Monday, April 28, 2014

Donald Sterling's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Trying something different here. Speed post.

Donald Sterling. He's probably rue-ing the day he got involved with that girlfriend of his, huh?

--Once again I am not surprised. I don't know why other people are surprised. Because he owns a basketball team with black players? He's also an 80-something-year-old white man. That means it is safe to say for the first 30 plus years of his life, he probably never saw a positive portrayal of a black person doing anything. And by the time you're 30, you're pretty much an adult. Obviously, I am not excusing his behavior. There are probably 80 something year old anti-racist activists too. But my point is when it comes to race, his life got set on a certain track being a white man in America, and he didn't really have to or want to do very much to change it.

--I liked the peek into the inner workings of the sugar daddy/ sugar baby relationship. He straight up told her she could sleep with other men. Why doesn't he want her broadcasting that she sleeps with black men? Probably for the same reason that white adult film stars get paid less money when they start doing scenes with black men. Probably for the same reason that black men were lynched just on the suggestion that they slept with or raped white women. Probably for the same reason that the most pervasive stereotype related to black men is that they have large penises. Some white men have a weird sexual thing with black men. I'm not white or a man, so I don't really understand it.

--The players: SMH. Obviously, the most clear sign that they didn't agree with his remarks would have been for them not to play. They didn't do that. I would imagine that they see themselves as being between a rock and a hard place. I would also imagine that they are being pressured by other people in the organization to continue playing. But I personally don't see continuing to play as any kind of real statement, regardless of how they wear their uniforms while doing it. But I am not going to knock them for their decision, they are doing what they think is best.

--The NAACP was scheduled to give Donald Sterling a humanitarian award before this tape went public. If that doesn't tell you about the sorry state of race relations in this country, I don't know what does. I don't know the specifics of how this award came about, but I am going to guess that it had something to do with Mr. Sterling writing some checks to some organizations that the NAACP cares about.

--Sports: I don't watch sports. I don't like seeing so many black men pursue athletics as a way to success. Especially sports like football and boxing, these people are basically risking their brain health and mobility for some shiny cars and big houses.

When Shaq was on Cribs showing us his basketball court and gaigondo house, you think, "Wow Shaq is rich." Yeah, that may be true, but Shaq is selling his labor. If Shaq was injured, the checks would stop. The person who signed Shaq's checks is wealthy. That person makes money in his sleep, and lives off of money he no longer has to work for. I hope this Sterling incident is a wake up call for rabid sports fans. Think about who you're really benefiting with your money. Not to mention the time you're spending watching sports...maybe you could be doing something else? Just a suggestion.

--This incident combined with the NCAA development that student athletes can unionize makes me think that maybe something big is going to happen with sports. And since a disproportionate number of black people are involved in sports, it could have significant ramifications for the black community.

--Obviously what needs to happen here is Mr. Sterling needs to sell his team. Anything less is unacceptable. If he won't sell, the players and coaches should refuse to play and coach. I understand the games are important, but probably not as important to these men about their beliefs about racial equality and who they want to enrich with their talents.

Enough from me, what do you think? What should Sterling do? What should the fans do? What should the players do? What is the purpose of professional sports in society? Is this all just a smokescreen to deflect from the FCC's recent ruling on net neutrality? The Sterling story has been the opening story the past two days, while the FCC ruling hasn't even made my nightly news program. Weird.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Love lights the world...

You've probably already seen this, but if you haven't click below:

and then this one:

Great job, Honey Maid. Now I've got a lot of the same critiques of the first commercial as I did of the Cheerios commercial. Like, how much do you want to bet they had those paper rolling artists on standby, long before either of these went up? If you never read my Cheerios critique, click here.

But there are two things that Honey Maid did in the second commercial that Cheerios didn't. First, they gave a ratio of positive to negative comments. It is so easy to read the comment sections of blogs and think that the world is just filled with bloodthirsty, racist, homophobes. But the reality is, said comments are more likely to be written by a socially maladjusted 13-year-old than a federal judge. Not saying there aren't racist federal judges, just saying they don't spend their time writing youtube comments.

Second, and most importantly Honey Maid just basically gave a big F-you to the people that didn't agree with their point. Yes, they wrapped it in a nice little message about love and upcycling, but they doubled down on the TWO GAY DUDES CAN RAISE A BABY!! idea. Lots of people have a problem with that. However, instead of being a company that tries to be all things to all people in order to make as much money as humanly possible, Honey Maid is taking a stand.

Now, don't get me wrong--I don't have a problem with companies who want to stay out of everything because the only color they care about is green. That's called capitalism. I also don't have a problem with companies that take a stand even if it's something I don't personally agree with (See: Hobby Lobby).

What I do have a problem with is wishy washy corporations like A&E who suspend someone for a weekend until they do the calculations of all the money they're gonna lose if the whole Duck Dynasty family walks off the show, and then come up with some wack excuse about why they didn't cancel the show. See previous paragraph, if A&E had just kept their mouths shut, I could understand that. But I feel like what they did was the worst possible outcome, because it showed them to be lacking convictions while trying to appear as if they had some. Don't suspend the guy for a weekend, that's just offensive.

Got sidetracked for a bit there, forgive me.

So HoneyMaid is basically saying, You gotta problem with this?! Don't buy our cookies then!

I respect that, more than I respect the original commercial. The original commercial can be written off as a trend in multicultural advertising. The second one cannot. They burned some bridges with the follow up commercial and took a real risk.

Those of us who appreciate that should let them know by buying their products, and letting them know that we're buying (more of) their products because of this campaign.

