Wednesday, January 5, 2011

As We Enter 2011, Several Things I Hope 2010 Leaves Behind

mess of the month happy new year As We Enter 2011, Several Things I Hope 2010 Leaves Behind

It’s the end of the year. A time when we set goals and figure out all the wonderful, positive things we want to bring into our lives.

But to hell with that. It’s also a time when we should decide exactly what we DON’T want in our lives in the coming year. A time when we recognize exactly what you hated about last year and have no intention on repeating. A time when you look back and recognize that things that seemed cool to you at the time, were really just stupid.

I will share with you my personal list.

1. Sarah Palin

This woman, who was unleashed among this society by grumpy uncle John McCain has been the bain of our collective existence ever since. Between her word salad tweets, made up words, Facebook postings, screwed up kids, and her attacks on Michelle Obama for trying to keep our fat ass kids from all dying of diabetes and heart disease, Palin is one person I would like to leave behind in 2010.

2. Jay-Z, Beyonce & Rihanna

I love you guys, but enough already. I am so sick of hearing about you people. I just don’t care anymore.

I’m not sure if it’s too late, but I’d also like to add (insert name here) Kardashian to this list. Thank you.

3. The words: “wow”, “really?” “ballin’”, and “swag.”

I think that says it all.

(Just for the record we’ve been trying to leave hating behind since 2006 with little success.)

4. Right-Wing Nuts/Birthers/Left-Wing Liberal Whiners

OK, we get it. For some people, the thought of a black president just infuriates you. Though you reflexively hate him simply because of the color of his skin, can you please spare the rest of us from idiotic rationalizations of your racism, your wacky claims that Obama is a Kenyan Muslim, and your outrage and opposition to ANYTHING he says?

For example:

OBAMA: “The sky is blue”

YOU: “No it isn’t, you just want it to be blue because you are a Muslim and want to destroy America.”

Enough already. He’s black, he’s here, get over it.

On the other end of the spectrum, are the die-hard liberals who have no problems with a black president. Their problem lies in the fact that he is not a messianic king who can just wave a wand and have all your agenda items fall into place.

Look, he’s not a Kenyan terrorist from Nairobi City, Hawaii NOR is he “Barack the Magic Negro.” Both of you, grow up in 2011.

5. Women with Half-shaved heads

Not a good look for 99.9% of the population. Period. Don’t chance it.

6. The terms “baby mama” & “baby daddy”

Look, man or woman, you picked the idiot. Can you please dignify yourself and your now-begrudged family with the phrases, “my daughter’s father” or “my son’s mother.” Even if you don’t respect your one-time sex partner, please respect your son or daughter by not trivializing them as a “baby.” I mean, damn, they’re 15 now. Sounds awful.

7. Celebrity clothing and perfume lines.

OK, I like Usher. I’m a fan of Beyonce. But do I really want to wear their clothing lines or cologne? What happened to the days when only gay, accomplished designers sold cologne? I was good then. Chanel, Calvin Klein, Versace, Claiborne, Bulgari — they were folks I’d buy fragrances from. But what in the sam hell would I want to wear a scent by train-wrecks like Britney Spears or Mariah Carey? I am never mad at the hustle and encourage all to make that money while they can. But damn. Take a hint from the legends. You never saw Michael Jackson or Prince or Luther Vandross or Aretha Franklin peddling clothing lines or perfume brands. Celebs, do what you know.

8. Snuggies and all their Offspring

OK, I was good when the Snuggie was a passing fancy. I even got a Snuggie for Christmas last year from my hunky man and was way more tickled than i should have been (though I am secretly concerned it will catch me on fire one day). HOWEVER, there have been a spate of Snuggie spin-offs and some really disturbing clothing trends, all somehow birthed on cheesy random cable channels. Yes, I’m talking to you: Slanket and Pajama Jeans. But your time is over. No longer will we be slaves to fashion advertised on daytime and late night television. In 2011, we will all be back lounging around in our jogging pants and holey t-shirts and old blankets, exactly like we are supposed to. Plus most of our credit cards don’t work anymore, anyway.

9. Ginny Thomas Voice Mails

Ok, sure, we all had a big laugh at Virginia Thomas, wife of sitting Supreme Court Justice and Black activist (ha! just kidding), Clarence Thomas. But I’m hoping as 2011 rolls around, Clarence reigns Ms. Ginny in and, like in some cars, requires her to take a breathalyzer before being able to place calls.

10. Kwame Kilpatrick

‘Nuff said.

