Normally, I don't have much in ways of interest for Bravo's Real Housewives of Atlanta. It's a silly, fun show full of cringe-inducing people and a few glamour-pusses flouncing around and twirling. But this season has piqued my interest, but for one reason and one reason alone -- granddaughter of a civil rights activist and wife of former pro-football star Kordell Stewart -- loveable ditz Porsha Stewart.
Entries in stereotypes (9)
This Monday for Clutch Magazine I went on one of my infamous long rants which can be summed up thusly as "Ugh, why is ANYONE taking this guy seriously." This time I'm addressing a cadre of internet commenters on Clutch who felt columnist John Derbyshire's racist rant was somehow written to "shed light" on the realities of black people, clearly ignoring that he was on some typical Bell Curve crap and doesn't give a flying fig about black people or our general safety. That's just some special mental jujitsu to read something obviously racist and to try and find something "truth-telling" and "positive" in it. Just because he quoted a kernel of true things about black-on-black crime, doesn't mean that he didn't twist them to fit his warped view of society.
This is one of those times where, even though he talked about black people, my dear black people, he did not write this for you.
During the jokey end of an interview, FOX News' Chris Wallace asked presidential hopeful Herman Cain if when he becomes the Big Enchilada will he switch up the ol' Hail To the Chief door-openin' music that Bill Clinton probably still cranks up when he's trying to "get in the mood." Wallace, possibly confusing Cain for a moment with a previously more "hippity-hoppity" Notorious G.O.P. black Republican in the form of Michael "The Man of" Steele, asked Cain if he'd be adding some "hip hop" beats to "Hail to the Chief." But, no. Wrong stereotype. Cain is not a young African American male challenging gravity to reveal to the world his underpants due to the lack of belt on his over-sized jeans. Cain is a DIFFERENT stereotype, which is that of the gospel-lovin', praising Jesus in the name of Jesus, older black Baby Boomer who yells at the young man stereotype to have some dignity and PULL UP HIS DAMN PANTS!
Don't get it twisted, Wallace. You've been put on notice. (H/T Gawker)
Mother, professor and Chinese American lady Amy Chua wrote a crazy piece for the Wall Street Journal where she seemed to have confused being a strict parent with being a control freak, then wrapped it in a pretty bow of "stereotype" declaring that it was common place for many Chinese mothers to make their 7-year-old practice piano for three hours at a time whether they had an interest in it or not.
In the piece she posits Chinese people are able to produce amazingly successful children by essentially beating the greatness into them through guilt and shame and telling them they are fat and worthless unless they do this one thing exactly the way mommy wants.
So, you know. It's a comedy.
Man, do black people love Jesus! (Jesus, be a reply to a wink!) But I didn't need OK Cupid's survey to tell me that. I also didn't need them to tell me that white dudes like Dave Matthews Band and The Big Lebowski. I would have been more interested in how many people defied stereotypes. Like, how many black women love Dave Matthews who aren't my sister Denise? How many Asian dudes quote The Big Lebowski? How many white guys read Harlem Renaissance fiction? How many black guys like Rage Against the Machine and The Killers? And once they find those menfolks, could the nicely send their contact info to my inbox? I'd like to ... um ... talk to them about something. (Source: OK Trends)
From Real Time with Bill Maher:
I thought when we elected a black president, we were going to get a black president. You know, this [BP oil spill] is where I want a real black president. I want him in a meeting with the BP CEOs, you know, where he lifts up his shirt where you can see the gun in his pants. That's — 'we've got a motherfu**ing problem here?' Shoot somebody in the foot.
I think Bill Maher is confusing all black politicians with President Camacho from Idiocracy. Also, corny stereotype of thuggish black men with guns? Lame. Maybe he's been drinking whatever Bill O'Reilly was drinking when he told Marc Lamont Hill he looked like a cocaine dealer. Of course, this is Bill Maher. He used to date Karrine Steffans. Do I really need to elaborate? I have a feeling his definition of blackness is a little skewed.
Old News: Did "Hot Ghetto Mess" Fail Because Black Folk Don't Get Satire, Or Was the Show Just Lame?
A reader emailed me this Black Voices story, "The Coonery Paradox," by Jam Donaldson, the creator of the failed BET show "We Got to Do Better," nee "Hot Ghetto Mess." In the article Donaldson chastizes people for not getting the satirical angle of the show and that it was about calling out what she calls "coonery," not about endorsing stereotypes. Yet the show faced a ton of criticism before and after it aired and was quickly cancelled.
Here's what Donaldson writes:
We rarely publicly castigate those who are in the media making us all look bad, but God help you if you ever point out the fact that they're making us look bad. Then you are automatically a self-hating, Uncle Tom, elitist, wannabe-white sell-out who is exploiting their people. The Coonery Paradox.
