You Need To Read This

Veronica and I and our friends have had countless conversations about this subject. With ourselves, with other people, with each other.

The idea that black women cannot, or are told that we should not put ourselves first because of the crap that black men face on a daily basis. That whatever crappiness we face, especially at the hands of black men, is not to be discussed, but rather, swept under the rug where we pretend it doesn't exist.

It pisses me off. A lot. I've been blogging about how much it pisses me off and why it pisses me off for years.

But Latoya Peterson at Racialicious posted this and the conversation taking place in the comments is just as important as the original post.

You need to read this.

Seriously? "Black-cent?"

Politico has an article up about dog-whistle politics and Prez. Obama's subtle/not-so-subtle way of deploying it in his speeches.

It includes a video, clips of him speaking to black and white audiences, including a hilarious bit of him telling the cashier at Ben's Chili Bowl, "Naw, we straight," when she asked him if he wanted change.

Now, I became familiar with the dog-whistle during the Clinton years because the man was a master of communication, and we all know that now. He could go into a black church, or a room full of intellectuals, or a meeting of blue-collar union workers and have everyone thinking he knew where they were coming from. He knew how to turn his southern accent up or down.

I suppose we all have tells that disclose to people our true selves. One could argue Obama's two biggest are 1) Michelle and 2) his affinity for Newports.

But aside from that, this caught my eye:

John McWhorter, a linguist at the conservative Manhattan Institute, said that he believes that in Obama’s case coded messaging, which can be a matter of words, sound or grammar or all of them, is partly conscious because “he knows it arouses black audiences.”

Black English, especially the cadence, is becoming America’s youth lingua franca, especially since the mainstreaming of hip-hop. Its sound conveys warmth, authenticity and a touch of seductive danger not only to blacks but many whites, especially ones below about 50,” McWhorter said. “Obama’s tapping into that cadence helped win him the election. Imagine John Kerry or Hillary Clinton saying, ‘Yes, we can!’ It would have sounded phony — only in what I call a ‘black-cent’ can it sound prophetic and arousing.” (emphasis mine)

I wouldn't say "Yes we can" is anything like "naw, we straight," but seriously.

Black-cent? WTF?

I love how McWhorter says the cadence of Obama's voice is seductively dangerous, like he's got us all hypnotized because he said "naw, we straight" in a black-owned restaurant.

But what bothers me is that this man says, "Black English" and thinks it's ok. Of course I know what he meant, but it conveys this idea of other-ness to the way black people speak, as if the way black people speak English isn't really English at all.

Plus, well, all black people don't speak like that!

I mean, even in some southern states where people manage to mangle the English language beyond recognition, it's still called English. No one walks around talking about "Southern English," even when the people speaking it sound backwards and uneducated at worst, or like Blanche DuBois at best.

It's still just "English."


Stoopid Gender Role Stereotype Reinforcing Story of the Day

And the prize goes to. . . drum roll please:

. . .

. . .

The Washington Post, for this A1 gem declaring that the broke mens no longer no what to do with themselves now that they're not rolling in dough thanks the anvil falling off a cliff that is the domestic economy.

How ever will they get a date if all the wimmins care about is moneh?

I am trying my best not to turn this into a vitriolic rant, but this article makes even less sense when taken in the context that women in the District experience the smallest pay gap in the nation: women here make about 92 cents per every dollar a man makes, compared to the nationwide average of 76 cents (Institute for Women's Policy Research data from 2002).

Women here have their own money-- real money, from real, challenging jobs. Women in the District, are the highest wage-earning females in the country, bringing home an average $37,800 per year.

And yet, we see this:

Dating in the time of the pink slip means feeling the squeeze of the drastically reduced paycheck, the sudden sting of the layoff. From investment bankers to real estate developers to construction workers, no job means no buying rounds of $15 martinis for a pretty woman and her girlfriends. No hosting parties in the bachelor loft. And often, no idea how to present one's new self on the dating market.

There are more holes in this story than I have sticks to poke through them, but several obvious ones right of the bat:

1) The premise that men and women are still dating based on 1950's ideas about who pays, who invites who, and the fact that a man is nothing without a big fat paycheck.

2) Its glaring heteronormativity. What happens to the entire argument if the parties dating are both women, or both men?

