With the huge success of Marvel Studios, super-heroes have entered the public consciousness like never before. But the film producer’s success has become a double edged sword: its entertainment value to millions of people worldwide has drawn to it the unwanted attention of racial bean counters who have called for different colored faces under the masks.
But how is that to be accomplished? In their call to diversify representation in movies along racial lines, promoters comb each new release, counting heads and claim there are not enough faces of color in the casts. Something has to be done, they say, raising the specter of white privilege and subtle racist attitudes that only the most arcane of arithmetical equations can balance.
In an attempt to satisfy its critics, the film industry has taken steps to right the imbalance. Super-hero movies and television shows in particular, have done their share but mostly by changing the skin color of existing characters rather than inventing new ones.
On TV, Iris West in the new Flash television show was switched from white to African-American as was Deathlok on Agents of SHIELD and Pete Ross in Smallville.
This past week a group of scientists from the European Space Agency landed a spaceship on a comet. Contemporary feminists commented on the happening, but not for the reason you’d think. Screw science. One of the guys on the team talked about the major breakthrough in an on-the-spot interview while wearing a shirt with barely-clad, busty women brandishing guns. Social media chaos ensued. The scientist cried out an apology over the Internet. Apparently the rather clever hashtag #shirtstorm is the real reason why Obama cancelled the space program.
And you wonder why Lana Del Rey would rather spend her time talking about Space-X and Tesla instead of associating herself with the pioneering movement for women that has turned into a forum for Dunham-loving yuppie nags. Celebrities are distancing themselves from the f-word because so-called feminists think the greatest thing they can do for womankind is to complain about a scientist’s tacky shirt. I’m sure that really inspired a teenage girl out there to forego joining ISIS and join in the fight against… dudes bearing busty broads?
The adjective “iconic” is criminally overused, particularly by enthusiastic but historically illiterate youngsters.
However, for many old fogeys, the photograph above actually deserves that designation.
Just check out that badass Rasta, striding fearlessly, even casually, toward a line of (probably) white London cops.
He’s alone, but this is his neighborhood, not theirs, so why should he cower, despite the menace hovering in the air?
Surely something has exploded, gone horribly, fatally wrong — or is just about to — beyond the frozen boundaries of this picture, which seems to be holding its breath, like an enjambed line of poetry.
Although this photo was taken in 1976, it seems weirdly timeless, yet timely, especially in the wake of Ferguson.
And it is, except not for the reason one might expect.
Also check out Leslie Loftis’ analysis of Beyonce’s performance at last night’s MTV Video Music Awards here.
10. “Bow Down/I Been On”
The Church of Bey has clearly gone to the pop goddess’s head. A critic at New Wave Feminism writes:
Aside from repeatedly yelling “bow down bitches”, the song also contains lyrics such as “I know when you were little girls / You dreamt of being in my world / Don’t forget it , don’t forget it / Respect that, bow down bitches”. Apparently, Beyoncé thought the appropriate response for young women who admired her and looked up to her was to call them misogynistic slurs and demand they genuflect in her presence.
This Bey Anthem doubles as the death knell of the sisterhood.
For the first few months after I moved back to Texas, I got my hair cut at an Austin barber shop. It’s a family run place — the father and two of his sons own and operate it. The sons are in their 30s or so; the father may be in his 60s. Like many business owners around Austin, the owners of this barber shop are Hispanic.
I haven’t been there in a while, as it’s pretty far from where I live now. I used to go there because it was the first place I found around town, because they give a great no-nonsense man’s haircut, and because the sons are hilarious. They are constantly joking around with each other, joking with the customers, and just having fun. It’s like getting free entertainment while you get your hair cut. Although I used to worry a little that if they made me laugh too hard I would end up moving at the wrong time and mess up their work.
So I was in the shop in mid April, a few years back. I’m in the chair nearest the door as one of the sons is cutting my hair. Another man is in one of the other chairs, and the other son was cutting his hair. The father was around but I don’t think he was cutting anyone’s hair. There were a couple of guys waiting their turn, sitting in a line of chairs that extended from the area just inside the door. Typical barber shop set-up.
An older white man comes in, he seemed be someone that the father and sons knew pretty well.
The newcomer asks the nearest son, “So, are you excited about Cinco de Mayo?”
The sons laughed and the one nearest the door said, “Cinco de Mayo? Not really, man.” He kept cutting my hair.
The older man persisted: “Aren’t you excited about Cinco de Mayo? What are you planning to do to celebrate?”
The sons laughed again. The guys in the chairs near the door laughed too. The brothers kind of looked at each other, shrugged, and the one nearest the door said “Cinco de Mayo? Man, we celebrate the Fourth of July!” They laughed again. “I can’t wait for that! We’ll go to the parades, have some bar-be-cue, see some fireworks, drink some beer. Best day of the year!”
The newcomer just wouldn’t have it. He asked, again, “But aren’t you excited about Cinco de Mayo? It’s coming up! What are you and your family doing?”
Now the son nearest the door was a little bit angry, but he and his brother both laughed it off. “I told you, we celebrate the Fourth of July! My family has been in Texas forever. I’m from Lampasas, man! We’re not ‘Mexican-American’ or any other thing like that, we’re Americans! Fourth. Of. Ju. Ly. Not Cinco de Mayo.” Lampasas is northwest of Austin, near Killeen.
