Saturday, March 13, 2010

Drop It Like It’s Hot

Hello everyone, thanks for another great week of conversation.   I want to take the time to remind everyone  that Womanist Musings has an open guest posting policy.  If you have a post that you would like to share please send a link or your original work via e-mail. 

Below you will find a list of posts that I found interesting.  Please be aware that I did not read the comment section for all of the posts listed, so please read those at your own risk.  When you are done, don’t forget to drop it like it’s hot and leave your link behind in the comment section.

The (Gender) Politics of Pee

On Standing Up But Not For Myself

On alternatives to the r-word

Nice Try!

Activists Unveil Positive Power and Diversity of Muslim Women

Man-haters, Feminazis, and Steinem-oh my!

Woman (ish)

Things of which I Am Tired

Kathryn Bigelow: Queen of the World

South African women need more than World Cup Condoms

Cambodian Police Often Require Bribes Before Investigating Rape Cases

Growing Up Jewish – Sabbath Edition

Seen any good skin bleaching lately?

Catholic school rejects student because of lesbian parents

Poem: I have Cried Tears

Consuming pop culture while trans: Disney’s The Little Mermaid

Rethinking Work: cooking as labour

Quick and dirty guide to the other economy

On Punk


How the War on Drugs gave birth to a permanent American undercaste

Am J Cardiol concern-trolling: “But mobility aids will stop them EXERCISING!”



Friday, March 12, 2010

Nope, I Don’t Want To See Your Dick

The following is a Calvin Klein commercial

Hey, hey you do you wanna see my dick? You wanna see my dick? I said do you wanna see my dick? Come on don’t be shy.  You want some fucking more?

Becky from Happy Bodies came across this video while watching a show on Hulu.  I tend to agree with her assessment, that this video assaults the senses.  I didn’t come across it suddenly, but how many women have heard the exact same taunt walking down the street from some random douche?  Seriously, doesn’t it just remind you of some creepy guy in the subway? Also, the final line is really disturbing, “you want some fucking more,” when did I, or any viewer consent to any of it?

Just because these are generally speaking attractive men, does not erase the assaulting nature of the video.  It is not tempting or cute; it is simply creepy.  I get that this is an underwear commercial but seriously, can you even imagine a panty commercial with women saying, hey do you wanna see my pussy (or whatever euphemism you feel comfortable with)?  As much as this commercial sells underwear, it is also about praising the phallus – the symbol of masculinity. 

Calvin Klein ads have become famous for the beautiful men that they feature and the constant pushing of the envelope; however, there is nothing new and challenging about this commercial.  You cannot spend a day without seeing an obvious phallic symbol or seeing some form of dick worship. No matter how good looking you may think that your are, hordes of women are not dying to see your dick.  No matter how many monuments we build to penises in architecture, if that is the most interesting thing you have to offer, well then you are missing  out on a lot.

Okay, I’m done but I am very interested to hear your take. Let it fly in the comment section.

Jihad Jane Upsets Notions of “White” and “Woman”

I have a new post up at the Ms. blog

image Long before 9/11, Americans had a firm understanding of what terrorists looked like. They’re assumed to be of Middle Eastern descent and, predominantly, men. With these characteristics in mind, racial and gender profiling have been implemented to make the country safer (supposedly): Brown male bodies signify danger.

The federal indictment of Colleen R. LaRose, a.k.a. “Jihad Jane,” has problematized this conception. LaRose is not only a woman, but a white, blonde, blue-eyed suburban American. The Montreal Gazette refers to her as “a Main Street, U.S.A. girl,” and it quotes Michael L. Levy, chief prosecutor of East Pennsylvania, as saying, “The case shatters any lingering thought that we can spot a terrorist based on appearance.”

White womanhood is a complex identity, because even as it is reviled to ensure the perpetuation of patriarchy it is also uplifted to ensure White supremacy. But when LaRose took the name Jihad Jane–thus identifying herself with Islam, a religion many westerners view as violent despite its core teachings and the behaviour of most followers–she disassociated herself from Whiteness. And that made it impossible for commentators to once again apologize for a White American who commits domestic terrorism.

When Joe Stack flew his plane into an Austin IRS building recently, his Whiteness caused him to be understood as simply an angry man who felt trapped by the system rather than a representative of his race. Republican Texas gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina added to this construction by stating that Stack’s actions are reflective of “the hopelessness that many in our society feel.” Though Medina was quick to say, “You cannot excuse that kind of behaviour,” she also called Stack’s final flight “an act of desperation.” Few have been willing to label him the domestic terrorist that he is, despite the fact that he left a lengthy manifesto describing his alienation.

More than gender separates Stack and LaRose. Stack did not frame his actions in language that Westerners associate with Middle Eastern terrorism and, in fact, many may identify with his gripes against the IRS. Stack was Everyman, his Whiteness never in question, whereas LaRose  abdicated the privilege of her Whiteness.

Finish reading here

It’s Friday and the Question Is….


The worst evah is commentary you hear a lot around chez Musings.   We are constantly in a debate about what the worst movie ever made was.  I happen to think that it is “Crash”.  Not the “Crash” that deals with race but the “Crash” that deals with people who get turned on getting into car crashes.  I do believe it beats out “Ishtar”, “The Three Amigos,”  “A Serious Man” “Titanic” (Yes, Allison it sucks), “Body of Evidence” and  every single “Police Academy” movie after the first one.  I know that I am missing a few, but it’s early and I am on my first green tea.  Well, your turn to share, what do you think is the worst movie evah? 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Twilight the “Eclipse” Trailer

Okay, so the latest trailer is out for The Twilight Series.  I know all of the problematic messages and you can remind me in comments, but I am hooked. For those of you that are looking forward to seeing Eclipse, enjoy.

Claudia Jones — a legacy deferred

Published Mar 10, 2010 5:58 PM

Excerpts from a speech by Andrea Egypt at a Workers World Party Black History Month forum in Detroit.

image Sometimes a legacy can be buried within the rubble of politics for a long time, waiting to be unearthed and refined like a diamond in the rough.

Such is the legacy of Claudia Jones. She was persecuted by the McCarthyite anti-communist witch hunt and by the McCarran-Walter and Smith Acts against immigrants.

Claudia Jones was a triple threat: She was Black, a woman and a communist, at a time when this country was undergoing social and political upheaval.