11. Real Housewives of Everywhere

The gig is up ladies. Everyone knows by now that anyone with any real money, power or influence would NEVER do this show. You all are a bunch of embarrassing also-rans who represent the empty, debt-fueled consumption culture that got us all into this mess.

12. Fake Ass Disability (FAD)

There is no doubt that there are some people who have disabilities that render them unable to work. HOWEVER, if I meet one more person who is on disability for a “learning disability” or because your back is too bad from that accident “back in 1986,” I’m gonna scream. Never mind, since you’ve been on FAD you’ve had two kids. You can get arrested on an assault charge for fighting in front of your building, but you can’t get a job? Somehow you and your ilk feel as though you should be living off the rest of us workers and I am sick of it. Where’s your pride? In 2011 please say no to FAD.

13. Law & Order Spin-Offs

It’s been like 78 years. Special Victims, Criminal Intent, Los Angeles, United Kingdom. You’ve had a good run. Just let it go.

14. Obesity

Big and beautiful my ass. At least one person, Michelle Obama, has had the balls to come forward and actually tell the American people to their faces: “You are too fat and so are your dumb kids.” Good for her. It is true! Hey everybody, I implore you to take 5 minutes and look at yourself in a three-way mirror. I want you to take full account of what you see. I even challenge you to take a picture of yourself in that mirror with one of your fancy phones. I then want you to ask yourself, “Do you like what you see?” Not, does my man like it, or does my woman like it? But do YOU really like what you see? Or is it actually pretty gross?

It’s time we all embraced our health and and decided we want to live long, strong vibrant lives. All this “thick” and “stocky” and “husky” and “big beautiful woman” and “whole lotta man” foolishness was real cute in 2010 but in 2011, its time to decide that we want to toss out destinies tied to diabetes and blood pressure meds and finally proclaim that we want to live better.

If your friends, your man, your woman, your mama, your daddy, your friends won’t tell you, I will:Obesity. is. not. hot.

15. Tattoos about the face or neck

What is really the big disconnect here? When did tattoos on your neck and face become hot? And are they REALLY hot on anyone other than a professional athlete, rapper or ex-con? And even in that group, in ten years they will look just as stupid. With that in mind I want to let you know that all of you grown people, who have chosen to get tattoos above your clavicle, look a hot ass ghetto mess.

I’m just saying it because no one really wants to tell you, because unlike clothes or a hair style or even a gold toof in front, you can’t change it, and you’re stuck, so telling you will really accomplish nothing except making you feel bad. But please know, without any shadow of a doubt, tattoos about the face or neck are the precise reason why your ass cannot get hired. It’s not discrimination, it’s not the recession, its because you have a DUMB ASS PAIR OF LIPS ON YOUR NECK. I wouldn’t hire you either. Grow up in 2011.

16. Drug Commercials

It seems that every week, there is some new ailment that I need a new drug for, that I am supposed to ask my doctor about. Nowadays if my mouth is dry, or my legs are restless or my eyelashes aren’t full enough, I’m supposed to ask my doctor to give me some drugs. We’ve become a nation of wusses who treat the side effects of one drug with another drug. Was it really that difficult to get to sleep in 2010 that we needed 5 different sleeping pills? Never mind many of the drugs have side effects worse than the problem they are treating. Are you really willing to withstand side effects like compulsive gambling, suicide, night terrors, or eating raw bacon, just to remove the dark circles under your eyes? Forget the drugs, I have an idea, next time you’re sleepy: count sheep, bitches.

17. 3D-Fucking- Movies

There was a time when a movie being in 3-D was a special event. You were so excited to wear your little red & blue 7-11 paper glasses to a picture show. 3-D was a huge deal and going to see a 3-D movie was a momentous occasion, you never knew when the next 3-D would come out so you made sure you didn’t miss this one.

Now I can tell you when the next 3-D movie is coming out: ANY FRIDAY OF 2010.

I mean, good lord. I actually find it hard to recall movies that WEREN’T in 3-D anymore. Don’t get me wrong, 3-D is cool but I thought it was intended to be used in films where its novelty and effect would best complement the on-screen content. Like Jason, in Friday the 13th, shooting that friggin’ arrow in your eye in Part 3.  Now THAT’s 3-D.  An asexual animated creature merely appearing in front of me for shits and giggles, meh, I could do without that. Call me when you can put Idris Elba in my lap. Now THAT would be a special feature. But I digress…

And now, 3-D television is around the corner. Soon we’ll have Bad Girls fighting, Idol auditions, and Jersey Shore trash getting drunk right in our living rooms. Can’t wait.