The newcomer finally seemed to give up. He started to sit down in one of the chairs by the door to wait his turn, but then seemed to change his mind, and he left.
The brothers just chuckled, and the one cutting my hair muttered “Cinco de Mayo? Whatever. We’re Americans. I’m from Lampasas.”
Then he asked me what I planned to do on Fourth of July. I told him that his plans sounded pretty good to me. Especially the bar-be-cue.
As a black man active in Republican politics, I find it noteworthy that I never feel excluded or stigmatized by other Republicans on account of my race. Race never comes up at a Tea Party meeting, or a Republican political convention, or when socializing with my conservative and libertarian cohort. On the contrary, all my encounters with race-obsessed individuals have been with self-professed liberals who treat me like a freak show exhibit.
Leftists demand an explanation for my politics. How is it possible that a black man could be a Tea Partier? How is it possible that a black man could vote Republican? What’s wrong? What’s the angle? What secret deficiency or corruption explains this oddity? The curiosity is racist in and of itself, because it proceeds from an assumption about how people “like me” ought to think.
Then I see the vile treatment of personages like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. In the wake of the court’s recent verdict upholding Michigan voters’ choice to ban state-mandated racial discrimination (euphemistically called affirmative action), Thomas became the target of viciously racist comments from supporters of “progressive” policy.
Most recently, we learn that long-time Democrat Party contributor and Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling faces compelling accusations of racism. Prior to TMZ reporting on obtained audio which seems to record Sterling making blatantly racist remarks to his girlfriend, the NBA owner was slated to received a lifetime achievement award from the NAACP in May. Presumably, he would have accepted it eagerly.
How do we reconcile this? Why would a racist who doesn’t want his girlfriend publicly associating with black men support a political party which claims to represent the best interests of black people? How can a racist be seen by the NAACP to merit recognition for a lifetime of philanthropic achievement?
Psychological projection is “a defense mechanism that involves taking our own unacceptable qualities or feelings and ascribing them to other people.” When I encounter people convinced that blacks labor under the weight of insurmountable racism, I suspect they harbor bigotry of their own. They may not express it quite like Donald Sterling, but their worldview brims with the soft bigotry of low expectations.
As I sit writing from Berlin, Germany, I woke up this morning with the news that a demented American Nazi and KKK leader, Glenn Miller, has been arrested as the main suspect in the Kansas City murder of 3 American Jews. That all were undoubtedly preparing for tonight’s Passover Seder makes the tragedy even more abhorrent.
In a country and city where all of its residents are always aware of the horrors of the Nazi past, it comes as a shock that this wanton act of vicious antisemitic murder has taken place not in Germany, but in the United States. Of course, it is an outrage that the authorities are going out of the way to not call it by its name. Rather than condemning Miller’s action as a result of his Nazi beliefs, they say it looks like a “hate crime,” and they make light of his yelling “Heil Hitler” upon his arrest.
Even the regional director of the St. Louis branch of the Anti-Defamation League held her words. As The New York Times reports,
“ ‘While it is too early to label these shootings as a hate crime, the fact that two Jewish institutions were targeted by the same individual just prior to the start of the Passover holiday is deeply troubling and certainly gives us pause,’ Karen Aroesty, the group’s St. Louis regional director, said in a statement.”
Ms. Aroesty should have been more up front about the obvious motivation of Miller, and not hedged her words.
Fortunately, a quick look at some of the antisemitic extremist websites has led to the following post by Mr. Miller, reproduced verbatim below:
Israel Forming Super PAC to Attack Paul & Obama
This is some big dookee, yaw’ll.
Jew journalist Max Blumenthal exposes and explains this attempt by a foreign government Israel, to buy the presidential election for the neo-con, war-mongering republican establishment.
Like I’ve been saying, the kikes simply do not trust a lame-duck black president with the name Hussein. Jews fear his re-election, thus this jewish Super PAC to defeat him.
1) Will Ron Paul and his close supporters fight back against this alien super-PAC by telling the truth about jew power in the U.S. ?? It’s insightful and somewhat assuring that the above video news report was posted on www.runronpaul.com.
2) How will Hussein and his 45 million black supporters and the tens of millions of other liberals and anti-war Americans react to this jewish attack on their president and commander in chief ??
3) How will the democrat establishment react, and the so-called liberal media ??
4) Does this signal a huge split among jews, and if so how big is the split ??
Like Dr Pierce once said, “the jews have a tiger by the tail, and they dare not turn loose.”
It sure looks to me like their grip is slipping.
Sieg Heil !!!
“To learn who rules over you simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize” —–Voltaire
These and other posts by Miller can be found on vn forum, where he regularly engaged in dialogue with other neo-Nazis and antisemites.
What will our good friends at The Nation say now, when his very first sentence notes how inspired he is by the words of none other than Max Blumenthal, whose antisemitic and anti-Zionist book was released by the magazine’s own publishing house, Nation Books? I can look back to find scores of examples of how various racist rants are attributed by the Left to conservatives, Tea Party members and especially to Rush Limbaugh. Some years ago, one man tried to enter a left-wing group’s offices with a gun, and many leftists immediately attributed his actions to the hate spread by right-wing radio talk show hosts.
