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Shocking News:Black Action Defence Committee Suing Toronto police for $65 Million Dollars!!!

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Toronto Police Services Board Chair Alok Mukherjee has made recommendations on changes to carding, to be discussed at a public meeting Monday Nov. 18.

By: Jim Rankin Feature reporter, Patty Winsa News reporter, Published on Sat Nov 16 2013

A proposed class-action lawsuit seeks $65 million in damages and other remedies from Toronto police for alleged racial profiling practices and documenting of citizens.
The suit, filed Friday by the Black Action Defence Committee, comes in advance of a special Toronto Police Services Board meeting to be held Monday on the controversial police practice of carding — encounters where police question citizens and document personal details in stops that typically involve no arrest or charge.
Police Chief Bill Blair and the civilian police services board are named as defendants in the suit, which alleges police and the board have failed to adequately address a problem that has impacted blacks and other minority groups for decades.
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The committee seeks to have the suit certified as a class action, and have itself named as the representative plaintiff, but it estimates there are hundreds and “perhaps thousands” of citizens who would fit into the class.
“The Plaintiff believes the only way to litigate and seek remedies to uproot the acknowledged scourge of racial profiling and carding is a frontal attack” like a class-action suit, reads the statement of claim. “There is no other effective way.”
The suit alleges police and the board “have failed to prevent the violation of the equality rights of African-Canadian residents of Toronto and Ontario,” resulting in discrimination under the Charter.
Police have not had a chance to respond to the proposed suit. They defend the practice of carding citizens as a valuable investigative tool that allows investigators to make links between people and places, and say they target areas where violent crime is taking place.
But they also have acknowledged carding interactions with citizens can harm their relationship with the public.
There has been talk of a class-action lawsuit on the issue for decades, said Toronto lawyer Munyonzwe Hamalengwa, who filed the suit on behalf of the committee and spoke on its behalf.
After many reports by academics, the media and court decisions, the police and board “haven’t done anything to address this at all,” so the committee is hoping a class-action lawsuit will allow for a “holistic comprehensive judicial remedy” to carding and racial profiling.
“The black community has now reached a point where talking has been going on, not much has been happening, so it’s time for action,” said Hamalengwa.
In addition to monetary damages, the action, which has not been certified or proven in court, seeks remedies that include:
A declaration that police have breached the Charter and an order requiring them to “desist from engaging in and condoning racial profiling” of blacks and other “colourful” minorities.
A declaration that racial profiling is a criminal offence.
A written police apology to the committee and “all African-Canadians for their being targets and victims of racial profiling and carding.”
Mandatory reading for officers, including books on racial profiling, the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s 2003 report “Paying the price: The human cost of racial profiling,” the 1995 report of the Ontario Commission on Systemic Racism in the Ontario Criminal Justice System, and several Toronto Star series on carding, including 2003 report “Paying the price: The human cost of racial profiling,” published in September.
Class-action lawsuits in Canada can be expensive and lengthy and orders difficult to come by, but as Toronto lawyer Murray Klippenstein recently told the Star in a story about carding, they can prompt change.
“By declaring a practice to be illegal and awarding a significant amount of money to a group of people as compensation, the incentive or pressure to change the practice becomes pretty substantial,” he said.
The Star has published four series — in 2002, 2010, 2012 and 2013 — that examined Toronto police arrest and stop data and found patterns that shown disproportionate treatment for blacks, and to a lesser extent, “brown”-skinned people.
Between 2008 and 2012, police filled out 1.8 million contact cards, involving over a million individuals, and entered their personal details into a database.
A Star analysis showed that blacks over that period were more likely than whites to be stopped, questioned and documented in each of the city’s 70-plus police patrol zones. The likelihood increased in areas that were predominantly white.
On Monday, the special public police services board meeting on carding, scheduled to be held at city hall, will address recommendations from both the police and board chair Alok Mukherjee to change the way police card and interact with the public. Mukherjee has said the Star’s latest findings on contact cards “devastating” and “unacceptable.”
While there has been an acknowledgement by Blair and the board that profiling exists and that carding is problematic, the lawsuit alleges little has changed to deal with it.
Although no individuals are named as plaintiffs, Hamalengwa expects many will come forward and take part.

Why Are Canadian Media Ignoring Rob Ford White Skin Privilege In Crack Scandal?

The issue of race has been ignored by the Canadian media in relation to the Rob Ford crack scandal. The question is why?

Canadians are not comfortable discussing race issues. Canadians pretend race is an American issue it is
not a problem in Canada. There is a facade that Canadians are not prejudiced or racist.

Canadian culture is indeed racist, but the racism is more covert not overt. Canadians engender this mythology race should be ignored.

An African American website, Uptown magazine has published an article about Toronto’s trainwreck crack smoking mayor and the subject of white male skin privilege. Why hasn’t the Toronto Star published an article about this issue? Where is the Globe & Mail editorial?

It seems to me the silence about Ford’s white privilege speaks volumes about Canadian society. By pretending race is not a factor in this crack scandal, the Canadian press are also a part of the quandary.

Ford’s whiteness is an integral part of the scandal. The shock and the horror Canadians have is, due to the fact Ford is white middle class. Since Ford is a public figure, and he’s hanging out with drug dealers, gang bangers, and other underworld people this upsets the Canadian media.

Smoking crack is associated with subaltern people not rich white folks like Rob Ford.

The lack of press about the ways in which white privilege works is due to the fact white people control the Canadian media.

The privilege being a white man grants Ford the ability to get a pass for his deleterious behaviour.

Does anyone honestly believe if Ford was a man of colour his supporters would be so forgiving? Ford’s white constituents give him a pass for his unprofessional behaviour because he is a white man. People of colour are judged at a higher standard than white folks. The people supporting Ford have sympathy for him because they identify with him.

The paucity of news or television broadcasts about the issue of race is not surprising since Canadians have polite bigotry. Canadians are polite racists, they are just bigots in private not public.

Link: http://uptownmagazine.com/2013/11/white-privilege-torontos-crack-smoking-mayor/

Lee Daniel’s New Film The Butler Is Boring Black Films Are Unoriginal Only Focuses In Race.

Oprah The Butler
Lee Daniel’s new film The Butler is the number one film for two weeks in a row. The box office for The Butler is also solid earning over $52 million dollars. However, I am not interested in seeing The Butler because it is basically a black male version of The Help. These race movies are big box office for Hollywood, the Help was a huge box office hit two years ago.
Hollywood has an extremely myopic perspective about the black life experience and it is all about money.

The narrative is, the black life experience is ONLY ABOUT RACE. The commercials tell me I am supposed to see The Butler, because I am black. However, I am not African American, I am a black Canadian, and I’ve seen my fair share of black films that revolve around racism. It is tired, boring, and I am sick of it!

Another film, I won’t be seeing in the fall is Idris Elba’s biopic about Nelson Mandela. There have been several movies already made about Nelson Mandela the famous South African civil rights leader. However, I am fatigued, and I am exhausted watching another boring movie about race. How many films can Hollywood possibly release about Nelson Mandela?

