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Is It The Word “Mulatto” Politically Incorrect & Obsolete ?

Last night, during our phone conversation my close friend and I started to talk about a coworker he is having some problems with at work. He says the girl is from St. Vincent and she is a “mulatto”. I sat up when my close friend used the word “mulatto”. I cringed. The word “mulatto” is a term many people still use to refer to someone that has black and white heritage.

I know he didn’t use the word in a negative way or whatever he was just talking. I also do not believe he was being politically incorrect. I just recall during my undergraduate days in Caribbean Studies my professors drilled into my mind to never use the word “mulatto”. The word “mulatto” means “mule” it refers to people that have African and European ancestry. I suggested to my friend that perhaps a more appropriate term to use can be “mixed race” or “biracial”.

He asked “why  would it be politically incorrect to use the word mulatto?”  All I remember is how passionate my Caribbean Studies professors were about the word “mulatto” they said the word is “obsolete” and it is “wrong” to use the term. I try not to use the word “mulatto” to refer to people of mixed ancestry because I remember the course lessons and the legacy of slavery in my Caribbean Studies classes.

What do you think? Do you think the word “mulatto” is “obsolete” and should be removed from the English language? Or is the word “mulatto” simply a word with a long history that should be utilized when necessary?

Why Do People Know More About Martin Luther King Than Sojourner Truth?

Martin Luther King is best known for his speech “I have A Dream”, Sojourner Truth was an African American feminist and abolitionist she lived during the nineteenth century. Sojourner Truth is best known for her speech “Ain’t I A Woman”. Sojourner Truth is important to history because she brought to prominence the struggles black women encountered in relation to race and gender politics. Sojourner Truth lived a life of hardship and struggle but she persevered she fled her slave master, and advocated for equal rights for all women. Sojourner Truth should be more well known in fact the title of African American feminist bell hooks debut non fiction book was called “Ain’t I A Woman”.

Why Is Playwright Lorraine Hansberry’s Lesbianism Still A Secret In 2008?

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The ABC television movie, “A Raisin In The Sun,” will be broadcast on February 25th 2008 at 8:00pm. The television film fulfills the black quota for “black history month”. Pop star Sean Combs. is the protagonist Walter Lee Younger. The title of the movie refers to black gay poet Langston Hughes poem “Harlem”.

African American lesbian playwright Lorraine Hansberry’s legendary play, once again, will be brought back to television to reach a new generation next week. Hansberry was the first black lesbian playwright to have a play produced on Broadway in 1959. “A Raisin In the Sun” was a huge success for Hansberry and launched her career.

The general public of course does not know that Lorraine Hansberry was a lesbian due to homophobia. Why is black lesbianism considered “private” yet “heterosexuality” is a part of the public domain? Although Hansberry married a white Jewish man, Robert Nemiroff in 1953, the couple separated in 1957 and divorced in 1964.Hansberry was conscious of her lesbian identity and she negotiated between the public and private spheres. Black lesbians encountered racism from the mainstream, white gay culture, and also persecution from heterosexual blacks.

Lorraine Hansberry’s lesbian identity emerges from the articles she wrote for the lesbian publication “The Ladder” in the late 1950s. Hansberry did not use her full name when she wrote articles for “The Ladder” she used her initials L.H. instead. In the 1950s, in America, gays and lesbians lived in fear due to witch hunts against homosexuals. Black lesbian women encountered a triple form of oppression in relation to their race, gender, and sexual orientation.

Can you imagine the difficulties black lesbians endured in the 1950s? Homosexuality was still considered a mental illness that can be cured. The topic of human sexuality was still taboo in the 1950s. America was sexually repressed due to heterosexual male domination and male supremacy. The racial and sexual apartheid existed in the United States and black lesbians lived in constant danger due to racism, sexism and homophobia. The civil rights and gay movements did not gather strength until the 1960s.

Black lesbians encountered racism from white lesbians and were barred from entering white lesbian bars and establishments during the 1950s. Black lesbians also endured gender discrimination due to being women and unwanted sexual advances of dangerous, violent, and hostile heterosexual men.

Hansberry was indeed a lesbian but this important component of black queer history should not be erased by the homophobic Occidental world. Heterosexual black publications always ignore the important fact Hansberry was a lesbian. I didn’t know Lorraine Hansberry was a lesbian until I read lesbian activist, feminist, poet, and writer Adrienne Rich’s incisive essay “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence”. Rich’s analysis is correct society attempts to erase, diminish, and destroy the contributions of lesbians in many ways. I believe the silence about Lorraine Hansberry’s lesbianism is due to the negative attitude that still exists against homosexuals.

Why is the term lesbianism treated like a scatological word? One argument is some straights believe “it doesn’t matter” and if people discover that Lorraine Hansberry was a black lesbian it might “scare people off” from watching the movie. Why is there this invisible code and this silent barrier? If black lesbian emancipation is to occur why is black lesbianism still a social taboo? Society appears to have a love and hate relationship with lesbianism.

The political, cultural, social, and artistic merits of black lesbians such as Lorraine Hansberry must be celebrated and not treated as some shameful abhorrent secret. It is the year 2008 so why are we still reticent? Why hasn’t this final chasm been shattered and the truth still shrouded in silence? Lorraine Hansberry proves that black gay people care about the black community.

Often heterosexual blacks believe black gays and lesbians only focus on sexual orientation and ignore race. Lorraine Hansberry proves through art that she was cognizant of the racial, social and political polemics blacks endured during the civil rights era. “A Raisin In The Sun”, is about a fictional story about a black family struggling to survive in 1950s Chicago at a time when America’s social and racial apartheid was at full strength.

Virtually all the articles published about “A Raisin In The Sun” always mentions Lorraine Hansberry’s race and her gender but excludes her sexual orientation. The question is why? It appears in the year 2008 homophobia reigns supreme. Lesbianism is more then just a sexual act there is more to lesbianism then just sex. Lesbians are women that are not sexually attracted to men but there is an illogical fear of lesbianism in society that lesbians are anti male.

