Friday, March 27, 2009

Apparently The Boston Globe has never heard of HBCUs.

The new cool kids, by Meghan Irons at The Boston Globe. Emphases mine.

Part of a rising counterculture, smart, black teenagers are flexing their intelligence instead of hiding it . . .

As for the Obama effect, [16-year-old Darnell Normil of Hyde Park] said: "Once he became president, it put pressure on me to work hard and strive more."

Youth trend specialists say groups like the Du Bois Society are part of a rising counterculture that is aiming to break the stigma among black kids that being smart is uncool.

"This is not the culture of low expectations" anymore, said Neil Howe, historian, demographer, and co-author of "Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation." "What's new is the fact that you have these growing islands of active resistance, the refusal to accept that."

The Rev. Eugene F. Rivers III, who co-founded the Du Bois Society in 2001 with his wife, Jacqueline, and facilitators of the program say their aim is to build young leaders by breaking down the "social isolation and feelings of conspicuousness" often associated with high-achieving black kids.

"One of the developments of the last 40 years has been the evolution of an antiintellectual culture that . . . rejected academic achievement as at best corny and at worst white," said Rivers. "What we are really dealing with in the Du Bois Society is not others' opinions of our kids, but their opinions of themselves, of each other, and of their culture. Our objective is to transform their image of themselves. . . . The fact that between 25 and 30 black students come together on a Saturday morning to study the work of such a distinguished collection of scholars is in and of itself revolutionary."

Smart kids, no matter their color, are nothing new. Many have triumphed against insurmountable odds - single parents, broken homes, crime, and poverty - to develop businesses, head establishments, govern a state, or lead a nation.

But some have paid the price as kids, suffering ridicule and rejection by their peers. In past years, and perhaps even now, smart black kids would hide their good grades and proper diction under a cloak of souped-up bravado, high fashion, and slang.

That is changing. Now, perhaps riding on the rise of prominent post-civil rights black leaders including Obama, more and more black kids are stepping up the smart quotient with a new level of pride . . .

Author E. Kinney Zalesne calls them "black super-achievers," teens rising under the radar and shattering stereotypes.

Lord Harry the Judge. I hope my single mother knows that she has been an "insurmountable odd." All she ever did for me is give me clothes and shelter, put food on our family, and pay for 17+ years of private school. According to The Boston Globe, that is equivalent to crime.

Does Ms. Irons think that the characters on A Different World, The Cosby Show, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and those many other shows featuring educated black youths (I can't think any either) came from an LSD trip? No. They were based on actual black people who go to school and learn, just like everyone else.

BostonSuperMommy expresses some of my sentiments about the article, emphases mine:

I find this article to be offensive. There may be some with this ridiculous shame about being "smart" but it is not representative of the entire black community, nor can one even claim it represents the majority. As a matter of fact, I feel that this article is another unfortunate media tool that is perpetrating a negative view of black children in education. There are certainly issues in the black community (most communities have issues) but being ashamed of being smart is not the biggest challenge to educational achievement. Some of the comments that are showing up here are horribly racist. These misguided readers are actually buying this garbage and will now have strengthened misconceptions about black students--with the exception of the 35 you are giving kudos to. Shame on you Boston Globe for printing such nonsense and feeding the racism that is already well rooted in our city! I guess my 2 children for whom we paid thousands upon thousands to attend independent private school before they tested into the exam schools will have to bear the burden of the racism and ignorance perpetrated against black children by this widely circulated article. This newspaper owes the black community an apology. This article is disgusting.

Ms. Irons should read Our Kind of People by Lawrence Otis Graham. The book is completely up its own behind with elitism and snobbery, but it does present a side of American history that many Americans know nothing about, i.e. wealthy and/or educated black people. How else could there be a continuing network of Historically Black Colleges and Universities that has lasted for over 170 years? President Obama hasn't been in the White House for that long, so black people must have figured this education thing at some point before he got elected.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

I absolutely love Murder, She Wrote.

The ones with Seth Hazlitt are still my favorites. Ooh, and the ones with Jessica's nephew Grady, too. He keeps picking the wrong women and the wrong employers.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

What the who what now?

Advertisements for Themselves, by Erica Orden, New York Magazine via The Black Snob.

Madison Avenue is scrambling to adjust to a new era, when the most admired people in America are a black family. To reflect this reality, talent scouts are on the hunt for models who look like the Obama children, Sasha, 7, and Malia, 10.

"People are looking for girls who resemble them," says Charlie Winfield, the head booker at FunnyFace Today.

Tali Lev, an agent with the Gilla Roos agency, keeps links to her "Sasha" and "Malia" model lists on her desktop for easy access. "Photographers even want them for their portfolios."

Marlene Wallach, president of Wilhelmina Kids & Teens, says the First Daughters are tough subjects to match. "It’s a very specific age and a very specific ethnicity, so there aren’t that many girls that would necessarily fit the bill."

A very specific ethnicity? These girls are not Jessica Alba or Rosario Dawson or Dwayne Johnson or Vin Diesel. They are 3/4 black, like most black people in the United States are, if you look far back enough and count up all the pieces.

