The Curator

The Curator for 12/5: Eric Garner, America, Black Men and Confronting This Legacy

Because nothing is more important this week than the continued conversation about Black lives and racism. Let’s do better next week America.

The New York Times Condemns The Eric Garner Grand Jury Decision (The New York Times)
“I can’t breathe.”

Eric Garner’s Children Speak to Katie Couric (Yahoo! News)
on the lack of the indictment: “You’ve seen him die on national T.V….Why?” This is an excellent view. This humanizes this man, this father. It also has commentary from writers, LaToya Peterson and Franchesca Ramsey with Raymond Kelly, the problematic former chief of NYPD.

As Akai Gurley Lay Dying, The Cop That Shot Him Text His Union Rep (New York Daily News)
Because when you do not see Black people as being human, it makes perfect sense to focus on your own. In that meantime, the cop, Peter Liang couldn’t reach his rep. He also was not supposed to be on that beat either. This is why we have to teach the very basic truth: Black people are human too. Black lives matter.

Tamir Rice’s Killer Was Deemed Unfit for Police Work Two Years Ago (The Guardian)
A supervisor wrote in an evaluation of Timothy Loehmann that he lacked “the maturity needed for our employment,” and stated, “I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change our correct these defencies.” He was unfit for employment in a White suburb in November 2012. He was employed by the Cleveland police March 2014, patrolling the mostly Black city. Tamir was buried yesterday.

Chokeholds, The Police and Thurgood Marshall (Mother Jones)
There still remains to be a lot of work done in examining the history for the American and largely White public that’s unaware of the brutal and violent history of Black communities and the police. Which is why it’s important to remember that Thurgood Marshall blasted the LAPD in the case Los Angeles v Lyons for chokeholds. Back in 1983. Chokeholds were made illegal in use by NYPD in 1993.

Mayor De Blasio Announces a Police Re-Training Program (Time Magazine)
What significant changes that will be had out of a 3 day training program I’m not sure, but one supposes that it’s a start. It also doesn’t address the more insidious and dangerous issue: the inability to connect with Black humanity.

Mayor De Blasio Had To Warn His Own Son About His Police Force (Gawker)
Because despite Dante De Blasio’s White father who is mayor over their city and police force, he’s still a Black man. That’s actually kind of crazy right- one of the most powerful kids in the nation still is not safe from the police force that his father presides over. That’s how deep the power of racism is in Black lives.

“#Criming While White” Explodes on Twitter, Revealing The Abundance of White Privilege (The Huffington Post)
Interesting that the story really also misses a lot of Black Twitter’s sentiments that this was gloating. And it did become that, later as the hashtag grew. Initially, it was a hashtag to open the doors of dialogue about the two difference justice systems that exist for White people and Black people in this country.

The Dream That Never Was: Black Millennials and Obama (Gawker)
The profound disappointment that Black Millennials feel about Obama and Obama’s America. I co-sign all of this. And more.

Chris Rock Brings Brilliance on Racism in Hollywood, L.A. and American in General (The Hollywood Reporter)
Chris Rock has been on a roll these past few weeks with blistering and genius commentary on race and the myth of race relations in America. While not directly related to Eric Garner, he offers really real insight into White racism and how the lack of White progress with regards to racial tolerance affects what we see on the screen and in media.

Making History With ‘Selma’ (The New York Times)
A long and in-depth read about Ava DuVernay, the director of the Oscar contender “Selma” and the making of this amazing, necessary and timely movie. Her journey and the journey of this movie is so worth the read. Given the place that we’re in in America right now, I suspect that we all need to go see this film when it opens December 25th.

