19 July 2010

To Resurrect a Mockingbird (in a Really Long-Winded Way)

Last week, the folks over at Racialicious re-posted a piece by Macon D., the creator of the blog, Stuff White People Do.  The article, "Stuff White People Do: Warmly Embrace a Racist Novel," addresses the 50th anniversary celebration of Harper Lee's only novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, published in the summer of 1960.  Macon D. took issue with all the attention TKAM was receiving, and consequently wrote a polemic railing against the (praise of the) novel.
I refuse to go along with this week’s warm, feel-good celebrations of Harper Lee’s novel (published fifty years ago today), To Kill a Mockingbird. Simply put, I think that novel is racist, and so is its undying popularity. It’s also racist in a particularly insidious way, because the story and its characters instead seem to so many white people like the very model of good, heartwarming, white anti-racism.
Macon D. outlines several key issues he has with the novel: its reception, that the mockingbird symbolizes Negroes, Atticus Finch as the O.G. white savior, and the marginal presence of Negroes in the novel.  To put bluntly: I take issue with Macon D.'s issues.  Maybe this is also stuff black people do, because I embrace this novel, too.  Before I continue, however, I want to note that since the initial post takes up the novel, and not the Academy Award-winning film, which premiered in 1962, my response will exclusively center on the text and not the film.

12 July 2010

What Does Justice Look Like?

There are many people in and outside of Oakland who are rightfully upset about the outcome of the Oscar Grant trial.  My heart goes out to his family, friends, and the citizens of Oakland.  Although black and poor people, whether defendants or plaintiff, are perpetually denied any kind of justice via the court system, I can understand the heart wrenching disappointment upon hearing a verdict that did not seem to fully acknowledge the abrupt and violent end of another black man's life.  To the citizens of Oakland who felt they had no recourse but to riot in the name of some semblance of justice, because we often have no recourse in the justice system, I can't say I blame you.  I hear you.  I generally resist often articulating my own (struggles with) nihilism, but when things like this happen, I can't help it.   We're taught to implode; we act in instead of acting out, if we act at all.  Finding value, meaning in life makes no sense most days when we look at the world.  Might as well torch a Foot Locker. 

11 July 2010

The King Wants Rings

Sometimes, I make myself sick.  I waited for the LeBron James ESPN special, "The Decision," like it was a Michael Jackson music video premiere.  (Remember the time?)  I sat in front of the television and waited for LBJ to moonwalk, spin, grab his crotch, and scream "Shamon," at Jim Gray.  But, alas, that never happened.  Instead, LBJ broke northeast Ohio's heart, and told the viewing public that he planned to take his talents to [W]ade County, Florida, thereby turning the Miami Heat into some kind of NBA version of the United States circa the middle of the 20th century: young, rich, and with world domination on their minds.  Of course, the analogy probably doesn't hold all that well, but still, if I may borrow my friend jmscott's hashtag, it's #nbaimperialism if there ever was.   I guess that makes the Boston Celtics England or something.  I don't know. I digress.

Although the super homies, D-Wade, Chris Bosh, and now King James have yet to adopt a nickname, I'm inclined to refer to them as Miami Thrice (kind of wack, I know, but you know you want to see those three dressed like Crockett and Tubbs.) or as The Triumvirate.  I don't know if that makes the Lakers the senatorial elite or something, but Wade especially better watch his back. 

05 July 2010

On Chris Brown--or Something

It's a federal holiday.  Which probably means most of you have not just settled into your cubicle to read my Monday morning message.  Not that anyone would actually be reading this if they were at work this morning, but at least I have a legitimate reason--and a federally recognized one--to be ignored.  Initially, I had planned on using this morning's blog to declare my independence from a variety of things: the NBA free agency conversation, graduate school, Blizzards.  But I realized that recently I've been taking this space to list things.  And frankly, I'd be back in line at the Dairy Queen before you could say Benedict Arnold.  So why bother using holiday blog time to reset some of my New Year's resolutions?

01 July 2010

Instant Vintage: Gates Sued Over World Cup Disappointment

It looks to be yet another cruel summer for Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates, Jr.  Last summer, Gates was arrested for walking into his own home in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Now, Gates is being sued by Chaka Rafiq Kmt Imhotep Shakur Muhammad (nee Tyrone Edwards).

Last January, Tyrone Edwards Muhammad ordered both maternal and paternal DNA tests from Gates' African DNA, a website that specializes in helping people trace their lineage, via t
heir DNA, to its place origin.  This service is ostensibly especially helpful to African Americans, who often have difficulty tracking their family trees beyond their ancestors' arrival on American shores as enslaved persons.  Although Tyrone Edwards Muhammad had always been interested in his African beginnings, he did not pursue uncovering the mystery until earlier this year, when he won tickets in the World Cup lottery.  "I wanted to be able to go to South Africa and cheer for my country, my real country," Tyrone Edwards Muhammad said in a phone interview.  "With these results, I'm unable to do that.  I'm disappointed in Brother Gates.  Real disappointed."

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