Spelman Thy Name We Praise!!!

 

As a Spelman College Alumnae I am so please to see our school and President Beverly Daniel Tatum was featured on Time.com.

TIME Newsmaker Interview: Spelman President on Small College Success, the Flawed Fed Ranking Plan and How to Meet Smart Spelman Women | TIME http://ow.ly/zJ8TR

Please read the article that covers historic fundraising efforts, the state of and need for HBCUs, and funding issues that hinder graduation rates.

I am very proud to be a part of such an amazing community. Check out our history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spelman_College

 

 

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The Boondocks Season Four…WHY??!!!!!

I never want to talk about something that I have not witnesses, or experienced, first hand. So before I voiced my disappointment in creator and showrunner Aaron Mcgruder’s departure from the show, I wanted to watch it and get a sense of its new direction and if McGruder’s vision remained. When the first episode aired on Adult Swim I was waiting around for there to a ground swelling of support that never came. Then, I watched a few episodes. My first thought was, “Why do the characters look like that?”. My second thought was, “why would they even put this on”.

When discussing the previous seasons of The Boondocks, Aaron McGruder stated “For three seasons I personally navigated this show through the minefields of controversy. It was not perfect. And it definitely was not quick. But it was always done with a keen sense of duty, history, culture, and love. Anything less would have been simply unacceptable”. It is my opinion that season four of The Boondocks does none of these things. It is an unnecessary mockery of Aaron McGruder’s legacy and Black culture. This is because the drawing of each character, storyline, and pop culture references were not as thoughtful and significantly more offensive than when McGruder was involved.

One of the things that first drew my attention to The Boondocks comic was how well drawn it was. That same attention to detail and awareness of how easily black cartoon characters can become caricatures was present in the 1st three seasons of the show. With the absence of McGruder, the drawing retained their detail but quickly crossed the line into caricature. This shift was aided by the exaggeration added to characters faces and body language. It is reminiscent of Japanese anime which makes sense because most Adult Swim shows are anime or have amine roots. The problem is, historically, America has used exaggerated features as a way to demean and mock the Black community. This picture of Granddad and the boys are one representation.

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Staten Island Man Murdered by Police Officer’s Choke Hold

Yea I said murdered. When someone does something that results in another person’s death, it’s called murder. You can put accident in front of it, or substitute it with died, but we all know what murder looks like. This video is so hard to watch for that reason.

It’s one of those instances that exhibits why Black people are weary of the police. My first thought was, wow that escalated quickly. My second thought was, wow the police really can do whatever they want. They don’t even care about what gets caught on camera. I came to this conclusion because, just a few months ago, another video of police brutality was all over the internet.

Ersula Ore, an Arizona State University English professor, was tackled to the ground for jaywalking. The officer that accosted placed on paid leave and the story, of course,  has died down. What is really eerie are the similarities between both videos.

1. Both individuals were not approached for violent crimes.

2. Both individuals were Black, while the police officers involved were white.

3. Both individuals were willing to discuss the situation with the officer, but were ignored.

4. Police approached the individuals to arrest them without saying anything about why, escalating the situations. (Garner was not caught in the act of selling anything and Ore’s jaywalking offense is punishable by a small fine.)

5. More than one police officer shows up on camera to help subdue the individual by using harsh force.

Both sets of officers had no respect for these two individuals lives. How can you sit on someone while he’s telling you he can’t breathe? How can you throw a woman to the ground for jaywalking? We should be questioning the institutions that are suppose to protect us. These stories do not make me feel like the police have my best interest at heart. Their blatant disregard for human life has my jaw on the floor. I’m hoping that some police chief somewhere is instilling in his officers that excessive force and disrespect are not the answer.

Is Natural Hair Professional?

I went to Spelman College, an all female HBCU. The question, is natural hair professional was answered with a resounding yes. In fact, the question isn’t even asked. Professors and administrators rocked whatever hair style they pleased. However, outside the gates, students are forced to question their hair choices. They encounter stereotypes around natural hair including natural hair is hard to keep clean.

