Tag: combating racism

REVIEW: Jordan Peele Provokes Thought in His Comedy-Horror Masterpiece “Get Out”

“Get Out” written and directed by Jordan Peele (photo courtesy Universal)
by Flynn Richardson

Jordan Peele is the quiet superhero I’ve been waiting for. I say quiet because his movie “Get Out” sneaked up on me. Not that there wasn’t noise surrounding this film… there was… everyone was talking about it. It had a perfect positive review score on Rotten Tomatoes until one guy’s negative take ended the streak. What can I say… everyone’s a critic – including me.

To summarize, “Get Out” is about a young, black photographer named Chris who is dating a white girl named Rose, and the duo depart for the weekend to visit Rose’s family (the Armitages) at their sprawling, suburban estate. Chris has initial concerns about the trip because Rose never mentioned to her family that she was dating a black man; however, Rose assures Chris that her family is not racist, and he therefore should not have anything to worry about.

Upon arrival the family seems normal enough; they are progressive, nice, and even border on entertaining. But as the plot furthers and their racism becomes increasingly revealed, the movie transforms from a fish-out-of- water “meet the parents” story into a spine-chilling thriller involving blood, murder, and hypnotic enslavement.

Among the film’s numerous allusions to racism – the policeman’s unwarranted request for Chris’s ID; the family’s employment of only black help; Rose’s brother’s assessment of Chris’s inherent athletic abilities – one quotation that particularly piqued my interest was the ending line of the official trailer: “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste.”

This slogan, coined in 1972 by Arthur Fletcher, head of the United Negro College Fund, was important for two reasons: 1) it was created to promote the funding of scholarships for underprivileged black youth who would otherwise be unable to afford college and 2) it acknowledged that the potential of a mind does not hinge upon the race of its host, and that every mind should thereby be entitled to further cultivation.

What I find most interesting about Peele’s inclusion of this slogan (and its periodic repetition throughout the film and trailer) is that it perfectly echoes the commentary Peele makes about racism through this movie. Minds of black people are literally wasted as they are hypnotically enveloped within “The Sunken Place” – a darkness in which the mind is deprived of control over the body, and this imposed deprivation is largely representative of the systemic racism that plagues our society.

Although the capability of a mind is not dictated by race, the system has nonetheless created the illusion of white superiority by marginalizing black people and casting them into a void of shadows. And, while an occasional glimmer of reality (in this case, provided by the flash from Chris’s camera) may motivate black people to sometimes fight against it, the system ultimately triumphs in restoring its prejudiced order.

Speaking from my perspective – a bi-racial, brown-skinned teenager living in Los Angeles – I have been fortunate enough to not have personally experienced the same degree of marginalization as other members of the black community, or even within my own family. But this movie nonetheless still displays several facets of my experience. I attend a school of predominantly white students, and I can attribute many of my own feelings of being “other” to a feeling of being overshadowed by my white peers. I say many, and not all, because the alternative is a feeling of scrutinization that stems from being the only black kid in the room. Peele illustrates this aspect extremely well through the Armitages’ fixation on Chris. What I think therefore is so special about this film is that it weaves together these (and so many other) different dimensions of discrimination, and pretty much anyone of color can find some identification with Chris’s experience.

For those who still have not seen this movie, the purchase of that ticket would undoubtedly be money well-spent. If thought-provoking and intelligently constructed films intrigue you, watch “Get Out.” If films that tackle racism move you, watch “Get Out.” Even if you are merely into the horror genre, watch “Get Out.” From its amazing acting – Chris (Daniel Kaluyaa), Rose (Allison Williams), the brilliantly hilarious TSA agent Rod (Lil Rel Howery), etc. – to its perfect pacing, “Get Out” merits its commercial and critical success for its unique, alluring, and thoughtful portrayal of the underlying horrors that constitute being black in America.

Note: If my antistrophe in the last paragraph was not enough to persuade you (did I mention I’m a college-bound high school senior? Words like “antistrophe” live in my brain daily, so I can’t pass up a chance to use one in context), hopefully the trailer linked below will be:

White Christians Who Voted for Donald Trump: Fix This. Now. | John Pavlovitz

(photo via johnpavlovitz.com)

We Christians like to talk about Hell a lot, so let’s talk about Hell a little. Yesterday, in the very first few daylight hours after Donald Trump’s election victory it began:

Near San Francisco, a home in Noe Valley flew a nazi flag where kids walk by to get to school.

