May 11, 2015
April 06, 2015
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
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.
February 24, 2015
n 2013, Black women across the social media-sphere
galvanized in support of 7-year-old Tiana Parker when administrators at the Deborah
Brown Community School in Tulsa, Oklahoma chastised, then sent her home for
wearing her natural hair in dreadlocks, because they believed her hairstyle wasn't “presentable.”
|Zendaya Coleman at the 2015 Oscars|
That same year, 12-year-old Vanessa VanDyke was threatened with expulsion when Faith Christian Academy in Orlando, FL told her to cut her Afro (a natural hairstyle she’d worn her entire life), after her mother complained to school officials that her daughter was being bullied and mocked about her hair.
Additionally, last year the U.S. military faced criticism after rolling out hairstyle restrictions that seemed to target Black women, before deciding to allow natural hairstyles like two-strand twists and removing words like “matted” and “unkempt” from their style and grooming guidelines.
Needless to say, I can probably outline an entire list of incidents that illustrate the politicization of natural hair as worn by Black women and girls and the myriad ways we are disparaged for styles and attributes most commonly ascribed to us, while white women and young girls are lauded as trendsetters for appropriating those very same styles. But, alas, perhaps rapper Nicki Minaj was onto something when, during a 2013 appearance on the Ellen Degeneres Show, she said,
“…It’s the ‘white girl’ thing. …If a white girl does something that seems to be, like, Black, then Black people think, ‘Oh, she’s embracing our culture,’ so they kind of ride with it; then white people think, ‘oh, she must be cool because she’s doing something Black.’ …It’s weird. But if a Black person do a Black thing, it ain’t that poppin,” when asked about Miley Cyrus being credited for Twerking.
And that seems to be the general sentiment of most mainstream media personalities and journalists who cover pop-culture, style and entertainment.