Tag Archives: opinion

Should African Americans be More Supportive of Occupy Wall Street?

I’d like to know what my readers think about this.  Should Black People be drawn to this movement?  Should we consider Black unemployment rates and how many Blacks were affected by the housing crisis (Ponzi Scheme/Gambling in my opinion.) as motivation?  Here are a few recent takes on it.

More African Americans Encouraged to Join Occupy Movement – Washington Informer

Occupy protesters eye diversity as movement grows – Boston Globe

Occupy Wall Street Is About AfricanAmericans, Too – News One

What do you think?

Bonus Question: Is it just me or does the lack of Tea Party involvement or even a thumbs-up or two in the direction of the protesters make it seem even more as if they are the Party of the Rich and of Tax Loopholes?  Oh my bad “Job Creators”.   LOL!  Don’t you love it when people try to reclaim and rename what is and has always been.  No no, not slave owners…”Antebellum Job Creators”.  Sad.

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“The Help”: Is it just me or…

…are black people not feeling this movie trailer?  I’ve witnessed a very conflicted reaction to the trailer of the new movie “The Help” recently, in a movie theater that was filled with black folk.  Conflicted is the best way I can describe the mix of disgust and curiosity.  Am I surprised? No. It’s 2011, but the subject matter and images still sting.  Nothing like a dark-skinned black woman serving white folks in a maids uniform…in a period movie…set in the deep south.  Sigh.  Especially when it centers around a classic white savior character.  Since it takes place during the Civil Rights era, I think the author could have done a better job of developing the black lead character.  However, would Hollywood even make such a movie if it didn’t have a white lead?  I don’t know.

Unlike a lot of people I know, I read the book last year.  I can see how the movie trailer is off-putting without the book as reference.  I had some problems with the book, but overall I thought it was a decent read given the full context of who wrote it and the back story presented.  At times, reading it was heart wrenching for me as a black woman whose family is from Mississippi (mom’s side) and who’s great-grandmother was a maid for several white families.  Parts of the story were plain old scary, as racism sometimes is.

I don’t know for sure how this movie is going to be received by the black community.  I think Michele Wallace’s recent review in Essence is dead on (if they post it to the site, I’ll link to it).  In my opinion, this is not going to be a celebrated movie (like “The Color Purple”), but I’m glad that great actresses like Viola Davis and Cicely Tyson are taking on the roles in this film so that they are played with dignity.

One more point that doesn’t help: A Maid Sees Herself in a Novel, and Objects – Yep, a black maid, named Ablene, that worked for Kathryn Stockett’s older brother is suing her.  Dag! At least name the main black character in your book something other than your brother’s REAL, black maid’s name.  Come on!  To add insult, the woman says that part of the storyline was taken from her life.

NY Times | “Ablene Cooper, a 60-year-old woman who has long worked as a maid here, has filed a lawsuit against Kathryn Stockett, the author of the best-selling novel “The Help,” about black maids working for white families in Jackson in the 1960s.

In the complaint, Ms. Cooper argues that one of the book’s principal characters, Aibileen Clark, is an unpermitted appropriation of her name and image, which she finds emotionally distressing.

It is more complicated than that. For the past dozen years, Ms. Cooper has worked for Ms. Stockett’s older brother, Robert, and sister-in-law, Carroll, and still does.

“Ain’t too many Ablenes,” Ms. Cooper said at a law office after a day’s work at the Stocketts, for whom she has helped raise two children. Ms. Cooper also said that she had their support in her legal quest.

“What she did, they said it was wrong,” Ms. Cooper said of the Stocketts, members of a prominent Jackson family. “They came to me and said, ‘Ms. Aibee, we love you, we support you,’ and they told me to do what I got to do.””

Quote from Viola Davis in the August issue of Essence magazine:

”Of course I had trepidations. Why do I have to play the mammy? But what do you do as an actor if one of the most multifaceted and rich roles you’ve ever been given is a maid in 1962 Mississippi? Do you not take the role because you feel like in some ways it’s not a good message to send to Black people? No. The message is the quality of the work. That is the greater message… As Black women, we’re always given these seemingly devastating experiences – experiences that could absolutely break us. But what the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls the butterfly. What we do as Black women is take the worst situations and create from that point.”

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Was Your African American Studies Class Ethnically Chauvinistic?

By now most of you have heard about the new bill that Arizona is taking heat for that bans some ethnic studies courses.

