Racist Caricature of the day: The Coon

Content Note:  The subject matter in this post contains images, words, and phrases of racist nature, some of which may be graphic.

Those of African descent have long been ‘othered’…treated as if they aren’t part of the human race…treated as subhuman…or only part human; certainly not deserving of the same rights as everyone else (often read as white people).  This othering has resulted in racist caricatures of Blacks. These denigrating caricatures treat Black people in a dehumanizing manner.  One such racist caricature is ‘The Coon':


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Quote of the Day: Gabriel Orozco

Gabriel Orozco (born April 27, 1962) is a Mexican artist, born in Jalapa, Veracruz, Mexico, and educated at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas between 1981 and 1984 and at the Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid between 1986 and 1987. Orozco gained his reputation in the early 1990s with his exploration of drawing, photography, sculpture and installation. In 1998 Francesco Bonami called him “one of the most influential artists of this decade, and probably the next one too. (text via Wiki; image via Frostys Web Gallery)

“The process of living and the process of thinking and perceiving the world happen in everyday life. I’ve found that sometimes the studio is an isolated place, an artificial place like a bubble – a bubble in which the artist is by himself, thinking about himself. It becomes too grand a space. What happens when you don’t have a studio is that you have to be confronted with reality all the time. “


This quote resonates with me even though I’m not an artist (in a traditional sense, I suppose).  To me, the bubble he speaks of can be a metaphorical  or literal place where we humans can escape to for release of some sort. Maybe to escape the problems in the world, or perhaps simply a place that we go to that brings us joy or serenity.  For me, such a place (at one time) was the dance floor. I used to go to gay bars multiple times a week, and I loved taking trips out of town and finding new clubs.  Anytime I heard a song that moved me, I could be on the dance floor in no time.  I take some measure of pride in the fact that I can dance. My dance style was influenced by the choreographers of various US pop artists over the last few decades. I’ve bought multiple music videos and sat for hours mimicking dance moves and incorporating them into my own style.  On a dance floor I tend to freestyle dance, so I prefer a little bit of space (the length of both arms outstretched). When I have the room, and the music is good, I can escape from the world, and just let the music flow through me and the rhythm move me (I’ll never forget my mother teaching me as a child how to find the rhythm in music-I’m grateful for that).  I remember times when I’d dance for 2 hours at a time (my favorite music to dance to is House), taking a break only to get water.  Many a time, I’ve been one of the only people on the dance floor and developed an audience.  Even though I don’t dance for others, it is a compliment to have people approach me to tell me they enjoyed watching me move. It has been some time since I’ve danced, as these last few years have been rough. I hope to re-enter my bubble again in the future and dance my cares away and push my worries off for another day.

Gun violence 9.29.14

Gosh it seems like gun violence goes on every day doesn’t it?  Probably bc there are a lot of people with guns and a lot of them really ought to NOT have any guns.  Shame there’s no way to screen out the irresponsible, violent, or criminal people before they acquire a gun.  We could probably get something like that started if the NRA and the GOP weren’t so opposed to it (and if people in this country stopped complaining about “they’re going to take away our guns” when the discussion is “gun control” NOT “gun confiscation”).  After the jump are 4 more examples of gun violence, which continues to take upwards of 30,000 lives a year.

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Domestic Violence and the NFL

Domestic violence is a horrible crime that occurs everywhere-from Smalltown, USA to San Francisco, CA. Domestic violence is committed by people from all walks of life-teachers, doctors, lawyers, politicans, nurses, scientists, chefs, cashiers, celebrities*, restaurant employees, and as has become more apparent over the years-members of the NFL.  Ray Rice, Kevin Williams, Santonio Holmes, Frostee Rucker, Randy Starks, Brandon Marshall, Cary Williams, Tony McDaniel, Chris Cook, Erik Walden, Dez Bryant, Daryl Washington, A.J. Jefferson, Greg Hardy, and Ray McDonald are 15 examples, but there are likely more (and that’s just the NFL-I know on the college level there are likely a great many; and that’s just one sport**). While both women and men can be the victims of domestic violence, women are at greater risk of homicide by an intimate partner than men.  Annually more than 4 million women experience domestic violence.  Also, men and women are not the only ones affected by domestic violence.  More than 3 million children a year witness domestic violence at home and those children living in such homes face a greater risk of child abuse and neglect. (source)

Let me drive the severity of this problem home even further:

The Consequences

  • According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness among families.

  • In New York City, 25% of homeless heads of household became homeless due to domestic violence.

  • Survivors of domestic violence face high rates of depression, sleep disturbances, anxiety, flashbacks, and other emotional distress.

  • Domestic violence contributes to poor health for many survivors.  For example, chronic conditions like heart disease or gastrointestinal disorders can become more serious due to domestic violence.

  • Among women brought to emergency rooms due to domestic violence, most were socially isolated and had fewer social and financial resources than other women not injured because of domestic violence.

  • Without help, girls who witness domestic violence are more vulnerable to abuse as teens and adults.

