breakingnews

Taking The Negative || Yahoo News Edition – Popular Teacher Forced Out for Teaching About Racism


We are in the social studies class and we are reading narratives about Africans from the point of view of Europeans. They are negative caricature all which focus around the laziness and biological inferiority. We even read a story (Tarzan) that are steeped with then current thoughts on Eugenics and Social Darwinsim. It seems a white baby raised by animals/apes in the jungle of the dark continent was superior to the natives there. Everyone in the class is white except MrMary, every time he raises his hand the pressure and tension in the air is palatable.

Another day another class this time we are reading Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. The teachers stick to the script for the most part but there is a tension in the air and I am the source of it. Not that the teachers would say anything wrong, not that they are racist. But there is a strange guilt they feel whenever they touch upon issues like slavery and colonialism.

Some of the comments made by the students are infuriating: “They choose to sit in the dust naked or with loin-clothes. The didn’t believe in science and  weren’t doing anything with the land we had a better use for it.” but I am used to be infuriating on the way home, being stopped by cops, on the TV seeing everyone who looks like me a criminal. My own TV hero Clint Eastwood, who I loved in the Westerns, even he disappointed me at some point:

so the discomfort and infuriation are no issue.

But you move on right? Eventually you go back to those teachers and say thank you for at least talking about it ? Thank you for trying to navigate the dangerous waters of political correctness and let the class  know that my ancestors who ever they were, weren’t lazy savages that ended up having a better life once the Europeans woke them up from the genetic torpor that reduced them to apes.

enhanced-buzz-14430-1366953737-3Wrong! Well that’s what happens when you’re the single black student in all of your classes. When your a white student and not even the only one, in a class that talks about racism, you file a complaint about feeling uncomfortable and the class gets shut down and the teacher moved.

Yahoo News Breaking Story

breakingnews

Popular Seattle Teacher Forced Out for Teaching Kids About Racism

As a senior at Seattle’s Center School, an alternative arts intensive public high school with a stellar academic performance record, Zak Meyer was thrilled to land a spot in Jon Greenberg’s “Citizenship and Social Justice” class.  Space in Greenberg’s popular humanities class is coveted. Hundreds of current and former pupils credit the teacher with creating a curriculum that is “life-changing,” “highly transformative,” and “a highlight of lots of students’ time at the school.”

It turned out to be everything Meyer had hoped for.

“We’ve been diving into stuff that I will be dealing with in my freshman year of college, and getting deeply into issues of our society,” Meyer told the Seattle Post Intelligencer. “I am a minority in that I have a disability. The course preaches tolerance of all backgrounds. It opens the world to me, not just from my point of view but in understanding the views of others…”

Students study speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X and invite local community leaders to speak in the class. They are prompted to talk honestly about racism, class disparity, and privilege in their day to day lives at the start of every session. Assignments include analyzing “the way media and society fetishize both women and people of color.”

But the provocative discussions that Meyer found so revelatory abruptly ended a few months ago when a female white student accused the teacher of creating an “intimidating educational environment.”

The Seattle School Board agreed and decided to transfer Greenberg to another school next year. The board also banned future use of the Courageous Conversations teaching method employed by Greenberg to address issues of race and gender.

The structure of the curriculum has been an integral part of Greenberg’s class for the last decade.

Some Important Points

  1. District officials have revealed little about the nature of the complaint. The parents who filed the grievance against Greenberg have remained silent about what their daughter found offensive.
  2. Seattle Schools Superintendent Jose Banda said, moving forward, parents need to be told ahead of time if a classroom activity could cause “a high degree of emotion for students or potential distress.”

Taking the Negative

35mm-negative-filmYou may not have heard of it, neither have I, but the Courageous Conversations curriculum developed by Glenn Singleton invites teachers and students to deliberately push beyond polite conversation in order to get to the heart of controversial and often incendiary issues dealing with social inequities. According to Singleton  “An indication that we are engaging in an authentic conversation about race is when people can share their racial truths derived from multiple perspectives. The fact that we come to the conversation with diverse racial realities and experiences causes us discomfort.” This is due in part to the fact that many believe racism no longer exists, according to Singleton.

I find it an interesting matter of choice. I had no choice but to accept all the discomfort. Actually I don’t know the kind of person I would be today without being moulded by all the discomfort I have had in my life.  If I complained when I was a student about feeling uncomfortable in a class on colonialism, it would be laughable.

ima_________gesTake the negative of that picture, a white girl feels uncomfortable and a whole class that has been changing people’s life for the better, for about a decade gets shut down!!! The teacher is going to be replaced. Why didn’t she asked to be switched out into another course? What was she offended about?