Arizona Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, already under fire for approving the nation’s toughest illegal immigration law, has again run afoul of liberal activists, signing a bill Wednesday that targets ethnic studies programs in schools that critics say unfairly demean white Americans.

The law, which takes effect Dec. 31, would prohibit courses that promote resentment toward one race; that are designed for students of one race; that promote ethnic solidarity “instead of treating students as individuals;” and that encourage “the overthrow of the United States government.”

The proposal was the brainchild of Tom Horne, Arizona state superintendent of public instruction, who has long battled with the Tucson Unified School District over its Mexican-American studies program, contending that it promotes “ethnic chauvinism” through the use of textbooks such as “Oppressed America” and at least one guest speaker who said, “Republicans hate Latinos.” – source

As a HBCU grad who loved all of the African American studies classes I had, I was disturbed by the language in this bill.  The measure prohibits classes that advocate ethnic solidarity or that promote resentment toward a certain ethnic group.  I feel that legally, some of the points in the law would be very hard to define.  CNN did a great job of bringing this out.

What do you think?  Would your African American studies class be banned under this bill?  What is wrong with ethnic solidarity?  Couldn’t one argue that American history as it is traditionally taught could easily promote resentment toward a certain ethnic group (ie. “Cowboys and Indians”)?

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Your Thoughts on Black People and Online Dating

What do you think about African-American and Online Dating?  What has been your experience?  Would you recommend it to your friends?  Do you think that it would open up multi-cultural options for single Black women?  What are your thoughts?

My Opinion:  I’ve tried a number of dating sites in the past.  EHarmony was the worst. I suggest the recruit more African-Americans and other ethnicities for balance.  They could consider creating a campaign targeting African-Americans that plays on the “Christian values” part of their market.  A lot of holy rollers looking for love would go for that.  I’ve heard that BlackPeopleMeet is pretty bad in terms of people acting like they are on Craigslist’s Casual Encounters.  As an African-American woman, I found my overall online dating experiences lacking.  I’m  someone who wanted a real relationship and not just something casual.  However, I came to believe that you have to lower your expectations when you’re dating online because 1) People lie (and post old photos), 2) Married people and people who should be allowed to date are trolling on these sites (check out dontdatehimgirl.com) and 3) Online dating doesn’t bring out the best in everyone.

Something to consider: In the past, Gallup polls have shown  that half of all Black Americans believe it’s “very important” for couples to marry when they have a child — yet according to research from Packaged Facts, more than six out of ten Black Americans are unmarried, thereby making that group the most unattached in America.

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Is Gabourey Sidibe Attractive or Are People Being Nice?

Most people would never call a person ugly or fat to their face unless they wanted to hurt the other person’s feelings.  Howard Stern is not one of those people.  He’s make a living saying whatever he wants about whom ever he wants.  He recently made some comments about “Precious” star, Gabourey Sidibe.

Stern drew criticism from the mainstream media for his comments about Gabourey Sidibe’s appearance at the Academy Awards. Howard Stern said: “There’s the most enormous, fat black chick I’ve ever seen. Everyone’s pretending she’s a part of show business and she’s never going to be in another movie.”

Howard Stern played clips of reporters from mainstream media outlets fuming over his frank statements about Gabourey Sidibe’s weight on Wednesday, and then responded by saying: “Obesity in this country is out of control….What’s really sad though is that there are people who say it’s okay to be this heavy. You’ve got to love your body, you’ve got to embrace it.” – Washington Examiner

What do you think readers? We all know that sometimes things are said because they are nice, but they are not realistic.  Let’s face it, people lie.   Is it realistic to think that in a society that is obsessed with physical beauty and perfection that a person of Gabourey’s size will have a vibrant film career?  If she was not a famous actress, would people call her beautiful? If we acknowledge the skin color politics of the black community, how does that figure into this conversation?  I want you guys to think about this honestly. If this were your child, what perspective would you give her about what people may be saying in her face and what they might be saying behind her back?

(Note: She recently landed a role on Showtime’s “Big C” playing a “smart-mouthed student“.  Um…don’t large black women have a history of playing smart mouthed maids, friends, students, etc.  Typecast!)

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Debate This: Is Negro a “bad” word?

Here’s a comment we  received yesterday:

62 years old; grandma; white…

Something has me troubled. This seems like the perfect place to collect some input on it:

In a conversation with my daughter and son-in-law the other day I used the word “negro.” They were aghast and horrified. I was not being disrespectful and, frankly, I have long found the word to be rather elegant.