18. Closeted and Con-men Clergy

First of all, do not hate on my alliteration. What more is there to say? From the Catholic priests having butt-sex with little boys to mega churches allowing their members to be foreclosed upon while the pastor drove Bentleys, it’s been a rough year for religion in 2010.

Decent people who run decent churches have been eclipsed by the hit parade of creeps, crooks, and crazy men proclaiming to be messengers of God who have proceeded to craft a message, not for the benefit of the congregants, nor for the benefit of God, but for the benefit of himself.

The preacher asks offerings from those being foreclosed upon and in return he’ll “pray for you.” A growing number of these bastards are leading to the disillusionment of a generation and a community who sees churches as institutions who exploit the very communities that support them.

19. Crazy, Dumb and/or Retarded Political Candidates

Lord knows I love reading up on the fanciful exploits of former senatorial-candidate AKA my future baby daddy (oops!) Alvin Greene. No, it isn’t lost on me that Greene isn’t the coldest beer in the fridge. And usually, someone like Greene is an anomaly, but this year, he barely even stood out among the groundswell of kooks suddenly deciding to run for office. Greene, O’Donnell, Angle… PLEASE, go back to whatever you were doing in 2009, we can’t take you anymore.

I guarantee you, most of these folks weren’t thinking about politics, nor could they spell it, before a black man became elected president.

20. Fussing and Fighting

This year we have we have witnessed unprecedented efforts on the part of some to create disharmony. In 2011, we must make a decision to work together.

Whether it’s in the halls of Congress, your kid’s school, your job, your relationship, your family or your neighborhood — we’ve all seen the progress we make when we agree to work together.

Not sell out, not give in, but compromise. In a country where we’ve created a cottage industry of disagreement, if we have learned anything in 2010, it’s what can happen if we actually put away our ultimatums and pouty whines and actually work together. We can never get what we want all the time (except maybe if you’re Rihanna, Beyonce, or Jay-z).

So… in the interest of creating the best lives we can for ourselves in the best country in the world, I encourage you to work together in the coming year.

I know you hate him or you hate her. I know you should have had that job. I know that guy ripped you off. I know they lied to you and that car was a piece of crap.

But consider what peace of mind is worth to you?

Is it really that bad if your daughter gets home 30 mins later than your custody agreement dictates?

Is it really a capital offense if your woman spoke to her ex as she passed him by at a restaurant last week?

What is peace worth?

That’s what we should ask ourselves as a society.

Whether it’s a domestic disagreement or world affairs, at the end of the day, we must all ask ourselves how do I want to live? Is being right more important than being happy? Is a political victory worth your integrity? Is winning that argument worth another night of strife? Is your ego worth the adoration of your son or daughter? I don’t know about you, but I’ll take peace any day.

Why don’t we all try for peace in 2011? I have a feeling if we all try for peace, we can’t lose.

Happy New Year People.

Honorable Mentions:

Antoine Dodson
Skinny jeans on Men
All news articles about single black women
Blue tooth devices in your ear
Celebrities in tax trouble

Sunday, October 17, 2010

My Own Case of B.O. — Black Overcompensation

bo My Own Case of B.O.    Black Overcompensation

So sue me.  But Ive been blessed with a keen sense of self-awareness.  Whether it results from growing up an only child or a mild case of Asperger’s Syndrome, either way I am pretty good at recognizing behavior patterns in myself.   And lately something occurred to me.

I notice that when I am dining out, I deliberately overtip.  Why?  Because, being a former server for three years, I know that, whether we want to admit it or not, black folks are terrible tippers.  Knowing that, I feel like I have to overtip to make up for all the black folks who have probably tipped this person poorly in the past.  I have an odd desire to do my part to save our collective face.

Or, when Im walking my dog, I make sure that my poop bags are clearly, ridiculously visible because in my neighborhood, my fellow black brotha and sista dog owners are notorious for not picking up their dog’s poop.  Its like I need everyone who sees me to know that there are black people who DO pick up their dog’s crap.

It’s like I feel personally responsible for countering any negative stereotypes that people have drawn about my peoples.

I still don’t know if this is a good or bad thing.  I’m leaning towards bad because it indicates an insecurity about how my community is viewed.  And I shouldn’t be insecure right?  I shouldn’t care what people think, right?

However, I think its also a good thing to have a sense that every time you step into the world you are representing something larger.  Whether its your family, your community, your religion or whatever.  I feel as though I represent my community everytime I walk out the door.

I am indeed torn.