I wish I had that kind of power or I wish that the route to get that power didn’t involve police batons and hospital trips

Conclusions

I understand the discomfort, or rather got an eye into it from my Caucasian friends. It was very refreshing to talk past the point of the discomfort to get at the heart of the matter.  I don’t know what that girl felt, and I cannot be upset for her complaining, I just marvel at the power of her complaint. Police Brutality seemed to be a serious consideration after non minorities where getting seriously hurt during the Occupy Movements. When I as a high school kid complained to some teachers about being harassed by cops I was dismissed.

Classes like this are amazing! They help foster better communication for us and many past and former students have expressed how much its changed their life. If the school board continues on this track it would seems that one’s person’s discomfort is worth more than many peoples outrage. It doesn’t set a good precedent for education or for opening a dialogue.

What causes more harm than good down the road:

  1. Living uneducated about racism In a world where you deal with people of a variety of races all the time ?
  2. Or perhaps living as a victim of racism ?
  3. Or feeling uncomfortable when white Privilege is discussed

Of course, it makes people uncomfortable. The class would talk about ‘white privilege.’ I felt uncomfortable, because I did not know the extent of it,” Meyer (another student) said to the Seattle Post Intelligencer‎. Now that he’s taken the class, he said, he’s become aware of the unintentional racism that exists against minorities.

Classmate Rachel Livengood, who is also white, added, “The discomfort was with ourselves, not with the class . . . Experiencing discomfort is normal.”

Notes -

(From Wiki)
In “Taking Tarzan Seriously”  Marianna Turgovnick writes that since Tarzan was raised as an ape, he thinks and acts like an ape. However, instinctively he is human and he resorts to being human when he is pushed to. The reason of his confusion is that he does not understand what the typical white male is supposed to act like. His instincts eventually kick in when he is in the midst of this confusion, and he ends up dominating the jungle. In Tarzan, the jungle is a microcosm for the world in general in 1912 to the early 1930s. His climbing of the social hierarchy proves that the European white male is the most dominant of all races/sexes, no matter what the circumstance.

From (Here)
The earliest Tarzan movies was a new medium to poison the American mind. They promoted several underlying themes which set racist values in cement:

  1. Africans – black people – are savages and to be used as labor. You don’t see what they get out of this, nor do they seem to mind. The dissenting ones are the enemy.
  2. Black men will happily abduct a white woman at the first opportunity, and without question to rape her. They must be killed to protect her purity.

 

ohotos

Taking The Negative Movie Edition: Olympus has Fallen


olympus-composite3I saw Olympus Has Fallen starring Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart with my friends El Viejo, the Angel of death and his lady and the ever present ever flowing Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey.

Terrorist storm the White House and manage to take it and hold the president Hostage. There was one scene it was of the American Flag full of bullets holes and burned, a terrorist takes it down and unceremoniously throws it down on the lawn. The scene touched me as an American, that flag actually means something to me. I tried to imagine what it would be like if someone just came to American stormed and defaced the white House took the president hostage, how awful I’d feel. It was a sobering thought that really touched me. Someone in the back row  said out loud: “That’s just fucked up. That’s just wrong” and we all nodded or chimed in with that sentiment.

After the movie, on the way back to our point of departure we all talked about how bad-ass Gerard Butler was   and how it would suck if someone decided to do that to America. That then is when it hit me, like a kick to the scrotum. Mentally I doubled over in pain when from the dark recesses of my mind the  last hundred years of US foreign Affairs arose.

Taking the Negative

ohotosImagine that you were not an American or of a European  (Eastern or Western). Imagine centuries of your ancestors living closer to the equator than the frozen wasteland that was home to the frost giants and Norse gods of olden time, has given you an over-abundance of melanin in your skin. Imagine if you will a regular summer day, your wearing clothes that help keep your body cool , and all of a sudden someone storms the capital of your country, and  holds your president hostage and demands a ransom. Or perhaps they install a new government, or perhaps they just fuck shit up and leave

Unfortunately that isn’t fiction for a lot of people around the world in Latin American, Africa, and parts of Asia. Can I share with you some quotes?

William Blum, USA writer from the book, “Rogue State”:

“From 1945 to the end of the [20th] century, the USA attempted to overthrow more than 40 foreign governments, and to crush more than 30 populist-nationalist movements struggling against intolerable regimes. In the process, the USA caused the end of life for several million people, and condemned many millions more to a life of agony and despair”.

______________________

Michael Krenn, quoting the USA chargé d’Affairs in 1929;

“Until the Venezuelan people could be trusted to make the right decisions concerning their political and economic direction – and that time was deemed to be in the very distant future – it was best for all concerned that they be kept safe from democracy.”

_______________________

CIA document, dated 10 September 1973 about Chile:

“The coup attempt will begin September 11. All three branches of the armed forces and the Carabineros are involved in this action. A declaration will be read on Radio Agricultura at 7 A.M. on 11 September.”