  • Without help, boys who witness domestic violence are far more likely to become abusers of their partners and/or children as adults, thus continuing the cycle of violence in the next generation.

  • Domestic violence costs more than $37 billion a year in law enforcement involvement, legal work, medical and mental health treatment, and lost productivity at companies.


Perhaps one of the scariest facts about domestic violence is this: most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police (source).

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Racist Caricature of the day: The Brute

Content Note:  The subject matter in this post contains images, words, and phrases of racist nature, some of which may be graphic.

Those of African descent have long been ‘othered’…treated as if they aren’t part of the human race…treated as subhuman…or only part human; certainly not deserving of the same rights as everyone else (often read as white people).  This othering has resulted in racist caricatures of Blacks. These denigrating caricatures treat Black people in a dehumanizing manner.  One such racist caricature is ‘The Brute’.

When reading this, I ask you to think about the critics of 18 year old Michael Brown.  Think of the people who claimed that he was a hulking brute who’s very size was a threat to Officer Darren Wilson.   Think of how Brown’s size was used to justify Wilson’s fear and subsequent actions, including his murder of Brown.

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Pop Culture 9.29.14

SyFy looking for the next Battlestar Galactica

Almost five years after a rebrand that abandoned the Sci-Fi moniker and enraged fans, NBCUniversal brass is aware that its attempt to lure a broader audience might have lost it some clout in the increasingly lucrative genre that shares its former name. Now Syfy president DaveHowe is trying to rectify the perception problem with changes in the executive ranks that will translate to new programming more familiar to its core audience.

“We want to be the best science-fiction channel that we possibly can, and in some respects, that means going back to the more traditional sci-fi/fantasy that fans often say they feel we’ve exited,” Howe tells THR. “We’re going to occupy that space in a way we haven’t for the past few years.”

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Maker plus MiTu=original content for Hispanic audiences

As part of the pact, Disney-owned Maker will work with the Latino talent found across MiTu’s 1,300 partner channels to produce English- and Spanish-language programming.

MiTu chief revenue officer Charlie Echeverry called the deal a turning point for brands. “It’s no longer only the responsibility of those in multicultural disciplines to plan and execute against the Latino opportunity — everyone along the marketing value chain is interested in these capabilities,” he added. “We are confident that this partnership will provide world-class Latino branded content and social amplification solutions to Maker’s extensive portfolio of current partners, and serve as a vehicle for any brand eager to reach today’s digital Latino consumer base.”

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I wanted to like this song-‘Hard Out Here’-by Lily Allen.  It’s all about the difficulty she had getting back into the music industry following the birth of her children. The industry’s sexist standards for women-to sell albums, women have to adhere to inhuman standards of beauty while being sexually objectified by male consumers.  Allen seems to want to give a ‘Fuck You’ to those standards, but as Julianne Escobedo Shepherd writes, it doesn’t go quite as planned:

It starts out promising enough: Lily’s lying on an operating table being liposuctioned by rough doctors with American and British accents. They prod her and marvel at the amount of fat she must have removed. Her manager stands bedside, reporting to her which late-night hosts have rejected her services. “How can somebody let themselves get like this, you know?” he complains. She responds sweetly, “Well I’ve had two babies!” The manager shakes his head. It’s all good, winking commentary on the entertainment industry’s rigid, unsympathetic body standards. We can get down with that, no? We’re all familiar with the disapproving tabloid headlines about how pregnant celebrities have “ballooned,” and then the praise heaped upon them when they whip their “post-baby bodies” into shape in record times. It’s unrealistic. Let Lily Allen have babies like a normal, my dudes!

Things go south right around the time the vocals drop in: “I suppose I should tell you, what this bitch is thinking.” Go on… “You’ll find me in the studio and not in the kitchen.” Preach! And? “I won’t be braggin’ bout my cars, or talkin’ bout my chains, don’t need to shake my ass for you cause I’ve got a brain.”

OHHHH!!!!!! FOUL, LILY. And therein begin the false equivalencies—that bragging about material goods is exclusively stupid (and not, say, aspirational or representational), and that women who dance or shake their asses are stupid. The latter is made especially ironic by the fact that Allen has chosen to populate her video with women, mostly of color, who twerk in slow motion and pour champagne down their breasts like errant ejaculate. These are all things that we have seen in rap videos, of course, but it doesn’t make it any better if it’s executed under the guise of satire: this is the exact kind of shit that got Nelly banned from Spelman and BET Uncut cancelled.

I agree. Allen does seem to be setting herself up as superior to others in the music industry-those she deems too focused on material goods.  Yet material goods aren’t inherently bad and there’s nothing wrong with wanting them. Had she continued her critique of the impossible standards for women in the industry, I think the song would have been better (even though it has catchy lyrics).  This isn’t the only area where the song fails.  You can read more of Shepard’s criticism at The Hairpin.

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Gillette’s new razor: Do I really need a razor with Fusion ProGlide with Flexball Technology?

