In Ferguson, Missouri, last Saturday, an unarmed Black teenager named Michael Brown was killed by a police officer. This is not uncommon in America: The Root has a slideshow of twenty such incidents since 1999 (it doesn’t include Trayvon Martin; another one happened on Monday). Here are some things these men were doing when they were killed: leaving a birthday party, climbing the stairs, getting ready to get married, kneeling, lying face-down, riding a bike, using a water fountain, fleeing Hurricane Katrina. Read more
I heard this amazing story on “The Moth Radio Hour.” You may have heard it too, if you listen to a lot of public radio. Ed Gavagan walked into a Latin Kings initiation and was so severely injured that when he woke up in the hospital, two homicide detectives were sitting on the end of his bed. The story is at once inspirational and grounded, funny and extremely graphic (I felt sick while listening). I have absolutely no bone to pick with Mr. Gavagan, who underwent great suffering and is a gifted storyteller. But one thing about the story seemed off: the kill-a-random-stranger gang initiation. Read more
In my last post I had fun with the Boston media I love to hate, but I completely forgot Boston’s excellent Black-owned and -edited newspaper, the Bay State Banner. And yes, I do attribute this to my own racism—here’s a paper I read every week and respect, but it happened to slip my mind while I was composing a lament for the state of the local press. Read more
I’ve stopped reading Bay Windows. Not because of editor Sue O’Connell’s political missteps; frankly, it would take a lot more offensiveness to get me to abandon the LBGT weekly I’ve been picking up for fifteen years. And not merely because of the atrocious copyediting. No, I’ve stopped reading Bay Windows because the atrocious copyediting plus the evident carelessness with which the paper is assembled make me feel deeply disrespected as a reader. All too often, it’s obvious that articles have been cut and pasted from e-mails or internet posts, like the item about a voicemail left by the Southie St. Patrick’s parade organizers for a gay group which included the words “audio attached,” or the news briefing which read: “. . . and makes crimes committed against guest blog transgender people subject to treatment as hate crimes.” And, of course, this (the glaring error appeared twice, once on the front page and once in the headline of the editorial). Read more
Dear Bay Windows,
As a white lesbian and longtime reader of Bay Windows, I was dismayed by Sue O’Connell’s August 8 editorial, “Sharing our Experience.” Ms. O’Connell equates the struggle of the GLBT community with that of people of color. In a country where black people were enslaved for three hundred years, lynched, and oppressed under Jim Crow, and today are disproportionately poor, in ill health and incarcerated, this comparison is senseless. Ms. O’Connell suggests—despite her disclaimers to the contrary—that young black men should overcome racism by showing the dominant culture how “presentable” they can be. This is a losing proposition. No degree of “presentability” (read: assimilation to white norms) will keep a young man of color from being judged as less than equal in this society. The problem is not young black men, it is white America. Racism is a white problem and we are the ones who must change, not the victims of our personal and, more importantly, institutional biases.
Dig Boston’s Media Farm column on the upcoming (next Thursday!) merger of the Boston Phoenix and Stuff magazine:
Perhaps the most obvious question is what is there for Mindich to celebrate in the financial necessity of having to combine two publications—one for bougie young professionals with too much money to spend and another for armchair revolutionary hipsters—without alienating either audience?
Three things that came to my eye recently.
For an item about Gabby Douglas, Us Weekly went the euphemism route:
GABBY’S SAD PAST
Before Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas, 16, won gold, she nearly quit the sport because of bullying. In 2010, she says, a staffer at Excalibur Gymnastics in Virginia Beach told her to get a nose job . . .
I believe that kind of bullying is called “racism.” Read more
Update: Published on July 19, minus the final sentence. Read more
So I was dutifully reading the long New Yorker article about “a quest to revive authentic Southern cooking,” by Burkhard Bilger. The subject is Sean Brock, a fanatically nostalgic chef in Charleston, South Caroline, who is seeking to recreate antebellum cuisine. This article must be at least ten thousand words long, but the only mentions of slavery are as follows: Read more
Today in the Gray Lady, special prisons for cops in Russia.
Russia’s Parliament rejected more substantive oversight [of the police]. Proposals included bans on entering homes without warrants or beating women with rubber batons at street protests. Russian lawmakers discussed the second item, but eventually dismissed it as discriminatory towards men.