lundi, novembre 06, 2006

Eracism ...Please

jeremy Adam Smith presents Daddy Dialectic: Kindergarten racism posted at Daddy Dialectic.

Carnival ¤ erase racism carnival
Next scheduled ¤ Nov 20, 2006
Host blog ¤ Autobiography of a Face
Article to submit
Permalink URL ¤
Title ¤ Daddy Dialectic: Kindergarten racism
Article Blog
Blog URL ¤
Name ¤ Daddy Dialectic
Additional information
Submitter name ¤ jeremy Adam Smith
Submitter e-mail ¤
Category ¤ Select a category...
Remarks ¤ none

bloviate -- intransitive verb: To speak or write at length in a pompous or boastful manner.

"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others" --- Nelson Mandela

jeudi, novembre 02, 2006


For the month of November, I'm hosting the Eracism Carnival this month on my blog and this month's topic is Defining Racism and whiteness, its connection to whiteness, White Supremacy, etc. Please feel free to submit. In the meantime, check out Ariella Drake's submission:

ariella drake presents On "Integration" and Language. posted at ariella drake.

Carnival ¤ erase racism carnival
Next scheduled ¤ Nov 20, 2006
Host blog ¤ Autobiography of a Face
Article to submit
Permalink URL ¤
Title ¤ On "Integration" and Language.
Article Blog
Blog URL ¤
Name ¤ ariella drake
Additional information
Submitter name ¤ ariella drake
Submitter e-mail ¤
Category ¤ White Supremacy & Privilege
Remarks ¤ none

virtu -- noun:1. love of or taste for fine objects of art. 2. Productions of art (especially fine antiques). 3. Artistic quality.

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world"
---Nelson Mandela

mercredi, octobre 04, 2006

Should Race Trump Class?

The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality by Walter Benn Michaels was released yesterday and offers very interesting theories about inequality in America. More specifically he posits that America has given diversity a problematic definition and writes with much chagrin that race has precluded class in terms of diversity. He further postulates that everytime we talk about race, we fail the poor. Why is it, he asserts, that discussions of race take precedence over discussions of class. In essence, the book talks about the problems Michaels sees with issues of race trumping issues of class in America.

Now, I already know that the book will be problematic for me because there is a good reason why issues of race dominate the need for diversity. Though class is an incredibly important topic, I wonder if Michaels speaks to the intersections of class and race. I wonder too if Michaels speaks to the discrimination, hurdles, and barriers to entry that many upwardly mobile people of color face. Needless to say in order to answer these questions, I need to read the book. In the meantime, what are your thoughts?

cant -- noun: 1. The idioms and peculiarities of speech in any sect, class, or occupation.2. The use of religious phraseology without understanding or sincerity. 3. Empty, solemn speech, implying what is not felt; insincere talk; hypocrisy. 4. A whining manner of speaking, especially of beggars.

"I never realized until lately that women were supposed to be the inferior sex"
--- Katherine Hepburn

mardi, octobre 03, 2006

Fractional Relations

Much has been written in the past few years about the fractional relationships between Black and Hispanics. Currently, the New York Times is running a multi-part series on the rising hispanic population in the South. Beraged by anxieties and bigoted assumptions that plague both groups, Blacks and Hispanics are becoming more and more contentious towards one another personally and professionally. The following is a cursory list of articles, books and the like on the subject. After I've finished my current book project, I want to do one on race wars where this will be explored. If you have time, check out the following literature and post your thoughts:

Brown Like Me
Blacks and Latinos Clash
The Presumed Alliance
Black-Brown Relations and Stereotypes
Neither Enemies nor Friends:Latinos,Blacks,Afro-Latinos
Turning Out Blackness: Race and Nation in the History of Puerto Rican Television
Todd Boyd on NPR discussing Black-Latino Relations

Selected Biography of Black, Latino and Asian Relations

riparian -- adj: Of or pertaining to the bank of a river or stream.

"Plain women know more about men than beautiful women do" -- Katherine Hepburn

lundi, octobre 02, 2006

There's Something About Flav...

Or is there. I must admit, I watch the show. I've watched both season 1 and will finish the current second season. I guess its that train wreck syndrome. The show is an uncut version of the worst possible stereotypes and assumptions about a host of people: women, people of color, working class individuals, etc. but according to recent reports that The Flavor of Love is Vh1's highest rated cable series in the history of the channel, bringing in almost six million viewers in the season 1 finale and at the start of season 2, three million people tuned in. A very sweet turnover for William Drayton aka Flava Flav, once member of the seminal rap group Public Enemy turned drug addict and eventual Rikers Island inmate to reality television star.