Lorraine Hansberry lived a double life a life where she constantly was in fear that the heterosexist matrix would discriminate against her since she was a black lesbian. The real Lorraine Hansberry is blurred between the printed lines of “A Raisin In The Sun”. The sentences, paragraphs, thoughts, feelings, emotions, and doubt, lives in Lorraine Hansberry’s groundbreaking play. “A Raisin In The Sun” is about emancipation and personal determination I believe this also relates to the struggles gays and lesbians encounter. Perhaps Hansberry used her play as a metaphor to explore the internal struggles she endured during her own life?

Lorraine Hansberry’s incredible groundbreaking play proves that black gay and lesbian people were cognizant of the struggles blacks endured in the mid 20th century. Hansberry wanted to bring a greater awareness to the incredible racism, sexism, and economic discrimination African Americans experienced in the United States.

Lorraine Hansberry is very important she shattered an artistic and cultural barrier in the performing arts. It is such a disservice to ignore Hansberry was a lesbian. Lorraine Hansberry’s lesbian identity should not be concealed in the shadows and be treated as an afterthought. I believe it is imperative, and crucial that there be a dialogue about how Hansberry’s play relates to her lesbian identity. It is simply disgraceful that the mainstream press to ignore and attempt to erase the importance of lesbianism in Lorraine Hansberry’s life and art.

The articles Lorraine Hansberry wrote for “The Ladder” are very passionate and powerful she wrote about the struggles she endured as a black lesbian woman in the mid 20th century. Legendary African American actors Ruby Dee and Sidney Poitier were the stars of the original stage version of the play and the 1961 feature film. Sadly, Lorraine Hansberry died in her prime at the tender age of thirty four in 1965 due to pancreatic cancer. Lorraine Hansberry died at a very young age she was such an incredible talent.

The press have showered the movie with a lot of praise saying the three hour film is a testament of Hansberry’s incredible talent. The cast includes Phylicia Rashad, Sanaa Lathan, Audra McDonald, and the omnipotent Sean Combs. I will admit I might take a peek at the movie. However, I am not impressed that Sean Combs or P Diddy or whatever that guy calls himself is the star of the film. I wanted a younger black male actor to be the star of the movie.

The crisis in black Hollywood is the paucity of film roles available for young black actors. I am sure some black actors are seething right now that Sean Combs is the star of the film. In white Hollywood you rarely ever see a “singer” attain a prestigious movie role these days. Can you imagine Jon Bon Jovi as the star in a movie about Elvis? So why is there a double standard for black Hollywood? Why do untalented bottom feeders such as Sean Combs get to the be star of such an important movie?

I really feel for the talented young black male actors that are training hard at various universities, colleges, theater programs, across North America and the world. The only reason Sean Combs was hired is due to greed. The producers and director behind the television film believe Combs can generate huge ratings for ABC television. ABC television will hype this movie to the maximum I just believe a talented and much younger black actor should of chosen for the male lead.

The lead in “A Raisin In The Sun” Walter Lee Younger is a young black man and Sean Combs is thirty eight years old. Since Combs in thirty eight one argument is he can bring “maturity” to the role. However, I believe the feeling of naivety and optimism is diminished for the character Walter Lee Younger due to Combs advanced age.

A younger black male actor possibly someone between the ages of twenty five to perhaps thirty two should of been chosen for the role. Combs is simply not talented enough and too old for the part. Combs is also a rap artist he’s a wannabe actor he is not a serious dramatic actor. I have so much sympathy for the talented black actors that want to become stars in Hollywood but are not given the opportunity.

Why does Hollywood continue to insult the audience and cast these talentless flakes such as Sean Combs in such prestigious roles? The barriers for black actors in Hollywood are incredible there are limited opportunities to advance up the Hollywood star system. Twenty five years ago perhaps an unknown black male actor would of been chosen for the lead role. Hollywood is profit driven and the ideology is since Sean Combs already is successful in various demographics his fans will fans will flock to watch the movie. However, does talent not matter anymore?

Why do young blacks in Hollywood have to always be singers or dancers in order to breakthrough and get the big movie roles? Beyonce just won the lead role in a biopic about the legendary singer Etta James. I cringe because Beyonce is not an actress she needs acting lessons. Beyonce cannot act she requires an acting coach and numerous hours to learning the craft of acting.

Young talented unknown black actors are being disrespected and ignored. A young black male actor with talent would of been electrifying in the role of Walter Lee Younger. A young black actor could of brought pathos, complexity, sensitivity, and range to this very important role. Unfortunately, Hollywood is now all about profit margins, ratings, and the craft of acting is now secondary. The only glimmer of hope is that young people will learn more about Lorraine Hansberry and gain an appreciation for her incredible talent.

Was The EU African Summit Just A Waste Of Time?

merkel0508.jpgRobert Mugabe the dictator of Zimbabwe

The recent EU and African Summit in Lisbon Portugal is in a precarious position. There are a lot of unanswered questions. How can anything be solved in just two days? Shouldn’t the Summit be longer? Is anything going to be done about the crisis in Darfur? Does anyone care? Can a bridge in the miscommunication between Europe and Africa really take place? And will anyone acknowledge and actually become proactive about the corruption on both sides?

At the EU African Summit the Europeans have stated they want to end colonial style trade agreements and enter into free trade deals. Many African leaders are opposed to this because they view this as against their self interests. The issue of democracy is an important one in some African countries there are bogus elections where corrupt men are being elected. Its depressing that some of the African leaders are clearly dictators that are only interested in lining their pockets with money.

The German chancellor Angela Merkel has stated that the EU are united against Robert Mugabe the dictator of Zimbabwe. Well its about damn time! Merkel’s statement is a powerful one because one of the reasons Mugabe has remained in power is due to the influence and power of African leaders. Merkel’s public admonishment of the African leaders for keeping Mugabe in power is a stern statement. However, one wonders if Merkel and the EU have a real genuine concern for the people of Zimbabwe or just politics as usual? Why wait until now? Why wait for a crisis to occur? Its obvious Zimbabwe is not in the sphere of influence of the EU and the crisis in Darfur is not in their self interests either.