She was powerful in both theory and practice, with a radical, revolutionary approach that challenged national and women’s oppression. She launched transnational challenges to U.S. foreign policy from the perspective of Marxist and Leninist theory. She had the ability to address a wide range of issues and was widely known as the Communist Party’s principal theorist on the “woman question.” She wrote reviews, theses and essays on Pan Africanism, Black nationalism, Afro-Asian Caribbeanism and immigration rights as well as the West Indian diaspora of struggle, using her journalistic skills to integrate issues of race, class and gender on local and international levels.

She was noted for the party’s theory of the “triple oppression” of Black women. She wrote that “if the party wanted to be a place of equality, then it means above all fighting for the economic equality of women, because her economic dependence on men in our society, and her exclusion from production makes for a double exploitation of women and triply so for Negro women in present-day society.”

Jones was born in 1916 in Port-au-Spain, Trinidad, then a British colony. Her family lived well until the cocoa industry crashed and her father lost his job. The family was forced to emigrate. She was 8 years old when they moved to Harlem, where they lived in squalid, impoverished conditions. Shortly after they assimilated, her mother died due to spinal meningitis and overwork in the garment factories. Her father could find only custodial work to support the family. They were so poor that Claudia missed receiving an important Citizenship Award at her high school because she had no clothes to wear for the ceremony.

Due to poor conditions, at the age of 17 she contracted tuberculosis and was committed to a sanatorium for a year. She suffered severe lung damage that affected her health throughout her life.

Her health, her living environment, the death of her mother, her father’s employment situation, her inability to find work except in laundries and factories, as well as her sisters being confined to housekeeping jobs — these encounters with racism, sexism, poverty and working class exploitation would later inspire her, as a journalist, to call for equal pay and equal rights for all women of the world, starting with Black women, in order to win real change.

Black journalism was on the rise. Between 1935 and 1936 she wrote a weekly column for the Negro Nationalist newspaper. She attended marches and rallies on matters like the Scottsboro 9 case. She was impressed by how the Communist Party’s legal defence raised the case to a national level, exposing the racist injustice of the criminal court system.

She decided to join the Young Communist League and by 1937 was elected to its National Council. In the 1940s she became associate editor of the Weekly Review. Her weekly column, “The Quiz,” answered questions on religion, the Soviet Union and other political inquiries. She was editor in chief of the Political Score, which responded to political and social events and racial concerns surrounding the African-American struggle. She wrote “Half the World,” where she noted that the Communist Party needed to refine its position on gender and asserted that “white women need to be clear that the Negro question is prior to, and not equal to the women question.” She met with some criticism but stood firm in her belief that as the position of Black women advances, so will the entire social structure.

Her assessment was that “women bore the brunt of the culture’s economic and social exploitation and since women made up half the world population, no attempt to move society forward is possible if half the population remains unaccounted for and under-represented.” Between 1945 and 1946 she was Editor of Negro Affairs in the Daily Worker and was elected a full member of the National Committee of the Communist Party.

FBI agents had begun infiltrating her rallies and meetings to build a case against her for expulsion from the U.S. As she became more influential within the Communist Party in relation to her anti-imperialist views, the FBI seized upon the fact that no birth records identified her as a U.S. citizen.

Jones was arrested for deportation on Jan. 19, 1948, but released on $1,000 bond a day later. FBI records show a firestorm of protests and petitions against her deportation.

The FBI continued to plant agents at every rally and event she participated in. Jones was arrested again in 1951 with many other party members, including Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, under the Smith Act. Because of a speech she had given on International Women’s Day that challenged the overall male patriarchal establishment, she was charged with plotting the overthrow of the government. Her bail was raised higher this time.

Jones was sentenced to one year in prison but remained free on appeal. In 1955 the Supreme Court refused to hear her case and she was sent to federal prison, where she suffered a heart attack. She never recovered and her health began to interfere with her journalism.

Finally she was released but was forced into exile in Britain. She found refuge in the Caribbean community of Notting Hill, where she eventually became the Mother of Carnival.

There she also founded the West Indian Gazette and the Afro Asian Caribbean newspaper in 1958. She brought both awareness and self-identity to a nation subjected to the same racist and fascist imperial oppression, with a British twist. But her health and the newspaper began to suffer as she went in and out of hospitals to battle cardiovascular disease.

In 1964, Claudia Jones died of a heart attack. She was buried to the left of Karl Marx’s grave at London’s Highgate Cemetery. May we never forget to give her a rightful place for historical advancement and achievement in Black history and culture.

Articles copyright 1995-2010 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Is Violence Against Women Really Taken Seriously?

Below you will find a video that is extremely graphic.  A Dutch man  stabs his wife repeatedly, while witnesses attempt to pull him off of her. The video is potentially triggering and extremely violent.

At the time of the crime, the woman was 22 years old and today she has permanent injuries due to the assault.  The witnesses were only able to pull him off of her because he got too tired to stab her anymore.  The above video was used in court and he was sentenced to four years in prison.  The assailant is due to be released in a few weeks.

The reason that I chose to post this video is the high amount of apologism that I see offered continually when women are victims of violence.  When Chris Brown beat Rihanna, many were quick to blame her for instigating the violence.  We remove ourselves from the role of victim and therefore completely ignore their experience.  

When I watched this video I was horrified and I believe that is how we should all feel.  Every time you think about excusing violence against women, I want you to think about this video. Imagine yourself lying helplessly below your husband, as he attempts to murder you.  Imagine the pain and the fear.  Experience it in its totality and then realize that nothing you feel, comes close to how this woman felt during the assault. 

Comedians make jokes about domestic violence, and facebook pages have been dedicated to minimizing its impact.  This video reifies the horror of domestic violence and the very next time someone chooses to pretend that this is not horrible and a crime, I intend to share this video with them. Once you have seen you cannot un-see, once you have learned you cannot un-learn and once you hear you cannot un-hear.  Domestic violence is real and we laugh and minimize it to our own detriment.

Monstrous Musings: The Monstrous Mother: From Beowulf to Coraline

This is a guest post from Natalie Wilson

I am a literature and women’s studies scholar and author of the blogs Professor, what if…? and Seduced by Twilight. I am currently writing a book examining the Twilight cultural phenomenon from a feminist perspective. My interest in vampires and werewolves dates back to my childhood fascination with all types of monsters.


Quick - can you name a few monstrous mothers or mother figures? I can hear you now listing off the many cruel stepmothers from Disney, the Mommy Dearest who so hated wire hangers, the abusive mother from Precious (yeah Monique!), the evil mama from Carrie, the dead mom from Psycho that turned Norman Bates, well, psycho.