Why hasn’t anyone made a movie about the struggle of black gays and lesbians in South Africa? Why are all the films released about African people always about the black heterosexuals? Why can’t a black dramatic film be made about black people that does not REVOLVE AROUND THE ISSUE OF RACE? It is so derivative, and so tired.

According to the ideology of Hollywood filmmakers, black dramatic films must revolve around race and be about two points in history slavery and the civil rights movement! If there is a movie set in the present about a black person it involves race such as the film Fruitvale Station.

This is BORING! Yes, I said it IS BORING! Yes, I know racism is a serious problem in society, and black people still struggle. However, I am also cognizant as a black man, that I don’t just think about being black every single minute of my life. Isn’t there more to the black life experience than just RACE? Seriously, can’t a screenwriter or filmmaker make a movie about black people that doesn’t revolve around the past? What about life right NOW IN THE PRESENT?

For instance, one area of black film that is ignored is the issue of homosexuality in the black community. Only indie films such as Brother To Brother which was released almost a decade ago dealt with gay black men.

In black cinema, there are numerous films that could be made revolving around black gays and lesbians from the past. However, black films have a tendency to downplay the homosexuality of black queer icons. For example, Lorraine Hansberry the playwright who became famous for her 1959 play A Raisin In The Sun, is a lesbian. It is well known, that Hansberry wrote for the lesbian publication The Ladder in the 1950s. However, how many people know Hansberry was gay? I hear there is an indie biopic being made about Hansberry life, but will this biopic explore the fact she was a black lesbian?

There is a paucity of films being created about black gays and lesbians. I heard there was supposed to be a film made about E Lynn Harris first novel Invisible Life. Tracy Edmonds was supposed to produce the film yet according to the black film blog Shadow & Act Tracy Edmonds is no longer producing the film. E Lynn Harris mother sued Proteus Spann a man who has the rights to all of Harris books. A LA judge sided with Spann and he states he is going to make a film adaptation of Harris novel Not A Day Goes By. However, a film still has not been released yet about black gay men.

Rodney Evans a gay African American filmmaker does have an indie film out called The Happy Sad. However, how many black people are actually going to watch this film? There are no high profile black actors in the film.

Two years ago Dee Rees film Pariah was released, but the film’s box office was luke warm it didn’t even earn $1 million dollars. I believe more black films should be made around issues such as homosexuality because they move beyond JUST RACE. Pariah was a very interesting film, because it dealt with the struggle of a young black teen lesbian coming out of the closet.

There is a film adaptation of the erotic writer Zane’s best selling book Addicted, and I am interested in seeing the movie. However, I am also concerned, because there haven’t been many black films that explore the issue of sexuality well.

Hollywood needs to understand, the film audience, at least I hope people are thirsty for something new, something different.

Whoopi Goldberg & Sherri Shephard Blast Caroline Wozniacki For Racist Serena Williams Joke.

On the ABC talk show The View, the ladies discuss the recent controversy of the young white female tennis player Caroline Wozniacki so-called joke about Serena Williams body. At a tennis exhibition in Brazil, Wozniacki decided to stuff her bra and tennis skirt with towels to make fun of Serena’s body. In the mainstream media the consensus by  white tennis writers are that Wozniacki was just making a joke. The question these white writers fail to ask is why is Serena Williams constantly the one being made fun of?

Sports websites such as ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and Fox Sports, have all claimed Wozniacki’s attempts at being funny isn’t racist. However, the vast majority of these sports writers are white men and they also have white male skin privilege. It is very easy for people who do not experience racism to tell black women they need to be quiet about racism and sexism. White privilege allows white tennis writers the ability to ignore race since they don’t have to think about race on a daily basis. White privilege also means white people have the luxury to not deal with race when they don’t want to and ignore it. The white tennis writers have chosen to ignore Wozniacki’s racism because the harsh truth is racism and sexism is very much a part of the professional tennis industry. The tennis industry is still very uncomfortable with the fact women’s tennis is being dominated by Serena Williams a black woman.

The white tennis writers lack  the racial sensitivity, knowledge,  and the awareness to discern the history of racism and sexism against black women. For centuries, since Sara Baartman tragedy in the early 19th century, black women are constantly mocked, ridiculed, and demonized for not having bodies that conform to the Eurocentric ideal. The ideal female tennis player body is supposed to be blonde, thin, such as Maria Sharapova or Caroline Wozniacki. Tennis writers for years have mocked Serena Williams because she’s a black woman, due to the fact her body has curves, and her buttocks is larger than her white female counterparts.

I am glad people on twitter, You Tube, Facebook, and the internet are saying enough is enough!

The racism Serena Williams experiences in professional tennis is more subtle. Nobody would dare call Serena a racial slur to her face.However, I believe there is still discomfort by some white people in the tennis industry about Serena Williams domination of women’s tennis. Tennis is still a very elitist sport, dominated by rich whites and the country club set.

Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shephard pointed out as black women they have a right to speak out against racism when it relates to the black female life experience. Goldberg and Shepard explained that Wozniacki’s joke is indeed racist against black women.

Goldberg makes a cogent argument, why are these white male and female tennis players such as Caroline Wozniacki and Andy Roddick making fun of Serena’s body? Why is it a black female tennis champion is ridiculed because her body does not conform to racist Eurocentric body image standards? Why should black people be silent to this prejudice and bigotry?

Serena Williams is constantly criticized and ridiculed by the racist tennis establishment because she’s a a black woman dominating women’s tennis which is still a predominately white sport. Let’s be honest here, Serena Williams is thirty one years old,  a part time player yet she is clearly the best female tennis player in the world. Serena won Wimbledon singles and doubles, Olympic gold medal in singles and doubles, US OPEN, and the WTA Championships. Serena has dominated the so called number one and number two ranked women Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova with a stunning 8-0 record this year.Wozniacki’s joke I believe is due to jealousy, Serena also dominates Wozniacki she has a 4-1 record against her. Since Wozniacki can’t beat Serena on the tennis court she has to find another way to ridicule her by mocking her body because she’s a black woman.

Wonderful Article: Why Mitt Romney Lost: Winning Over The Angry White Male Was Not Enough

November 7, 2012 | Posted by 

What Mitt Romney discovered in this election is something that should be taped on the wall of every white presidential hopeful for years to come: If you cater to angry white men as the foundation of your campaign, you will lose.

The reason can be explained with one word: Demographics. There simply are not enough white men left in America to win the big prize for a presidential candidate. In order to win the presidency, you must knit together a coalition of voters that look much more like the composition of the country than the voters who checked the square for Romney yesterday.

This past May, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that for the first time there were more babies of color born over the past year than white babies. This means that over the next couple of decades, black, Latino and Asian Americans could form a governing coalition that could essentially rule the country.

The depressing future for the Republican Party was neatly summarized by Republican analyst Steve Schmidt last night on MSNBC.

“This will be the last election a Republican can possibly win as a national candidate with these types of numbers,” he said, looking at the results coming in for Obama—but before Obama’s re-election was called. “This will lead to some important moments of soul searching for the Republican party if it is going to be a national party.”

