Justin Simien’s “Dear White People,” a comedy about a racist incident that takes place on a college campus, will open in theaters nationwide on October 17, 2014.
Amanda Blackhorse and Suzan Harjo, two Native activists who have been locked in an intense battle against the Washington, DC NFL team’s racist name, won a hard-earned victory this week. On Wednesday, an appeals board cancelled the team’s trademark and called the name “disparaging to Native Americans.” While the move won’t prevent the organization from using its name, it’s a significant legal blow.
“Some people say it’s just political correctness run amok. But why don’t we deserve political correctness when other groups do?” Blackhorse asked USA Today. “We’re just trying to demand that respect. We’re America’s first people, and we deserve that respect.”
Blackhorse was one of the five Native American plaintiffs in the case filed before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, a legal path that was paved more than two decades ago by Harjo. “Suzan has been fighting this since 1992. Native American people have been fighting this since 1972. … The reason it has come up recently is because Suzan has worked really hard to bring this in the public eye,” Blackhorse told Business Insider. “She’s just a tremendous woman. She’s a strong Native American woman, and I’m so happy to have met her and to have been a part of all this because this is what we need to do,” Blackhorse added.
Here’s more from Blackhorse:
“I have an interest in what we call historical trauma, the oppression that Native Americans went through and continue to go through has a tremendous effect on our mental health and our overall well being as people,” Blackhorse said. “So, that is something that is my passion. … We need to work on healing our people and to also educate the public about the oppression that we have experienced and continue to experience, like these mascots.”
Last year, Rob Capriccioso wrote at Indian Country Today about the intergenerational fight against the Washington, DC NFL team’s name. “There does seem to be an offsetting voice now to the fan base of the Washington team,” Harjo told him. “Many understand that you can love the team, but hate the name.”
You can also hear Blackhorse talk about her case in the unfortunately named segment posted above.
Lupita Nyong’o is on the cover of the July 2014 issue of Vogue and it’s gorgeous — in a slightly disturbing exotified way. She was photographed by Mikael Jansson and, in the accompanying piece by Hamish Bowles, describes her rise to supestardom.
As we are serenaded by the hypnotic chant of the Gnawa musicians in the adjoining courtyard, I suggest to Lupita that she must have had a completely surreal year. “Indeed I did,” she says, laughing. “It just feels like the entertainment industry exploded into my life. People who seemed so distant all of a sudden were right in front of me and recognizing me—before I recognized them!” Her first real intimation that her life was changing—probably forever—came after the SAG Awards in January, when she arrived late one night at the airport and was mobbed by paparazzi. “For a split second I looked behind me to see who they were flashing at—and it was me!” she remembers. “That was, I think, the beginning of the end of my anonymity.”
She also talks about making her own prom dress in high school and styling her short hair. Read more.
Take a look at some photos below:
Nate Cohn at the New York Times recently made a bold declaration: More Latinos are declaring themselves white. Using census data from 2000 and 2010. Cohn wrote:
Race is an immutable characteristic for many white, black and Asian-Americans. It is less clear for Americans of Hispanic origin. The census form asks two questions about race and ethnicity: one about whether individuals are of Hispanic or Latino origin, and another about race. “Hispanics” do not constitute a race, according to the census, and so 37 percent of Hispanics, presumably dissatisfied with options like “white” or “black,” selected “some other race.”
