This Week’s Curator: Transgender Women, Stay-at-home Baes, Harvard’s Asian Problem, Sous Vide and Azealia Banks

Drafts on drafts. If you’re following me on Twitter, my apologies in advance for blasting you with articles next week. Without further adieu, this week’s curation of some of the most interesting articles and discussions hitting the interwebs.

transgender women

Why Are So Many Transgender Women Getting Killed in Ohio?
Buzzfeed, hard reporting? One doesn’t normally associate those two, but gotta hand it to them on this one. Four women have been murdered in the state in the past 20 months. This article highlights a particularly disturbing trend of transgender women, particularly transgender women of color, being murdered in the shadows as marriage rights for gays and lesbians are realized across the country. And on the heels of National Transgender Remembrance Day, this is a heartbreaking and exceedingly important article for us all to read.
Additionally: If you are unfamiliar or unaware how deeply dangerous it is for transgender men and women to live as fully expressed individuals, please check out this excellent video on Jamaica’s Gulley Queens that Vice released earlier this year. Very much so worth the watch.

Sous Vide is The New Way To Make Cooking More Cool and Expensive (The New York Times)
Because how much fun could it really be to cook your grass-fed organic Whole Foods purchased steak the same way that The Poors do? Shade aside, I’ve tried it. (Well, actually, let me stop lying. A friend tried it, did all of the work, I watched and then we went to a museum.) Nevertheless, it’s very cool. All you do is put the meat in a vacuum pack in controlled temperature water and that’s it. (hence the whole “sous” and “vide” part.) It’s like the rice cooker of steaks. If you’re into that sort of thing. Meat, I mean. (Which I am, especially when someone else prepares it.) The new culinary sport of the coastal hipsters, mark my words.

Wasting Time on The Internet? There’s a Class For That (The New Yorker)
Where was this class during my entire academic career since 1995 undergrad? Can you believe this shit?  “Come January, 15 students University of Pennsylvania creative-writing students and I will sit silently in a room with nothing more than our devices and a Wi-Fi connection, for three hours a week, in a course called “Wasting Time on the Internet.” Some parent, somewhere, is killing themselves over billable hours for this. Peak Caucasity.

Solange Knowles Marries Alan Ferguson - Wedding Day

Solange. Wedding. Dopeness For Days. Black Girl Magic. On 100k. (Vogue)
Okay, look here. I tried not to fan girl out by putting this first, but look. This is our Royal Fam right here. (At least for those of us in Texan-Creole Delegation.) Because that mother-son dance to the UNEDITED version of “No Flex Zone“. (You know how deep your sea of “I don’t give a f*ck” gotta be to let the whole world know you don’t do unedited versions of the hood banger of the year? I’m here for all of that.) And of course Beyoncé saves, not just because she is Blessed and Highly Favored by All The Fleek Gods, but because she also delivered and saved Solange from hives. (There’s very little that Beysus can’t do, please don’t question these holy matters.) And that cape. That fro! Those bikes! Those gold cuffs! That Opera House! Look. Solange was giving life by taking life and snatching souls this weekend.

Why It’s Hard To Talk About Bill Cosby: He Made Us Feel Good About Race and Gender, Which We Normally Don’t (The New Republic)
Man. This is so tough. Not only because I don’t think 15 women are lying, but because I love Bill Cosby. And will continue to. It’s not just White America that Bill made feel better about the inequalities that we as a country can’t seem (or want) to get right. He gave so many African-American and Black families a different narrative than the one that is so often offered: poor, uneducated and from the hood. Not that that isn’t valid. But before Cosby, few people in White America had any real clue that functioning, intact, educated and loving Black families existed. And it made us SO proud. And because of that, Cosby showed America what is possible and could be even more. So, it’s hard to imagine that the man that gave this country that dream could also be a rapist.

harvard and asians

Harvard Is Being Sued for  Having an Asian Quota (Vox)
I think it’s clear that Harvard and a few other selective schools have an Asian quota. And in terms of campus population control and that elusive pursuit of the vaguely defined “diversity”, what does this mean? As a student and instructor at UCLA, I’ve heard the whispers of what UCLA “really” stands for, but what does that mean? If we’re not into one ethnic group having a disproportionate majority, shouldn’t that be the same for White students as well? The aim is to do away with Affirmative Action – which makes no sense whatsoever. When that happened, UCLA ended up with more NCAA championships than Black students. Yet, the biggest beneficiaries of AA have been legacy and Division III athletes, demographics which are largely White and White male respectively. Buttttt, African-American and Latino students are taking away spots. I’m sleep though.