But yet, despite Romney reaching desperately for the votes of white males, in the end he couldn’t even win their stronghold—the Midwestern Rust Belt. Obama beat Romney soundly in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania—together probably the last bastion of the angry white male (aside from the South, of course). Romney began substantially behind the 8-ball with that group after declaring four years ago that the auto industry should be allowed to go bankrupt. In an area of the country where millions of jobs are dependent on that same auto industry, it was an extremely difficult haul for Romney to overcome that statement—particularly after he incorrectly said in recent weeks that Chrysler would be sending Jeep jobs to China, which was an outright lie.

Frankly, if a white male candidate can’t win Michigan and Ohio, he’s not going to win the country.

But beyond Romney’s blunders with the Rust Belt blue collar, Romney was doomed by the numbers. Namely, the coalition of African Americans and Latinos that came together and handed him a monumental loss. It was not a given that Obama would get the Latino vote—after all, Republican George W. Bush got over 40 percent of the Latino vote in 2004. But yesterday, Obama got well over 60 percent of the Latino vote—some estimates said as much as 75 percent. It was policy and politics that doomed Romney with Latinos—not just his vociferous attacks on undocumented immigrants during the Republican primary, but his position on issues like healthcare, reproductive rights and taxes.

Steve Schmidt on MSNBC broke down just how much the country has changed over the last 24 years. Romney got about 60 percent of the white vote yesterday, but it brought him only slightly more than 200 electoral votes. The last time a presidential candidate got 60 percent of the white vote was in 1988 with George H.W. Bush—and that number of whites brought him 426 electoral votes in a landslide win over Michael Dukakis. Schmidt called this transformation “stunning.”

The complexion of the country has changed so dramatically over 24 years that nailing down a sizable portion of whites gets you a sad concession speech on election night.

In a year when the unemployment rate hovered just under 8 percent, it was supposed to be conventional wisdom that the presidential incumbent would have a very difficult time holding onto his seat. Knowing this, Romney went after the unemployment number with a vengeance, repeating about a hundred times a day that 23 million Americans were still looking for work.

But it didn’t work.

In the end, Americans chose to hitch their fate once again to a man who they felt could much more closely empathize with their fate, who more easily understood their lives. While Romney tried to sell himself as a businessman who could put America back to work, Americans more likely saw in him the unfeeling boss who did not care how hard they were struggling. He wanted to be embraced as the smart technocrat, but instead came off as a distant multimillionaire.

The lesson is that when the economy is horrible and the nation is suffering, it’s probably more important for the public to feel like you understand and empathize with their plight than for you to throw out some dubious plans for transformation.

And maybe the final lesson was this: Telling the truth matters. Romney thought he could lie with impunity and get away with it. While there was no one to order him to the principal’s office or to threaten to wash his mouth out with soap, in the end Romney probably paid the ultimate price for his duplicity: A thorough and embarrassing defeat.

 

Huffington Post Article: ‘Gaycism’ and The New Normal: The ‘Hot’ Trend on TV Is Bigotry!!!

Nico Lang

Co-Creator and Co-Editor, In Our Words

In recent months, there’s been a lot of chatter on the interwebs about this thing called “gaycism” on the TV. As defined by Lauren Bans of GQgaycism is “the wrongheaded idea that having gay characters gives you carte blanche to cut PC corners elsewhere.” In her example, Bans cites shows like Modern Familyand freshman comedy Partners as emblematic of this trend. Modern Family is an Emmy-juggernaut, a critical darling and a much-lauded champion of LGBT characterization on TV, but that progressivism comes at the expense of Gloria, the lone woman of color. Sofia Vergara is a terrific comedienne and kills in the role, but the brunt of her jokes revolve around her flimsy command of the English language. Gloria’s B-story FOR AN ENTIRE EPISODE dealt with her use of malapropisms, like “doggy dog world” and “don’t give me an old tomato,” because being foreign is her whole purpose on the show. Oh, and having boobs.

Although Modern Family has gotten away with Charlie Chan-ing South American women (so fiery! yelling!) for three seasons, Two Broke Girls came under fire earlier this year for the same stuff. But the difference between the two is that Modern Family is racist like that friend you have who wears Native American prints from Urban Outfitters until you say something about it and then they apologize and never do it again. You know they mean well, and “flesh colored” band-aids provewhite privilege is hard to spot sometimes. However, Two Broke Girls is like your white gay friend who thinks he’s entitled to say whatever he pleases because he’s been oppressed, so he’s allowed to oppress other people and call it being an “equal opportunity offender.” He’s earned the right to be a racist, insensitive asshole, because I guess he asked Audre Lorde and she said it was okay?

For example, look at Michael Patrick King. For the queers in the audience, we know MPK as the man who brought us Sex and the City, a series notably gaycist with its Lena Dunham-esque exclusion of anyone not white, except for the groundbreaking depiction of Miranda’s sexy fling with a chocolatey black man. However, King recently upped the gaycist ante with Two Broke Girls, a show the New Yorker referred to as “so racist it is less offensive than baffling.” The show reduces black men to sweet ol’ jive-talkers, Eastern Europeans to crazed sex hounds and Asian Americans to Long Duk Dong and “Yellow Panic” stereotypes. On the latter, Andrew Ti of “Yo, Is That Racist?” notes, “It’s distressingly easy to imagine the writers sitting around and listing off every single ching-chong stereotype, ultimately deciding with some sorrow that a Fu Manchu mustache would be impractical for budget reasons.”

And when Michael Patrick King was asked about it a panel for Two Broke Girls earlier this year, was he like your friend who vowed never to shop at Urban Outfitters again? Nope. He was like your friend that then buys a bunch of Native American print underwear afterward and then dances half-naked on a coffee table bragging about how edgy he is — because he’s, like, pushing boundaries or whatever. In defense of being a racist douche, King eloquently summed up the problem with a heaping helping of white gay male privilege, “I’m gay! I’m putting in gay stereotypes every week! I don’t find it offensive, any of this. I find it comic to take everybody down, which is what we are doing.”

Into this controversy steps The New Normal, the new Ryan Murphy show about two gay men who decide to raise a baby together, a show that marries Murphy’s trademark tonal inconsistency “with more gay jokes and regular old racism than Gallagher’s stand-up act.” All of Murphy’s shows have huge problems, and Glee has faced heavy criticism for not only being super racist, but also for being super transphobic, which was recently kiiiind of rectified by introducing the character of Unique, a young trans* woman of color. However, as the Cracked article on the show argues, the real problem is that everyone is a “something” on the show, and all the characters conform to broad caricatures, “like the awkward Jew with the afro, the black girl who always sings the big gospel notes, the gay kid with the great fashion sense, the overachieving Asian [and] the fiery, underprivileged Latina.” Although you could argue that in high school, everyone conforms to a stereotype, Cracked‘s Ian Fortey notes the Michael Patrick King logic behind that rationalization: “Glee’s producers think that by shoving their parade of characters and their intense stereotypes in your face, rather than having them be subtle, it’s cool, because they’re acknowledged.”

