In case you missed it…

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Every Friday afternoon we sum up the week’s best posts from New Demographic’s various projects. But since I fell behind during the holidays, this post will include about two and a half weeks worth of items. Here we go!

addicted to raceADDICTED TO RACE
a podcast about America’s obsession with race

  • Episode 52: Carmen is joined by guest co-host Kristen Chase in this episode. They discuss reclaiming the term “racist,” the new film Apocalypto, a study finding black women missing from bridal magazines, and the Rosie O’Donnell ching chong gate.
  • Episode 53: Carmen interviews Kenneth Arroyo Roldan, author of Minority Rules: Turn Your Ethnicity Into a Competitive Edge about race in the workplace and how people of color can get ahead in corporate America.
  • Episode 54: Carmen is joined by guest co-host Jennifer Fang in this episode. Jennifer and Carmen discuss Yul Kwon’s win on Survivor, as well as the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition recent report card on television diversity.

anti-racist parentANTI-RACIST PARENT
a blog for parents who are committed to raising children with an anti-racist outlook

  • James Kim: a real hero and a real man: Race was never discussed in the media coverage of the Kim family’s disappearance, but the pictures spoke loud and clear. And to those of us from mixed families, it was a powerful affirmation to see a reflection of our own families in the Kims.
  • Careful the things we say – and don’t say: I remember the way I would wince – though not understanding why – when we referred to Asian people as Orientals. I remember the way I felt when I was told that in some ways, Orientals could pass as white. I felt relieved, and hopeful that maybe I could overcome my skin color after all.
  • Columnist intro: Sue: Of course we have to consider other issues that never quite make it into the trendiest pregnancy guides. I’m biracial, of African-American/Bermudan and European-American descent. My husband is Puerto Rican, of undefined-mixed-with-everything descent. 3 continents, 3 arbitrary U.S. “race” categories 7 traceable ethnicities.
  • Reflection: Each little baby step towards emerging from that cocoon as a Korean person was met with resistance. I have often felt that I’ve had to pretend to be “someone else for all time” to make others happy. And if I stopped pretending? Then I was being a bad daughter. I was hurting my adoptive parents feelings. See, it was all about them. About protecting them. My feelings weren’t supposed to matter.
  • Columnist intro: Meera: Having grown up in an affluent Philadelphia suburb, I’ve encountered my fair share of prejudice. Most often, it was simply things I overheard – like my third grade teacher and the elementary school principal whispering terms like “spics” and “slants” while trying to get a headcount of the minorities in the room. Or my parents mumbling about how our new neighbors put a big, black and yellow FOR SALE sign up when they learned that a black family (ours) was moving in and were worried the neighborhood was “turning”.
  • Little pitchers have big ears: And then it happens. The discussion turns ugly. Grandma begins to talk about all the problems with the “Black folk” in her neighborhood. Grandpa talks about how he refuses to go to the “Jap” dentist in his small town, because he fought the “Japs” in WWII.
  • Ouch: “Big nose….brown hair…..not Chinese…eyes. Her dad is Chinese something something…” Their heads shaking with disbelief. I was surprised how much Chinese I was understanding. Unfortunately, I know those words because M knows them too. M climbed into my arms and buried her head on my shoulder. She was hiding from the group of people discussing her appearance.
  • The nanny wars: She told me I could recognize her by her grey trenchcoat and that her hair would be in a bun. But I never got to tell her what color Mimi Maternity tank top I’d be wearing, because as soon as I began describing myself as black, she screamed “FIRE!” and hung up the phone. Okay, not exactly “FIRE!” But she hung up quickly and never called me back.

a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture

  • The Office: all Asians look alike: As a big fan of the show, I was interested by the previews for the episode which seemed to include a joke about two Asian women looking alike. So would “The Office,” a show known for being ironic and clever and in-the-know, be putting their satirical spin on the old stereotype? To my disappointment, they didn’t. In fact, in my personal opinion, one can argue that the show just played with the stereotype for laughs.
  • Trend alert: Ask a [Member of Ethnic Group] columns: We all remember Paul Mooney’s Ask a Black Dude segments on The Chappelle Show. But have you checked out Seattle Weekly’s Ask a Mexican columns?
  • Has Russell Simmons become a paid mouthpiece for the diamond industry? Apparently, part of this spin campaign has been to recruit Russell Simmons, of all people, to send out the message that the diamond industry isn’t really that exploitative. The Diamond Information Center, which is basically De Beers’ marketing and PR arm, sent Simmons and his entourage on an all-expenses paid trip to Africa.
  • Authority decides that Virgin Trains commercial is not racist to Native Americans: In the ad, stereotypical savages on horseback attack a train but – silly savages! – they don’t realise it’s not the old-fashioned kind they can leap onto from the saddle. They slide down the metal sides of the train and fall off! Ho ho ho!
  • The 5 most fascinating Asian male TV characters right now: It’s actually been a great year for Asian men on TV. And it goes way beyond Yul winning Survivor — there have been some really terrific characters on TV shows played by Asian men.
  • Video from The Charlatans UK: Asian woman sells body to support white boyfriend: The archetype of the eager to please Asian woman doing anything for her charmingly reckless white suitor has become a celebrated ideal of oriental romanticism.
  • Oprah: inner-city kids want iPods and sneakers, not education: All of us, regardless of our income/wealth level, spend money on things that we really can’t afford. We all aspire to own objects that are out of our reach. This is not some kind of “inner city mentality.” It’s a mindset that we all buy into, pun intended. Also, don’t we all go for the instant gratification over the long-term gratification?
  • Whoop that waif: Black Snake Moan: It looks like Sam Jackson will be playing the time-honored role of The Magic Negro, saving waifish white Christina Ricci from her own sexual demons. Even if he has to chain her up in his kitchen.
  • On The Pursuit of Happyness: Just the fact that a drama starring black characters that aren’t cooning it up or shooting eachother up could make it to number one is enough to have me bringing the Kleenex to the multiplex. I’m so tired of the maudlin Soul Food wannabees and the buffoonish Soul Plane regurgitations make me hurl.
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