Your (Unborn?) Kids Aren’t Holding You Back. It’s Your Husband. (Slate)
Well then. Maybe instead of going for the guy that Breaks Shit and Fails Fast, perhaps the man who will water your dwarf lemon and lime trees and start/join stay-at-home-dad Meet-ups should be baé? Is it more than a coincidence that some of the most successful CEOs and moms have married stay-at-home partners or should women that also want to be successful follow that example? Me thinks that feminism and womanism is about options and this might be not be desirable – or financially practically – for a lot of women. But you know what would make it easier for women to “have it all”? Real action towards a better life balance that doesn’t force women to leave their careers or ambitious tracks just because of motherhood.

Some Republicans Feel That Getting Latinos To Vote Against Their Own Best Interests Will Be Tough (New York Times)
Citing an internal Republican anlysis in which Republicans concluded that, ““If Hispanics think that we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies,” they face an uphill battle convincing Latinos that the GOP, which has threatened to impeach the President should he try to proceed on immigration reform, is a political party for them.

anxiety
Tapped Out: Surviving The Burn Out (Elle)
This come recommended by Shonda Rhimes who tweeted, gushed and discussed this article a lot yesterday on her feed. I and so many other women – and men – can relate to this. I get the need to work hard and hustle even harder. It gets you where you’re trying to go faster and it’s sometimes necessary and unavoidable. But what happens when you just can’t anymore? And what happens when you just decide to get off the hamster wheel – and you love doing nothing? I feel like, at some point, somebody ought to write a “How To Give No Flying F*cks At All” guide.
 
azealia banks
Broke with Expensive Taste: Azealia Banks and Why She’s Got the Coldest Album Out Right Now (The Daily Beast)
::deep sigh:: story of my whole entire adulthood and now, there’s a soundtrack to it. I’m SO here for Azealia Banks. She’s a Harlem girl through and through, she’s not apologizing for being a really dope, really outspoken conjurer of Black Girl Magic (when pleading to get out of her Interscope contract, she pleaded on Twitter: “I’m tired of having to having to consult with a group of old White guys about my Black girl craft”) and she’s also a really talented singer and songwriter, a combination hard to find in general, but especially with an interesting personality attach. If you’re not already up on her, you should be; her whole sound, vibe is what’s up. Even Vogue said, “the album was worth the wait.”

Because Solange, America and Applebee’s bottomless Strawberry Daquiris:

applebees

 

I’m a jerk. Happy weekend y’all!

This Week’s Curator: “Funny or Die” Getting Paid, Misty Copeland Killing The Game and Black People Are “Magical”

Partly inspired by the fact that I send too many emails with articles that I think are dope, The Curator list is just basically cool and interesting articles that I’ve been paying attention throughout the week. And there’s more news in the world than just Kim Kardashian’s ass – though Kanye has been thankfully quiet as of late. And I’m not giving Piers anymore HTML. And if you missed it, you should check out the roundtable of Black leaders in tech today.

misty copeland

Misty Copeland Takes The Lead in “Swan Lake
Homegirl is gunning for that New York Ballet principal role. Misty will take the lead, with Brooklyn Hunt (Black ballet is FLOURISHING this week) as the Prince/baé in the Washington Ballet’s run. I haven’t been to D.C. in years but a trip may be in order for this. Begins in April. (Also, ignore that post-racial wishful thinking line of “effectively shatter shatter the all-white stereotype of ‘Swan Lake.” Let’s save that line when Misty is not the exception to the rule, hmmkay?)

Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy: Say Media Sells Off xoJane (it’s time though) And a Few Others
So, apparently, this publishing and writing good content thing is hard and the business of advertising is even harder. Say word? But on the other hand…

 

want a network

Video Site Funny or Die looks at $300 Million Sale
Will Ferrell is winning. It’s a good time to be in the business of comedy, content and if you’re really good, both.  Rumor has it that The Onion is up for sale too. Though the helm says that they’re “just looking into” their options, (but as no one hires an investment bank to do a little window shopping), should we just go ahead and send them a congratulations tweet? Looking forward to think pieces about this possible sale.

