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More Than a Slap On The Wrist

18 Feb

Listen…

When I first heard this story last Friday and since having read up on the most recent developments, Digital Underground has been playing in my head.  Loudly.  On repeat!

Now, I do get it about being flustered at having to share space on a long flight, with a crying child within the confines of a constricting passenger aircraft.  I mean, I’m not proud of it, but I’ve prayed for God to mute a baby a time or too myself, but to go so far as to become so unhinged that spewing a racist tirade and striking a child was the best resulting idea for resolving the matter?  Utterly unacceptable.

To me however, the problem wasn’t so much with Joe Rickey Hundley having these views; as disgusting as they are.  The problem was him feeling justified in articulating his views in an incredibly public and violent matter, and against a defenseless minor no less.  Sure, he and his defense attorney have been siting his distraught sensibilities that day due to him traveling to visit an ailing relative, and his alcohol intake (used to quell those sensibilities) which adversely effected his otherwise “glowing persona”, but the truth remains, in this “post-racial” (loose air quotes used here) American in which we live, he called a 19-month old baby a n*gger and tried to slap the child into submission.  Again, utterly unacceptable.

The story however, does have a silver lining.  Whether yielding to the court of public opinion, or displaying zero-tolerance for offensive and donkey behavior or simply in an effort to distance themselves from a drunkard and troubled individual, Hundley’s bosses effectively pumped the brakes on his employment this past Sunday.  In a released statement, President and CEO of AGC Aerospace and Defense Al Hasse characterized Joe Rickey Hundley’s behavior as disturbing, contradictory to the company’s values and revealed that the unit executive was no longer an employee of the company:

“We have taken this matter very seriously and worked diligently to examine it since learning of the matter on Friday afternoon.  As of Sunday, the executive is no longer employed with the company.  [His behavior is] embarrassing and does not in any way reflect the patriotic character of the men and women of diverse backgrounds who work tirelessly in our business.”

Presently, Hundley has been charged with simple assault, which if convicted, could lead to a maximum term of one year in prison, so he certainly isn’t “off the hook.”  It truly speaks volumes however; that since he likes slapping so much, that he wasn’t just slapped criminally, but also in his wallet!

You’re Welcome.

Election Eve 2012: Public Service Announcement to the Undecided Caucasian Electorate

5 Nov

At this, the eleventh hour just one day before the United States’ official election day;  if you find yourself a member of the still undecided Caucasian electorate population that has basically garnered all of the attention from both major presidential candidates this election season, perhaps this very rudimentary and candid endorsement from Chris Rock will help you to decide for whom to cast your ballot more expeditiously.

You’re Welcome.

Advertising the Signs of The Times

24 Oct

According to census data, about 7% of all married couples in The United States are interracial.  The once taboo (and illegal) union to many, appears to some degree, readily accepted in this more progressive, to each his own society.  Now don’t get me wrong; unfortunately, we still live in a hateful and ugly world where some people express their biases and bigotry in the form of nasty words and unimaginable violence, but the realization that just 44 years ago an interracial marriage between whites and people of color (namely, and specifically black people) was unconstitutional does seem to show a bit of the evolution that this nation has made since its exploitative infancy.

Even in government, media, entertainment and advertising, we’ve begun to see how interracial relationships and multiracialism have been embraced in our society.  In this political season especially, multiracialism has been at the forefront thanks to the circumstances surrounding President Obama’s heritage as well as the vastly changing demography of the U.S. in general.

Recognizing the reality of multiculturalism and multiracialism in this nation, businesses have even been catering their advertising to this small but ever growing demographic.  I noticed this recently when I did a double-take while watching an IKEA mattress commercial.

Now, I’m not sure about the anthropology or sociology in Sweden, but after rewinding and re-rewinding just to be sure, I found the retailer’s subtle use of an interracial couple who were creating a most excellent sleeper set, quite broadminded and forward thinking.

Cory’s In The House: Bristol’s House!

1 Jun

…Okay. Admittedly, that’s how rumors get started. But when I heard this “story” last week about Kyle Massey and Bristol Palin planning to do a reality show together (with Kyle’s older brother Christopher) while also fostering their still new and budding relationship, I tripped. Hard.

Tripped because the idea of Kyle dating the daughter of a woman who has clearly had no problem with encouraging, inciting and in many cases thinly-veiling her own racist tinged behavior seemed appalling to me.  Tripped because all the undesirable portrayals surrounding Bristol and the Palins; Kyle was now possibly allowing them to tarnish his cookie cutter image. Tripped because in my mind, what in THE heck was The Disney Kid doing with Caribou Barbie’s Kid?!?

