ATR 11 – Dec 12, 2005 – Voicemail 206-203-3983 –

People’s obsession with classifying and reclassifying mixed people is the subject of Jen’s rant today.

Sorry about the hissing noises in the background of this episode. We accidentally had our iRiver on a setting to pick up long-range noises, and didn’t realize until we were putting the show together. Better sound next time – we promise!

They’re finally here! Available in Lemon or Fuschia for women, Aqua and Lemon for men. Buy one today at Like Minded People.

Carmen shares the latest and greatest from Mixed Media Watch. We discuss two recently published articles about interracial relationships. The first explores the rise in intra-Asian dating, and the second is about being a mixed person in an interracial relationship.

Jen and Carmen face off about the animated series “The Boondocks.” Is it brilliant satire or racist tripe? Listen in as we duke it out!

Jen and Carmen interview Robert Jensen, author of a new book titled The Heart of Whiteness : Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege.

Please support our podcast by rating and reviewing this episode in Yahoo’s podcast directory. Thank you!

Here’s a look at the next episode:
1) Carmen will rant about the awful stereotypes perpetuated by the media about Asian men and women.
2) Mixed Media Watch news round-up.
And we’re still figuring out the rest! It’ll be a surprise. :)

Duration – 1:21:25
File Size – 19.2 MB
Listen to an MP3 of Addicted to Race Episode 11

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13 thoughts on “ATR 11 – Dec 12, 2005 – Voicemail 206-203-3983 –”

  1. Hi guys,

    Some of your podcasts I find quite interesting, while some tend to be pretty much a repeat of the previous show, with a few extra giggles thrown in. I particularly found your debate on the Boondocks interesting. However, I think your opinions of the show might be a bit too simplistic. I know it may be a bit difficult to understand, but the show is written by an African-American male, who, more or less, is giving a perspective based on his experiences. That being the case, there are some things that only those who have had similar experiences can truly understand. Tha isn’t to say that any one of a different ethnicity can’t enjoy the show, but being an African-American male, I can clearly see some of the things that are intended that otheres might not see. It would sort of be like me trying to understand the appeal behind “Friends” or “Seinfeld”. Myself not being a White male or female, I was never able to quite understand what was so special about the show.
    Although I do object to the excessive use of the N-word, I think even there he is trying to make a point, particularly when he refers to the so called N-moment. Many African-American males have experienced this unusual clash of egos over some of the most trivial things. What makes the show interesting is that puts the insipidness of the encounters right in your face, which in my opinion is an attempt to show how stupid, and utterly embarrassing this macho behavior can be. Even the overuse of the N-word is meant to make a statement. I could go on and on as I have so many different perspectives that I try to see the show in, but I truly do not believe that it is meant to be a hilarious comedy. I think the show, just as with the comic strip at times, attempts to expose the narrow-minded of race not just from the White perspective, but also from the Black perspective. I never think it was meant to be simply funny. When it’s viewed in that light, it comes across as a much better show than the way many people have reviewed. And by the way, Dave Chappelle’s use of the N-word was no less ingenious than McGruder’s. The word is negative any way you look at it. It does not take on a special or funnier meaning when it’s spoken from the mouth of Dave Chappelle.

  2. Way too much time spent rambling on and on about Boondocks – of which only fans might find interesting. I don’t think McGruder sounds like a salf-hating Black though – but, more like a Bill Cosby intent on some real change. His lack of evil Whites probably has more to do with the fact that he is intent on focusing on the Black community and its ills – of which are largely overlooked or even celebrated/glorified by post-Civil Rights hip-hop entertainment. His strip is obviously a Black strip, and not meant to be an all-encompassing one.

    Chapelle is actually vastly-overrated though – playing the neo-minstrel act for Whitey to the hilt – just like all his Black comic predecessors like Murphy, Wayans Bros & Pryor. There is little new to his shtick. In these acts, Whites all get typecast in squarish 50s “Leave It To Beaver” outtakes and Blacks from BET videos. Cue laugh tracks as Blacks act predictably “Black” and Whites act predictably “White” or vice-versa.