 

delia's

The Dream of The 90’s is Not Alive in Delia*s
Your 90s crushed velvet dresses and rose tinted sunglasses are dying a slow death. New York Magazine takes a look. Real quick though : did their shorts and pants have not THEE WORST CUT OF ALL TIME? And when recently I found out it was started by a pair of men, I then understood. Could that have been the one of their biggest issues, that women weren’t in the core of Delia’s business DNA from the beginning? Could this be a cautionary tale for other companies started for women by men that “x” women out of the brand and product building? (Okay, that wasn’t real quick, but you know how it is.)

margaret cho

All-American Girl at 20: The Evolution of Asian Americans on Television
Back in the day, I loved Margaret Cho. She had the best choker and blue jean vest collection. And it’s a shame that Fresh Off The Boat is the first show in 20 years to tap into the Asian American experience. This is an excellent essay about the landmark show and what its legacy means in a time where Asians are one of the fastest growing population segments and they are virtually absent from representation in the media, television and film. And if you didn’t know, now you know: the pilot show

It’s 2014, But White People Still Think Black People Are “Magical”
A study shows that “Whites tended to associate black faces with the far-out word group (superhuman, ghosts, magical, mystical) suggesting that “whites appear to super humanize blacks implicitly.” Not surprisingly was also associated with a decreased perception of pain in Black people. (i.e., excessive police force, Black children over-punished in schools, the myth of the Always Strong Black Woman, etc.) Post-racial though.

 

amy sall

Vogue Found Inspiration in My Own Elle Piece
Okay, that’s definitely not the title of their piece, but I thought it was worth including for two reasons. A.) It’s a really cool profile of a very stylish woman Amy Sall that’s giving life and lessons about fashion and proper appreciation versus appropriation. And b.) I’ve had really amazing conversations with a few editors from these magazines and have seen a number of articles come out addressing this habitual problem in fashion after my own came out and I’m proud of that and of pushing important conversations forward. Vogue has been one of the worst and repeat offenders of this problem, so this is a step in the right direction for them. And Amy is one stylish woman. Her Instagram is ON. FLEEK.

Growing Up With ADHD

“The way I describe it is that it’s like having a Ferrari engine for a brain, but with bicycle brakes.” This is a great read and series that Time is doing on ADHD, exploring the cultural debates about the disorder, why there’s a rise of diagnoses in the South and the positives and limitations of ADHD medication. Highly recommend this one.

 

craig watkins

The D.O.J. is Officially Auditing Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins
In this continued discourse of how Grand Juries and District Attorney offices fail to pursue and uphold justice, this is a big one. Dallas D.A. Craig Watkins, who recently lost his bid for re-election, has also lost access to the the federal forfeiture funds assets due to “non-compliance” Watkins, a rumored alcoholic, also used money from the fund to pay for a settlement after Watkins rear-ended another vehicle. In the 8 years that he has been D.A., Watkins has also never indicted a police office for the shooting or killing an unarmed citizen. For context, Dallas alone has had over 21 unarmed citizens shot in 2014, six alone in August.

“Indian Country” Offers Last View of Native Plain Life
This is so cool and so sad. This exhibit is in Kansas City, but well worth the read.

 

graph

Want To Stay Married? Marry Someone Your Age
“The study shows…a 5-year difference, however, makes them 18 percent more likely to split up. And a 10-year difference makes them 39 percent more likely.” To paraphrase Johnny Taylor, it’ll be cheaper to keep her. Or him. Or at least easier. (Check out that song though.)

Because America.

Have a great weekend, see y’all next week!