But after I sat and really thought about it, I had to severely check myself!  The God’s honest truth of the matter was simply that I was projecting all of my “aversion” (to put it mildly) for Sarah Palin, onto her daughter; a young woman, who although made some unfortunate decisions early in her young life, had done nothing to warrant anyone’s ire, least of all mine.

And while I wasn’t particularly a fan of what I believed was her “reconciled daughter” image for the sake of her mother’s political aspirations and later, of her unfortunate and rather rigid movements on Dancing With The Stars last season, the more I saw of Bristol on the show (and out from under her mother’s wing), the more I slowly began to admire her tenacity and resolve in proving that she was more than simply a political pawn.

I mean, for all the “tabs” it appeared that Sarah Palin had laboriously tried to keep on her daughter, Bristol seemed to use the show and her newfound “freedom” to make friends (enter Kyle), gain exposure for herself and to ultimately reveal to America a bit more of her identity than just the depiction of the-girl-from-Alaska-who-had-a-baby-and-whose-mother-ran-for-Vice-President that we’d all come to know and expect of her.  What I also had to concede that I’d come to respect about Bristol was the fact that post-Levi Johnston and the 2008 elections, she had not let her mother, social pressures, political circles or anyone else for that matter, dictate what was or wasn’t suitable for her life.

With Bristol, Kyle and Christopher’s reality show currently in the works (where the trio will be sharing a residence in Los Angeles and she will be speaking to teens and promoting abstinence) and speculation surrounding Kyle and Bristol’s “dating” status, the Hollywood buzz seems to have immediately zeroed in on Mama Bear’s complete and utter displeasure.  In fairness though, I don’t know what mother would be comfortable with their daughter sharing close quarters with two young men (and having their exploits recorded and aired for all posterity), no matter how wholesome their images or lucrative their television careers.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be what’s been eating Sarah.

Where many tabloid and political outlets alike have pointed to Mrs. Palin’s concern with Bristol frivolously jumping from one relationship to another as the source of her current discomfiture, one has to wonder how in Sarah Palin’s mind could Bristol “possibly” dating That’s So Raven’s little brother and doing a reality show with him (with its principle theme being that of abstaining) be any more unsuitable than being made the poster child for unwed mothers, and being strongly encouraged to marry a baby’s daddy who ultimately turned out to be a Playgirl posing, family bashing pariah; all for her mother’s political gain?

Actually, I imagine one does not have to wonder how Sarah is rationalizing all of this in her mind.

Yet Another Year of Halloween Costume FAILS

22 Oct

*SIGH*
The idea that it is somehow cute or amusing to accent one’s Halloween costume with “thug” paraphernalia really speaks to the warped state our nation is in.  This is especially true when some members of the dominant culture make a habit of regularly dressing up as what they perceive to be representative of black culture year after year.  I mean really, Kanye’s new diamond encrusted dentures and Lil’ Wayne’s platinum yuck mouth do not represent my penchant for exceptional oral hygiene.

But I guess I should just be happy that the not so witty folks over at A&A Global aren’t marketing this product as “Ghetto Grillz”.

(Absconding to Canada looks more and more appealing as the days go by)!

Wherefore Art Thou Tiana?

15 Oct

During a typical week when I am not returning home from work at an unholy hour, checking subject and predicate homework, bathing a deep-sea diving toddler, or getting dishpan hands from cleaning and shutting down The Pack Kitchen each night, I try to sit and have at least a few precious moments of quality time with my family.

Such was the case last night when the big girl and I curled up in front of the television while she proceeded to tell me about her day and explain her athletic prowess at school during a game of crab soccer.  Since she insisted that we watch one of her favorite (though insipid) cartoon shows while we chatted it up, it wasn’t long before I began to check-out and slowly nod off.  But before I could totally ascend to the blissful cumulous cloud looking pillows in my subconscious, the big girl squealed in pure delight, sending me crashing back down to my lumpy couch cushions.  Stretching my eyes as to appear attentive and awake, I looked between her and the television to see what all of the excitement was about.  Apparently deciding to further capitalize on their princess niche, Disney has come out with a new line of Princess and Me Dolls (just in time for the holidays…great).

Look Mommy, Princess Tiana!

And no longer were they squeals, but all-the-way-turned-up shrieks of delight.  But when I looked again at the commercial filled with whirling dolls and little girls dressed for a make believe cotillion, all of the princesses were accounted for except our beloved Frog Princess.  It wasn’t until the end of the commercial when all of the dolls were lined up together that I finally saw the stunningly crafted Tiana figurine amidst t her princess counterparts, but strategically arranged toward the back of the group.