    So, clever satire or rote perpetuation? Well, in the end what still sticks in the mind is the paradigm portrayed onscreen – whether it is being “mocked” or not. It’s like watching porn or a “satire” of porn – the end result is still a blue-balled woody. The best way to change a paradigm is really to replace it with a wholly new one. Satire is the lazy man’s weak method at best, and a backfiring one at worst.

    Oh well, take 32,149,634,897,263,426,344, roll ‘em!


  3. I really found that interview with Robert Jensen absolutely nauseating. How is he any different from Magruder? Jensen is just peddling the “white privilege” excuse to the PC crowd. And you are buying it! He is the same sort of guy who gets involved with the women’s movement just to get laid!

    I really had to wonder about my life of “white privilege”. I clean windows for a living. One would think that with my “white connections” that I would be looked after a little better than that. And why is it that almost every African-American I know drives better cars than I do? (Mine are a 94 Tracer and an 86 Accord.) And have more education? (High School) It seems that the ones who esteem my color most highly are the ones complaining about it.

    And I am not alone. I can think of a lot of “People of Privilege” (We needed a new color-code name!) who would identify the two of you as a couple of Princesses who have never done a day’s physical work. And would they be judging you by your mixed race identity? I don’t think so…

    I know. I am just one of those suckers who bought into Dr. King’s dream: that of being judged on individual merits, the content of my character, instead of the privilege of being white.

    Tell Mr. Jensen to get a job.

  4. And another thing. (Now that I’ve got my breathing under control)

    Maybe you don’t get mixed race guys to join SWIRL cuz, well, it sounds so “girlie”. As a male who is in touch with his inner maleness, I know that it sounds sort of like a chick scene. And I don’t mean the good kind. If the group had an acronym that spelled something like RAM or THRASH, it would attract a different demographic. It’s just a thought…

  5. I want to weigh in on the Boondocks stuff. I hope you’ve now seen more of the episodes. Two of the episodes you mention, I felt were pretty miserable (R. Kelly and Guess Ho), and I found myself despairing after the promising premiere episode (shown out of sequence) Garden Party. Personally, I felt like the show could go either way, until I saw the Anal Rape/X-Box Killer episode. If you haven’t seen this episode, it’s an entirely an allegory for the Iraq War in which a young “wigga” named Rummy (played by Samuel L. Jackson) teams up with Ed the III (wearing a giant diamond “W” chain) go on a rampage which takes them to convenience store. Owned by Arab-Americans. Rummy and Ed W then proceed to rob liquor from the store by claiming that the Arab-American shopkeep has a weapon and needs to disarm. Can I again remind you that Rummy is played by Samuel L. Jackson. Essentially, this episode called our administration a bunch of spoiled white gangstas who get away with whatever they want. It was brilliant.

    Meanwhile… let’s talk about the entire show, both excellent episodes and mediocre ones (I hated the Ho episode).

    There are no black cartoons on TV. Regardless of whether they are satire or sincere. I’m happy to see a black cartoon, regardless. I wondered, shit, will white people see this cartoon and say, “hey, look, black people are talking about nigga moments, now we can talk about nigga moments”? Will this influence non-blacks to stereotype, will this fuel existing stereotypes. And then I realized something. Maybe. It could. But this show isn’t really for them. This show is from Aaron McGruder to his fans, and to his black fans specifically. More than the comic strip, this is about a black experience. And though I worry about the ripple effect, I have to say, it’s such a relief to watch a show that is not necessarily white-friendly — in that there are very few white characters, and most of them are pretty unlikable. That’s pretty groundbreaking when you get right to it.