But many Latinos are voicing their displeasure with Cohn’s assertion. This week, the hashtag #WhatLatinosLookLike popped up and was filled with images of Latinos who proudly claim their ethnic identities. Zak Cheney-Rice rounded up some of the responses over at PolicyMic, and you can see even more below:
Earlier this year, MSNBC host Melissa Harris Perry wrote bravely about her path to surrogacy and the birth of her youngest daughter. Now, in a recent essay for Essence, the mother of two opened up about how she’s struggled with her body image while trying to juggle motherhood, work, partnership and travel:
Sleepless nights led to exhausted mornings. It was easy to trade a run for a nap. The all-consuming cycle of feeding, changing and soothing made it difficult to prepare healthful meals, but a cupcake and coffee were quick and easy. I stopped using my iPhone to count calories and started using it to keep track of how many ounces AJ was eating and how many wet diapers she was producing. The weekend I returned to hosting my MSNBC show, I was disappointed by the fact that I was wearing a size larger than I had worn the day AJ was born. Bouncing her on my lap, I’d get distracted by the cellulite on my thighs. Pushing her in the jogging stroller, I was irritated by my dramatically slower pace. When Parker put on an adorable sundress for Easter, I felt a tinge of jealousy because I had been unable to fasten the dress I had initially chosen that morning.
Read more at Essence.
In what could be an important step toward changing the name of the one professional sports’ most racist team names, an appeals board decided against the Washington, DC NFL team’s name, cancelling its trademark.
Administrative Trademark Judge Karen Kuhlke wrote the following:
The recognition that this racial designation based on skin color is disparaging to Native Americans is also demonstrated by the near complete drop-off in usage of “redskins” as a reference to Native Americans beginning in the 1960’s.
The record establishes that, at a minimum, approximately thirty percent of Native Americans found the term REDSKINS used in connection with respondent’s services to be disparaging at all times including 1967, 1972, 1974, 1978 and 1990. Section 2(a) prohibits registration of matter that disparages a substantial composite, which need not be a majority, of the referenced group. Thirty percent is without doubt a substantial composite. To determine otherwise means it is acceptable to subject to disparagement 1 out of every 3 individuals, or as in this case approximately 626,095 out of 1,878,285 in 1990. There is nothing in the Trademark Act, which expressly prohibits registration of disparaging terms, or in its legislative history, to permit that level of disparagement of a group and, therefore, we find this showing of thirty percent to be more than substantial.
Respondent has introduced evidence that some in the Native American community do not find the term “Redskin” disparaging when it is used in connection with professional football. While this may reveal differing opinions within the community, it does not negate the opinions of those who find it disparaging. The ultimate decision is based on whether the evidence shows that a substantial composite of the Native American population found the term “Redskins” to be disparaging when the respective registrations issued. Therefore, once a substantial composite has been found, the mere existence of differing opinions cannot change the conclusion.
In view of the above, petitioners have shown by a preponderance of the evidence that a substantial composite of Native Americans found the term REDSKINS to be disparaging in connection with respondent’s services during the relevant time frame of 1967-1990. Accordingly, the six registrations must be cancelled as required under Sections 2(a) and 14(3) of the Trademark Act.
Deadspin points out that ruling probably won’t have any immediate impact on the franchise, and they’ll likely appeal the decision. But it’s a huge setback for team owner Daniel Snyder, especially as public — and now, legal — opinion increasingly turn against him.
You can read the full decision below:
In case you missed it, Hari Kondabolu was on “Conan” this week and did a whole set on colonialism. Check it out.
Back in the late 1990s, Emmy award-wining filmmaker Spencer Nakasako made a video diary called “Kelly Loves Tony” (posted above), based on a Southeast Asian teen couple living in Oakland, Calif. Part of what’s known as the “1.5 generation” of the Vietnam War, Nakasako follows 17-year-old Kelly and her boyfriend Tony as they juggle parenting and school.
In a sort of “Where are they now? piece, Momo Chang of the Center for Asian-American Media recently caught up with Kelly and her two children.
Kevin Weston, a 45-year-old black Bay Area journalist who paved the way for countless young people (including myself) to tell their stories, died of cancer late Sunday night. Among the many tributes that have popped up in his honor are this one, by YO! Youth Outlook alum Russell Morse:
Kevin’s work at New America Media was reflective of the times we were living and working in. The first decade of the 21st century was an incredibly violent, tumultuous time and Kevin saw and professed a connection between violence in poor communities and the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He encouraged us, as reporters, to find global connections to the local stories we pursued.