Finally, I want to see a white family in a trailer park pitching me a product. Or anyone broke in general.* Because the whole point in advertising is to create a need. They make you think you can be like the people in the ad if you buy the product. Most of the time, the people in the ad are attractive and/or rich. In the HoneyMaid ad, they're saying buying their cookies will make you feel love. This is not true, and all savvy consumers should know that. But I want HoneyMaid (or some other corporation,) to show me that I might want to be like a white family in a trailer park, because they're happy and love each other. Show me that people that don't have a lot of money still have value and deserve to be put forth as some ideal on a tv screen. Because even more than race or sex or gender, the idea that you have to be of a certain economic class to be admired is an extremely pervasive idea in our culture.

*I know everyone that lives in a trailer park is not necessarily white nor broke. I'm just trying to make a point. If you were offended, let me know and we can talk about it.

Do you have any thoughts? If so, leave me a comment.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Playing with my money is like playing with my emotions...

Today I was reminded of something I blurted late one night about seven years ago after I had a few redbull and vodkas. I was out with my friend and we met some Jewish singles that were doing a pub crawl, and we decided to crawl with them to the last couple places they were going. That was only one of three nights that I've ever had Redbull and vodka, but I have decided that it is the best drink to have when you really want to party. You're welcome.

Anyway, I was walking with my new friends and I said, I hate going to the drycleaners!

I should mention that we were walking past a dry cleaner.

I then proceeded to explain to them that I actually hate going anywhere to purchase a good or service where the prices are not clearly posted. This is not something that I had really thought much about until I saw this Primetime Live story in high school. They had two guys white and black go different places, act and dress the same, and see what happened.

Through the magic of the internet, I was able to find the program. Feel free to watch if you want. Personally, I found it riveting:

And if you're a masochist, you can watch part II here.

If you don't have time, what you see is a whole bunch of racism. And at about 8 minutes into the first video, the black guy goes to a car dealership and is quoted a higher down payment and total cost for the exact same car from the exact same car salesman.

I can get kind of get past the other stuff, but when you start to mess with my money, I get angry. I mean seriously--DON'T MESS WITH MY MONEY!!! Unlike Big Worm, I think it's actually worse than playing with my emotions. Because I can do my own work to deal with my emotions. But money is an actual tangible, fungible, finite thing that I can use to pay off debt, save for retirement, or send my kids to college. And when your racist ass tries to make me pay $1500 more for a car...WTF? I'm going to stop, because I can feel myself getting less coherent because of my strong desire to punch that car salesman in the face.

So ever since I saw that I am very wary of doing business in places without posted prices/with negotiable prices. And today I decided to go the auto body shop to see how much it cost to fix some scrapes on my car. The guy (older white guy) was actually quite nice and gave me two quotes--one if we wanna just do a basic fix and one if we wanna go ultra with it. And the most expensive quote was actually several hundred dollars less than the quote my white husband got when he took the car to a different body shop. But because of that video, I can't help but wonder what price my husband would have been quoted if he'd brought it into that same shop.

If I may, allow me to preemptively respond to some comments from Anonymous.

That black salesmen ignored the black guy too!

I know, Anonymous. That's called internalized racism, and it sucks much like racism racism.

Women/ugly people/gay people/short people/whatever kind of other people get treated badly too!

Yes, I know--what is your point?

If you get ripped off on a car, that's your fault--it's your responsibility to be a savvy consumer.

Yeah, I can see where you're coming from with this one. At the same time, I don't want to live in a world where people are constantly trying to rip other people off, behaving illogically, and just generally being a-holes. If enough people decide that such behavior is unacceptable, it could be eliminated--or at least drastically reduced.

Wow, your blog is quite amazing! Your writing is smooth and wet. Please check out my blog [_insert hyperlink to some shady as hell website here_]

Damn you, Russian spammers! I took captchas off my blog in hopes more people would comment, and now I have to deal with getting all excited when I see I have a comment only to find this crap.

This video is really old--we have a black president now!

Both of those things are true. Readers, what do you think the outcome would be if they filmed this in 2014? I myself can't say, but if I had to guess I'd say you'd find similar results. The eternal optimist in me says perhaps the incidences of racism would be less frequent, not daily like they said in the video. But I think they would still occur, because this happened to me when Barack Obama had already been president for three years.

Stop complaining/get over it/you're being to sensitive/etc.,etc.etc.

Anonymous, 8 years in and I'm finally starting to get tired of your shit. Read this and then go away.

Ok, ok, ok, you don't have to go away...I was just letting my frustrations get the best of me. If you want to engage me in good faith, I'll continue to talk to you. Because I truly believe that we have to talk all this -ish out. Because like MLK said We must learn to live together as brothers, or perish together as fools.

I suppose a third option would be brothers who finally decide they will never be able to get along and live in different parts of what used to be the United States but became several separate countries. Said brothers don't talk on the phone, aren't Facebook friends, and never see each other--not even on holidays...I'm thinking the first option is probably better.

Okay, I'm talking to all of you again.

Did you know MLK's name at birth was actually Michael? His father changed both their names when Junior was 6, to honor the father of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther. I learned that when I did a report on him in 7th grade. How to stop being racist #18: Encourage your kids to do reports on black people. In my 20 years of schooling, I can't recall a white classmate ever doing a report on a black person.

So dear readers...

What was your reaction to the video?
What were those shoe salesmen thinking? Don't shoe salesmen work on commission?
Answer these questions, or write about whatever else you want in the comments.

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