All Articles Tagged "prejudice"
Mattel has been caught in the middle of a lot of controversy surrounding their Barbie dolls lately. Earlier this month we reported on a group of Harlem moms petitioning for the company to offer more diverse Barbie merchandise. Now they’re being slammed for their relaunched “Dolls of the World” line. Mattel says that each doll included in the line comes with a passport and most come with an “animal friend.” Seems pretty harmless, right? Well, according to NPR, the line’s “Mexico Doll” has triggered much criticism.
Many have come out blasting Mattel for the Mexico-inspired doll, claiming that the company was being “stereotypical” when they selected her clothing and accessories.
“A little stereotypical? Mexico Barbie is wearing a traditional Mexican dress, has a chihuahua, and a passport,” one tweeter questioned.
Mattel has insisted that there was no offense intended in the production of the doll and that many of the country-inspired Barbies come with animals.
The company’s issued statement on the controversy, which can be found on their website reads:
“The Barbie Collector Dolls of the World line was launched in 1980 and is the largest and longest-running series in the history of the Barbie brand. Each doll wears an ensemble inspired by the traditional costume and fashion of the country. In 2012, the Barbie Collector Dolls of the World line launched dolls from Argentina, Australia, Chile, China, Holland India, Ireland and Mexico. Every doll in the current line includes a ‘passport’ and stamps as well as an animal friend providing additional play value.
We consulted with the Mexican Embassy on the Dolls of the World Mexico Barbie, especially with respect to the selection of the Chihuahua. Our goal with the Dolls of the World Mexico Barbie, as well as the entire Dolls of the World Collection, is to celebrate cultural differences and tradition, introducing girls to the world through play.”
The dolls do appear to be a great way to educate children about the world around them. Even the interactive website for the collection seems to be very informative, offering interesting facts about each country that a doll has been released for. But while we are on the subject, it’s interesting to note that so far, there aren’t any Black dolls included in the relaunched collection.
Do you think people are making an issue out of nothing or is there a valid argument to be made about “Mexico Barbie” and the collection in general?
Boy, Bye! Director Antoine Fuqua Doesn’t Think Hollywood Is Racist, Says Some Are Just ‘Unqualified To Do The Work’
It feels as if it is every other day that a Black Hollywood actor comes forward telling horrible tales of racist encounters they’ve experienced while working in the industry. Olympus Has Fallen director Antoine Fuqua, however, seems to think that unfair treatment experienced by Black actors is less about color and more about being “unqualified.” He also implies that people who perceive Hollywood as racist are “ignorant” to the culture, and had no qualms about expressing this to The Voice while on a press tour in the U.K.
“I wouldn’t use the term racist, as much as I would say the playing field is not even in Hollywood. But ultimately, you have to put in the work [...] It’s very easy to cry racism when you’re not qualified to do the work or your work isn’t transcending to where you want it to be.
Hollywood is a business and you have to look at it that way [...] I do see other things – like people who don’t understand or are ignorant to our culture. But I wouldn’t call them racist. If anything, it’s our job to expand their minds to our experience
There are no African Americans that run major studios and most of the executives at the top level are not African American. So when the people in those jobs are developing stories, nine times out of 10, their stories won’t be about African Americans – they’ll be about people who look like themselves. To say that those people are racist is not necessarily the case.
99.9 per cent of the people that have given me my opportunities in this business were not African American [...] Denzel [Washington] gave me a great opportunity when we did “Training Day” together, and I also became friends with Mr. Sidney Poitier, who has given me great counsel and advice. But in terms of people in the studio system, most of the people who have given me my jobs were not African American. So I can’t sit back and say Hollywood is racist.”
Same Stereotypes, Different Day: What’s So Insightful About Philly Mag’s “Being White in Philly” Article?
It’s hard to get the point of the article in Philadelphia Magazine, entitled Being White in Philly, especially considering that most forms of media already act as a daily conduit to how white folks specifically think, feel and basically are being.
But despite the title’s proposition to offer some keen insight into the world of white thought we haven’t heard of, by the five paragraph it is clear that we pretty much heard it all before:
“I’ve shared my view of North Broad Street with people—white friends and colleagues—who see something else there: New buildings. Progress. Gentrification. They’re sunny about the area around Temple. I think they’re blind, that they’ve stopped looking. Indeed, I’ve begun to think that most white people stopped looking around at large segments of our city, at our poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods, a long time ago. One of the reasons, plainly put, is queasiness over race. Many of those neighborhoods are predominantly African-American. And if you’re white, you don’t merely avoid them—you do your best to erase them from your thoughts.
