ATR 57 – Is Barack Obama really black? – 01/29/2007

Carmen is joined by guest co-host Mat Johnson in this episode. Born and raised in Philly, Mat Johnson grew up in the Germantown and Mount Airy sections of the city. As an adult, he has lived elsewhere. His first novel, Drop, was a B&N Discover Great New Writers selection. His second novel, Hunting in Harlem, won the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. He has written for a variety of publications, including a stint as a columnist for Time Out-NY. Mat Johnson currently teaches at Bard College. And his latest novel The Great Negro Plot, is out now in stores.

As expected, we got a ton of feedback in response to our discussion in episode 56 about Asian outmarriage, so listener feedback runs a little long today. To read all the comments to this episode, see here and here. After that, Mat and Carmen discuss two recent articles on Salon.com that question whether or not Obama is “really” black: Colorblind by Debra Dickerson and Black vs. “black” by Gary Kamiya.

This episode features the song “So Far So Good” (featuring Common & D’Angelo) from the late J. Dilla’s album, The Shining, courtesy of Spectre Entertainment Group.

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Duration – 1:05:36
File Size – 60.2 MB
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ATR 56 – Asian outmarriage, race and genetics

Carmen is joined by guest co-host Jennifer Fang in this super-sized episode. Jennifer blogs at Reappropriate primarily about issues dealing with Asian American feminism and race activism. She is also the webmaster for APIABlogs.net, a syndicated blog of a number of political Asian American blogs.

First up is listener feedback. Then, Jenn, Carmen and sociologist C.N. Le discuss the high rates of interracial marriage among Asian-American women and its implications on community-building and Asian-American feminism. Finally, Jenn discusses the politics of research on race and genetics.

This episode features music from Psalm One and Madlib, courtesy of Spectre Music.

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Duration – 1:21:18
File Size – 74.6 MB
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ATR 55 – Oprah on inner-city kids and Toys R Us immigration controversy – 01/15/2007

Carmen is joined by guest co-host Jae Ran Kim in this episode. Jae Ran is a writer, teacher and social worker. She was born in 1968 in South Korea and was adopted to Minnesota in 1971. Her most recent essay can be found in the new anthology “Outsiders Within: Racial Crossings and Adoption Politics.” She blogs at Harlow’s Monkey and is a columnist for the New Demographic blog Anti-Racist Parent.

First up is listener feedback. Then, Jae Ran and Carmen discuss Oprah’s controversial comments about inner-city kids and education, and the Toys R Us first baby contest and what it says about American identity.

This episode features music from MoJoe, courtesy of Spectre Music.

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Duration – 45:42
File Size – 42 MB
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In case you missed it…

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Every Friday afternoon we sum up the week’s best posts from New Demographic’s various projects. Here we go!

anti-racist parentANTI-RACIST PARENT
a blog for parents who are committed to raising children with an anti-racist outlook

  • Calling anti-racist white parents of white kids! I know that there are white parents of white kids who read this blog and I’d like to hear from you. What’s stopping white parents of white kids from publicly claiming their anti-racism here?
  • MLK and Black History Month… Are You Ready? As I’m writing this, MLK Day is approaching, and once again I brace myself for the onslaught that is Black History Month (BHM). Now, before anyone gets the wrong idea, I think the idea is fabulous – the Eurocentric story of the “founding” of the USA has warped the minds and belief systems of 7+ generations. But it’s the implementation in our schools, in our PSAs, in our media coverage, that is absolutely embarrassing.
  • Hear ARP columnist Jason on Toys R Us controversy: Congrats to our columnist Jason Sperber! He appeared on the well-regarded Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC yesterday to discuss the controversy surrounding Toys R Us’s first baby contest. You can listen or download an MP3.
  • Gratuitous cute kid pic! Anti-Racist Parent Nicole Robinson writes: “This is our daughter, Kinhly. She was born in DaNang City, VietNam. She’s been home with us for almost 6 months, and it’s hard to imagine what life was like without her! On the day of her 2nd birthday, she took her first steps on US soil and became a citizen!”
  • Santa’s Got a Brand-New Multi-Culti Bag: I’ve always been that friend or relative that you either love or absolutely hate around gift-giving time: I like to give books and “educational” stuff. Of course, that also means that I love to get those kind of presents too, and I hope The Pumpkin picks up that tendency from me. Here’s a list of all the multi-culti and/or educational presents my toddlergirl received this Christmas (and no, they weren’t all from me!)

