June 16, 2015

Notes on a Scandal: Rachel Dolezal and the ‘Trans-Black’ Con

By now, you’ve probably heard the sordid and bewildering story of world class Decepticon, Rachel Dolezal, explode across your social media timelines. Each day since her cover was blown Rachel's alternate reality shatters in a million little pieces, as more information is revealed about her real identity. In the event you’ve been luxuriating on a remote island, off the coast of I’ve Got Fancier Shit to Worry About, here’s the gist of the situation: Rachel Dolezal—a White woman, and (now former) president of Spokane Washington’s NAACP chapter—has been living a good chunk of her adult life masquerading (with the help of slightly darker makeup, box braid extensions and Afro-textured wigs) as a biracial woman with a Black father, and reaping the benefits of colorism’s complexion hierarchy.

In an elaborate 21st century minstrel tale that probably makes Vijay Chokalingam envious, Rachel was able to craft a highly derivative life, as if she’d taken her cues from the scripted pages of a psychological thriller.

May 11, 2015

Media Matters: Global Girls Media Looking to Change the Face and Voice of Digital Media

Source: globalgirlmedia.org
With shoddy news reports of the anti-police violence protests unfolding around the country and the cluelessness of entertainment reporters and journalists, finding fair and balanced coverage from mainstream media outlets is often an exercise in futility. There seems to be a segment of journalists who seem far more interested in upholding harmful media archetypes about gender, race and class than they are in getting to the crux of human interest stories and recognizing the importance of fair media representation; because skewing facts to appease their demographic takes precedence over impartiality, prompting people to turn to citizen journalism for a no-frills, nuanced and unbiased approach to news.  

April 06, 2015

Black Like Me: How Mindy Kaling's Brother Claims He Duped Academia by Posing As a Black Man

Unpopular opinion: there are segments of non-Black people of color who map out their ‘American Dream’ through the lens of White Supremacy, cultivate their characters and make names for themselves by co-opting (or exploiting) the voices and experiences of Black-Americans, and who try to peddle some agenda by throwing Black people under the bus. And it’s something that has always stuck in my craw, because whatever the motive, ‘Blackness’ (whether it be through cultural appropriation or the perpetuation of anti-Blackness) seems to serve as the impetus for how some non-Black PoC attain upward mobility and notoriety.

Needless to say, Vijay Chokal-Ingam, the older brother of South Asian-American comedic actress and showrunner Mindy Kaling, is no exception. Vijay is kicking up some dust on social media by claiming to have once concocted a ploy—turned nefarious social experiment—as an undergrad, in which he pretended to be a Black man to garner acceptance into a medical school, and continued on with his alleged charade for 2 years, during his stint. 

March 17, 2015

Dark Roast, Flat White … Race 101? Why Starbucks’ #RaceTogether Campaign Lacks Steam

If there’s anything I love swilling more than red wine and vodka, it’s coffee. A delicious, highly-caffeinated, bold, dark, unflavored and unsweetened with just a splash of creamer cup of coffee. Frequently, I’ll amble into the nearest Starbucks… a place I have an ‘it’s aight, I guess’/ hate relationship with, to get my fix.

But now that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has rolled out a new campaign called #RaceTogether—an initiative that’s meant to encourage dialogue about race between baristas and customers—I can now tack on ‘thoroughly amused yet perplexed’ to my feelings about the coffee chain.

While I recognize that Shultz shamelessly and openly expresses progressive ideas about equality, appreciate his willingness to 'go there' with shareholders and consideration for employees, understand the sentiment behind ‘Race Together,’ and get that employees’ personal stories, anti-racism and anti-police violence protests are what prompted this effort, Starbucks would be doing the national discourse on race and inequality an even bigger solid if they examined whether they, themselves, pass muster when it comes to diversity and race among their corporate staff, as opposed to launching a public, jingle-filled campaign their busy baristas are expected to broach in-between making frappuccinos and soy lattes. Particularly since Starbucks serves as something of an emblem for gentrification and high real estate prices.