Thursday, September 30, 2010

You Can Write STFU All You Want....

I am still going to speak my mind about whatever issue I see fit to inject my chocolate flavored commentary in. 

Just as you feel your commentary on various issues is valuable and you express yourselves while doing so, I believe just as strongly in my First Amendment rights to write and express my opinions about the issues du jour.    

My chocolate flavored opinions sometimes neatly line up with yours on some issues.  In other cases they may run counter to them.   When they do, that is no excuse for you to start wielding the vanilla flavored privilege bat and attempt by various techniques to shut down what I have to say because you resemble whatever I'm talking about or what I commented on plucked a vanilla nerve.

Point is, I see the world differently from you due to my life experience growing up in 60's and 70's Louisiana and Texas, my college education, me being trans, and having to deal with bigoted and racist acts aimed at me, my family and my community for the majority of my life.

That is my reality.   I'm the result of what is created when you interact as a African descended person with a society that operates on and constantly enables 'whiteness' and white supremacy.   I'm also the result of interacting with a society that is unfair in many aspects of it where POC's are concerned for over 400 years and being cognizant of the history of that society. 

We've been paying attention to what the hell is going on even when you think we aren't and discussing it inside our internal community discourse.    So no, it shouldn't be a shock to you that 21st century African descended peeps still are reacting negatively to what was done to our ancestors and to us, or when we filter current events based on the realities of that 400 year history.  

To paraphrase Parliament-Funkadelic, don't trip about the effects and our reactions to them when you produced and enabled the causes of the stuff we are reacting to..   

You can write STFU all you want in the comment threads wherever I post, falsely label me a 'racist', or call me everything but a child of God because you hate what I have to say about various issues, but it still won't stop me from speaking my truth and tellin' it like it T-I-S is.

You haters don't like it, too bad.

My story, my chocolate flavored truth, my lived experience, and my opinions about various issues of the day in this country and around the world are just as important and vital to our national discourse on those issues as you think yours is.

Continental's Last Day

I spent 14 years working for Continental Airlines, and I like many past and present employees of the 'Proud Bird With The Golden Tail' are saddened that today is the last one that Continental will be flying around the world as an independent air carrier.

76 years of airline history goes away tomorrow as the Continental-United merger takes effect.  The merged carrier will be based in Chicago and bear the United name but keep the Continental golden globe logo and the CAL colors on its aircraft.

Tomorrow a new carrier emerges that will the largest airline in the world.  The stock gets merged tomorrow, but it will be a few years before the other physical changes like new uniforms, aircraft being painted over and signage replacement happens before the Continental name fades into aviation history for good. 

The globe logo and the colors will endure for a while as the new logo and colors of the merged airline.

But for those of us who were part of its remarkable 76 year history and who busted our behinds to turn it from worst to award winning first during the 90's and keep it there, it will be a bittersweet day.

Blackface Ain't Cool Or 'Fashion Forward', It's Offensive

As you long time readers know Jasmyne Cannick, yours truly and a long list of people inside and outside the TBLG community have long been pissed about a certain gay white man that does a New Millennium minstrel show that gay white folks think is 'humorous'.

Because of its long hundred plus year history of being used to denigrate and demean Black people, we not only are offended by any manifestations of it, we have zero tolerance for blackface imagery .

Lately we've had this irritating trend of white models being made up to look like Black women in high fashion photo shoots when there are thousands of Black models looking for work.  .

We ain't down with that high fashion form of blackface either.  

I'm on the rant about this because I stumbled across the Mike Ruiz photo shoot in which he had trans actress Candis Cayne not only made up look like Diana Ross, but in his Transformations series made her up to look like the late 70's Blaxplotation film icon Tamara Dobson. .

Um, Mike, what the hell were you thinking?  I'm not giving your behind a pass on this bull feces either because you're Latino.  You should know fracking better.

If you were going to do a photoshoot and wanted a transperson to recreate Diana Ross, I do believe in the New York metropolitan area there are two of my trans sisters in Isis King or Laverne Cox who could have easily done so.

Miss Continental 2000 Tommie Ross has built a career with her Diana Ross illusion.

All three would have been nice starting points in terms of models who would have been better choices to pull that off .

I love me some Candis Cayne, but using her in this photoshoot was problematic on a lot of levels.

There are Black female illusionists of my generation and beyond to whom Diana Ross is their beauty icon and role model.

Then there's the blackface element of this.   Whether it's done maliciously, as a misguided attempt at humor or alleged high fashion, it is still seen as a insult by many African descended people for whites to slater on dark makeup to mimic Black people..

It sends a troubling unspoken message that the only acceptable beautiful Black woman is one that has 'white' features.  It plays into buttressing the centuries old 'unwoman' meme that has been used to attack the beauty and images of African descended women.  

By using Candis, you also added another ingredient to this failure stew by erasing Black transwomen. 

Are Black transwomen not beautiful enough to recreate the images of iconic and beautiful cis women of our race and culture?

I know we are, but Mike Ruiz, whether you intended it or not, the message you sent with this photo shoot to the African descended trans community, our African American family, our cis supporters and to the world was no we aren't.

That was the message you sent and that was received by my community when you used a white Hawaiian born transwoman in a photo shoot designed to recreate two iconic African descended beauties. 

I don't know how many times those of us in the Afrosphere have to say this until y'all get it through your thick fauxgressive heads.  Blackface is not humorous, cool, fashion forward or edgy,  it's offensive.