Archive for the Rac3 P0litRICK5 Category

Part of the “Legaci” of Biebermania. Ummm… yay for… Filipinos? (fist up?)

Posted in Rac3 P0litRICK5 with tags , , , , , , , on September 7, 2010 by xmabaitx
Chris Abad, Delfin Lazaro, Dominic Manuel, Micah Tolentino of Legaci (order of names does not correspond to picture)

Hyphen Magazine (which everyone, not just Asian Americans, should be reading on a regular basis) recently put out a story on how Filipino American singing group, (or should they have been a group of white guys, what I would refer to as a boy-band) Legaci, is putting in work as the on-stage back-up singers for none other than the incomparable (snicker) Justin Bieber. Naku… there are a number of mixed feelings swirling around in my head about this one. (I had to slow my brain down 800% in order to get this all ordered in my dome.) First of all, to be clear, I am NOT hating on Legaci. I’ve seen them (at least an earlier formation of them being that Micah Tolentino is the only remaining original member) perform at an infinite number of Filipino American events (many events, I might add, that have been organized and promoted by organizations that I proudly was a member of) and despite their lack of originality they have always been technically solid both musically and theatrically. This group could definitely hold their own with ANYTHING that P. Diddy could contort and pre-fabricate. My issue with this is that ONCE AGAIN FILIPINO AMERICANS ARE GETTING THE SLOPPY SECONDS OF AN ESTABLISHED (white) POP STAR and Hyphen is uncritically saying this is a… good… thing?

“Hey, they’re all Asian!” a tween pointed out behind me, and though the comment made me chuckle (she said it in an incredulous tone rather than a derisive one), it also made me think.

I just want to point out how easily the Asian American media will grab the rusty cup of American (post-)racial equality and proclaim that is it HALF FULL. I’m not exactly sure how the author of this article makes the inference that the aforementioned remark is not in the pejorative and to be fair I wasn’t present at the concert (THANK GOODNESS I WASN’T THERE) to hear the remark in order to distinguish between “incredulous” and “derisive,” but I have a hard time thinking that when a non-person of color is articulating a racial distinction that said white person is not somehow “othering” or “exotifying” a person of color. Call me cynical, but as a Filipino I’ve experienced my fair share of sideways glances and curious murmurs when I was present in a space not regularly frequented by brown skinned people and have every right to be suspicious of remarks of that kind. Anyway, here’s more:

Normalizing an Asian American presence in the mainstream music scene — and especially with an artist as widely received as Bieber — is a large step forward for Asian Americans in the entertainment industry. Even with acts like Jin Tha MC of BET fame and the ill-fated William Hung of American Idol popularity, Asian Americans still haven’t been wholeheartedly embraced by radio’s Top 40.

This is a “step in the right direction”? Okay, once again I can’t help but gasp as I watch the positive juice of my racial equality cup leak onto the blood stained pavement of American white-supremacy. If anything, the lowest common denominator of this situation of Legaci as back-up singers for Justin Bieber formulates like this in my head: white singer in the forefront who is a caricature of R&B sprinkled pop music leading Filipino (or Asian or Latino or ethnically ambiguous depending on how non-ignorant the white people who point them out are) singers who are relegated to the background. The Filipinos in this picture are still the afterthought. Furthermore I must dutifully inquire: Are not the Filipino back-up singers included as part of the package of this pop-culture caricature rather than simply as clever additions to the formula? Yes, CARICATURES. The addition of Legaci to the Bieber pop phenomenon does not necessarily combat stereotypes of Asian Americans in entertainment, but in my opinion will most likely create a NEW stereotype. Legaci are most certainly NOT the Harajuku Girls, but how can I expect the typical ignorant white person to know the difference?

Christine Balance, a professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Irvine, pointed out in a New York Times article earlier this year that “African Americans are foundational to US popular culture, and for Latinos there’s the adjective ‘Latin’ music that’s used to describe a variety of musical forms. But Asians are still seen as foreign or alien to mainstream America.”