However, the African leaders cannot just complain about “slavery” when they are active participants in corruption. The legacy of slavery and imperialism are indeed factors for some of the problems on the African continent but this cannot be the scapegoat.

It is time the African leaders not only acknowledge that Mugabe is a hindrance in Zimbabwe but push for democratic elections. It is clear Mugabe does not care about the people of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe was once known as the “bread basket” of Southern Africa the economy was improving over a decade ago but now Zimbabwe is in a state of crisis. What will happen in Zimbabwe when Mugabe dies?

There is still a belief that is fostered by the western media that all the problems on the African continent relates to the inadequacy of the African governments. Africa is not one country the continent consists of fifty three independent countries that all have their own separate identities. The African countries need to work together and move past their differences to make Africa more stronger, economically power, and assert their influence. The Europeans created the European Union because they were cognizant of the growing power of the United States, China, and Russia. Contrary to popular belief the African continent does have billions of dollars worth of natural resources such as oil, gold, diamonds, eco tourism, and money from foreign investments and aid. The money is available the difficulties stem from the lack of distribution of the revenue to the masses.

It is such a racist and simplistic ideology but it does indeed exist that the African countries “want” to “impede” their own progress. The quandaries on the Africa continent are complex and relate to economic, geographical, political, and social issues.

When famine occurs in Africa the western world suddenly notices the African continent and has the racist paternalistic approach that the African people just want “hand outs”. However, its not the African people’s fault that during the rain season crops are not receiving enough water and people go hungry and die. Humans cannot control the weather or climate but African politicians clearly need to do more. Where are the irrigation systems? Why is clean water still an issue in the twenty first century? When will the Occidental world hold African dictators accountable? Sanctions are only a smoke screen to make it “appear” as though the west is taking “action”. Sanctions actually affect the poor people more they feel the immediate impact of sanctions. The Occidental world has imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe doesn’t care its not affecting his life but the people of Zimbabwe are suffering.

Eco tourism is another complicated and political issue on the African continent. The rich western tourists travel to numerous African countries because they want to see the wild animals such as lions, tigers, cheetahs, rhinos, elephants, zebras, and many more in their natural habitats. The soundbites the western media utilize are from white conservationists such as Jane Goodall. Since when is Jane Goodall an expert on African issues? Jane Goodall just cares about the animals she doesn’t give a damn about African people dying due to starvation. When Jane Goodall and other white activists are complaining on CNN or BBC or whatever network about some animal species dying I am apathetic. Do these white conservation activists care more about wild animals or about human beings?

I can honestly say I don’t care if people feel the need to kill animals if they need space to grow crops for food, feed their livestock, and for agriculture. Once again, African governments are not serving the best interests of the people only thinking about profit. People need land to survive and to thrive. Human beings are above animals for a reason and if people need land then the wild animals need to perish this is their fate. The western world ignores the plight of the African people and actually places more importance on creatures such as rhinos or elephants. The most important issue to me is that the African people have food, free education, access to free health care, clean water, and a decent amount of land for agriculture. People kill the animals because they need the land not all animals are killed just for profit. There seems to be a great imbalance yes eco tourism is a business but what about the concerns of the African people? Human life is more important then pathetic creatures such as lions, rhinos, elephants, and zebras.

Next, the Occidental environmentalists complain about animals being killed by poachers for profit. Notice the so called white animal activists only care about the elephants, lions, zebras, but not the African people. The news media hardly ever discuss the underlining issues. Doesn’t anyone wonder why some African people feel compelled to kill the animals? The message the western media are presenting is that Africans are backwards, uncivilized and just care about “making a profit” by killing animals. The Occidental world isn’t thinking about the suffering, the poverty, and the desperate measures people are taking to survive.

The world is apathetic to the concerns of the African people. Does anyone actually care about the African people? Some people see eco tourism as a waste of natural resources that land that should be for humans is being set aside for western interests. Of course, eco tourism is a business and yes it is profitable. However, how much of the money in Kenya’s tourism industry goes to the Kenyan people? Some people see eco tourism as a waste of land that can be used for agriculture and Africans are once again being being displaced for western interests.

The dilemma for Africans is the Europeans still hold all the cards. The attitudes of both the African and European leaders needs to change. Slavery is over but the slave mentality still exists. Europe acts as the slave master and the African leaders are the House Negroes willing to make any concessions to just acquire more revenue. The European Union have maintained African debt for decades and they don’t want to relinquish control. The tense relationship between Europe and Africa is a long one there is mistrust on both sides. On the one hand the Europeans are stating Africa needs to be “independent”. For example, France still manipulates and is involved the political affairs of its former African colonies.

How can African countries develop self sufficiency when their hands are tied by the Europeans and North Americans? The International Monetary Fund is another cancer that needs to be scrapped and changed. There are so many strings to foreign aid that is not even being discussed. The Europeans aren’t simply going to provide free money to African countries they also want a return in their investments. Its a vicious cycle of the Europeans profiting off of Africa, the African dictators are avaricious and don’t utilize the revenue to help the African people. Next, African people suffer and are dying in the process.

There continues to be a paternalistic attitude that Africa’s problems are just due to internal politics. When is Europe’s role in Africa issues going to change? The Europeans are a part of the problem not the solution. African immigrants wouldn’t feel the need to immigrate illegally to Europe if there were push and pull factors available within their own countries. If the economies in African countries were stronger and more resourceful people wouldn’t feel the need to immigrate to Europe. North America, Australia, New Zealand, should be more vocal about the hypocrisy of both European and African leaders.

One major European leader absent from the EU African Summit was the the new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Mr. Brown has stated he is boycotting the EU and African Summit because Zimbabwe’s dictator Robert Mugabe is present. Why doesn’t Mr. Brown just be honest? Does anyone honestly believe Mugabe was the only reason Brown wasn’t present at the Summit? Give me a break. The United Kingdom is not interested in the affairs of the African continent or about African people.

After all, the UK is known for treating black people as though we are the “other” and “inferior” to whites. Brown doesn’t give a damn about Mugabe he is simply using Mugabe’s presence as an excuse and scapegoat. Cooperation between African and European nations are not a concern to Mr. Brown or the United Kingdom.