Today, I was on the elevator with some colleagues, there were about 8 of us on the elevator, 6 black and 2 white.  And two of the black folks were having the loudest, most cuss-laden, ghetto conversation ever.  We’re in a fucking elevator.  Why are you yelling and using profanity?  At work?

So, when i get off the elevator I was chatting with my white colleague, and felt compelled to complain about the behavior.  It was like I wanted to make sure she didn’t think that black people in general found this behavior acceptable.  Like, if I didn’t say anything, she would think that I didn’t even notice it because it was so normal to us “sistas.”  I wanted her to know that we are smart and professional and are just as appalled at bad behavior as everyone else.

I was behind two black women at Starbuck’s who were so rude and ridiculous.  Like it was everyone else’s fault they didn’t understand the menu.  I mean, if its that complicated, go to Dunkin Donuts.  Well, when it was my turn, I was super nice and super friendly and super appreciative.  Almost as if to say, Mr. Starbucks Barista Guy, all black women really are not mean, bitter jackasses.

There was this homeless white guy panhandling at the 7-11.  I wasn’t going to give him money, but I asked if he wanted something to eat.  He asked if I could get him a Pepsi.  So I got him a Pepsi, thinking to myself, that “the next time he wants to talk about black people I hope he remembers that one of us helped his broke ass out once.”  Now I always ask panhandlers, of any race, if I can get them food because i dont do cash, but this particular transaction with a white guy had that extra umph of “See! Talk about us now! I dare you!”

What is this ridiculous urge to individually take on stereotypes?  ?To personally assume responsibility for redeeming bad behavior by other black people and challenge preconceived notions people may have about us?  You know what I call it?  B.O. — Black Overcompensation.  The irresistable urge to show the world that we aren’t all like “that.”  Or “see, we’re nothing like what you think!”

Don’t misunderstand, this is not about becoming culturally neutral in front of others.  I’m always supa dupa black and proud of it. I don’t hold my tongue when it comes to issues of race or culture or my own preferences or beliefs.

However, when it comes to some of my people’s bad habits, I have a compulsion to counter it, either with my own behavior or with the appropriate level of whatever protestation is appropriate at the time.

Is this a manifestation of a latent inferiority complex?  Or a reasonable and justifiable  expression of pride? We have a black president for chirissakes!  Why do I feel the need to do this?  I’m not sure.

I keep waiting for one of those pharmaceutical companies to run a commercial about a drug that treats B.O. like they do for all those other fake diseases.

Whatever the cause of my affliction, I just know that I want the world to know how diverse and amazing and smart and loving my community is, and not get caught up in the media portrayals of pimps and bitches that, unfortunately, some of us are, all too often, proud to embrace.

(cue swelling orchestra music here) For every black idiot I see, I will be twice as smart!  For every black thief I see, I will be twice as honest! For every black slacker I see, I will work twice as hard!

That’s just me.  Maybe its unnecessary, maybe its an obsolete sentiment, but until they develop a B.O. shot, patch, suppository or some other cure for my black overcompensation, I will suffer with it.

In short, if black overcompensation is wrong, for now, I don’t want to be right.

Please ask your doctor about it…

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Alvin Greene Conundrum

alvin The Alvin Greene Conundrum

My love-hate relationship with Alvin…

On Monday, the Manning Branch of the South Carolina NAACP sat anxiously as they waited for Democratic Senatorial candidate Alvin Greene to make his first public remarks. The organization invited Greene to speak so its members could get to know him better.

Meanwhile African Americans all over the country secretly prayed that he would not embarrass the race too badly. After his surprising, OK let’s face it, bizarre, primary win, Greene gave the first speech of his non-campaign. After doing several awkward, bumbling and downright strange interviewswith various media outlets, the South Carolina Democratic electorate now watched their miracle candidate nervously, hoping that, at the very least, all his subjects and verbs would agree.

So, how did he do in his first campaign appearance? Alvin Greene probably did better than most people thought he would. He didn’t make any major errors, didn’t use profanity and did not show pornography to the audience. He stayed on-topic (for the most part), focusing on his three major themes of jobs, education and justice. He talked about the fact that the country lost 125,000 jobs just last month.

Greene wants to focus on infrastructure projects, such as building roads, which he says the state needs to put South Carolinians back to work. Education would also be a priority if Greene is elected. He pointed out that South Carolina was 49th in high school drop-out rates and standardized test scores. Greene challenged parents of under-performing children to be more involved in their education. So far, so good.

Next, Greene hit the criminal justice system. This is when it got a little weird.

