Quotable Quote of the Month

What does it take for Republicans to take off the flag pin and say, 'I am just too embarrassed to be on this team'?".- Bill Maher

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Black History Month

I love history and stuff like the The History Channel, hell if I thought I could make some serious money off it I would have majored in it.

And if you grew up in the American school system looking like me you know that you didn't get enough of your own history to fill your mind.

You just got the highlights.

Slavery, Lincoln, Civil War, Civil Rights and MLK.

All in very small doses, just enough to say "oh....yeah you were apart of this country too...yeah here it is on pages 22-24.".

Who is that supposed to teach?

Let's not kid ourselves history is written by the victors, it's their story, their lives they are documenting.

That's how it's done throughout time.

If you're the loser you are written down as how they see you, a passing note in their lives, and if they feel guilty about their relationship to you then you become a footnote.

That's why I like Black History Month, it is supposed to be the opportunity to learn something you didn't know before and most likely were not going to find out about ever.

So when other black people get indignant about BHM because they feel that their history should be given attention year round instead of a month (which it should) I give them the screw face.

Exactly what part of the year do you get to see, read, hear and feel black history on a national scale?

You have to get on your hands and knees to pray that Hollywood falls asleep and lets a few black cast members get on screen in a movie that doesn't demean somebody, somewhere.


Think about that when you're looking for some work old man.

If I have a beef with BHM it's how it is executed.

I am sorry this may offend some but I have had enough of MLK, up to my ears about him.

Same goes for Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth, Dubois, and even Obama.

I am done with it.

That's my issue with BHM you get the same cast drilled into your head over and over again.

I want to see something new, people, places, events, we don't get to learn a lot about.

That's what I want to know about BHM and that's what I don't think we get enough of.

Doesn't matter how small or insignificant just something to shake things up.

So I put some info that you may have not known and provided links to some bloggers who did their own thing on something different or provided a different light on the same suspects.

But the question for today is does BHM even matter to you?

Do you feel like you're learning anything?

Is it irrelevant?

From the Haitian Internet.

Ebenezer Bassett, First Haitian Ambassador,

First Black Diplomat In U.S. History

Ebenezer Bassett was the first ever U.S. Ambassador to Haiti and, because there was finally a "Black Republic" to send black Ambassadors to, Ebenezer Bassett became very first Black diplomat in U.S. History.

1-Ebenezer Bassett becomes the First U.S. Ambassador to Haiti.

2-Ebenezer Bassett began service in Haiti 65 years after Haitian independence.

3-Ebenezer Bassett saved the life of Haitian President Boisrond Canal.

Read more here.

And here.

Here are some links from other bloggers.

PATTY JO AND GINGER:BY JACKIE ORMES - This is a cartoon by Jackie Ormes.

-Regina's Family Seasons
In Honor of Black History Month #3 W.E.B. DuBois

- Sojourner's Place
ain't i a woman? a sojourner's salute to elizabeth hobbs keckly

-Sagacious Rambling

Abraham Lincoln: Great man, victim of circumstance or both?

-Essential Presence
Uneven Fairways

Are We Essentially A Nation of Cowards?

In a speech to Justice Department employees on Wednesday marking Black History Month, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said that the United States is essentially a nation of cowards when it comes to dealing with race. Holder stated that although the nation's workplace is largely integrated, Americans still self-segregate in their private lives. Here is a portion of Holder's speech:

"Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards," Holder said.

Race issues continue to be a topic of political discussion, but "we, as average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race."

If you've read my inaugural post to this blog stating the Purpose of Diversity Ink, you can probably guess that I think U.S. Atty. General Holder is right on the money in his assessment. Just looking at the personal photos on Facebook of some of my co-workers, I can guess that in their personal lives they don't socialize much with people outside their race.

Although the office building where I work is diverse, the department itself (consisting of well over 100 employees) is predominately white. Just in my interactions with some of the whites, I get the sense that they aren't comfortable around blacks. Dealing with people outside their race is hard enough for some, so one might feel like a dentist if they attempted to get them to talk openly about racial matters.

To be fair, the street of race isn't one-way. There are blacks (as well as other minorities) who are reluctant to discuss race too. My guess is that some of them don't want to come off as militant or accusatory if the subject of race does arise. There are bound to be moments of tension and awkwardness, but I feel we have to start somewhere if we hope to ever have a chance at getting over our racial hangups in America.

Do you agree with Holder that we are essentially a nation of cowards?

For the complete text to Holder's speech, you can visit the Los Angeles Times site.