How hard is it to find tiny black children in New York City? Maybe Ms. Wallach could import them direct from the manufacturer.


The Girls of Rock and Roll

I spent some of my weekend watching Girls Rock!, which was great. It only took me a year to finally watch it. Readers, you should watch Girls Rock!, too. It is available for rental and for purchase. So get on that.

One of the funniest parts of the movie is during the closing credits. Laura, one of the main girls featured, is talking about her experience. She was adopted from Korea by white parents in Oklahoma, which I've heard is the San Francisco of the Midwest. Oh, it's not. Oh. I thought it was bad enough growing up in St. Thomas trying to explain to other people my concerted fixation on Macaulay Culkin and Elijah Wood. I think it would be much harder to be the only Asian girl in your town who is into death metal.

Anyhoodle, here is what happened while Laura was talking to the camera:

Laura: If I'm ever, like, in a position where I can help other Asian women especially feel comfortable about themselves. We're different, but it doesn't mean it's bad.

Guy behind the camera: What if we told you that the more you were in this movie, the more it might help Asian girls to feel better about themselves?

Laura: What if I told you that we should, like, have a dramatic reenactment?

Guy: But then a dramatic reenactment would be against the whole point, 'cause isn't the whole point to show Asian girls, "You should be comfortable with yourself"? So why should we have somebody else play you? [He laughs.] Isn't that kinda against the whole reasoning that you're saying?

Laura: Here comes the white man holding me down again.

Guy: [laughs some more]

Laura: Since I was shipped to America to build a railroad, I've been experiencing this, and I don't have to take it.

Hee! That would so be me on camera, worrying that I wouldn't fly in Peoria.


Friday, March 20, 2009

"The lady will have two tickets to the gun show!"

Not a real gun show; Alec Baldwin's 25-year-old arms.

If only I had bubble problems, my life would be dreamy.

Don't get on Jon Hamm's motorcycle, Liz Lemon!


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Be you. Do what you do.

Sci Fi becomes 'Syfy'...sigh., Entertainment Weekly.

Even SCI-FI Channel Embarrassed To Admit It Watches SCI-FI Channel; Changes Name To "Syfy", Best Week Ever.

Sci Fi Channel rebranding itself as Syfy. What's next?
, International representation!

Note to Sci Fi parent company NBC Universal: Don't change the name of one of your most recognizable networks to an abbreviation for an STD. I didn't think anyone could appear less clever than the writers of Britney's latest single, but Sci Fi President Dave Howe has done it. Congratulations. You now look more attention-seeking and desperate than the creators of a song called "If You Seek Amy."


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Et tu, Dora?

The new Dora, by Miriam at Feministing.

This is not good. It is telling that I identify with a round girl who carries a backpack and has a monkey for a friend, more than with a skinny girl whose new defining characteristics are bouncy hair, jewelry and leggings. Leggings are not pants. What kind of adventures can a kid have in non-functional ballet slippers? Ugh.

That reminds me; I should get a monkey friend. Real or imaginary, either or.


Friday, March 13, 2009

"Here comes the Funcooker!"

I hope my workplace never gets that bad.


Monday, March 09, 2009

Neither of them is Hawaiian,

but one is half Samoan (and Canadian!) and the other is partially Japanese. The Japanese one still isn't any part black, so I don't know why he continues to play Barack Obama; I don't think he is channeling the President's white side.

Anyway, the dialogue and setup is funny. I hope that is an actual Hawaiian song.


Friday, March 06, 2009

"If I had only followed CNBC's advice, I'd have a million dollars today . . . "

" . . . provided I'd started with a hundred million dollars."

Who continues to listen to these financial pundits, and why do they still have television shows? If this is not a clear example of white male privilege, I don't what is.


Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Sarah Haskins declares Twitter war on Jimmy Fallon, by Jessica at Feministing.

That video does look familiar. Even if Jimmy has never watched Current TV, I'm sure at least one of his writers has heard of Sarah Haskins and has seen her work.

The worst part of the situation is that the video is not funny. It only highlights the fact that there is only one woman with a late night talk show (and unfortunately one black guy). There are plenty of funny women--who have experience, as well as large audiences with potential for growth--who would be great late night talk show hosts. Yet the guy who couldn't get through an SNL sketch without laughing gets a 12:35 slot on NBC.

If you're reading this, Mr. Fallon, hello! Thanks for visiting my blog!


As a potential member

of the one in six, or possibly one in three, I present you with a Public Service Announcement:

There is no such thing as gray rape.

It doesn't matter if you have known a person for six years or for six minutes. As I have stated before, if you have sexual intercourse with someone without that person's consent, it is rape. It doesn't matter if the two of you have had sexual relations for months, or if you have never met before. It doesn't matter if you think you're a good person. Sex without consent is rape. In the words of a prolific comedian who has taken the time to hone his craft quite effectively over the years,

Whatever you’re doing is what you are, everybody. If you’re boozing, you’re an alcoholic. If you’re raping, you’re a rapist. Who cares what your core is?