3) Sometimes broke-ass women mope about not being able to buy shit too.

And yet, it's so easy, so positively lazy to fall back on memes like this. Proof? Who needs proof?!? See below:

Formal studies on the matter are hard to find, and Washington area employment rates are still higher than those of many other metropolitan areas. But interviews with young singles in area nightclubs and cafes and at parties reveals that financial stress is affecting the romantic lives of those who have lost sizable disposable incomes (emphasis mine).

Wait, so there's no hard data? Who are these women? And why is this an A01 trend story? I mean, honestly, weren't the DABA girls enough?

*sticks head in oven*

You Knew it Was Going to be Bad

But not this bad.

When Veronica and I went out last night with our friends on Valentine's Day, "Bad Girl" started playing over the radio.

I sort of winced.

"I love this song," I said. "But I feel guilty listening to it. I don't want to listen to any of Chris Brown's music."

The women in the car with us all had different opinions.

"I mean, I think it's awful what he did, but that doesn't make me dislike him as an artist," one said. "I'm still going to listen to his music."

I shook my head.

It doesn't work that way for me, with one glaring exception I can't shake.

I mean, I was a huge Larry Fitzgerald fan until I discovered he'd beaten up the mother of his child. Cute or no, that's a deal-breaker. And R. Kelly went out the window once someone exposed this man was peeing on children. Well, at least one child.

And now that the inevitable's taken place, and we all know just how awful Rihanna's injuries were, I don't see how there can be any modicum of understanding for Chris Brown.

This wasn't one punch, and even if it was, he'd still deserve to be roundly condemned. But there is no excuse for this.


So what do we do? Can we support the man who did this anymore? Go to his concerts, buy his work on Itunes?

I can't.

I won't.

But what say you?

But Was The Heel Clear?

I'm sorry.

I snorted out loud when I read this (via Washington Post).

A man and woman arranged through a prominent Internet site to meet Sunday in Fairfax County, but it apparently did not go well, and the man was allegedly attacked with a high-heeled shoe, county police said.

I mean, I know high heels hurt, but what else was the pro supposed to do? It's not like she'd be reimbursed by a union.

This is why you rely on the local print edition of your trusty indy weekly instead of Craigslist, folks. And why Dan Savage advises against finding pros on Craigslist. Or for that matter, finding clients on Craigslist.

*shaking my head*


Let this marinate for a second. You can thank the New York Post.

NotSexism: Talking About Sports

On this blog, we try to make a point of calling out sexism, not only to rant about it, but to call attention to something that needs to be recognized as a problem so that it may be eradicated.

It's not our only goal, but it's one of them.

However, I feel it's necessary to talk about something I'm referring to as NotSexism after reading a post by British journalist Katty Kay over at the Daily Beast.

Kay was complaining about the amount of sports lingo and analogies that go into discussing politics, and how new White House press secretary Robert Gibbs is a big fan of the practice. Kay alleges this is sexist because most women -- including, evidently, those covering the White House -- don't know anything or care about sports. According to Kay, when Gibbs or anyone else among the punditocracy start making sports references, it's sexist because they're deliberately excluding women.

Kay says:

Here’s how it works on TV shows. At about 9 a.m. on Sunday morning, the guests for a network talk show gather in the green room an hour before airtime for a sip of coffee and a slap of makeup. They chat. The conversation starts with the news topic of the day. It’s an animated discussion on the fiscal stimulus package/the latest machinations of the dastardly House of Representatives/the poppy crop in Afghanistan. Take your pick. OK, there’s a bit of the peacocks fanning their feathers about it, but it’s basically sober stuff. Until, some 20 minutes into the banter, the host, or one of the male guests, casually slips in the results of last night’s game. And that’s when the women quietly disappear into their notebooks.

*raises eyebrow*

I take offense to this for several reasons:

1) It suggests women, or at least the "normal" ones anyway, might be able to hold an intelligent conversation about politics, but know nothing about sports, which in itself is sexist and rather limiting. Talk about subscribing to rigid gender roles.

2) She's diminishing the cultural importance of sports, which is insulting, particularly to people (like me) who make careers out of finding important, relatable stories in sports and explaining, in very good prose, how sports is simply a microcosm and a reflection of society. If it wasn't so important to us, we wouldn't spend so many hours and money watching it and discussing it.