Now, how about a few demonic dads? Having more trouble here? Can’t think of many deadbeat Disney dads or fairy tale fathers destroying their children’s lives? Nope, me neither. There are a few - Daddy Jack from The Shining being one of the most prominent in my mind. More often though, dads are cool, as in Lion King, Enchanted, and Night at the Museum. They are world class purveyors of adventure (Indiana Jones), great scientists (Nims Island), rags to riches geniuses (The Pursuit of Happyness), or caring cool guys (Twilight). They let you race horses (Dreamer) or teach you about protecting the environment  (Fly Away Home).

Moms, on the other hand, are often portrayed monstrously. They exploit you (Cinderella), are jealous of you (Snow White), beat you (Precious, Mommy Dearest, Sybil), care more about their “silly” feminist aspirations (Mary Poppins) and all too often up and die on you (too many films to mention!).

Coraline, recently out on DVD, is no exception to this historical tendency to turn the mother into monster. Based on Neil Gaiman’s popular book, the film tells the story of the woefully misunderstood Coraline who discovers an “other world” ruled by her monstrous “Other Mother.”This dreamlike other world starts out rather enticing but soon devolves into a nightmare, replete with an OM (Other Mother) who looks more mutant spider than Betty Crocker. As Judy Berman writes in her Salon piece, “The Other Mother Coraline encounters in her newfound paradise is a saccharine '50s housewife who spends her time cooking delicious meals and gushing over her daughter. It doesn't take long for Other Mother to become selfish and needy, begging and then demanding that Coraline remain in this bizarro realm forever.” As such, the OM is your typical Freudian nightmare, threatening to gobble you up with her needs.

However, back in reality, Coraline’s real mother is also quite monstrous. Her constant refrain is “I don’t have time for you right now” and she is depicted as neglecting Coraline not only emotionally but also physically (offering up meager lunches such as a mustard-catsup-salsa-wrap).

As Berman argues, the OM is a “a nightmare vision of a domineering matriarch.” One of her many monstrous traits is her ability to emasculate Coraline’s sympathetic father. While Berman feels “there may be a feminist undertone” to the film given that OM “exhibits all the selfish, neurotic delusion of a woman confined against her will to the domestic sphere,” I agree more with Gary Westfahl’s “Mommie Dreariest” review, which contends that the film depicts everything as mommy’s fault. Noting “the commonplace analogy between black widow spiders and domineering women” the film relies on is “ found nowhere in the book,” Westfahl argues the film makes Gaiman’s quasi feminist tale into a decidedly anti-feminist nightmare. As Westfahl points out, Wybie is turned into Coraline’s savior in the film (and a white-washed one at that) while the original book had Coraline saving herself.

Nonetheless, both book and film rely on the trope of the monstrous mother, the woman who threatens to at turns devour you, change you into a scary replica of herself, obliterate you altogether, or destroy your dear old dad. As the cat says of OM, “She wants something to love. Something that isn’t her. She might want something to eat as well.” This monstrous mom, as films from Cinderella to Enchanted teach us, do not want what is best for their children, rather, they are evil, jealous, and controlling. They are the crazy ladies in the attic, the ones locked away so charming dad’s can usher their sons and daughters into a world devoid of scary feminine power and sexuality.

This scary, monstrous sexuality is further embodied in the Coraline film by the eccentric spinster characters Miss Spink and Miss Forcible. These retired performers embody the laughing-hag motif immortalized by Bakhtin – their large bodies, exuberant laughs, and bountiful breasts threatening to sMother the ultra-thin (read ‘normal’) Coraline. They, along with OM, are monstrous caricatures of femininity – to loud, to strong, to loving, to bodily.

As A. O. Scott writes in the NYTimes review of the film, “Coraline explores the predatory implications of parental love — that other mother is a monster of misplaced maternal instinct.” Yet, why are these predatory implications so rarely housed within narratives that present monstrous fathers? Barbara Creed, in her fabulous treaty on the subject, The Monstrous Feminine, reveals that when females are constructed as monstrous it is almost always in reference to their capacity to reproduce and mother. In contrast, male’s ability to reproduce is usually depicted as heroic and world-changing (as literally making history possible) with their ability to father most often presented with wondrous awe (of the ‘oh he as a penis and he can make a bottle/change a diaper too!’ variety).

Alas, seems we have not come all that far since Beowulf, when Grendel’s monstrous mommy was dangerously sexual, able to penetrate intrepid heroes with her phallic talons. A castrating threat, she is not all that different from Other Mother – except now, here in 2010, monstrous mothers pose similar threats to females. Now, not only does the mother threaten male rule and masculine bravado, she also threatens to make females AS monstrous as herself. Thank goodness for the likes of characters such as Wybie, who are inept and shy, yet still can ride in to save the day so that our damsels don’t turn monster. Ugh.

Howard Stern on Gabourey Sidibe: hard facts

I have a new post up at Global Comment


Howard Stern, in case you needed reminding, is the highest paid American radio personality & the ultimate media shock jock. On Monday, on his Sirius XM program with co-host Robin Quivers, he had some harsh things to say about Academy Award nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe.

“There’s the most enormous, fat black chick I’ve ever seen. She is enormous. Everyone’s pretending she’s a part of show business and she’s never going to be in another movie,” he said. “She should have gotten the Best Actress award, because she’s never going to have another shot. What movie is she gonna be in?”

The immediate instinct is to be critical of Stern, because his comments clearly convey fat-hatred, sexism, and racism. Gabourey is indeed fat and female, but calling her “enormous” and a “chick” was just a way of shaming her.

Yet Howard Stern was true to form. He was offensive. He was also accurate.

We live in a world where fat people are not exactly appreciated. Fame was not enough to keep Kevin Smith from being thrown off of a plane. Though this was an incident of clear discrimination, many openly applauded Southwest’s decision to do that to Smith, because we believe we can always shame a fat person into conforming to the prevailing aesthetic.

When Jessica Simpson was attacked by the media for looking “fat” in her infamous mom-jeans, we forgot that she was actually a size four. The media much preferred her in Daisy Duke shorts, even if that weight was not healthy or sustainable. The shame caused Simpson to create a new reality television show called “The Price of Beauty,” to explore what women across the globe are forced to endure to be considered beautiful.