For further clarification on this topic, please consult the following articles:

Call it what it is.
, and "Gray rape," cont'd..., both by Ann at Feministing.

Also, rape jokes are not funny. Ever. Those attempts at humor--anecdotes usually shared by men to amuse other men--sound a lot different to the ears of 50% of the population. Especially when that 50% is more likely to be attacked, simply because we were born female.


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Bianca, this is your life!

Fashion's invisible woman, by Emili Vesilind, LA Times via some other blog post I can't find now.

When it comes to shopping, the average American man has it made. At 189.8 pounds and a size 44 regular jacket, he can wear Abercrombie & Fitch, American Apparel or Armani. Department stores, mall retailers and designer boutiques all cater to his physique -- even when it's saddled with love handles, a sagging chest or a moderate paunch. In menswear, shlubby is accommodated.

But the average U.S. woman, who's 162.9 pounds and wears a size 14, is treated like an anomaly by apparel brands and retailers -- who seem to assume that no one over size 10 follows fashion's capricious trends.

Capricious trends like finding a suit at Macy's. Not all of the stores carry suits in plus sizes, because larger women don't work in corporate settings or in professional positions ever.

Fashion-forward boutiques such as Maxfield and Fred Segal rarely stock anything over a size 10, and in designer shops, sizes beyond 6 or 8 are often hidden like contraband in the "back." Department stores typically offer tiny sections with only 20 or so brands that fit sizes 14 and up -- compared with the 900-plus brands they carry in their regular women's wear departments.

. . . plus-size clothing is largely relegated to the Internet, where customers who already have a complicated relationship with clothes are unable to see, touch or try on merchandise.

. . . Americans are getting larger, and 62% of females are already categorized as overweight. But the relationship between the fashion industry and fuller-figure women is at a standoff, marked by suspicion, prejudice and low expectations on both sides. The fear of fat is so ingrained in designers and retailers that even among those who've successfully tapped the market, talking plus-size often feels taboo. The fraught relationship between fashion and plus-size is far from new, but seems particularly confounding in a time when retailers are pulling out all the stops to bring in business. Carrying a range of sizes that includes the average female would seem like a good place to start.

I agree; it would be a good place to start. A place to continue would be airplane seats. When the population is getting bigger and also spending less money on air travel, airlines could afford to make accommodations more spacious and comfortable. I don't need my entire lower body to go numb from compression in a tiny space.

It's a which-came-first scenario, Cohen said. Because plus-size women have been ignored for years, they've stopped actively looking for shopping opportunities. But when retailers bring savvy style to the plus-size game (as Gap Inc. did with its short-lived concept, Forth & Towne, which carried fashion-forward clothing for career women in sizes 2 to 20), they often shutter their efforts before they have a chance to bloom.

"Retailers don't have the patience to allow it to evolve," he added. "This is a market that's been underserved for 50 years. Customers are saying, 'For 50 years, you've ignored me and now you expect me to react to it instantaneously?' No."

That's how I feel about many things, most recently about video games for girls and women. Or actually, any media for girls and women. You can't put out a store like Forth and Towne, or a show like Campus Ladies, or a women's radio network like Greenstone and expect it to be an immediate hit. Building a sustainable audience takes time, especially when the people controlling the methods of distribution are not women.


"I'm from Roosevelt, Long Island. It's not the projects."

Ha ha! Oh dear. It's sad when even black people don't realize that not every black person is from "the projects", or from "Blackville". I'm sure Chuck D gained his street cred while he was studying graphic design at Adelphi University. It looks like a rough campus.

I can see how one could get confused if you got all of your information about black people by watching TV. For instance, if you turned to CNBC to enjoy a show like Newbos: The Rise of America’s New Black Overclass, hosted by Lee Hawkins, you would leave with the impression that the only wealthy black people of note (except for Oprah) are all men who are involved with the entertainment industry in some way and/or have jewelry for teeth. Yes, it was that bad.

The documentary offers behind-the-marquee stories on several high-profile Newbos, including NBA superstar LeBron James, Major League All-Star Torii Hunter, The Williams brothers of Cash Money Records, Dallas Cowboy star Terrell Owens, billionaire entrepreneur and Newbo pioneer Bob Johnson and musician, Multiplatinum gospel star Kirk Franklin, and television network owner Wyclef Jean.

Terrell Owens? Really? You couldn't find anyone else a little less controversial, Mr. Hawkins? As Black Enterprise's Alfred Edmond, Jr., put it:

When did CNBC start airing MTV Cribs?

I can only look forward to this summer's Black in America 2: Electric Boogaloo. Because the first installment was so good.


Sunday, March 01, 2009

Michael Steele has finally caught up with Mitt Romney.

Where are these "urban suburban hip-hop settings"? Maybe it's the corner where Dave Chappelle met Wayne Brady.


Le sigh.

Andy Samberg Breaks Caricature, by Joshua David Stein, Out.

Click through to see the behind the scenes video of the cover shoot.


"Do you want to go count our gold?"

Hee! And, eh.