RACIALICIOUS
a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture

  • Will UC Berkeley become a um, Historically Asian College? UC Berkeley, considered by many to be the best public university in the nation, and perhaps the world, is currently 41 percent Asian, a proportion that’s over three times higher than the percentage of Asian Americans in the California population, and almost 10 times higher than the percentage of Asians in the U.S.
  • The core beliefs that guide Racialicious: I thought it would be timely to post the core beliefs that guide New Demographic’s (and this blog’s) work. Some of you may already be familiar with these beliefs, but I’m sure there are many newer readers who haven’t read them before.
  • Casting call: seeking mute foreigners and black basketball pros: I shouldn’t be surprised that a basketball movie with Will Ferrell and Woody Harrelson would be rife with stereotypes but this is just lame. If you’re foreign, you don’t have dialogue. If you’re a beautiful woman, you’re a slut. If you’re African-American, you can play basketball.
  • Link love: Oh Word: Today I’m shining a spotlight on Oh Word. In their own words, the point of their existence is “to provide a meaningful discussion of hip-hop… and to get our rocks off.” Also, “appearing hip, making money, and basking in Internet pseudo-celebrity are nothing more than secondary goals for us.”
  • How Ramen Changed My World (and Yours): My story, of course, is far from unique. You, too, probably first encountered ramen in college, where it kept your belly full for as little as 25 cents a meal. You’ve probably added all sorts of condiments to a basic bowl of broth. But on the occasion of the death of Momofuku Ando, the founder of Nissin and inventor of instant noodles, it’s worth taking a look at his creation’s far-reaching cultural influence.
  • Did anyone watch the The White Rapper Show? But the show never really gave a good reason for why white rappers/people shouldn’t use the n-word. Serch’s explanation was something along the lines of “we don’t play that here.” Um, ok. I know it’s a reality show and I don’t expect them to launch into a long lecture on systems of oppression and stuff like that, but I expected something sharper from ego trip.
  • Anthony Michael Hall uses the n-word on video: I was wondering when the first celebrity racist incident would occur in 2007. I didn’t expect it to come from Anthony Michael Hall though.
  • A progressive struggles with racist sexual fantasy: Is there a role for anti-racist values when it comes to sex? It’s an interesting question addressed in the latest Savage Love sex column.

In case you missed it…

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Every Friday afternoon we sum up the week’s best posts from New Demographic’s various projects. But since I fell behind during the holidays, this post will include about two and a half weeks worth of items. Here we go!

addicted to raceADDICTED TO RACE
a podcast about America’s obsession with race

  • Episode 52: Carmen is joined by guest co-host Kristen Chase in this episode. They discuss reclaiming the term “racist,” the new film Apocalypto, a study finding black women missing from bridal magazines, and the Rosie O’Donnell ching chong gate.
  • Episode 53: Carmen interviews Kenneth Arroyo Roldan, author of Minority Rules: Turn Your Ethnicity Into a Competitive Edge about race in the workplace and how people of color can get ahead in corporate America.
  • Episode 54: Carmen is joined by guest co-host Jennifer Fang in this episode. Jennifer and Carmen discuss Yul Kwon’s win on Survivor, as well as the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition recent report card on television diversity.

anti-racist parentANTI-RACIST PARENT
a blog for parents who are committed to raising children with an anti-racist outlook

  • James Kim: a real hero and a real man: Race was never discussed in the media coverage of the Kim family’s disappearance, but the pictures spoke loud and clear. And to those of us from mixed families, it was a powerful affirmation to see a reflection of our own families in the Kims.
  • Careful the things we say – and don’t say: I remember the way I would wince – though not understanding why – when we referred to Asian people as Orientals. I remember the way I felt when I was told that in some ways, Orientals could pass as white. I felt relieved, and hopeful that maybe I could overcome my skin color after all.
  • Columnist intro: Sue: Of course we have to consider other issues that never quite make it into the trendiest pregnancy guides. I’m biracial, of African-American/Bermudan and European-American descent. My husband is Puerto Rican, of undefined-mixed-with-everything descent. 3 continents, 3 arbitrary U.S. “race” categories 7 traceable ethnicities.
  • Reflection: Each little baby step towards emerging from that cocoon as a Korean person was met with resistance. I have often felt that I’ve had to pretend to be “someone else for all time” to make others happy. And if I stopped pretending? Then I was being a bad daughter. I was hurting my adoptive parents feelings. See, it was all about them. About protecting them. My feelings weren’t supposed to matter.
  • Columnist intro: Meera: Having grown up in an affluent Philadelphia suburb, I’ve encountered my fair share of prejudice. Most often, it was simply things I overheard – like my third grade teacher and the elementary school principal whispering terms like “spics” and “slants” while trying to get a headcount of the minorities in the room. Or my parents mumbling about how our new neighbors put a big, black and yellow FOR SALE sign up when they learned that a black family (ours) was moving in and were worried the neighborhood was “turning”.
  • Little pitchers have big ears: And then it happens. The discussion turns ugly. Grandma begins to talk about all the problems with the “Black folk” in her neighborhood. Grandpa talks about how he refuses to go to the “Jap” dentist in his small town, because he fought the “Japs” in WWII.
  • Ouch: “Big nose….brown hair…..not Chinese…eyes. Her dad is Chinese something something…” Their heads shaking with disbelief. I was surprised how much Chinese I was understanding. Unfortunately, I know those words because M knows them too. M climbed into my arms and buried her head on my shoulder. She was hiding from the group of people discussing her appearance.
  • The nanny wars: She told me I could recognize her by her grey trenchcoat and that her hair would be in a bun. But I never got to tell her what color Mimi Maternity tank top I’d be wearing, because as soon as I began describing myself as black, she screamed “FIRE!” and hung up the phone. Okay, not exactly “FIRE!” But she hung up quickly and never called me back.