It remains to be seen whether or not Stern’s assertions about Sidibe’s movie career are indeed correct. The actress has already signed on to play a student in the upcoming Showtime comedy series, “The Big C.” What is certain is that her weight will play a significant factor when it comes to the roles she’s offered, and her earning potential.

Finish reading here

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mad Man Barbie Dolls


I saw the above at Jezebel and I could not help sharing.  An article in the New York Times states that they are a part of a "premium-price collectors' series" for adults.  The suggested retail price is 74.95 per doll and there will between 7,000 to 10,000 copies of each doll. They will be available at and

Dodai points out that the mini Mad Man cast comes without mini alcohol and snifter.  Can you imagine Don going 24 hours without a drink?  So, she recommends a mini silver cocktail set to accessorize.  I gotta say I agree with Dodai on this one.

Finally, am I the only one that thinks they ought to ditch the Betty Draper doll and make a Peggy one instead? 

New French Diet Eat Air


Well it seems as though a new diet fad  starvation plan created in France is the next big thing.  The diet is called “L'Air Fooding” and it involves putting food on a plate and pretending to eat it.  Yes, so very chic; put food on your fork and bring it to your lips but never take a bite.   Not to worry, if the hunger pangs hit you, you can always fill up on soup à l’eau (water soup) which consists of water and salt. Mmmm tasty.

To ensure that the diet  starvation plan is understood to be the next great thing, French Grazia is promoting it, using Madonna’s Dolce & Gabbana campaign, and other photos of celebs holding food to their mouths and not eating it.

I would love to have a word with the small brained individual, who thought this was a good idea.  Honestly, haven’t enough women died from eating disorders without making it trendy to starve oneself? Food is an essential part of life; it is the fuel that gives our bodies energy.  

We are constantly told that we should lose weight to get healthy, but if the plan involves starving yourself, I fail to see how this is a healthy option.  We should just be honest and admit that the media disciplines women is not out of a concern for health and well being, but to keep women constantly unstable and reaching for standards that are not normal for them or sustainable.

If your body is meant to be a size 14 and you are desperate to be a size 4, you will spend money on fad diets, surgery and exercise equipment/gym to achieve this look no matter the personal cost.  Not only will this cost an exorbitant amount of money, it will not necessarily amount to a healthier stronger version of you.  It will in fact drain you of essential elements even as it is impoverishing you.

This diet starvation plan is nothing but a recipe for an eating disorder.  Women already have a complicated relationship with food due to our stigmatization of fat bodies and poverty.  Did the inventor of this diet starvation plan even consider how this looks to poor women who go without to feed their kids? Do they even realize that some are lucky to get one meal a day?  Starvation is not something to do for fun.  It LEADS TO DEATH FOR MILLIONS.  There are families  grocery shopping at food banks and eating at soup kitchens, so you can just imagine how they might not be able to identify with this incredibly large brain fart masquerading as a diet.  This diet starvation plan reeks of class privilege.  Imagine that, I’m so privileged that I’m going to diet starve myself, how fucking chic.

Heaven forbid we just try to promote a message of balance and health that does not mock women and stigmatize fatness as the ultimate evil.  How about we stop actively promoting eating disorders and just for shits and giggles, how about we recognize the luxury that food really is?  How revolutionary, a world that actually considers what is best for all.

H/T The Diet Blog

Wednesday What’s Up


Please use this thread to discuss whatever is on your mind.  Are you reading something wonderful, have you seen a great movie or play?  Is there an issue grinding your gears, or do you have great news that you would love to share? Let it fly in the comment section.

Today is Happy Black girl day and because I already broke the rules and blogged about Toure I will just have to wait until next month to throw in my contribution.  I will just have to share with you Sister Toldja’s contribution for March and vow to do better next month.

Editors Note: as I come across blogs participating in Happy Black Girl Day I will add links to this post.

The Happiest Black Girl I Know

Happy Black Girl Day X Assimilation X Whiteness

Michael Bryan: let’s not discount depression

I have a new post up at Global Comment'

On February 26th, Michael Bryan, the eighteen year old son of Marie Osmond, leapt to his death. The Osmond family has asked for prayers of support in this extremely difficult time. According to ET Online, Bryan left behind a note explaining that the suicide was motivated by his life-long battle with depression. He wrote that this battle left him “feeling as if he had no friends and could never fit in.” Although he entered rehab in 2007, the reasons for that were never publicly disclosed.

This is clearly a difficult time for Marie Osmond. Yet instead of conveying sympathy for her loss, comedian Roseanne Barr has publicly blamed Bryan’s apparent suicide on homophobia within the Mormon Church.

The church was very active in the fight to ban gay marriage in California and church doctrine considers same-sex attraction to be a sin. The church has also been known to practice aversion therapy, though its results have proven to be harmful. Barr attacked Marie Osmond in a blog post entitled marie osmonds gay son killed himself: “because he had been told how wrong and how sick he was every day of his life by his church and the people in it.”

Stating that “depression is a lie!”, Barr wrote:

“Marie please don’t talk about how your faith in your church has helped you get through this one! Please get some integrity and tell that church of yours that you will leave it and stop giving it ten percent of your money if they don’t stop trying to destroy your kids’ and all gay people’s civil rights and dreams and hopes!!”

Other than Republican Mitt Romney, the Osmonds remain the most public face of Mormonism in the U.S. and given the churches stance on homosexuality, it is quite easy to lash out at them.  Bryan’s death could publicly signify the toll of the homophobic behaviour engaged in by the Church, but since he never publicly stated that he was a gay man, any such assertion is conjecture. Using his death like this simply co-opts his existence.

What we do know, without doubt, is that Michael Bryan battled depression. The true nature of depression, like many mental illnesses, is often discounted despite its seriousness. GLBT youth are more likely to commit suicide than their cisgender heterosexual counterparts, but it is the addition of depression that turns rejection into a life-threatening circumstance.

Finish reading here

Touré Praises Raped Slaves For Seducing Massa

It takes a lot to leave me sputtering and incoherent but Touré accomplished that with his recent tweets. Touré is a journalist and talking head for BET, MSNBC image


Sexually heroic?  They were raped repeatedly..any intercourse between slave and master is RAPE because the power differential would eradicate the possibility of consent.  If you don’t understand this basic fact, it is because on some level you believe that men have a right access women’s bodies. 

