Below is a list of the 10 most popular stories from our “Just Curious” franchise. This is a franchise we created to hear the voice of our readers on comments, commercials, or videos that can “possibly” be deemed racist; or just your thoughts on stories that have a particular racial resonance.
#1 Just Curious: Was this video mocking “Hip-Hop’s Swagger?”
This was our most commented “Just Curious” of the year. Many found this video to just be poking fun at Hip-Hop, while a small minority found it to be offensive. What are your thoughts?
#2 Just Curious: Does mocking the First Lady make you racist?
The basic storyline is that Scott Baio, aka Charles In Charge, aka Washed-Up-Sitcom-Star-With-A-Sex-Addiction-And-Reality-Show-On-Resume, posted an unflattering image of the First Lady on his Twitter with a caption that read, “WOW He wakes up to this every morning.” Of course, the mass of activist Twitterers took to the streets with their torches & pitchforks to condemn Baio for his blatant racism.
But was this necessarily racist or was he just saying he finds the First Lady unattractive?
#3 Just Curious: Should more Black newswomen break ranks and go “natural?”
Many more Black newswomen are going natural, bucking the trend of newswomen who wear weaves to have longer hair. What do you think of this new trend?
#4 Just Curious: Is relaxing your hair a celebration of Black History?
In honor of Black History Month I thought I’d post this Family Dollar ad from last February, sent in by Gloria K:
As Gloria says, “I guess nothing honors African-American heritage quite like cream relaxer.” Indeed. If only they’d included some skin lighteners, we’d really be set.
Racist or not?
#5 Just Curious: Do Black people actually like John Mayer?
His comments in a Playboy interview were:
“My dick is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a fuckin’ David Duke cock.”
Racist or not?
#6 Just Curious: Stephen Colbert creates hilarious parodies of Tiger ad.
Not one to be left out of the comedy-fray, Stephen Colbert weighs in with his ideas about what other voiceovers could have been on Tiger’s now-infamous Nike ad.
What did you think of this ad?
#7 Just Curious: P.Diddy can’t own an NFL team because he’s young and Black?
With recent talks of rapper-turned-mogul Sean “P Diddy” Combs interest in buying an NFL Team, a NBC contributor wrote a very humorous yet controversial article titled, Imagining A World Where Sean Combs Owns an NFL Team. Writer Drew Magary points out that NFL owners are “the oldest and whitest of old white guy clubs”, and “are wary of a young owner with a dubious legal past and considerable media notoriety”.
Magary notes that P Diddy would bring some “pizazz” to the league but doesn’t seem to take the notion as a real possibility– should we as Black people take offense to these statements about the would-be first Black NFL team owner? The National Football League is now over 60% African-American players, why is the ownership 100% white? Is Black ownership in the NFL a possibility?
On his own, he doesn’t possess anywhere near enough free capital to buy an NFL team, which costs about a billion dollars on average. There’s also the issue of NFL owners, the oldest and whitest of old white guy clubs, being wary of a young owner with a dubious legal past and considerable media notoriety.
But Diddy is dreaming big. So let us dream with him, America. What would an NFL team look like were it to be owned by the erstwhile Puff Daddy? I imagine the team would adapt the following features:
-Team relocated to East Hampton
-Fish eye camera used on stadium Jumbotron at all times
-No more cheerleaders. HONEYS. Lots of honeys.
-All offensive and defensive plays openly stolen from other teams, and from Sting
-No one in stadium allowed to make fun of Diddy’s underbite
-Admission price for Jennifer Lopez and family doubled
-Parking spaces widened to allow for customized Escalades
-All players forced to point skyward after scoring to acknowledge Biggie
Was this racist or just funny?
#8 Just Curious: Is it racist to say you “forgot” a person’s race?
This is what Chris Matthews said earlier this year:
I was trying to think about who he was tonight. It’s interesting: he is post-racial, by all appearances. I forgot he was black tonight for an hour. You know, he’s gone a long way to become a leader of this country, and past so much history, in just a year or two. I mean, it’s something we don’t even think about. I was watching, I said, wait a minute, he’s an African American guy in front of a bunch of other white people. And here he is president of the United States and we’ve completely forgotten that tonight — completely forgotten it. I think it was in the scope of his discussion. It was so broad-ranging, so in tune with so many problems, of aspects, and aspects of American life that you don’t think in terms of the old tribalism, the old ethnicity. It was astounding in that regard. A very subtle fact. It’s so hard to talk about. Maybe I shouldn’t talk about it, but I am. I thought it was profound that way.
Racist or not?
#9 Just Curious: Are ads in India perpetuating stereotypes of African-Americans?
African-Indian bonhomie was all the rage in India’s media last week, amid celebratory coverage of homegrown telecom company Airtel’s $10.7 billion acquisition of Kuwaiti company Zain’s African operations and TV images of Indian visitors blowing vuvuzelas at soccer’s World Cup in South Africa. Amid all the backslapping, however, an African student in India who runs a news and current-affairs website from the city of Bhopal accused companies like Coca-Cola of airing racist commercials on Indian TV that portrayed Africans as primitive savages.
“Indian marketers have a field day in putting ‘blacks’ where they’ve always ‘belonged,’ at least in the average Indian mind-sets,” wrote S.K.Y. Banji, an Ugandan who has lived in India for more than four years and runs thereigntimes.com. His comments were endorsed by fellow Africans who posted on the site, sharing their own experiences of racism in India, and soon Banji’s concerns were being aired in segments of the mainstream media. Yet there was hardly any public outcry, and none of the companies have issued apologies. (See why racist attitudes are so ingrained.)
What do you think of this?
#10 Just Curious: Cabs shouldn’t pick you up if you’re wearing a hoodie or a pant?
Last week, the President of the New York Federation of Livery Cab Drivers said that more cab drivers should racially profile as “99 percent” of people who harm or kill cabbies are Black or Hispanic. He then backtracked from his comments and said that anyone who looks “suspicious” shouldn’t be picked up; that meant anyone wearing hoodies or baggy jeans.
Is this man just telling the truth or is he promoting racism?