Below is a heated exchange between Pat Buchanan and Michael Eric Dyson during their appearance on Hardball the other night to discuss Holder's speech.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I'm Offended That I'm Offended

There are times that I feel like a poor excuse for a strong black person because I'm not legitimately offended enough to get upset about some things, I'm just offended that I have to spend time being offended! Today's controversy provides a perfect example: the Sean Delonas political cartoon published in yesterday's New York Post.


The creator of this cartoon is trying to make light of an incident this week in Connecticut involving an enraged pet chimpanzee that had to be killed by the police after going on a wild rampage. The instant conclusion I'd draw from this weak attempt at humor is that it's clear that "a monkey could do the job" of creating the Stimulus Bill, maybe even the "monkey" that was shot dead this week, and now that he's been unexpectedly snuffed out they'll have to find someone else to do his job. The association between the chimp shooting and Washington is not clear, nor is any association between any human being and the Stimulus Bill. So this cartoon becomes a real knee-slapper for everyone from the owner of the pet monkey dealing with her loss, to animal rights advocates offended that the police shot the chimp, to the Americans depending on the Stimulus, to...black people.

If anyone is really listening, can I make something clear once and for all? Any similarities drawn between a black person and a monkey are just - for lack of a better phrase - played out. That disgusting banana in the tailpipe of stereotypes is older than American history itself and even if it's not done on purpose it's something that no black person wants to see. It's trite, tired, and a surefire way to piss us off. Col Allen, editor-in-chief of The New York Post, a paper that's not exactly known for its thought-provoking content, is either off of his game or an intentional agitator. It's not really worth attempting to demonstrate the latter, so I can't help but accept the former. As an experienced professional seeking to attract as wide an audience as possible, the smart thing to do is to reject any images linking black people to apes, Chinese people with Laundry, Jewish people with skin-flint ways, or Arabs with terrorism. Why not just show a lazy Mexican dude with a sombrero on, dancing around to "La Cucaracha" and drinking tequila? That ugliness is only 50% of the way towards how deeply negative black America's relationship is with monkeys; in case you haven't heard, people do find that offensive, in fact consistently so over the past, say, THREE HUNDRED YEARS. Confusion around this concept needs to end.


What America needs to get is that this kind of thing doesn't actually upset most black folks in the way that many believe. There have been times that I've felt emotionally wounded and discouraged by racism but this is not one of those times. Black Americashould be upset because our sensibilities are not even being considered for one moment when an editor decides to run a cartoon even halfway depicting a black person as a chimpanzee. I doubt that Delonas was aiming for an "Obama is a monkey" joke. He has a history of ignorant cartoons that he defends with a "what, me worry?" shrug, but even a racist would zero in on the joke better by clearly making that chimp Obama-like. We also all know that Obama didn't actually write the Stimulus plan, which has many authors, not a single one. These facts considered, Delonas is just corny and we all know that. What I find irritating is the lack of care shown for my participation in political discourse. Knowing that as soon as you draw even the flimsiest parallel between a black person and an ape those inflammatory images strike a deeply repulsive chord and just lock us out. I'm offended that my sensibilities aren't even being bothered with or considered, especially with such obvious images, and further offended that I have to be bothered. At its mildest, it's as if I went to an event as a vegetarian and every single dish served had meat in it. By not considering my sensibilities as a black American, it is impossible to reach a common point where issues that are important, like the Stimulus bill itself, can be discussed with cool heads.

Which brings me to how black America shold be responding to this type of nonsense: Enough of us have hearts of stone and black pride that takes a deeper cut to slice than this, so a little rag like The Post isn't going to change much about the continued involvement of black Americans in political life. Thanks to my tendency to eschew political correctness in favor of open discourse and a funny bone that needs more than a crudely drawn, simplistic cartoon to get me giggling, Delonas' work barely affects me at all. I'm a fan of the cliche "a monkey could do that job," but when that monkey is being gunned down by a pair of stunned NYPD officers and linked even in passing to our black president, I have to cry foul but remember not to do so too hard. Certain sensitivities are long past their expiration date, and it's time for black America to get past them and focus on the real problems. There is always going to be some lame underachiever taking digs, some journalist who stinks at his job, or some legitimate racist who twists the discussion. With a black president in office we can't afford to suspect foul play at every turn of the river because the people who want us to be voiceless are counting on us to spend the time and energy it takes to be offended and running in circles protesting instead of staying on course. I'm sure most of the same people who are offended by this cartoon today don't even understand the contents of the Stimulus Bill that was signed yesterday . . . do you? That is what we need to be worried about.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Drunken Negro Face Cookies!