Black men have repeatedly spoken about the ways in which racism effects their life's chances, without acknowledging that this does not remove gender privilege. And to even suggest that love could exist in an environment in which the woman was considered chattel is ridiculous.  If you love someone, you don’t hold them in bondage and force them to satisfy your  every need.  All this argument does is justify the crimes of White slave holders but leave it to a Black man to find the good in slavery, when it involves the oppression of Black women.

Touré claims that his twitter account was hijacked, but I don’t believe him for one minute.  Let’s just face the fact that he is not the first man to display his inner fool for the world to see – John Mayer anyone?  Black men are no different than White men; if the opportunity arrives for them to oppress a woman you can be sure that they will because their  entire existence has been in support of patriarchy.  They are betrayal sprung from our very wombs and yet it is on our bosom that they expect comfort and salvation

This story is once again not getting any circulation and I highly suspect it is because the people being devalued are Black Women, the unwoman of the world.  When we rage against the world ,we are angry and uncouth and yet the violence and emotional venom aimed at us goes unnoticed, except by those of us who carry the pain of being the worlds punching bag.

Touré has scrubbed his twitter account and though the words have been erased, the pain has not.  You see, once you send something out into the world you cannot take it back and you cannot erase the hurt that you cause.  There has been no formal apology and neither MSNBC or BET has had anything to say about his commentary.  MSNBC already has a history of forgiveness (see Imus and nappy headed hoe commentary), so I suppose the silence is really unsurprising. 

Once again, I am going to ask for your support in denouncing behaviour that is clearly damaging. 

MSNBC President Phil Griffin at 212-664-4444

(they are going to transfer you to viewer services HELL, but get creative with it.)

EMAIL: [email protected]

I think that what bothers me the most is the knowledge that this kind of thing is going to keep happening, because though Black men are our partners in the struggle against racism, the pursuit of power has caused them to ignore the harm that they do in the name of patriarchal privilege.  It is perhaps the most bitter pill to swallow.

H/T What About Our Daughters

R.I.P Corey Haim


Like most people that grew up in the 80’s, I had a picture of Corey Haim on my locker.  Haim was best known for his role in “Lost Boys” with Corey Feldman.  In recent years he starred in “The Two Coreys” on A&E. It became quite clear on that program that despite his struggle, he was still far from clean and so it came as no surprise to read that he was found dead this morning of an apparent drug overdose.   Corey Haim has become a sad cautionary tale.  He did not have the career that he should have had due to drugs and now he is dead at the age of 38.  That’s far too young for anyone to die.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

African Americans are the First Gay Couple To Marry in Washington

Angelisa Young and Sinjoyla Townsend were the first couple to marry.  They wed at the office of the Human Rights Campaign, along with two other couples. Below you will find a portion of their wedding ceremony (editors note: please grab the Kleenex before you hit play)

When the minister declared them partners in life, my heart swelled.  Though marriage will never end homophobia because it is institutionalized, it is beautiful to see gays and lesbians publicly avowing their love and promising faith and fidelity to one another.

I think that it is important that all see this video.  There is so much talk about homophobia in the Black community, that  those who are same gender loving, who are both gay and Black are erased.  Their stories and their truth is ignored and silenced in order to push the grand narrative.  Let their love stand as a testimony that gay rights are an issue for people of colour because Black gays and lesbians are affected by homophobia. 

To those within the Black community who still see homosexuality as a White thing,  right before your eyes is the truth of the opposite.  When you support heterosexual privilege, you are oppressing your own people.  Even though the media is content  to paint the GLBT community as a monolithic group filled with race and class privilege, today stand aware that they are as diverse as any other group on the planet.  The monolithic identity is the oppressors truth and it flourishes to keep us separated from each other.

Congratulations Angelisa Young and Sinjoyla Townsend, may your love grow and blossom in the years ahead. 

H/T Think Progress

Tune in Tuesday: Boy George

Okay, so maybe my friends have a point about my love of aging British pop stars, but I LOVE Boy George.  When this song came out, I was just learning about different sexualities and the way in which gender is constructed.  I think back at those times and realize all of the assumptions I made based in the fact that I had grown in a culture that privileges not only my sexuality but my cisgender body.  Today I know that there were a lot of problematic messages in “The Crying Game” the movie to which this became the title song.  (Little known fact of the day: George actually wrote this song long before the movie.)  At any rate, that movie and this song was what got me thinking that perhaps my truth was not universal…gah young ignorance eh? 

“Love is Love” is one of my favourite Culture Club songs.   Boy George was the first gay man that I saw on television.  I remember asking my parents if he was male or female because at the time, it was really important to me to discern gender because I had not been taught how damaging the gender binary is.  I thank George for not only this song, but every song he has ever written or performed because as I said earlier, he was quite often the spark that caused me to challenge dominant ideas.

In recent years he has had a lot of difficulties.  There are those that are quick to dismiss him as though he has not given something wonderful to our culture.  I think we need to hold on to Boy George because he is a talented musician and because he was/is never afraid to be who is is, warts and all.   Most of us just go through the motions like little automatons and never figure out why we are so unhappy.  Life has not been kind to Boy George, but at least he has the courage to face it head on, which is more than I can say for a lot of people.

Your turn, please share your memories related to any Boy George song or share, or share your favourite Boy George/Culture club song.  Don’t forget to mention why it means something to you.

Nelson Mandela Behold The Truth

image Some time ago I wrote a post regarding Nelson Mandela in which I took much criticism.  The central question I asked was whose hero is he?  It has become impossible to truly question the myth that Nelson Mandela has become; however, because of the ways in which racism is institutionalized, it is imperative that Blacks seek truth rather than accept the oppressors truth.

In a piece written by Nadira Naipaul entitled, “How Nelson Mandela betrayed us says ex-wife Winnie,”  the true legacy of Nelson Mandela is explored.  Hers are not simply the words of a bitter ex wife, they are the words of an angry compatriot continuing to wage battle in a world that has told her that her struggle is complete.

"This name Mandela is an albatross around the necks of my family. You all must realise that Mandela was not the only man who suffered. There were many others, hundreds who languished in prison and died. Many unsung and unknown heroes of the struggle, and there were others in the leadership too, like poor Steve Biko, who died of the beatings, horribly all alone. Mandela did go to prison and he went in there as a burning young revolutionary. But look what came out," she said, looking to the writer. He said nothing but listened.

It is hard to knock a living legend. Only a wife, a lover or a mistress has that privilege. Only they are privy to the intimate inner man, I thought.