The Curator: Risk, Meritocracy and Casual Racism: An Honest Discussion on Race in Silicon Valley

So, I skipped last week in my curation line up and I heard about it. And I got the message. So, I’ll just profile a few interesting articles that came across my eyeline today. Beginning with this one. From Tristan Walker (founder of Bevel and formerly of Foursquare and Andreessen Horowitz) to Erin Teague (Director of Product at Yahoo!) this was a pretty dope article about cultural differences, breaking down how culture of risk averse clashes with the “fail fast” mantra of Silicon Valley and a lot more in between.

black ppl in SV

“Just Being Who We Are Is Extremely Risky”: An Honest Discussion on Race in Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley doesn’t do enough to talk about race and racial diversity. But this Fast Company article gathered a group of  extraordinary Black people that are working in tech today to talk about just that. From challenges facing Black founders, engineers, designers and others in the tech space, it was an especially frank conversation in an industry not known for having hard conversations about race.  Kenyi Maqubela (a venture partner at Collaborative Fund) brought up an interesting thing that we need to talk about in the tech sector: The “culture” fit. As he puts it, “The meritocratic glow of Silicon Valley is so frustrating. It creates a pass for people who use things like the “culture” filter. What’s the culture filter? An easy excuse to be prejudiced. It’s culture bias, like [not hiring someone] because they didn’t like Animal Collective as much as you do? Seriously.” Because what does that mean, a “culture fit” when in the beginning, you’re still trying to create that?

And then there’s the conversation about “failing fast”. Failing fast works when you don’t have people that depend on you to make it and when you can raise a small round with friends and families. The “meritocratic glow” is not true for those that can’t afford to fail at all. If this system is a meritocracy, how do help people afford the room to fail as they go through the development process or iteration process?

Perhaps more than a curation piece, this deserves its own article.

This is an excellent article worth reading and sharing, especially for those in tech.

Timberland, Trends and Twitter: My (First!) Piece in Elle and How it Happened

Hey y’all!

Last week was a pretty busy week and I didn’t share my first piece in Elle about Timberlands. In case you missed it, there was a a big and valid brouhaha a few weeks ago about a particularly incendiary piece, claiming that Timberlands were “new”. I and the rest of Black Twitter were completely livid.

Screenshot 2014-10-18 15.38.16

But what happened next was actually pretty dope. Kate got in touch with me and we had a really great conversation via email about how to properly navigate the lines of appreciation, appropriation, history and narratives. Then her editor got in touch and saw some of the stuff that I’ve written. (Side note: you know what article on the blog seems to be pretty popular with some of the editors reviewing my work? This one.)  And from there, we all began to ask some question and it was interesting to hear the other side of the editorial and representation table. How do you manage to make something new if you’re constantly having to reconsider its past? The people who created it, are they the only people who get to wear it and make meaning out of it? Even when you know that there’s something that’s missing, do you at least acknowledge it or pretend that it’s not there, if you don’t have the people or resources to do it justice? I mean, these are real questions. It’s not just hiring more women of color, but women that understand that culture, history and narrative that you can’t learn in journalism or film school. When you are looking at the pool of writers in general that are any good, you are working with an extremely small number of women writers of color that are good and that get it. But they’re out there. And these publications which speak to so many women, have a responsibility to find them.

elle artice

I don’t pretend to have all of the answers, just a lot of questions. If you’ve been following our journey here at The Maroon Colony, you know that’s the whole point – to at least ask the questions and try to find some answers. Because sometimes we aren’t even asking the questions. I’d like to think that I spend a good part of creating my career in not just asking those hard things, but hopefully making people look at something with a more discerning eye that asks people to confront and examine their own blind spots. And I think that your writing, whether you’re writing about race, fashion or the latest social app, you have to really examine how people are using this thing out in the world, but why they’re doing it that way. Why is this hard to talk about? Why don’t people know about it? The best stuff is from the hard stuff. And it’s really hard to talk to a bunch of editors about what they’re not getting right, but it’s probably even harder to hear that. And you have to remember, that however your audience has been doing it, they’ve been validated in that. So, you have to put up a pretty good argument as to why they should care to think and see the world differently.

Going forward, I’ll be writing more pieces for Elle and a few other publications that I’m excited to share with you down the road. I’ll still be writing here, but also in a few more places. Don’t worry, I’m not going to quit writing here; I’ve gotten the notes and emails about more posts and I’m definitely working on that! If anything, I’ll be re-investing more time in the writing and curating of articles online. The Maroon Colony began as a blog about my web-series and has really taken a life – and an eclectic band of readers – all of its own. And a huge thank you for the feedback. Please, email me at clabouvier@gmail.com or find me on Twitter @chaedria and as always, let me know how you really feel.

