Sometimes The Debate Just Tires You Out

After much deep thought (well semi-deep at least) I have decided to discontinue this blog. It is in part because my film production company and talent management company are keeping me extremely busy these days, but the biggest reason frankly is just fatigue from trying to open people’s minds.

In the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin trial, I have watched the racial division get even more entrenched between those I feel are trying very hard to get people to to realize the many subtle and profound ways race plays into life in America, and those on the other side who simply refuse to see it. I think I have come to realize that blogs like mine either preach to the choir of those who are like-minded already (though it has been a joy to meet so many through this blog) or it goes to those who simply want to argue and no matter what logic is used, prefer to discount.

I have also reluctantly come to the conclusion that at the end of the day, for the most part, the only people that can impact white racism, in terms of getting people to maybe possibly listen, is another white person. When a person of color, especially a black man, tries to discuss what racism feels like, it is hard for some whites, the ones who most need to hear it, to get beyond the fact that a black person is saying it. They see it as whining, complaining, exaggerating, being mistaken, everything but being what it is. And certainly the same may well be true for dealing with closed minded blacks or other minorities, only other people of color may be be able to get through to them also.

The reality of this fact hit me the most in the aftermath of President Obama’s wonderful discussion on the Trayvon Martin verdict. It was heartfelt, honest and just a man talking about his real life experience. Yet the outcry from those who don’t like Obama or don’t want to hear that black male view was swift and ugly in many instances. Again, basically totally discounted.

So my decision to stop writing this blog doesn’t mean I am giving up on what matters to me. That would be impossible when I live a mixed life, with a mixed family, one of varying ethnicities and cultures. Nor do I think the majority of the people out there are bad. Not at all. And as I said before I have had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful people all over the world, and of varying skin colors through this blog. And I will continue to support, follow and comment on their blogs. I treasure them too much. I will continue to chime in occasionally through my Huffington Post blog, which I write here and there, as I am moved. I have found lots of great blogs and sites on matters of race, mixed life, and equality in general, so I know the information is out there. So mine ceasing won’t end the debates and good work so many are doing.

Thanks to the loyal readers and those that stumbled hear occasionally . I hope I added something. And I’ll be jumping into the fray here and there, so don’t think I am disappearing.

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Mixed People Monday – Natassia Malthe

UntitledThe dancer, model, actress and spokesperson is half Norwegian and half Malaysian. Her mother is from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Natassia was born in Oslo, Norway.

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Marc Anthony Has To Deal With Bigots Who Think He Is Not American

As American as Apple Pie.

As American as Apple Pie.

I know in America we have the right to be stupid and ignorant, but I swear  I think we should have a basic right as a nation to kick people out that don’t have a base level of intelligence. Latina magazine reported this:

This is crazy! Not only do 11-year-old Mexican-American boys get attacked when they sing songs about the U.S.A., now even big stars do, too. Twitter users took to social to post about their hatred (and flaunted their ignorance, no less) when Marc Anthony sang God Bless America at Tuesday’s MLB All Star game, reports NBC Latino.

(No one is exempt!)

Despite the fact that Marc Anthony is a born-and-bred New Yorker (he grew up in Spanish Harlem), people questioned if they were the only one saw his performance as “un-American” and even questioned his citizenship status. Others focused on his pronunciation, saying he rolled his r’s during the performance for the word “American.”

Here are some of the tweets:

Why is Marc Anthony singing “God Bless America?” He’s not even American. Shoulda got someone sweet like Kesha –  Spencer Babcock (@jakebabcock)

Marc Anthony singing God Bless America on the MLB Allstar Game……….am I the only person that finds that unAmerican – Jerrell Rock Golden (@SirRock1001)

Another disgrace Marc Anthony singing god bless America.Is he even an American citizen? – Brian Edwards (@Dusboy7)

I’m sorry but I just have to say it. Dumb asses.

 

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Mixed People – Prince

PrinceA couple of days late with my Mixed People Monday but here it is. Prince’s ethnic makeup is somewhat unclear. According to a 1983 Rolling Stone Magazine article, the pop singer’s father was of African American ethnicity and his mother was of Italian American Ancestry. However another website states that his mother Mattie Shaw, is of African American, Native American and White heritage, while his father, John Nelson, is of Black and Italian ancestry. Well no matter how you slice it, he is Mixed.

 

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These Kids Show Us That We Can Get Past The Racial Polarization

This video is a MUST WATCH. Especially at this time when our country seems even more polarized over the role race plays after the verdict in the Zimmerman trial. Restored my faith in people, our future. It is so so touching.

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The Zimmerman Verdict Makes Me More Sad Than Anything

Trayvon MartinNot much to say. Just sad, though expected, outcome. What does it say when many of us expected this outcome though? Sad for my own son.

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Chris Noth Says He And His Wife Have Gotten Hate Mail On Their Mixed Marriage

Chris NothI love this interview with Chris Noth. Go the link below to see the short interview where he discusses his mixed son and the hate mail he has gotten about his mixed marriage. Love his attitude.

Here is a bit on the video:

Chris Noth is famous for his roles in “Sex in the City,” “Law & Order” and “The Good Wife,” but he’s long sought to keep his private life out of the spotlight.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, a candid Noth talked about getting married last year to his longtime girlfriend, Tara Lynn Wilson, and his dismay over opponents of interracial relationships sending the couple racist hate mail.

“When I was in a play on Broadway two years ago I’d occasionally get letters of outrage, usually from somewhere in Alabama or something, saying y’know, ‘Don’t come down here with your wife,’” he said.

Still, Noth is hopeful that the world is heading towards a post-racial future. “We’re all getting together. We’re all mixing it up,” he laughs.

Watch the clip from the interview with Noth here.

