Category Archives: Blog posts

Macklemore: White Man in Hip-Hop

Photo by: The Come Up Show

Photo by: The Come Up Show

Ben Haggerty (Macklemore) is famous for his album The Heist (produced by Ryan Lewis), which was on the Billboard charts and ranked first on iTunes back in 2012. The Seattle rapper is often praised for advocating equality and expressing his opinions on sensitive issues regarding minorities. Aside from his music supporting LGBT rights called “Same Love”, he opened up to discuss about his racial identity and the effects it had on his career during an interview with Rolling Stone.

            As a White man in hip-hop, he admitted that he has benefited from “white privilege”, and would not have been as successful he were Black. He talked about how he was able to receive attention from the media and how his music like “Thrift Shop” could have a wide range of audiences because of his race. “And even though I’m cussing my ass off in the song, the fact that I’m a white guy, parents feel safe. They let their six-year-olds listen to it” (Rolling Stone, 2013).

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How Orange is the New Black is not the New White(out)

1st photo

Image via Complex.com

In 2008, the NAACP released a report called Out of Focus, Out of Sync, in which they critiqued what they called a “whiteout” of American TV, drawing attention to both the complete neglect of actors of color on television, and a severe lack of writers of color, too. As a somewhat serious television connoisseur, I’d argue that over the next five years nothing really changed much, save for the rise of Mindy Kaling and Damon Wayans, Jr.’s turns on both ABC’s Happy Endings and FOX’s The New Girl.

This barren media landscape changed for the better this summer with the arrival of Netflix’s third foray into original programming: Orange is the New Black. Ostensibly the story of a privileged white woman sent to a women’s prison called Litchfield Penitentiary for carrying a bag of cash in a drug deal a decade prior, OITNB expands what could have been a limited universe by constructing fully realized characters, ones which offer rare depictions of underrepresented groups: namely women of color, lesbians and the transgendered. In doing so, it pushes back on much of the scholarship surrounding typical media representations. Continue reading

Remembering the Forgotten Riots

jakarta

(Photo by : Stefan Magdalinski)

In the city of Jakarta, Indonesia, there are two racial groups – native Indonesians and the Chinese-Indonesians. There was a dark period of time in every Indonesian-Chinese’s history that went unrecorded in history books. It was the 1998 riot.

When I found out about the riot, I was in Melbourne on a family trip without my father. The news station in Melbourne aired the horrific scenes that were happening back home. Buildings were being burned, corpses lay on the ground and victims were brutally injured. Everything back home looked like it came from a war scene in a movie.

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White Privilege and Racism are Alive in Asia

    “I find it weird to be discriminated against for being Asian, while I’m in Asia,” Lee said. Recently, Mike Lee got rejected when he applied to be an English instructor in China while Will Evans, a Canadian, got this job. The only reason for Lee’s job rejection turned out to be Lee looks too Asian.

english teaching

©All rights reserved by InterExchange USA

   It is not a secret that recruiters in China evaluate candidates for English instructors only based on their skin color. They don’t care about your English fluency or academic credentials as long as you are white enough because Asian parents believe white people can speak better English. Still can’t find a job in America? Being white can definitely get you a job in China. This news reveals a fact that white privilege and racism are alive outside the U.S., even in Asia.

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This isn’t an Afro!: On being brown, German, and American

My mom is white and my dad is black. My father was in the Army and my mother is native German.

When I was six I went to a kindergarten nestled in the foothills of a German village. I don’t have many memories of being a six years old. I remember my parent’s apartment, a little old lady who didn’t like me because I destroyed her bushes, and that I only spoke German, but I fully understood my Dad’s English.

Every winter in Germany, little kids dress up and reenact that story about the Three Kings who follow the North Star. One of those kings is African, so usually a little white German kid is painted brown in the face. I was chosen to be one of the three kings.  Guess which one I was? They saved on face paint that year.

My kindergarten mates always teased me for being brown. When I complained to my mother, she told me to tell them that they were “Weiss wie Kase” (white as cheese). They continued to tease me and my curly hair. I told my parents that I wished that I looked more like my mom and not like my Dad.

babydoll

me and my white baby doll

I grew up in Germany for the majority of my life. I was always surrounded by white women and men. My cousins were white and blond. You could easily get a brush though their hair without it getting caught. There were very few people that were not white, and if they weren’t white they were Turkish, Greek or Italian. But they were never as brown as me. When I would play “Spice Girls” with my friends they would always force me to be Scary Spice. I’m sure that in Germany there was a lack of brown dolls even available. I mean there weren’t even any brown people in my cartoons, but I’m also certain that I would have picked the white doll regardless because that’s what I taught was pretty and normal.  Even in pretend, I couldn’t escape my “otherness.” Continue reading

Growing Pains: Pocahontas and Racial Ambiguity

In looking through the abyss of my old Facebook albums recently, I stumbled upon a picture that made me cringe: myself on Halloween during my first year at the University of Washington.

gpp

Now, it wasn’t the awkward facial expression I made that had me wincing (why would a person think sticking out their tongue would make them look cute?), but instead was the costume I wore: In the grainy, dimly lit photo, I stood in a tan, fringed dress; a brown leather belt around my waist; painted below my left eye was a single red stripe; my hair in two braids with a woven headband along my forehead and a single feather tucked behind my head.

I was dressed up as my interpretation of Pocahontas.

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