"Mandela let us down. He agreed to a bad deal for the blacks. Economically, we are still on the outside. The economy is very much 'white'. It has a few token blacks, but so many who gave their life in the struggle have died unrewarded."

She was pained. Her uncreased brown face had lost the softness.

"I cannot forgive him for going to receive the Nobel [Peace Prize in 1993] with his jailer [FW] de Klerk. Hand in hand they went. Do you think de Klerk released him from the goodness of his heart? He had to. The times dictated it, the world had changed, and our struggle was not a flash in the pan, it was bloody to say the least and we had given rivers of blood. I had kept it alive with every means at my disposal".

We could believe that. The world-famous images flashed before our eyes and I am sure hers. The burning tyres - Winnie endorsed the necklacing of collaborators in a speech in 1985 ("with our boxes of matches and our necklaces we shall liberate this country") - the stoning, the bullets, the terrible deaths of "informers". Her often bloodthirsty rhetoric has marred her reputation.

"Look at this Truth and Reconciliation charade. He should never have agreed to it." Again her anger was focused on Mandela. "What good does the truth do? How does it help anyone to know where and how their loved ones were killed or buried? That Bishop Tutu who turned it all into a religious circus came here," she said pointing to an empty chair in the distance.

"He had the cheek to tell me to appear. I told him a few home truths. I told him that he and his other like-minded cretins were only sitting here because of our struggle and ME. Because of the things I and people like me had done to get freedom."

Winnie did appear before the TRC in 1997, which in its report judged her to have been implicated in murders: "The commission finds Mandela herself was responsible for committing such gross violations of human rights."

When begged by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to admit that "things went horribly wrong" and apologise, Winnie finally said sorry to Stompie's mother and to the family of her former personal doctor whose killing she is alleged to have ordered after he refused to cover up Stompie's murder.

Someone brought in the coffee and we took the offered cups in silence.

"I am not alone. The people of Soweto are still with me. Look what they make him do. The great Mandela. He has no control or say any more. They put that huge statue of him right in the middle of the most affluent "white" area of Johannesburg. Not here where we spilled our blood and where it all started. Mandela is now a corporate foundation. He is wheeled out globally to collect the money and he is content doing that. The ANC have effectively sidelined him but they keep him as a figurehead for the sake of appearance."

As I read the above piece, I once again found myself asking whose hero is he?  Blacks still live in townships largely impoverished while all of the power still lies largely in White hands.    We cannot and should not re-write history to make Whiteness comfortable.  How can we turn the other cheek and forgive when equality and justice has yet to occur?

Across the globe Whiteness is content to tell us how far we have come and yet POC see how far the road ahead still is.  If we were to settle now, we would only bequeath to our  children a world in which the battle is not finished and they are still second class citizens.  Each generation has fought and our ready acceptance of the oppressors truth is a betrayal of their struggle.  We decide our heroes and not the White power structure because only we know the true humiliation of marginalization.

Along the way Whiteness has fought to slow our progress and maintain White supremacy and therefore; the idea that Whiteness would suddenly revere a Black person without an agenda is unrealistic.   Look how Whiteness has embraced Martin Luther King, only to ignore his more revolutionary statements.  Why would we assume that this somehow magically  does not extend to Nelson Mandela because apartheid is no longer in existence?  If Blacks are still undereducated, and living in poverty and Whites still control the economy and live in largely White neighbourhoods, how much has really changed?

As westerners we are told that the struggle has ended and that we should look at South Africa as success and I once again ask a success for who?  Whiteness seeks to pacify and therefore, it is up to us to speak truth to power.  Whiteness, like every other oppressor will never willingly give up power and it would be foolish to allow them to declare victory over racism, when its continuance benefits them.

Spark of Wisdom: Tolerance VS. Acceptance

image This is a guest post from Sparky, of Spark in Darkness.  Many of you are  familiar with him from Livejournal, as well as from his insightful and often hilarious commentary here. Each Tuesday, Womanist Musings will be featuring a post from Sparky.

I have been thinking, in a random sort of way, about the difference between Tolerance and Acceptance.

First the difference - to use a couple of trivial examples: I ACCEPT that Beloved, despite being the ripe old age of 28, still decides to dye his hair colours that would make a hippie gasp, it's part of the cuteness of him. I ACCEPT that he will burst into song for no apparent reason. I accept that he loves his shiny gadgets that we'll never use but he gets so enthusiastic about. I ACCEPT his unholy love for all things spicy. I even ACCEPT his sudden obsessions that he will abandon within a couple of weeks after turning our lives upside down for them. I accept these things, they're part of the things that make  him who he is. They're delightful little quirks that are a part of my life and I'm generally happy about.

I TOLERATE him being a morning person that will not be quiet before noon like any decent human being. I TOLERATE him putting away things before I'm finished with them. I TOLERATE his damn fishies. I TOLERATE him constantly borrowing my car because he will keep tinkering with his. I TOLERATE these things. They annoy me, they vex me and I'd much rather they go away and if exposed to them for any length of time I'm likely to get rather irritable. I don't like these things, but I am prepared to endure them.

This is the difference. Acceptance is something we accept as part of life, part of society, part of people. It's there and we don't have a problem with it, we're happy to share our space with it, happy to share our lives, our world with it.

Tolerance is something we endure. Tolerance is the trial, the chore, the annoyance. It's something we wish would go away, something we avoid exposure to as much as possible. Something we deal with only as little as we can.

Some time ago, on my LJ, I made a promise to myself. I promised myself that I would be as uncloseted as possible. I wasn't going to announce the wonders of manlove at the Westboro Baptist Church Guns & Flamethrower convention, no but I promised to avoid the little lies, the evasions, the endless avoidances and silences I used to keep me within the shadows of the closet..

And I was surprised - because of the number of people who knew I was gay, apparently had no problems with my being gay and reacted well to me coming out - were suddenly a lot more hostile to my STAYING out. They had no problems with my gayness - just with my being gay. Talking about Beloved, or what we had done on the weekend or my life in general was seen as provocative. I was annoying them by not hiding my gayness, despite my topics being exactly the same as theirs.

They didn't accept me. They tolerated me, they endured me - and I was testing their tolerance.

Another was happy to gossip and talk with me. We gossiped about hot guys and hot celebrities, watched the eye candy. And she was very very pleased with herself. Very pleased - proud in fact, because she was doing such a nice thing and was such a nice person.