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Chicago Blackhawks Can Win On A Bigger Stage By Changing Their Mascot

Sticks and stones...

Sticks and stones…

Saw this piece over at the blog, Racialicious and since I have written on this issue regarding the Washington Redskins I thought it brought a fresh perspective to the matter as relates to Native American macots in general:

As a white youth growing up playing ice hockey in the 1960s, in a Chicago suburb, I fell in love with the Chicago Blackhawks. I watched Hawks games on T.V., and during the intermissions between the periods, I retired to the kitchen (and its smooth, slick tile floor) to shoot my plastic puck at the cabinets. For the kitchen shootouts, I channeled my all-time favorite, the always-helmeted Stan Mikita, or on occasion, Bobby Hull. Born just after the team’s 1961 Stanley Cup championship, I anticipated – without too much patience – the next championship, and suffered through the team’s two failed Stanley Cup appearances in the early seventies.

But between those years and the team’s next championships in 2010 and now 2013, my Native American friends encouraged me to reflect more deeply on the way symbols like the team’s own “Chief Black Hawk” distorted their identities, particularly in the imaginations of white Americans. Ultimately, in graduate school at the University of Illinois-Champaign, I critiqued my school’s infamous mascot, Chief Illiniwek, and my friend Richard King and I went on to edit Team Spirits: The Native American Mascot Controversy, a 2001 collection of essays giving voice to how Native Americans feel about many of these manifestations of the power of non-Indian, mostly white institutions and people to (re)represent, (re)name, and (re)contextualize Native peoples for white purposes.

In his foreword for the book, renowned scholar Vine Deloria Jr. of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation wrote:

With diehard refusal to change the names and logos of sports teams we always hear the justification that the name is being used to ‘honor’ us. This tortured reasoning makes its proponents look absurd. Obviously if garish costumes, demeaning cheers, and crude logos are the essence of honor, then the various sports halls of fame need to perform drastic surgery on the busts and plaques of their honorees. The excuse, being lame, must conceal something more profound, which cannot or will not be articulated by those people ‘honoring’ us.

Maybe the most vivid contemporary example, the Washington R*dskins, is addressed by Suzan Shown Harjo of the Cheyenne and Holdulgee Muscogee tribes, the plaintiff in the case against the franchise. The plaintiffs’ legal strategy turns on U.S. trademark law and its prohibition against trademarking racial epitaphs, and as such, they seek merely to deny the Washington R*dskins team the right to own the trademark of own name and image. Harjo, writing in Team Spirits, acknowledges that the case may take a long while to play out in federal court, but she asserts:

Three things are certain at this time … The Native American position is rock solid and will not change. The circle of non-Native supporter is wider, stronger, and more diverse. The time has come to consign “Redskins” to the history books and museums.” 

What do you think?

Increasingly uncomfortable rooting for a team relying on Native American imagery to popularize its identity, my passion for the team has now dimmed. Somewhat ambivalent still, I was jealous of the team’s many supporters reveling in and celebrating the 2010 championship. And as I share this with you, Patrick Kane and Jonathon Toews have just led the Hawks yet again to a Stanley Cup championship. Persuaded by years of inquiry into the problematic history of how athletic teams have too often resorted to Native American imagery to convey their identities, I will let me many friends who are Blackhawk fans celebrate without me.

Man I wish people would understand the power of these names and the inherent insult built in considering how real Native Americans were treated in American history. But alas,  many will see this as criticism of their teams and will ignore it. But it is about so much more than sports.

Read the rest of the very thought-provoking essay here.

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The Irish Were Slaves Too. Why Does It Not Get Discussed Much?

UntitledThis is a very interesting blog post from the blog Exploring My Culture, Exploring Myself. The piece makes some great points to consider and is worth discussing. Here is an excerpt:

Why do some people think that acknowledging the suffering of others somehow diminishes their own?  That in order to validate their suffering, they must deny the suffering of others?

Was the African slave trade a blight on the face of humanity?  Was the African slave trade a horror that none of us can truly comprehend?   Is there anyone at all who will argue that the answer is anything but a most emphatic yes?

Since that is so, why isn’t the Irish slave trade similarly acknowledged as even existing, let alone acknowledged as that same blight, that same horror?  Why are the white slaves taken in Africa not likewise acknowledged as existing?

Why is acknowledging European slavery in Africa a threat to the memory of black slavery?

I’m not talking about racism, discrimination, civil rights issues.  I’m not talking about comparing the suffering as if one can be found to be more worthy of notice.

I’m talking about slavery.  Real slavery.

When the population of Ireland was cut by nearly two thirds within a single decade (1641 to 1652), with an estimated 300,000 Irish slaves shipped to the New World to work for English masters and another 500,000 killed outright, that is a reality of history.   They were every bit as much slaves as the Africans brought to the Americas.

During the 1650s, over 100,000 Irish children between the ages of 10 and 14 were taken from their parents and sold as slaves in the West Indies, Virginia and New England. In this decade, 52,000 Irish (mostly women and children) were sold to Barbados and Virginia. Another 30,000 Irish men and women were also transported and sold to the highest bidder. In 1656, Cromwell ordered that 2000 Irish children be taken to Jamaica and sold as slaves to English settlers.

And don’t kid yourself.  These were not indentured servants who labored for some years and then were set free.  They were slaves.  Every bit as much as the Africans were slaves.  They were slaves who were sent to the Americas to labor and die by the master’s hand, to be seen as property and chattel, not people.

In time, the English thought of a better way to use these [Irish] women (in many cases, girls as young as 12) to increase their market share: The settlers began to breed Irish women and girls with African men to produce slaves with a distinct complexion. These new “mulatto” slaves brought a higher price than Irish livestock and, likewise, enabled the settlers to save money rather than purchase new African slaves.

To read the full piece click here.

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