Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My latest posts on

The color of social illiteracy
Are young people today "breathtakingly stupid"?

That's the contention Simon Doonan makes in a recent edition of the New York Observer. As Doonan complains, today, youth possess "a breathtakingly narrow frame of reference."

In commentary on Doonan's piece, Jezebel notes, for example, a clip from Smash His Camera, HBO's new documentary on the life of infamous papparazzo Ron Gallela. In it, a 20-something young woman peruses Gallela's work, clueless about the icons in front of her: Ummm...Elizabeth Tyler Burton [she says, squinting at a photo caption] have no idea who this guy is [Henry Kissinger]...uh, Bobby...Kennedy?

When reading Doonan, the wizened GenXer in me shook her fist in agreement. Yeah! Damn stupid kids! In my day we knew things! But then I thought about this notion of cultural literacy through the prism of race, and I paused. Read more...

American Apparel's embrace of the 'fro isn't progress
It's not lost on many black women like myself that advertisers seem pretty enamored with our natural hair of late. It's especially conspicuous because the number of women rocking locs, twists and 'fros in commercials these days seems at odds with the number of women who actually do so in real life — not to mention society's generally mixed feelings about non-straightened hair.

Even as companies like Six Flags ban natural styles for black employees, we're seeing advertisers use such women as examples of what's trendy and desirable in their commercials. In fact, according to Gawker, no less an arbiter of au courant hipster fashion than American Apparel has allegedly demanded that some African-American employees stop straightening their hair — all to better sell the company's brand. Read more...


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