So this is not necessarily a story about white folks in Philadelphia but rather a story about how white folks feel specifically about black folks in Philadelphia. Sure black folks make up the biggest minority population in the city, however the Asian and Hispanic communities respectively represents. But nope, just black folks. At any rate, Robert Huber, the writer of this article, along with his throng of real white Philadelphians, pontificate upon the sometimes difficult relationship that they have with us colored folks including Huber’s awkwardness at having to be “overly polite” to black folks at the local WaWa.
Most of this narrative is told anonymously through the mouths of those in the more well-to-do parts of city like *Anna, whom Huber describes as a beauty from Moscow, who now lives in the more affluent and predominately white Fairmount section of the city. As she gets out of her BMW, she tells Huber, “I’ve been here for two years, I’m almost done,” she says. “Blacks use skin color as an excuse. Discrimination is an excuse, instead of moving forward. … It’s a shame—you pay taxes, they’re not doing anything except sitting on porches smoking pot … Why do you support them when they won’t work, just make babies and smoking pot? I walk to work in Center City, black guys make compliments, ‘Hey beautiful. Hey sweetie.’ White people look but don’t make comments… ”
So a white woman freaks out every time a black man whistles at her and she believes that black folks in general are lazy and don’t work? Got it. But again, is this negrophobia news to anyone? Anyone, who reads the comment section of any article, which mentions black folks in any context, already knows about this perception. Black teenagers are regularly stopped, frisked and even murdered because of the perpetuation of this thought. Heck there are political campaigns run and won on the premise of the welfare queen and the threatening black man. To be fair, there were a couple of anonymous white folks quoted in the article, who cautioned Huber about his racial generalizing. However there is enough about missing Halloween pumpkin from the front stoop that they are pretty sure was stolen by some black kid and the dismal graduation rates among blacks and the good ole’ days in the city, prior to the arrival of those blacks, who arrive from the South to Philly en masse with “chips on their shoulders.” So I’m sorry Huber and Philly Mag but you don’t get any less traditional than what we read in those pages.
Whether it was Lisa Turtle on “Saved by the Bell,” The Black Mighty Morphin Power Ranger, or the appropriately named Token from “South Park,” they all have one thing in common: they play the token among a cast of predominately white characters whom we might not otherwise relate to. When it comes to film and television, the 80’s and 90’s were filled with sassy assistants, intimidating sidekicks or soul-singing Grandmas who were never the main character. Maybe it’s something that’s been historically oppressed on African-American culture, but some us have definitely kept the “token mentality” ball rolling by not allowing our people as a whole to achieve any significant level of success. What is the token mentality, exactly? It’s the belief that only one of us at any given time can be the educated one, the pretty one or the funny one. The only area of our culture that this doesn’t take place is Hip-Hop. Otherwise, before any of us can make some progress, we begin to pull one another down when it seems any one of us is getting just a bit more shine than the others. As a result, a majority of us usually end up at the bottom together complaining about how “the man” is holding us down.
I think on some level we all do it to ourselves. How many times have you driven through a different neighborhood feeling slightly uncomfortable until you spot another black person? They may have zero in common with you, but instantly you’re relieved because if you’re going down, at least it’s together…or so you hope.
There are certain things inherent to black culture that others have difficulty picking up on, but as I get older I learn more and more stereotypes are not about your race as much as it’s about how you were raised. For example I can’t cornrow, just recently learned what a “dub” is and people actually set mailboxes on fire? Where they do that at?
It’s OK that we don’t always stick together and there’s nothing wrong rolling with other people that don’t share your race if you actually have things in common, because honestly you’re not obligated to like other black people just because you’re black. The problem comes when you think that having white friends equals having white privileges and when those friends don’t truly look at you as a friend but, well a token. Here are ten signs you may be just that:
Am I The Only One Who Feels Mistreated When Visiting Some Asian-Owned Beauty Supply Stores Catering To Black Hair?
I dread going to most Asian-owned hair stores. No disrespect to those stores that do great work and have great deals, but at this point, I just do. I have found their vast array of hair selections and hair care products usually comes with some discriminatory practices and poor service. I have visited enough Asian-owned beauty supply stores to know that there are some that have exemplary customer service and value our patronage. However, their numbers are few and far between. My negative experiences at different Asian-owned beauty supplies are far too frequent for them to be considered simple coincidences.