Similarly, The New Normal announces its offensive stereotypes as if it were shouting them through one of Sue Sylvester’s bullhorns. TNN has already caught a lot of flack for its “lesbian problem,” as it reduces all lesbians to “ugly men” with “gingerbread man bodies,” but this is pretty much the tip of one big problematic, racist iceberg. In one greatmoment for the history of gay characters, main gay Bryan (Andrew Rannells) refers to vaginas as “tarantula faces,” with the implication that gay men think vaginas are icky and gross. Elsewhere, he prances around a lot, listens to Lady Gaga, talks about dressing his baby up in Marc Jacobs clothes and does lots of other stereotypically “gay things.” This is not progress. This is pretty much the same crap that shows like In Living Color (see: their “Men on Film” sketches) used to pull, except now the “Equal Opportunity Offenders” are on “our team” (aka. Team Queer). As a self-proclaimed “femme,” I know there’s nothing wrong with being effeminate, but nothing about Murphy’s characterization of femme males feels particularly nuanced.

The problem is that instead of writing actual characters, Murphy falls back on tired tropes, showing his writing hasn’t evolved out of high school cafeteria labels. On top of Bravo Gay Bryan and his Butch Gay partner (Justin Bartha, who gets to watch football and do “dude stuff”), we have a Precocious Child (Bebe Wood), a Single Mom With Big Dreams (Georgia King), a Sassy Black Woman (Nene Leakes) and a Homophobic, Racist Grandma (Ellen Barkin, who deserves so much better). Some of these stereotypes are harmless, but Leakes’ and Barkin’s characters make my brain hurt, as they seem to be taken from deleted scenes from Crash. Barkin’s Nana exists in some Paul Haggis-ian alternate universe where people can just shout racist invective all the time, in place of actual conversation. And in The New Normal, the people around them just shrug it off or laugh at them dismissively. Because old people are so old, amiright?

Nana has a lot of people to offend, and like Andrew Ti, I can picture her crossing off a Glenn-Beck-created checklist for every episode. Jews? Check. Gays? Check. African-Americans? DOUBLE CHECK. To give Nana a lot to complain about, Ryan Murphy casts Real Housewife Nene Leakes to be the embodiment of every single stereotype about black women this side of an Aunt Jemima bottle. Leakes plays Bryan’s assistant, and in her first scene, she discusses stealing her boss’ credit card to buy new shoes, ones (of course!) covered in rhinestone bling.

When’s she’s not stealing, Leakes has a constant “mhmm” expression on her face, as if she spontaneously developed a case of Lana Del Rey lips. She serves no other purpose on the show except to be loud and to and validate Bryan and David — in the same way that most TV shows and films use people of color solely as vehicles for white narratives. General, non-gay-specific racism is nothing new in the media. Non-whites are always relegated to supporting roles where they are acted and commented upon by the white characters (e.g. Bryan and Nana), but rarely get their own agency or the ability to write their own narratives. (Both of the creators of The New Normal are white.) After all the criticism The Help received for similar issues, I’m surprised this ever made it past NBC’s people. I know the struggling network is desperate for anyone to take it to the prom, and Ryan Murphy is SO HOT right now, but this is just pathetic.

All of this overt stereotyping makes it particularly hypocritical when Leakes calls out K-Mart Sue Sylvester for being racist, asking Nana to take her “dirty, racist mind back to the South.” I couldn’t believe that the pot dared to call the kettle African-American, until I realized that the problem was that Murphy and Ali Adler (his out lesbian co-creator) don’t see any problem with Leakes’ character. TV sitcom writers don’t necessarily have to care about white privilege or how stereotyping perpetuates a system of systemic injustice, as they are more concerned with putting on a show and getting viewers. Murphy and Adler will do whatever is necessary to get laughs, even if that means offending people, because pushing buttons is part of comedy! Haven’t you seenBrickleberry?

In response to that reasoning, Lindy West writes:

This fetishization of not censoring yourself, of being an ‘equal-opportunity offender,’ is bizarre and bad for comedy. When did ‘not censoring yourself’ become a good thing? We censor ourselves all the time, because we are not entitled, sociopathic fucks. Your girlfriend is censoring herself when she says she’s okay with you playing Xbox all day. In a way, comedy is censoring yourself–comedy is picking the right words to say to make people laugh. A comic who doesn’t censor himself is just a dude yelling. And being an ‘equal opportunity offender’–as in, ‘It’s okay, because Daniel Tosh makes fun of ALL people: women, men, AIDS victims, dead babies, gay guys, blah blah blah’–falls apart when you remember (as so many of us are forced to all the time) that all people are not in equal positions of power.

To Murphy and co., it’s not being racist, it’s being politically incorrect, which Debra Dickersonargues is often the same thing:

The rhetorical cul-de-sac where white hate went–in goes racism, out comes political incorrectness. Use of this phrase is a tactic designed to derail discourse by disguising racism as defiance of far-left, pseudo-Communist attempts at enforcing behavior and speech codes. However, vicious, brainless, knee-jerk, or crudely racist a sentiment may be, once it is repackaged as merely ‘un-PC’ it become heroic, brave, free-thinking, and best of all, victimized.

And that sense of victimization is exactly what makes the gaycism in The New Normal so troubling, because it makes the show feel entitled to being offensive. Shock humor is the only type of humor The New Normal knows, and it insists on shoving it down our throats, like when Nana thanks a young Asian girl for “helping build the railroads” and offhandedly remarks that “when [she] was in school, they learned about presidents that owned people like [Barack Obama].” Shows likeSouth Park and Louie do a good job of using racially charged and politically incorrect humor as a way of critiquing societal and systemic norms, rather than indirectly supporting that oppression through just mindlessly regurgitating stereotypes. In contrast, nothing about Nana’s statements subverts the status quo, and the laughter only derives from the fact that Nana is saying the things we aren’t supposed to or allowed to say. She’s just being “real” and “honest,” like a second-rate Archie Bunker.

However, in the case of Bunker, the jokes were on him, as the show served as a critique of the conservative ideologies that made him racist, and Bunker’s punchlines only served to show what a xenophobic jerk he was. The New Normal doesn’t do that, and in fact, they have Bryan and Nana bond over both being Asian racist, so everyone’s racist and it’s okay. Because Murphy doesn’t know when to quit, the show’s fourth episode, “Obama Mama,” has Bryan and David then reflect on their racism — when they realize that they have no black friends. Because I guess having black friends makes you not racist, they try to get some to fix the problem. Spoiler: They don’t actually make any. However, they are nice to an interracial family for approximately two seconds, which istotally the same thing as challenging societally constructed racial biases. As Barney taught us, fleeting recognition of existence = friendship = post-racial society. Racism solved. Not only does this skirting of the issue uphold the show’s racial status quo, but it also centers on a false notion: Mel Gibson starred in four Lethal Weapons with Danny Glover and look how he turned out.