Dr. Balance, who probably knows a little bit about mainstream pop music culture as she earned a Doctorate in Performance studies from NYU, is hitting on the point that I’m trying to get out. The social structure of white-supremacy in the United States marginalizes Asian Americans to the point where we cannot be accepted as mainstream, regardless of being foreign or American born. I will extrapolate that Asian Americans are NEVER going to be accepted as part of this society so long as the political-economic structure of capitalism supports the superstructural formation of white-supremacy. With all due respect to Legci, as talented as they are (once again, they are g-DOUBLE-O-D, GOOD.) they could possibly replace William Hung as the new mold which by white-supremacy forges another narrow-representation of Asian Americans. It’s going to take sharper action than just the politically passive activity of achieving more mainstream face time in order for Filipinos or any other Asian American population to assert cultural legitimacy in this white man’s country.

To leave things on a positive note, I’m gonna give some props to ANY Filipino musical artists out there who are trying to get theirs. I may be critical of the social implications of situations such as Legaci’s inclusion in the burgeoning Justin Bierber lore (the VH1 Behind the Music special when they interview Legaci about Bieber’s underage alcoholism, cocaine habit, and womanizing is gonna be shweet), but agency goes a long, long way in inspiring others to assert self-determination. I’m not going to tout any liberal political lines of Asian American Studies by misguidedly proclaiming that simply MORE mainstream representation (even if we as Asian Americans perceive it to be positive) will somehow significantly melt the icy block of white-supremacy, but it’s not a bad thing to know that a Filipino group is actually going to get a payday for all the work they’ve put in over the years (they’ve been around since I was in high school. Yeah, more than a fucking decade.). I bet they’re at least thrilled that they’re playing to a new audience (even if they’re white tweenagers) who aren’t the same faces they’ve been seeing at P/Filipino Cultural Nights for the umpteenth time or having to grace a stage at a Filipino community festival being sandwiched in between the Filipino dance troupe performing a half-hearted Tinikling and a uniformed white police officer singing Engelbert Humperdinck and Journey covers (I shit you not I have seen this.) Uh… Mabuhay.

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Hip-hop racial melting pot gobbledywatchmacalit tossed salad…

Posted in Rac3 P0litRICK5, Uncategorized on September 7, 2010 by xmabaitx

This picture is supposed to be a poignant collage expressing the complexity of racialization in hip-hop culture, but all I can do I think about how terrible the color scheme is.

The original article can be found here.

This is probably going to make me sound like an asshole (as if this entire blog doesn’t already accomplish that), but every single time that I see an article about hip-hop written in a(n) (self-proclaimed) Asian American news source, I cringe and begin looking for a dose of dramamine expecting not only to be made nauseous by substandard journalism (fact checking mistakes, misquotes, right-wing leaning bias dressed up as objectivity), but also by incredibly shallow analyses of race and class. Well, this article ain’t half bad. In fact it borders on good and makes quite a few well thought out points about the intersection of race and hip-hop. Without getting too articulate, the article attempts to make a distinction between “buying-into” hip-hop culture through appropriation and petite-bourgeois conspicuous consumption as opposed to developing an organic relationship to the culture by having grown up within the hip-hop community.

Also, what is great is that Geologic of the Blue Scholars hits the nail on the head regarding legitimacy in participation in hip-hop culture within the context of race and class.

“If [I don’t have permission to] rap, then what does that say about any Black person doing martial arts? It’s a culture that’s shared,” said Quibuyen. “But that shouldn’t be an excuse to just take someone’s culture. There’s an obligation to acknowledge its history and how it came to be and where you fit in.”

Of course the article still uses the tired liberal democracy non-profit Asian American Studies “safespeak” such as “cross cultural”-ism and speaks of the issues of “stereotypes” rather than actually hitting on points of how white-supremacy as an overarching social construction is the main contributer to why there is division between Asian Americans and African Americans ergo why these racial “differences” and “tensions” manifest themselves in hip-hop culture. Of course, I shouldn’t set the bar too high for a single column news article. (wow, I really am sounding like an asshole, even though I’m doing my best to be fair. Mah bad)

Anyway, despite my being a fan of the music and on-and-off supporter of the local hip-hop artists here in the bay, as a punk rock kid, who can’t rap, DJ, dance, or write graff I couldn’t really speak from an insular point of view about hip-hop culture either. Being that I am so ethnically ambiguous, however, I wouldn’t mind learning how to be an MC just, so I could get a debate going on amongst local hip-hop heads, about “what the fuck is that guy?” “Maybe he’s half-black?” “I heard he’s Indian or something.” “Why doesn’t he rap in Spanish?” Yeah… MC Wutdafuckishe. That’s my shit.