Europe has a significant role in the corruption in several African countries for centuries. For instance, countries such as Nigeria has natural resources such as oil. The Europeans are also involved in siphoning billions of dollars out of Nigeria. Nigeria for example is one of the world’s largest exporters and resources of oil. However, very little of the billions of revenue is distributed to the Nigerian people. Why isn’t more money being spent to educate young Nigerian boys and girls for free? Where is the free clean water? There needs to be more emphasis placed on education opportunities for all African people. What about health care? Why isn’t more being done?

People become desperate there have been recent news stories about foreign workers being kidnapped in Nigeria by vigilantes. The vigilantes are not all just “crooks” or “criminals”. The occidental media have attempted to brand all the kidnappers as bad people this is simply not true.

Some of the African vigilantes are simply people fed up with the system. I believe these feelings of understandable due to the resentment and anger against the Occident. How would you feel if your family was starving, dying , and hungry while foreign workers are living comfortably in luxury?Would you like it if you knew your own government has no concern for the people and are allowing foreign companies to steal the wealth? What would you do? Wouldn’t you feel powerless and want to do something? Violence is not the answer but what are people supposed to do just sit, wait, and die?

When will the United Nations speak out about the corruption on both the African and European continents? A two day summit is just a waste of time. If Africa and Europe really want change to occur more time needs to be set aside for these conferences. The United Nations also has a critical role yet continues to be reticent.

Malcolm X Asks What Kind Of Black Person Are You?

Watching this clip of Malcolm X makes me realize the discussion about House Negroes and Field Negroes exists today. Of course we are all individuals we have a right to have divergent points of view and perspectives. I am not suggesting that there needs to be a collective mentality taking place. However, we cannot change the fact as the scholar bell hooks says race always matters. It doesn’t matter how much power or money you acquire to ignore race is to ignore reality.

  When I think about black people like Condoleezza Rice and Clarence Thomas its clear to me that  Malcolm X comments makes perfect sense. Sure, Rice and Thomas are blacks with very powerful positions in society but they also follow the status quo. Thomas and Rice certainly don’t give a damn about the black race all they care about is maintaining the power they have acquired. Malcolm X wasn’t perfect but he loved black people and he cared deeply about the black race.

Should The World Be Paying More Attention To Pakistan?

84.jpgbhutto_benazir.jpg          Benazir Bhutto the former President of Pakistan survived an assassination attempt in the city of Karachi last night. However 130 innocent people died in deadly bomb blasts. I was so shocked when I watched the carnage on BBC and saw the explosion. Ms. Bhutto is a very courageous woman she is so brave. Ms. Bhutto says she was warned about the potential violence and yet she still went to Pakistan despite the danger.  Can Ms. Bhutto succeed or will the violence hamper her attempts to assist Pakistan? Some cynical pundits have suggested that Ms. Bhutto is also in Pakistan to “repair” her tarnished image in the country but I do believe she loves the Pakistani people and she wants the masses to have better lives.

       Bhutto is not perfect she went into self imposed exile in England eight years ago because of corruption charges.  Ms. Bhutto has returned to Pakistan for the elections but can the election honestly be fair of corruption by General Pervez Musharraf?  Its interesting that the United States media hasn’t been more critical of Pervez Musharraf. The Pakistani people are suffering and some are apathetic to Musharraf. Ms. Bhutto is still loved by some of the people in Pakistan she’s viewed as a symbol of hope that democracy can take place and the people’s lives can improve.

    However, Pervez Musharraf the current leader of Pakistan is no hero to the Pakistani people. Musharraf also has his own enemies. The United States is hoping that Bhutto and Musharraf can put aside their differences to bring democracy to the people of Pakistan. How is this possible when there are terrorists in the country that want to kill both of them? Musharraf wants to maintain good diplomatic relations with the United States and he the corruption charges against Ms. Bhutto have been scrapped.  The Western media has focused too much on Israel, Iran, and on the Middle East. I believe Pakistan is a nation that needs to be examined much more closely.

Link to Associated Press article: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gX83-ZBjLQEk3QWVZhq3nK9otPkgD8SCHJKO0

BBC article on Benazir Bhutto: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7053861.stm

UK Female Tennis Coach Accused of Spending Too much time with Young Female Pupil

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        Its always interesting reading  newspapers on the internet especially when the topic of homosexuality emerges. The more things change the more they stay the same. In England the tabloids and even the mainstream UK media are all excited about a story that is actually very serious. It involves a female tennis coach Claire Lyte and a teenaged  girl the pupil. Lyte is accused of having sexual relations with the teenager when she was only thirteen years old.  The trial for Claire Lyte is taking place right now in Liverpool England.

          Why is it necessary for the UK media to scream across the headlines “lesbian sex” or “lesbian affair”? Yes the two people involved in this very serious case of potential child abuse are both females. However, isn’t this damaging to the girl to call this a “lesbian affair”? The girl is old enough to read the newspapers. Don’t the UK media care about the affect this case can have on the teen?

         After all, the child here is the victim. Why are the UK media already declaring that this is an issue about “lesbianism?” This  case is not about lesbianism.  Why are there double standards here? If the accused tennis coach was a male and he was accused of having sexual relations with a thirteen year old boy I am certain the UK media would take the case more seriously.  The tone of the articles in the UK press would be much different it certainly wouldn’t be so sensationalized.  The UK newspapers are just trying to get their readers into a frothy frenzy with the controversial headlines and the salacious language used in the articles.  The main issue here is did the tennis coach abuse her authority or not?

                   And that’s my next question why is the UK media not taking this very serious issue of potential child abuse very seriously? I think it has to do with society’s attitude towards the issue of lesbianism. Society appears to have a love and hate relationship with lesbianism. On the one hand lesbianism is viewed as being licentious and on the other hand its viewed as something forbidden and wrong. The UK media are sending the wrong messages to the public. Child abuse should not be used to  “sell” newspapers it should be about concentrating on the facts and reporting the story intelligently and fairly.