Remember hipster racism? This is that turned up to 11, like Murphy throwing a big blackface partyon TV and saying its okay because it’s “ironic.” However, the biggest problem with pointing this out is that people often don’t realize that ironic racism is still just racism. And what actually makes the show’s racism so doubly troubling is that the act of being systemically oppressed should make people more aware of the ways in which they have the ability to marginalize others, because they have experienced the same thing themselves. The New Normal is even ABOUT that marginalization, specifically the discrimination Bryan and David (or “Bravid”) face for being two men who want to raise a child. Although the show is on the surface purely entertainment, Murphy has an explicitly political agenda, one he announces at almost every turn, the same way he did when he made bullying a major storyline in Season 2 of Glee. The message in TNN is that all families are normal, which (although problematic) comes from a good place and is necessary in a political climate where even some in the LGBTQ community, like Rupert Everett, think two men can’t raise a child together.

As the gay parenting is the central subject matter of the show (rather than a supporting storyline, like in Modern Family), The New Normal is (whether I like it or not) a landmark show, and how Murphy defines “the new normal” will matter to same-gender parents everywhere. This isn’t one of Murphy’s haunted house yarns; this is people’s actual lives that Murphy is representing. As Spider-Man’s uncle once said, with that “power comes responsibility,” and like David and Bryan, same-gender parents want their children to grow up in a better, more inclusive world for all people, no matter their color or preference. In the third episode where, after being gay bashed in an outlet mall, Bryan tells David he doesn’t want to raise a child in a world where people so openly discriminate against each other. If Bravid ever have that child, I only hope that Ryan Murphy heeds that wish. Their baby deserves better.

Note: An earlier version of this post was featured on In Our Words, a Chicago-based online salon covering all things queer, and was updated to take the newest episode into account. You can find the original here.

Globe & Mail Article: Toronto Ombudsman Finds Mayor Rob Ford Is A Racist Tried To Rig Civic Appointments!!

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, a politician famous for squeezing every penny, is scheduled to testify in open court next week. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, a politician famous for squeezing every penny, is scheduled to testify in open court next week. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Kelly Grant – City hall bureau chief

The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Sep. 27 2012, 12:57 PM EDT

Last updated Thursday, Sep. 27 2012, 3:43 PM EDT

Click Here

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is disputing the findings of a new report from the city’s ombudsman that alleges his office interfered in the civic appointments process, including asking bureaucrats to remove a line from newspaper advertisements seeking “diverse” candidates.

The report describes how unnamed employees of the mayor’s office meddled in the way the municipal government selects ordinary citizens to sit on some 120 boards, including the boards of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the Toronto Parking Authority, the Toronto Police Services Board and the Toronto Public Library Board.

The mayor’s office first asked for post-election recruitment to be postponed, then demanded it be condensed into such a short time-frame that candidates could not be screened properly, according to the report from Toronto ombudsman Fiona Crean.

“It will look to cynics as if the fix is already in for appointments and the process is just for show,” an unnamed bureaucrat wrote to the city manager in a June 9, 2011 e-mail, expressing concerns about the tight timeline.

“We now have a governance process that is no longer based on any recognizable principles.”

Mr. Ford said Thursday that he “didn’t interfere in any process.”

“I’ve actually cleaned up the process that we had before. It’s a very clean and above board transparent process and it went very well,” the mayor told reporters after a ground-breaking ceremony for a new aquatics centre in Scarborough.

The report also found that the mayor’s office directed that recruitment ads not be placed in the Toronto Star, a newspaper with which the mayor and his councillor brother Doug Ford have a long-running feud.

“The [City manager’s office] informed my investigator that when they raised this with the Mayor’s staff, they were told that ‘we do not like the Star,’” the report says.

The mayor’s office denies it asked that the ad be kept out of the Star, according to the report.

In the end, recruitment advertisements appeared only in the National Post, Toronto Sun and Metro.

One of the goals of the city’s appointments policy is to fill boards with qualified citizens of different genders and racial and ethnic backgrounds, a subject on which the municipal government keeps careful statistics.

The report suggests the mayor’s office tried to undermine that goal.

“[City Manager’s Office] staff informed my investigator that they were asked by the Mayor’s Office to remove the statement in the advertisement that encouraged applicants from the City’s diverse population to apply. Staff refused to do so,” according to the report.

Mr. Ford said that was not true. “No, that’s not what happened,” he said, adding it was city staff, not his political staff that did not “reach out in terms of diversity.”

Asked if he was against diversity, Mr. Ford laughed. “That’s a ridiculous question,” he said.

According to a “diversity summary” of public appointments, 70 per cent of the citizens selected for boards under the Ford administration were white — the same percentage as in the second term of his predecessor, David Miller.

More men were tapped under Mr. Ford (70 per cent) than during Mr. Miller’s second term (53 per cent).

However, more applications actually flooded in under Mr. Ford than under Mr. Miller. The city received 1,927 applications for 167 positions in 2011-2012, up from 1,316 applications for 125 posts in 2007-2010.

At least one candidate with a serious conflict-of-interest nearly slipped through the laxer-than-usual process, Ms. Crean wrote.

In that case, the report describes an acrimonious closed-door meeting of the civic appointments committee at which an unnamed councillor pointed at staff and said, “I’m going to get you,” and added that bureaucrats had other councillors fooled, but not him.

“Some staff described the panel chair’s manner as ‘threatening.’ One staff described the process as ‘gruelling’ and ‘humiliating,’” according to the report.

The trouble apparently began when someone pointed out at a Nov. 16, 2011 meeting that a candidate who had previously been marked as qualified actually had a conflict-of-interest – he was an agent who appeared frequently before the adjudicative committee on which he was seeking a seat.

When the issue was raised, the same unnamed male councillor who allegedly threatened staff asked for those concerns to be put in writing. But a letter never surfaced.

The alleged threats from the councillor – who was also the panel nominating chair – came at the next meeting of the civic appointments committee, which was Jan. 16, 2012, although that date is not specified in the report.

Only one board was dealt with at both the Nov. 16 and Jan. 16 meetings: The Sign Variance Committee, whose nominating panel was chaired by Ford ally Giorgio Mammoliti.

Mr. Mammoliti said Thursday that he asked for such a letter at the Nov. 16 meeting, but he said he did not know if he was the councillor identified in the report.

He “unequivocally” denied threatening staff at the meeting. “Never in my 23 years in politics have I used that kind of language,” Mr. Mammoliti said in an interview Thursday.

The chair of the civics appointment committee, Frances Nunziata, said she did not recall any member of the committee upbraiding staff as described in the report.

Ms. Nunziata, the council speaker and a Ford supporter, said the mayor’s office did not tamper with her committee’s choices.

“Every decision that was made was done at the committee … I’m not aware of any interference or direction from the mayor’s office,” she said.

The ombudsman’s finding prompted harsh criticism from the councillors who chaired the civic appointments committee in Mr. Miller’s second term.

Councillor Adam Vaughan, a staunch critic of the mayor, said members of the current committee should be fired at mid-term and replaced with a new slate of councillors.

“I just don’t think they’ve done their jobs,” said Mr. Vaughan, chair of the committee in the second half of Mr.Miller’s last term.

