This is the trailer for the remake of “Annie,” set for a Christmas release:
Remember when certain folks freaked out when they found that Rue in “The Hunger Games” was black? Here we go again (click here, via Crooks and Liars).
Since today is the last day of Black History Month, let’s have a black history quiz:
What do the following people have in common? (Chart from the Washington Post)
Yes, they are black. (Why else would they be in this quiz?) But they also represent a significant minority.
Of the 1,950 people who have served in the U.S. Senate, these nine are the only African Americans to hold a seat in the upper chamber of Congress.
Hyram Revels and Blanche Bruce were both senators from Mississippi who served during the post Civil War Reconstruction of the South from 1870-71 and 1875-1881, respectively. Both were appointed by the Mississippi State Legislature, but Bruce was the first black person for serve a full Senate term.
Edward Brooke (1967-1979) of Massachusetts was the first African American to win a Senate seat in a popular vote. The Bay State also was represented by Mo Cowan, who was appointed to the seat in 2013 to fill out the vacancy created by the appointment of John F. Kerry to the post of Secretary of State. Ed Markey now holds that seat.
Illinois has had three black senators, Carol Moseley Braun (1993-1999)), Barack Obama (2005-2008) and Roland Burris (2009-2010). Moseley Braun is the only African American to serve a full term as an Illinois senator. Obama … well, you know what happened to him. Burris was appointed to finish Obama’s term.
Tim Scott of South Carolina was appointed to the Senate in 2013 when Jim DeMint decided he was going to go to the Heritage Foundation to make a lot of money. It will be interesting to see what happens this year, when Scott faces a special election to complete the term. He’s only the third black person to represent a Southern state.
And Cory Booker of New Jersey was elected last year in a special election, but he runs again this year for a full term.
So, by the numbers, There have been five black Democrats and four black Republicans in the Senate. Three have been appointed. Two are up for re-election this year. And one became president.
An interesting countdown for such a tiny group.
Less than nine months ago, Cheerios ran an ad in which a little girl asked her mother “Are Cheerios good for your heart.” Mom said yes, and the girl dumped a box of cereal on her sleeping father’s chest (see that ad here). Pretty innocuous, but Cheerios had to disable comments when the ad showed up on YouTube, because a bunch of people went apoplectic because the ad featured a mixed race family.
So that was it, right? Cheerios runs an ad, racists respond, but Cheerios kept running the ad. And now it’s got this one.
This one’s called “Cheerios 2014 Game Day Ad.” Sounds like it’s going to run during the Super Bowl, the biggest advertising day of the year. Right now, it has almost a million hits on YouTube, and the comments are on. Let’s see how long that lasts.
The ad, though is still pretty innocuous. I’m totally with mom’s “Are you nuts?!?!!” reaction to the puppy deal.
But given the time between the first ad and the presentation of this one, the underlying message is: “See! Cheerios were REALLY good for dad’s heart.”
At first this was interesting:
Then it became annoying:
Then I wondered, are blacks smoking more pot?
And now I see it’s just pure racism:
The only way to stop these unjust arrests, and they are unjust, is to legalize pot everywhere. When one group is so overwhelmingly treated unjustly by a law, the law has to change.
StoryCorp is an audio-history project that’s been around for a decade in which people talk about their lives and the lives of others. Here are three stories of American diversity.
A working black family:
A working Hispanic family:
A working white family:
You can see these on YouTube, or order a DVD from PBS here.
I remember when I first saw Santa’s Helpers in Brussels: white guys in black face.
I thought: That’s weird.
This is what they looked like:
I guess I should have been insulted, like everyone else appears to be all of a sudden. Which I find odd. I’ve known this European Christmas story for close to 10 years. Found it more entertaining than hearing about a obese guy living with his wife in a really cold place and commanding an army of pointy-eared little people dressed in green.
That seems pretty offensive, right?
Like if you had a choice between being accosted by this or by the black guys up higher, which one would freak you out the most?
And as a parent, I really wish I could have told my kid when he was little: “Look. You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout. I’m telling you why. Santa Claus is coming to town with a bunch of black guys, and they’re gonna kick your ass if don’t get your act together.”
But, really, I never saw Santa’s helpers beat up kids in Belgium. They never even looked funny at kids. All they did was smile.
And not just on the street. I was at a fancy restaurant in Brussels called La Quincallerie with my boss, who came from the states around the holiday. So we’re having a nice dinner, and a couple of Santa’s Helpers come in, raising money for charity. My boss looks at me, wondering how he should react, and I tell him the story of the Spanish Santa.
