General thoughts, ideas, and musings

One Example of Racist Remarks in the #bannedforlife Twitter explosion


The 1986 movie Hoosiers starring Gene Hackman was loosely based on the story of an all-white southern Indiana high school team that won the state championship in 1954.  The movie is a classic sports underdog story, and I encourage everyone to watch it, particularly for its awful racist nostalgia.  The movie is incomprehensibly silent about the very real racial history of the period (1950s) or the region (southern Indiana).  Throughout southern Indiana during the early 20th century there were hosts of sundown towns, or towns where people of color passing through after dark could expect racist violence.  Additionally, very few southern Indiana high schools were integrated, so their depiction of white and black kids sitting together cheering on their Hoosiers is down right historical-fiction.

Our dear friend, the author of this tweet, is clearly nostalgic for this “simpler” time in America when whites could perpetrate violence against people of color without impunity, where “Blacks” didn’t play basketball because they couldn’t (via segregation or racist violence).  The author of this tweet even manages to deploy the word “Blacks” as a kind of slur.  “Blacks,” here used to talk about the Black men who “ruined” the NBA, and also made it one of the most profitable professional sporting leagues in the world.

At the risk of stating the obvious: people are still racist, you know.

Reading List

Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo, and David Dietrich. “The sweet enchantment of color-blind racism in Obamerica.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 634.1 (2011): 190-206.

Briley, Ron. “Basketball’s Great White Hope and Ronald Reagan’s America: Hoosiers (1986).” Film History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Film and Television Studies 35.1 (2005): 12-19.

Hill, Jane H. The everyday language of white racism. John Wiley & Sons, 2009.

Tudor, Deborah. “The race, religion, and ideology of sports.” Jump Cut 33 (1988): 2-9.

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Dear Marvel: Make Female Super Hero Movies, plural

The superhero Parthenon is overwhelmingly white and male.  It is not a surprise then that the comic book movie era Hollywood is currently in repeats this trend.  Kevin Feige, Marvel Studio’s president, promises us (kinda) a Captain Marvel movie by 2016.  And all I have to say to that is… Thanks… And I mean that in the least enthusiastic way possible while still kind of being interested.
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Smart, Young, and In Deep Debt


American’s owe nearly $1,000,000,000,000 worth of student loan debt.  All those zeroes? That’s $1 trillion dollars.  What portion of that is yours?  If you’re under 30, our share is somewhere around $292,000,000,000, or $292 billion.  For those between 30-39, who make up the majority of those in debt, their share is $302,000,000,000 ($302 billion).

If depressed is what you feel when you see those numbers, or when you think about what you have to pay this month in student loans, I understand.  Thinking about having to start paying back student loans after graduate school is plenty depressing.

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Weapons of our Mass Destruction


Last night, friends and I got together to celebrate the brief visit of one of our own.  We talked about the most relevant topic of the day of course: the tragedy at the Newton, CT elementary school.  We all agreed that “our right to bear arms” in this country is antiquated. With the “arms” of the past, one had to get up close and personal, you had to think long and hard about whether or not you would use your one musket shot to kill that particular person.  You had to walk up to a person and stab them.  Now?  People can spray a semi- or fully-automatic weapon indiscriminately and be sure to hit someone.  We have become too desensitized to gun violence in this country.  We have made being able to kill someone, a right.  We were all animated and upset by the incident, many of us working with children, or in schools, or with underserved populations–but we ended the conversation on as light a note as we could muster in light of such tragedy.  We agreed that the only kinds of guns that people should be allowed to have are antique, single shot, revolvers, and muskets.  That way, you have to think about every bullet going into the chamber, and everyone coming out.  Notice in the video below, how many steps he has to go through to fire one bullet.

Semi-automatic and automatic rifles should be seen for what they are: weapons of mass destruction.


Jill Scott’s Summer Block Party

Last night, Jill Scott lit D.C. on fire!  Her Summer Block Party proved to be a fantastic show. Salt-n-Pepa opened to show and their mic sounded nice. They make 40 something look good, and the old school hip-hop duo routine is timeless. They rocked it.

Kem’s lovers (and haters) were swooning because whether you like him or not, he brought a great set. A few yawns during his ballads no doubt, but you can’t help but think that the only reason he didn’t take home Grammy’s in 2010 is because they count all Black artists in the R&B category when frankly, many of them are pop artists. For example, how on early could Usher’s “There Goes My Baby” be worthy of a Grammy? There was no way anyone could have listened to Usher’s Raymond v. Raymond and thought that was an R&B album. It was a pop album, and its electro-pop “More” is really as much proof as I need. At any rate, I’m not a huge fan of Kem, but that brother can sing and has some serious roots in the Detroit, rhythm and blues tradition. I should mention that his background singers had a set of extraordinary pipes tackling a short Motown set which included covers of The Emotions “The Best of My Love” and Earth, Wind, and Fire’s “Can’t Hide Love” and some Chaka Khan and Rufus.

Old school hip hop has aged gracefully, as gracefully as Doug E. Fresh, the original human beatbox, who hosted the Block Party. He looked great and was the perfect party maestro. Paying his homage to the incredible Chuck Brown, the whole building shook like the go-go when Doug E. played “Wind Me Up!” and other Chuck Brown classics. In fact, he brought us out of our seats in between each set and in he and Jill Scott’s performance of “All Cried Out” only makes you appreciate his freakish beatbox talent more fully.

Ms. Jill Scott:  This was unequivocally her show. She was funny, she was deep, she was mellow, she had the sexy thing down, she looked fantastic and her show was amazing. There’s not much else that needs to be said other than: if you ever get the chance, go see her live.