Here’s to You Mr. Robinson

Posted in Rac3 P0litRICK5, The Wide/(White) World of Sports with tags , , , , , , , on April 15, 2009 by xmabaitx

Hats off to the only Dodger whom I will ever respect.  Despite what criticisms I may have about Robinson’s politics I would be lying if I said that learning about this man’s life did not leave a lasting impression on me as both a baseball fan and a person of color.  Jackie’s struggle represents a personal triumph against tremendous odds as well a glaring reminder that people of color in this country still have a lot of work to do in leveling the playing field (pun intended).  Commissioner of Baseball Bud Selig did the right thing (one of the ONLY things that Bud Selig has done right) in retiring Robinson’s #42 amongst all major league franchises as well as requiring a players from teams playing a game on April 15th to don a uniform with the #42 on it.  (That must be a nightmare for folks keeping official scoring though.)

And on a final note, I know, as well as anyone else who keeps up with baseball, that Robinson was already ready to retire before the trade to the Giants.  I do reserve a certain amount of twisted admiration for the fact that he claimed that he would rather retire than to represent the orange and black.  He stuck to his guns and stayed a Dodger through and through.  I may respect him for his achievements as a person of color in a white sport, but I still hate him for bleeding Dodger blue.  

Rest in peace #42 (Go Giants!)

White people… find your own damn way.

Posted in Rac3 P0litRICK5, Whitey's Mouth Writes Checks His Ass Can't Cash with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2009 by xmabaitx

So… people of color putting on workshops about “anti-racist” theory for white people may be more damaging than helpful?  Hmmm…  This is one hell of an interesting conversation and I feel that I have quite a bit to mull over regarding the thesis of this argument before I come to any lasting conclusions.  I do, however, agree with quite a bit of this blog entry right off the cuff.   It is most certainly not my, or any other person of color’s responsibility to teach white people how to be “anti-racist” (I still think that term is rather dubious, but that’s a whole other discussion).  Even if white people receive training and learn intellectual articulations about how to “fight ” white supremacy, they are still a long ways away from remolding their minds towards a revolutionary perspective aimed at ending racial inequality. It’s going to take more than a bunch of popular educationals on Freire, anti-racist conferences, study groups, and Chip Smith anecdotes to reorient white people to honestly and openly criticize how their day to day actions perpetuate white supremacy.  And  As one of the commenters of the post noted rather poignantly:  “the work is not the workshop”.  So to quote the great philosopher Alan Iverson “We’re talking about PRACTICE .  Not a game… Not a game… PRACTICE”.  So, stop playing a fucking game and put that shit into practice.

If white people are going to actually be of some kind of use in the struggle to destroy white supremacy and ultimately capitalism, then they’re going to have to put up AND shut up by actually doing REAL work with the most oppressed and marginalized sectors of our society.  And when I say put up I mean GIVE US YOUR FUCKING MONEY and ACTUALLY SACRIFICE MORE THAN JUST YOUR SUNDAY AFTERNOON CLEANING UP A BEACH or showing up to our demonstrations with crappy signs and off rhythm chants only to be seen again at the next demonstration.  And when I say shut up, I mean for you to stop being the loudest person in a room during a meeting or constantly focusing the spotlight on yourself during events.  I mean for you to stop patronizing me by making a lame attempt at empathizing with my situation as a person of color.  I mean for you to stop claiming that you are “not racist” or that you are somehow “different” from other white people, when in the confines of white supremacy you are still a whitey.  Learn some humility.  Learn some patience.  Learn some sensitivity.  Learn how to make your words consistent with your actions.