_______________________

Jack Kubisch, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State. Testimony before the USA House Subcommittee on Inter American Affairs 20 September 1973 about the Chilean coup:

“Gentlemen, I wish to state as flatly and as categorically as I possibly can that we did not have advance knowledge of the coup that took place on September 11.”

The Reality

 “Two centuries ago, a former European colony decided to catch up with Europe. It succeeded so well that the United States of America became a monster, in which the taints, the sickness and the inhumanity of Europe have grown to appalling dimensions”
― Frantz Fanon

chart taken from here: http://www.krysstal.com

Year Country Reason Given
1949 Syria Communism
1949 Greece Communism
1952 Cuba None
1953 Iran None
1953 British Guyana None
1954 Guatemala Communism
1955 South Vietnam Communism
1957 Haiti Haiti is near the USA
1958 Laos None
1959 Laos None
1960 South Korea Communism
1960 Laos None
1960 Ecuador Communism
1963 Dominican Republic Business Interests
1963 South Vietnam None
1963 Honduras Communism
1963 Guatemala Communism
1963 Ecuador None
1964 Brazil Communism
1964 Bolivia Communism
1965 Zaire None
1966 Ghana None
1967 Greece None
1970 Cambodia None
1970 Bolivia None
1972 El Salvador Communism
1973 Chile Communism
1975 Australia None
1979 South Korea None
1980 Liberia Democracy
1982 Chad None
1983 Grenada Democracy
1987 Fiji Democracy
2002 Venezuela None
2004 Haiti Fraudulent elections
2009 Honduras Attempted to Change Constitution

My Dilemma as An American

300px-CaptureofFtRiviere

As a Haitian American I have a few dilemmas some other Americans wont have.  Well there is the history of American Involvement and occupation of haiti  for 19 years. Do you like that post of the Marine storming and killing Haitians.

In September 1915, the United States Senate ratified the Haitian-American Convention, a treaty granting the United States security and economic oversight of Haiti for a 10-year period. Representatives from the United States wielded veto power over all governmental decisions in Haiti, and Marine Corps commanders served as administrators in the provinces. Local institutions, however, continued to be run by Haitians, as was required under policies put in place during the presidency of Woodrow Wilson

I remember in the 80’s in NYC, a lot of people were saying that Haitians brought AIDS to the US.  Actually Arsenio Hall made a joke about it if I remember correctly. A lot of people are anti-immigrant in the US which is odd to me. I kind of on the one hand love being American but kind of feel that the long terms reason I am in America is because of gross atrocities committed by the American government in Haiti. (Btw do you think the Marines who were sent to Haiti  a few decades before civil rights saw “us” as people ?, do you know what that meant as far as treatment of the people under American occupation?)

The Confusion Doesnt Stop There

It’s no surprise racism still exists here. Well it’s no surprise for me. There are people still saying that slavery was good for blacks , gave them food and a roof over their head. I see America in a very different way from many other Americans

crick

“If you’re black, you got to look at America a little bit different. You got to look at America like the uncle who paid for you to go to college, but who molested you.”

I’ve have often wondered how many of the black soldiers felt to go to war for your country and then return home to be treated by shit by it. I wonder a lot about patriotic duty vs social and legal treatments.

Wrapping It Up

It’s amazing how one person’s fictional movie situation is a nightmare living by millions, and that almost no one in a theatre full of people all from somewhere else think of that. I am a proud American, but there is a lot that I am conflicted about, there are many episodes of our history that trouble me. There are things that still trouble me. But that’s life I suppose.

Coincidentally I read this article today In the Guardian

The racism that fuels the ‘war on terror’

images

Taking the Negative Intl Woman’s Day Special: White Women & Movie Serial Killers


Recently I was reading online that Jason Voorhees – a fictional character, is considered  one of the leading cultural icons of American popular culture.  For those of you who don’t know, Jason is a psychotic mass murderer.  A cultural icon btw is an object that represents some aspect of the values, norms or ideals perceived to be inherent in a culture, or section of a culture.

Now, I should explain that Mr Mary does like movies like Friday the 13th or Halloween. Why you say ? Well for starters I have had night terrors all my life and  I prefer in my waking hours not to see or feel terror or fright. Those things are best left for the night time when silence and  an absence of light shield us from the constant need for rationality . The Main reason however I do not like horror movies is I do not like celebrating or laughing at the killing of innocents.

This Genre Of Movies

dhvFor this genre of movies there are the Big Three: Freddy Jason and Michael Meyers. One thing they all have in common  aside from the fact that  they are all unstoppable white male killing machines,  is that they kill white women with more tenacity and than the Bubonic Plague did during Medieval times. One cannot ascertain the rank of a cultural icon as a fictional serialkiller without killing tons of women,more specifically white women.