Councillor Janet Davis, who chaired the committee in the first half of the same term, said Mr. Miller and his staff stayed out of the process. She called the alleged meddling by Mr. Ford’s staff “unprecedented and inappropriate.”

“The interference from the mayor’s office so compromised this process that we need to make sure that there are new guidelines and practices to stop it in future,” she said.

Ms. Crean and two of the city’s four accountability officers — the integrity commissioner and the lobbyist registrar — are locked in a battle with budget chief Mike Del Grande, an ally of Mr. Ford.

Citing their need to remain independent from city council, they have refused to provide a line-by-line accounting of their budget requests for 2013, according to Mr. Del Grande.

“The three of them, led by the ombudsman, are very, very concerned about their independence. I pointed out to them that it really doesn’t have anything to do with their independence per se, it’s reviewing their numbers,”he said.

Ms. Crean was ill and not available for interviews Thursday.

With a report from Elizabeth Church.

Incendiary Conservative Writer Ann Coulter Says Civil Rights Only For Blacks & Not Gays Is She Right Or Wrong?

Ann Coulter is a controversial writer and obviously she went on ABC to create an incendiary debate about various special interest groups in America. Coulter is incorrect, civil rights are human rights for all human beings regardless of our race. Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and women have also been discriminated against in America not just blacks. All a person needs to do is flip through a history text-book and learn about how Japanese Americans were forced into interment camps during World War II in America. Hispanic Americans are still encountering a lot of discrimination in relation to immigration. Asian Americans and Native Americans also encounter an incredible amount of bigotry in the United States.

However, one group which does have  white privilege despite encounter discrimination are white homosexuals in America. Although Coulter did not discuss white privilege, I believe there is a kernel of truth to her argument that black rights and gay rights are different. Coulter is arguing in an awkward way I believe that white privilege needs to be addressed in relation to gay rights in America. White gay people did not have to sit at the back of the bus or be blocked from housing, education, health care, due to their race. White gay people weren’t forced to go to a segregated hospitals to get quality health care either.

Do people automatically think in their minds that gay rights include queers of colour? I think the answer is still no in North America because of the methodology and the strategy of the American gay rights movement is still very Eurocentric.

The American gay rights movement also has a problem with racism in relation to their viewpoints about people of colour. A simple google search of white gay male blogs such as Queerty, Towleroad, Perezhilton, and the bigotry against people of colour is littered on the message boards.

Let’s be honest here, in North America when people think about homosexuals the public representation in the public sphere is usually a white gay man or a white lesbian that is middle to upper class and has an endless supply of income. The image of a gay person in America is linked to white skin privilege which the white gay activist groups such as GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign do not acknowledge.

Another quandary for the mainstream white American gay movement is, some people of colour do not believe gay rights are human rights because there is a white image problem. In order for gay rights to progress in America, there needs to be more racial diversity and education.

There needs to be more prominent gay and lesbian leaders of colour that are allowed to have a platform to discuss gay rights on ABC news, CNN, NBC, Fox News ect.

Why would black heterosexual people in America suddenly care about gay rights when they only see rich white homosexuals on television, in print media or on the radio discussing gay rights?

Global News: Violence In The City Of Toronto Is A Serious Problem Yet Strained Race Relations Between Black Community & Police Force Ignored.

Toronto’s black community has a serious problem with gang crime.  There is no need to lie about it because the recent shootings in Scarborough this summer where two innocent young people died was pernicious. In addition, the shocking shooting at Eaton Centre in June is terrifying because violence can occur anywhere in the city of Toronto.

There too many young black  who are so apathetic to the concerns of others. My question is, why are young black men getting involved with crime? What has happened to these young black men that they don’t value life or care about the well beings of others? Now, I know these young black males who get involved in crime have parents, families, siblings. So what happened to this generation? What went wrong?

Now, essentialists are going to make racist assumptions that it has to do with the “essence” within black males which causes some to commit crimes. The other possible explanations are poverty, unhappiness, despair, lack of education and employment opportunities leads young men to crime.

However, the white Canadian media never look beneath these surface explanations. Perhaps it is time for Toronto’s black community to not be so reticent and acknowledge there is a serious problem here?

There are programs for at risk youth, basketball camps, after school programs to assist children that are in danger of entering into crime. I believe these programs are important but are also band aid solutions to a deeper, more subliminal problem.

I can understand why some black people are irritated and annoyed by the media whenever gun violence occurs. Why should black people who are hard working and good citizens care about the bad behaviour of others? Why should the actions of a few tarnish the reputation of an entire race? It is ludicrous that people of colour are generalized in this manner.

Are white men generalized as psycho murderers like James Holmes shoots up a theatre in Aurora Colorado? Are young white men demonized in newspapers are psychopaths and killers?

Recently, a white supremacist murdered innocent people in Michigan at a Sikh temple. Are the media pathologizing young white men as being violent? Is there an essence to these young white males whiteness which causes them to go psycho and shoot and kill innocent people?

There questions are never asked in the mainstream white media because we live in a white society.

White privilege allows whites to generalize the actions of some in the black community yet the mirror image is never reflected at the majority.

Remember, white people control the Canadian media, the news which is broadcast on television, in the newspapers, and on the internet is based on white privilege. An editor decides in an editorial meeting what is the news. What sells more papers? What gets people talking? The media has a critical role in how race is shaped and constructed in Toronto.

In the classic 1988 essay, Peggy McIntosh a white feminist wrote an article called White Privilege The Invisible Knapsack. McIntosh’s article was groundbreaking because she is a white woman and she acknowledges the privileges she has simply because she was born white. According to McIntosh, whites are conditioned by the media and white society to ignore their privilege. Just like men ignore our male privilege and the freedom we have to walk freely in society, white people don’t have to think critically about race. A white person can live his or her’s own life in North America and not think about how race affects their lives.

People of colour we don’t have the luxury of not having to think about race. Race is in our face every single day of our lives whether we want to admit it or not.

It is understandable that some in the black community are angered that when crime occurs suddenly the entire race is to blame for some idiots dangerous actions.

Why are blacks generalized for the actions of a few? Why should I personally care if a black man shoots someone just because we are the same race? I don’t shoot anybody, I’m a citizen minding my own damn business.

The counter argument is, the white press in Toronto claim that black people need to become more vigilant and just trust the police force. The quandary is, a lot of black people in Toronto do not trust the police due to strained race relations.

Another point to consider is, some black people are terrified and afraid they don’t want to be the next statistic and get shot.  It is a vicious circle that seems to be getting worse in the city of Toronto. There is a lot of bad feelings, anger, resentment.

It is disconcerting to see young black men shooting and killing innocent people. I think something has happened to the minds of these young black males who get involved in crimes.

Frantz Fanon the black psychiatrist and author of the book  Black Skins, White Masks argues in chapter five called The Lived Experience of the Black man that  the psyche of black males are shattered due to racism.

The black man sees himself in the third person he does not see himself as a three dimensional human being because the white man has the power to control the images and representations of the black man.

Now some people might argue that the city of Toronto is a multicultural paradise where racial harmony exists.

