A former agent of supermodel Naomi Campbell gives a frank assessment of the color prejudice against using dark skin black models in the fashion industry. An article titled, "Is The Fashion Industry Racist? Yes -- And It Goes Right To Its Core," by Liz Jones in the Daily Mail June 13, 2011 gets to the root of the issue.
The age old issue of skin color runs deep in the fashion industry. This is something that deserves to be elevated to the broader public. World wide black people spend plenty buying the designer labels from fashion houses that don't want dark skin models showcasing their clothes. I would hope that some high profile stars pick up the microphone on this and put the fashion industry on blast. We get upset about a Pepsi ad run during the Super Bowl that could be interpreted one way or another regarding the image of black women, but this is in your face from those in the fashion industry.
Some may scoff at what my seem to be a business preference, but in reality it gets to a basic definition of what is presented as normal, beautiful and acceptable as standards in society. This may seem like far less noble of an issue to pursue than the right to vote, eat at a public lunch counter or right to equal education, but is it really?
The fashion industry has a worldwide reach and projects a global view at the cutting edge of what is coming next. If what is coming next is rarely view adorning the body of people of a certain skin tone, then what does that say about them? It says that they don't matter. If they don't matter, then their dollars should not matter.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Friday, June 3, 2011
One Year Anniversary Unemployed Let Them Eat Cake
Something is seriously wrong in the black community when it comes to a May 2011 unemployment rate of 16.2% that is over twice that of whites at 8%. What does this prolonged and deep joblessness mean to a community that was already experiencing problems?
Once again the numbers tell a tale of two Americas. African Americans are going through a depression as their unemployment rate is twice that of some other groups. What kind of erosion of wealth and future prospects is taking place as this drags on? The housing crisis took huge chunks of net worth out of a community that was already lagging the mainstream. Why are black Americans having a much harder time finding work?
One issue that is not being discussed enough is that getting a job in this worker saturated market has gone back to a “who do you know” model. The buzzword of networking is the way to get past the screens and separate yourself from the hordes sending in job applications. Networking is another word for calling or finding someone that can make a difference in getting you an inside track to a job. When it comes to knowing folks that can make a difference in getting a job, most African Americans know fewer of those people.
The world of networking to get a job depends heavily on having contacts that are in positions inside companies that can say a good work, pull your resume out of the pile or even pull the trigger on hiring you. Simply put, most black people don’t have the inside networks that some other groups have and that combined with other factors make up a poison pill that results in higher unemployment rates in their community.
Friday, April 8, 2011
State Flag of Mississippi
It seems that a new poll by Public Policy Polling showed that 46% of Republicans in Mississippi prefer a ban on interracial marriage.
It is closing in on 50 years since interracial marriage was made legal in Mississippi and this shows how long it takes for attitudes to catch up with societal changes. An article titled “46 Percent of Mississippi Republicans Want Interracial Marriage Banned” by Lauren Frayer April 8, 2011 and published in AOL news goes into other details.
Considering other polling that has shown the skew in other views among Republicans by geography regarding issues such as the belief that President Obama was not born in the United States, is this really surprising. President Obama was the product of an interracial marriage and that could make it easier for some that hold negative view on mixed marriages to believe other negative things about the President.
There was also other revealing back ground data in the study. It seems that those that are against interracial marriage, support Sarah Palin more than Mitt Romey. Overall, Haley Barbour had the most support for President. Mike Huckabee was the second choice for President in 2012 with Gingrich and Palin tied for third.
This story is sobering and says a lot about a continuing racial divide among some in this country.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Marin County California has 7 of the whitest cites in the Bay Area and they have new plans to attract minorities.
An article titled “The 10 Whitest Cities in the Bay Area” by Aaron Glantz March 24, 2011 and published in the Bay Citizen details the issue. Not only are there few minorities in Marin County, it has been charged with failure to comply with the 1964 Civil Rights Act and other anti-discrimination laws.
A situation like this should not come as a surprise to most people in the United States as there are highly segregated areas all over the nation. There real issue is why these areas are segregated, by choice or by design. An area segregated by choice simply means that a certain racial or ethnic group became the majority population by choice and not by excluding other groups intentionally.
