Posts tagged ‘Black Society’

A few words: White House Party Crashers

I’ll make this brief and get right to the point as it will sum up all that I feel we need to know about the White House Party Crashers:

They’re rich and white. Therefore, they looked the part and got away with being as close to the President as they are in the above pic. Ain’t nothin else on it.

Now I know I might get told I’m playing the race card here, and I’m prepared for that. But I absolutely believe that if this couple were working class and perhaps not white, if this couple looked more like me and my fairly-new partner–young Black people with natural hairstyles (another topic in its entirety)–they wouldn’t have even seen the inside of that State Dinner. Like, at all.

I’m not saying that the CIA is racist or that there was racially-charged intent in their actions–all they’ve admitted to so far is they “made a mistake” (no sh*t sherlock) and that’s all we can really accept for right now. What I am saying though, is that the Salahi’s ability to get away with crashing a White House dinner speaks to their class and their level of white privilege.

From Anovelista:

I am having major issues with the White House State Dinner crashers, Tareq and Michaele Salahi. The first description of Michaele Salahi referred to her as a “glittering blonde decked out in a red and gold sari” and I knew we were in trouble.  Even at the White House, the automatic assumption about a “glittering blonde” is why of course she belongs! She looks the part, right?

My point exactly. My friend Wise told me a great story that further illuminates this point. A few years ago, Wise went to a VIP party a professional colleague of his threw in the Hamptons. While he had every right to be at the party as anyone else, Wise was hassled by security because he doesn’t “look the part”: a tall brotha in a suit with a smallish afro. They questioned his being there, asked to see his ID, the whole nine, simply because he didn’t seem like he”belonged” there. What message does that send about how we feel about class and privilege and who gets to “own” high levels of such things?

In any case, the White House Dinner Crashers don’t tell us anything else, and it doesn’t get any more complicated than this. They were white, they were rich, and they got over on the CIA because they looked the part. Open and shut case of what is afforded to people who are at the top of the class ladder.

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Looking for the Next Barack? Yeah, right.

Some of you may have seen Jenee Desmond Harris’ piece in the Root last week. In it, she says that perhaps Black women can learn from Michelle Obama by letting go of our shallow “requirements”: a college degree (or two), a house, a “good” job (think Capitol Hill or a Consulting firm), and yes, “swagger.”

But now there’s a follow up from a male perspective. This week, David Swerdlick’s piece entitled “What Women Can’t Learn from Michelle” really sparked my attention:

You can’t argue with Jenée’s thesis: her coterie of pedigreed, upwardly mobile black women have to dig deeper for unseen potential if they’re looking for “Mr. Right.”

But if Barack Obama Part Deux is what it’s going to take to satisfy them, then her advice is going to leave a lot of women single as hell.

Personally, I blame Dwayne Wayne. Those endless reruns of your favorite episodes of A Different World get y’all completely twisted when it comes to evaluating a potential mate. But that’s beside the point. Here are a few tips to straighten things out:

Stop comparing regular guys to Barack Obama.

I can only speak for myself—I’m biracial, went to some pretty decent schools and spent most of my 20s in a cramped bachelor pad—but that’s where the comparisons to Barack Obama end. There’s nothing cool or Kravitz-esque to see here—I’m the other kind of mixed guy, in need of a tan and a fade. Picture Benjamin Jealous after six weeks on Survivor.

He had me at hello.

So many women–especially in DC–are on a mission for their Barack Obama. Now I know this goes against my past views about this topic, and I have to say that after much thought, I think that perhaps the “find your next Barack Obama” meme is over the top and, in a word, a little silly. There is only one woman for Barack Obama, and that’s Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama.

But beyond that, I think what what Swerdlick is getting at is that many women look at the wrong things: we are looking for some inkling of Presidential Swagger that may not be there because, well, the guy you’re peeping at the happy hour is not the President at all. And he may never be President. Sad, but true.

Stop looking at his checkbook and start updating your playbook.

Just because a man can “afford” to pay for $15 apple martinis doesn’t mean he wants to. Sometimes the guy buying rounds of shots is on his third bankruptcy, and the guy drinking $2 Miller Lights owns three rental properties.

We’ll do what we have to do to get your phone number, but in case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a recession going on. If you start sizing up a man for all he’s worth right now, you’re letting him know up front that if things get too far, he’s on the hook for a three-karat rock and a mortgage on a beach house in Oak Bluffs. And if he knows that already, he might flee.

