Police Cpl. Eric Casebolt’s outrageous and abusive behavior toward a group of black teens at a pool party celebrating the end of the school year, which included pulling a gun on obviously unarmed teens in their bikinis and swim trunks. It is truly must see to believe, so if you haven’t viewed it yet, do so here.

The party was hosted by Tatyana Rhodes and her sister. They live in the Craigs Ranch community and they say most of the guests are residents as well. The teens claim that a woman at the pool began cursing the teens and using racial slurs and telling them to “go back to Section 8 housing.” Another 14-year-old (white) teen stepped in to tell the older white people they were wrong and shouldn’t be talking to the black teens like that and according to Tatiana Rhodes, that is when one of the white women slapped her.

When the conservative-leaning Dallas Morning News says there’s a race problem, there’s a race problem:

But it’s impossible not to wonder how different a scene this would have been if these kids had been white instead of black. Would Casebolt have dared to drag a blond-haired, blue-eyed girl to the ground screaming “ON YOUR FACE!” at a pool in an affluent suburb?

If your answer is yes, let me know the next time that happens.

 

We have not yet seen an official explanation about why that officer only the black kids to sit down and handcuffing them.  There were plenty of white kids running and milling around.  Here’s a term: ‘black goggles’ like we call drunks having ‘beer goggles’. These cops all they see when they see African Americans is potential criminals or at least risks that need to be controlled.  But they ignore the whites in the area because they are not trained to fear them.

Let’s remember who started the “fight” the cops were called to break up. These older white people have their own black goggles.

But there’s a silver lining here. The party itself was black and white kids having a good time. The racial ugliness came from older folks, not part of the party, on down to a girl getting slapped coming to the aid of her white friend who stood up for her. And then the horrendous police response, where the cop sat on the black girl but largely ignored the white kids. So, if the kids are exemplary of their generation – that’s a big leap, but let’s say for the sake of argument they are – there is some hope in erasing more of the racial ugliness in the U.S., even if that requires – sorry for being indelicate – generations of older bigots to simply die off.

Did you know that Emma Stone was half-Asian? We didn’t either. Actually she isn’t. She’s very white. But that didn’t stop Cameron Crowe from casting her as a quarter-native Hawaiian, quarter-Chinese character for his new movie “Hawaii.” We did the math and that does equal half-Asian, though we’re open to interpretations that a native Hawiian is not actually considered Asian, as some have suggested. Hawaiian/Pacific Islander identity is a matter of debate. But the character is non-white, essentially.

Did you know that Emma Stone was half-Asian? We didn’t either. Actually she isn’t. She’s very white. But that didn’t stop Cameron Crowe from casting her as a quarter-native Hawaiian, quarter-Chinese character for his new movie “Hawaii.” We did the math and that does equal half-Asian, though we’re open to interpretations that a native Hawiian is not actually considered Asian, as some have suggested. Hawaiian/Pacific Islander identity is a matter of debate. But the character is non-white, essentially.

The point should be obvious. Are there no half-Asian or full-Asian major actresses who could have played the role?

Sure. But Emma Stone is hot right now. So… Emma Stone it shall be. The problem is, of course, that movies are driven by money, not by social policy. We can assume that if the producers felt there was an actress with a more visible Asian heritage that would have sold as many tickets as Stone, they would have cast her. Of course, that points us to the problem of WHY aren’t there Asian Emma Stone Alternatives, and at least one of the reasons for that is that it’s far, far more difficult for non-lily-white film actors to get any traction in the first place.

From The Muse:

The problem, more, may be visible in the aggregate: the number of people who thought it was fine to make an all-white movie called ~*~ Aloha ~*~ about the only state with an Asian majority population; the fact that—as Fusion pointed out—Asian characters comprise a highly stereotypical 6.6 percent of characters on network TV, despite many of those shows being set in New York City, which is 12 percent Asian, or California, whose percentage bumps up to 15.

But I think the real problem, for me, is that I’m finding this super fucking boring instead of upsetting. The problem for me is I’m that used to it. Asian erasure is so normalized (and much worse, codified in patternsof professional advancement) that I can’t even get my blood up about the idiocy that allowed these castings: Emma Stone as Allison Ng, but also Josh Hartnett as an Inuit sheriff, Jake Gyllenhaal as the Prince of Persia, Carey Mulligan as the “Latina” love interest in Drive, Scarlett Johannson as the Asian lead of Ghost in the Shell—all the while audiences happily flip their shit about, say, Cinna and Rue in theHunger Games being black.


Perhaps Americans in the aggregate are not very good at these kinds of conversations, but that only further illustrates why it’s important to have them in the first place.

This is not a surprise, but it’s nice to see this trend validated by statistics. A strong majority of U.S. Hispanics speak English or are bilingual, according to an analysis of the Pew Research Center’s 2013 National Survey of Latinos. Hispanics in the United States break down into three groups when it comes to their use of language: 36% are bilingual, 25% mainly use English and 38% mainly use Spanish. Among those who speak English, 59% are bilingual. Further analysis from Pew:

 

This is not a surprise, but it’s nice to see this trend validated by statistics. A strong majority of U.S. Hispanics speak English or are bilingual, according to an analysis of the Pew Research Center’s 2013 National Survey of Latinos. Hispanics in the United States break down into three groups when it comes to their use of language: 36% are bilingual, 25% mainly use English and 38% mainly use Spanish. Among those who speak English, 59% are bilingual. Further analysis from Pew:

 

Due in part to bilingualism, in 2013 Spanish was the most spoken non-English language in the U.S., used by 35.8 million Hispanics in the U.S. plus an additional 2.6 million non-Hispanics. Overall, three-in-four Hispanics (73%) ages 5 and older speak Spanish in their homes, when including those who are bilingual.

