Tropic Thunder..my thoughts

I must admit when I first heard about this movie, I was pretty much in the WTF camp. However after reading a few reviews and a desire today to not work on a pressing piece of client work today, I gathered eldest child and the spousal unit and decided to go check it out while mini-me lounged at daycare.

This is one of those films that on the surface I see why its getting good reviews, Americans are not that deep and on the surface it is a funny movie. I think Ben Stiller has some talent as a director and from a cinematic angle he did do some interesting things. To quote a Ben Stiller interview I heard on NPR, he satirizes satire and I will agree that he did that well.

However as someone who studied media images of African-Americans (specifically Black women though I will don my quasi-academic hat here) the use of Black face or rather Robert Downey Jr as a Black man is disturbing to me. Now my son on the way home, told me point blank he does not agree with me and felt that maybe I was looking to nitpick at the movie. Yet as I watched (by the way Downey is a talented actor), I could not help thinking of early films such as Birth of a Nation, which is the most offensive piece of shit I have ever seen.

No, looking at the larger picture as a society we are not a place where I feel black-face regardless of how we dress it is ok. We may have a Black man running for president yet we live in a world where there are too many negative media representations of Blacks for me to be ok with this portrayal.  Downey’s character does attempt some shucking and jiving and is in fact put in his place by a real Black man but still its too much for my taste. The  fact that Downey’s character even attempts to shuck and jive no matter how brilliantly acted, still lets me know how the greater white society often views Blacks. We are not taken seriously, we are expected to perform and while on a base level we laugh it exposes the racism that is still firmly entrenched in our society.

Would I recommend this film? That’s a tough one, to be honest, though while Tropic Thunder is deeper than a Tyler Perry film, it was still a hard pill to swallow.

Working while Black- Racism in America

Today I have a guest post from my little brother, he is the type of brotha you don’t see mentioned in the media too often since the media would love to have us think that all our brothas are locked up or on parole and jobless. Anyway my lil brotha is working hard in a predominantly white field and today some shit hit the fan and this post is a message he sent to a few of us to keep from cracking his bosses neck.

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In light of Barack Obama’s presidential run, there are those that think that racism has finally taken it’s last dance. For those that say that.. i say stop sniffing crystallized piss pellets.

My other career is architecture for those that dont know (yes Black people can do more than lay bricks, we can lay the plans:) I have been in this career since 16 when i got my first gig on my own by looking up firms in the phone book. I have wanted to be an architect since 13.

Since then I have dealt with things that most folks would cringe if they knew, but it’s the nature of the beast. This profession I have a love/hate relationship with has maybe 2300 LICENSED Black architects in THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES!
(FYI 10% ARE WOMEN, IE 230) So indeed this is a league of it’s own
My goal is to get licensed, but it just seems that maybe im too damn uppity for my own good

Case in point
I have a boss at my current spot. He’s admitted being a “former” racist. I admire him for his brevity but for some reason former is not as past as I thought
Of late we have been going at it like Israelis and Palestinians over the Gaza Strip.

Now, as an intern architect, which is my professional designation (LONG STORY) i work under him to help him get the drawings done and so on and so forth.. This guy admitted to me that hes NEVER had anyone work under him before and he wanted it to be a good experience.. fine I have a management background as well, so i figured i could help him manage and he help me become a better architect.
SWEET!
HOWEVER, he is NOT licensed, just been around longer than me, but still by professsional designation a intern architect as well

He has a way of saying some underhanded subtle shit that well makes the Samuel L Jackson come out of the most Robert Townsend of men.

I.E. 2 Days go.. im eating lunch in the office (Which is VERY RARE FOR ME, CUZ ON LUNCH I LIKE TO GET AS FAR AWAY AS POSSIBLE) i am reading a book about my fraternity… He walks in and says (OH WOW, YOU CAN REAAD!!!)
Now Black folks and other in myspace land.. i know what you are thinking.. He lost his rabbit ass mind.. indeed. I just shot him the Samuel L. Jackson from Pulp Fiction look, and he left.