Lola Ogunnaike's article in Sunday's New York Times recounts the fame of reality television's latest star, the gripes that many people have with the replication of the myriad of stereotypes that the show employs, and even Flava Flav's appearance but I find it interesting that she did not propose the idea of the PIMP and its virtual embodiment in the figure of the Black man. The icon of the PIMP has ingrained itself in pop culture traversing music, comedy and film, almost always in the figure of the Black man. The PIMP culture is essential to the success of The Flavor of Love as Flav walks around the mansion with his cock strut, making the women perform various tasks for him (i.e. cleaning Warren G's nasty ass house, stripping for him, etc.) all the while proclaiming his sexual prowess. He has direct [sexual] access to all the women, demanding them to "crowd around your man" after each elimination period, pouring out champagne for the firls who were asked to leave.

The image of Black men as beacons of sexual dexterity, power, and stamina is nothing new. The PIMP image takes it a bit futher, intonating that Black men exert not only sexual but domestic control over women --- demanding power over the private AND public space. The PIMP image is inherently sexist and demeaning but is lauded in pop culture,and contributes largely to the success of the Flavor of Love. Black male virility is now equated with the PIMP with monetary results to back it up. Flav embodies the pimp to a T, both as a reality star and in his personal life. He shrouds himself with material things while the women flock to obey his every commands. The women fight each other and stab each other in the back to win his affections (Flav even has his own concierge/bodyguard in the figure of Big Rick). He has his friends come over (G-Unit, DJ Quik, 3 6 Mafia, etc.) in order to judge his women. He has six children and 2 grandchildren and frequently asserts his desire to have four more children (children often being a symbol of virility). All in all Flav is the latest rapper and Black male celebrity to associate himself with PIMPdom. Could this be the ultimate male fantasy? Perhaps, the stereotype of Black male virility and PIMPdom is a source of both fantasy and envy for men of other races, inspiring simultaneous congradulatory and disparaging remarks? Is as Chris Rock puts it, "a stereotype that Black men need to keep alive"? To take it further, do Black men have a problem with the Big Dick/PIMP stereotype, if not why? Its clear that Flav doesn't.

cataract -- noun:1. A great fall of water over a precipice; a large waterfall.2. A downpour; a flood. 3. A clouding or opacity of the lens or capsule of the eye, which obstructs the passage of light.

"Enemies are so stimulating" --- Katherine Hepburn

mardi, septembre 26, 2006

Anyone Interested?

Hey all! I'm excited to know that I have a lot of smart readers who frequent my blog so I want to encourage anyone who's interested to send me an abstract for an edited collection that I'm putting out. (The call for papers is below). Please let me know if you have any questions!

Call for Papers: "Black People Don't Read": An Exploration into Black American Literacy, Reading , and Writing

Proposals are sought for a new edited collection on reading, writing and Black culture

"Black people don' t read" is a pervasive stereotype illuminating the fiction that American Black culture maintains an anti-intellectual, disinterested philosophy towards knowledge, exploration, and curiosity. Seeking to explore possibilities outside of this stereotype, this collection of essays will start a long overdue conversation by assembling an array of articulate, critical, and thoughtful papers about reading, writing, and the Black community. Contributions may seek to address (but are by no means limited) to the following topics:

-- Literacy and Black Stardom (i.e. what is the impact of stars such as Fantasia and R.Kelly's illiteracy, hip-hop and/or hip-hop stars and literacy)

-- Historical Analyses of Black Intellectualism, Writing, Reading and/or Literature

-- "Urban Fiction" (i.e. Zane, Eric Jerome Dickey, etc) and Black Publishers who solely focus on urban fiction. What is its place in Black literature if there is one? Is its widespread appeal and success a boon to the perception of the Black community in literary circles?

-- Contemporary authors of the African diaspora who have widespread appeal and their impact on Blackness and reading, etc. (i.e. Zadie Smith, Edward P. Jones, etc.)

-- Oprah Winfrey's impact on literacy and reading

-- Cultural analyses exploring the stereotype of "why Black people don't read". The role reading plays in Black communities, contemporary Black attitudes towards reading/writing, etc.