Inn fact, one summer , while I had braids, I mentioned to another person of color in my HR office that I wanted to begin interviewing for other positions in the company. Her response was, “Well be sure to put your weave back in while you’re applying and interviewing”. My first thought was, “I just had these braids done; I don’t have the time or money to make that switch right now”. My second thought was, “Is my hair that important, misunderstood, or shocking that it would keep me from progressing in a company?” There are few jobs than ever for college grads and competition is fierce. Are we suppose to allow our hair to dictate our employment chances?

Anita C. Ricketts,  in “Choosing Natural Hair Styles Still a Career Concern for Black Women” says no. “I am at a point in my 20-plus-year career when I can honestly say to a potential employer: “If you can’t handle my hair, then maybe I don’t need to work here.” She then challenges employers to examine whether their company’s environment embraces differences like hair or what area in their diversity management plan need tweaking. But in a way, she is challenging young professionals to stand by our hair choices and question whether a company that does not want to embrace you as a professional because of your hair is where you should be.

We want to know what you think. How do you navigate natural hair in a professional setting?

 

 

Straight Outta Compton Casting Call Is a Problem

NWA

I was so shocked when I read this piece on casting by Hamilton Nolan over at Gawker.com.

My first thought was “Yaaaassssss NWA”.  Hopefully, with Ice Cube (who I love and support) and Dr. Dre (who is amazing) involved, the movie will show the groups social impact in a way that enlightens and informs. These talented men were able to paint a pretty accurate picture of LA was like for African Americans during the late 80’s and 90’s and their story should be told.

My second thought was, “how racist could this be?” So I read the actual casting call (that is on her website as well). This is racist as hell!!!

Sande Alessi, Cast Director

 

The cast director, Sande Alessi, who is responsible from making Johnny Depp a Native American in The Lone Ranger in 2013,  asks for 4 different types of women, A, B, C, and D. Glancing over it, I assumed she was looking for varying characteristics but she took it too far.

A girls, “are the hottest of the hottest. Models. MUST have real hair – no extensions, very classy looking, great bodies. You can be black, white, asian, hispanic, mid eastern, or mixed race too.

B girls, “These are fine girls, long natural hair, really nice bodies. Small waists, nice hips. You should be light-skinned. Beyonce is a prototype here.”

C girls, “are African-American girls, medium to light-skinned with a weave.”

D girls “are African-American girls. Poor, not in good shape. Medium to dark skin tone.”

What makes this racist is the ranking of women by skin color and hair type. This is how a prominent, white casting director sees Black women. By using letters instead of numbers, Alessi is attempting to disguise the fact that she is using skin color and hair to rank the beauty of these women. In her world, white or exotic, darker skinned women, with real hair are the epitome of beauty. However, Beyonce is “the prototype” of “fine” or a second class beauty. (What is very interesting is that Beyonce is actually the prototype for group C. She is light-skinned with a weave. So in reality, Beyonce is a third class beauty.) The most troubling of the list are D girls. D girls are Gabourey Sidibe as Precious look alikes are the only dark-skinned females they need. Not all dark-skinned girls are Precious. They are not all “poor, not in good shape. The same way not all overweight white people live in trailer parks. And by looking at this casting call description they have no plans to present dark skin women in a different light then Hollywood has in the past. Alesssi position of authority is being used to marginalize and oppress Black women and that is the definition of racism.

While this incident is unfortunate, I hope it will serve to make Black people more aware of how we are viewed by the dominant majority. Like it or not, believe it or not, there are still white people whose only reference of African-Americans is what they see in the media. Alessi is a perfect example of this. Her descriptions and assertions are teaming with what she learned about Black people from Tyler Perry movies and Real Housewives of Atlanta. It is up to us to say, at least in a movie about Black people, we won’t marginalize Black women.

 

Welcome to Just Two Thoughts

Hello,
Welcome to my blog. My mission is to provide articles, essays, and interviews that facilitate a discussion about race, gender, and class in America. It is my hope we can the way America thinks about these issues. If you have a story about race, class, or gender that you want to tell, let me know and I’ll post it.  I love to see people making a difference in their community and want to help shed light on those actions.

Best,

Kristina