…The Youth Communications projects of NAM came about in the early 1990s, when America’s young Black men were sensationally and shamefully characterized in the mainstream media as “Super Predators.” Sandy Close’s counter was that this generation of young people was not super-predatorial, they were super-communicative. Kevin was a supercommunicator: a journalist, a rapper, an editor, a DJ, a public speaker and a conversationalist who lived to engage the world, challenging hypocrisy and abuses of power right up to his final days.
What would the United States men’s national soccer team look like without immigration? Jorge Rivas takes a look over at Fusion:
Parents were born in Haiti.
Mother is Hungarian.
Born to Icelandic parents in Alabama.
Born in Norway.
Parents were born in Mexico.
Father was born in Colombia.
Over at Salon, Britney Cooper writes that initiatives to address needs of LGBTQ people, black men and others are great. But the president is ignoring a key demographic that helped get him elected: black women.
Black women, Obama’s single largest voting demographic have been the subject of no executive orders, no White House initiatives and no pieces of progressive legislation. 96 percent of Black women voters voted for Obama compared to 87 percent of Black men. 76 percent of Latinas voted for the President compared to 65 percent of Latino men.
Though Black and other women of color who are a part of the LGBTQ community will benefit from this latest executive order, no initiative has explicitly addressed the structural issues of racism, classism, poor education, heavy policing, and sexual and domestic violence that disproportionately affect Black and Latina women.
First Nations trio A Tribe Called Red is in the hot seat after one of its members wore a t-shirt modeled after the Cleveland MLB baseball team with the word “Caucasians” written across the front. Travis Lupick over at The Straight has more:
Promotional photographs show Ian Campeau (aka DJ NDN) sporting an ironic version of the Cleveland jersey that’s been altered to read “Caucasians” instead of “Indians.” It also includes a white head with a dollar sign above it instead of the baseball team logo’s Indian face and feather.
According to a message Campeau posted on Instagram, at least one concert promoter has received emails calling for the cancellation of a show scheduled for June 13 to 15.
“So we’re suppose to play Westfest next Sunday,” Campeau wrote. “The organizers have been receiving thinly veiled threatening e-mails in protest to me performing. Here’s one of them. This is my hometown. So disappointing.”
Campeau also posted screenshots of e-mails sent to local promoters, one of which read, in part: “I must take issue with you booking a racist, hypocritical band, A Tribe Called Red. If any non-Native band featured some of the song they do like Indian Girl, no doubt TRC member, Ian Campeau, who has been showing wearing a racist T-shirt, would be making a complaint to the human rights commission.”
We hear the term “reverse racism” all the time, and researchers have found that whites think it’s on the rise. The problem is that arguments ignore the systemic racism that exists and give people actual cultural, political and financial power in society. It’s why the Washington DC NFL football team and Cleveland’s MLB baseball team is allowed to keep their racist names and make millions of dollars off of racist iconography, and there actually has to be a debate about why that’s unacceptable. Campeau’s T-shirt is a snarky retort to way that Native imagery is used — constantly — in our culture.
Wonder why there are so few prominent black actresses in Hollywood? Let Alfre Woodard, Tracee Ellis Ross, Meagan Good, Nicole Byer, Retta and Loretta Devine explain.