Article here

Do Thugs Code? San Francisco and The Culture of “Celebrations” in White Culture

I am in a coffee shop, literally 15 minutes from Market Street, where a massive civic demonstration could erupt today. Any clue where I might be? Well, it’s definitely not Ferguson, but can you tell the difference from the photos below?

SF fire squad         Ferguson police

I’m in San Francisco (top, and assuming you didn’t click on that link) where the other day, hordes of young White men trashed the streets, threw bottles at police officers, climbed up street lights, trashed cars, showed partial nudity in public or, in “celebration” of their home team winning their third straight World Series. I mean, it’s kind of crazy that  city known for tech and being a bastion of vegan one percent-ness had helicopters amped up the other night like it was Compton circa last week.

The joy that erupted in San Francisco after the Giants won Game 7 of the World Series quickly turned into the same kind of rollicking orgy of fire, broken bottles, fistfights, sirens and drunkenness that the city endured after the last two world championships.”

SF fire

SF police bust out

That sounds like a pretty long and circuitous way of describing thug-ass, ghetto-ass behavior, which is exactly how it would be described had this been a group of one or more Black persons standing around. Ferguson brought out the same tear gas that was used in Palestine for peaceful protestors; I can’t imagine the clamp down had the whole lot of them been violent and throwing bottles at the police officers decked out in AKs and riot gear. Why can’t we call this what this is? If thug is defined as brazen, lawless, logic-less behavior, San Francisco, White Delegation, I have news for you: THIS IS THUG AS SHIT.

White ppl tearing up Sf

Any community, race or group of people are capable of being destructive in the name of merriment and alcohol. But yet, when it happens in communities of color, we tend to create pathologies for the behavior and over-report it. In Ferguson, protestors were thrown in jail for exercising their civil rights to protest and film cops. I mean, one cop even threatened to “fucking kill” a protestor. The DOJ literally had to remind Ferguson that you can’t in fact, arrest people for protesting and gathering peacefully.  The White Delegation has somehow escaped this scrutiny, despite the fact that there is a clear conversation about the culture of White (male) violence that we are not discussing. Why is celebrating in the White community dependent upon destruction and obstructing laws, order and justice? Why do street parades, Homecoming parades and generally any public display of celebration have to go in tandem with public displays of drunkenness, urination and all around criminality?

As was once asked by Cord Jefferson and Chris Hayes, I too wonder: “What is the White community going to do about these problems within White culture?” I mean, I’m not avoiding Market Street because I’m afraid of a bunch of Black kids carrying stereos on their shoulders; I’m scared of a bunch of drunk White men that are probably wearing Chubbies in Nantucket Red. This deserves a much longer meditation, which it ultimately will get. But I’m disinclined to believe that when you look at the overall issues that seem disproportionately perpetuated by White men – school and mass shootings, the killing of unarmed Black men, the Gamergate vitriol online – that this is an isolated or regional problem. Every community and racial group has it’s problems and it’s about time for White America to admit that it may indeed, have a thug problem.

This Week in The Curator: Blackface, Tim Cook and Hello Kitty

Hey. So, I’ve come up with this idea to create a curated list of news articles that are interesting and relevant – ten or so – that caught my attention through the week. Over the past few months, these past few weeks in general, I’ve gotten a lot of really good feedback with regards to content and curation seems to be a common thread.

The name might change as it expands, the date, even the list, but either way that it goes, it’s another feature that I’ll continue working on. As always, feel free to email your thoughts at themarooncolony@gmail.com or tweet them to me @chaedria.

So, in no particular order:

I. The Street Harassment Video That Everyone is Talking About
But I’m not sure that they should, at least, as accurate example of street harassment. While it definitely brings up some very important and valid issues, it also brings up its fair share of problems, mainly that the White men in the video have totally omitted. But I’ll let you judge that.

II. Tim Cook Officially Comes Out
What’s been an open secret at Apple and Silicon Valley for years has now been publicly confirmed and embraced by Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. No one has to feel that they should be forced to come out of the closet, but I can’t help but to wonder how this is going to be so amazing for so many LGBT kids, teens and adults who have feared that their sexuality would prevent them from reaching their potential and dreams. This is just all around great news for everyone.