And Michael Phelps would still have all his endorsement deals.

Clearly this woman doesn't watch HBO's Real Sports.

3) She thinks football is complicated. (Ok, I realize that last point doesn't really count and is maybe a little mean, but really. Football is not that damn hard.)

I guess what really gets my goat is the suggestion that Gibbs' affinity for sports references only negatively affects women, when I'm sure there are men who cover the White House who couldn't care less about the shellacking Duke suffered at the hands of Carolina last week.

I'm all about calling out instances of sexism, but this one doesn't really hold water, and to whine about it kind of cheapens the real ones, ya know?

The Man of Our Nightmares

We know D.C. is overrun with men like K. Bryan Johnson, and we try our best to steer clear of them.

You know the type: full of themselves, obsessed with how (supposedly) wonderful they are and how much everything they're wearing cost. They actually think they're something 'cause they're not in jail, have no kids, and a good job. You know, they want credit for things they're supposed to be doing.

Veronica and I have a name for them: Commodity Negroes.

Johnson is the epitome of a Commodity Negro, and well, you guys are smart enough to know that is not a compliment.

Isn't there some sort of dating Hail Mary we can all do to avoid being smited with a troll like this? God help us all.

Perhaps commenter mnbucklew said it best:

Dinner = $125
Jeans = $600
Boots = $1,000

Making a horse's @ss out of yourself in the Washington Post = PRICELESS!

Via Washington Post.

You're Kidding Me With This, Right?

You know what, $500,000 a year (roughly $270,000 a year after taxes) in New York is plenty, plenty I say, for someone who helped drive the country into an economic recession the likes of which haven't been seen since the Great Depression.

The Grey Lady has an article about where just all that executive salary goes, and I'm pretty sure it's tongue-in-cheek, but well, not all that sure.

Well, I've got some advice for these people:

When you screw up big, you fall big. Take your kids out of Horace Mann, rent a Hamptons house instead of owning one, stop spending so much on vacations, and raise your own damn kids instead of relying on a nanny who doesn't look like you or have time for her own offspring.

And try shopping at, I dunno, Trader Joe's instead of Whole Foods for that macrobiotic diet that costs $15,000 per year to maintain.

Do I need to continue?

Plenty of people get by on much less than $500,000/year in New York. I know it's difficult to fathom, but there are people, people who are not your nanny or your doorman, people with college degrees, who get by quite comfortably on salaries that aren't even six figures.

Try it.

Hump Day Cute

My affinity for Roomba-pet You Tube videos knows no bounds, but I'm just going to post this one after a long day.

I think we all need it, especially seeing as how even Miss Marche got meanface syndrome today, and that almost never happens.

Cotton Pickin' Day Canceled; No Word Yet on Watermelon Week

Just read for yourself....

From the Clarion-Ledger:

HATTIESBURG — Ray Coleman was shocked Monday on learning his stepson's Black History Month calendar had declared Thursday Cotton Picking Day at Lillie Burney Elementary and invited students to dress as slaves.

...The themed day was canceled Tuesday as part of the school's Black History dress week after Coleman met with Superintendent Annie Wimbish. It was replaced with Career Day.

..."I think the committee had the right heart when considering this and certainly had no negative intentions, because this is part of our history," Wimbish said.

"Different people have different perceptions, so I don't know if it would have been offensive. But we certainly want to work with our parents and listen to their concerns."




Dude, seriously. Get it together.

I am not naive enough to believe that folks don't understand why SHIT LIKE THIS IS NOT OKAY.

It's fucking 2009. We've been dealing with angry, oppressed people long enough to know what will and what DEFINITELY will push their buttons, and we're smart enough to know that some shit just will NEVER be in good taste. So miss me with that "we-didn't-know-it-would-be-offensive" cowcrap. You knew it would be offensive. If your mother raised you with some good sense, you KNOW what's offensive. So stop playing ignorant, 1) because you know better, 2) because it's getting REALLY old, and 3) because you're insulting my fucking intelligence.

"Hellooooo? We're Here Too!"

Apparently, Sasha and Malia are too unique for their own good.

Everyone is going bananas for the First Daughters, and advertising execs want to jump on the bandwagon, but... they can't find any little black girls.