    How about the liberal use of nigga. Well, I was surprised. But fuck it. If Aaron McGruder wants to say it, more power to him. There’s obviously the old Bill Cosby/Martin Lawrence split on whether or not it’s realistic or not, whether or not its empowering or offensive… we can all argue this till the cows come home. In my own work, after using the word a little in music, I decided I didn’t want to use it. Thomas Boyd, a well known author, uses it like it ain’t no thang, and defends it. I don’t know that we’ll ever get to any agreement on the use of that word at this point in time. It’s very much engrained in hip hop culture.

    Basically, though, you need to keep watching it, because y’all saw 2 of the worst episodes made, and had I only seen those three, I’d be inclined to say that the cartoon misses much of the poignancy of the strip, indeed loses the immediacy on account of how animation is produced for TV, and winds up being sort of a weak adaptation. But, after having seen the last few episodes, I can honestly say, I love this show, it’s my favorite show on TV right now. And maybe that’s just because it’s the only show in which the protagonist is a young cat named after Huey P. who puts on a school play called The Adventures of Black Jesus.

  6. I think the Boondocks is meant to be a scathing look at racism in America, but especially internalized racism in the Black community. I don’t think Riley, Grandpa and Ruckus are meant to be ‘negative’ characters. I think they exemplify what happens when you consume or ingest racist assumptions and stereotypes without any analysis. I still find the character of Jasmine problematic because she’s not much of a character on her own. She seems to mostly react to others actions or statements, which is disappointing since she is the only female (and only biracial) character on the show.

  7. Also, Aaron McGruder majored in African American studies at the University of Maryland, so I find it hard to agree that he is a self-hating black man. It’s possible but I doubt it. Thanks for the show. It’s insightful and thought-provoking.

  8. Just wanted to co-sign on most of the boondocks comments here. As a mixed race male, who happens to be half-black I think the Boondocks focuses on the ignorant things going in on the black community, many things I can directly relate to such as the overuse of the N-word and cats getting ready to scrap over almost nothing (negro moments).

    Others such as Bill Cosby (His now infamous speeches) and Spike Lee (Bamboozled) have attempted to point out certain self-destructive aspects within our community, and were met with very mixed results (with many of the youth simply dismissing them as older rich out-of-touch blacks). I think having someone as young, and as well respected by black youths as Aaron MacGruder is essential to attempting to expose some of these flaws within our community.

  9. Aaron McGruder’s by no means a self-hating black man and saying so is entirely too simplistic to describe such an intelligent man. The purpose of his show is to expose the dirty laundry of Black society and his target audience are Blacks, many of whom are pissed that he would be doing such a thing as showing an unsanitary opinion of Black social commentary. And I’m all for it. It’s hilarious to see people squirm like some have. It’s such an awesome show to watch and it brings out so many different viewpoints.

    Huey represents the black voice no one listens to and is the core message behind the show; no matter how ridiculous black society seems to him at time, it’s still his culture and he’s going to love it anyway.

    Riley represents the brash black youth raised/brainwashed by hip hop culture. In one particular episode not reviewed in your segment, Riley attacks a mall Santa Claus screaming “Pay what you owe” because as a poor kid living in the projects, he didn’t get presents. It’s a supressed anger coming from being poor and not necessarily being black, but how he expressed that anger shows how glamorized violence pervades black youth.

    And Grandpa, I don’t really know. Naivety?

    When it comes to “nigga” and “nigger,” the only people who have any slight credibility to speak on the words are blacks. Sure, as an Asian listening to it from the sidelines is entertaining but for me to say anything definitive is just self-righteous presumptuousness.

    Granted, the episodes you’ve watched weren’t really the strongest of the series, but let it all settle in and look at it beyond a simple glance. The humor is dry and cynical. The storyline’s use of irony and hyperbole is very well done. And it’s much more than a mere comedy. Maybe it’s because it’s a cartoon that people don’t take it seriously or don’t look into it deeply enough.

    It’s a black voice, not the black voice. This is what I respect most; that it’s a different angle onto Black society that sheds a different light onto Black society. The more people like McGruder voice their unique viewpoints, the closer we get as a society to understanding how America ticks.

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