I’d like an African-American’s point-of-view on that.

Thanks.

Pam

Well, African-Americans…What do you think?  Is “negro” a bad word?  Should this 62 year old grandmother refrain from using it.

I will say, for her generation Negro was far more dignified than Ni**er.  Now if she’d referred to black folk as “Colored”…then I could understand her daughter and son-in-law’s  reaction.  In her prime years, the term “African-American” didn’t even exist and being “Black” was new.  My dad said,  When he was a kid some people would get made if you called them “Black” (as in “Blackey” or “You ole black so-in-so!”).

Over the last few years of doing this blog we’ve received several comments from people who feel that the name of this blog is offensive.  Someone even wrote that Negro was equal to the other N-word.  “Negro” is used everyday in Spanish speaking countries.  Caucasian would be the white equivalent…no one is calling for a ban on that.  We don’t see any thing wrong with the word, however we would suggest that when referring to African-Americans one use “African-American” or “Black”.   Very PC.

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Note to Sarah Palin: Everybody talks sh** outside of the ring…

…, but it’s when you get in the ring and face your opponent alone (without the benefit of speech writers like former George W. Bush scribe Matthew Scully) that the public will really be able to see how you fight you battles, and if you have the stuff in you to win, to be a true champion.  You will not have the benefit of these well crafted words when you debate.  You’ve set the bar very high with that speech.  Your Republican supporters will expect much of the same, just like a reigning champ.  There’s nothing like seeing the champ go down, huh?

I think you would have done better explaining yourself and who you will be as a VP than trying to just cut down Obama and Biden.  I thought that was Rudy’s job, he’s gotten quite good at it over the last year when it comes to Obama.

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Friday Question: What should be done about black youth and education?

Black youth are not getting a quality education in many of the major centers of black life in this country (NYC, ATL, DC, Baltimore, Cleveland, St. Louis, Chicago, etc.) Not to mention all across the south. Nationally, the graduation rate is 53 percent; in contrast, the graduation rate of what schools call “underrepresented minorities” – blacks, Latinos and American Indians – is 45 percent. In California alone, 41.3 percent African-American students drop out of high school.

If these children are not prepared to graduate from high school and don’t attend college or get some form of higher education…what will be their prospects for the future? Will they end up with low paying jobs, find crime as a way to support themselves, or just fade into the new face of U.S. poverty. A recent study on the bulging prison system noted, “One in 100 Americans is behind bars in 2008, about 2.4 million people currently are incarcerated and nearly 60 percent of young black males who dropped out of high school have served time in jail

What will happen to the young people who do not receive a REAL “education” from America’s public school system?

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Friday Question: Is Obama Addressing Black America’s Issues?

This article brings up a good question for our discussion this friday.

HAS OBAMA ADDRESSED BLACK ISSUES? by CASH MICHAELS
The Wilmington Journal

Beyond the need for the black family to be strengthened, and errant black fathers in struggling inner cities to help rear their children, has Sen. Barack Obama addressed other serious policy issues specific to the African-American community, or has he, as Rev. Jesse Jackson has suggested, engaged only in “talking down to blacks”?

The answer can be found on YouTube (www.youtube.com), the popular Internet video site, where a four-part, “Obama w/Black Press” video of the Democratic presumptive presidential nominee speaking to publishers and reporters with the NC Black Publishers Association (NCBPA) three months ago can be found (go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1NA4T0F-rU to view).

Taped April 29 at the Lawrence Joel Coliseum Annex in Winston-Salem, NC by The Carolinian/Wilmington Journal newspapers before his crucial May 6 primary victory against then Democratic rival Sen. Hillary Clinton, Obama, who was accompanied by renowned historian Dr. John Hope Franklin, delved head-on into critical issues such as affordable healthcare; civil rights enforcement and criminal justice; the importance of early childhood education; restructuring the Small Business Administration to help African-American, women-owned and other small enterprises; job opportunities, the mortgage meltdown; rising energy prices and more…Full Article

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Been Watching CNN’s Black in America?

What do you guys think so far of “Black in America“?  Are they telling you things you already know as an African American?  Do you think the content of the shows will help non-blacks have some insight into what it truly is to be “Black in America”?  Do you think the content is watered down, right on point, or TMI?

Are you like me and feel that the timing of this has a lot to do with getting people ready (warming them up) for a black president?

I’m looking forward to the “Black Woman & the Family” episode tonight @ 9pm.  How about you?

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