Now, Mr. Miller himself, a proud Ku Klux Klan leader and avowed antisemite, has found inspiring words from the one Jew he likes–Max Blumenthal. Look again at his words: “Jew journalist Max Blumenthal exposes and explains this attempt by a foreign government Israel, to buy the presidential election for the neo-con, war-mongering republican establishment.” Except for the first two words,“Jew journalist,” Miller’s rant is similar to the arguments of Walt and Mearsheimer, John B. Judis and other realists and leftists, whose writings are filled with the same disdain for “neo-conservatives” who are always described as “warmongering.” When someone like Pat Buchanan makes that same argument, he never uses the word “Jews,” preferring to let his readers know by intuition just who is talking about.
So now we have the crazed antisemite’s own post about who inspires him to have taken his dreadful murder today, on the eve of Passover. I wait to hear what rationale The Nation editors will make for their publication and endorsement of Blumenthal’s articles and book.
What will the two journalists of note who sponsored or spoke at Blumenthal’s appearance last year at The New American Foundation, James Fallows and Peter Bergen, have to say now about the influence young Blumenthal’s words have had? I predict something like the following: “That this horrendous Nazi used Max Blumenthal’s wise critique of the US-Israel alliance as a mask for his own actions, that stem from Klan and Nazi ideology, does not implicate Mr. Blumenthal at all, nor should it cause us to dismiss his warnings about changing the close ties with Israel held by the United States.”
Or perhaps they will come up with something else, or maybe just hold their tongues for once. But Miller makes it clear: He has bought and learned the lessons he holds from Blumenthal, whose writings he recommends to his antisemitic brethren.
As I said in an earlier post, far Left and the extremist far Right have come together in their united hatred for Israel and for the American Jewish community. It is antisemitism and anti-Zionism that ties them together as brothers, and there is no escaping that truth.
Another day, another chronicle of Democratic Party malfeasance. Enjoy:
In Congress, Rep. Darrell Issa of California has just leveled an explosive charge against his Democrat counterpart on the House Oversight and Government Reform committee — to wit, that the gentleman from Maryland colluded with the IRS to harass a conservative organization fighting for honest elections:
Issa said records obtained last week from the IRS show communications from the office of ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., about True the Vote, a Texas-based, non-profit conservative group that aims to prevent voter fraud.The communications at one point involved Lois Lerner, the ex-IRS official whom Issa’s panel is poised to hold in contempt of Congress on Thursday for refusing to provide testimony about her involvement in targeting conservative groups.
“The IRS and the Oversight Minority made numerous requests for virtually identical information from True the Vote, raising concerns that the IRS improperly shared protected taxpayer information with Rep. Cummings’ staff,” a statement from the Oversight panel reads.According to Issa, Cummings and his staff sought “copies of all training materials used for volunteers, affiliates, or other entities,” from True the Vote.
Naturally, the honorable gentlemen denies the charges:
Cummings said the letter from Issa and others Republicans is “a desperate attempt to shift the focus on tomorrow’s contempt vote away from the serious Constitutional deficiencies in these proceedings.”
Did somebody say “contempt vote”? What kind of nefarious activity might occasion such a thing?
On Wednesday night Kent State University went on lockdown and students were told to “shelter-in-place” after a shooting on campus. The suspect, who allegedly fled the scene after accidentally shooting himself in the hand during an altercation, was at large for several hours while campus police and local law enforcement officials searched campus buildings to determine that there was no ongoing active shooter situation in progress. Quavaugntay Tyler, a 24-year-old freshman criminology and justice studies major, was later arrested at a local hospital after seeking treatment for the self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Now, some students and professors are alleging that the university and local media outlets engaged in racial profiling when they released a preliminary description of the shooter saying they were looking for a “a black man wearing black basketball shorts and carrying a silver handgun.” From Kent Wired:
In Traci Easley Williams’ Black Images course Thursday afternoon, Walker and other students expressed their views and stories about how Tyler was identified as simply a “black male.”
Easley Williams, a professor of Pan-African studies and journalism, asked her class by show of hands how many of them believed they should have released the description of Tyler as a “black man” even though it was vague.
Only one student — Caleb Ference, a senior electronic media production major — raised his hand. Ference, a white student, did not believe the suspect’s race should have been released because it was very broad, but he said a statement was necessary so that he could be recognized by the public.
“It was a very hectic situation, and I believe people should have known,” Ference said. “Not releasing the statement could have avoided this situation in some ways, but it would not have eased the tension that was going on.”
Easley Williams said she does not believe it is fair that minority students have to face situations like this and carry the backlash while keeping up with all other responsibilities in college.
Professor Williams told WKYC News that, “There’s a lot of hurt with the students of color here on campus. They feel that many of them were targeted.”
Trey Walker, a freshman broadcast journalism major said, “It wasn’t that someone had a gun and they shot on campus, it became ‘a black man on campus has a gun.’ and anybody on campus that fits the description of wearing basketball shorts, which is a very, very general … nothing talking about their t-shirt … not saying if it was white, black, yellow, blue … you have basketball shorts. Black basketball shorts. You’re a suspect.”