The Portrayal of Women in Movies

I have always been curious as to why women are portrayed the way they are in horror movies. Look what I found here:

imagesTraditionally women are represented in horror films as the damsel in distress and are usually being attacked by the killer because they have committed a sinful act. This idea is supported by the website “bellaonline.com” as they say that “Horror films, and the slasher subgenre, are famous for portraying women as hypersexual damsels in distress who are usually murdered within the first five minutes as punishment for their indiscretions…”. Women are traditionally represented as the victims and men represented as the monster and hero. This was how women used to be treated before women had equal rights to men; so that was how they were portrayed in horror films.

Horror films also tend to follow the same narrative structure of a male killer on the rampage that kills his victims one by one until he is killed by the remaining female victim. This is also supported by the book “Men, Women and Chainsaws” by Carol J Clover “A phychokiller who slashes to death a string of mostly female victims, one by one, until they are subdued or killed, usually by the one girl who has survived.” – Page 21.

Taking a partial negative

I have always asked myself why don’t these guys every in the movies mass murder black women, then I rationalized that that wouldn’t be a horror movie but a tame re-enactment of an episode of American History.

Slave-hung-on-ship-1The mistreatment of slaves frequently included rape and the sexual abuse of women. Many slaves were killed as a result of resisting sexual attacks. Others sustained psychological and physical trauma. The sexual abuse of slaves was partially rooted in the patriarchal nature of contemporary Southern culture and its view of women of any race as property After 1662, when Virginia adopted the legal doctrine partus sequitur ventrem, sexual relations between white men and black women were regulated by classifying children of slave mothers as slaves regardless of their father’s race or status. After a few generations, numerous slaves were mixed-race (mulatto) offspring of such unions, although white Southern society abhorred sexual relations between white women and black men as damaging to racial purity.

Book Recommendation

index

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl – Literary Touchstone Classic – Published in 1861, this was one of the first personal narratives by a slave and one of the few written by a woman. Jacobs (1813-97) was a slave in North Carolina and suffered terribly, along with her family, at the hands of a ruthless owner. She made several failed attempts to escape before successfully making her way North, though it took years of hiding and slow progress. Eventually, she was reunited with her children.

Concerning Ms Jacobs

628x471No one believed she wrote her narrative because  she was a slave. It was believed that it was written by another white women Lydia Maria Child a white abolitionist. Today, with Jacobs’ authorship authenticated, her dramatic narrative provides new generations with a revealing look at a often-hidden side of slavery: the sexual exploitation of women. The brutalization of black girls and women by white slave-masters, who justified their dehumanizing treatment by viewing them as “sexual savages,” was a daily fact of life under slavery. Stripped, beaten, raped and forced to “breed” more slaves, black women suffered a double burden of slavery because of their sexual vulnerability.

Caucasian Women

I think these type of cultural icons  tell a lot about American culture. Because America is a super power we have never been forced to accept accountability for our actions like for instance Germany was forced to do in an international way with the demilitarization of the nation the creation of East and West Germany, the partitioning of Berlin , the Nuremberg Trails.

Taking a partial negative has really opened up many observations for me. One thing I have noticed is the role that caucasian women have played in Black history. There were many great caucasian women who were abolitionist and it’s kind of sad that no one mentions them. Their story needs to be told.

One thing I have never understood well, I do not know how to say it so ill give you an example. Let me tell you about the Harrison Narcotics Act –  a United States federal law that regulated and taxed the production, importation, and distribution of opiates.

In the 1800s opiates and cocaine were mostly unregulated drugs. In the 1890s the Sears & Roebuck catalogue, which was distributed to millions of Americans homes, offered a syringe and a small amount of cocaine for $1.50. At the beginning of the 20th century, cocaine began to be linked to crime. In 1900, the Journal of the American Medical Association published an editorial stating, “Negroes in the South are reported as being addicted to a new form of vice – that of ‘cocaine sniffing’ or the ‘coke habit.'” Some newspapers later claimed cocaine use caused blacks to rape white women and was improving their pistol marksmanship.

The drafters played on fears of “drug-crazed, sex-mad negroes” and made references to Negroes under the influence of drugs murdering whites, degenerate Mexicans smoking marijuana, and “Chinamen” seducing white women with drugs. Dr. Hamilton Wright, testified at a hearing for the Harrison Act. Wright alleged that drugs made blacks uncontrollable, gave them superhuman powers and caused them to rebel against white authority. Dr. Christopher Koch of the State Pharmacy Board of Pennsylvania testified that “Most of the attacks upon the white women of the South are the direct result of a cocaine-crazed Negro brain”.

Before the Act was passed, on February 8, 1914 The New York Times published an article entitled “Negro Cocaine ‘Fiends’ Are New Southern Menace:Murder and Insanity Increasing Among Lower-Class Blacks” by Edward Huntington Williams which reported that Southern sheriffs had increased the caliber of their weapons from .32 to .38 to bring down Negroes under the effect of cocaine.