The danger of multiculturalism which the Toronto media engenders is it ignores racism and pushes it beneath the surface. Racism is a serious problem in Toronto yet Canadians like to pretend it does not exist.

The power structure in Toronto is still based on white privilege. For instance, Toronto has an idiot  white mayor Rob Ford he’ is obnoxious,  pathetic, unprofessional, and abhorrent. However, Ford is praised by the white right wing media in Toronto. The mayors of Toronto and all the police chiefs are white people. Even though, the city of Toronto has a very large non white population the people in power are still white.

The Toronto police force is also a problem there aren’t enough black officers on the force in positions of power. Real change needs to occur inside the police force in order for racism and barriers of indifference to break down. Why would a black person suddenly trust a white police officer in crime ridden neighbourhoods? The so called anti racism policies are a farce. The question still remains, why do people still not trust the police to inform them about criminal activity? Why are people so afraid to speak out?

The media is also to blame because the real subliminal problems that are not visible are not discussed in the public sphere. Serious and hard questions about inequality, racism, and discrimination, are not brought to the surface. Canadians still have an apathetic attitude towards race which is disconcerting.

In  America, despite the race relation problems between blacks and whites they are more honest about racism. In the United States, people are not afraid to discuss race.

CNN, ABC, Fox News, NBC, and the major American media outlets constantly discuss racism in the public sphere. Americans are aware of racism in their country they don’t hide and pretend it doesn’t exist. By contrast, Canadians believe in the illusion of multiculturalism which is dangerous.

In order for Canada to progress, people need to stop being afraid to discuss race, inequality, white privilege, and other social problems in the public realm.

Excellent Article: USTA & Patrick McEnroe Are Racist Against Tennis Players Serena Williams & Taylor Townsend.

Women’s Tennis

By

 (Correspondent) on September 9, 2012

Hi-res-151467047_crop_exact

Serena Williams is in shape, but by no means thin.
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

 

Given the history of tennis, it is a very short line. Mixed among so many white Australians and Americans, the minority winners of the US Open are very few and far between.

Richard “Pancho” Gonzalez, born poor but proud in an LA barrio. Winner of the 1948 and 1949 US Opens. An Hispanic-American whose name was spelled Gonzales, the “American” way early in his life and whose nickname may have stemmed from a cut on his face when he was a child, which was incorrectly rumored to have occurred in a knife fight.

Althea Gibson, product of Harlem was also poor. And black. Winner of the US Open in 1957 and 1958.

Manuel Santana is next. Winner of the 1965 US Open. Former ball boy from Spain.

Arthur Ashe, winner of the US Open in 1968. Always present these days at the US Open in the stadium bearing his name.

When you watch Serena Williams go for her next US Open women’s title today, do not consider her achievements as something done within the normal tennis world. Instead, when you see her weight, her power, and her color, think of her achievements as an African-American in a world that is not yet through with racial and sexual insensitivity.

Andy Murray, David Ferrer, Novak DjokovicVictoria Azarenka and all of the rest of the men and women in the quarterfinals were all white except Serena Williams. And they all have sleek, model-like physiques.

Hi-res-151577109_crop_exactTaylor Townsend, left, after winning the US Open girl’s doubles championship on Friday.
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

 

Serena Williams has a body that is bodacious in all respects. Totally dissimilar to most bodies on tour, men and women.

Williams’ physique is shared with Taylor Townsend, a 16 year old African-American and the number 1 seed in the girl’s juniors in singles. Taylor lost on Friday in the junior girl’s US Open singles tournament, but won the US Open girls doubles title.

Like most of us, you would have thought nothing of Taylor Townsend’s weight or race.

But you are not the USTA and Patrick McEnroe, at least as to weight.

We may feel that women are no longer classified differently than men, or that racial sensitivity is now practiced by almost everyone involved. This situation brings us back to reality.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Before this year’s Open, Taylor asked the USTA for a wild-card entry slot in either the Open’s main draw or its qualifying tournament, which Taylor had played in last year. Her requests were denied. After the USTA asked Taylor to skip the U.S. Open junior tournament, her mother told them she’d pay her daughter’s expenses herself.” As Taylor’s mother said, “It all kind of came as a shock to us because Taylor has consistently done quite well,” she said. Her daughter, she reminded, “is No. 1, not just in the United States, but in the world.”

In fact, she had been “asked to stop competing,” consequently missing the USTA Girls’ National Championships in San Diego, because she had to get in better shape.

Hi-res-85278488_crop_exactPatrick McEnroe, at the forefront of the Townsend controversy.
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Patrick McEnroe, the general manager of the USTA’s player development program, confirmedthat her expenses to and at the US Open were not paid by the USTA.His excuse was not low iron at the time. “Our concern is her long-term health, number one, and her long-term development as a player,” said Patrick McEnroe, the general manager of the USTA’s player development program. “We have one goal in mind: For her to be playing in [Arthur Ashe Stadium] in the main draw and competing for major titles when it’s time. That’s how we make every decision, based on that.” McEnroe also claimed there had just been a miscommunication.

 

Not so, said Taylor Townsend. ““There was no miscommunication,” Townsend said. “I don’t know what else to say. My mom was coming but they did not fund us for the tickets.””

Could you have gotten to the quarterfinals of the US Open girls championship or the semifinals of the doubles if you had the weight of Patrick McEnroe and his USTA on top of you every game you played in addition to your own? Knowing that you were being penalized for your weight if not your race?

Probably not. But Taylor did.

Surely, both racial and sexual sensitivity would have dictated a different approach.

But as the Townsend situation shows us, Patrick McEnroe and the USTA do not share this sensitivity. In fact, their position remains both insensitive and appears indefensible.

So far the only disclosure of a health problem comes from Tennis.com, which claims that Townsend required a doctor’s approval to play due to “low iron.” And although Matt Cronin, a principal writer for USOpen.org, said that this was the reason, it apparently had nothing to do with the decision to ask Townsend not to participate in other tournaments.

Hi-res-52691146_crop_exactZina Garrison, whose discrimination lawsuit against the USTA was settled.
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

We might fool ourselves by looking at the nearly all-white crowd in New York, telling ourselves that racial issues are over and that everyone involved, man or woman, white or black, is being treated fairly.

 

But the Townsend affair raises these questions once again. And they are questions worth an investigation. To satisfy people of color that the decision on Townsend was motivated neither by a prejudice against people who are considered overweight or based on her race.

The issue of whether the USTA’s player development group run by McEnroe is racist has been raised in the past. The Williams former coach Morris King Jr. has made thisclaim, including by reference to his inability to get a response from them concerning coaching applications.

As for the USTA’s High Performance/Player Development department, I have been rejected for national coach positions at least a dozen times over the years. How did I learn that I was rejected? Because I am not there. That’s how I have always found out. They have never informed me through any type of communication.

Lest you believe that Morris King is just a nut, read his statements and verify them.

King pointed to the USTA’s defense of several suits that have alleged race discrimination as a sign of discrimination at the USTA.