Probably didn’t resolve anything. But there was an internal logic to the story.
Unlike the fat guy with a bunch of flying caribou.
But if you want to see a really disturbing Christmas story (Really, don’t watch this if you don’t want to be offended. This is really vile. You have been warned):
I told you not to watch it. Makes the black guys look tame, right?
Does it matter? I don’t want to bother with “selfie gate.”
Because this is who the woman was:
It’s a world leader. They’re sitting at a memorial service that took about four hours in which people were dancing and singing and had a good time.
So are they supposed to put on a “serious face” when everybody else was having a good time.
Well, except for Michelle. (She kind of did look pissed in all the photos I saw during this sequence. And hubby and wife did swap seats, eventually.)
- Media reaction to the Obama-Cameron-Thorning Schmidt ‘selfie’ was immature and sexist | Kayla Epstein (theguardian.com)
- Photographer: Mrs. Obama not upset over selfie (usatoday.com)
- About that Obama selfie nonsense (washingtonpost.com)
Turns out according to the story reported on Live HD 5 News (WCSC), Michael Brown, a frequent patron of Wild Wings Café, visited the establishment with 24 family members to bid farewell to a cousin leaving Charleston. The party of 25 waited 2 hours to be seated. Upon being seated, they were told by the shift manager that there was a problem. What was the problem? One white patron felt threatened by the presence of the party of 25 blacks.
The shift manager asked the party to move. While doing so one of the 25 patrons decided to videotape the wrongdoing that was in progress. That upset the shift manager who asked them to leave the establishment. When asked for clarification, the shift manager told them she had the right to deny them service.
- White person makes restaurant ask party of 25 blacks to leave (dailykos.com)
- Charleston, S.C., Restaurant Kicks 25 Blacks Out (bet.com)
- South Carolina: Black Patrons Asked to Leave Restaurant Because White Patron Felt Uncomfortable (rippdemup.com)
- Restaurant Racial Discrimination: 25 Black Patrons Kicked Out Because White Woman Felt ‘Threatened,’ Facebook Post Sparks Outrage (VIDEO) (hngn.com)
- Reports: S.C. restaurant refused to seat black patrons (usatoday.com)
- Blacks Asked To Leave Restaurant Because White Diner Felt Threatened [VIDEO] (hiphopwired.com)
Let’s dig into the vault of old television.
From 1950 to 1960, Groucho Marx had a game show on NBC-TV called “You Bet Your Life.” It was a simple show. Groucho would have a couple of people come out. They’d talk for a while, then he’d ask them four questions to get to a $500 prize. If they answered correctly, they’d come on again at the end of the show and spin the “Wheel of Fortune” for a chance at $10,000, which was a ton of money back then.
I was looking at some Marx Brothers clips (I don’t have to explain to you who the Marx Brothers were, do I? If so, go rent the movie “Horsefeathers.” That’s all you need to know.) and saw a link to this episode of “You Bet Your Life.”
Now consider the context. This is a nationally broadcast game show in the 1950s, and Groucho has a black couple on. Today, that’s no big deal. But back then, it had to be scandalous. Black people were rarely seen on television. If you read Jet magazine well into the 1970s, one of the highlights was the last page before the back cover. That gave a listing of all the black people scheduled to be on national television that week. The appearances were so rare, the listings didn’t even take up a half page of a mini-magazine.
The entertainment industry shied away from showing black people because of concerns over offending white viewers in the South. But here’s Groucho with a black couple and a boatload of kids. No mention of race. No uncomfortable jokes. Just a straightforward back and forth with a nice family. Though I did think bringing the kids on was a bit much.
Anyway, the husband and wife leave the show with $2,500. The family is happy, six kids in tow and number seven in mom. And Groucho invites them back for another appearance.
And I’m left to wonder: Whatever happened to that family?
No way!!! Really??!!!
Yep. The couple on “You Bet Your Life” was the Sylvers. And the little kids grew up to be The Sylvers.
Now I’m thinking, no that can’t be possible. I’m jumping from point A to point Z without going through the rest of the alphabet. Until I found this clip:
It’s really them. The couple ended up with 10 kids. Dad left mom to hang out with Ike Turner. Mom and kids moved to crime-ridden Watts. And then the kids formed a megahit disco group that later fell apart because of drug abuse.
All this new knowledge because I saw a clip with Chico Marx that made me laugh. (Yeah, I was looking at the “swordfish” routine from “Horsefeathers” with Groucho and his brother Chico and then stumbled on this history of the Sylvers.)