It’s been eight years since Octavia Butler died from a stroke. In all that time, fans have wondered long and hard about the unfinished manuscript that she was working on at the time of her death. Luckily, she bequeathed her archives to Huntington Library and Gerry Canavan, a literary scholar at Marquette University, has gotten a good look. In a piece for the Los Angeles Review of Books, Canavan writes about what he’s found:
Nearly all of the texts focus on a character named Imara — who has been named the Guardian of Lauren Olamina’s ashes, who is often said to be her distant relative, and who is plainly imagined as the St. Paul to Olamina’s Christ (her story sometimes begins as a journalist who has gone undercover with the Earthseed “cult” to expose Olamina as a fraud, and winds up getting roped in). Imara awakens from cryonic suspension on an alien world where she and most of her fellow Earthseed colonists are saddened to discover they wish they’d never left Earth in the first place. The world — called “Bow” — is gray and dank, and utterly miserable; it takes its name from the only splash of color the planet has to offer, its rare, naturally occurring rainbows. They have no way to return to Earth, or to even to contact it; all they have is what little they’ve brought with them, which for most (but not all) of them is a strong belief in the wisdom of the teachings of Earthseed. Some are terrified; many are bored; nearly all are deeply unhappy. Her personal notes frame this in biological terms. From her notes to herself: “Think of our homesickness as a phantom-limb pain — a somehow neurologically incomplete amputation. Think of problems with the new world as graft-versus-host disease — a mutual attempt at rejection.”
Warning: Graphic images below.
Alejandra Hernandez is a graphic design student at Bogota’s Panamerican University and is waging a war against these reggaeton song lyrics, according to Fusion. Hernandez created posters of some of the genre’s most sexist lyrics for a class assignment back in April, and those images have since gone viral in Latin America.
“Our goal is not to ban reggaeton and other urban rhythms,” Hernandez told Fusion. “But maybe there can be some change, maybe lyrics can change so that women aren’t mistreated.”
“People may listen to these songs because they like the rhythm,” Hernandez added. “But when you really start to look at the messages they’re leaving, you think wow, this is quite awful.”
Be warned: the images below are extremely graphic and depict violence against women.
“I’m going to pound you in the kitchen.”
“If you were a nail and I was a hammer I would nail you down.”
“She likes to be hit hard and eaten.”
Kylie Vu is a transgender artist who made Hallmark’s first-ever gay Father’s Day cards. “I’m so proud to be the artist involved in making the first ever same-sex Hallmark eCard featuring two gay dads,” Vu wrote on Tumblr. “And I’m proud of Hallmark for celebrating people’s differences! It doesn’t matter who’s in it, LOVE makes a family.”
Check out more from the collection, called “Spectrum”, below:
Mindy Kaling is currently working on a new book called “Why Not Me?” that’ll cover everything that’s happened in her life since her last book, released back in 2011. And, as Jezebel points out, that’s quite a lot:
“The show; my mother passed away; so many of my friends have gotten married. I’m a godmother now, and a homeowner. There’s so much that has happened in that period of time that I wanted to write another book,” Kaling told the LA Times’ Yvonne Villarreal. “…I can only fit so much into the show and have all this extra stuff and I love writing in that format. It’s very different from writing dialog.”
The book will reportedly also tackle some of the controverseies that have swept the writer up in recent years, including her noticeably different Elle cover and the discussion abouot race on her show “The Mindy Project.”
Time moves fast in New York City, and I guess the same is true for culture phenoms. It’s been a little over two years since Linsanity swept through the Big Apple, and recently Sports Illustrated put New Yorkers to the test to see if they still recognized Jeremy Lin, the man who finally brought excitment to the Knicks. They parked him on a bench and waited. See what happens next.
Grammy-nominated Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux joined forces with Palestianian emcee Shadia Mansour in the new song and video “Somos Sur,” which dropped earlier this week.
“‘Somos Sur’ is about the importance of resistance, not only in Chile, but around the world,” Tijoux told Rolling Stone. “Global resistance movements, whether in Latin America, Africa or the Middle East, are fighting against the same patterns of violence that have repeated themselves throughout history. Which means many of these groups share a similar set of demands. We are asking for a free Palestine just like we’re asking for an independent Wallmapu in Chile, without police control.”
The Los Angeles Library’s “Shades of LA” photo archive contains more than 10,000 images of black, Latino and Asian-American families throughout Southern California dating back to the early 20th century. Here, librarian Kathy Kabayashi explains the very deliberate process of gathering so many images from people’s private archives.