YESTERDAY
I get a text from cnn.com about the Arkansas Democratic Chairman who was shot and killed.. I tell him in the midst of our bosses and he goes and i quote “What he killed in a drive-by?” Now.. some way say Nizm.. ur being too damn sensitive.. and i’ll by that for a dollar.. HOWEVER given that even though this guy must have watched Banging in Little Rock it was quite assumptive that just he got SHOT it had to be a BLACK person by ANOTHER BLACK person
last i checked it was not BLACK folks who run the NRA 🙂 (That was my BOONDOCKS moment scuse me)

Now my boss i think is also spazzing cuz I am gonna finish my Masters by years end. At the moment he’s the only one in the office with a Masters to my knowledge.
And part of me wonders does that bother him. Yeah im young, Black, educated and ambitious.. and NO I dont want to work under ANYONE.
I get the feeling im stepping out of his comfort zone

So today
i get there.. mind you i been doing 12 hour days all week. and i get yelled at cuz CTA (that’s public transit in Chi-town)  fucks me.. and he then met the N guy
yes i snapped on him. I went quite belligerent and then he tucked his tail tween his legs rushing off for a meeting
Now granted my language was quite profane.. but I dont take well to a white man calling me on my cell phone telling me to get ASS here cuz you got work to do, BEFORE the time im supposed to come in. I am doing the work HE fucked up.

But as far as doing anything right.. of course not
No credit where credit is due
and it comes with being Black in this profession

However there comes a time as a man, that enough is enough
I stand on the shoulders of the men before me in this profession and I strive to go further, however, though I do subscribe to the tenets of the BROTHER Martin Luther King.. I can get quite Malcolm X when necessary

psuedo liberals indeed run rampant.

SO I end by saying this.
Being a Black educated man in 2008 is more dangerous then ANY mission in the military
and we are few and far between
For those that I share this rare air with, my prayers are with you Brethen
For those that dont understand.. listen and learn
RACISM IS ALIVE IN WELL IN 2008!!!

Raising Biracial Kids…ain’t nothing new

For some reason I keep coming across the issue of how to raise biracial kids, now I have been the mother of biracial kids going on 17 years now and honestly when I had my first kid, I never thought much about it. That said, over the years given the increase in interracial pairings particularly Black-White unions it seems I encounter more and more folks particularly women who grapple with this issue.

To be truthful, this is not an issue I think much about. Since there have always been biracial folks in America, shit we used to have mulatto’s, quadroons, and octaroons, all terms I despise but the fact is being biracial in America is nothing new. What is new is the fact that folks can lay claim to all their heritage, and whereas once upon a time, you got lumped in as Black, now you can pull a Tiger Woods and call yourself a Cabalasian or anything else you want to call yourself. As a sista friend told me who is also mothering biracial sons, she wants her sons to grow up strong and feel they can lay equal claim to being Black and White. Well I think its an admirable goal, but truth is that is not how I raise my kids, in fact I know some would say “Black-girl, why are you so stuck in the past” Well maybe its because when it comes to race in America, the more things change, the more things stay the same. Yeah, we have a biracial man with a decent shot at becoming president yet to the average Joe Six-Pack White Guy, they look at Obama and they don’t see half a white man, they see a whole Black man and if I got my facts correct Obama was raised by his white side. See, shit don’t change.

No, the issues for me in raising a biracial child come down to how does the white parent, see things racially? In my first marriage, my ex-unit didn’t like racial talks, which made for some thorny discussions and I suspect he  flinches when elder child refers to himself as a Half-frican. No, elder child is connected to his white side but the past year he has started to truly grasp that despite the lighter than Mama skin and the wavy not kinky hair, that when folks look at him, they see young Black man. Shit, the local po-po made sure of that not too long ago.

No, my kids are raised to know who they are but understand that race is complicated in America and frankly folks will make decisions based off your looks. Also mine is a household where Black history is discussed and dissected on the regular, baby girl has many dolls and only one is white. Instead she has dolls of color in a multitude of hues that reflect what she sees here in our house ranging from mini-me’s  caramel complexion to Mama’s cocoa complexion to Grandma’s dark chocolate complexion. That’s what beauty looks like in this house.

As far as the day to day of raising of biracial kids, in some ways I suspect its harder for white women, after all Black women have always had babies in varying hues, shit my own family ranges from what the ole folks used to call high yalla with blue eyes to almost jet Black. Never have I grappled with how to comb my kids hair, or tend to their skin to keep the ash off.

That said, when I was younger with my son, I did encounter a few idiots who mistook me for the nanny, to my son learning about race at 3 when a kid told him he was adopted since I was darker than him. Right now mini-me has started to tell her Dad that he is light and we are not, then again she also tells him he has no hair and we do..poor bald Papa.

In the end raising biracial kids is no different than raising any other kids, though now raising a girl, I do worry about the societal fetishivation of biracial women, now that scares me. Lord, knows I don’t want to end up with a remake of the Imitation of Life in our family. Seriously though raising biracial kids they need to know who they are and ideally have access to all their family, but I also think a healthy dose of understanding of race in America will also take them far.