It is not just black men. Do you remember this:

  • 1930, Anti-Filipino riots break out in Watsonville and other California rural communities, in part because of Filipino men having intimate relations with White women which was in violation of the California anti-miscegenation laws enacted during that time.
  • 1933, After the Supreme Court of California found in Roldan v. Los Angeles County that existing laws against marriage between white persons and “Mongoloids” did not bar a Filipino man from marrying a white woman, California’s anti-miscegenation law, Civil Code, section 60, was amended to prohibit marriages between white persons and members of the “Malay race” (e.g. Filipinos).

It’s odd if you, as an outsider look closely at American History. It seems that there is that same mentality from olden times which persist: that white women exist to maintain the purity of the race and to

  1. Be used as an excuse or means to lynch/or riot against minorities
  2. Be used as fodders for serial killers both fictional and non.

Side Note: Lynching

200px-Duluth-lynching-postcardIn Duluth, Minnesota, on June 15, 1920, three young African American traveling circus workers were lynched after having been jailed and accused of having raped a white woman. A physician’s examination subsequently found no evidence of rape or assault. The alleged “motive” and action by a mob were consistent with the “community policing” model. A book titled The Lynchings in Duluth documented the events. Although the rhetoric surrounding lynchings included justifications about protecting white women, the actions basically erupted out attempts to maintain domination in a rapidly changing society and fears of social change. Btw – All across the former Confederacy, blacks who were suspected of crimes against whites—or even “offenses” no greater than failing to step aside for a white man’s car or protesting a lynching—were tortured, hanged and burned to death by the thousands. In a prefatory essay in Without Sanctuary, historian Leon F. Litwack writes that between 1882 and 1968, at least 4,742 African Americans were murdered that way.

Side Note: The ScottsBoro Case

dorr_whiteOn a cool, spring day in March 1931, two white women hitched a ride on a freight train in Alabama in the hopes of finding work in a neighboring state. When authorities stopped the train some time later, both women, fearing arrest for violating the Mann Act, which prohibited transporting even willing women across state lines for illicit purposes, told police that they had been raped by nine black men who were also scattered along the train. Their accusation caused a furor, and a mob that gathered to lynch the men dispersed only with promises of a speedy trial. Despite little evidence of rape, the men were convicted based on the women’s testimony and sentenced to death. As the case meandered through four separate trials and two supreme court decisions, local whites continued to support the women’s charges, even though one recanted her claim of rape after the second trial. Allegations eventually surfaced that the women were no paragons of virtue. Both had occasionally resorted to prostitution to support themselves and apparently had engaged in sexual relations with unmarried white men in the days before they made their accusations. Nevertheless, in an early articulation of what would come to be rape shield laws, which, in the 1970s, attempted to protect against attacks on the character of a rape victim, white southerners argued that the two women’s sordid sexual past should have no bearing on the case. As one spectator told a reporter, the victim “might be a fallen woman, but by God she is a white woman.” Though the nine accused men eventually won their freedom, the Scottsboro case, as it came to be known, has become the paradigm for all black-on-white rape cases in the twentieth century, in which the accuser’s whiteness overrode any consideration of her gender, sexual history, or class status.

Final Words

dfrs

As a heterosexual man I like woman, all shapes, sizes colors, at the end of the day when the lights are off  all the meat is medium rare, (pink in the middle). Women’s rights,especially reproductive rights were a big issue in the last  election. I feel that the need to suppress women and their  rights has deep deep historical roots in American History.

This post came to me in a day dream.I thought about the horror movie genre and  I wondered what it would look like if all these famous fictional mass-murderers murder minority  women (specifically black women) as much as they do white women in the movies. I think just changing this one aspect brought many things to light which hopefully at one point will be a segway to a serious

Disclaimer: I am of mixed heritage and bear no ill will or violence towards anyone, well I really don’t like people who are close talkers, but that’s something else.

 

desction

Taking the Negative: Voting in the 2012 Elections


DISCLAIMER: This post concerns itself with race and politics. While no people White or Black were harmed or made fun of in this post there is still a chance that you may get offended. While your getting offended is not and was not my intention, I will be happy to send you a free MrMary Sticker to compensate you for your troubles

Hello Friends,

The taking the negative series is one of my favorite series to write. Basically it is a simple tool to deconstruct social situation. The goal in doing this is to learn more about ourselves as a culture I have done a few of these and have many more to do. Here are the few I have done:

  1. Introducing a new Series: Taking the Negative dedicated to Chinua Achebe
  2. Taking the Negative: Islam and terrorism
  3. Taking the Negative: The Movie Hero
  4. Taking the Negative: The Monster’s Ball Syndrome

How it Works

I will illustrate how this works. In the debut Taking the Negative post  I looked at the trend of Caucasian Hollywood stars adopting African Babies. This is a very altruistic and laudable thing to do for many reasons that I listed in my initial posting.  Then I  said what would the negative of that look, what if Samuel L. Jackson or Don Cheedle or  Djimon Gaston Hounsou and other famous black stars and also couples started adopting blonde hair blue eyed babies ?   I asked if that image, the figurative negative image of the first image be as lauded and as acceptable. Before I continue I’d like it to be known that I’m analyzing social attitudes and the mentality from which they are born from.

