A Sobering Experience

WARNING: extremely offensive, racist language is used while quoting someone else (as well as cursing) A few weeks ago, I was hanging out with a few friends and acquaintances – we were talking, laughing, and having a generally good time.  We were sitting in a circle of various couches and chairs surrounding a coffee table.  Then, someone at the party (let’s call this person J) got a text from another friend saying that a third friend (we’ll call this person Z) wanted to drive but had been drinking and would not listen to anyone who tried to tell them not … Read more

Planet of the Apes or the Obamas?

Recently in the opinions section of a Belgian Newspaper, one article, said to have been submitted from Russian President Vladimir Putin, shows the Obamas depicted as apes. On the picture it says, “First Black President, starts selling weed.” I thought this was a really interesting thing to bring up because it related to the Eberhardt studies that we looked at in class relating Blacks to Apes. Many people make the implicit association of blacks to apes and this cartoon is just reinforcing that stereotype. One person commented on the cartoon saying, “This was in the satire portion of the newspaper, it … Read more

Racism in aisle ’14

Since I have been in this class, it is amazing to me how many things I see on social media sites that relate to everything we are talking about in class.  This week I was browsing my Facebook news feed and I saw two posts, one after another, that completely shocked me.  A woman, that goes to Muhlenberg, had a post that explained a recent experience with racism. Her post stated: “So I went to my local grocery store and the lady at the register looked at me and said ‘You’re Chinese aren’t you?’ I replied ‘Yes’ and she said … Read more

Blackface or a black face?

Black face costume

 

Gawker: Julianne Hough Makes a Very Bad Halloween Costume Decision

 

The comments are the most interesting part of this gawker post.  One commenter said,

“Its not blackface if you are doing a certain person. It is a black face.”

Another said,

“Exactly. Intent is everything here. Black face was racist because it was racist in practice. Dressing up as a black character isn’t racist unless it is offensive and is meant to be racist. Dressing up as a black character you admire isn’t racist, it’s a compliment.

Thoughts?  Comments?  Is intent everything?

 

Miley Cyrus and the West African Origins of Twerking

Sadly, yes. I did feel that including Miley Cyrus in the title and tag of this post would garner more attention. Here is one of several thoughtful pieces I’ve seen – not about misguided Miley’s image – but about how the dancers that surrounded her were used “as props.” It also provides a brief history of twerking – a dance I found awkward and mystifying in Miley’s performance.  We owe it to twerking to read this.  – Posted by Connie http://www.xojane.com/issues/the-origins-of-twerking I doubt Miley grasps what she’s doing. Miley thinks she’s just “turning up” with some “cool” black girls behind … Read more

The Dangers of Hairspray

So, as some of you may or may not know, I tend to dabble in the world of theatre here at Muhlenberg College. My dabbling in this world has led me to a lot of wonderful friends, valuable learning experiences, and, really, just a lot of great times. Of late, however, it has provided me with an interesting window into the world of contemporary racism.

Let’s start with an honest fact: the world of theatre has been littered with racism since the dawn of its existence. From the concept of “minstrel shows” to the prevalence white performers performing in black face the old world of theatre has not been particularly friendly to non-white members of society. Now, of course, we have moved into an age where, overt, old-fashioned racism is no longer acceptable. This rule, to an extant, has applied to the world of musical theatre. In fact, many contemporary works of theatre, even musical theatre, have focused on racial issues and the problems they have caused within society. This summer, Muhlenberg College’s Summer Music Theatre program (MSMT for short), is putting on one of those productions, Shaiman, Wittman, O’Donnel, and Meehan’s Hairspray.

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