Wednesday, June 01, 2005

father forgive me, for i am an asshole.

it's the end of the skool year, which means graduation and whatnot. you put on your cap and gown, march, listen to some asshole tell you to change the world, and boom! you take a gang of pictures w/ mofos you ain't never gonna see again.

oh yes, tis my favorite time of year.

i can recall it like it was yesterday: it was the spring of 1998, and i was finally getting the fuck outta r. nelson snider high skool. i hated my parents and actually thought west lafayette, indiana would be a great place to go. shit. i even left my own graduation party. hell, i wouldn't have had one if they weren't such a cash cow. plus, moms made me; she'd worked really hard. went as far as having a three volume scrapbook chronicling my wack ass 18 years on the planet (though i'm sure she regretted this as i was the first of four kids; she therefore had to do that shit another three times). plus, she got me a big ass cake with 'congratulations summer, you go!' on the top. god, i love brenda. i am truly her child. but i digress.

what's really great about this time of year is the yearbooks and shit. you know, that physical evidence that you were in fact in the chess club; that you were 50 pounds lighter; that you plucked your eyebrows a bit too thin; that you weren't popular enough to be voted 'most likely to do anything'; that that perm prolly wasn't such a good idea (shout out white girls); that you wore that dress to prom. etc. etc.

which brings me to some social commentary. for those of you who don't pay a lot of attention to the news, there were a couple articles surrounding yearbooks and younger members of 'the race' recently. interestingly, both of these stories took place in the south ({shoutout rrrrachel!} fla. known for a fuck up or two; and texas known for frying a nigga e'ry now and again). lemme get to a point...i do have a few.

1st case:

ok. so in boynton beach, fla. some dumb ass nigga allowed himself to be photographed with his then white girlfriend holding a leash around his neck. the photo was taken because he'd been voted 'most whipped' (or as my great-grandmother likes to call it 'cuntfused'). this more or less means that his girlfriend was running that shit. apparently, robert richards thought this would be funny-- until his mama saw it.

though richards thought the picture of he and melissa finley a way to stand out in the yearbook (he got that right), his mother, jacqueline nobles, started having roots flashbacks, and raised a stink about it being offensive and such. as a result, 460 of the 700 or so yearbooks were confiscated by the skool. now on monday, may 23, dewayne wickam of usa today wrote about this whole ordeal.** apparently wickam thinks nobles deserves applause because she saw how problematic the photograph was, something the skool didn't see. wickam starts his op-ed piece with, 'jacqueline nobles deserves a standing ovation.'

uh, dude, no she doesn't.

jacqueline nobles doesn't deserve shit, and i'm gonna tell you why:
  1. she raised a fucking dumbass. that does not get you points, props, or applause. if nobles were that cognizant of how race complicates shit, her fucking idiot son would have never taken the picture. instead of raising such a ruckus at the skool, she should have whipped her already whipped son's ass.
  2. to further bring home point number one, i'd like to highlight richards' response, which included, 'most people think it's funny.' and, 'we don't see a problem with it. if there was a black girl doing this in the picture this wouldn't be an issue.' oh my. in one sense you're right, if a black girl was holding the leash, it might not have been an issue. it prolly would have been a whole other set of issues that e'rybody would've ignored (because black chicks get ignored like that), but the point is your 'logic' is flawed. this is a prime example of how investing in political correctness handicaps us from having real conversations about race; this is why that whole color-blindness rhetoric is bullshit (though i did rock a 'love see no color' cross colours shirt in 6th grade). i will not blame this entirely on the fact that you went to (publik) skool, robert. like i said, i also blame your kizzie kinte-ass mama. but i digress. first off, it wasn't a black girl, it was a white girl (don't worry, i ain't mad at you for playing in the snow). second, black chicks and white chicks are not equally exchangeable. kinda like margarine and butter, you can't substitute one for the other, and expect the same results. it just doesn't work like that, homie. if you think i'm lying let's imagine that your girlfriend had parents who were against y'all dating. and let's say y'all saw each other anyway, fucked, and got caught. hmmm...if homegirl was black, you prolly just got an angry black mama on your hands among other things. if homegirl was white, you might be doing 3-5. just an example.
2nd case:

token black (girl). oh, there's one in every skool. at every party. in every movie.

shadoyia jones worked really hard in high skool. an honor roll student, jones was inducted into her skool's national honor society. as a result, she got to be in the yearbook picture. unfortunately, she was identified as 'black girl' under the picture.

the skool district (waxahachie, texas) immediately issued a 'my bad' and explained that 'black girl' had simply been used as a marker until they could figure out her name.