I’m not calling anyone racist,
I’m not playing the race card
I’m not asking for a hand-out,
I’m not complaining,
I’m not promoting reverse-racism (which is a contradiction in and of itself),
I’m not being appreciative of what America has done for me and all the many other things I get accused of for just articulating some observations.

So with that Disclaimer I think I can get into today’s topic Voting in the 2012 Elections.  I notice every time I want to write about anything that might barely even touch upon race I have to issue a lot of disclaimers, not just on the blog, just to ensure that I can get my point out and not get accused of using the race cards or some other nonsense.

2012 Elections

For the first time in American History we have a mulatto president but owing to the one-drop theory in the US, Americans with any known African ancestry, no matter how slight, are often categorized as black.  During his first election many people asked the question are black voting for Obama because he is black the question still persists. Two common points that I hear much talk about can be summed up as follows:

  • When it comes to black people: there is no critical thought involved in deciding on a candidate, when in fact we do vote
  • Voting for someone just for his race/color is being racist

I would like to quote something from the article:

“African American support for Obama can be seemingly dismissed because black voters are using racial bias as a decision-making criteria, whereas everyone else is using merit. Yet it is more likely that holding the belief that African American voters are biased allows one to justify their own hidden biases. “

This statement is important because it shows how the issue is complex. It is not so cut and dry, black or white.

A Comments from the Net that sums it up

100% of the black people I know and 100% of the black people I work with only know two things about the election. Obama and Bush. They will not even engage in a conversation about Romney. They don’t care. Obama said Romney is a liar and that’s all they heard. Game over. Race is a very powerful thing when it’s on your side. And Sununu only said out loud what everybody already knows.

The comments made by Sununu are as follows: “When you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to look at whether that’s an endorsement based on issues or he’s got a slightly different reason for endorsing President Obama,” Sununu said, adding: “I think when you have somebody of your own race that you’re proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him.” Basically again saying that Powell is endorsing Obama again because he is black like Colin Powell used to be. Later, Sununu released a statement saying “Colin Powell is a friend and I respect the endorsement decision he made and I do not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the President’s policies.”

The Reality

I was going to publish this post on Thursday but luckily I waited and I came across these articles which thankfully helped me out a lot.  Let me post the article title and their respective pertinent quotes:

The Racial Bias in Dismissing Blacks Voters’ Support for Obama

An undeniable truth from the results is that the public is largely biased in their judgments of African American voting practices. And, if the public is biased, then concluding that it is not, which is the norm among political commentators, is incorrect.

These data show how easily politics become “racialized,” leading individuals to potentially associate their beliefs, prejudices, resentments and opinions about race with seeminglynon-racial instances . Just to be clear, one does not have to be racist (e.g., dislike black people or other racial groups) to use race in their thinking and, more importantly, racial thinking is not one directional; regardless of one’s own racial background they are susceptible to racialized biases and subsequently racialized behaviors or “racial discrimination.” The real problem is people denying it or tossing aside any need for self- or public- reflection.

My main academic point is that it’s nearly impossible to deny that race matters in politics even when one claims they are making an objective political assessment. My main social point is that nearly all people hold racial stereotypes and use them in their everyday life, but because these beliefs are socially unacceptable, we’ll deny them at all costs. But always remember, denial doesn’t mean you’re not guilty.

AP poll: Majority harbor prejudice against blacks

Although Republicans were more likely than Democrats to express racial prejudice in the questions measuring explicit racism (79 percent among Republicans compared with 32 percent among Democrats), the implicit test found little difference between the two parties……That test showed a majority of both Democrats and Republicans held anti-black feelings (55 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans), as did about half of political independents (49 percent).

Do black people support Obama because he’s black?

Black voters switched after Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson pushed through the 1960s civil rights legislation and Republicans successfully pursued the votes of white people who disliked the civil rights agenda. Since then, Democrats have persistently wooed black voters with programs and platforms that African-Americans favor, and the party has been rewarded every four years. Clinton got 83 percent of the black vote in 1992 and 84 percent in 1996; the third-party candidate Ross Perot probably sliced away some of Clinton’s black support. Al Gore got 90 percent in 2000; John Kerry got 88 percent in 2004. Obama captured 95 percent in 2008, and 2 million more black people voted than in the previous election.

The Conclusion’s I’ve Reached

I have always felt personally that racism is still alive, not just against Blacks I should add. it is crazy to think that racism just went away disappeared after 1968. It is going to be around as long as humanity is going to be around. It may not be legalized but the mentality from which it is born is forever prevalent.