A spokesperson for Kent State told WKYC that police released the most detailed suspect information they could at the time and public safety was their number one priority.
WKYC released a statement explaining their use of the racial identifier:
WKYC did use the description of the Kent State university suspect last night online and on the air. With an active search for a potential gunman, we reported any detail that might lead to an arrest. We review each story that includes a racial identifier and make decisions on a case-by-case basis.
According to the university, 1,949 of the 22,000 undergraduate students enrolled at Kent State are African American and 59% are female. So the campus text alert immediately (and, apparently correctly), narrowed the search from 22,000 students to fewer than 800. When you eliminate students who were not on campus that evening (75% of Kent State students commute) and those not wearing basketball shorts, the number of suspects becomes exponentially smaller.
If you’re the parents of a college student — or a students on a campus with an active shooter on the loose — wouldn’t you want authorities to disclose as much information as possible to help students protect themselves?
A few African American students admitted they felt relieved when they heard the race of the suspect:
Jamal Deakings, a sophomore electronic media production major, said he admitted to initially feeling relief when he received the campus alert identifying the suspect of the shooting as a “black man.”
“When I found out he was a black man with a handgun, I was actually relieved because I believed it was less likely it was going to be a mass shooting,” Deakings said.
Freshman broadcast journalism major Valerie Williams said she was surprised to hear the suspect was black.
“I was completely shocked; I honestly did not expect him to be black,” Williams said. “Most major school shootings are done by Caucasian people, so I did not think the suspect would have been black.”
Welcome to the future of American journalism, where students are encouraged to think that racial sensitivities are more important than basic safety and apprehending a shooter. Meet the new boss — same as the old boss.
Saint Patrick’s Day is an outrageous celebration of my Irish heritage. On that day adult Americans of all ethnic backgrounds feel free to wear green derby hats and shamrock necklaces, pack into bars and pubs to drink green beer and, if they’re really serious about celebrating the Irish way, end the day by vomiting and passing out in the gutter.
I’m offended by this, and it has to stop! Okay, just kidding. I don’t care a bit. The Irish are a fully integrated ethnic minority in America and St. Patrick’s Day is proof. You know your heritage is not an issue when you can poke fun at yourself.
I don’t know how to make the Martin Luther King holiday as genuinely warm, funny, and celebratory as St. Patrick’s Day, but I’d like to try. Just last month a school system had to apologize for serving a lunch of fried chicken, cornbread and watermelon on Martin Luther King Day. How sad that the African-American holiday commemorating such a great man is about grievances and not praise. Why shouldn’t we all celebrate Martin Luther King day with soul food, vibrant African designs and colors in our decorations and celebrations, and a sense of fun and gratitude?
I fear that instead of moving towards celebrating Martin Luther King Day as a positive affirmation of African-American heritage, we’re moving in the other direction. Columbus Day has come under such attack that this brave Italian hero and explorer is accused of genocide and celebrations in his honor are protested. The very word “Christmas” has been banned in some schools. How long before someone wants to ban St. Patrick’s Day?
May this never happen. Long may the green beer flow in the pubs of America on St. Patrick’s Day. May the green derby hats continue to be perched on the heads of all, may the Leprechaun decorations continue to be ridiculous and offensive, and may you always feel free to be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.
images courtesy Shutterstock: Patryk Kosmider
Matthew McConaughey thanked God for his Oscar win last night and the conservative crowd went wild.
McConaughey’s speech sparked a feeding frenzy for conservatives to outdo each other when it came to applauding him, while simultaneously taking shots at liberals. Rick Perry tweeted Monday morning, saying, “Texas boy counting his blessing.” His tweet linked to a Breitbart piece titled “Matthew McConaughey Praises God in Acceptance Speech, Hollywood Crowd Grows Quiet.” On Twitchy, Michelle Malkin’s site, the speech ran as “Matthew McConaughey rattles Oscar crowd, wins hearts by thanking God.” Fox News got in the game with the headline, “Matthew McConaughey one of few to thank God in Oscar acceptance speech.” And so on.
As the Daily Beast points out, McConaughey’s God-nod was most likely reassuring to a Christian population that’s been ostracized more than not:
In recent decades, religious figures are often found more often in niche movies, wrote Cieply, or if they are in major pictures, they “are often hypocrites and villains, driving plot lines that make, at best, a token bow toward the virtues of a faith-based life.”
One need look no further than a recent episode of the hit Scandal, in which the evangelical female vice president who murdered her gay husband claims she is not culpable because the devil made her do it.
Fair enough. I’m sure the Son of God giddiness also contributed to the Tweetfest, despite the fact that McConaughey never did specifically go beyond the name “God,” let alone drop “Jesus” during the speech. He did, however, express conviction that Miller Lite is served in heaven, which I’m sure won over the Duck Dynasty crowd.
What most conservative Oscar watchers failed to lavish with praise wasn’t the mere thanking of God, but the praising of Him by singer Darlene Love. The career backup singer celebrated 20 Feet From Stardom’s Best Documentary win by singing the refrain from the hymn His Eye Is on the Sparrow:
I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.
The refreshingly simple, faith-laced, joyful lyrics made up the majority of her acceptance “speech” and were received with a full-house standing ovation led by an incredibly enthusiastic, non-religious Bill Murray. Where’s the barrage of Tweets about that?