I went into one of the aforementioned hair stores for the sole purpose of purchasing a half-wig. After looking around intently, I saw one I liked, but before I could even point to it to try on, the employee quickly told me that I would need to purchase a stocking cap. This would have been a non-issue for me (since I know how important it is to maintain hygiene in a place like a hair store) if it weren’t for the fact that there was also a white customer in the store trying on wig after wig with NOTHING on her head. In all fairness, every customer should be required to wear stocking caps when trying on hair, but when I politely pointed this out to the employee, you would have thought I was speaking a foreign language or walked in that joint looking like Pig-Pen. She was far from concerned with the white customer’s head, but she very concerned about mine.
I was determined to have a positive attitude at the next hair store I visited (which was also Asian-owned) despite my previous less than pleasant experience. I was eager to try a variety of hair products I saw in a hair magazine so I sought assistance from one of the hair store employees who happened to be white. I gave her the names of the products and I asked her where I could locate them in the store. She hadn’t heard of any of the products and had no idea where to start searching. I switched gears to something I thought she could actually help with and asked her to price a couple of their best ceramic flat irons. She informed me that all the flat irons worked the same and it didn’t matter which one I bought. I asked her if she was new. She said no, but I really wished she would have said yes. Maybe then I would have felt better about her lack of familiarity with the hair-care products that were all over the shelves that she didn’t bother to educate herself on.
A few weeks later I went into another Asian-owned hair store to buy a blow dryer and a few hair accessories. There were three Asian employees near the entrance of the store. None of them greeted me nor did they offer me any form of assistance when I walked in. I proceeded to search for the hair accessories on my own, undeterred, since my previous visit taught me to help myself as much as possible. I found them, and afterwards, I asked for assistance. I told one woman what I wanted and she brought it out to me. I went to check out with what amounted to be a large purchase. The lady who helped me was so cordial and complimentary after noticing all the products I was buying, and I was not surprised to find that it was one of the same people who ignored me earlier. I decided enough was enough and that I had just put my last dollar in the register of an ungrateful business. I re-evaluated my choices of the hair stores I went to and decided to halt my visits to them altogether.
The deliberate prejudice practices of some Asian-owned hair stores I have visited is down right unacceptable! Moreover, hiring employees with little to no knowledge of black hair care products to work at a hair store targeted towards blacks in a predominately black neighborhood when they clearly have no interest in trying to learn is equally shameful. Sub-par service in certain Asian-owned hair stores is doled out towards blacks more often than not. Adding insult to injury is the fact that these stores set up shop in primarily black areas. Yet their unfriendliness, lack of good service, and unappreciative attitudes seems to be ignored as they make money off of black dollars. In my opinion, it seems that a loss in revenue may quite possibly be the only way for these establishments to feel the effects of their tired business tactics and poor customer service, and start treating all of their customers equally and a lot better.
Have you had similar experiences at some Asian-owned beauty supply stores?
So Kim Still Thinks Her Comments About Kandi’s House Are Cool: “I Don’t Have To Prove Anything To Anyone”
If it weren’t for Kenya Moore, Kim Zolciak would easily be the most hated housewife on the “Real Housewives of Atlanta” right now. After letting her assistant, Sweetie, gas her up with tales of the hood while she was visiting Kandi’s new home, Kim made several ridiculous, borderline racist — or at least prejudice — comments about the Cascade’s area and the mansion Kandi and her boo bought in cash. Yes, cash. From saying she didn’t feel safe and she had to lock her doors to commenting that if she was black she would have a swimming pool in her home too, just about anybody watching RHOA Sunday night was done with this chick when the episode ended.
Unfortunately Kim couldn’t even help herself out with a follow-up blog post to the premiere episode of the show. Rather than logically explain the shade, and sheer jealously, she has toward Kandi she threw out the classic excuse every white person uses to prove their not prejudice: I don’t see color. Yeah, OK. Here’s what she wrote on her Bravo TV Blog.
When Sweetie and I took the hour drive over to Kandi’s new home, I wasn’t in the best mood. It was over 95 degrees outside, I was 7 months pregnant, and Kandi’s home had no A.C. running. Sweetie told me it wasn’t safe at all (however I still went to support Kandi), and in fact there are several movies and songs that describe and portray the harshness of that area.
Kandi has always mentioned to me that she loves the way I’ve decorated my homes, so I had no problem giving her tips about decorating. My comment about her having an indoor swimming pool because she’s black was just a silly joke. Kandi, Sweetie, and I laughed. Quite frankly, I wish I had one myself.
As for NeNe, she still can’t keep my name out of her mouth! NeNe constantly insinuated “I come from a trailer park” AND I am the racist one? I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. I know my character, and the multiple friends of different races that I do have know it as well! Like I have said before and will say here again for the last time, COLOR means absolutely nothing to me, it is the person’s character and blatant ignorance that determines the non-friendship between me and the person. That is all for now.