….and this isn’t to say that I don’t appreciate a man paying when we go out, but I’ll take a taco dinner at Taqueria D.F. just as happily as I would a gourmet affair at 1789. Maybe it’s the California girl in me.  It’s not the price of the time you spent. It’s about the person and how happy you are with him or her.

But I wanna know who these women keeping score based on a man’s salary are…do I know them? Are we friends? …but I digress.

And then, Swerdlick gives us one last word of advice:

Start dating white, Asian and Latino men.

And while we’re on the subject, how about trying Something New?

Not into white guys? That’s too bad because I’d be willing to bet that Bill Clinton has dated more black women than Barack Obama.

Black women hoping for a monopoly on black men have to realize that they’re like General Motors in a Toyota world—either develop your own hybrid technology or prepare to go out of business.

The bottom line: Single women should avoid using Barack Obama’s résumé as a job description for a position they’re trying to fill or treating their next boyfriend like a prospective applicant.

I’ve never been a woman who claimed to only date one race or another.  It would make sense to me, especially in 2009, that it’s okay to date outside of your race. So go ahead–holler at the token White guy (or girl) at The Park next Thursday 🙂

At this point in my life, I’ve dated lots of different guys–plenty of guys with good jobs and degrees from the “right schools”, plenty of boyfriends with “swagga”–and none of it really matters. What matters is that a man treats me with respect and love–and yeah, that he makes me laugh–among other thngs.

The rest is just plastic. It’s not about being in a power couple. It’s about being with someone who loves you for you. And well, shouldn’t we do the same for our mate?

Song of the Week

Okay, Songs of the week since I couldn’t pick just one. Kickin’ it old school this Friday.

First up: 4hero’s  cover of “Superwoman” by Stevie Wonder. Good stuff.

next: Minnie Riperton-“Adventures in Paradise.” Minnie really is one of my favorite vocalists….

Happy Birthday, Stevie

Yesterday marked Stevie Wonder’s birthday.

Many of the people who know me know that music is very important to me. It has the power to change a whole nation of people.  I grew up in a house where music was used to inform, to comfort, and to educate my siblings and I.  My dad and I would drive around town listening to Earth Wind and Fire and listening to him tell anecdotes about the exact moment he first heard “Where Have All the Flowers Gone.”

I had always known about Stevie Wonder, but at the end of my junior year, Stevie’s music started really speaking to me.

There was a boy at a private school across town who I was just in love with…you know, that high school type of “love.”  He was a year older and I thought maybe he’d take me to his prom. He told me he hadn’t found a date yet.

And then, as high school drama goes, I found out he indeed had a date, and it wasn’t met.

The night of his prom, to take my mind off of the disappointment, my dad came to my room and said, “Let’s go to Marina Del Rey.”

At the time there was a HUGE Tower Records in Marina Del Rey, California where dad and I would go to buy music and sometimes just to stroll around and talk. This time, though, he said we should get a copy of Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions album. At this point I had only heard a few tracks:  “Don’t you Worry ‘Bout a Thing,” “Higher Ground,” “Living for the City,” and I think I was at least familiar with “Golden Lady.”

But when dad and I got home, we listened to the album in its entirety. By the time we got to the end of the album, I had forgotten all about not being at my high school love’s prom. Besides realizing how much of the conscious rap I had been into at the time was influenced by Stevie’s work, I realized that my Dad gave me this incredible opportunity to think deeper about the stories Stevie told in his music.

Visions made me consider my dreams, and my goals for the future as I looked forward to college.

“Higher Ground”, “He’s Misstra Know-it-All”, and “Livin for the City” made me think differently about social change, not only as a career but as a life passion.

I still revisit Innervisions for days when I need inspiration and an example of the way that music informs a generation and, sometimes, invokes a higher power.

Thank you Dad, for teaching me about Stevie Wonder that Friday night.

elledub goes gawking at the alfalfa club dinner

Nerdette over at NotMyGal convinced me to spend my Saturday night watching the arrivals to the Alfalfa Club Dinner, a dinner honoring the legacy of Robert E. Lee (yes…I’m talking about this guy). Governor Sarah Palin was in attendance and so was President Barack Obama. We were there to see Gov. Palin arrive to the dinner and the Presidential motorcade, and have the live tweets to prove it!

We saw some pretty awful fashion choices that brought back memories of Golden Girls reruns….I talk about this and whether I would ever attend the Alfalfa Club dinner if invited in the vlog below brough to you by NotMyGal. Enjoy!