Segregation by design means that barriers were erected to exclude other races intentionally and that seems to be the case in Marin County as realtors and landlords were also mentioned as needing to curb discriminatory practices. It also seems that less than mandated affordable multifamily housing was built to restrict the number of lower income residents that could move into the county. In effect Marine County, California is under a housing version of forced busing to introduce diversity into the communities.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Times and demographics have changed as Washington DC no longer has an African American majority living in the city. According to just released census data the non-Hispanic white and Hispanic population now makes up 50 percent of the population.
The appeal of life in Washington DC has simply resulted in changes that have pushed many lower income residents outside of the city. In other words the cost of living has risen as areas underwent changes to attract resident that enjoyed the close in and walking based lifestyle. In what is generally known as gentrification as lower income neighborhoods undergo renovation and increases in rent and sales prices, the former low income residents simply move out. In the case of Washington DC, many of those displaced low income residents are African American as their population decreased by 11.1% since 2000 while whites increased by 31.4% over the same period. With Hispanic blacks added to the number the total black population is 50.7%. An article titled “In D.C., blacks are no longer the majority” by Oren Dorell March 25, 2011 and published in USA Today breaks down the census figures.
This type of shift is not a surprise and is taking place in many areas of the United States as the shift from the suburbs to central city living is being driven by many factors including fuel prices and traffic congestion. It is just ironic for Washington DC to lose its status as a majority African American city with the first black President occupying the White House.
Monday, March 7, 2011
We have had our share of outrages over the promotion of the image of the angry black woman on television and in popular culture. Where do we place the blame for real life angry black women on a reality show like The Celebrity Apprentice?
The loudest outcries came over the Pepsi Max commercial aired during Super Bowl XLV. An article titled “'Angry black woman' Super Bowl ad promotes stereotypes” by Ronda Racha Penrice February 7, 2011 and published on the Grio website goes into the roots of the anger. That Pepsi Max commercial was a scripted, cast and produced piece. The Celebrity Apprentice is a very popular reality show starring real estate mogul Donald Trump and a cast of celebrities competing to win various contests or get fired. The 2011 seasons, from all accounts, has a toxic and anger fuel relationship between two cast members.
Star Jones formerly of The View on ABC and NeNe Leakes of The Real Housewives of Atlanta clashed on the show. Obviously details are not being released because all of the episodes have not aired yet, but Leakes went as far as to say that she would not spit on Star Jones if she was on fire. Apparently things became very heated. This will be great for ratings as viewers will tune in to witness the drama, but what about the image. These are real black women going after each other.
There are no fingers to point at some larger corporation as these folks are themselves and maybe that is the point. Those with knowledge of Star Jones and NeNe Leakes from past television appearances could see this coming a mile away if these two personalities were paired together for an extended period of time. Maybe these are two angry black women and it only reflects on them and not every black woman in America.
Friday, March 4, 2011
Twenty Dollar Bill
What value do you place on your life? How about $20? That is what one young woman threw her life away for when she decided to fight a friend over $20 she had loaned to her. An article titled “A $20 Loan, a Facebook Quarrel and a Fatal Stabbing” by Al Baker and Tim Stelloh May 2, 2011 and published in the New York Times details the incident.
This argument between these two friends, who happened to be young black women, escalated because one of them made a loan of $20 dollars to the other on the premise that the recipient of the loan would purchase diapers for her young child. The friend that loaned the funds discovered that the money was used for something else and became angry and expressed that anger on Facebook and ended with a promise to settle the matter in person. That in-person confrontation ended up with the lender of the funds dead from a stab wound. She lost her life over $20.
In reality this young woman did not die over $20, she died from something that happens all too often today in the black community among young people, too much bravado. According to the article, the woman who got the loan stated that she did not thug on Facebook and would do it in person and the other friend said we will see. Now you have a setup on a social network where all of their friends can see the argument taking place. Now the stage is set for the confrontation to take place or for one of them to lose face and face embarrassment. Take into account that the lender was 22 years old and the loan recipient was 18.
In the final analysis the 22-year old went to the 18-year old woman’s apartment and the confrontation end with a fatal stab wound to the chest, from a kitchen knife, of the young woman that loaned her friend $20. This is a sad situation, but lives have been lost over footwear, wheels on automobiles and other material items that some have deemed worthwhile to take a life to obtain. I don’t know what that $20 really meant to the young woman that was stabbed, but it was not worth her life.
What is your life worth, here’s $20, is that enough?