The president of Wilhemina's kids and teens division told New York Magazine:

"It’s a very specific age and a very specific ethnicity, so there aren’t that many girls that would necessarily fit the bill."


Annnnnnnnnd... *blink* again.

Because, you know, cute adorable young black girls don't exist.

This has, as it should, pissed off blogger Danielle Belton, a.k.a. the Black Snob. So she's launching the "Cute Black Girls Are Everywhere, You Idiots" Campaign, where's she's asking readers to send in pictures of their adorable, daughters, grand-daughters, sisters, nieces, cousins and friends to prove that we exist. I'm going to round up pictures of my friends' kids and the little girls in my dance class.

We are not leprechauns. We really exist. And I should know; I was an impossibly adorable little black girl just a couple decades ago.

(Me and my dad, circa 1986. He's not a leprechaun either... but that's a different post for a different time....)

Get Your Stick On

I think this is so cute!

Gmail is offering something for nothing, plus $0.42 postage and the cost of an envelope.

Something I haven't used since I stuck one for the World Wildlife Fund on my trombone case in middle school: stickers!

Yes, folks. If you send them a stamped, self-addressed envelope, they will send you this cute set of Gmail stickers-- and I am just dorky enough to stick them everywhere.

They're Wonkeriffic!

I did something today I have been dreading since the first nip of cold air made its way east last year.

I finally bought a pair of boots. Flat ones.

They are the only flats I own aside from my Nikes, and a pair of Carolina blue Sperrys which do not leave the house. (My mother, god bless her, bought them. Sometimes she hits. Sometimes she misses. The Tarheel blue topsiders were a definite miss. *shudder*)

After sliding around and walking waaay too carefully during the last ice storm, it occurred to me that I better invest in a pair of the riding boots that have become so popular in nerd-centric D.C. this winter. Step onto L Street downtown, and they're everywhere.

I was trying to resist falling victim to The Wonk. It's the main reason why I maintain a steadfast refusal, Ted Stevens-style, to set foot in an Ann Taylor.

But alas, there's a Filene's and a Nine West within a minute of the Farragut North metro station where I get off, both of which carry a decent selection of size 11's and well, now we know why SNM is poor.

So I stopped in, and within 8 minutes, I was walking out in my new clunky flat boots, which were an extra 20 percent off.

By the time I got to work I wanted to kick myself, even though they were basically a less expensive version of the Frye Engineer boots I'd been eyeing.

"They look like clodhoppers," I cried, silently picturing Stacy and Clinton ripping the things from my feet and throwing them in a trashcan.

But my feet seem to like them, and my almost non-existent arches needed a rest. I suppose I will have to learn to stop worrying and love the wonk.

But I'm still staying the hell away from Ann Taylor.

"The Last Bastion of Acceptable Sexism"

As a female sports journalist, let me tell you, dealing with sexism is something that never goes away. You just take it for granted that it's part of the job and find a way to deal.

Water. Duck's back. Keep it moving.

But Paul Farhi's 1A article in the Washington Post has prompted me to take down I've erected between my career and blogging because this is something I feel deeply passionate about.

I knew I wanted to be a sports journalist when I was 14 years old, and I'd always had a passion for sports, especially football.

I remember the exact day I decided for sure I was going to cover sports.

I was watching the Baltimore Ravens, led by sigh-inducing Trent Dilfer, with a football buddy of mine when a lightbulb went off.

"I want John Madden's job."

Something had sparked a flame of feminist indignation in the pit of my stomach about watching women relegated to sideline reporting while men got to do play-by-play and color commentary in the booth.

I decided I was going to be the one to change all that. (It's weird. I hate being photographed casually. But I'm extremely comfortable in front of a camera when I'm explaining something.)

After I got to college, my plans changed. I had a more realistic hold on where I could take my career, and my talents pointed to writing rather than broadcasting. Plus, I didn't want to be subject to a daily barrage of judgment about my looks, or have a contract specifying how I could and could not wear my hair, makeup, etc.

But I've always held women such as Christine Brennan, Lesley Visser, and Andrea Kremer in high esteem.

These women are veterans. They are professionals, and they more than know their stuff, like so many other female sports journalists out there.