           However, the use the word “lesbian sex” I believe transforms and trivializes the circumstances of this case. This case is not about “sex” its about power,  abuse of authority, control, and  child abuse.  Just because both the people involved in this case are females does not mean  the press should downplaying the seriousness of the charges.  I find it very problematic that the UK media are making this case into a “tawdry affair”.        

      Now the mother of the victim claims she stepped into the room while Lyte and the thirteen year old girl were engaging in sexual relations. Now if this is true then Lyte must be prosecuted. However, the mother of the girl still allowed the girl to have tennis lessons with Lyte. If its true that Lyte abused the girl why would the mother allow her daughter to continue having tennis lessons with Lyte? Is the mother now an accessory to the act? If it is true that the mother saw her daughter engaging in sexual relations with an adult how could she allow her daughter to continue to take tennis lessons from the accused? It doesn’t make sense? The mother should of contacted the police right away.

          According to UK media reports traces of Lyte’s DNA was found in the girl’s underwear.  It does appear though that Lyte abused her position of authority and could of spent too much time with the tennis pupil.  However, is DNA evidence 100% proof? Nobody knows if anything “improper” actually has taken place yet? The British media are incorrectly stating that the coach had “lesbian sex” with the tennis pupil. I believe this kind of headline is prejudice against lesbianism. Lesbianism is being treated as though its some kind of sensational act.  Why is it necessary for the UK media to place the word “lesbian” before “sex” and why are they jumping to conclusions?

        The only veracity at the moment is Claire Lyte may have spent a bit too much time with the young girl.  Why doesn’t the UK media wait for an investigation to take place prior to making this very serious issue about potential child abuse into “gossip” for their readers?

Link: to Telegraph article about tennis abuse case: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/10/01/ntennis201.xml

   Link to Timesonline.co.uk about the case: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article2592310.ece

Link to This Is London article:

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23416156-details/’Lesbian’+tennis+coach+accused+of+affair++admits+wearing+13-year-old+pupil’s+knickers/article.do

Book Review: Hung

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Two years ago a young African American writer Scott Poulson-Bryant wrote an explosive book called “Hung”. It is also excellent that a young black man wrote this book because I can relate to the material he writes about. The title of the book “Hung” has a double meaning it refers to black men being lynched in the south for daring to look or date white women. The word “hung” also refers to the size of a man’s penis.

Poulson-Bryant’s book is brave and bold it opens with a letter to Emmett Till. Emmett Till was a young black boy that was brutally murdered by white Southern men in the year 1955 in the American South. Till was only fourteen years old when he died he was accused by some white Southern men for “whistling” at a white woman. During America’s racial apartheid one of the ways in which white males attempted to control black male sexuality was through killing innocent young black men by lynching them and hanging them in trees. Lynching was also a method in which white males had an affirmation of their male dominance and their own sexuality. White men did not want white women to date or have children with black men.

The white males in the South controlled the white females, black males, and black women sexuality. The hypocrisy here is that it is well known white men brutally raped black women and exploited black female sexuality. The white males were able to assert their male dominance over all women. However, the white males did not want the black men to also have sexual relations with white women.

Black women were also vulnerable because the laws did not protect black women from rape just white women. Black men were emasculated because the legal system did not even allow black men to protect black women from being raped by white men. The legal system discriminated against black men and black women.

During the days of slavery and even into the 20th century it is well known that white men in the American South raped black women and got away with it. Often young black female domestics were raped by their white male employers in the employer’s residence. Black women were treated as inferior to white women since white female sexuality was placed on a pedestal.

Sometimes the penises of young black men were cut off by the lynch mob to symbolize the fear white men had of black male sexuality. Often white Southern people treated lynching black men as a town event. A white mob would cheer and laugh at these hangings some people even brought their children to a lynching. And if you don’t know pick up a history book and learn about the history of lynching and this disgraceful disgusting period in American history.

Poulson-Bryant discuses the sexism of women and the prejudices women also have about the “myth” of the black penis. Poulson-Bryant explores an incident from his own life experience. One year in college Poulson-Bryant met a white girl at a bar and later on they had sex. The white girl was not thrilled that Poulson-Bryant’s penis wasn’t “large” enough. Poulson-Bryant was shocked at the attitude of the white girl and began questioning himself and his manhood.

One of the strongest parts of the book “Hung” is when Poulson-Bryant explores the sexual racism of the gay community and the racist damaging stereotypes of black gay male sexuality. I know from my personal experiences that some white gay men do indeed view black men as sexual fetishes for sex. All you got to do is watch a DVD of “Queer As Folk” or “Six Feet Under” to understand what I am saying. Black men on these white gay TV shows were treated as window dressing characters that could be sexually exploited and placed back into the shadows. And there is more to black gay male sexuality then being a sideshow for white gays that’s for sure.

I remember a white guy I went out with ten years ago when I was barely out of my teens. One day I was over at the ex boyfriend’s apartment and he went to the bathroom. I don’t know why I did it but I saw his diary by his bed and I opened it. I was so disgusted in the diary entry of the former boyfriend of mine he wrote that he loved my “black penis.” Feelings of anger and disgust just washed over me. Am I not a complete person? Or was was this ex boyfriend of mine just interested in me because of a part of my anatomy? Well lets just put it this way the relationship ended very quickly after that. And I am glad it did.

Have I ever had sex with white guys before? Of course I have I’m not going to lie. Have I had sex with black men before? Of course I have. The difference is when I was intimate with black men I didn’t have this “myth” of the “black penis” and I definitely didn’t treat other black men as sex objects. Has the sex sometimes been good and pleasurable? Sure it has. I know men and women are different because I can separate between love and sex. Love is one thing and sex is a totally different issue. Some white gay guys will chase black gay men and vise versa for sex.

I will explain for the straight people that read my blog this next issue. In the gay male community there are “tops” and “bottoms”. If you ever go to a gay dating website the issue of “tops” and “bottoms” is the main issue. Everybody wants to know what “position” you play. Often when I am on gay dating websites I will receive messages from white gay men and sometimes from Asian gay men if I am a “top”. Sometimes I choose not to answer these questions because I find them not only annoying but it also verges on racism. In the gay male community the stereotype is that all black gay men are aggressive, Asian gay men are stereotyped as submissive and yet white gay men don’t get stereotyped because they are the majority.