A white middle school student brought a Trump sign to school and told a black classmate it was time for him to get “back in place”.

A gay New York City man getting on a bus was told that he should “Enjoy the concentration camps, faggot!”

The NYU Muslim Students Association found the word “Trump!”scrawled on the door of their prayer room.

A female seminary student was stopped at a coffee shop with the words, “Smile sweetheart, we beat the cunt.”

Parents of children of color spent the day picking up their children early from elementary, middle, and high schools across the country because they were inundated with slurs and harassment and unable to study.

A group of Hispanic kids in Raleigh were taunted by white children, telling them they were “going back to Mexico.”

This is the personal Hell we’ve unleashed upon our people this week. 

And if you’re a white Christian and you voted for Donald Trump: You need to fix this. Now.

To continue reading full article, go to: White Christians Who Voted for Donald Trump: Fix This. Now. | john pavlovitz

‘Ghostbusters’ Star Leslie Jones Fights Racist Twitter Hate Speech, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Responds

Leslie Jones arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of “Ghostbusters.” (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

article by Associated Press via yahoo.com

NEW YORK (AP) — Under a barrage of hateful posts on Twitter, “Ghostbusters” star Leslie Jones said she was “in a personal hell” and urged the social networking service to do more to eradicate abuse.  In a series of posts Monday night, Jones said she had been pummeled with racist tweets. She retweeted numerous tweets directed at her with disturbing language and pictures of apes.

Jones said the messages were deeply hurtful and brought her to tears. The “Saturday Night Live” cast member called on Twitter to strengthen guidelines and for users to “stop letting the ignorant people be the loud ones.”

“I feel like I’m in a personal hell,” wrote Jones. “I didn’t do anything to deserve this. It’s just too much. It shouldn’t be like this. So hurt right now.”

The exchanges came at a career high point for the “Saturday Night Live” cast member. “Ghostbusters,” which opened last week, is her first major film role. “It’s like when you think, ‘OK I’ve proven I’m worthy’ and then you get hit with a shovel of (hatred),” she said.

She concluded a string of messages early Tuesday morning. “I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart,” wrote Jones. “All this cause I did a movie.”

The tweets caught the attention of Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey, who sent Jones a message asking her to get in touch with him. Twitter later responded in a statement.

“This type of abusive behavior is not permitted on Twitter, and we’ve taken action on many of the accounts reported to us by both Leslie and others,” said a spokesperson for Twitter. “We rely on people to report this type of behavior to us but we are continuing to invest heavily in improving our tools and enforcement systems to prevent this kind of abuse. We realize we still have a lot of work in front of us before Twitter is where it should be on how we handle these issues.”

Many, however, have come to Jones’ defense, tweeting support for the actress under the hashtag “#LoveForLeslieJ.”

To read more, go to: https://www.yahoo.com/news/leslie-jones-under-hateful-barrage-twitter-fights-back-145423122.html?ref=gs

EDITORIAL: What I Said When My White Friend Asked for My Black Opinion on White Privilege

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson, GBN Editor-in-Chief
by Lori Lakin Hutcherson, GBN Editor-in-Chief

Yesterday I was tagged in a post by an old high school friend, asking me and a few others a very public, direct question about white privilege and racism.  I feel compelled not only to publish his query but also my response to it, as it may be a helpful discourse for more than just a handful of folks on Facebook.

Here’s his post:

“To all of my Black or mixed race FB friends, I must profess a blissful ignorance of this “White Privilege” of which I’m apparently guilty of possessing. By not being able to fully put myself in the shoes of someone from a background/race/religion/gender/ nationality/body type that differs from my own makes me part of the problem, according to what I’m now hearing. Despite my treating everyone with respect and humor my entire life (as far as I know), I’m somehow complicit in the misfortune of others. I’m not saying I’m colorblind, but whatever racism/sexism/other -ism my life experience has instilled in me stays within me, and is not manifested in the way I treat others (which is not the case with far too many, I know).

