Chief Illiniwek, the athletic mascot of the University of Illinois who was scuttled and banned from campus in February, was allowed back for homecoming celebrations. The university on its decision to allow the Chief back: “The university values free speech and free expression and considers homecoming floats, decorations, costumes and related signage all representations of such personal expression. Therefore, Chancellor Herman has directed the Homecoming Committee to strike the existing policy from the homecoming float guidelines.”
Would it be hyperbolic to draw an analogy between this and, say, a bunch of white kids on campus performing in blackface? And what changed between the February decision to get rid of The Chief and the decision to revive him?
Last week, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick threw his endorsement behind longtime friend Barack Obama. The endorsement was seen by some as an opportunity for Obama to leverage his grassroots support in Massachusetts to garner votes in neighboring New Hampshire for the important early primaries. The Patrick speaks, people —- particularly young people —- listen.
But Obama seems to be losing steam using the same language of hope that catapulted Patrick to the Governor’s office in his own historic election. A growing number of Boston-area activists, mostly young professionals, say they are looking for Obama to share ideas with substance.
I tried to sit through Tyler Perry’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman last winter with my cousin; I almost bodied myself. Not content to let Steve Harris’s character simply be a dick, Perry made him an unfaithful husband who colluded with drug dealers to amass his fortune before literally tossing his loving, supportive wife (Kimberly Elise) out of his tacky monstrosity of a mansion to be with his new white girlfriend — with whom he fathered two kids. It’s that kind of movie.
Tyler Perry hears my complaints, and dabs his tears with large denomination bills. Why Did I Get Married? opened at #1, and did so without the stamp of approval from mainstream movie critics (who use all kinds of funny coded language when describing the film’s audience). Some of Perry’s fans have explicitly referred to the reviews of his films as racist.
The Boston Globe‘s Wesley Morris says that whatever you think of Tyler Perry, he isn’t going anywhere for awhile.