Because so much of politics nowadays is dominated by an Us vs Them Attitude it is very polarizing and divisive. In such cases it isn’t too long before people are divided by the factors that have a historical precedence in that particular culture, society and or nation. One cannot ignore historic precedence for class warfare, racism, hatred of Immigrants, Antisemitism, themes in US history. To make matters more complicated, I think what is also important to point to the fact that racism and class warfare enjoy a very intimate relationship. It’s impossible to talk about economic classes without talking about race.

These issues aren’t endemic to the US or Democracy they are part of the fabric of the human experience. I feel in the US our collective policy is denial. We deny something or oppose it  or force the facts into an artificial narrative that can quickly be concluded like the many sitcoms we love so much. But the problem with doing that is that the narratives we force the facts into do nothing for the complexity of the social issue.

I think that these words of Fanon are really important here:

“Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.”

Every 4 years we (in the US) are given a moment of catharsis as a nation to look at ourselves. That is one of the greatest features of democracy. Granted it is very easy for democracy to be hijack by business interests, or by prevalent racial , gender, zenophobic, and anti-religious attitudes (to name a few) but it’s amazing what a moment of catharsis can do for a Nation look at Civil Right ?

Finally

I think one of the major issues writing this has made apparent to me has been that we do not have an accessible language or a way to talk about racism. We cannot have discussions about something we don’t have words for. When one use the term like “White People” or “Black people” is a huge generalization. How many distinct linguistic, cultural, political, ethnic, religious groups exist under the umbrella of white people or black people – too many to make gross generalizations about. Roman Catholic Italian Americans are very different from Protestant German-Americans.  I am Haitian American I speak 3 languages and conceptualize American and my place differently than a Nigerian American than a southern black who has been here for a few generations though we are all “black”.

I think its too easy to generalize “Blacks vote for Obama because he is black”,  “Whites vote for Mitt Romney because he is white” , or that If there was a serious female contender for the Oval Office, that all women would vote for her because she was a woman. All these grand over sweeping statement ignore the complex issue of self identity and the rich history of conflict, class struggle and a few centuries worth for domestic and foreign policy. I think that people who  advocate these sensationalist, lowest common denominator, mass media fodder are really those not interested in a dialogue. Education dialogue is essential to the democratic process.

Of course I have more to say on things. I think we can break some concepts down further but I don’t like to write such pieces on here

Till Next time

MrMary

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Taking the Negative: The Monster’s Ball Syndrome


From Wikipedia

Monster’s Ball is a 2001 American romantic drama film directed by Marc Forster and written by Milo Addica and Will Rokos. The film stars Billy Bob Thornton as a widowed prison-guard, Halle Berry as a woman whose husband is on death row, and Heath Ledger as Thornton’s son. Berry won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance.

Misleading words and what I would like to call the:

Monsters Ball Syndrome

Misleading Words

Black and white are interesting words when use to describe race. While I have seen those terms quite often over the years, I have never with the same frequency seen the term yellow-people, red-people etc. We tend at least in America from my observation like things in two clear distinct choices: things like people are either black or white. In the polarizing ambiance of the election season, in the media  people are either rich or poor and everyone in the middle has disappeared, I would like to say figuratively but it’s hard to tell from where I am sitting.

It has always been my opinion at least for racial discourse that language or the lack of a sophisticated one to recognize all the nuances of race, is a great indicator of where we are a nation stand on the issue. Case and point our current president Barack Obama.  It is a widely known fact that  he is a man of mixed ancestry yet he is labeled black. There is no popular terms to describe what he is; mixed is too general a term. Anatole Broyard a Louisiana creole of mixed race, is a poster-boy for the racial self identity. He didn’t acknowledge is African and used his being able to pass for white to promote his career and social acceptance.

Interracial Sexual Relationships

The question of identity is an important one because it brings up rather interesting relationships, one of which I would like to talk about. From my own research I have noticed two things in terms of movies

  1. On-screen, interracial relationships between white women and African American, Latino, or Asian men occur so infrequently that it can be argued that there is an implicit censorship of these unions that demonstrates how certain subjects are rendered outside the realm of what is speak able. Even films that do pair a white woman with a man of color tend to keep the relationship platonic or avoid showing any intimacy in their relationship. Prominent black actors such as Cuba Gooding, Jr., Will Smith, and Denzel Washington have commented on Hollywood’s tendency to avoid the issue of interracial intimacy and the hesitancy of white executives to place a black male lead opposite a white female lead for a romantic story line. [taken from here]
  2. From Slavery there is a fear of black men having sex with white women. The black brute caricature is a stereotype originating around the time of the Reconstruction Era of the United States, which depicts African American men as inherently violent. While before the American Civil War, black slaves had been depicted as childlike and inferior beings, happy in their captivity, white supremacists now insisted that freedom would drive blacks towards crimes of theft, murder, and the rape of white women. To support these claims, newspapers would publish articles bolstering the image of black brutality to frighten and reinforce racist assumptions in white Southerners. [from wiki: Black Brute]

Images of the Black Brute Stereotype

I create this collage do you see any common themes?

