Friday, August 29, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

What we learn from Malibu's Most Wanted

What We Learn From “Malibu’s Most Wanted”.

Let’s be honest, there are a lot of things we know, only from movies.

There are lots of places I have never been to, events I did not witness, and characters I never met. Still, I had my picture taken with the Rocky statue, if I ever go to “Nam” everything I see will have to pass through an Apocalypse Now filter, and thanks to the Power of One, I consider myself an expert on South Africa.

This being said, there are few things that irk me the way a nice interracial relationship drama or love story. Why? Do I have thin skin? Are the cultural contrasts off limits in my mind? No, it’s the unavoidable, predictable, and wrong, instructional section of all these movies.
For example:

Chris Rock’s dancing old rich people in Down to Earth with the resulting old lady’s “this party is off the hizzle!”

Again, Chris Rock in Head of State, when he finally goes off script, takes off his jacket, and starts preaching. Of course all the white folk start breaking into hilariously uncharacteristic “Amens!”

Bullworth, when Warren Beatty sees the light, and starts rapping everything.

And worst of all, Save the Last Dance…pretty much the whole movie.
This one is the worst because it isn’t trying to be funny.
There is an “iconic” scene where the black guy is teaching the white girl how to dance like a black person. They start by sitting in chairs and the guy says something along the lines of, “if you want to hang with us you can’t sit like that. You have to slouch and loosen up.”
This begins Julia Stile’s education on how to get black people to accept you. This is done by wearing puffy coats and beanies, slouching and strutting, and of course a more affective bump n’ grind on the dance floor. This works brilliantly in this, and all the others, as the races all start to get along when we finally learn to act like the stereotypes of the other.

Moral of the story, all black people say “wassup dawg” and white people are stiff and nerdy.

Enter Malibu’s Most Wanted.” A rich white boy with identity issues, refuses to act white.

I LOVED this show. Why? Moral of the story is act like yourself… even if that means rapping about when people are like all up on your private beach, yo.

Even better… one of the best ever on the issue, is Finding Forrester. Old white guy author, young black kid who plays ball, and they navigate learning about each other beautifully.

One of the worst days of my life was walking into a record store in L.A. and the Idaho farm boy I was with approached the store clerk with, “wassup sista? Where the [????] at?” He was serious.

I wanted to die, and I blame Save the Last Dance.

Yerba Mate'

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Beginners luck Cappy

Monday, August 18, 2008

Who Are They?

Admittedly not my best drawings but I think there are enough visual clues to make this somewhat easy... let the games begin!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What's in it for me?

What’s in it for me?

Life is not easy for any of us. We each have our struggles, be they visible to others or not, we still have them. We usually toil and struggle in our professional lives, work hard where it is required, then surround ourselves with people we enjoy or are comfortable around to accommodate relaxation or recreation. Our social lives are usually a path of least resistance, or high return investment, designed to give balance or fulfillment to our otherwise stressful and taxing existence.

Diversity in our social lives is not easy and sometimes seems unnatural. This diversity need not be racial, it can be economic or nationality, gender or musical tastes, age or religion, but any of these categories of experience or interest, differentiate ourselves one from another. We are usually most comfortable around those we are most alike and form closer relationships with them.

The reasons why friendships across racial lines may be difficult are many, and not really the question being posed. The question is why.

Why should we desire or pursue interaction with those of another race? What, if any, are the benefits? If your/my life is busy and hard, why should I work on something that will only cause more discomfort and stress? Discomfort and stress seam to cause themselves without my asking for it…why would I add more?

Is it worth it?
Why should I try?
Should I try?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Friday, August 8, 2008

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

There is Something Black People Don't Really Know About White People

There is something black people don’t really know about us white people…

There is no white community.

“What” you say. “I know plenty of places, organizations, events, activities, that are nearly all white, how much more white can a community be? In fact this country works on a foundation of whiteness, how can you say there is no white community!?

Sorry, there just isn’t a “white” community.
With the small exceptions of the lunatic fringes, we white people don’t relate to other whites on the basis of skin color. I once spent over a year living in an all black place doing nothing but going around and talking to nothing but black people all day. Even in this environment, when I would chance upon a stray white person, nothing inside me yearned for them or assumed I had anything remotely in common with that person. Now this is not because I had lost my identity (my whiteness was constantly pointed out), but I just never identified myself, or any other white person by their color.

Now many may argue with me or recite theory on “white privilege”, but this is classroom knowledge not common or practical knowledge. Try this: ask five white people to pick five words that best describe themselves. I have done it more than five, much more, and not once has “white” made the list. All but a few black people I have asked to do the same thing have listed the word “black” somewhere near the top.

This difference makes sense in that any minority group has some shared experience in whatever it is that makes them a minority, but white people are not a minority. Now some may identify with things that are associated with whiteness, as in: Irish, German, polo player, etc. but this does not mean skin color has registered at all in their own mind.

I say this to enable communication and interpretation across racial lines.

Black people as a whole, assume some similarity, at least in how others treat them, with other black people. A black person should not assume that a white person relates to another person on whiteness, and when referring to the white community, be assured that the white person in question will balk, or simply assume you are wrong.

This is part of what is at the root of white people’s defensiveness when whites are accused of racism. They are forced into considering their race as a whole, for which they have no experience, and will harp on how they do not fit into whatever generalization has just been made, thus side tracking from the original topic.

If you wish to communicate, explain, or even accuse, try breaking down your comments in the same way the white people themselves divide themselves, i.e.: rural Southern men, cowboys, NYC investment bankers, country music fans, hippies, yuppies, surfers, democrats, republicans, or Catholics.

Try using any one of these definers and you may be amazed at how much more constructive or honest your interactions will be.