-- Black Literary Circles and Book Clubs

-- Analyses of the role class plays in literacy, reading, and/or writing in the Black community

-- LeVar Burton and "Reading Rainbow"

-- Contemporary Black attitudes to reading, writing, and/or literature

-- Libraries and their role in the Black community

-- Literacy and reading in Black popular culture – cinema, music, periodicals, etc.

While the vast preponderance of this collection will focus on analytical essays, I am also looking for a few personal narratives about Black people and their own experiences with reading, writing and/or literature. If interested in submitting something to the collection, please send me the following information to my e-mail: or a resume or one-page biography, an abstract of your essay topic of no more than 500 words and your complete contact information. I will be receiving abstracts until October 31 st as this project is moving forward quickly. Please contact me if you have any additional questions. Thanks so much! J

expropriate -- transitive verb: 1. To deprive of possession. 2. To transfer (the property of another) to oneself

"Violence is a calm that disturbs you" -- Jean Genet

lundi, septembre 25, 2006

It's All in a Name

I've never really been in love with my name --- its quite unoriginal in my opinion --- Courtney. I've met tons of Courtneys and Courtneys who have my last name. Black, White Asian, etc. Courtney is a name that transgresses race, gender, and even generations. i've always longed for a name that was more unique and more feminine --- Courtney sounds too androgenous to me. As a teenager, I found this website that, when you put in your name, gave you stats on what people thought when they heard your name. For example, the name Courtney often rated average in attractiveness and slightly above average in intellect. Personality rated slightly above average as well. But names like Jasmine and Ashley rated much higher in terms of attractiveness.

In essence, names tell so much about a person, even without meeting or seeing that person. Earlier this year I read Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner and in there, they had a chapter on names which I found somewhat problematic. They spoke about African Americans and the names some of them gave their children and how names can set a child up for a pattern of success. My problem with the chapter was that they citing names such as "roshanda'. Aisha, Taneshia, Latoya, and Roshanda are names rooted in African American culture much like Shaynah and Henye are popular Yiddish names. When a name has ethnic roots,
assumptions can definitely be drawn that may or may not benefit that person. Did anyone see 20/20 Friday? They did a segment on names and talked specifically about how a person's name can reflect his or her life and/or occupation (Did you know that many George's become geologists and Dennis's become dentists?). Also in that segment, Blacks with distinctly African American names were less likely to get call backs when two candidadtes had the exact same resume but one has a name like Molly and the other has a name like Aisha.

My problem with names, however, is when they get ridiculous. A couple of years ago, I took a part time job working in the Bronx with second graders. The names of the Black kids astounded me ... a pair of twins named Deja Vu and Rendez-Vous, a Cristal and a Moet, and another little girl named Henessey Alaze. My friend Jamie works as a librarian at a predominately Black school in North Carolina and her first graders have names like ChrisDarius (one word), Qwandrayfus, Julyjuan, Aquinearfrita, Asshole (pronounced Ah-sho-lee) and the list goes on. On the 20/20 segment, one of the "experts" remarked that in California, 30% of little Black grils have names no one else has. We could also talk about a lot of celebrites who name their babies crazy things:

Shannyn Sossamon named her son Audio Science
Rachel Griffiths named her son Banjo
Jason Lee named his son Pilot Inspektor
robert Rodriquez named his sons Rogue, Rebel, Rocket and Racer
Jermaine Jackson named his daughter Jermajesty
Jamie Oliver named his daughters Poppy Honey and Daisy Boo
Ving Rhames named his daughter Reign Beau
Bob Geldof and paula Yates named their daughter Fifi Trixibell

In essence, I say, names are incredibly important. I reject prejudices that renounce names that are deemed too ethnic or relegate names rooted in African American culture like Taneshia as being too ghetto but at the same time, why do parents give their kids names that are ridiculous or offensive. Can a child live up to their name? Will Rebel be a rebel? will Asshole be a real asshole? To take it further, Will Asshole, if he is so inclined, ever be elected President of the U.S? Will Quandrayfus or Julyjuan? would I really want to marry a banjo or audio Science? Names reflect so much about us to other people and conjure up associations and judgements whether we like it or not. The Freakonomics guys did have a point though and did ask a good question about naming. Can we live up to or escape are own names? Your thoughts...

galumph -- intransitive verb: To move in a clumsy manner or with a heavy tread.

"I recognize in thieves, traitors , and murderers, in the ruthless and the cunning, a deep beauty -- a sunken beauty" --- Jean Genet