Am I the only one to find the idea of a bake good named "Drunken Negro Face Cookies" offensive? I received the below video in an email and it made me angry enough to "chew bricks". The cookies in question were supposedly used to celebrate the Inauguration of President Obama. On that day the cookies were referred to as "Obama Heads". The Greenwich Connecticut baker who sells these cookies does not see why anyone would have a problem with the confection and that the women (who happen to be Caucasian) reporting the story are overreacting. What do you think? Should all people find this appalling and racist or am I being overly sensitive?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Mother to Son

Black history month is upon us. I have been thinking about the written word a lot lately and how words might be our most prized possessions when used appropriately. Langston Hughes (1902 - 1967) was an author and poet who used words to invoke, incite and disseminate wisdom and knowledge. I would like to share one of my favorite pieces written by Mr. Hughes.

Mother To Son

Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I'se been a-climbin' on,
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners,
And sometimes goin' in the dark
Where there ain't been no light.
So, boy, don't you turn back.
Don't you set down on the steps.
'Cause you finds it's kinder hard.
Don't you fall now—
For I'se still goin', honey,
I'se still climbin',
And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.

Langston Hughes

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Multi-platinum Teen Pop Star Did What?!

The photo above of teen pop sensation Miley Cyrus (3rd from left) recently emerged showing her and some of her pals posing with an Asian friend and pulling their eyes sideways. In response to the photo, the OCA (Organization of Chinese Americans) issued the following statement on February 2nd:

The photograph of Miley Cyrus and other individuals slanting their eyes currently circulating the Internet is offensive to the Asian Pacific American community and sets a terrible example for her many young fans. This image falls within a long and unfortunate history of people mocking and denigrating individuals of Asian descent.

"Not only has Miley Cyrus and the other individuals in the photograph encouraged and legitimized the taunting and mocking of people of Asian descent, she has also insulted her many Asian Pacific American fans," said George Wu, executive director of OCA. "The inclusion of an Asian Pacific American individual in the photo does not make it acceptable."

"OCA hopes that Miley Cyrus will apologize to her fans and the APA community for this lapse in judgment and takes the opportunity to better understand why the gesture is offensive."

OCA is a national organization dedicated to advancing the social, political and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans in the United States.

Miley responded with the following on her official fansite:

"Ive also been told there are some people upset about some pictures taken of me with friends making goofy faces! Well, Im sorry if those people looked at those pics and took them wrong and out of context!

In NO way was I making fun of any ethnicity! I was simply making a goofy face. When did that become newsworthy? It seems someone is trying to make something out of nothing to me. If that would of been anyone else, it would of been overlooked! I definitely feel like the press is trying to make me out as the new 'BAD GIRL'!"

I feel like now that Britney is back on top of her game again, they need someone to pick on! Lucky me! haha Anyway, I just wanted to let you guys know what is on my heart. You guys know me and have been by my side every step of the way!

You guys know my heart and know the most important things to me are my friends, family, fans, and GOD! In NO WAY do I want to disappoint any of you! But, when I have made mistakes in the past, I feel like Ive owned up to them and apologized.

Anyway, I really wish everyone would stop focusing on my personal life and get back to focusing on what I love! Music and Acting! Hopefully, I will be touring again this fall! Yayy! =] It will be a nice change to be back out on the road again!

xoxo Blessings.. Miley =)"

The intentions of Miley and her friends may not have been racist, but I can understand why some would be offended by the photo. Although it's not as bad as Mickey Rooney's stereotyped portrayal of "Mr. Yunioshi" in the 1961 film Breakfast At Tiffany's, I think that Miley and her friends made a bad move by posing that way in the photo.

Miley didn't really help her case with the above "apology". She basically tried to blame the media for covering this story. I don't feel that members of the media should go digging through a celeb's trash or follow their every move, but being famous does mean that your missteps will be publicized for all the world to see.

Miley's slant eyed pose wasn't the worst thing she could have done so I'm not calling for The Disney Channel to yank Hannah Montana off the air or that the public boycotts her CDs. As those who read my pop culture blog know, I watch Hannah Montana on a regular basis and will continue to do so. Miley's slant eyed pose may have been nothing more than a 16 yr old making a "goofy face". However, if Miley and her other friends who pulled their eyes sideways don't feel they did anything wrong, they should at least acknowledge that their actions could be deemed offensive.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Thunderous Silence

I feel like I'm on a high that I don't want to come down from. Ever since the inauguration I've felt like this. I find myself just grinning for no reason at all.