Is this acceptance? Because we don't normally pat ourselves on the back for being nice to someone. But for tolerating someone? I think she tolerated me - and expected kudos for her effort. because if it wasn't effort, if I was just a natural, normal part of accepted life - why should she expect cookies for it?

Tolerance has been a large part of the fight for equality and it certainly has it usefulness, especially in the early movements. When people, especially the powerful and/or majority of people think it's ok, even laudable, to attack/kill/drive you out then arguing for full acceptance can seem like a distant dream. We argue for tolerance because our very existence is not tolerated. We argue for tolerance when it's not even about equality - it's about living and being able to have a life with even a modicum of safety. We argue tolerance out of basic SURVIVAL.

But I do not want to be tolerated. Obviously, I'd much rather be tolerated than not tolerated at all - I like my body unbruised, my blood to stay where it should be and my limbs unbroken. So, yeah, I'm not going to throw tolerance out. But it's not what I want.

I'm not some trial to tolerate, some burden to endure. You don't get any cookies or praise for putting up with me. I'm not something foisted on you. I am a part of society, a part of this world, a part of my country and culture, a part of my workplace and neighbourhood.

I am a part of this life. I want - I demand - to be accepted as that, as me, as having a place here and a right to be here. Not some other you magnanimously tolerate.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Desiree Rogers, Quits, Resigns, Fired Stepped Down, Asked To Go, Left The White House Last Week

This is a guest post from Gemna of Gemna Speaks



 image image


Desiree Rogers, White House social secretary quit, resigned, fired, stepped down, asked to go, left last week. Ms. Rogers came to the White House from Chicago like many members of Team Obama. Much has been said about Ms. Rogers being a fashionista and the gate crasher debacle but very few examine how she became a lightning rod for the Obama’s opposition.

Born and raised in New Orleans by a working class family, many in the media do not acknowledge that not only was she beautiful but smart. Ms. Rogers attended Wellesley College where she earned a degree in political science and received an MBA from Harvard Business School. She joined AT&T as a customer service manager in Chicago after graduating from college in the early eighties. During the eighties, an MBA from Harvard positioned Ms. Rogers as a top income earner. Ms. Rogers was young, beautiful AND smart at a Fortune 500 company that was considered a powerhouse.

From 1991-1997, she worked as the director of the Illinois Lottery; not a party planner as been stated but the director. She and her team implemented a marketing plan that took the once downward spiralling Illinois Lottery and introduced a catchy slogan, “Somebody’s gonna Lotto … It might as well be you”. The slogan, along with a 1-800 number and credit card payment options, had everyone praising Ms. Roger’s genius marketing mind. In 1995, the lottery increased revenue sales by seven percent. When asked about her success at the time, “We’re running a business inside state government,” she said. “We can make things happen.” (Borden, Jeff, “Forty under 40: Desiree Rogers,” Crain’s Chicago Business, Sept. 25, 1995)

With success, came opportunities for advancement. Ms. Rogers entered the gentlemen’s club of regulated utilities. In 1997, she stepped into the role of Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Peoples Energy Corp., which served millions in the Chicago area. In 2004, Ms. Rogers became President of Operations for Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas. When Ms. Rogers became President of Peoples, she was in a field that has few minorities and even fewer women at the helm even today. Ms. Rogers was leading operations of a Fortune 500 utility company. Under her leadership at Peoples, she led several high profile investigations while also trying to raise rates. The investigations into safety of pipe corrosion and employees of the People Gas falsifying records were conducted by federal, state, and internal investigators. Ms. Rogers had barely been in her role as President when the investigations started in 2006.

At that time, many in the Chicago business inner circles considered the investigations her biggest challenge and possibly the end of an impressive career. Ms. Rogers (known as a marketing and branding phenomenon) operational skills were being tested at Peoples Gas. She acknowledged the challenges and welcomed the critique. Ms. Rogers was balancing customer safety, strained corporate and regulatory relationships and a needed rate increase at once.

Despite the controversies, she successfully obtained the rate hikes, hired quality control employees, implemented a check and balance system with new training and auditing procedures. In 2008, she was asked to join Allstate Insurance to create a social media networking site to discuss financial products and retirement issues that would put her marketing and branding expertise to work for insurance giant.

During Ms. Rogers rise to the top, she was very involved in social and philanthropy endeavours. She used her professional networks and contacts to raised millions of dollars for many non-profits in the Chicago Area. She also used her network of influential business owners and civic leaders to raise money for political candidates. One of those candidates was President Obama. Ms. Rogers’s relationship with the Obamas spanned many years. She donated over $14,000 to various Obama campaigns and helped raised over $500,000 through her network of relationships, friends, and contacts in his run for the White House. Her ability to raise funds from wealthy donors, called bundling, is why she was valuable as an ally. She was once married to Princeton economics trailblazer, John Rogers with Ariel Investments, one of the largest money management funds in the country. The media’s focus on her personal relationship with the Obamas dilutes the economic and political power Ms. Rogers harnessed over many years of perseverance.

When the Obamas went to Washington, Ms. Rogers was tapped to oversee the Obamas' social calendar. Her business style and flair that made her successful in the corporate world coupled with her understanding of working with politicians was needed in the White House that was going to be known not only as the resident of the President but the “peoples house”. This was a departure from previous administrations that had older Washington insiders that ran the White House. Ms. Rogers’s dedication to the Obamas political success, her knowledge of philanthropy and the Obamas' commitment to the community, and her business savvy were considered assets. The White House was transformed behind the scene in many ways. The public was actually seeing magazine spreads featuring many who were part of the white house staff, especially if they were people of color. From chefs to staff and interns, the once secret life of who works at the White House was now public knowledge. The White House was embracing diversity by showing the public with numerous interviews, specials, and photo shoots. Pop culture was being integrated into the museum like atmosphere of the White House.

Ms. Rogers was one staff member who was featured prominently and as much as the First Lady, Mrs. Obama. Snarkly named the co-First Lady, this may have been Ms. Rogers undoing. Her trips to the fashion shows and photos of her planning events at the White House had become the norm at the new open White House. Ms. Rogers was often a contradiction of the First Lady. While Ms. Obama was often seen in J Crew ordered online, favoured unknown young designers, and kept her clothing choices under wraps until the day of an event, Ms. Rogers did not hide her relationship with famous designers and became the toast of Seventh Avenue. As the First Lady was shaping her agenda and getting her young girls and family settled into a new school and environment, Ms. Rogers was being photographed for Vogue Magazine cover and WSJ. The fashion industry was salivating over Ms. Rogers who was not afraid to show her love of designer threads that loved her back equally. But in DC’s dark blue pant suit society, Ms. Rogers was ruffling feathers. Many felt that Ms. Rogers’ social agenda for the First Couple was more about her and that did not sit well with many inside and outside the White House circles.