Greene declared, “We need justice in the justice system. South Carolina spends twice as much on inmates than on students.” OK, we’re with you…. He talks about how first-time offenders should be offered alternatives to jail through programs like pre-trial intervention. So far so good. Then he starts to go off the rails.

He tells some bizarre story about “a guy” who got tangled up in the criminal justice system – we all know that when someone talks about “a guy” or “friend” he or she is probably talking about him or herself.

Anyway, this “guy” got in trouble, and although he qualified for pre-trial intervention, he was denied and the trial was delayed.

“But,” he says, suddenly looking off-kilter, as if he forgot where he was for a moment, “Moving on….”

You could almost hear the crowd’s collective “WTF?”

All in all, it wasn’t the utter and complete disaster we all have come to expect when Greene opens his mouth. He nervously read his notes from a black spiral notebook, wiped his brow and did his best to sound authoritative. Senatorial even.

He made a little quip in the beginning about being a perfect candidate for the NAACP Image Awards, although I have a sneaky suspicion that he didn’t write that joke and didn’t seem to know what it meant. Frankly, it didn’t sound like he wrote any of it.

It sounded like a bunch of policy positions that had been cut and pasted from different websites the night before. Unfortunately, the only part that sounded genuine was that creepy part about his “friend.” The 6 – 12 minute elocutionary extravaganza ended with Greene timidly waving, looking unsure of what he was supposed to do next.

I know you’re not supposed to say this anymore, but what the hell, he looked kind of retarded.  Ok, maybe not full-retard, but like whatever Forrest Gump had.

He cracked a child-like smile as he got a standing ovation before an audience of more than 400 in his hometown of Manning. Greene took no questions from the audience and hustled past a group of reporters on his way out of the building without stopping to talk.

Pamela Clavon Brunson, who attended the speech, said we should be proud of a young black man following his dream of becoming a U.S. Senator, even if he doesn’t give an amazing speech like other longtime politicians.

Another onlooker, Jerry Johnson, said Greene looked much better giving his speech than he has in interviews. “I wasn’t blown away, but he didn’t do bad,” Johnson said. “Considering I didn’t know anything about him coming in, that’s not so bad.”

OK, if no one else is going to say it, I will:

He was absolutely terrible. Did the fact that he wasn’t as bad as we thought he was going be, make him less terrible? No. It was violently bad. Face it, it was awful and horrible and stinky. I will admit, though, I’m conflicted. On one hand, I want to support this brother who is a legitimate candidate (like it or not) in following his dream of becoming a senator.

However, should my affinity for the underdog story and my desire to see another African-American senator force me to abandon all my standards with regards to my elected officials? I mean, this guy is clearly not right in the head. I’m not asking for Obama, but couldn’t he at least be average? What are we saying about ourselves if we accept and support someone who is clearly incompetent just because he’s black?

Or, to many South Carolinians, is a thumb in the eye of Jim de Mint worth lowering the bar of expectations? I just don’t know. This dude is embarrassingly bad and I don’t know what we accomplish by not holding him to the standards all our leaders should be held to, like forming a cohesive thought without having to read it, but on the other hand, the Republicans have Sarah Palin….

Alvin Greene 2010!!!!!!

Watch Greene in action.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Seattle Police Officer Punches Girl in Face: I Would Have Punched Her Too

100614 arrest punch Seattle Police Officer Punches Girl in Face: I Would Have Punched Her Too

Watch video here…

The South Seattle Police Department is investigating what they’re calling “an assault of an officer” today, and the video of the incident is fast becoming an object of controversy.

KOMO News of Seattle reports that the incident took place on Monday, when the officer witnessed four teenage girls jaywalking across Martin Luther King, Jr. Way (gotta love it). According to police officials, the young women became “verbally antagonistic” when the officer asked them to step over to his patrol car.

Apparently, the officer approached one woman who started to walk away. He then attempted to physically escort her to the vehicle. The woman resisted and an altercation ensued. Shortly thereafter, a second young lady intervened to try to help her friend. According to Seattle police, the officer believed “she was attempting to physically affect the first subject’s escape.”

As seen in the video, the second young lady shoved the officer, who then punched the girl in the face (very awesome). Police backup soon arrived, and the women were taken in to custody.

Sgt. Sean Whitcomb allegedly told reporters that punching is a trained tactic and the department defends the officer’s actions.