The “top” is viewed as the more “masculine” male he is the one that penetrates the other male in his anus. The “bottom” is the more submissive male during gay sex that receives the penetration. If you’ve ever watch gay porn you will notice black gay males are often always tall, dark skinned to symbolize the “exotic” factor but also be extremely well “hung.” The white gay males in gay male pornography will be smaller have a smaller penis and will be the “submissive.” The gay male pornography acts out the whole master and slave complex but with a twist. The black gay male is depicted as the sexual “aggressor sexual master” and the white gay male is viewed as the “victim” or “passive” role. The black gay male will always have a deep voice in these gay porn movies and the white gay male will be meek and timid.

Also in the gay community it is well known that some white gay men chase black gay guys because they think all black men have large penises. If you take a look at the glossy mainstream white gay magazines often you will see half naked black men in advertisements for pornography or for contests at gay bars.

However, take a look at the masthead of these same white gay magazines you will never see a black gay man as the editor in chief or a top editor at these publications. Once again white gay males  have the economic, gender, racial, and political power. Even gay porn skin mags that feature black gay men are run by white gay males.

A few years ago when I was younger I used to write for a Toronto gay publication Xtra! It had taken me a while to realize that the so called Toronto gay community was not “my community” it still was a “white” community although gay. The only reason the editor wanted me to write for Xtra! was because he wanted me to write about the “black gay” experience.

Xtra! wasn’t interested in my writings about other issues I was interested in. And my life is more then just my sexuality. I found the gay media limiting to me as a writer. Also in Xtra! you are never going to read many articles about the hypocrisy, double standards, and entrenched racism of the Canadian white gay community that’s for sure.

Scott Poulson-Bryant’s book struck a chord with me because I know how dehumanizing sexual racism in the gay community is. For some reason in the gay male community the subject of sexual racism is taboo and off limits?

Also when I was younger I used to hang out with a bunch of Asian gay males. Often these Asian gay males would complain to me and whine that white gay men weren’t giving them the “attention” they so desperately craved. Now of course, not all Asian gay men want white boyfriends and that’s not what this blog entry is about.

I am writing about a specific experience that I know about. One Asian gay male friend who is now a former friend of mine he also was very upset whenever we went to gay bars that the white gay men would ignore him. I told my so called friend that everyone has a sexual attraction and that there were white gay males interested in Asian gay men. Yet I question why my Asian gay male friend was so upset about “specifically” seeking out white gay guys. Poulson-Bryant effectively writes about the sexual organization of the gay male community is not only Eurocentric its also very racist as well.

In the gay community it is well known that men of colour and especially black gay men are depicted as just sexual objects for white homosexual male desire. Poulson-Bryant discusses a story about a friend of his that went to a gay party that was basically a sex orgy. Poulson-Bryant’s gay friend told him how some white gay men were so excited to perform oral sex on a black man’s penis simply because of the “color”. Bryant crafted the message that the “color is the size and the size is the color.” The only thing that was important to the white gay men at the sexual orgy was that Scott Poulson-Bryant’s friend’s penis was black.

The most important section of “Hung” is when Poulson-Bryant also explores the racism of the pornography industry. I found this section of the book to be one of the most honest readings I’ve ever had about the porn industry. Poulson-Bryant shatters the mystique and the silence about racism in pornography. The racist stereotypes about black male sexuality these manifestations not only exist but are mass produced on DVDs and easy for the eyes to see. I am not saying people should not enjoy porn and I am not a prude. I watch porn like every other gay guy.

I just want people to be more “cognizant” about what they are watching. Some porn I definitely stay clear of if I find it to be dehumanizing and racist. The racist beliefs about black men penises and depicting black men as ” sexual beasts” and “savages” that seek to “conquer”, “rape”, and “ravage” white women is definitely takes place I feel more in “heterosexual interracial porn.”

Details Magazine earlier this year publsihed an article about an interracial sex orgy that had taken place in suburbia at a residence of a white middle class couple. The white wife had a “hunger” for the black penis and the husband “allowed” black men to come into his house and screw his wife. The white husband claimed he didn’t mind his wife “screwing” black men because he knew she would “never” leave him for a black guy. When I read the Details article the writer didn’t even question the underlining homoerotic element. Why would a husband be “cool” with his wife screwing a whole bunch of young black men? I think the white husband got “off” and he was “turned on” by seeing black men have sex with white women. And I think a lot of heterosexual “interracial porn” has a kind of voyeuristic feel to it. You don’t see the white heterosexual men but they are the ones pulling the strings in the background. I also believe some white heterosexual men are “turned on” by black men.

Perhaps the fact that gay porn is between white gay men and black gay men both are male and it cancels out the “intimidation factor” and the “submission factor” is much less. Since gay male interracial porn is male on male I think racism definitely exists but not to the extreme as in heterosexual interracial pornography.

However, the straight interracial porn I have viewed between black men and white women I must admit I find some of it incredibly racist and very offensive. I wonder if the black men that make straight porn with white women understand they are being “used” and I feel in some ways “exploited”. In some interracial porn its all about the black straight men being depicted as a “rapist” or as “marauder” invading white heterosexual male territory and taking “advantage” of their women. The white women in interracial porn are depicted as “sluts” and “whores” that crave the “black penis.” So white women in heterosexual interracial porn don’t come off looking “good” either. I wonder if these young black men and white female entertainers in straight interracial porn understand what the porn video directors are “really” trying to say with the imagery? The porn industry is white male dominated a lot of the “interracial porn” between black men and white women is actually made for white heterosexual men and I find this to be homoerotic and perplexing. It appears to me some white heterosexual men have fascination with the black male penis and black male sexuality although they won’t admit it.

