Swedish minister of culture, black face, genital mutilation…hilarious right?

So when I saw the following photo, I was caught totally off guard by how blatantly racist the whole scene is.

Black cake, white teeth, a lot of smiling laughing faces in the crowd which look, without any context, like they are making a mockery of black women at the very least.  Just looking at the photo, I totally missed that the head of the cake is of a real person.

The lady holding the fork is Swedish minister of culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth.  She’s participating in the opening of an art exhibit at Stockholm’s Moderna Museet.  The art is supposed to highlight the problem of female circumcision.

On the horrid video above, the artist is screaming as people cut the cake. It’s awful all around.

I get that art is supposed to be shocking, provocative and even offensive at times.  But if the goal is to shine the light on genital mutilation and yet the whole conversation is about how racist it is, then the artist missed the mark.

Commentary on genital mutilation should elicit shouts of glee and giddiness.  I saw the image on Facebook posted by Adrienne George Lind from the Black Women in Europe blog, and she says there are groups in Sweden who are lashing out against the event, especially the Minister of Culture’s participation.

Herman Cain Not Able To Take The Heat

A few weeks ago I took a little heat for posting the following to my Facebook page:

Herman Cain is surging because when he speaks he makes sense and is not pandering.

Some of the comments I received went like this:

Really, Shawn? I hope you are being sarcastic…Please tell me that you are. –DEMOCRATS ROCK!

This is undoubtedly a joke, I can’t imagine anyone thinking that he is not pandering when he says the things he says, or recently mentioned someone like Tom Deleay as a potential VP pick.

is this spam?

Shawn got jokes.

But Cain went from punchline to frontrunner in the polls by shooting somewhat straight, sticking to his (failed) plan and holding to the talking points that score with conservatives.

This week Politico rocked Cain’s world by digging up sexual harassment allegations of two former employees of the National Restaurant Association, a group once headed by the GOP candidate.  The problem really hasn’t been the allegations.  As one of my friends put it, we all could get accused at some point.

It’s how he has handled the allegations.  First not recalling any allegations, then not remembering an agreement.  Then remembering an agreement but not a settlement.

America has proven over and over and over and over again that it is willing to forgive politicians for just about anything, from stained dresses to trysts with prostitutes.  But America doesn’t care much for lying or dodging the truth, and Herman Cain seems to be doing both right now.

These interviews and allegations are the price of being part of the national conversation. Some of the dirt on Michelle Bachmann has yet to stick because her campaign has yet to take hold.  Cain was living his live like it was golden two weeks ago, but now he’s stuck between playing the race card (Cain accuses the left while absolving the right of race politics) and blaming the Perry camp for his misery.

This is what a candidate has to go through if he wants to be the big dog. Presidential campaigns have become less about issues and more about your religion or your pastor or your credit card bill or your settled sexual harassment lawsuits.

Bill Clinton had Jennifer Flowers and Barack Obama had….well any number of things.  And stop comparing this to Clarence Thomas, it makes no sense.  But since Cain is talking about an issue that was settled under a nondisclosure agreement, me thinks we’ll be hearing from his accusers in the not to distant future.

In Root.com survey Black Americans Assess Obama After Two Years In Office

The Wire

Readers of The Root.com have already weighed in on their opinions of President Barack Obama just in time for his State of the Union adddress tonight. The Root.com recently released the results of its extensive reader survey gauging how people assess President Obama’s achievements, exactly two years after he took office.

With more than 400 respondents identifying themselves as African-American, the results bring about a clearer picture than ever before of the African-American opinion of Barack Obama, as well as shine a light on the sharp divide between respondents of different races on how they view Obama and the overall racial climate in the country.

Some of the survey findings and data snapshots include:

OVERALL LEADERSHIP

Solid majorities of both blacks (89%) and whites (74%) rated his leadership as either “very effective” or “somewhat effective.” Still, 23% of whites rated the Obama’s leadership as either “somewhat” or “very” ineffective, versus 8% of blacks.

75% of blacks and 62% of whites said that Obama was addressing their needs. 29% of whites said that he was not, compared with just 15% of blacks.

MEDIA AND PUBLIC PERCEPTION OF OBAMA


The media had a stronger impact on how whites see President Obama, compared with blacks. 65% of whites said that their perception of him is influenced by the media, compared with 40% of blacks.

RACISM

Majorities of both blacks and whites agreed (94 percent and 72 percent, respectively) that “racism plays a role in how President Obama is perceived.”  A sharp divergent in perception, just 15 percent of whites believe that hate crimes, police brutality and injustice against African Americans have increased since Obama took office, while 40 percent of blacks say such crimes have increased.