  1. the other students (all white) had been identified, but the skool district can't figure out the name of the lone black girl in national honor society? and her name is shadoyia jones? ok. i think i get it: the name of the only black chick is often super hard to figure out. hell, they could've asked another student in the honor society. i mean, i also was the lone black chick in my nat'l honor society, and on the night of my induction, eric miller turned to me and said, 'summer, have you noticed that you are the only black student here?' (uh, yeah. who do i look like? robert richards?) the point is, eric knew my name (which is a lot less 'ethnic' than shadoyia jones), and that i was the lone negro in the spot, so odds are some white kid in nhs knew shadoyia's name. then again, maybe not since we're all color-blind and shit.
  2. i regret to have to inform you of this, shay shay, but in a sense 'black girl' was sufficient identification. if you continue on this trajectory you shall be identified as such. i, for example, intend to wear a t-shirt that says 'token' to an english department party before it's all said and done. sorry, kid. it's like that (and that's the way it is). don't let that deter you, though. embrace it. make it ironic. work within the stereotype and transform it. blog about it. teach your colleagues how to dance. it's all good. but anyway, big up to you for beating the odds. with a name like shadoyia, i'm sure for a minute there it looked like you were on that vocational skool track.
i'm done.

and while i'm on it, will somebody tell me why i should be mad at/offended by el presidente vicente fox? i still haven't figure it out yet.

**shout out to studpoet for reprinting wickam's article on her blog. i'd heard about the whole thing, but i hadn't read this article. if your comments weren't disabled, i probably wouldn't have gotten on my soapbox.

language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. language alone is meditation. ~toni morrison


Blogger mwilli said...

Oh......My......God, no they did not take a picture like that! I would've beat my sons ass no matter how tall that nigga gets. Guys get real stupid when they gettin some on the regular. Good Lord what is this world comin to? Poor doyia, the black girl. I once worked in a place where I was the only black girl and I labeled myself as such, for instance, when a co-worker was retiring, I signed the card from Monique, the little black girl. She thought it was hilarious and I don't think you should be offended by Vicente. My husband and I were just talking about that the other day. I live in a predominantly Latino, Hispanic or Mexican city and all I got to say is they be gettin they hustle on pickin fruit, havin fruit stands out in this hot ass weather, sellin blankets, tamales in the parking lot at the grocery store, hell most of the guys that built our house were Mexican who didn't speak a lick of English, so more power to them.

1/6/05 15:02  
Blogger MB said...

jon stewart is the jewish male version of you. you need a show or a bigger soap box

1/6/05 17:38  
Blogger Harold Gibson said...

Give me a friggin break. That shit with the white gurl and the black nigga was whack and u no it. And I give moms props for callin the board of education on that shit. Them honks no betta than dat. And fuck the nigga and his masteress.

On Black Girl once again where are the friggin advisors? they need to get this shit straight so they be fucked too.

And if y'all can't figure out what's wrong with Fox's comments then y'all some stupid asses fo real. This bitch is AMERICA, and this Wetback motherfucka is tryin to say y'all is a different breed. Sort just above the mutha fuckin dogs, that the wetbacks displace when they cross the freeway.

Fuck Fox.

Sorry but that shit makes me mad.

1/6/05 18:47  
Blogger summer m. said...

@moya: well, damn. that's a helluva compliment. thanx.

@harold: b/f i respond, thanx a bunch for reading my shit. now that i've said that...a few incoherent responses to you comment:

on case 1: true, that the picture was actually published in the yearbook is wack. i'm not contesting that. what i am contesting, however, is wickam's quickness to give so much respect to nobles. it is, after all, her son that made the decision to be photographed that way. my point is how much respect can you give someone who raised a son who would simply deem this photograph 'funny'? obviously her alleged awareness of race as a complicated subject was not passed on to her son very well. i'd give her props if this picture never existed. b/c it took her son's ignorance to point out the skool system's stupidity.

2nd case: as for the black girl, again, the point was to say, 'yeah, that's fucked up what they did.' but on the otherside of that coin, in a sense, she is simply 'their' black girl and nothing else. sure, the advisors fucked up, but in a sense i feel like it's more of a freudian slip than a plain ol' we forgot to insert her name.

as for this whole fox ordeal, your comment points exactly to how this doesn't simply come down to whether or not fox made a racist statement.

1) do you really expect to be taken seriously if you're using offensive terms to describe fox? unless you're mexican (and i don't think you are), you don't get to call mexicans wetbacks. just like they don't get to call you nigger--to your face, at least.