If you can do all of that… I would say that’s an excellent start.

guerrilla mama medicine

we dont need another anti-racism 101

i used to be an antiracism trainer for a progressive organization a few years ago.  i was really really good at.

this year i finally realized after a lot of soul searching that teaching white folks how to be good allies is not helpful to anyone.

now dont get me wrong.  i think that white folks working in solidarity with poc in respectful ways is often a good thing.

i just dont think we should teach them how to do it.

now i have known for a long time that no poc is obligated to teach a white person about racism.  or explain it.

but i am taking it a step further.  we shouldnt do it.

and by this i mean teaching white folks, anti-racism theory, critical race theory, the correct words to use, the words not to use, the correct questions to ask, etc, etc, etc.  is a waste of our time.  and theirs.  and is harmful to building a revolutionary movement or creating good relationships.

the problem is that fundamental to white/euro-centric culture is a break between word and action.  between theory and practice.

and so in my experience, folks can learn all the theory, all the right words, all of it and yet act fundamentally the same, live out the same patterns of thoughts, still hold the same fucked-up priorities.  and yet spout all of the anti-racist rhetoric.

because that is all it is to them.  rhetoric.

people only learn as much as they are willing to learn

Nod to Jack Stephens

Financial News Media: The Simulacra of Capitali$t Discourse

Posted in Capitali$m Must be Destroyed, Whitey's Mouth Writes Checks His Ass Can't Cash with tags , , , , , , , on March 13, 2009 by xmabaitx

edit:  This is only an edited version of the interview.  For the full version (because Viacom needs us to visit their crappy sites) from dailyshow.com click HERE.

the t.v.’s got them images
t.v.’s got them all
it’s not shocking!
every half an hour
someone’s captured and
the cop moves them along…
it’s just like the show before
the news is
just another show
with sex and violence…

After getting a chance to watch Jon Stewart’s face to face interview with CNBC’s Jim Cramer I am INFINITELY grateful for the existence of the Daily Show. As an aspiring marxist/postmodernist intellectual I am TICKLED by the incredibly paradoxical situation of a “fake” news program whose “fake” host actually presents intelligent and straight forward perspectives which although laced with humor are often insightful and fair, whereas a “real” news network feeds us pro-capitalist bullshit propaganda and attempts to pass it off as objective. WTF?!

What interesting times we live in.

Please take the time to watch the entire interview where Jon Stewart picks apart Jim Cramer and forces that sorry excuse for a financial adviser to concede a number of shocking truths such as the fact that Mad Money is NOT a reliable source of financial information, but is just an entertaining “recommendation” on how to manage your finances. People lost their homes and entire life savings while the fat-asses who run financial institutions made their wealthy carcasses even wealthier on the words and advice of assholes like Jim Cramer and Stewart gave him a well deserved earful for his bullshit of recommending purchases of Bear Stearns stock.

Watching Cramer back peddle and sweat bullets in sheer terror of having to face up to his role in helping to perpetuate a false sense of security in the unpredictable and unstable nature of the capitalist free markets’marvelous.

To anyone who actually thinks that our news media is a reliable source of information, you are sadly mistaken. To anyone who thinks that CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, or even CSPAN are of a higher class than the crap on Comedy Central such as the Daily Show, you need to read between the lines. Jon Stewart put it best when he stated the Cramer and himself were “both snake oil salesmen to a certain extent”, but the issue was that people such as Cramer attempt to “pass off snake oil as vitamins.” The Daily Show is just a bunch of shit, but (in an INCREDIBLE IRONY) unlike other news programs it has the decency to admit that it is just a bunch of shit. Now… it’s time for me to skip ahead to the sports section for some “real” news.

The Death of Reaganomics: Obamanomics

Posted in AmeriKKKan P0litRICK5, Rac3 P0litRICK5, Whitey's Mouth Writes Checks His Ass Can't Cash with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2009 by xmabaitx

The LA Times in the usual “objective” style of American journalism is referring to the Obama administration’s budget proposal as “class warfare.”  

Whoa.  How scared really is the bourgeoisie of the United States and those who consider them  their benefactors? Shitting bricks apparently if they’re referring to a moderate Democrat as a socialist and labeling a reform of Reagan era regressive taxation as an antagonization of class contradictions. If they’re that scared of President Obama then I must be Satan in their eyes. Continue reading

Change?

Posted in AmeriKKKan P0litRICK5, Rac3 P0litRICK5 with tags , , , , on February 28, 2009 by xmabaitx

This online video was posted in October of 2008.  It’s interesting to watch it considering the developments in American national politics since then.  I’ll be even more interested to revisit this video four years from now.