Everyone has seen a porn movie but have you ever paid attention to why there is so much interracial porn films between white women and black men? If you ever visit your local adult video store take a look. In the porn movies black men are of course depicted as sexual monsters with extremely large python like penises. Poulson Bryant asks the question who is this porn really for? I believe there is a homoerotic element to this kind of pornography and that some so called white straight guys are actually sexually attracted to black men. I mean why would a white heterosexual male want to see a black man have sex with a white woman? You can argue the white guy is just staring at the woman but I doubt it. I think some white men have an attraction but also a repulsion to black male sexuality.

Poulson-Bryant interviews the famous black porn star Lexington Steele. Steele is well known in the porn world for his enormous penis and his good looks. However, unlike most porn stars Steele doesn’t feel he is being exploited. Steele has managed to maintain control over his image and his product unlike many other people in the porn industry. Poulson-Bryant examines the reason interracial porn is popular but it is also taboo. Interracial porn porn is still considered “forbidden” and “salacious” and “dirty”.

Poulson-Bryant points out the large number of porn DVDs that are available for purchase at your local video store and the lack of mainstream movies with black heterosexual men having white female love interests. Remember the Super Bowl controversy over the commerical with the white actress Nicolette Sheridan from “Desperate Housewives” and the African American football player Terell Owens? White America had a heart attack. In the commerical Sheridan is in the men’s change room she takes off her towel and leaps into Owens arms. The controversy over the commerical was incredible because whites feared seeing black men and white women together.

If you’ve noticed these movies are rare for a variety of reasons. Poulson-Bryant also investigates another issue and that is the fear the white heterosexual male has of black male sexuality. Interracial marriage in some American states was illegal up to 1967 when the Supreme Court in the famous Loving Vs Virgina stuck down the racist law.

Poulson Bryant also explores the stereotypes that exist about black male sexuality in the media and pop culture especially with hip hop. In many hip hop music videos the black heterosexual rappers have to boast about their sexuality and masculinity because that’s the only power they have in society. In North America white men have political and economic power. I remember in a Caribbean Studies class during my undergraduate days my professor Andrea Davis said at York University black men only have two social markers one is physical strength and the other is sexual prowess. If you notice heterosexual black male rappers such as P Diddy and 50 Cent have to boast about how many women they sleep with because they don’t have any cultural signifiers of power.

Marion Jones tearful press conference and fall from grace

     Marion Jones is obviously a very shrewd young woman. Marion did not deny she was wrong and she begged the public’s forgiveness for her transgressions. The question is the public going to have sympathy for Jones given the fact she was so adamant in other press conferences of being innocent ?  Marion’s press conference yesterday felt sincere and honest. I don’t think she should go to jail she’s a young mother with two young children. And what would that accomplish anyway? I think Marion has already experienced  enough humiliation just by the fact the lie she hid for so many years has been shattered.

                According to the NY TIMES Marion Jones may have been involved in a bank fraud scheme and that’s the “real” reason she decided to come forward. The evidence against Marion was growing and she had no choice but to tell the truth.

            Marion Jones is such a smart young woman and even she has fallen  to the temptation of greed. It was greed that cost Marion Jones her track and field career. The USA society is a bit inconsistent with values. In America its all about winning at any means necessary. Let’s be honest, here Marion Jones may be the biggest USA star to be caught cheating but she won’t be the last. When is the American media going to turn up the heat on the USA Track and Field Association? And what about the USA Olympic committee? I mean handing out thousands of dollars for gold, silver, and bronze medalists should this program be continued? Maybe that’s also an incentive for athletes to cheat? In Canada, Canadian athletes get into sports for the love of the game there are very few financial rewards in Canada for athletes.

          However, I do think she should be stripped of all five medals she won at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney Australia. I do have some empathy for Marion at least she told the truth finally. I  felt so sad when she cried. I really do believe Marion knows what she did was wrong. However, rules are rules and she broke the rules.

         Also, what about Marion’s teammates in the 400 relay? The other American women on the team will be stripped of their medals as well. I am sure they aren’t thrilled about Marion Jones at the moment. The worst thing about Marion Jones fall from grace is that she waited seven long years to tell the truth. 

        I guess for Marion she now has a free conscience she can look herself in the mirror and know her mind is clear of any lingering doubts about coming clean.

              The USA Track and Field Association’s reputation world wide has been tarnished not just because of Jones but also because of their inconsistency to dealing with these kinds of scandals. I mean every few years somebody in the USA Track and Field gets caught. I think the worst part about this was the fact Marion was so adamant in the press for so long that the media was wrong and yet everyone knew the truth was going to come out sooner rather then later. For Marion Jones though she is hoping the truth will set her free. From what I have read this is long from over for Marion Jones.

Link to NY Times article  :http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/06/sports/othersports/06balco.html?em&ex=1191816000&en=8bc6fe5260e0f6a0&ei=5087%0A

Why are the “conscious” rap artists ignored? Are Rap Artists The new minstrels?

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I know I’m late writing about the whole Kanye West Vs 50 CENT record sales battle but I had to listen to both albums. I got to say Kanye wins by a landslide. I’m not really into rap music. I remember when I was a kid during the golden age of rap music in the late 1980s early to 1990s rap music was so much more pure. I liked listening to MC Lyte, Public Enemy, LL Cool J, Will Smith and Jazzy Jeff, Queen, Roxanne Shante, Supersonic, Salt and Pepa. Rap music meant something back in those days when I was a young kid. And now rap music has transformed into something I don’t even understand anymore.

BET had a hip hop town hall episode called Hip Hop Vs America recently and I got a chance to watch the program. And I feel like the vicious cycle was just repeating itself. I mean its the same discussion that takes place over and over again and again. I suggest to anyone that bothers to read my blog to pick up an anthology collection of essays called “Everything But the Burden” edited by Greg Tate. “Everything But the Burden” should be available at any bookstore or on Amazon.com or even better I am sure its available at any public library.

In the book, “Everything But the Burden”, black scholars discuss the issues of racism, sexism, and a little bit about homophobia in rap music. However, the most important issue “Everything But the Burden” discusses in detail is the issue of capitalism. And I feel that’s an issue everyone casually ignores. 70% of the rap music bought is not by blacks its by white youths most likely from the suburbs.