By the time the Bravo wannabes gate crashing incident occurred at the White House State Dinner, the writing on the wall for Ms. Rogers was read out loud…she needs to go. With a summon to congressional hearings on the gate crashers that Ms. Rogers refused to attend by evoking executive privilege, it was noted Ms. Rogers’s greatest mistake was attending the dinner as a guest and not working the event was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Security for the President is the job of the Secret Service but the securing the names of the guests was Ms. Rogers’s job. Critics quickly began comparing Ms. Rogers to other social secretaries that many never knew by name or sight. The analysis of Ms. Rogers took her from fashion reviews’ best dressed to the political pundits’ talking points. She became the latest casualty for the administration.

Security for a President who has received an unprecedented number of death threats in his first year of office while at the same time Secret Service openly admitting it is underfunded in protecting him and his family, set many nerves on edge when a couple was able to have photos made with the President and posted on their Facebook pages. This added to the cries that Ms. Rogers’s sophisticated style may be best suited at the Kennedy Center and not the White House where national security should be first and foremost. Having survived federal, state, and internal investigations in the private sector, Ms. Rogers’s critics in the beltway were threading their needles ready to sew up Ms. Rogers’s short stint in the White House.

Ms. Rogers came to work at the White House for the Obamas who she had known personally for many years. Her skills and talent was what they needed the most. Ms. Roger’s ability to run business inside the government thinking was crucial to helping them put their stamp on the White House. The media embraced her marketing and organization skills with style and grace. But often times our strengths can also be our weakness. The same media often criticized her for not being hidden out of sight. Ms. Rogers who led a Fortune 500 company through a major crisis could not be on the frontline at the White House that was trying to change its culture internally. Every major city has its own traditions, culture, and whispered do's and don'ts. Washington, DC is known for eating folks for lunch, even those from Chicago with gracious intentions. What is becoming very obvious is change in DC is coming more slowly than many had ever hoped or imagined. At the same time, the White House that was supposed to have a different culture on the inside is beginning to eat its own for lunch as well.

(Having a family member who worked in the White House, it was something we cherished with pride but we rarely spoke about to the public. We have many photos of him with the President, but rarely was he photographed for the sake of being photographed. A different time…different President. )

Photo Credits:
Vogue Magazine
Chicago Tribune
Crain Business Report
Wall Street Journal
Chicago Sun Times

Yet Another Facebook Failure: Down Syndrome: Is There No End To These Monster Children

Once again I am forced to write about another facebook failure.  This Facebook group is highly ableist and triggering.  In the description the moderators wrote: “If you find these mongs repulsive too, join and spread the word”.  The following are a sample of images that can be found in their photos.  Be forewarned these images are not only offensive they may be highly triggering.

image image image

I ask you to please take the time to report this group.  Ableism is extremely harmful and continues to effect the differently abled in various negative ways.  Though this group is relatively small by Facebook standards, its very existence speaks to the fact that ableism is not an abstract concept to create so-called special rights for the different abled.  It exists because those with able bodied privilege are determined to “other” a large section of society for their own benefit. The specific purpose of the group is to increase the level of hardship of those with Down’s Syndrome and as such it is highly offensive

Please take the time to report

Down Syndrome: Is There No End To These Monster Children


H/T Kateryna Fury

In The Shadow of Hattie McDaniel Stands Monique

Last night Monique became only the fifth Black actor win an academy award.  She won for her unforgettable portrayal of Mary Jones, in the movie “Precious”.

imageIn a tribute to Hattie McDaniel, the very first Black Academy award winner, she wore a beautiful flower in her hair.  In her speech she had this to say:

"I would like to thank Miss Hattie McDaniel, for enduring what she had to so that I would not have to.”

Ms. McDaniel won her award for best supporting actress in the movie “Gone With the Wind” in 1939.  At the Atlanta premiere, not only was she banned from attending, her name was stricken from the souvenir program along with all of the other Black actors.  Segregation meant that no matter her achievements, she was not worthy to be counted alongside the White actors.  She was the first African American to be invited to the Oscars as a guest rather than a servant. What an accomplishment for the daughter of a slave.

Fay Bainter, Presenter: I present the Academy Award for the best performance of an actress in supporting roles during 1939 to Hattie McDaniel.
[crowd applause as McDaniel walks to the stage and accepts the award]
McDaniel: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, fellow members of the motion picture industry, and honored guests: This is one of the happiest moments of my life. And I want to thank each one of you who had a part in selecting me for one of the awards, for your kindness—it has made me feel very, very humble. And I shall always hold it as a beacon for anything that I may be able to do in the future. I sincerely hope I shall always be a credit to my race and to the motion picture industry. My heart is too full to tell you just how I feel. And may I say thank you, and God bless you.

McDaniel was much criticized  throughout her lifetime for the roles that she played but every ready with a response, she answered her critiques saying, "I'd rather play a maid and make $700 a week than be one for $7." Without Hattie, there would not have been a Monique, or a Halle Berry or a Whoppie Goldberg.

Hollywood has long seen itself as progressive relative to the rest of society; however, it is clear that from the lack of recognition of Black actors and actresses that much work still needs to be done.  There are many roles that are simply not offered to Black actors, even though the script does not call for a specifically White actor. People of colour tend to be cast in roles that typify the social construction of Blackness as negative, thereby supporting White supremacy.

“Precious” is the small independent movie that could, but would Monique have been recognized for playing a character that did not embody every single negative stereotype associated with Blackness?  The character of Mary Jones was an angry, abusive welfare cheat and what is perhaps most damming is that “Precious” is understood to be a Black movie.  Though real Mary’s do exist, they do not typify Black women or the Black experience.  It was simply a story written by a Black woman that needed to be told, chronicling the experience of gender, poverty and abuse. Have we really moved beyond the experiences of Hattie McDaniel if Black women are still understood this way?

Congratulations to Monique and I highly suspect one day someone will thank her for her suffering and her contribution, when they are finally able to accept an award not as a Black woman, but as a great actress in the tradition of all of those who have gone before her.