Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Esquire Magazine Asks If Sen. Edwards Is Last White Hope

Does Race Matter? has recently posted a response to the latest cover of Esquire Magazine, which boldly asks, “can a white man still be elected president?”

On the cover towers Sen. John Edwards, positioned in a superman stance (as one person commented on Racialicious) and looking ahead in all of his white glory.

Let’s not forget the icing on the cake. Above John Edwards lies a half-naked woman accompanied by the headline, “sexiest woman alive.” This cover says enough. We are being told that women and people of color are rising above a history of injustices, yet the reality is that the injustices persist today. Even if we do elect a white female or Black male president, people like the editors at Esquire, will continue to forget what racism and sexism looks like, especially as they make ‘white man’ synonymous with man and leader.

Ultimately, Esquire can’t see how Sen. Hillary Clinton does not represent all women, and Sen. Barack Obama all people of color. Which is why Esquire conveys the message of the dawning of an age of “minorities”—a dystopia for the white man, as Wendi Muse reports.

However, women and people of color are far from beating ‘the white man’ in other, non presidential races. Our television remains dominated by ideas of white masculinity, our celebrities, our news, our schools and other institutions remain Eurocentric. The current way in which our world is dominated by the white man will not be overcome by mere change of the American president.

Further, racism and injustice are strongest when they give the appearance of their absence. So while I hope we elect a president who is not a white man, I hope also that we will not use this election as a way of discrediting future claims of inequality by women and people of color.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Conservative Encyclopedia You Can Trust

Have you ever questioned the neutrality and so-called omnipresence of Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia that “anyone can edit”?

Well, 58 home-schooled children who created Conservapedia sure have.

Initiated last November, the website began as a World History class project in New Jersey and turned into a go-to place for those seeking pro-Christian and conservative interpretations of things.

You can visit this site to get your daily dose of breaking news, bible verses, and moral virtue. Most importantly, it has proven to be a good guide to being a conservative, white Christian in America.

Unsure about your fear of Mexicans? Conservapedia will pat you on the back, assuring you that “the fear of the influx of Mexican culture in the border states” is an “understandable form” of xenophobia.

And when it comes to hip hop, Wikipedia is just so unnecessarily long in its explanation—it gives you a thorough contextual description of hip hop’s origins and significance in society.

But according to Conservapedia, all you really need to know about hip hop is that it’s a “style of African American music in which African Americans chant over beats.” Really, why give so much credit to something so simple?

What’s more? Conservapedia uses many Biblical references to defend slavery—specifically stating that slavery is referenced, permitted and regulated in the Bible—justify homophobia, and explain male superiority over women.

No worries, anything is better than being a liberal.

Monday, July 2, 2007

TMZ pulls the "ho" card

Last time I checked, Don Imus-gate resulted in “ho” being a punishable word when used in the media to refer to Black women.

But just two months after Imus, the word seems to be gaining ground again, on novelty shirts, and most recently, in a popular fashion review on TMZ, a celebrity gossip website.

After the Black Entertainment Television Awards show last week, posted a blurb, in typical style-review fashion, attacking the guests’ evening wear. But what is normally innocent hardballing of celebrity fashion, became another forum used to insult Black women by devaluing their sexuality. TMZ got it wrong when they called powerhouse BeyoncĂ© a “roboho,” for wearing a metallic suit on stage, and rapper Eve, a “streetwalker chic.”

Because when it comes to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, a couple of TMZ’s most covered stars, TMZ portrays their fashion flops as more legitimate fashion mistakes—like copying people’s styles or wearing the wrong colors.

Still, we rebuke hip-hop artists and people like Don Imus for calling women of color ho’s. And we should. But we can’t be so quick to think the problem stopped with Imus.

“Ho” continues to be associated primarily with Black women, making it not only sexist slander, but a very racist one. Writer Jasmyne Cannick would agree.