McConaughey returned to his pot-smoking, bongo-banging self by the end of his speech, concluding with:
…whatever we look up to, whatever it is we look forward to and whoever it is we’re chasing — to that I say, alright, alright, alright. And then I say, just keep livin’.
It’s a generic statement that illustrates God is “whatever” and “whoever” and, therefore, “alright, alright, alright.” I have yet to read a conservative commentary that points out the many ways this level of ambiguity has eroded our nation’s ability to put faith in the God of our ancestors, let alone have faith in ourselves, both as a free nation and as individuals with free will. But hey, that’s cool; an actor said the G-word on stage and it got captured by social media, which makes it count.
Alright, alright, alright.
If I approached ten random people on the street and asked them whether “relationships should be consensual,” ten out of ten would likely answer yes. I mean, what’s the alternative? People should be able to force themselves on each other? It’s a no-brainer.
Yet, if I asked the same ten people whether “a business should be able to deny service on the basis of race or sexual orientation,” seven or eight would probably answer no.
How do we reconcile that? Do we believe relationships should be governed by mutual consent, or not?
In the wake of Arizona governor Jan Brewer’s veto of S.B. 1062, a bill which by some accounts would have expanded the freedom of association in that state, we do well to consider the true nature of Jim Crow. Today, we all agree that the laws which emerged at the state and local level in the century following the Civil War mandating racial segregation clearly violated individual rights. But what about those laws made them a violation of rights? Was it the fact that they discriminated on the basis of race? Or was it the fact that they kept individuals from utilizing their judgment?
By replacing Jim Crow laws with anti-discrimination laws, all we did was change whom the state victimizes. Instead of mandating segregation, we mandated integration. We went from forcing people to abstain from relationships to forcing them to engage in them.
Who speaks for consent? Why have we never tried letting people choose whom they enter into relationships with, and whom they do not? How did we solve the offense of Jim Crow by inverting its trespass?
Arizona’s S.B. 1062 aims too narrowly, and at the wrong target. While businesses should be able to deny service to customers whose needs conflict with the owner’s religious conscience, that stands as only one example of a broader principle which must be applied universally. All relationships should be consensual. Indeed, the case for gay marriage rests upon that very notion. Rather than focus on whether a gay couple should be able to marry or whether a vendor should be able to deny them service, let’s broaden our consideration to whether individuals ought to define their own relationships in all contexts.
No one should be able to force themselves on someone else, ever, under any circumstances. Embracing that maxim and applying it to public policy would settle many of these divisive social issues.
More proof of Karma: Tommy Christopher has been fired at Mediaite according to the Daily Caller.
For the many who don’t know who Christopher is, he is a front line hack for the Obama administration. He is best known to me for defending Eric Holder’s indefensible dismissal of the New Black Panther voter intimidation case. To Christopher, facts didn’t matter, and he told me so.
From my book Injustice:
The left seemed determined to defend the DOJ’s dismissal of the case simply as a function of defending President Obama regardless of the merits of the case. Consider an email sent to me by Tommy Christopher at the blog site Mediaite. After I testified to the Civil Rights Commission, Christopher wrote me, “Mr. Adams—Did you ever have conversations with any member of the Commission, or their staff, regarding the political implications of your complaint? If so, with whom, and what was the substance of those conversations?” Of course I had no such conversations—I was concerned about stopping voter intimidation, not the “political implications” of my complaint. I asked Christopher whether it would make any difference to him if Coates confirmed my allegations under oath. He replied, “As for Coates, without a stronger case up front, no, I don’t think his testimony is necessary.” To Tommy Christopher and his ilk, the facts of the case were irrelevant—what mattered was circling the political wagons. By September 2010, Chris Coates had concluded the DOJ was falsely describing the dismissal of the Panther case.
Coates would soon testify and corroborate my story, as I knew he would. Coates described an open noxious climate at DOJ where civil rights laws were viewed as protecting only one race and corners were cut to push that philosophy. But as Christopher said, to Obama flunkies in the media, it didn’t matter. All that mattered was defense. And when it comes to race, Christopher gives Obama a pass, no matter how dirty the deed.
At CPAC a number of years ago, Andrew Breitbart and I were having lunch at a crawfish joint in D.C. when Christopher plopped himself down next to us. He was silent about all the nasty and dishonest stuff he threw my way defending Eric Holder and the Panther dismissal. I guess that’s just the sort of fellow he was, and Mediaite is better off without him.
image via real clear politics
The Fantastic Four returns to theaters in 2015 with a new and controversial cast. The New York Daily News reports:
Within minutes of the bombshell reports that Fox has found its titular superheroes in the Fantastic Four reboot, naysayers flamed on social media to pick apart the reported selections of actors Miles Teller (Mr. Fantastic), Kate Mara (Invisible Woman), Michael B. Jordan (Human Torch) and Jamie Bell (The Thing) .
Complaints ranged from the good points (Teller’s track record of one-liner spewing parts is a poor fit for the super-serious Reed Richards) to the bad (Mara isn’t blonde) to the ugly (Jordan is not Caucasian like the character in the comics).
The author leaves unclear what makes that last compliant “ugly.”