Things of Note: stylish 8-year-olds, Kwame’s Muse, a gratuitous Obama pic, and what black men think.

I know it’s been a while, so I’m just gonna jump right in:

I can’t believe I haven’t talked about this before. I was on the Green Line the other day when i saw two 8 year old girls decked out in skinny jeans and door knockers. oh, and they had on the boots with the fur.

skinny jeans?

Door knockers?

eight year olds?

….boots with the fur?

I’ll never understand how “grown” these little girls are dressing now. When I was eight, do you know what I as wearing? I was wearing jumper overalls.

I mean sure, looking back, now that I’m in my 20s they were pretty lame…but you know what?

They were age appropriate.

And I guess that’s my point….when did parents stop dressing their girls appropriately? Since when did they start dressing kids up in designer clothes? When I was 8, my mom boughtmy clothes from Sears. I wasn’t dressed like a 22-year-old fashionista, I was dressed like a little Black girl.

All of this goes back to my discussion about sexual maturity a few weeks ago…we’ve gotta let our girls be girls. But I’m gonna take off my girls’ advocate hat, otherwise we’ll be here all night.

support black bloggers. all the cool kids are doin’ it: Some of you may remember Kwame Boadi from previous plugs for his column at Brooklyn Bodega. His own blog is back with a vengeance…Check it out his musings on the science of the “dap,” election ’08, and the puzzling history of the name Kwame.

Worth a Click: What Black Men Think is a documentary dispelling many stereotypes about Black men—for instance, are there REALLY more black men in jail than in college? if you believe so, is it simply because society has embedded this “statistic” into our minds? Definitely worth a look. There are clearly many struggles that Black men face, but when you take a closer look there really is hope–and in a few cases it’s not as bad as we are made to believe.

The film explores the issue of black marriage, the use of the N-word, academic achievement, crime. “There is a disconnect between perception and reality,” Morton says.

Read More from director Janks Morton at Washington Post.

And now, another awesome Obama pic:

Obama ’08. Pennsylvania. Let’s get it.

The Next Wave Action Summit–this weekend

For those in the DC Area who want to become change agents in their community…this event is for you. Visit the website to register and to see the summit agenda. Big shout out Tambra Stevenson founder of Creative Cause and everyone involved in her newest venture.

From Selma to Washington, DC: King’s Call to

Reduce Poverty, Promote Human Rights Lives On

DC Summit set for April 4-6th provides resources and networking to build skills to lead change

WASHINGTON, DC— Today marks the anniversary of the historical Selma to Montgomery march led by Martin Luther King, Jr. and is the catalyst to civil rights movement in this country, which gave way to the passage Voting Rights Act of 1965 in our nation’s capitol by President Lyndon Johnson.

“With today as the start of Spring, Selma should remind us to ‘spring into action’ and be the next wave of change in our communities. We are suffering economically, socially, culturally and spiritually,” said Tambra Stevenson, chair of the Next Wave Leadership Committee.

On March 21, 1965 over 3,200 marchers joined Dr. King in Montgomery, Alabama to demand their voting rights. They walked 12 miles everyday for 5 days through chilling weather and rain on Route 80. By the time they reached the capitol on March 25, they were 25,000 marchers strong.

With great hope, the marchers brought attention to the violations of their rights by marching to Montgomery. Upon their arrival, Dr. King delivered his “How Long, Not Long” speech along side the state capital building.

Like the marchers, the Next Wave Leadership Committee hopes you will be the next wave of change at the inaugural Next Wave Action Summit from April 4-6, 2008. Hosted by Creative Cause the Summit commemorates the 40th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassination in partnership with George Washington University Multicultural Student Services Center and Howard University School of Business Center for Professional Development.

“We need compassionate leaders who address their own healing from in order to become true champions for human rights in America through social entrepreneurship and political leadership,” stated Stevenson.

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson acknowledged, “What happened in Selma is part of a far larger movement which reaches into every section and state of America. It is the effort of American Negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of American life. Their cause must be our cause, too.” This is an excerpt from Harry E. Johnson, Sr.’s email from the MLK Foundation.

To register and learn more about the Summit please visit www.bethenextwave.com. Limited scholarships are available to waive the Summit fee for attendees who write a poem or essay of what “Next Wave” means to them and submit via email to change@bethenextwave.com.

Creative Cause is Washington, DC-based social enterprise dedicated to using creativity to raise awareness and action on social causes and encourage the next generation of leaders to harness their creativity to address social issues in their community. We accomplish this by hosting educational, outreach and community service events throughout the year.