Black people (especially President Obama) can’t be racists

Obama-Trayvon-Martin-thoughts

I know that President Obama’s comments on the George Zimmerman verdict stirred up a lot of emotions over the last few weeks. But the one thing that still doesn’t sit right with me is the fact that so many (white) people didn’t hesitate to lodge racist attacks on Obama for taking a moment to speak truth to power about race in America. (Read “Top 12 Conservative Freakouts After Obama’s Race Speech” from Think Progress) Continue reading

A progress report for Black History Month 2013: How far we’ve come and how far we’re going

Clarence Otis, CEO of Darden Restaurants, which operates Olive Garden and Red Lobster, is one of the 35,000 black millionaires in the U.S.

Clarence Otis, CEO of Darden Restaurants, which operates Olive Garden and Red Lobster, is one of 35,000 black millionaires in the U.S.

In the words of Kane Kinnebrew III, Black History Month is often spent mainly focusing on historic achievements. But what about the accomplishments of today’s African Americans? Despite how the media often portrays the black community in a bubble—or from one extreme to another—it’s time that we recognize the progress we’ve made in recent years, not just in the past. This is the first of what I hope will be many Black History Month report cards. Continue reading

Racism in the age of Obama: Obama Waffles, Planet of the Apes and a whole lot of denial

Obama Waffles (via Christianitytoday.com)

Obama Waffles (via Christianitytoday.com)

Updated April 8, 2013

Last month, I ran across a story about a young white woman’s racist rant against President Obama. The incident got under my skin so bad that I made a promise. Since we’re coming up on the New Year, you could call it one of my New Year’s resolutions.

This 20-something-year-old from Turlock is part of a growing group of Americans who engage in digital-era racism. Right after Obama was re-elected, she called him the N-word and said that she wouldn’t mind if he got assassinated—not in a private text to one of her friends, but right there on Twitter. Needless to say, she got the backlash she deserved. Continue reading

The one thing the Occupy movement is missing

Occupy Wall Street protesters - 99 percent

Occupy Wall Street protesters join a labor union rally in Foley Square in New York’s Financial District. (Jason DeCrow/AP)

The Occupy Wall Street protests that have now turned into a global movement have been an interesting development. Through the movement, we have seen that people are so fed up with corporate greed—backed by the complicity of Wall Street companies—that they have decided to speak out and attempt to shame the corporate giants into submission.

I don’t know if that will ever happen, but I do know this: Throughout all of the demonstrations, camping out at parks and challenging the status quo, it seems as if the Occupy movement has missed one very important thing. Continue reading

To all my black women, you are beautiful—no matter the skin color

"Dark Girls" movie posterI recently got word of an upcoming film called “Dark Girls” (thanks Robert Pierre), and the reaction to the film has seemed so strong that I almost felt obligated to chime in on the conversation.

The gist of the film is that there is still a deep-seated bias and negative attitude about beauty toward dark-skinned black women. Most black folks are aware of the divisions that have been created in our community because of slavery and the construct of race, which tries to place a value on skin color and causes all kinds of frictions among men and women (“Looks like light-skinned brothas are coming back…” You’ve heard them all before.).

I spoke to two of my aunts about the film, and they shared their experiences of being treated differently because of their darker skin.

I’m sure most people have also heard about the article evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa published in Psychology Today in May titled, “Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?” You already know how that one ended.

I asked some of my Facebook people for their thoughts on the film, and the response I got from one of my former Cal classmates was so on point that I wanted to share it in its entirety. Continue reading

‘I sho is hungry…’

Photo by sfbike (via Flickr)

A story in the LA Times this past week (“UC Irvine says fried chicken and waffle dinner on Martin Luther King Jr. Day was insensitive”) immediately caught my attention not just for the obvious reasons but also because it brought up memories of a similar incident that happened when I was a student at UC Berkeley.

As background, the LA Times story was about a last-minute decision by the dining hall staff at UC Irvine to serve chicken and waffles for a Martin Luther King Jr. symposium organized by the school’s Black Student Union, which sparked an uproar among the school’s minuscule black population (only 2 percent of the school’s entire undergrad makeup).

Without being there and being in those UC Irvine students’ shoes, it’s difficult to come to any definitive conclusions about what the correct reaction should be. But for the sake of this post, I’m going to do just that because I know exactly how they feel, having had a similar experience. Continue reading

Recent work: Healthycal.org

I had the great pleasure of doing some freelance work for healthycal.org, a website started by veteran reporter Daniel Weintraub that focuses on informing Californians about public health issues throughout the state. The following are the video stories I produced for the site. With each story, I tried to incorporate different techniques I had been learning at the time. Continue reading

Recent work: Project J-Score

During my last year at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, I took a pretty cool class by Alan Mutter about disruptive change in the news media industry.

For our final class project, we came up with an experiment (we were thinking Pandora…BTW, there have been some interesting pieces done recently that look into how the model behind Pandora could be applied to the other industries. Check out this New York Times Magazine story and this post from eMedia Vitals.) looking at how journalists can better measure the engagement of their readers. Continue reading

Nymphomania, Christian video games and holy high tops: Or, what happens when a Christian decides to become CEO

If you thought Christianity in today’s world was for the birds, then you might want to think again. I’ve been reading God is Back, by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, in which the authors make a case for how religion, especially the American style of Pentecostalism, is starting to spread again throughout the world. In one chapter, the book explains how Christian entrepreneurs are borrowing ideas from mainstream American culture and adapting them to meet a religious audience’s needs–with huge amounts of success so far. And I’m not talking about Christian clubs or holy hip hop. Continue reading