2) your american exceptionalist(?) rhetoric is blinding you, homie. the fact that you said america and assume that we all immediately think of the u.s. and not south america, or canada for example, shows just how self-centered we americans can be. race is not considered in the same way everywhere. and we're also dealing with a translation here, and sometimes things don't translate well culturally.

3) "This Wetback motherfucka is tryin to say y'all is a different breed. Sort just above the mutha fuckin dogs, that the wetbacks displace when they cross the freeway." really? i musta missed that.

4) instead of being offended and worrying about apologies, it mighta been more beneficial if someone would have taken a serious initiative to think about how both african americans, and mexican immigrants are constantly exploited to keep--as you say it--'this bitch' running somewhat smoothly.

but it's ok. your 'leaders' taught you how to respond to such things. running around giving naacp awards to mo'nique and shit while black women are catching the hiv. i understand.

all i'm asking is for us to look beyond our initial reactions. you know, complicate and problematize the shit. i just think we often concentrate on the wrong things. and that keeps our eyes off the prize.

then again, you're prolly just fucking around, but just in case you aren't that's my response.

1/6/05 19:18  
Blogger Karsh said...

but anyway, big up to you for beating the odds. with a name like shadoyia i'm sure for a minute there it looked like you were on that vocational skool track.

Girl, you ain't got no sense at ALL. ROFL!

Personally, I'm not offended by Fox's statement either. Shit, a nigga got a gentle constitution and shit. The fuck I look like workin' back of the house at a restaurant or riding in the back of a truck with 40 others to parts unknown for work unknown?

<admires manicure>


1/6/05 20:27  
Anonymous Lee said...

Fox's comment was stupid, but I think Moacir got it right. Mexico's supposed to understand our race politics, but I'd wager that no one here knows a single thing about what "race" means down there.

As for this Harold guy, anyone who throws around the "wetback" epithet doesn't really make that convincing a case that I'm the "stupid ass." Right back atcha, Harry.

2/6/05 08:49  
Blogger Harold Gibson said...

okay okay unlike Vincente I WILL apologize for the "wetback" remark just understand it was said in the same spirit of "even blacks"

I still am not ready to diss nobles because her son is jacked. Damn me and my kids think differently bout stuff and I don't necessarily think that my raising them totally affects their perceptions of the world.

Finally I had to chuckle chuckle chuckle bout dem damn awards. Black people have a thing about awards. When black folks win for actin some blk folks protest cause they didn't like the roles. I remember the hoopla about Whoopi's first nomination damn y'all it was a movie. Den y'all gave a idol to Fantasia so she could produce stupid crap like the Ode to the baby mama.

And what's wrong with Monique winning an actin award, she got it for that epic Soul Plane right?

summer this blog is on point. Thanks for trying to straighten me out.

2/6/05 09:58  
Blogger summer m. said...

@harold: thanx for the compliment about my blog.

2/6/05 12:26  
Blogger Jdid said...

case 1, I agree with you. His mom should have raised him better
case 2, seems a tad weird they couldnt find homegirls name if she's a token
Fox and his comments, I'll leave alone for now

2/6/05 14:17  
Anonymous studpoet said...

hey summer...yeah comments on my blog suck!

1) the picture with the black dude and the white chick. i chalk it up just like you to his stupid ass momma. now you wanna get all "offended"? its this bullshit "color blind" mentality that lots of parents are raising their crazed ADHD millennial kids to believe.

2) i feel bad for shay shay (too lazy to go and see how to spell her name)but this should serve as a wake up call for her. this is how you are viewed in academia. and like you said...pimp that shit. make it work for you. because believe me if you are the "only" in any setting the first thing they'll say when talking about you is:

Becky: we have a new student
Sarah: who?
Becky: you know THE BLACK GIRL
Sarah: oh yeah...what's her name
Becky: Sequoia or something...
Sarah: oh okay the black girl

3)Let's face it black people, Latinos are the new blacks. Its real. We've sort of fucked up our own welcome in this country now that we've cornered the market on "gangsta rap" and sports we're pretty much f**ked but never fear Latinos are picking up right where we could have left off. Yeah, they'll have 15 jobs and not speak a lick of english but next year when they're opening that new hip hop gear store right next to the Korean beauty supply shop don't forget to pick up your G Unit bootleg from the brotha on the corner!


2/6/05 15:14  
Blogger summer m. said...

@studpoet: sequoia?!?!?! oh shit. i actually laughed out loud.

