Is cultural assimilation ever funny? Yes, says the irreverent Jen Wang of website Disgrasian. "Normally…the things non-white people do to look like white people because that's what's considered beautiful are sad and sometimes dangerous," she argues. There's one exception, though—Asians with perms. Wang said that trend, which peaked in the early '90s, is hilarious.
Black or African American? Latino or Hispanic? Native American or American Indian? Debates break out all the time about the best terms to use for certain ethnic groups, but many in the U.S. haven't the faintest idea about the controversy that's long surrounded the term "American." Because the term applies to any resident of North or South America, including countless indigenous peoples and people of color, some argue that it's imperialist and racist for "American" to be used exclusively to describe nationals of the U.S.
Brooklyn's been home to rappers from Foxy Brown to Mos Def to Notorious B.I.G. The New York City borough is such a hotspot for hip hop that the shout-out "Where Brooklyn at?" is a staple in rap songs. Plus, each year Brooklyn hosts an annual hip-hop festival where rap royalty such as Q-Tip, KRS-One, and De La Soul have performed. Given the borough's historic ties to hip hop, why is a petition circulating to convince a new club in Park Slope to showcase "indie" music rather than hip hop? Evidently, the neighborhood's been gentrified so much that black people are no longer wanted there, even though Park Slope was once a mostly African-American and immigrant 'hood.
The past week has been awful for designer John Galliano. He was arrested, trashed by Natalie Portman, and fired from Dior. By now, you likely know the reason why. It all started on Feb. 24, when the 50-year-old reportedly pulled a woman by the hair and called her "a dirty Jew face" in a Parisian café. According to reports, he also spewed racial slurs at the woman's Asian friend. Following these outbursts, French authorities arrested the superstar designer. After news of his arrest spread, another woman surfaced who accused Galliano of behaving similarly towards her last October. If that weren't bad enough, then a video emerged of Galliano declaring his love for Hitler and that if Hitler had succeeded, Jews "would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be f—ing gassed."
After the 83rd Academy Awards, late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel quipped that the only African-American nominee at the Oscars was Black Swan. "Happy Black History Month," he added sardonically. Kimmel's far from the only one bemoaning the dearth of black Oscar nominees this year. Clearly, the producers of this year's Oscars recognized the omission as well and took measures to ensure the telecast at least featured entertainers of color.
There's been an uproar in New York all this week about an anti-abortion billboard in Soho. The billboard featured a little black girl with the message, "The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb." Launched by anti-abortion group Life Always, the billboard served as a controversial way to bring attention to the fact that black women have a disproportionately high abortion rate in New York City and nationwide. While that's clearly worrisome, suggesting that black women are a threat to black children for exercising their reproductive rights is extremely offensive. One of the top reasons women get abortions is because they can't afford to raise children. Rather than address this dynamic as well as the disproportionate number of African Americans who lack health insurance, Life Always chose to publicly disparage black women.
I hate to overload you with Beyoncé news, but just after I critiqued the Daily Mail op-ed accusing her of looking too white, news broke that Beyoncé donned blackface and pseudo African garb for French glossy L'Officiel. Why did Bey make this enormous misstep? According to reports, she participated in the African-themed photo shoot to pay tribute to Nigerian musician Fela Kuti.
Is Beyoncé Knowles' bleached blonde hair and light skin reason enough to accuse the singer of racial treason? Yes, says Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, who just penned a piece in the Daily Mail about how Beyoncé is betraying black and Asian (meaning South Asian) women with her exterior.
Now that word's spread about the assault she endured, Logan is being re-victimized by those who say that an attractive white woman with blonde hair should've known better than to make her way through a mob of brown, Muslim men. Why didn't Logan realize that all Arab men are misogynistic beasts who haven't the slightest respect for their own women, let alone Western women—all of whom they regard as whores? Yeah, that about sums up the message on sites from the Los Angeles Times to the New York Times to Salon.