It burns me up that sexism is still such an accepted part of working in sports that women are privately--as opposed to publicly-- seething about the fact that there is a glass ceiling in sports journalism, for fear of angering the boss over a perfectly legitimate grievance.

Then again, ESPN was slow to act when men were acting like apes in the company cafeteria, and if you want more evidence of the company's institutionalized sexism, well, the fact that Mike Tirico still has a job is living, breathing proof.

Wrote Farhi: ESPN's top personnel executive says the absence of women is in part a reflection of what fans want.


That's the best excuse TV executives can come up with? Don't blame us, it's our pig-headed fans? The fact that this is coming from a network that posits itself as the "Worldwide Leader in Sports" is even more ridiculous.

You won't do it because you're afraid of losing a few idiot gut-scratching viewers and some ad money? Let's think about these viewers for a minute.

. . .

Where the hell are they going to go? Fox Sports Net? *snorts*

You're the Worldwide Leader, ESPN. You own so much of the frickin' sports television market you make everyone else look like a joke. Stop cow-towing to sexism and put a woman, no, two, in the booth already. On football. On a regular basis.


This is why I'm a member of AWSM. And it's why women in sports journalism need our own version of Richard Prince. Hell, maybe I'll do it.

Oh and if you still think it's okay to exclude women from this club, and shrug off the harassment that every single one of us has stories about, take out the quantifier of "female" and replace it with "black."

See what I mean?

Video: I Am Sean Bell

I couldn't get through the first 30 seconds without my eyes misting over. Again, another gem I found via Macon D at Stuff White People Do.

I AM SEAN BELL, black boys speak from Stacey Muhammad on Vimeo.

Screwed from Childhood

I found this via Stuff White People Do, on a post where blogger Macon D asks why Caucasians allow their children to watch programming with racist (and sexist) undertones.

The video is brilliant -- and very eye-opening.

We Still Love You!

Yeah, we know.

Posting lately has been sporadic and sparse, and we're working to get back to our regular Awesome & Fabulous selves.

Unfortunately, Duck is encumbered in a faceoff of epic proportions with Verizon.

Kinda like this.

So as soon as that's straightened out, we'll back back at full force and a little more balanced.

I mean really, someone has to counter all my cynicism, right?

Well, It *Used* To Be a Ford Taurus

Sometimes I wish someone would conduct a study to see if there's a temporary spike in the sale of contraceptives whenever a story like this comes out, complete with causation and correlation analysis.

This is why my teacher friends advocate for people to get licenses to have children. I mean, it's fascist as hell, but maybe you wouldn't have situations like this one.

Some little boy in Virginia was determined to get to school Tuesday. (Not the little boy in the photo. But clearly, he has no business being where he is, either.)

So determined that he took his mother's keys and attempted to drive himself to school.

He's six.

Less than two miles away, he wrapped his mother's Ford Taurus around a utility pole.

He didn't want to miss breakfast and P.E.


If this happened in D.C., I would say this is precisely why you don't pay students to come to school, but it didn't, so the only thing I can say is: Lady! Yes, you, Jacqulyn D. Waltman.




And stop letting him play Grand Theft Auto!

'Weight Is Not An Infectious Disease'

We all know that sexism is a worldwide problem, and well, here's today's depressing proof that it's not going away any time soon.

This time, it's in India, where 10 women were fired by state-owned Air India for being too fat.

Yum! Government-sanctioned discrimination for everyone!

There's no excuse behind this. These women weren't morbidly obese and chucked to save a few gallons of jet fuel; the move was purely aesthetically motivated.

And if you don't believe me, check out 51-year old Sheela Joshi, who was fired after 27 years of service.

Would you call her fat? Yeah, me neither. This also brings to light the issue of fat shaming, but I'm handing that off to the champs at Feministing.

Via Times Online.

When I Grow Up, I Wanna Be Kathy Griffin

So, Kathy Griffin hosted New Year's Eve with Anderson Cooper for the second straight year, live and uncensored. I'm so glad they asked her to come back, if only because I feel like she's Anderson's personal hag and one day, maybe, he will actually feel comfortable coming out with her by his side.

Although, given his obsession with the Real Housewives of Atlanta, I'm not sure it's really necessary.

Anyhow, it doesn't top "Suck it, Jesus. This award is my god now," but it comes awfully close. CNN better invite her back next year, dammit.


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