III. She Has a Name – Afrikka Hardy
This story struck me so deeply. Afrikka Hardy, 19, was strangled in a Motel 6 by a serial killer last Friday. This kid was a baby. A baby. She was allegedly meeting Darren Vann for arranged sex when he strangled her after she refused to perform an unspecified sexual act. I know there are other women who’ve been killed – some of whom haven’t been identified yet – and I’m not privileging her life over theirs. But who are we to judge the decisions that people have to make in order to survive in this very harsh and unforgiving world? Her family is raising funds to give her a proper memorial; if you have it to give, please do so. I did.

IV. “We work hard at being last”: How The Poorest, Sickest State In The Union, Mississippi, Got Left Behind by Obamacare
Mississippi, goddamn. This is an excellent piece about the state of healthcare in Mississippi and how a history of racism and classism and political corruption keeps the nation with the highest mortality rates and lowest literacy rates continues to be the land that progress seems to miss.

V. History, Halloween and Blackface
This should be self-explanatory, the offensive nature and history of Blackface, but, here we are America. Because trends, no matter how disturbing, never happen in a vacuum.

VI. Halloween Butterbeer Cupcakes
Given all of the Blackface that abounds lately, this is a new Halloween tradition that I think we should all get behind instead. Inspired by the Harry Potter books, this is a recipe that calls for butterscotch and hipster craft beer for the 21 and over crowd. Looks like fun!

VII. Have Several Seats: Gawker Tries to Call Queen Latifah Out For Cancelling Cosby Interview
Just in case you haven’t heard, lots of people are calling out Bill Cosby’s possible rapist past and apparently, Queen Latifah wasn’t here for it, giving an alleged rapist a platform and all. Naturally, those assholes over at Gawker got upset. Despite the fact that Gawker too is a media outlet and can jockey for the same interview, instead they decided to allow a man to tell a woman how she should respond to someone who has a history of at least allegations of disrespecting women. I’ll let y’all decide.

VIII. A Poem From a 17-Year-Old Tupac
Just cause.

IX. Hello Kitty Takes Over L.A. in Museum Exhibit
And to boot, a Hello Kitty Convention that runs until November 2nd in downtown L.A. Bonus: the valid debate over whether Hello Kitty is a cat or a girl.

X: Off Color: Issa Rae
A great look into the digital world of Issa Rae, famous for creating Awkward Black Girl and her quest to bring the experiences of quirky characters of color to the screen.

XI. Timberlands, Twitter and Throwbacks
And of course, an article by yours about the Timberland boot, why it’s not a “new” trend and why it’s important to include the history in the narrative of a trend.

XII. The Friendship of Toni Morrison and Angela Davis
Did you know that Toni Morrison was Angela Davis’s mentor? Did you know that Morrison edited Davis’s autobiography? I did not. A fascinating look at the friendship and professional relationship of two of the most dynamic women in modern American history.

Blue Ivy Hate — Stop It.

The Maroon Colony:

Were you kind of disgusted when Fat Jew (his self-described name) posted on his Instagram about why Blue Ivy looked like a hardened criminal lesbian, instead of a “caramel colored” princess? Look here. That’s a think piece for another day, but this was a thought or two by an up and coming young writer that should all be on radar. Stay woke y’all.

Originally posted on Rebel With a Cause:

Ignorance in a Screenshot

Imagine you are a child, about 3-years-old, living a fulfilling lifestyle with two parents who love and adore you. You are as equally unaffected by how you look as you are unaware, totally unconcerned, at 3-years-old, with what that means. Imagine that one day, you discover that since you were born, people you don’t even and won’t ever know have been criticizing you, your hair, your skin tone, your facial features, calling you ugly, saying you look like a crackhead, comparing you to other toddlers, insulting and attacking you without ever knowing who you actually are, projecting their social and cultural insecurities onto you, since you were born. How would that make you feel?

So why the fuck are we doing this to Blue Ivy?

Simply put, amongst many other things, our society is particularly misogynoiristic, meaning that because of our deeply rooted hatred for black women,due mostly to slavery, colorism, and…

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