 

The Curator For 11/28: Ferguson

I can’t think of anything more important to talk about than Ferguson. Because it’s a summation of everything that we don’t talk about, as a country: and that’s race. We don’t talk about the paradigms of privilege, the White rage and supremacy that will do anything, attack anything to keep Black people (and subsequently, other marginalized groups) oppressed.When we as a country set precedents like the one that’s been set nationally with the Grand Jury’s decision in Ferguson – that you can kill Black people with impunity – we teach another generation of White people to devalue Black lives. This is not about Black on Black crime, which only comes up for many White people when they are talking about White people killing Black people. And the epidemic of White on White crime is a FAR bigger problem that White people and the media ignore. We can not live in a nation which state sanctions the devaluement of all lives that are not White, nor male or heterosexual – the only identities which White supremacy protects completely – and naively expect peace.

A collection of the best and most important articles that have been circulating this week.

Ferguson Isn’t About Black Rage Against The Cops. This is About White Rage Against Progress (The Washington Post)
“White rage recurs in American history. It exploded after the Civil War, erupted again to undermine the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision and took on its latest incarnation with Barack Obama’s ascent to the White House. For every action of African American advancement, there’s a reaction, a backlash.”

How White People Got Made (Medium)
“It started in the late 1600s in America, but like so many scams, it spiraled out of control until it had a life of its own.” A MUST READ.

The New Threat: ‘Racism without racists’ (CNN)

“The idea of calling it racial bias lessens the blow…[but]you want to lessen the blow or do you want to eradicate racism? I want to eradicate racism. Yes I want opportunity for dialogue, but the impact of racism is killing people of color. We don’t have time to tend to the emotional wounds of others, not when violence against people of color is the national status quo.” A must read.

Barack Obama, Ferguson and The Evidence of Things Unsaid (The Atlantic)
“What clearly cannot be said is that American society’s affection for nonviolence is notional…And what can not be said is America does not really believe in nonviolence—Barack Obama has said as much—so much as it believes in order.” By one of my favorite writers in the game, Ta-Nehisi Coates.

It’s Incredibly Rare For A Grand Jury To Do What Ferguson’s Just Did (FiveThirtyEight)
“Former New York state Chief Judge Sol Wachtler famously remarked that a prosecutor could persuade a grand jury to “indict a ham sandwich.” The data suggests he was barely exaggerating: According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. attorneys prosecuted 162,000 federal cases in 2010, the most recent year for which we have data. Grand juries declined to return an indictment in 11 of them.”

The Terrifying Racial Stereotypes Laced Through Darren Wilson’s Testimony  (Vox)
As the actor Jesse Williams commented yesterday, “Darren Wilson just read you the plot to A Birth of a Nation and not only did you pretend it was entertaining, but that it was hard evidence.” Please pay attention to the section titled, “When Giant Negroes Attack”.

Everything That The Grand Jury in Ferguson Got Wrong: The Lies, The Errors, The Mis-truths That Let Mike Brown’s Killer Off The Hook  (Salon)
“But I want to be clear here. I’m not saying Wilson is lying. I’m not saying his testimony is false. I am saying that the events, as he describes them, are simply bizarre. His story is difficult to believe. And because it’s so difficult to believe, Klein argued, quite sensibly, we need the full-blown trial process to run its course, in order to see if his incredible testimony can hold up.”

A Black Police Officer in St.Louis Gets Indicted For Hitting a Man With Baton (The Daily Dot)
“But on July 25, 2014, just two weeks before Brown was gunned down, a St. Louis County Police Department press release revealed that McCulloch would be prosecuting another police officer, Dawon Gore, for felony assault—because he struck a man’s hand with his baton.” The double standard for Blackness continues and continues.

What Whiteness in Ferguson Fought For Last Night (Medium)
“The right to life was at stake for Black people last night; a way of life was a stake for Whiteness, to continue, to be defined by and to benefit from oppressed Blackness.” Not including this because I’m the author, but because it was a recommended read on Medium as well.

My Son After Ferguson: “I Feel Like I’m Wearing the Losing Jersey’s Team” (Huffington Post)
A very powerful piece written by the father of a friend of mine, who describes the humilating and devastating realization that Black lives do not matter much in America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

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.