Okay, I know I’m supposed to be all outraged and whatever because I’m black and stuff like that, HOWEVER, I don’t know whether it’s because I’m a jaded ’80s baby tired of young people’s lack of respect for authority or I’m just an insensitive bitch, but I think the girls in this video absolutely deserve what they got.

Therefore, I’m not upset, nor appalled, nor preparing my picket sign for the sure-to-come NAACP rally.

Of course, jaywalking is a bogus offense that most cops don’t acknowledge, let alone enforce, but when will this generation realize that they need to show respect for adults? Maybe your mom wants to be your best friend, and your teacher is just waiting on her retirement date and your dad (if he’s around) just wants you to not be mad at him, but it’s time young people grasped the concept of authority.

Maybe it was a ridiculous waste of time for an officer to cite this young woman for jaywalking, but what happened to the day and time when we respected the authority of policeman? I am older than the girl and probably the policeman, but I will tell you that if an officer told me I was being arrested for having nappy hair and to put my hands behind my back, my hands are going behind my back and I am going to STFU. 

Why did this woman continue to resist this officer once given an official command? Life is not a game.

Is there any doubt that if they had just done what they were told in the first place this would not have happened? I don’t know about you, but I was told that when it came to interacting with the police all I should be saying is “yes sir” and “no sir.” If these women had responded in an appropriate manner when they were approached would we be watching any of this?

And don’t get me started on her idiot friend. I’m very sorry she got punched in the face (not really), but you have a lone cop faced with a growing mob, and then her friend, a citizen interfering with an arrest, actually puts her hands on him? I would have popped the shit out of her, too.

You see she fell back once he got her in the mouf one good time. And she will likely think twice before putting her hands on a police officer again.

Frankly, I think this video says more about these young ladies and their view of authority than it does about a policeman acting inappropriately. We are so used to cops behaving badly and kicking ass and killing black people for no reason that we sit back and all but encourage young people to challenge them. You can see the anxious bystanders just hoping to get a shot of the latest YouTube sensation, salivating for a juicy clip of police brutality.

I will never support police brutality, and there have been actions of police against the citizens that are inexcusable, but this ain’t one of them.

This video falls in the “you-get-what-you-asked-for” category for me. Perhaps next time an officer approaches these ladies, they will respect his authority and do what the hell he tells them to do instead of cursing him out.

Somewhere along the way, someone sent the message that young people can treat adults any way they want to (including police). And it’s high time someone had a counter point.

Too bad it had to be a counterpunch. I’ll save my tears for real victims.

Look at it this way: Just think of all those times when you encountered a group of rowdy young people on a bus or subway or walking down the street and thought to yourself, “Someone needs to whip their asses.” Consider it done. Courtesy of the Seattle Police.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Latest DUH Study: CNN experiment Shows Black and White Children have Bias Toward Light Skin. Duh.

cnn large The Latest DUH Study: CNN experiment Shows Black and White Children have Bias Toward Light Skin. Duh.

Nearly 60 years after the Brown v. Board of Education ruling segregated US schools and more than a year after the election of the country’s first black president, white children have an overwhelming white bias, and black children also have a bias toward white, according to a new study commissioned by CNN.  I’m shocked!  Next thing you know, someone will discover that fat meat is greasy.

First of all (black people love to say that), why is CNN commissioning this study?  Am I the only one that finds this odd?  I need answers Soledad.  But, I digress.

A white child looks at a picture of a black child and says she’s bad because she’s black. A black child says a white child is ugly because he’s white. A white child says a black child is dumb because she has dark skin. No shit, we needed a whole study to figure that out?

Renowned child psychologist and University of Chicago professor Margaret Beale Spencer, a leading researcher in the field of child development, led the study. She designed the pilot study and led a team of three psychologists: two testers to execute the study and a statistician to help analyze the results.

According to CNN, her team tested 133 children from schools that met very specific economic and demographic requirements. In total, eight schools participated: four in the greater New York City area and four in Georgia.

Spencer’s test aimed to re-create the landmark Doll Test from the 1940s. Those tests, conducted by psychologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark, were designed to measure how segregation affected African-American children.

The Clarks asked black children to choose between a white doll and — because at the time, no brown dolls were available — a white doll painted brown. They asked black children a series of questions and found they overwhelmingly preferred white over brown. The study and its conclusions were used in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case, which led to the desegregation of American schools—which btw, was fucking brilliant.

