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Beyond Race

December 16, 2009

Race, Racism, and Racialism
Can we ever get “beyond race”?
Should we?
When is it appropriate to talk about race?
When is it not appropriate?
What should we do when people of our own ethnic group talk about other ethnic groups?
Is it always wrong?
How do you feel when you’re in a cultural milieu that is not your own?
What do whites say in private when no blacks are in the room?
What do blacks say in private when no whites are in the room?
And what about other differences, racial, ethnic, religious and otherwise?
Latino and Asian?
Native-Born American and Foreign-Born?
Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist?
Regional Differences?
How do our differences define who we are?
How can we better understand those different from ourselves?
Are we — be honest here — more comfortable with people similar to ourselves?
(As usual, we’ll need at least ten to twenty hours to do the topic justice. But we only have one.)

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  • Mayonaise McWhitebread December 25, 2009 10:57 am

    In downtown Detroit there is a big cast-iron black clenched fist figurine set in concrete–the white people in this area are waiting for two of those curled fingers to sprout out into a peace sign–until then– it’s still duck and cover, mothafucker in Wayne County

  • Jeff December 19, 2009 1:04 pm

    To Ameenah,
    I neglected to respond to another point you made on the show about what type of beautiful I was talking about. I’ll preface by saying that one of the most beautiful women on earth that I fell madly in love with and never ever got over, was a model I shot long ago who was so dark that kids used to call her the creature from the black lagoon. I thought her skin was beautiful and smooth and great to photograph. She had a complex about her skin that came up again and again in our relationship. She went on to perform overseas where people marveled at her skin and thought she was beautiful — and stayed there unfortunately.
    That said, I have to say that the implication you were making seemed to be that light skinned black women’s beauty is somehow illegitimate. To that I say hogwash! It is just as valid as any beauty, and the black men who prefer them are preferring the best qualities of both races. It does not take anything away from “pure” black women or “pure” white women and it’s about time that war was settled.
    I shouldn’t have had to justify myself by saying that I have fallen in love with 90% dark skinned people in the past. And it shouldn’t indict me that my wife of 23 years, also a model, has long flowing hair and a lighter complexion.
    One of my best customers, a model and a poet, once told me that I would dump my wife for any white woman. She went on to say in that conversation that “any black man would jump over ten good black woman for an ugly white woman.” I told her in a flurry of curse words that she was insulting me and all black men. I have never ever been with a white woman, nor do I prefer white women and screw her for forcing me to say something that sounds so racist.
    Black women have to get over this paranoid crazy crap and stop demeaning black women who by no action of their own, are mixed.
    Obama’s oldest daughter looks like she’s gong to be particularly beautiful when she matures. Should we delegitimize her beauty because her grandmother was white and totally ignore the African genes while we’re at it?
    Look at the numbers! Most black men pair off with black women, like any other race. The only society where race mingling is increased is the military. There is no preference for white women among black men, no more than there is a preference for black women among white men. the numbers bear it out. The same, I remind you, for successful black men. For every Tiger Woods, there are twenty Michael Jordans and Will Smiths. Black athletes DO NOT marry outside their race more than mainstream blacks or other athletes. To repeat that lie is a stereotype.
    So once again, in conclusion, I resent having reveal my preference for dark skin here. That is irrelevant to the discussion at hand. I’m talking about a labor issue for ALL BLACK actresses, light and dark. Vanessa L. Williams the former miss America with light skin and blue eyes has been cast about as little as Vanessa Williams, the darker one who was on Melrose place. The former only happens to be on a hit show now. Before that, you have Eraser, and that’s pretty much her notable acting career. She has never had a star’s role. She was never the focus of any movie like Whoopie Goldberg. Never a love interest. Neither was the other Vanessa, Equally beautiful. Betty White, another former Miss America, had a lot more roles.

  • Jeff December 19, 2009 2:40 am

    I can understand that if you’re working as a black actress it may seem like there’s work, but as far as what gets out in the big blockbusters, like GI Joe, which I mentioned on air, there are NO black women at all, on the entire planet, in all the crowds and extras. None! it is a huge labor issue to me that black women are shut out of nearly 99% of all movies.
    I first noticed this when I first got married and Child’s Play took place in Chicago, and there were NO BLACK PEOPLE at all, even on the L train. I grew up there. For one second, in one scene, there is a homeless black guy. That’s it. My wife and I started keeping official track then.
    I think it’s more than who’s doing the hiring because casting directors should take pride in casting properly. You can’t just have white people with suntan lotion playing the locals all the time anymore. There is something much more overt, not just personal taste, going on with black people.

  • ameenah December 17, 2009 1:18 am

    enjoyed the chat with you on the show tonight. i can tell that we’d have a lot to talk about. i want to reiterate that i don’t disagree with your point as a whole. just think that’s it’s not entirely accurate when it comes to casting. i too want to see more of “me,” “us” in more “mainstream” roles. but the truth about hollywood is that pretty people of all stripes work more than most. but, it’s a tough business all around–even for the good looking white people. hollywood disproportionately casts white women over black women because of who’s doing the hiring, in my opinion. as long as middle-aged white men control the money, you’ll see more of the women that they find attractive in the roles you’re talking about.

  • Jeff December 16, 2009 9:56 pm

    One more point I left out: Blacks, Asians, Latinos, and even aliens all have inferior and undesirable and irrational unreasonable cultures. The black/space alien/Asian/Jewish character just loves living with these sane fun white people, however flawed. Whenever their black etc families show up, it’s with tension and the threat that the character will be pulled back to a lackluster life they hate, with their own people. they would much rather be that black/asian/alien with no family or home who hangs out with white people. their people are all radical and backwards and mean.