Day: July 21, 2009

She’s been called a “genius” who’s fought for the poor and sick and is known for her work to bring awareness about health issues to minority and poor communities. She’s also has a physique more akin to Oprah Winfrey than Michelle Obama. So naturally … someone was going to say it. Is Dr. Regina M. Benjamin too much of a woman (re: fat!) to fight America’s obesity epidemic?

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At some point you have to put the crotch-shots away and woman-up. This is where we find Ms. Kimberley Jones, aka, rapper Lil Kim in our year of the Lord, two-thousand-and-nine.

She’s been to jail. She’s been vilified. She’s done all sorts of ungodly things. She’s been under the knife repeatedly to change her look from a cute, but regular, black chick, to a blown-up, boobie black Barbie. She’s been raunchy. She’s been nasty. Now she’s singing for Nelson Mandela’s birthday bash with Cyndi Lauper.

The times, they are a-changin’.

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From the blog Feministe about a CNN story on Michelle Obama’s “slave roots”:

(W)e would have loved to see CNN do is to acknowledge that all Americans have slave roots, not just Michelle Obama. We are a country that owes much of our prosperity to our slave labor history. The White House was built by slaves. Thomas Jefferson would not have had the leisure to write one of America’s most treasured documents had he not owned slaves. This country would not be here if it weren’t for slaves. This is not news. Slavery is part of our collective history, and not just the history of Michelle Obama and other descendants of the African Diaspora.

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“One of the ways that I think that the civil rights movement . . . weakened itself was by enforcing a single way of being black — being authentically black,” Obama said.

“And, as a consequence, there were a whole bunch of young black people — and I fell prey to this for a time when I was a teenager — who thought that if you were really ‘down’ you had to be a certain way. And oftentimes that was anti-something. You defined yourself by being against things as opposed to what you were for. And I think now young people realize, you know what, being African American can mean a whole range of things. There’s a whole bunch of possibilities out there for how you want to live your life, what values you want to express, who you choose to interact with.”

— A quote from President Obama from Eugene Robinson’s column (via Richard Prince’s Journalisms)

I once wrote a column called “The Sell-Out” where I used the metaphor of slave liberator Harriet Tubman’s gun being pointed at anyone who dared to get off the trail of the Underground Railroad and risk everyone’s lives and freedom in their cowardice. I wrote that while maintaining a semblance of unity in Black America is no longer a life or death proposition, we still have Harriet’s gun pointed at one another, prepared the shoot the minute someone is perceived to get out of line. That we are pressured to walk a particular route as African Americans and never waver from it.

This is a self-imposed, community-imposed way that is largely superficial now and often does more harm than good. The biggest limitations come in the forms of what are considering things black people can and can’t do which often keep people from advancing or being more well-rounded or just being themselves.

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