So that I may be enlightened, can you please share with me some examples of institutional racism that have made an indelible mark upon you? If I am to understand this, I need people I know personally to show me how I’m missing what’s going on. Personal examples only. I’m not trying to be insensitive, I only want to understand (but not from the media). I apologize if this comes off as crass or offends anyone.”

Here’s my response:

Hi, Jason.  First off, I hope you don’t mind that I’ve quoted your post and made it part of mine.  I think the heart of what you’ve asked of your friends of color is extremely important and I think my response needs much more space than as a reply on your feed.  I truly thank you for wanting to understand what you are having a hard time understanding.  Coincidentally, over the last few days I have been thinking about sharing some of the incidents of prejudice/racism I’ve experienced in my lifetime – in fact I just spoke with my sister Lesa about how to best do this yesterday – because I realized many of my friends – especially the white ones – have no idea what I’ve experienced/dealt with unless they were present (and aware) when it happened.  There are two reasons for this : 1) because not only as a human being do I suppress the painful and uncomfortable in an effort to make it go away, I was also taught within my community (I was raised in the ‘70s & ‘80s – it’s shifted somewhat now) and by society at large NOT to make a fuss, speak out, or rock the boat. To just “deal with it,” lest more trouble follow (which sadly, it often does).  2) Fear of being questioned or dismissed with “Are you sure that’s what you heard?” or “Are you sure that’s what they meant?” and being angered and upset all over again by well-meaning-but-hurtful and essentially unsupportive responses.

So, again, I’m glad you asked, because I really want to answer. But as I do, please know a few things first: 1) This is not even close to the whole list. I’m cherrypicking because none of us have all day.  2) I’ve been really lucky. Most of what I share below is mild compared to what others in my family and community have endured. 3) I’m going to go in chronological order so you might begin to glimpse the tonnage and why what many white folks might feel is a “Where did all of this come from?” moment in society has been festering individually and collectively for the LIFETIME of pretty much every black or brown person living in America today regardless of wealth or opportunity. 4)Some of what I share covers sexism, too – intersectionality is another term I’m sure you’ve heard and want to put quotes around, but it’s a real thing, too, just like white privilege.  But you’ve requested a focus on personal experiences with racism, so here it goes:

1. When I was 3, my family moved into an upper-middle class, all-white neighborhood. We had a big backyard, so my parents built a pool. Not the only pool on the block, but the only one neighborhood boys started throwing rocks into. White boys. One day my mom ID’d one as the boy from across the street, went to his house, told his mother and fortunately, his mother believed mine.  My mom not only got an apology, but also had that boy jump in our pool and retrieve every single rock. No more rocks after that. Then Mom even invited him to come over to swim sometime if he asked permission. Everyone became friends. This one has a happy ending because my mom was and is badass about matters like these, but I hope you can see that the white privilege in this situation is being able to move into a “nice” neighborhood and be accepted not harassed, made to feel unwelcome, or prone to acts of vandalism and hostility.

2. When my older sister was 5, a white boy named Mark called her a “nigger” after she beat him in a race at school. She didn’t know what it meant but in her gut, she knew it was bad. This was the first time I’d seen my father the kind of angry that has nowhere to go.  I somehow understood it was because not only had some boy verbally assaulted his daughter and had gotten away with it, it had way too early introduced her (and me) to that term and the reality of what it meant – that some white people would be cruel and careless with black people’s feelings just because of our skin color. Or our achievement.  If it’s unclear in any way, the point here is if you’ve NEVER had a defining moment in your childhood or your life, where you realize your skin color alone makes other people hate you, you have white privilege.

3. Sophomore year of high school. I had Mr. Melrose for Algebra 2. Some time within the first few weeks of class, he points out that I’m “the only spook” in the class.  This was meant to be funny.  It wasn’t.  So, I doubt it will surprise you I was relieved when he took medical leave after suffering a heart attack and was replaced by a sub for the rest of the semester.  The point here is if you’ve never been ‘the only one’ of your race in a class, at a party, on a job, etc. and/or it’s been pointed out in a “playful” fashion by the authority figure in said situation – you have white privilege.