RACIALICIOUS
a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture

  • The Office: all Asians look alike: As a big fan of the show, I was interested by the previews for the episode which seemed to include a joke about two Asian women looking alike. So would “The Office,” a show known for being ironic and clever and in-the-know, be putting their satirical spin on the old stereotype? To my disappointment, they didn’t. In fact, in my personal opinion, one can argue that the show just played with the stereotype for laughs.
  • Trend alert: Ask a [Member of Ethnic Group] columns: We all remember Paul Mooney’s Ask a Black Dude segments on The Chappelle Show. But have you checked out Seattle Weekly’s Ask a Mexican columns?
  • Has Russell Simmons become a paid mouthpiece for the diamond industry? Apparently, part of this spin campaign has been to recruit Russell Simmons, of all people, to send out the message that the diamond industry isn’t really that exploitative. The Diamond Information Center, which is basically De Beers’ marketing and PR arm, sent Simmons and his entourage on an all-expenses paid trip to Africa.
  • Authority decides that Virgin Trains commercial is not racist to Native Americans: In the ad, stereotypical savages on horseback attack a train but – silly savages! – they don’t realise it’s not the old-fashioned kind they can leap onto from the saddle. They slide down the metal sides of the train and fall off! Ho ho ho!
  • The 5 most fascinating Asian male TV characters right now: It’s actually been a great year for Asian men on TV. And it goes way beyond Yul winning Survivor — there have been some really terrific characters on TV shows played by Asian men.
  • Video from The Charlatans UK: Asian woman sells body to support white boyfriend: The archetype of the eager to please Asian woman doing anything for her charmingly reckless white suitor has become a celebrated ideal of oriental romanticism.
  • Oprah: inner-city kids want iPods and sneakers, not education: All of us, regardless of our income/wealth level, spend money on things that we really can’t afford. We all aspire to own objects that are out of our reach. This is not some kind of “inner city mentality.” It’s a mindset that we all buy into, pun intended. Also, don’t we all go for the instant gratification over the long-term gratification?
  • Whoop that waif: Black Snake Moan: It looks like Sam Jackson will be playing the time-honored role of The Magic Negro, saving waifish white Christina Ricci from her own sexual demons. Even if he has to chain her up in his kitchen.
  • On The Pursuit of Happyness: Just the fact that a drama starring black characters that aren’t cooning it up or shooting eachother up could make it to number one is enough to have me bringing the Kleenex to the multiplex. I’m so tired of the maudlin Soul Food wannabees and the buffoonish Soul Plane regurgitations make me hurl.

ATR 54 – Yul’s win on Survivor, report on TV diversity – 01/01/2007 – Voicemail 206-203-3983 – addictedtorace@gmail.com

Carmen is joined by guest co-host Jennifer Fang in this episode. Jennifer blogs at Reappropriate primarily about issues dealing with Asian American feminism and race activism. She is also the webmaster for APIABlogs.net, a syndicated blog of a number of political Asian American blogs.

First up is listener feedback, including an announcement about the 2007 National Student Conference on the Mixed Race Experience, which is happening on March 23rd-25th, 2007 at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN.

Then, Jennifer and Carmen discuss Yul Kwon’s win on Survivor, as well as the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition recent report card on television diversity.

This episode features music from P.O.S. and OddIsee, courtesy of Spectre Music.

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Duration – 58:52
File Size – 54 MB
Right-click here to download an MP3 of Addicted to Race Episode 54
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