Changing the racial identity of an established character in order to cast the best actor for the job works in many situations. The Avengers‘ Nick Fury was Irish in the comics long before Samuel L. Jackson portrayed him onscreen.
The offbeat casting choices in Zack Synder’s Man of Steel worked despite diverging wildly from past iterations. Laurence Fishburne starred as Perry White. Photographer Jimmy Olsen became a Latina intern named Jenny. And red-head Amy Adams portrayed the traditionally brunette Lois Lane.
However, there are times when a character’s physical characteristics or racial identity serve a narrative purpose. When Idris Elba, a black actor, was cast as the Norse god Heimdall in Marvel Studios’ Thor, it seemed like a gratuitous bit of multiculturalism. Then again, the Marvel version of Asgardians prove more alien than divine, so perhaps racial diversity makes sense in that context.
But casting a black man to play Human Torch makes no sense whatsoever. The character’s given name is Johnny Storm, biological full-brother to sister Sue, the Invisible Woman played by the decisively Caucasian Kate Mara. Unless this turns out to be some kind of artsy color-blind thing like you might see in a stage play, the relationship between these characters which has been integral to past narratives will have to be changed.
Will one of them be adopted? Will they be related at all? I suppose it could be handled in any number of ways which would not necessarily throw off the story, but for what purpose? Why do this? The only answer I can come up with is gratuitous multiculturalism, which this black author regards as an insulting bit of pandering.
Once upon a time, we raised our children in the quintessential Midwestern town of Atwood Illinois.
Just as you would imagine, mom and pop businesses lined Main Street, which of course ran through the center of the town. Only the local bars rivaled the number of neighborhood churches. Even the police department closes up shop on Sunday nights. To this day, it’s still a close-knit community. But it’s been fighting a slow death of poverty for years.
Just a few years ago, the one-and-only grocery store within 15 miles closed its doors. Just this year the community said farewell to their high school with its last Homecoming game–a devastating blow to the spirit of a small town.
When an outside company wanted to help, by bringing in their grocery store, renovating some empty buildings and generating some high-paying jobs the town leadership rejected it flatly. The fat, white good old boys started a letter writing campaign. They whined that this store carried too many ethnic foods–it would not serve a primarily white population. The predominately lower middle-class neighborhoods might see a more diverse, or affluent people move into town. Most of all, it would increase the desirability of the neighborhood, and who wants that?
Apparently these racists would rather buy their milk at the gas station.
Actually, that’s a lie.
That would never happen in Atwood. The town is in trouble. But there is no hope on the horizon, no offer of something as wonderful as a Trader Joe’s offering to be their new neighborhood grocer.
That honor went to a community in Portland. Unfortunately for them, my fairy-tale is their reality. Only the colors have been changed.
According to the AP it all started here:
“The Portland Development Commission had offered a steep discount to the [Trader Joe's] grocer on a parcel of nearly two acres that was appraised at up to $2.9 million: a purchase price of slightly more than $500,000. The lot is at Northeast Alberta Street and Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and has been vacant for years.”
The Portland African American Leadership Forum ran them off saying it would “perpetuate income inequality” and ”increase the desirability of the neighborhood.” Exactly.
How is this a bad thing?
Of course Trader Joe’s had the good sense to not go where they’re not welcome. So the California-based company took their discount health foods and products along with their $10-20/hr clerk jobs elsewhere. Did I mention that their supervisors make $45k-75k and reportedly the store managers bring in six-figures?
The Portland African American Leadership Forum would much rather see empty decaying buildings in their neighborhood than give up their victim card.
In the meantime, farming communities are fading away, left alone to suffer the same fate as coal-mining towns.
Bethany Mandel’s article on the irony of permitted homophobia in the African-American rap community rightly highlighted the Left’s patronizing racism towards both African and Hispanic Americans. She smartly pointed out pop culture’s double standard when it comes to reacting to anti-gay statements from Christian whites versus blacks or Hispanics. But the argument needs to be pushed further, lest we fall into the Progressive Left’s divisive Minority trap.
The underlying racism of the Progressive Left is the kind of upper-class willful ignorance rooted in eugenic supremacist theory that’s currently being swept under the rug of “progressivism,” a fanciful term for 21st century Marxism. No one could possibly believe that the same people who promote marriage equality, affirmative action, and amnesty are subconsciously racist. Unless, of course, they looked at the philosophy underlying those seemingly righteous political beliefs.
One need look no further than the Grammys for proof. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, white boys with bad rapping skills being lathered up with awards by an audience righteously congratulating themselves for marrying gays on stage to the tune of Same Love. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, the white messiahs saving rap from its inherent anti-gay nature with cornball lyrics referring to his beloved genre as “a culture founded from oppression.” What next? Rapping about the ironies of 40 acres and a mule with a prop carpetbag?
Newest SNL actor Sasheer Zamata hosts a Girls walking tour of Brooklyn via Above Average. It’s a tight skit with a lot of great one liners like, ”Cafe Grumpy: It’s where Hannah works and they have a drink there called ‘The Hannah’ and…it’s an 8 dollar cup of coffee.” Funny enough, although the real humor in the sketch is that the black fan of a critically defined “all-white-girls” show is being portrayed by a talented black actress who was brought onto SNL to fulfill the critics’ affirmative action casting quota.