I get it. I always say racially inappropriate comments when I’m hot, irritated, and homeless too. Sit your pregnant butt down Kim.
Did anybody else spontaneously start singing, in the Kreayshawn voice, “One big Binder, full of bad b***hes…” when Presidential candidate Mitt Romney started talking about a binder full of women during Tuesday’s debate? Just me? Okay, well I’m sure I’m not the only one who instantly thought of Cam’ron’s “Horse & Carriage” when President Barack Obama amusingly referred to Romney as “Mr. Me Too?” Well, if you didn’t you are probably thinking it now.
It’s funny how we associate things with both positive and negative attributes. On their own, both Kreayshawn’s “Gucci Gucci” and Cam’ron’s “Horse & Carriage” might illicit some negative reaction for their explicit language, misogynistic lyrics and overall wack content. However, in new context, say a gaffe by Mitt Romney and a well orchestrated zinger by the president, they become wonderful salient postscripts to otherwise muted points.
And this might happen more than we think. Like during the same debate, when a sole woman stood up in front of both candidates and asked, “President Obama, during the Democratic National Convention in 2008, you stated you wanted to keep AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. What has your administration done or planned to do to limit the availability of assault weapons?”
Both candidates, while disagreeing over the ban, co-signed each other on the community’s role in violence. And while the president was more kid gloves about it, suggesting that the end of violence can only come through community efforts, Romney took a more direct tone to the whole “community effort” discussion with talk about family values. To be more exact:
“But let me mention another thing. And that is parents. We need moms and dads, helping to raise kids. Wherever possible the—the benefit of having two parents in the home, and that’s not always possible. A lot of great single moms, single dads. But gosh to tell our kids that before they have babies, they ought to think about getting married to someone, that’s a great idea.”
Well maybe Romney’s binder full of women is actually a matchmaking look-book for all those crime spreading single moms out there?
But seriously, no one should be surprised by Romney, a self-professed religious man, would champion the family unit as the solution to social problems. I think that is basically his answer to everything. Can’t afford college? Ask mom and dad. Likewise, it was Paul Ryan, Romney vice-presidential hopeful, who just last week asserted that, “The best thing to help prevent violent crime in the inner cities is to bring opportunity in the inner cities. Is to help teach people good discipline, good character.”
But that didn’t stop people in my news feed, particularly angry black folks, from balking at his solution to violence and issuing charges of coded racism and sexism, pointing the finger at poor single parents. Single parents, particularly single mothers for all the ills in the community so what’s the big deal if we add gun violence to the list? Of course I am being facetious but how is Newt Gingrich’s advice that the NAACP “should demand paychecks and not food stamps,” any different than Bill Cosby’s now infamous Pound Cake Speech? Or Philadelphia Mike Nutter, who gave his best Southern Baptist routine in the pulpit about how our youths are damaging the race any different than Rush Limbaugh asserting that some people are just meant to be born slaves because they are lazy?
Point is that black folks have been on this social conservative/personal responsibility kick for a long time and lots of our folks were willing to co-sign some of these very conservative values when the speaker just so happened to be black. How many times will someone go off about hood rats and welfare queens? How many of us regularly scowl at the antics of project dwellers and thugs? How many times do we read comments below stories about lazy shiftless Negros, messing it up for the rest of us good…er…African Americans? So what makes Romney’s sentiment less meaningful now?
Is it the message or the messenger?
Though many try to pretend that we live in a colorblind society; for many people of color, racism is a very real issue. Considering we speak to an audience of black women everyday, we thought we’d ask them to share their racist, ridiculous and hurtful experiences with us. Here’s what they had to say.
Artemis: I was 18 in Zurich, learning to speak German. A guy walks up to me with this sneering smile and said, while touching my hair:
“du bist einen schwarzen schlampe.. ja?”
I understood up until the “schlampe” because I had had no reason to know what that meant until then… when I said I didn’t understand it, he just laughed and muttered it again, then got off the tram.
I asked my uncle (who’s white, he married my mom’s sister) what it meant, and watched him get angrier than I’d ever seen him… and told me to punch anyone who ever did it again in the face and get to his office asap.
MN: Did you ever find out what it meant?
Artemis: “You’re a black Slore? yes?” … My uncle told me … Didn’t hurt, but I was pretty pissed off… this guy was nothing like what “tv” in the islands portrayed racists to look like, he looked “normal,” not a monster that will try to rape you. Heck he didn’t even look like he could take me in a fight… meh… I got over it quickly.