I’ve been using the Gillette Mach 3 razor for years (not the same one…wow that would hurt) and it more than suits my needs.  I just wish razors weren’t so blasted expensive.  Thankfully I reuse them a few times before I chuck them.

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This is 2 parts cool, 3 parts scary.  I think he should have had more protection on.

Also, I kinda wanted the Road Runner or the Flash to zoom up next to the guy and ask him why he’s going so slow :)

(via Sploid)

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Ello:  Can it succeed without ads?

The problem of police militarization and brutality

More Americans Killed By Police Than By Terrorists: With Crime Down, Why Is Police Aggression Up?

It may seem like crime is on the rise, but that’s an issue of perception. I tend to think it’s largely because we have unprecedented access to news today.  Whether it’s online blogs, news sites, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, we can get our news almost as soon as it breaks. One of the results of that is we hear about a lot of newsworthy material more often, which makes it seem like-in the case of crime for instance-things are getting worse. Such thinking is faulty though.

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If I Have Gay Children: Four Promises From A Christian Pastor/Parent


John Pavlovitz made a promise to his children and shared that promise with the world. His promise has me in tears. In a good way. You see, Mr. Pavlovitz is a religious man. Regular readers of this blog know that I’m an atheist, and I don’t think much of religious beliefs (note: I oppose faith as a way of knowing, and think religious beliefs are a net harm to humanity. That said, I do not treat religious PEOPLE badly just bc I disagree, sometimes vehemently with their views). What was his promise? To love his children if they are gay. Not only that, but he said he’d share that with people. He wouldn’t hide the fact from others. He wouldn’t shame his kids for it. Given technology, we hear far too often of stories where kids are kicked out of the house for being LGBT. Parents disowning their children, literally cutting them off from all support, all love, all compassion…these stories are not hard to find. They’re frustratingly common. That’s why stories like this one are so important. It sends a message to other families. It sends a message to LGBT youth. It sends a message of love, acceptance, tolerance, and compassion. It sends a message that parents should send to their children.
Pardon me for a minute, bc this message is making me cry a lot of good tears. You ought to read what Mr. Pavlovitz has to say.

Originally posted on john pavlovitz:


Sometimes I wonder if I’ll have gay children.

I’m not sure if other parents think about this, but I do; quite often.

Maybe it’s because I have many gay people in my family and circle of friends. It’s in my genes and in my tribe.
Maybe it’s because, as a pastor of students, I’ve seen and heard the horror stories of gay Christian kids, from both inside and outside of the closet, trying to be part of the Church.
Maybe it’s because, as a Christian, I interact with so many people who find homosexuality to be the most repulsive thing imaginable, and who make that abundantly clear at every conceivable opportunity.

For whatever reason, it’s something that I ponder frequently. As a pastor and a parent, I wanted to make some promises to you, and to my two kids right now…

1) If I have gay children, you’ll all know it.

My children won’t…

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Goth Denny’s

Denny’s is a restaurant chain based in the United States.  It is similar to Huddle House, Waffle House, and IHOP, in that it is a breakfast house/fast casual/coffee shop style restaurant.  It’s open 24 hours a day, all year long (unless closing is required by law and I’ve no idea what law would cause a restaurant to close, but I guess there’s one somewhere).  It’s the place you go when it’s 3 am and you’re drunk and leaving the bar/club and are in dire need of food, yet realize you’re too drunk (or hopefully you realize this) to go home and cook.

Those that are familiar with Denny’s might be confuzzled (portmanteau of confused and puzzled) by this image:

I know I am.  It’s probably a marketing thing…hold on, BRB (be right back)…*

…yup, it’s a marketing thing.  Apparently it’s working for them:

When you think of Denny’s, what comes to mind? The famed Grand Slam breakfast? Or maybe a family road trip? Or are you one of the thousands of followers who know, and love, Denny’s irreverent Twitter posts?

If it’s the latter, there’s a good reason. Last July, the brand tapped Erwin Penland to run its social channels, and since then, engagement has increased over 200 percent. By commenting on current events, usually with its now-signature snarky tone, or posting relatable complaints, the brand has endeared itself to its followers.

Social Media Profile (as of 9/22/14)
Facebook Likes: 851,360
Twitter Followers: 110,208
Instagram Followers: 1,187

*yes, I realize this isn’t a meatspace (term for ‘not online'; works better than IRL-in real life-because online is *part* of real life…it’s not some bizarre alternate reality unconnected to the rest of our lives), but I was told by a good friend that when she reads my comments, they feel like conversational pieces, as if I were sitting next to her having a conversation, which made me realize that I don’t need to adhere to strict writing rules.  Thanks Iris!

Court document puts the lie to self-defense claims in Philly gay bashing case

‘Self-defense’.  Ha!

One of the attorneys of the three individuals accused of beating two gay men on September 11, 2014 is actually claiming that they acted in self defense.  A recently released court document does not support that claim:

Now that Kathryn Knott, Kevin Harrigan and Philip Williams have been charged with the crime, an affidavit of probable cause describing the incident has been made available by the court.


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