As you all know, I am not an Asian American, but after being married to a man with an Asian fetish I became highly aware that some people did not see Asian Americans as people but as stereotypes left over from "Enter the Dragon" meets "Flower Drum Song" meets "Miss Saigon" meets Long Duk Dong from "Sixteen Candles."
Most times America must seem like a black or white world where if you're not a black person or white person no one really gives a crap about whether your thousands-of-years-old culture is being portrayed by a cartoon panda doing martial arts voiced by Jack Black. Just suck on it Chinese Americans. Why are you all so uptight? It's just a movie, they say. Don't you have Fu Manchu mustaches and stick around confusing your Rs and Ls? And I think Dragonball Z is a documentary on Japanese mythology. What? That's isn't real? Don't you all worship Goku?
When I see Kung Fu Panda I think--Is this the equivalent of Hollywood making a movie about a jive-talking Chicken from the country whose dream is to become a famous rapper, moves to the ghetto but is constantly being pursued by greasy black fry cook from Church's--World's Greasiest Chicken Chain? The chicken would be voiced by Eddie Murphy, or worse, Michael Rappaport. And Nelly would write and produce the soundtrack? And there would be all these hip hop references and the pimps and drug dealers would do a song and dance number with Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King Jr.'s ghost?
While I'm sure it's a "cute" movie, considering that Asian people are pretty much invisible in Hollywood save for the occasional Karate flick and such rarities as Harold and Kumar, it has to be annoying to see out the usual three paltry movies related to Asian culture that may come out this year one of them has to be a kid's flick about a talking panda who learns Kung Fu.
We have Madea, but that's for us, by us. We only have ourselves to blame.
If you fair snob readers have noticed, my Blogger profile photo features part of a panel of a cartoon strip.** And if you've wandered over to my BlackPlanet page then you already know that The Snob is a part-time broke artist who famously dropped out of art school.
The Snob still loves art, but the art does not love her. I wanted to be an illustrator, a commercial artist, but I couldn't survive all the abstract, let's make a giant paper maché vagina and say it stands for the western world's view of women's sexuality as a commodity bull shit. All I wanted to do was draw portraits, the human figure and cartoons. I tried to go halfsies and draw sexually charged cartoons, but I was still too bourgeois (re: square) to create "good," interesting art.
I know this disappointed some of the others in my class as I was one of two blacks in the program and black people are supposed to be "edgy." I was supposed to create art about my Dickensian struggle out of the streets of St. Louis, dodging bullets to get to school and getting knifed up that one time on the bi-state bus to get to my job at the wing house. Watching my mother slap her veins so she could get doped up while my father was out impregnating other women who were not my smack-addled mother. Seeing my brother Pookie Bear get shot up by Kaydee and O-Dog in a drive-by while Radio Rahem did the pop-n-lock to "Fight the Power."
Black people are supposed to be broke and fucked up. How dare I be some county brownie from Hazelwood whose parents had the gall to get married long before I was born. How dare my life have comfort and stability. Why, I wasn't poor at all! The nerve. I was one of those Negroes. Those perfect English speaking, book reading, natty dressing, smooth talking, long-haired, educated charlatans who made them confront their bigoted world view that all black folks were a hot ghetto mess waiting on Michelle Pfieffer to come along and tell us we have beautiful, dangerous minds.
How dare I rob them of their Coolio moments!
Yeah, I'm bitter. So what.
Anyway, this was an excuse for me to share some of my not-very-snobby art. Primarily some tasteful, yet still slutty illustrations of Lil' Kim, one of my favorite subjects because she's so grotesque. Back in 2003 I decided to take a more subdued route with her. She was originally to be part of larger satirical piece on the commercialization of hip hop entitled "Clothes and Liquor" that I still have not finished. The "Electric Kim" is from a MAC cosmetics ad I combined with a Courvoisier that featured a pair of Gucci-like "Courvoisier" CV brand boots.
I might create a blog (someday) for my more risque cartoons and art, but ... hmmm ... I'll have to think about that one.
**The profile drawing is from a comic book I still haven't finished called "Inside Joke." It was created as a going away gift for my friend The M-Tizzle. The inside joke in that panel is about how I am fake sisters with The M-Tizzle and Lady Vance-A-Lot, who both happen to be red-headed and part Irish. People always assumed Tizzle and Vance-A-Lot were sisters (they're not) but no one would ever ask me if I were related to them (obviously). So I would often refer to myself as being black Irish. I don't think I actually have any Irish in me, but considering I'm a black American, God only knows.