In the new study, which is friggin boring , Spencer’s researchers asked the younger children a series of questions and had them answer by pointing to one of five cartoon pictures that varied in skin color from light to dark. The older children were asked the same questions using the same cartoon pictures, and were then asked a series of questions about a color bar chart that showed light to dark skin tones. (yawn)

The tests showed that white children, as a whole, responded with a high rate of what researchers call “white bias,” identifying the color of their own skin with positive attributes and darker skin with negative attributes. Spencer said even black children, as a whole, have some bias toward whiteness, but far less than white children.  Another shocker.

“All kids on the one hand are exposed to the stereotypes” she said. “What’s really significant here is that white children are learning or maintaining those stereotypes much more strongly than the African-American children. Therefore, the white youngsters are even more stereotypic in their responses concerning attitudes, beliefs and attitudes and preferences than the African-American children.”

Spencer says this may be happening because “parents of color in particular had the extra burden of helping to function as an interpretative wedge for their children. Parents have to reframe what children experience … and the fact that white children and families don’t have to engage in that level of parenting, I think, does suggest a level of entitlement. You can spend more time on spelling, math and reading, because you don’t have that extra task of basically reframing messages that children get from society.”


OK, I’m no scientist, but isn’t the more likely reason black kids have a less bias toward whiteness because African-American children are simply exposed to a broader array of African-Americans whereas many white children’s only exposure to black people is through the media?

As an African-American woman, I know how diverse and dynamic other black folks are because I live the experience every day.  Why is it so shocking that white kids embrace more stereotypes?  We often stereotype what we don’t understand.    I had stereotypes about the Middle East until I traveled there.  We are all guilty of stereotyping other cultures, regions, religions etc.  If a white child’s only exposure to black people is popular culture, then we can’t be surprised when they believe we are all dumb thugs, hookers, rappers, ball players and criminals. White children being more “stereotypic in their responses” seems to be a direct product of their environmental influences.

Also, I’m not sure where she’s going with this, but her implication that white parents are able to spend more time teaching spelling and math because black parents are focused on having black power meetings in the basement with their children is a little looney.  On the bright side, now we can say our kids don’t do well in school because black parents are too busy teaching how-to-be-black-in-america classes, to deal with silly spelling and math stuff.

And as for the issue of white entitlement, as little black kids growing up we were told that we had to be twice as good to be considered equal to our white peers.  White kids’ parents don’t have to tell them that.  White entitlement exists. Duh.  Study over.  Can someone go work on prostate cancer or Parkinson’s Disease now?

As our society becomes more diverse and children are exposed to other cultures in the classroom and workplace more often, tests like these will become less and less relevant.

Instead of focusing on this notion of “white entitlement” and making white kids less “racist” perhaps this should be a wake-up call for the African-Americans to look at the images we present of ourselves through the mainstream media and the type of portrayals of ourselves that we support.  We must remember we are in global society and the images we present of ourselves are sometimes the only exposure other cultures have to us.  I think working on this aspect of our culture is far more important than making white kids like black kids more.  Perhaps, if the only black people they saw weren’t Ray-J, Lil Wayne,  Medea, or the fool on the 6 o’ clock news, we could get somewhere.

CNN reports that Spencer said the study points to major trends but is not the definitive word on children and race. It does lead her to conclude that even in 2010, “we are still living in a society where dark things are devalued and white things are valued.”  No shit Sherlock.

You know what, I’m going to call CNN right now and ask if they’ll pay me to do a study to see if the lack of fathers in the home has affected the black community.  Just watch, the results will be explosive!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

In Defense of Sheila Johnson: The Real Culprit Behind BET is US

sheilajohnson21 In Defense of Sheila Johnson: The Real Culprit Behind BET is USThis morning, I read Dr. Boyce Watkin’s piece on Sheila Johnson featured on AOL’s Black Voice site. For those who may reside under a rock, Sheila Johnson is one of the wealthiest women in the country, the first Africa -American woman to be an owner or partner in three professional sports franchises (the Washington Capitals, theWashington Wizards and the Washington Mystics), a humanitarian and the former wife of BET founder Bob Johnson.

Johnson recently remarked that she is ashamed of BET and doesn’t want her own kids watching it. She stated that BET may be contributing to the spread of AIDS in the black community by promoting raunchy, unprotected sex in rap videos. She told The Daily Beast that the channel was originally started to be “the Ebony magazine on television.” She mentions that the channel started out with a variety of public affairs programming, including Teen Summit. She felt the video revolution changed the game, saying she felt pressured by recording artists to show their videos even though she didn’t like the way women were being portrayed. OK, whatever. Regardless of her feelings about what was being shown, BET showed it and made about a kajillion dollars doing it. And, personally, I have no problem with that. Last I checked, this was America.