4. When we started getting our college acceptances senior year, I remember some white male classmates pissed that another black classmate had gotten into UCLA while they didn’t. They said that affirmative action had given him “their spot” and it wasn’t fair.  An actual friend of theirs. Who’d worked his ass off.  The point here is if you’ve never been on the receiving end of the assumption that when you’ve achieved something it’s only because it was taken away from a white person who “deserved it”that is white privilege.

5. When I got accepted to Harvard (as a fellow AP student you were witness to what an academic beast I was in high school, yes?), three separate times I encountered white strangers as I prepped for my maiden trip to Cambridge that rankle to this day. The first was the white doctor giving me a physical at Kaiser: Me: “I need to send an immunization report to my college so I can matriculate.” Doctor: “Where are you going?” Me: “Harvard.” Doctor: “You mean the one in Massachusetts?”  The second was in a store, looking for supplies I needed from Harvard’s suggested “what to bring with you” list.  Store employee: “Where are you going?” Me: “Harvard.”  Store employee: “You mean the one in Massachusetts?”  The third was at UPS, shipping off boxes of said “what to bring” to Harvard.  I was in line behind a white boy mailing boxes to Princeton, and in front of a white woman sending her child’s boxes to wherever. Woman, to the boy: “What college are you going to?”  Boy: “Princeton.”  Woman: “Congratulations!”  Woman, to me: “Where are you sending your boxes?” Me: “Harvard.”  Woman: “You mean the one in Massachusetts?” I think: “No bitch, the one downtown next to the liquor store.”  But I say, gesturing to my LABELED boxes: “Yes, the one in Massachusetts.”  Then she says congratulations but it’s too fucking late.  The point here is if no one has ever questioned your intellectual capabilities or attendance at an elite institution based solely on your skin color, that is white privilege. Continue reading “EDITORIAL: What I Said When My White Friend Asked for My Black Opinion on White Privilege”

Alicia Keys, John Legend, Pharrell and Others Perform at “Shining A Light: Concert For Progress on Race in America” Airing Tonight on A+E Networks & Several Others

John Legend at "Shining A Light" Concert
John Legend at “Shining A Light” Concert

A+E Networks and iHeartMedia are simultaneously airing “Shining a Light: A Concert for Progress on Race in America” on Friday, November 20 at 8PM ET/PT.  The sold-out concert was recorded at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, CA on Wednesday, November 18th, and the two-hour special event will air across the entire A+E Networks portfolio in more than 130 territories globally, including A&E, HISTORY, Lifetime, H2, LMN and FYI, as well as on more than 130 iHeartMedia broadcast radio stations nationwide and the iHeartRadio digital platform.  Additionally, AOL has joined in the simulcast making the historic special event available to anyone with internet access across the globe on AOL.com.

Artists Aloe Blacc, Andra Day, Nick Jonas, Tom Morello, Smokey Robinson and Big Sean join the previously announced performers including Zac Brown Band, Eric Church, Jamie Foxx, Rhiannon Giddens, Tori Kelly, John Legend, Miguel, Pink, Jill Scott, Ed Sheeran, Sia, Bruce Springsteen, Sting and Pharrell WilliamsLL Cool J, Marshall Faulk, Morgan Freeman, George Lopez, Mario Lopez, Nicki Minaj, Kurt Warner and Nick Young are among the presenters joining the telecast.

Alicia Keys has joined John Legend and Pharrell on extraordinary journeys to Baltimore, Ferguson and Charleston, where they met with a diverse group of residents in communities at the center of the national conversation on racial inequality and violence.  Joined by NPR’s Michele Norris with John Legend in Ferguson, award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien with Pharrell Williams in Charleston and ABC News’ Byron Pitts in Baltimore, these visits included intimate discussions and special private performances by each for those most effected.  These incredibly moving, heart wrenching and eye-opening moments will be featured throughout the two-hour concert, as well as in the one-hour special, “Shining a Light: Conversations on Race in America,” airing immediately following the concert on A&E Network and AOL.com at 10pm ET/PT.

To see Alicia Keys perform Donny Hathaway’s “Someday We Will All Be Free”, watch below:

The concert will kick off A+E Networks’ campaign to confront issues of race, and promote unity and progress on racial equity, inspired by the response of the Mother Emanuel family members in Charleston and others working for reconciliation and change around the country.

