Monthly Archives: April 2008

“That’s Something a Second-Grader Would Have Done.”


Keirra Bell went all the way in. (For the whole “Shrek” exchange, peep the video here.)

Why Is You Playin’ On My Phone????

What’s the deal with the automated calls going out to so many black voters in North Carolina? More…

Good Rappers Ain’t Eatin’/They Olsen Twin it.

I’ve been banging this album on repeat since it arrived in the mail yesterday.

A Transgendered Marriage in Jersey.

So let’s say your married to your spouse for years, you’ve raised kids together, he or she decides to have gender re-assignment surgery and you choose to stay together.

If your state does not recognize same-sex marriages — and 49 states don’t — are you still married? The Brunners, a New Jersey couple, is trying to find out. More…

Where Wright May Be Right

Okay, so the AIDS thing is a little off the deep end (though I understand where the fear comes from), but I will say this: Rev. Jeremiah Wright is right about a lot of things.

Among them is that recent attacks on him are really attacks on the black church as an institution. That’s no so crazy, and I said as much to G.D. a couple of weeks ago. White Americans are partly disturbed by the YouTube replays of his sermons damning America because they don’t like to be reminded that there are places in which black people gather and to which white people are not invited (not that individuals are never invited, but you know what I mean).

I don’t just mean that the clips and the speeches played on racist fears of “minority” populations outnumbering white Americans (though obviously that’s going to happen soon, by most projections) but I’m sure that’s part of it.

Obviously, I can’t speak for all white people, and I’ll admit up front that I’ve done absolutely no research on this. But white, middle class Americans — those who live outside urban areas and among the huge swaths of mostly white faces in the middle of the country — don’t think of themselves as being a culture. They don’t think of the things they do every day as reinforcing cultural norms or the mundane places to which they go as cultural institutions. They just think that’s the way things are, and that’s the way you do things. They think of it as a natural way of being. As the natural way of being. And those places reinforce the natural way of thinking. More…

Your Name is WHAT?

‘Daisy’ wrote a very thoughtful blog entry about how just having a name that sounds ‘ethnic’ has consequences, even if you’re white.

My blog name is my grandmother’s name, Daisy. My real name is one that would identify me very easily, so I don’t use it. But I recently realized that something is missing in my online identity. While reading about The Carnival of Allies (proposed by The Angry Black Woman), I noted that I have never had to pointedly present myself as an ally to black people (not every minority; I specifically refer to black people) because they have usually assumed that I am.

They assume so, I figure, because I have a black name. More…

Ta-Nehisi on Wright.

Barack Obama’s angry denunciation of Rev. Jeremiah Wright yesterday caught a lot of people by surprise. But it hasn’t been as surprising as Wright’s Magical Media Tour (as Shani called it), which seemed to defy any sort of logic.

I asked someone who works for the Obama campaign what they thought Wright was trying to accomplish. “Clear his name?” she said. Uh, he’s taken a pretty interesting tack to that end.

The press is usually very slow to self-correct, so the idea that Wright is not an anti-white, anti-American nutjob — the popular narrative, even though there’s little evidence to support it and there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary — is gonna be one that’s hard for him to shake.


That said, I want to be clear that I thought Wright acted a fool on Monday. There’s a lot of chatter out there claiming that Wright was trying to sabotage Obama. I don’t buy it. Like I said yesterday, I think Wright just wanted to say whatever he felt. But he made a few mistakes. Chief among them, as my friend Jelani Cobb has said, was not recognizing the difference between his pulpit and the lion’s den. This press lives to expose these sort of performances, and Wright just gave them low-hanging fruit.

Why he would do that, given what he’s been through the past few months, just boggles the mind. You can’t, on the one hand, attack the press for distorting you, and then go right to the press to communicate who you are to the American people. The saddest part of this to me, is that I don’t think Wright understood what was going on. There’s a lot of reporting now suggesting that Bill Clinton’s biggest problem is that he simply doesn’t understand how much media has changed since his White House days. His gaffes are not the product of a decline in skills, as I’ve written before, but the result of a fundamental misunderstanding of what the press has become–a gaggle of cynics who sit around waiting for people say something stupid. Gotcha journalism rules the day. Wright’s mistake was much the same–he simply had no understanding of the press.