What I do have a problem with is this notion that BET is responsible for the black communities social ills, that BET owners “sold out.”

Dr. Boyce Watkins states in response to Johnson:

“…in order to fully convince me that you are seriously remorseful of your work with BET, you’d have to give back the fortune you earned by trading in the futures of our children.” Are you f*cking kidding me? So BET is responsible for the futures of our children now?

Articles like Watkins’ perpetuate this notion that we all are mindless zombies with no responsibility for our own actions and our own children. We can be led by the nose by any company to do anything, and it’s all their fault for negatively influencing us. It’s the eternal victimhood argument. Has anyone ever stopped to think of the African American consumer’s role in this? Quick lesson: In order for BET to make money, WE HAVE TO WATCH. If we are not to be considered by the world as crybaby victims forever and always, we must stand up and take responsibility for our actions.

Is it BET’s fault if you let your kid’s watch inappropriate imagery? Is it BET’s fault that hip-hop has become nothing but a hotbed of thuggery and misogyny? Is it BET’s fault that you are not involved in your child’s education and career goals? And, most importantly, is it BET’s fault if our black asses won’t turn it off? As a community, we have refused to stand up and demand better, so we deserve what we get.

You’re going to tell me that a race that survived slavery, Jim Crow and degregation has been totally felled by a bullshit cable channel?  The argument is embarrassing.  BET is like the low-hanging fruit of the black-people-blame-game. If we can’t construct an intelligent argument regarding social factors affecting our neighborhoods, just blame it on BET. Personally, I thinkRay J‘s show, ‘For the Love of Ray J,’ has some of the worst depictions of African American men and women I’ve seen in years, yet we sit quietly by and the ratings soar. So I guess that’s VH1‘s fault? Would we dare ask Viacom to give all their fortune to the black community in order to make amends for us watching their shows? Lunacy.

In the past, BET has had to eliminate public affairs programming, not because they hate Negroes, but because, WE DON’T WATCH THEM. If we don’t watch, ratings are low and no money is made. Look at movies like ‘Akeelah and the Bee’ or ‘The Great Debaters,’ both were excellent films that promoted positive images of African Americans. But they made no money, because we didn’t run out and see them like we did Madea (who we also complain about). Yes, it is about money, and until the African American community demonstrates that we are willing to spend our money on something other than negative imagery or caricatures, then that’s what we’ll get.

BET contributes to the spread of AIDS because it promotes promiscuity? Isn’t it faaaaaar more likely that the destruction of the family unit, the lack of adequate parental supervision, lack of adequate health education for our young people, and lack of parental involvement in our schools have a larger impact than some damn BET? Watkins stated they “traded in the collective consciousness of our children in exchange for a billion-dollar war chest.” Last I checked, our communities and families were responsible for forming the collective consciousness of our children. And if one channel (a cable one at that) can achieve such a feat, than we should be collectively ashamed of ourselves.

Sheila Johnson and Bob Johnson and BET are no more guilty for our community’s ills than every one of us. We seem content to sit and talk about how terrible BET is, how terrible this is, how terrible that is. But when was the last time you called your cable company and asked them to block it from your television? When was the last time you boycotted a record label because of the images in an artist’s video? When was the last time you told your children they did not have permission to watch it.  I don’t like Tiny and Toya.  I don’t watch it.  I don’t like Ray-J’s Whorefest, so I don’t watch it.  I don’t like that dumb ass Ghost Whisperer, so I dont watch it. Why is it so complicated?

We live in a capitalist society. If we stop watching, they will stop making money and change the formula to something that will. If we act like positive TV programming is important, and support it, the sponsors will come. If we act like positive music is important and refuse to support music with negative messages or destructive images, they won’t make it. Acting like positive behavior is important in our own lives and communities are the key to changing this framework of media trash. But we can’t continue to give Ray-J sky-high ratings and then call Viacom the devil. It just doesn’t work that way.

The Johnsons owe us nothing. In fact, I think we do ourselves a disservice by condemning someone for promulgating negative images when we were the ones too stupid to reject them and turn them off. We got to do better.

Friday, April 2, 2010

TEABONICS: A Look at the Creative and Often Misspelled Signs of the Tea Party Protesters

I want to meet and personally thank whoever came up with the Flicker site dedicated to compiling some of the funniest (and sad) signs recently seen at various Tea Party protests. They have coined the term “Teabonics” to denote the “creative spelling and grammar” featured on the signs. Great for laughs and teaching your children how NOT to spell.



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God Bless America.

Peace people….

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