Taking the Negative: The Monster’s Ball Syndrome

We live in new an interesting times. Gone are the days of Jim Crow, and the ban on inter-racial marriage in America was removed in 1967 though occassional we have some pastors who refuse to marry an inter-racial couple.

In 2009 an Interracial Couple Denied Marriage License By Louisiana Justice Of The Peace 

A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have. Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long. “I’m not a racist. I just don’t believe in mixing the races that way,” Bardwell told the Associated Press on Thursday.

In 2012 Jim Crow Style: White Mississippi Church Refuses To Marry Black Couple

Charles Wilson and his now wife Te’Andrea had programs printed with their wedding date of July 21. The couple had already sent out invitations when they were told that they couldn’t be married in the church.

But what is clear is that there hasn’t been a Hollywood movie (to my knowledge) that will show the opposite of what we see in Monster Ball a black man having simulated sex with a white women well unless you are willing to look at porn where interracial sex is supposedly a popular. (I must add that Hally Berry is mixed, and that according to some [some here does not mean MrMary] is the reason she has been so popular  or able to advance further in her career than other black women.)  Don Cheadle isn’t going to be dogging Charlize Theron out any time soon because she just wants to feel good for once.

But let us take it a bit further. I did a Google search looking for some interracial porn site names and here are the results. Do you see a common theme? I see the same Brute stereotype here  but maybe that is just me. I have included brief site description in case the titles aren’t enough

  • BLACKS ON BLONDES  – Think of it like a sexual chess board with the black pieces filling up all the white boxes. You can see white honeys swallowing
  • MILFs Like It Black  – What these MILFs want, these MILFs always end up getting. What they want is big, black ——-
  • Watching My Mom Go Black – Black guys screw hot white women while their sons watch or their daughters join in on the action.
  • Lethal Interracial – Sexy white babes spread their soft white legs for big black —–
  • Blacks On Cougars – Hungry cougars dine on black meat
  • Black Cocks White Sluts – Horny white hotties having fun with multiple black
  • Abominable Black Man – This isn’t some creature roaming the mountains of Nepal and Tibet, but rather a big-dicked black guy roaming the streets of America.
  • My Daughters Fucking A Black Dude – Sexy coed chicks – usually white -

Earlier in the week I wrote a piece where i used a quote by on of my favorite writers Andre Malraux, which goes as such

Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides.

You may be surprised but we hide a lot about ourselves as a Nation and thus there is much disparity between the image we project and what we really are. Often really a joke is all that is needed to deconstruct many images and situations we take for granted as being common and exposing some twisted or dare I say antediluvian thinking.  Check this out from the VideoBox Blog:

Porn being something of an alternate universe, “interracial” does not simply mean persons of different racial backgrounds having sex. It refers to black men with white women about 95% of the time. Only about 40% of white girls will do a scene with a black man if the talent agency websites are to be believed. Even if you count the girls who are listed incorrectly in the non-interracial category, it’s probably still fewer than 50%. There are a few theories floating around about why some stars won’t do IR:

  1. They’re afraid of negatively impacting their career by upsetting their fan base.
  2. They’re afraid of upsetting their families
  3. They don’t find black men attractive

I’m sure they’re all true to one degree or another. Sarah Jane Hamilton is a poster on Adult DVD Talk and told this story in a thread about girls who don’t do IR:

Long time ago when I had an active fan club. I had a guy write to me just completely disgusted and irate with me. He said that he had been a big fan for years, but now he was completely appalled and turned off … because I did a scene with Sean Michaels. I laughed my ass off!!! And I kept the letter for years after. Imagine, he wasn’t offended when I was gang banged by 8 guys on a bridge, but his delicate sensibilities were rocked because I did Sean in a bedroom scene.

Conclusions

All this time I have not talked about how black women are portrayed in film  and their many stereotypes.  There is much more to be said. But I am still surprised that something a simple as “taking the negative” can uncover so much. But let me share with you a funny story.

I personally do not discriminate when it comes to dating women. I will date any women that regardless of religious creed, race, nationality, ability to speak English, financial status. At the end of the day I just want someone who, to quote the immortal Bizmarkie,  “got what I need” but has a cool personality, has some depth to her, who’s fun to spend time with. [You have to applaud me for making no innuendo or double entendre types jokes] Funny story, I dated this chic once from one of the new England states , a place in terms if population with about 1.1% ” black”  When I bumped into her later she told me that when we were dating she felt like she was doing something taboo and exotic, as she had never dated a black guy before all her friends were jealous. I guess the fact that I was from Brooklyn and worked out like  I might have served a prison sentence added to the whole mystique.

What do you think

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