These have included the following: Zina Garrison’s discrimination lawsuit for her dismissal as the Fed Cup coach which was settled by the USTA, the settled Cecil Hollins case brought by the one out of thirty or so top chair umpires claiming discrimination against black chair umpires because he had been the only one, and the resulting New York Attorney General investigation that was settled though anAssurance of Discontinuance with the USTA.

Hi-res-147992477_crop_exactRichard Williams and his daughters Serena and Venus.
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Claims and perhaps one or more cases have also been made that the wild card process of getting into tournaments is discriminatory.

 

So far, there is no evidence apart from this history that real discrimination existed in the decision to tell Townsend to stay away.

But given the way Serena has always looked, how can you successfully apply any weight exclusion on any player? Especially because, despite millions in expenditures to develop any top ranked player over the past five or six years, the USTA under Patrick McEnroe has failed in their task and one success they have had is told to stay home and not compete.

That McEnroe’s claim that weight was the reason appears to be a false claim based on Townsend’s experience at the Australian Open this year. Taylor Townsend was in both the Australian Open girls’ singles and doubles, toiling well into the night, where McEnroe was present as a TV commentator.

During this January’s Australian Open, “[t]he left-handed Townsend had a busy day as she defeated fellow American Krista Hardebeck 7-6 (3), 6-4, in the girls’ singles semifinals to earn herself a final round match up with Russia’s Yulia Putinseva. Then she and Andrew had to pull the late night shift and took a dramatic 5-7, 7-5, 10-6 [super tiebreaker] win in one hour, 44 minutes over Irina Khromacheva and Danka Kovinic.”

Such a schedule does not seem to indicate a health or fitness concern over her weight.

Townsend has won or done very well in the tournaments in which she has participated. You have to have significant athletic skills to be ranked number 1 in her age group, as she has been this year.

5_31_boca_457_crop_exactUSTA Training Center, Boca Raton, Florida.

 

The most tragic indictment of McEnroe’s acts come from Taylor Townsend herself. ““It was definitely shocking,” she said. “I was actually very upset. I cried. I was actually devastated. I mean, I worked really hard, you know, it’s not by a miracle that I got to number one. I’m not saying that to be conceited or anything, but it’s not just a miracle or it didn’t just fall upon me just because my name’s Taylor.”

As Sports Illustrated said, “Taylor Townsend, a charming young girl who still wears her braces proudly and plays with ribbons in her hair, is still just that: a young girl. She is not the future of American tennis, she is not a policy and she is not an example. She’s just a kid playing a sport she loves and she’s pretty darn good at it. Her body is still developing, her self-esteem still ebbing and flowing, and the last thing she needs, not as a tennis prodigy but as an adolescent, is her own tennis federation telling her she’s physically deficient.” SI also points out that it is through wins and losses in big tournaments that players become better.

Both Lindsay Davenport and Martina Navratilova have denounced this decision. “You cannot punish someone for their body type,” Davenport said. “I’m livid about it. Livid,” Navratilova said. She added: “It speaks of horrible ignorance.”

Denying Townsend any money to travel to the US Open, and asking her to stay away from competitions, tarnishes the efforts made by the US Open and the USTA over the past few decades to eradicate racism and treat women fairly.

The USTA must not bury this incident, as it seems to have done so far, but instead must publicly deal with all those involved. At least some official position is appropriate even though there is less of a public furor than one might expect over McEnroe’s decision.

Hi-res-115257790_crop_exactDavenport, far right, and Navratilova, far left.
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

 

Is it a coincidence that this situation was reported by the Wall Street Journal apparently on September 6, 2012, and then by The New York Times on Friday, but USOpen.org and the USTA apparently have not published a thing on this incident?

 

It is tempting to say that singling out weight is more a case of class prejudice rather than racial. After all, it is a stereotype in today’s culture that if you are overweight, then you are poor.

A few generations ago, tennis was largely the province of moneyed men and women. Professional tennis was played at private clubs, organized by individuals, and treated as if it were an all-white sport. Indeed, at one time, being white from an English speaking country was an almost required feature of tennis players.

And almost never being overweight.

But there is clearly a lack of racial sensitivity too.

Surely, the USTA or Patrick McEnroe did not consider that McEnroe’s decision might be considered racist or it would have been handled very differently. Especially when Serena is the antithesis of the typical svelte tennis player and has a fairly unique body type for tennis, the potential for others to interpret the move as racist is clearly present.

We have moved a long way on matters of race because of the many great athletes who were able to overcome barriers against them and their play.

 

One of the greatest players of all time, Althea Gibson is the most prominent for the role she played in breaking the color barrier in tennis despite overcoming a very poor family life. As Venus Williams said when Gibson died in 2003:

“I am grateful to Althea Gibson for having the strength and courage to break through the racial barriers in tennis,” it said. “Althea Gibson was the first African-American woman to rank No. 1 and win Wimbledon, and I am honored to have followed in such great footsteps. Her accomplishments set the stage for my success and through players like myself, Serena [Williams] and many others to come, her legacy will live on.”

The Williams sisters and their father have reported about the racism they faced from the crowds. “In the semi-finals of the US Open last year [2002], the American crowd supported Amélie Mauresmo of France rather than Venus: for the overwhelmingly white, middle-class crowd, the bond of colour clearly counted for more than the bond of nation.” As the Guardian noted in the same article on racism in tennis: “At the Indian Wells final in 2001, Serena was jeered the moment she appeared on court and was booed throughout. Her father, Richard, described how, as “Venus and I were walking down the stairs to our seats, people kept calling me nigger. One guy said, ‘I wish it was ’75 [alluding to the Los Angeles race riots]; we’d skin you alive.’”

They did not return to Indian Wells.

And it was only in Venus’ last match at this year’s US Open, potentially her last, when she said she finally felt like an American because the crowd was behind her.

 

Just as the Williams sisters demanded and obtained equality with boycott and regular reportingof the racism they faced from the crowds, other prejudice must also be banished including any prejudice that might exist due to a player’s weight.

Despite the many claims of Richard Williams of racism, there has never been any broad, public investigaton by the USTA about his and Morris King’s complaints. Why?

Is the Townsend situation more of the same? Or is it a stereotype that comes with being poor, where more overweight people are found today.

It may be coincidence, but last year The New York Times did another article on Taylor Townsend. The article lauded her progress in tennis, and interviewed and extensively interviewed Richard Williams, the Williams sister’s father and former coach. And they spoke with Kathy Rinaldi, USTA’s national coach. What did she say at the time?

“She has come a long way in a short time” . . . “When I first saw her a year and a half ago, she had a lot of potential. She has more discipline with her shot selection now and knows her game and style more. Her work is paying off.”

Tennis associations should never make sixteen year olds concerned about either race or their bodies, especially when no empirical evidence of Townsend needing to tone up her body before she competes. In fact, if you look at Townsend’s record, you begin to believe that this is all made up. By the USTA’s Patrick McEnroe.

You might also consider whether she may be Serena Williams’ successor.

If your physique looks like Serena Williams, perhaps the best women’s player in history, what more needs be said?

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