EMPLOYMENT/JOB CREATION

Blacks and whites were nearly in agreement (37.5 percent and 40.6 percent, respectively) that opportunities for jobs and career advancement had improved for African Americans under Obama’s administration, compared with that of President George W. Bush.  However, far more blacks felt negatively about employment opportunities (32 percent) for African Americans under Obama than did whites (18.5 percent).


EDUCATION

3 times as many blacks (12%) as whites (4%) rated education as “important” to them.  4 in 10 in both groups saw either no improvement or a decline in the quality of education as a result of the president’s Race to the Top initiative, although a larger number of blacks than whites (38% versus 24%, respectively) saw some educational gains.


On programs that directly benefit African Americans — a subject that the Obama administration has considered sensitive — a small majority of whites (52%) backed the $850 million package of support for historically black colleges and universities. Of course, black support for this program was significantly stronger (85.6%).


“There are numerous surveys out there regarding the public opinion of Barack Obama, but what The Root’s survey does that sets it apart is hone in on the African-American opinion of our President and the way he’s handling various policies,” said Joel Dreyfuss, managing editor of The Root. “African-American support of Obama will be critical to his re-election campaign in 2012, and this survey identifies where black Americans feel satisfied in his efforts and where the President needs to improve.”


The online survey was conducted online from January 14th through January 16th. Participants were self-selecting. Of the 1,006 participants, 421 identified themselves as African-American; 386 identified as white, 41 indicated that they were Hispanic (which can be of any race); 15 identified as Asian; 58 said they were of mixed racial background; and the rest either indicated another race, no race or did not answer the question.

For more information on the survey results, visit: http://www.theroot.com/views/rating-obama-its-down-black-and-white

Shirley Sherrod to Address National Association of Black Journalists at Convention San Diego

From the Dallas South Newswire

Newsmaker Shirley Sherrod is set to appear before thousands of journalists on Thursday, July 29 at the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Annual Convention in San Diego, Calif.

Sherrod has made headlines over the past two weeks for her forced resignation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture after conservativeblogger Andrew Breitbart posted video excerpts of Sherrod’s address at a March 2010
NAACP event on his website. The NAACP initially condemned her remarks and U.S. government officials called on her to resign. Upon review of the unedited video incontext, the NAACP, White House officials, and Tom Vilsack, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, apologized soon after and Sherrod was offered a new position. Sherrod has not yet decided if she will accept the job offer.

Sherrod will have a candid conversation with a panel of journalists during a newsmaker plenary, “Context and Consequences: A Conversation with Shirley Sherrod.” The discussion will focus on the reporting and coverage of this incident and the role that race still plays in a runaway media culture.

NABJ also extended Breitbart <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Breitbart>an invitation to this session. He initially accepted, but later declined.

*EVENT: *Context and Consequences: A Conversation with Shirley Sherrod and the National Association of Black Journalists**

*TIME: 8:00 a.m. PST July 29- Newsmaker Plenary***

*LOCATION: Manchester Grand Hyatt, Room TBA*

Happy Birthday Mr. President!

Pin a few dollars on his lapel under his flag pin, President Obama turned 48 today.  Check his belly button was he really born though?  If so, he couldn’t have been born in the U.S……maybe Hawaii.  So to President Barack Obama, I say, HAPPY BIRTHDAY….wherever you were born.

Photo: Alex Brandon/Associated Press – President serving cake as a candidate last year on his 47th birthday

Jungle Monkies, Mad Bitches, and Little F….. (can’t do that one)

“Charlie gives this talk, ‘We do something special at Notre Dame,’ and (the players) get up and they do this little cheer … this little fa**** dance.”

University of Hawaii Head Football Coach Greg McMackin

[Had I] been the officer he verbally assaulted like a banana-eating jungle monkey, I would have sprayed him in the face with OC (oleorosin capsicum, or pepper spray) deserving of his belligerent non-compliance.”

Boston police officer Justin Barrett

“We won’t tell you who’s getting a bottle of Mad Bitch.”  Suggesting a beer Hillary Clinton could have had with the President and his guests.

Dana Milbank, Washington Post

It’s like a bad joke….A racist, a sexist, and a homophobe walk into a bar.  At least officer Barrett had the decency to be a racist via the privacy of email.  Milbank and McMakin not only made their comments in public, they expected laughs.
Hawaii suspended McMackin for 30 Days without pay, and Barrett has also been suspended and is probably on his way to being fired.  But the  Washington Post hasn’t made a decision on Milbank’s turn on “Mouthpiece Theater.”