Another shock-jock columnist has bitten the dust for his attempt at being cleverly controversial with just a hint of racial prejudice.
Over the weekend, the National Review fired John Derbyshire for his online article, “The Talk: Nonblack Version,” which was written for right-wing publication, Taki’s Magazine, as a response to the conversations black people are having with their children as a result of Trayvon Martin’s killing. The columnist wrote a list of things white parents should be telling their kids about black people, and as you can probably guess, it’s quite off the cuff.
The article has been taken down in it’s entirety since this morning, but a few gems from the authors list of talking points lives on in other reports, including:
- You will observe that the means — the averages — of many traits are very different for black and white Americans, as has been confirmed by methodical inquiries in the human sciences.
- While black-on-black behavior is more antisocial in the average than is white-on-white behavior, average black-on-white behavior is a degree more antisocial yet.
- Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.
- Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.
- If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on that date (neglect of that one got me the closest I have ever gotten to death by gunshot).
- Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks.
- If you are at some public event at which the number of blacks suddenly swells, leave as quickly as possible.
- Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians.
- Before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character.
- Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway.
- If accosted by a strange black in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving.
- The mean intelligence of blacks is much lower than for whites.
One could argue that black parents are telling their children the exact same thing about white people, and that both sides even have a point, but the thing is we’re not spouting this “advice” off as fact in national online publications or making these claims to distract focus on the real matter at hand. When a black man kills a white guy for simply looking suspicious in his neighborhood and doesn’t go to jail for it (on top of hundreds of years of racial oppression), then white people can start having these sorts of “talks.” Oh wait, that will never happen.
Mike Lowry, the editor of National Review, explained John’s firing in response to the article, saying:
“We never would have published it, but the main reason that people noticed it is that it is by a National Review writer. Derb is effectively using our name to get more oxygen for views with which we’d never associate ourselves otherwise. So there has to be a parting of the ways. Derb has long danced around the line on these issues, but this column is so outlandish it constitutes a kind of letter of resignation.”
Unfortunately someone else will probably give him a job in no time.
What do you think about John Derbyshire’s column?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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As an African-American woman, I’ve always been aware of racism and prejudice, small instances as opposed to disheartening big ones. From a young age you know how it feels to be treated differently because of the color of your skin. Luckily, I lived in neighborhoods where my neighbors were of all different cultures, so I never experienced outright racism. So when it was time for me to go to college, I was excited to move out of my house and be on my own. I was ready to take on the world and be enlightened as college was supposed to be full of liberal and open-minded people. I was ready to be around people who I could learn from and share experiences with.
When I got to college, like many who go to a majority of large or public universities, I was the only black girl in almost all of my classes. This never bothered me because I’m really not the kind of person who needs to be around black people to feel comfortable. To my surprise, my being black seemed to make my classmates somewhat uncomfortable and shut off. I came into all my classes with a smile on my face, ready to make friends. What I found was that my smiles were not returned and instead, I was given the cold shoulder. I was pretty much invisible. Most students in my classes never talked to me, and when we were forced to have interactions, you could tell that it was just that, forced. I always had to make the first move and speak to them first.
My classmates were always surprised by my responses in class. They were always shocked when they saw that my grades on tests were higher than theirs. It was clear that they made assumptions about me based on the color of my skin. I’m not sure exactly what these assumptions were based on though. Maybe they were used to seeing black women in a non-academic setting. Maybe they thought that as a black woman I was supposed to fit the stereotype they saw on TV. Maybe they assumed that I wasn’t smart enough to be where they were. Because I never spoke to them about their qualms, this question remains unanswered.
The eyes of disapproval never changed how I felt about myself though. Throughout college I had numerous friends of different races and continued to say open-minded. My experiences in class did not dictate the rest of my college experience, and I was not jaded by the fact that people who were not black may have looked at me differently because I knew who I was as a person. I refused to walk around with a chip on my shoulder because I knew what I represented. I can’t be the spokesperson for the entire race and do the absolute most to get any and everyone’s approval and admiration, but instead, I can only be me. I just wish that I could have educated or enlightened some of my classmates who preferred to stay with their own people and who went out of their way to NOT give me a chance.
College was a great experience for me altogether. One lesson that I took away from it is that in this world, whether I am in school or at work, the color of my skin will always precede me. People will automatically judge me in some way because I’m black, including other black people. I know now that it’s not my job to fight the stereotype. The best way to negate a stereotype is to just be you. No matter what stereotype people think I am, I know that once they get to know me they will see that they are wrong, which brings me all the satisfaction I need.
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