The sketch clashes with reality on another note: For many Brooklyn natives, the Girls have worn out their welcome. Citing an increase in obnoxious tourists seeking photographs of baristas at Cafe Grumpy, the New York Daily News reports:
“The booksellers at Spoonbill and Sugartown on Bedford Ave. are similarly perplexed by the influx of millennials who show up and recreate the show’s seminal kissing scene in the stacks.
…It gets worse. The show has even spawned its own guidebook — as if HBO’s “take hipsterism and add water” needed more explanation.
“The Unofficial Girls Guide to New York” invites struggling twentysomethings to “get to know New York the way the ‘Girls’ know it.”
But real New York “girls” aren’t buying it.
“I hate anything that puts a label on what we’re doing. I came here to live outside of the box, not in one,” says Johanna Hickey, 31, who works three jobs and lives in Greenpoint. ‘It pisses me off.’”
Spoken like a true New Yorker.
Take the time to listen to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech today. Then ask yourself where his message would fit in today’s political discourse.
He references the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. He pleads for real justice, the abolition of force-wielding institutions of racial segregation, not the false “social justice” of material provision. He explicitly condemns hatred and violence, recognizing whites as “brothers and sisters.” Most powerfully, he concludes with the exhortation to “let freedom ring!”
Who among those laying claim to King’s legacy sound like him today? Who among the organized Left advocates for objective freedom and true justice? Who rejects hatred and fosters the healing of racial divides? Al Sharpton? Jesse Jackson? Van Jones? Barack Obama? Who?
The truth, laid bare for the discerning to see, is that those who most vocally lay claim to King’s legacy fundamentally reject his noble dream. Recall that quote most cited whenever King is evoked:
I have a dream, that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will no longer be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
Consider what such a nation requires. In order to judge someone by the content of his character, you must remain free to do so and to act upon that judgment in pursuit of your own happiness. Effectively, you must be free to discriminate, to judge this as right and that as wrong, to deem one person good and another bad. Liberty proves foundational to King’s dream. Yet those laying claim to King’s legacy stand opposed to liberty at every turn.
We cannot force individuals to judge others by the content of their character. Any attempt to do so, any attempt to abolish racism by state decree, will fail on account of its ignoring the primacy of choice in the formation of values. King’s dream can only be achieved through persuasion, by appealing to reason and securing individual consent. Consequently, the world necessary to foster racial harmony counter-intuitively must tolerate offensive attitudes and choices.
True, under liberty we may never reach the ideal. But we’ll come a hell of a lot closer than under any other condition.
Kayne West presented another easy target for widespread mockery. A source told HollywoodLife.com that the eccentric rapper contemplated leaving the United States to escape racism. At least, that’s the paraphrase which made it to social media. “Kayne West Threatens to Leave U.S. Over Racism” reads the Issue Hawk headline.
That may be a bum rap, however. What West actually said expresses, however crudely, the only legitimate solution to racism. The quote from HollywoodLife.com:
Kanye’s brush with racist slurs made him realize it’s not the environment he ever wants his daughter to experience. ”He also said ‘sh*t like this makes me want to take Kim, Nori, and her whole family and move out of this country and go someplace small and quiet,’” the source explained.
Kanye reasoned, “‘We’ve got enough money to buy our own island or some sh*t. I’ll be damned if I raise my daughter around ignorance and flat-out blatant racism.’”
While critics focus on a perceived slight against America, they miss that West was not comparing the United States to another country. He expressed a desire to use his private means to isolate his family in an act of free association.
Giving him the maximum benefit of the doubt, West’s comment proves refreshing. Rather than place responsibility upon someone else to protect his daughter from racism, he contemplates a private solution of his own making.
Indeed, free association emerges as the only legitimate weapon against racism. Choosing your relationships, whom you deal with and whom you don’t, communicates your values and censures or affirms the values of others. A society of individuals free to choose their associations fosters a market where irrational attitudes about race fade into obscurity. Consider every example from slavery through Jim Crow to affirmative action, and note that institutional racism requires force to survive. Without force, under liberty, racism becomes impotent.
Today the Drudge Report covers the Justice Department’s racialist attack on school discipline policies. The DOJ policy is based on the idea that school discipline policies are racially discriminatory because black students comprise a greater percentage of students disciplined than their percentage in the general population. Call it exceeding the bad behavior quota.
That this four-year-old federal policy exists wasn’t news. I covered it in my 2011 book Injustice. What is newsworthy is how these radical racialist education policies will outlast the Obama administration, and Republicans are ill-equipped to reverse it even if they win the White House.
As I wrote in Injustice:
The DOJ’s reasoning goes like this: if minorities face school discipline at rates greater than their overall percentage in the population, then the school is engaging in racial discrimination. As Civil Rights chief Tom Perez explained, “Black boys account for 9 percent of the nation’s student population, but comprise 24 percent of students suspended out of school and 30 percent of students expelled.” This preposterous racial bean-counting is an affront to the very concept of individual responsibility.