On the BET special, the rappers like Nelly and Ti appeared to be very defensive. The scholar and  writer Michael Eric Dyson and the feminist from Essence Magazine slammed the rappers. And the issue of homophobia in hip hop wasn’t talked about much. A lot of the discussion was about misogyny. Of course, misogyny and the degradation of black women is absolutely abhorrent and unacceptable.  The rappers say they are red blooded men and they have a right to talk about heterosexual sex. I think that’s fair. However, Nelly’s video for “tip drill” is just disgusting.

I think the real issue that wasn’t discussed in detail was the record label executives. Why were the white record label executives absent from the BET special? I think they are the ones that have to be held accountable to a certain extent. Its the white executives the corporate bosses at the major record labels that have the power to  block or release  an album. The labels decide which “rap artist” I mean “minstrel” they sign to their label.
On a recent Oprah show, she also had a town hall this year about rap music and the thing is one guest mentioned the rappers are the new minstrels.  The framework for Oprah’s town hall was all wrong once again. Oprah tries to blame black men for the language used by young people. Oprah is such a misandrist she will blame black men for everything if she could. You just cannot take a classic black man hater as Oprah seriously. Of course, mammy Oprah won’t point the target where it should be at the white male record executives.

Black people don’t own the major record labels. The big record labels are owned by whites so obviously they have the economic power. The rappers are the new minstrels. Unlike the old minstrels back in the early part of the 20th century, these young black rappers have a choice. Yet the young black rappers choose to make a profit at any means necessary. The black minstrels in the early 20th century didn’t have many choices due to racist proscriptions that prevented blacks from advancement in society. The black minstrels they danced around in blackface and sang for white audiences to make money.

Now, I think its pretty hard for people in the 21st century to criticize black artists in the early part of the 20th century. A lot of the black entertainers that did engage in the minstrel shows did so for economic survival. Yes there were blacks that could afford to attend college in the early part of the 20 century. However, for plenty of blacks during the early 1900s entertainment was a way out. The truth is, there were a lot of proscriptions in the early part of the 20th century and Jim Crow laws that prevented black advancement in society. One of the areas black people entered into to make a living was the minstrel shows.

And now when you think about it aren’t some rappers just “minstrels.” People need to know a lot of rappers are “studio gangsters”. Ice Cube was not “poor” his parents are academics and they work at  UCLA! Yes Ice Cube was raised in Compton California but his parents were not poor. There are plenty of other rappers that are from middle class backgrounds to even upper class backgrounds but they play the “poor rags to riches” storyline because it sells.  White kids like listening to rap music because they are entering their “Nigger Heaven” as Carl Van Vechten wrote about.

The white kids can have a voyeuristic kind of look at “the world” the rappers are rapping about. Yet the problem is, the rap music is not “real” its “artificial” and its ugly. The rappers stereotype the black community to make a profit and the white kids “love” listening to the “blacks” talk about how bad we got it. Its a constant vicious cycle and its the reason why I stopped listening to most rap music a long time ago.  Rap Music it is racist, sexist, garbage, homophobic, stereotypical filth. The rappers are only concerned about maximizing their profits and the white kids are only interested in getting close to the “blacks”. Heaven forbid they would actually want to “change places” with “poor blacks”.

Black kids and especially the white kids in the suburbs I think like rap music because for some of them its a form of “rebellion” just like in the 1960s when white kids listened to “rock and roll”. Some rap music is considered “dirty” and “tainted” and “forbidden” and the record companies conduct research. They find out  what the white and black kids like and they sign artists that provide the crap the kids want to listen to.  The record labels realize the rappers have to cross over in order to sell more records they have to reach a wider demographic therefore they have to do “things” to get the white kids to buy their music. Kanye West is refreshing he reminds me a bit of Will Smith in the fact he’s just a regular ordinary young black man that’s intelligent, has talent, and is a good entertainer. Talib Kweli he also is a “conscious” rapper but he’s never had the record sales Kanye West has had. Kanye West is the first “conscious” rapper from the new generation that has been able to somehow crossover and appeal to all demographics. Kanye is definitely marketed well. Perhaps that’s Kanye’s image or gimmick to just be himself? The thing is though very few rappers that are successful now in rap music are “like” Kanye West.

50 CENT became famous because he proudly proclaimed that he got shot nine times. 50 CENT glorifies violence but I feel he may disappear in the next few years for a few reasons. One, 50 CENT is over 30 and music’s young consumers are a fastidious bunch they like what is hot and current at the moment. Second, it gets kind of tiring listening to 50 CENT boast about his masculinity and how great he is all the time.

The  labels want to sell as much records as possible because with people downloading music now record sales have plummeted. People just don’t want to pay $15 to $20 dollars for a CD anymore.

My question is, are Kanye West and 50 CENT the best hip hop can offer? I have to admit Kanye  is absolutely gorgeous I’m not going to lie he’s nice to look at. And unlike some rappers he appears to me to be a bit more intelligent although also outspoken as well. West also it appears to me has a different kind of image that I find appealing. He isn’t trying to be this super aggressive stereotype of the young black male that I feel 50 CENT gravitates towards. West is also against homophobia and I think its cool that a young black heterosexual male in the media like West can denounce homophobia. I think its very encouraging.

I think Kanye West’s music is alright, but I certainly don’t listen to a lot of rap music these days. I listen to a lot of R&B, jazz, pop music, and yes even a little bit of folk. I like Ani Difranco and Tracy Chapman’s music a lot as well. I find a lot of the lyrics for rap music these days to be a bit childish and immature. I do find Kanye’s lyrics and music to be a bit more intelligent and insightful. I think Common is pretty good and I’m glad his latest album did debut at no.1 as well on the billboard top 200 chart recently. Talib Kweli is also a very talented rapper that unfortunately hasn’t had incredible record sales. I think the issue is why don’t record labels sign more rappers that have different things to say. It seems to me a lot of the current rappers are very materialistic and its tacky to see P Diddy flash his jewelry or Ludacris to flash his cash in a music video. I mean is that all there is to rap music these days?

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