Showing posts from 2008

Moving Beyond Race: Sizing Up Post-Racial Ideologies

Note: On December 10, 2008, The Herald Times published a guest column written by me titled, "Despite transformative moments, racism still common in America." This is a shortened version of the blog I posted online in November under the title of "Transformative Moments: Election 2008 and The Continued Saliency of Race." If you have a subscription to, you can follow the online commentary about the editorial (see link above). I have reproduced the original column at the end of this blog. Over the past week, I have received noticed that bloggers were concerned that I omitted the fact that 95% of blacks voted for Obama when highlighting the following: ...Today, the symbolic meaning of race is changing again: some whites look beyond race (44 percent of whites voted for Obama), some blacks garner... Bloggers felt that the 95% figure was relevant to my discussion of transformative moments and racism. The discussion that ensued has allowed me to h

Push by Sapphire to Video...SOON

Anyone who has read the best-selling book, Push, by Sapphire, about a young African American woman who has more than her share of problems and navigates life with a grit and determination that defies the hopelessness that surrounds her, will be super excited that Lee Daniels (the guy who cast Halle Berry in Monster's Ball) is bringing this book to film . I've left my description purposefully vague for those of you who have not read the book. If it isn't already a classic literary production, it will go down as one before soon. Go get it! Supposedly, the film version of Push will have its world premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival January 15 through 25th, 2009. Paula Patton plays the teacher that helps Claireece "Precious" Jones (the main character) break through life; Mariah Carey plays the social worker responsible for Precious; Lenny Kravitz debuts as a nurse, and Mo'Nique plays Claireece's mother. See here , here , here , and here fo

Bidil, Blackbird, and Black Niche Marketing: Race vs Racism

A browser for blacks, a heart drug for blacks. Where do we draw the line between the salience of race to social life and racism? The creation of the Blackbird technology smells of the racial controversy around the marketing of Bidil--a heart medication--as a black drug . Admittedly, the issues surrounding Bidil are a bit more complex. Steven Epstein states: Having failed to demonstrate the drug’s efficacy in the overall population, BiDil’s manufacturers reinvented it as an “ethnic drug” and tested it only on African Americans. Nonetheless, both of these instances clearly capture the capitalistic economic aspects of niche marketing and the implicit (and explicit) acceptance of attitudes that blacks are a monolithic group--whether it be the presumption that all blacks have the same physiological makeup or that all blacks seek the same kinds of information. But to what extent are they evidence of racism? Before I go any further, I must define how I use the term racism. According to the U

Transformative Moments: Election 2008 and the Continued Saliency of Race

The willingness to believe in the possibilities of America is the social ideology underlying an Obama win. This is my generation's transformative moment—just as MLK and JFK assassinations were transformative for the generation of the 60s, the Harlem Renaissance and the Great Depression for the generation of the 20s, and the Civil War and the end of slavery for the generation of the 1860s. I take this moment to pay homage to my elders who uprooted their families from various parts of the Caribbean under the banner of this hope, to my father who since becoming an American citizen stood in a line for the first time to cast his vote in 2008, and to the generations of Americans—black, white, and in between—who have given their lives to the possibility my generation would see this moment. My deepest gratitude is owed to you. America has taken a definitive step towards racial equality in politics. The symbolic implications of race are transforming with this election, just as the symbolic

Acts of Omission et al: Prop 8, Racism, etc

Acts of Omission I am typically not one to speak of anything political publicly. However, in the back rooms, I have been privy to a conversation that sympathizes with the highly-publicized fight for gay marriage but finds itself unable to overlook the acts of omission that have come with it. As a person who has lived the predominant part of her adulthood in rural areas as a triple minority, I find several things lacking in the modern gay rights movement that if addressed would assert a more inclusive and progressive agenda. First , I would like someone to take more seriously the prosecution of hate crime statutes that already exist, statutes that have been unable to cease the physical brutality enacted against gay bodies, particularly racialized ones. Second , it would also be nice if someone attended to the spread of AIDS to previously-uninfected communities, an epidemic spread that is exacerbated by the inadequate screening practices of prisons, the patronizing attitudes of scient