In January 2011, Perez announced that the DOJ would use a “disparate impact” analysis on school discipline cases to determine whether discipline policies were racially discriminatory. Thus, if blacks were disciplined in higher percentages than their share of the population, the DOJ would bring a lawsuit to stop the discipline policy. The new policy was on display at a DOJ conference on September 27 and 28, 2010, entitled “Civil Rights and School Discipline: Addressing Disparities to Ensure Educational Opportunity.” Attorney General Holder addressed the gathering and sought to “better understand the causes, and most effectively remedy the consequences, of disparities in student discipline.” Perez then complained that minority “students are being handed Draconian punishments for things like school uniform violations, schoolyard fights and subjective violations, such as disrespect and insubordination.”
Some might argue American schools have already allowed far too much disrespect and insubordination among students. That Tom Perez gives quarter for these acts illustrates the cultural demographic he and his fellow Obama political appointees seek to protect—the disrespectful and insubordinate.
We’ve come to expect this sort of policy from Eric Holder of protecting the lawless and misbehaving. The New Black Panther voter intimidation case dismissal was mere prologue.
Republicans in Congress have shown minimal skill in stopping these radical racialist programs. Instead of defunding the components of the DOJ that perpetrate these lawless policies, they continue to vote for spending resolutions and budgets that fuel them.
And even if the GOP takes control of the Justice Department in 2017, it will take an Attorney General willing to roll up his or her sleeves and clean out the mess inside the Civil Rights Division that is fueling these nutty and lawless policies. Only a few GOP figures understand the scope of the problem and have the courage to correct it. Among them are people like Representatives Louie Gohmert or Trey Gowdy, Senators Jeff Sessions or John Cornyn.
Here are three reasons why even these four would struggle in 2017 to reverse this lawless nuttiness:
MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry tweeted an apology to the family of Mitt Romney yesterday after this clip made the rounds on social media. In the video, Harris-Perry and a gaggle of “progressive” panelists mock Mitt Romney’s family on account of an adopted black baby. Harris-Perry presents a family photo with the new addition held in the former presidential candidate’s lap. She asks for “captions,” which prompts one panelist to sing the Sesame Street song “One of These Things Is Not Like the Other.” Another remarks that the photo accurately reflects the diversity of the Republican Party, with a single black person among many whites.
The candid moment reveals what latent racism remains in our political discourse. Such ugliness makes its home on the Left.
As the product of one mixed-race union, a partner in another, and the father of two young mixed-race boys, I can speak with some authority on the topic of mixed-race families. My entire life serves as a case in point. Experience has led me to conclude that the real racists among us are those who see race wherever they look. Most people don’t. Most people look at my boys and see boys, not percentages of this mixed with that. Most people look at that picture of the Romney family and see a family, not a black baby among white people. Most people are not racists.
In her apologetic tweets, Harris-Perry recalls that she grew up “as a black child born into a large white Mormon family,” and merely meant to express familiarity with the Romneys. If we were to take her at her word, she certainly could have come up with a better way to express herself.
“Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
I Samuel 16:7
Being Jewish, my relationship to graven images has been vicariously lived out through my gentile Christian counterparts. My one friend’s grandmother always believed that Jesus spoke English, because that’s the language her Bible was written in. Another friend (who mistakenly drank the holy water in Rome thinking the font was a public water fountain) balked when she babysat for an African American Catholic family who had a black Jesus crucifix in their kitchen. Of course, most folks with a basic understanding of Biblical geography can reason that Jesus wasn’t the blonde haired, blue-eyed guy they stared at every week in Sunday school, but thanks to a lot of abuse on the part of religious leaders throughout the centuries, our culture still has a hard time comprehending exactly how “racially cool” God really is.
Take these examples of racial and ethnic diversity in scripture listed by the American Bible Society:
- Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, priest of On (Heliopolis), wife of Joseph and mother of Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 41:45, 51, 52; 46:20), whom Jacob claimed and adopted. (Genesis 48).
- Moses’ Cushite wife (Numbers 12:1). She was probably Zipporah of the Kenite clan of the Midianites (Exodus 2:21-23). If Moses’ Cushite wife is indeed Zipporah, then her father, Jethro, (also called Reuel), would also have been an African. Since Jethro was the priest of Midian (Exodus 2:16; 3:1; 18:1) and the mountain of God where Moses was called was located in Midian (Exodus 3:1; 18:5), and Jethro presided at a meal where Aaron and the elders of Israel were guests (Exodus 18:12), the Kenites may have been the original worshipers of God by the name of the LORD, that is Yahweh (YHWH). Jethro also instructed Moses in the governance of the newly liberated Israelites (Exodus 8:13-27).
- The “mixed multitude that accompanied the Israelites when they left Egypt undoubtedly included various Africans and Asian peoples (Exodus 12:38).
- The unnamed Cushite soldier in David’s army. He bore the news of Absalom’s death to David, and, in contrast to Ahimaaz, had the courage to tell David the truth about Absalom (2 Samuel 18:21, 31, 32).
- Solomon’s Egyptian wife. She was an Egyptian princess and by his marriage to her, Solomon sealed an alliance with Egypt. (1 Kings 3:1; 11:1).
- The Queen of Sheba. She ruled a kingdom that included territory in both Arabia and Africa. When she visited Solomon, she was accorded the dignity and status of a head of state (1 Kings 10:1-13).