2/6/05 18:00  
Blogger deshi said...

i'm gonna take a shot at fox's little comment. i guess it depends on what he really meant because we all know shit can very easily get taken out of context. i mean, if you look at it from the viewpoint of race politics in america and certain other parts of the world, you're talking about black folks being treated worse than any other race. so in that context, for him to make that comparison can be considered somewhat, dare i say, valid because racist people would agree that certain "undesirable" jobs should only be done by certain "undesirable" groups of people. however in the larger scheme of things, his comment could be construed as insulting simply because he may be implying that black folks are the only other group of people that would take on these "low class" jobs. so by saying hispanics are doing the jobs that "even blacks" won't do, can sort of backhandedly imply that he would expect black folks to be doing these jobs because they're the "lowest of the low". but is he speaking from the context of how amerikkka views black folks or is he speaking from his own possibly racist opinion of black folks? i believe that to be the controversy behind his comment.

2/6/05 20:06  
Blogger fuss said...

Brilliant and hilarious blog, Summer. I would have had the same opinion of the 'whipped' controversy as you did if I had not read this article a few weeks back:
It really illuminates the thin line between bitching about the man and truly educating your children about the society we live in. I don't know that mama was on some colorblindness bullshit, but kids pick up all kinds of shit in the streets. And by streets I mean classrooms of integrated America. So I can give mama a pass; the son, I just shake my head. Props the white girl for holding hers down, though (I guess?).

Black girl - I think it was a mistake. Racist humor is rarely that subtle.

As for Fox, it's offensive because racism is offensive. It is not, however, untrue.

3/6/05 13:49  
Blogger summer m. said...

@fuss: i think i heard that salon piece (or one similar to it) on npr a few weeks ago. granted, there is a lot a parent can't control. i just, ugh. i still think her son is a dumbass. i'm not that much older than he is. and my sister is more or less his age. both she and my brother were like the 23rd and 24th black kids in the whole skool, and i guess i'm pretty confident my lil bro wouldn't have done that--even with his colorblind 'education'; and he had his share of white girls.

as for the black girl thing, i also think it was a mistake. or, like i said in a prior comment, more like a freudian slip. when i heard about it, though, i just started laughing. i'm such a bastard.

as for the fox thing, i'm not too sure i wanna call it racism. first, we are dealing with a translation, and i think that's really important. second, b/c there are so many different racial discourses, i can't say that fox is/was working within the same paradigm we are. third, i guess we could take the quote a couple ways. granted, you have the whole 'nigs are lazy and wouldn't do this shit' stance, but at the same time, i don't think it'd be too crazy to suggest that what he was trying to say was, 'black people are your most exploited group and even they won't/don't do the shit mexican immigrants do.' though poorly stated, for me, that doesn't necessarily classify as racist, but more of an attempt to suggest that in certain ways immigrants have it worse than nigs--which is quite debatable.

that said, i don't wanna defend fox. i'm simply just not that offended. i'd rather have a discussion about how both groups are getting fucked by THE MAN. plus, whenever jesse jackson says shit and/or gets involved, i just wanna deem it ludicrous and say the exact opposite.

3/6/05 14:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Summer on this one. I think that Fox meant, with his comment, to emphasis the way that Mexicans are exploited in the U.S.'s work force. By saying they take the jobs that blacks don't or won't even take, I think he was trying to say that in their desperation to make some financial headway and negotiate such barriers as rigid immigration laws, xenophobic/ racist hiring practices, the dominance of English in US culture, they jettison selectivity, and take jobs that even the most oppressed group in the US have the option of passing up. I mean, let's think about this. He's invested in the welfare of Mexicans, not necessarily in perpetuating the oppression of blacks. And even if he is racist, this statement just doesn't read as racist to me. It reads as him trying to push a point, and a valid one at that. And the media coverage of the statement registers, to me, as an attempt by the US media to deflect from the content by sensationalizing the statement's so-called impropriety. It's subterfuge, this whole debate on whether or not the comment is racist. Clever whites exploiting the race mania that really is the nation's biggest problem, if you ask me.

4/6/05 22:25  
Blogger fuss said...

Sum & Saf - let me clarify. I don't think that Fox or his comment is racist. I meant that it reinforces that fact that policies of our country are racist and racism is woven into all aspects of American life. And as Americans with something invested in the myth of our country, the American dream, land of the free, blah blah blah, "we" are offended because "we" like to pretend that we because we live in the "greatest country in the world" Mexicans shouldn't have shit to say about our "utopian" nation. It's like I might know that my sister is a clepto crackhead but you better not address that or you're gonna get my foot in your ass.

6/6/05 08:45  

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