The concert and the ancillary programming will help raise money for the Fund for Progress on Race in America powered by United Way Worldwide (ShiningALightConcert.com).  The fund will provide grant funding to individuals and organizations fostering understanding, eliminating bias, as well as provide support to Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church and the broader A.M.E. denomination. The fund will support efforts to address racism and bias through public policy change, individual innovation, and community mobilization.

Tickets for the concert on November 18 sold out within 3 hours of the on-sale date raising more than $150,000 to benefit the Fund for Progress on Race in America powered by The United Way Worldwide.

To see a clip of John Legend’s performance of “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” from the event, watch below:

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Walmart Says All Stores Will No Longer Carry Items with Confederate Flags

Walmart says in a statement released Monday it will no longer carry Confederate flag merchandise (Photo via goodblacknews.org)
Walmart says in a statement released Monday it will no longer carry Confederate flag merchandise (Photo via goodblacknews.org)

Walmart said in a statement Monday that it is removing “all items” promoting the Confederate flag for sale from its stores and its website.  The move came the same day that Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina called for the removal of a Confederate flag from the state Capitol grounds in Columbia. Her announcement in turn came in the wake of last week’s shooting at a historically black Charleston church that left nine dead.

Charged in the killing is Dylann Roof, 21, who is white and has been attributed with making white supremacist statements. He has been pictured with images of a Confederate flag.

“We never want to offend anyone with the products that we offer,” Walmart spokesman Brian Nick said in an emailed statement. “We have taken steps to remove all items promoting the confederate flag from our assortment — whether in our stores or on our web site.”

The statement continued, apparently answering an inquiry from CNN that cited items for sale based on Confederate flag imagery that were available on Walmart.com. A story on CNN’s website said the Walmart statement was in response to a network inquiry about sales of Confederate flag-related items.

“We have a process in place to help lead us to the right decisions when it comes to the merchandise we sell. Still, at times, items make their way into our assortment improperly — this is one of those instances,” Nick said.

Walmart is the world’s largest retailer, with nearly 11,000 stores in 28 countries.

article by Ed Brackett via usatoday.com

Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity to Announce Plan to Combat Racial Intolerance

CHICAGO (AP) — A fraternity under scrutiny because of a racist chant caught on video plans to announce an extensive review of its chapters around the country.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity said it will unveil Wednesday what it calls a “national plan to combat racial intolerance.” The Evanston, Illinois-based organization is holding a news conference in Chicago to announce its plans to eliminate insensitivity among its members.

The fraternity is responding to a video that surfaced last week. It showed University of Oklahoma fraternity members engaging in a racist chant that referenced lynching and indicated that black students never would be admitted to that university’s chapter.

SAE has disbanded the local chapter for the video. The university has expelled two students and banned SAE. Two students identified in the video have apologized publicly.

article via blackamericaweb.com

United Nations Joins Soccer Leaders to Rid Sport of Racism

AC Milan midfielder Kevin Prince Boateng, of Ghana, celebrates at the end of the Champions League round of 16, first leg soccer match against Barcelona, at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013. AC Milan won 2-0. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

AC Milan midfielder Kevin Prince Boateng, of Ghana, celebrates at the end of the Champions League round of 16, first leg soccer match against Barcelona, at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013. AC Milan won 2-0. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

GENEVA (AP) — The ugly side of the beautiful game was exposed Thursday as the U.N.’s top human rights official joined football officials and players in calling for an end to the “crime” of racism in sport.  U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said the world is a long way from achieving that as evidence by a series of incidents including racist insults and chants, Nazi salutes, petitions against players and denial of hiring that are based on color or ethnicity and have no place in football or any other game.

“Sport, at its best, is inclusive, generous-hearted, and fundamentally multicultural, based on values such as teamwork, loyalty, merit and self-control,” Pillay told a crowded forum at the U.N.’s European headquarters in Geneva, where she was flanked by AC Milan player Kevin-Prince Boateng, former France captain Patrick Viera and several FIFA and European football officials.

Several officials said they were taking real action, not just paying lip service to the problem, through actions such a FIFA anti-racism task force.

Continue reading “United Nations Joins Soccer Leaders to Rid Sport of Racism”