I was lucky that I didn't go into work on Tuesday until 1:00 so I was able to see Mr. Obama be sworn in as the President. There are few moments on television that effected me as much as that one did. The last time I can recall being that overcome with emotion from watching events on TV was on 9/11. I was off that day and getting ready to go out when a friend called me that morning and told me to put the TV on. I did, just in time to watch the plane hit the second tower. I sat down on the couch in a fog, watching the scenes unfurl on the screen for the new few hours, unable to tear myself away.

Thankfully this time the emotion were the polar opposite of what I was feeling that day. I sat transfixed watching the cameras pan the crowd of everyday Americans, black and white, men and women, gay and straight, stand out in the cold so they could partake as history was made that day. People were overcome with joy, some openly weeping as they stood there.

Watching Aretha, with that wonderful hat only Aretha would have worn, walk up to the mike and sing those words, as we all mouthed those words that we all now so well. That day we were all Americans, united together.

I admit to tears in my eyes as I watched Barack Obama took the oath of office. It was a great feeling, like Christmas morning when you're a kid and wake up to find the tree circled in presents. I was proud of my country and what we were doing that day.

Than after the swearing in I had to get ready to go to work. I went in, expecting everyone would be talking about what had happened that day. I was greeted with silence on the subject. No one brought it up unless I mentioned it first.

I live in a state where only 11% of white men voted for Barack Obama. It was the lowest percentage in the country.

I work at a place where not one other white man that I know of voted for Barack Obama. And I'm pretty sure I would have known if there was another one there because I was pretty vocal in my support of Mr. Obama. Everyone knew where I stood. I can guarantee my car was the only one in the parking lot that bore an Obama bumper sticker.

I was hoping someone would talk about it. Someone mention it. Someone realize that even though they didn't vote for him history had been made regardless that day. And that even though they didn't vote for him they hoped he would succeed and do a good job. But nothing.

I can't recall one person bringing up the inauguration to me that day. I talked about it. I couldn't not talk about it. How many times in a lifetime do we witness a day unlike any other? But I couldn't pull more than a few words from anyone about it. All I was left with was a thunderous silence.

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Interracial Dating

Hello everyone, this is my first post here. I've been reading along and keeping up with the intriguing conversations. It's wonderful that so many have joined in to share their views!
What are your views on interracial dating/marriage between any race, but specifically African Americans and whites? I've often heard that African American women don't like it when African American men date Caucasian women.

What are your thoughts?

The Ethnic Masquerade.

I saw this trailer for a movie version of the Street Fighter video game character Chung Li.

Before I saw it I was kind of hesitant because I remember seeing a Street Fighter staring Jean-Claude Van Damme which was horrible.

But after watching the trailer here I let go a sigh of relief, this looked like a winner.

Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun Li

But after awhile I got to thinking about another trailer I saw for an Asian orientated anime that was going to make it's debut as a live action movie.

Dragonball Evolution Trailer

Dragonball Evolution from Joel LeBlanc on Vimeo.

Anyone see the difference?

Allow me, while the Street Fighter movie was featured an Asian actress, (well half Asian Kristin Kreuk technically), playing the star, the DragonBall Z movie had a very much Anglo star for it's movie.

My question is, should Hollywood be obligated to portray the actual race the character is based on in their movies?

The knee jerk reaction from me would normally be a "hell yeah, what is you stupid?!?!".

I mean what if they had John Travolta playing Martin Luther King?

Denzel Washington playing George Washington?

Aaaahhh, but there is the difference you say?

Those characters were very much real, and there race clearly defined, you say?

Well yes your right, damn right.

That's too much diversity if you ask me, and yes I do believe in a thing as too much when it comes to diversity.

So by that thinking, characters from the movies are make believe, conjured up from the minds of very creative artists, race shouldn't be assigned to them.

I disagree, well rather I disagree if you are on this side of the pond and you happened to be a minority.

When your a minority trying to see your self in the media is like trying to find Waldo while high out of your mind.

And you might not like what you see when you do find him.

Heroes and role models have to be grabbed up soon as the pop up or run the risk of having some twisted self esteem issue if your a minority.

You can ask any black woman who had a white doll as a little girl or watches to much TV about that issue.

Than there is the motivation of Holly-weird on why they are changing colors in the first place.

Is it catering to a larger white audience?

Is it traces of that old being a "better Native than the Natives" syndrome?

Is it even wrong for them to do so?

Do you even notice?

Would you notice if it didn't involve your race?