This report comes a few weeks after a Pew Research Center report this found that a rising share of Hispanics in the United States speak proficient English and the percentage of those speaking Spanish at home has been declining. The report found 68 percent of Hispanics spoke only English at home or spoke English very well in 2013, up from 59 percent in 2000. The share of Hispanics speaking Spanish at home dropped to 73 percent from 78 percent over the same period.

Pew spokespeople say this shift to English-only is part of a broader trend, which is the U.S.-born driving many of the characteristics of the community, and it is only going to become more amplified.

On the other hand, the number of Hispanics who speak Spanish at home reached a record 35.8 million. That rise is because of overall growth in the Hispanic population, Pew says. The report, which was based on an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, found that the number of Hispanics who speak proficient English also hit a record 33.2 million.

About half of U.S.-born Hispanics speak Spanish, and about half of their children retain the language, Lopez said. The recent rise of English-language media geared toward Hispanics is responding to this trend, he said.

According to the report, 89 percent of U.S.-born Hispanics spoke proficient English in 2013, up from 81 percent in 2000. ForHispanic immigrants, English proficiency was greater among those with higher levels of education, the report showed.

The First Lady went there. Reactions are coming in from Michelle Obama’s commencement speech at Tuskegee University over the weekend. […]

The First Lady went there.

Reactions are coming in from Michelle Obama’s commencement speech at Tuskegee University over the weekend. She said the graduating classes of 2015 – and the next generation of African Americans – will still face racism.

“Because here’s the thing — the road ahead is not going to be easy.  It never is, especially for folks like you and me.  Because while we’ve come so far, the truth is that those age-old problems are stubborn and they haven’t fully gone away … And all of that is going to be a heavy burden to carry.  It can feel isolating.  It can make you feel like your life somehow doesn’t matter … And as we’ve seen over the past few years, those feelings are real. They’re rooted in decades of structural challenges that have made too many folks feel frustrated and invisible.  And those feelings are playing out in communities like Baltimore and Ferguson and so many others across this country.”

A commentator on CNN said she was right to bring up race:

“Thank you, Michelle, for speaking the truth. And for being honest enough to admit that even you have been ‘knocked back’ by some of the racial perceptions of yourself and President Obama. It is past time for Americans to publicly confront our nation’s nagging race problem. Our old wounds left by racism will not heal themselves. Our silence will not make them go away. No, those wounds will just continue to fester and flare up over and over again in cities like Ferguson, New York and Baltimore and too many other places to mention.”

 

A USA Today op-ed said many people will take the wrong message:

“Obama’s message was about overcoming obstacles — it was about the ‘double duty’ blacks have to our country and our race. She talked of the obstacles overcome by members of the Tuskegee Airmen, black combat pilots who served with great distinction during World War II. They trained at Tuskegee and suffered the indignities of Jim Crow racism while fighting for America.”

The conservative National Review, took issue with Obama conflating her personal feelings with black society in general:

“Private experience is an important governing force in a healthy body politic; the anger occasioned by injustice, for example, can be an important spur toward change. But because we are individuals embedded in communities, private feelings must be balanced by public reason. An individual’s claims — that his anger indicates true injustice — must be thoughtfully and dispassionately evaluated by the community, acting together. ”

And Fox News, well, their anchors turned their “uppity meters” up to 11: Fox News contributor Angela McGlowan on Tuesday suggested the speech was yet another example of the White House dividing the country on issues of race, asking, “Why didn’t the first lady share the reason why she got into Princeton was probably because of Affirmative Action?”

The Daily Show had a great take down of the haters. Watch it here.

New surveys show that White Americans increasingly believe that the U.S. still struggles with the issue of race relations, and that recent police actions against black men, many of which have made international headlines, reflects that struggle.

New surveys show that White Americans increasingly believe that the U.S. still struggles with the issue of race relations, and that recent police actions against black men, many of which have made international headlines, reflects that struggle.

The New York Times/CBS News poll released yesterday shows a stark change in the perception of race relations in respondents, Black and White, between August of last year and now.

In August, percent of Blacks considered race relations in the U.S. to be generally bad versus 41 percent of Whites. At the present, the same poll finds Blacks at 65 percent and Whites at 62 percent.

There’s more from DiversityInc:

This interpretation is bolstered by another recent poll taken by YouGov. While a slight majority of white respondents still feel that Blacks are treated fairly by the police, since January of this year, whites appear less sure of the larger implications of police violence against Black men:

Do you think the shooting of Michael Brown/Freddie Gray’s death was an isolated incident, or part of a broader pattern in the way police treat Black men? (%of white Americans only)


  January 2015 April 2015
Isolated Incident 56 36
Broader Pattern 31 38

Perhaps it’s not surprising with almost a year of intensified scrutiny of cops (often white) killing unarmed men (often black) and the massive protests that have followed in Ferguson, Long Island, and most recently, Baltimore. Then again it may not be only the protests that have sparked the change. It may be ultimately attributable to the ubiquity of cameras recording police interactions.