While the nation wants to pat one another on the back and make “post-racial” the new black (that’s confusing) it’s still business as usual for biggots.  Biggots…birthers….Glenn Beck….it’s too much man.

Henry Louis Gates agrees to have beer with Officer Crowley and President Obama at the White House

Henry Louis Gates released a statement to TheRoot.com (which was sent to Dallas South) regarding the President’s invitation to have a beer at the White House with the officer who arrested him. Gates,Editor-in-Chief of The Root., accepted President Obama’s offer.

“It was very kind of the President to phone me today. Vernon Jordan is absolutely correct: my unfortunate experience will only have a larger meaning if we can all use this to diminish racial profiling and to enhance fairness and equity in the criminal justice system for poor people and for people of color.

And to that end, I look forward to studying the history of racial profiling in a new documentary for PBS. I told the President that my principal regret was that all of the attention paid to his deeply supportive remarks during his press conference had distracted attention from his health care initiative. I am pleased that he, too, is eager to use my experience as a teaching moment, and if meeting Sgt. [James] Crowley for a beer with the President will further that end, then I would be happy to oblige.

After all, I first proposed that Sgt. Crowley and I meet as early as last Monday. If my experience leads to the lessening of the occurrence of racial profiling, then I would find that enormously gratifying. Because, in the end, this is not about me at all; it is about the creation of a society in which ‘equal justice before law’ is a lived reality.”

CNN looks for different angle in Black in America 2

One of the biggest complaints that I heard regarding last year’s groundbreaking spcecial Black in America on CNN, was that it painted the African-American community with a negative brush.

Struggling fathers and mothers, Black women who can’t find a man, people in prison, the argument was there for the making.  But it was also the place I remember hearing that White Americans with a felony have a better chance of getting a job than African-Americans without one.

This time, CNN is touting a solutions oriented approach with Black in America 2 that airs Wednesday night at 8 PM Central, and Thursday night at 7 PM.  Without directly responding to criticism of their generally well received first attempt, marketing for the program has promised something more.

Last night my family and I sat down to watch the 40 minute screener sent to us by CNN.  There were five impactful segments which were included:

  • The story of “Journey for Change,” a youth empowerment program founded by activist Malaak Compton-Rock
  • A segment on Black Marriages and one couple’s fight to stay together
  • A look at the Tyler Perry phenomenon and the success of his studio
  • Steve Perry and Capital Prep, a school he founded in Hartford, Conn.  Capital Prep has mostly African-American students in an urban setting and 100% of the students go on to attend a four year college upon graduation.
  • John Rice, brother of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, and his program which grooms minority executives

I was captivated by the stories of Rice and Steve Perry.  These two young men identified a need and are working to meet that need.  It’s a route that more individuals are going to have to take if our communities are to succeed.

The same can be said for Tyler Perry.  For people like me familiar with Perry from his stage play days, there really wasn’t anything new here. But it was still good to see the model of a man not just  complaining about lack of African-Americans on T.V., but employing African-Americans on camera and behind the camera.

Rock’s program didn’t strike me the same way, but some of the kids highlighted in the piece did.  One young man (I think he was 15) was a tall and outstanding basketball player, yet when Rock interviewed him for the program he was barely audible.  He constantly looked down and mumbled as he spoke, a far cry from the confidence he displayed in clips shown of him on the basketball court.

Similarly I was impacted by a young lady from Capital Prep who said when she was 15 her only goal was to get her G.E.D. and move into an apartment.  How many African-American girls across the country have also set such a pitifully low bar for themselves?  She’s now on track to attend college due in large part to her time at Steve Perry’s Magnet School.

I applaud CNN and Soledad O’Brien, as I did last year, for attempting to highlight the unique challenges that face African-Americans.  I also welcome their decision to focus on solutions and highlighting those who are out busting down walls, myths and stereotypes.

It’s easy to forget that prior to 2007, a show like Black in America barely made it to the idea phase, less known onto the screen.  NBC Nightly News  kind of got it rolling in November ’07 before Black in American in ’08.  Now show’s like TV One’s Stand in 2009 don’t not seem like outliers anymore.  Now that we see a Black President on TV everyday, it’s easy to forget that just a couple of short years ago -before Jena 6- Black folks on television was a rarity.

I will be locked in tonight (after the President’s Press Conference) at 8 PM Central to support CNN’s Black in America.  I hope it will inspire people to do more than just keep score, but to also get in the game and work to make a difference.