Wow, until just now, I didn’t even see Tiana in that commercial.

As soon as I said the words, I wanted to slap my own self upside the head, but it was far too late.  Sure enough, the big girl looked at me quizzically with those large doe eyes of hers and began to agree with my assessment.

I know, nobody really watches the Cinderella movie anymore, but I think I saw her the most.

Before I could dismiss the matter of subtle racial classification in advertising though, the big girl pinned me with another curious expression and asked me (the way only an obliviously innocent child could) why Princess Tiana didn’t appear in the commercial for the dolls very much. 

The thing about my big girl is that although she’s been gently educated by my honey and I on the oppression and injustices that people of color have been subjected to in this country, her mind won’t even begin to fathom how such depraved thinking and atrocities could be carried out against a person today, simply because of the color of their skin.  Knowing that made it all the more difficult for me to have this sort of discourse with her, so I turned the question right back on her. I asked her why she thought Tiana got so little face time in the commercial.

Probably because she is their newest princess. She’s only been out for a year, you know.

Right.  Out of the mouth of babes.

September 11th: Day of Remembrance and Renewal

11 Sep

Today marks the nine year anniversary of the 9/11 Attacks; the day that America uttered a collective cry of shock and horror at the growing realization that four seemingly unrelated airplane crashes were actually strategic assaults against The United States.  Even now, when recalling that day and viewing the images that capture the most catastrophic and horrific terrorist attacks on American soil, it has become increasingly evident that the wounds that this country suffered are still raw and will take years, if not decades to heal.

Having randomly decided that day to cash-in a mental-health day (which in hindsight was a good idea), I can clearly remember sitting in my living room, shocked and confused by the breaking news and live footage of an airplane crash in New York City. Some thirty minutes later, that confusion was quickly replaced by horror, dismay and paralyzing fear.  Not only had airliners devastated the New York skyline twice, but planes had also gone down in Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania.

Are the media outlets right about these crashes being deliberate?

Who’s travelling this week?

Where is my address book? 

Will more attacks occur around the country? 

Why isn’t she picking up? 

Who could have done this?

My mind was racing.  My thoughts were illogical.  Even in my quiet, out of the way neighborhood, I was continually peeking through my drapes into a cloudless sky.  In the days that passed, it became clear that al-Qaeda was claiming responsibility for the attacks.  It was equally clear that our government had begun making preparations to respond swiftly and decisively.  My friends and family were all safe and accounted for but like me, they were concerned about the political and social direction the nation would take after such a debilitating assault.

But as unified and patriotic as the American people became in the weeks and months after the attacks occurred, American attitudes of bigotry and intolerance also began to manifest against the citizens of this nation who just so happened to have similar features or be of the same faith as those heartless “architects of evil.”

I soon began hearing members of my multi-racial family using slurs and generalizations when speaking about Arabs.  Some of my black Republican friends were unabashedly adding terms like “raghead”, “jihadist” and “sand-n*****” to their vocabulary.  Two of my girlfriends from North Africa shared how draining it’d become to be deemed spokeswomen for all Muslims and being forced to defend a religion that didn’t even condone the extremist beliefs of the September 11th attackers in the first place.  I understood that America felt vulnerable and angry; we all felt that way.  But some Americans took this opportunity to cultivate the nation’s emotions and obvious fear of the unknown into an all-out and unwarranted condemnation of Muslims; both here and abroad.

Some nine years later, America’s sentiments regarding Muslims and Islam may not be as blatantly derogatory as they once were, but it is still evident by the “Ground-Zero Mosque” debates, the “Burn a Qur’an Day” arguments or the “POTUS Religious Preference Polls” that this nation still has a long way to go in the way of religious tolerance and cultural acceptance. 

Recognizing the necessity of bridge building, in 2009 President Obama signed into law The Service America Act.  Designating September 11 as the National Day of Service and Remembrance, the president’s goal has been to encourage Americans to come together to serve their communities in the same remarkable spirit of tolerance and compassion that has made this nation a multi-cultural beacon around the world.

This year’s 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance will be highlighted by signature projects in six cities – New York City; Washington, DC; Boston; Arlington, VA; Los Angeles; and Philadelphia, as well as other events taking place in all 50 states. From volunteers participating in neighborhood and school cleanups, home repairs and assembling care packages for our armed forces members, to emergency preparedness training and interfaith dialogues, today’s observance is not only about honoring the past; recognizing the nation’s heroes in their valiant calls to action, but is also about embracing our future and supporting real efforts to bridge the gaps of understanding for the sake of becoming a one (truly collective) nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

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