Housing discrimination, you say?

The feds aren’t willing to prove it exists.

Even when housing discrimination is illegal, it can still be difficult to prove in cases of he-said, she said. But even when they are reported, there’s no way to prosecute people who commit housing discrimination unless law enforcement are willing to take a peek into the claim and see that it’s happening.

When a family in Michigan was denied a home, the Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit set up some test subjects to see if discrimination had occurred. Lo and behold, the white family was granted a showing while the black family didn’t even get a call back.

The 1968 Fair Housing Act was put into place to ensure incidents of racism like this do not happen—yet when they do, the feds are pretty much refusing to go undercover to prove it’s happening themselves, which would actually end with some kind of action taken against the people breaking the law—as well as prevention against it occurring again.

African American and Latino families are discriminated against in 1 in 5 of these tests—and housing laws remain one of the most violated civil rights protections in the country. What will it take to get local and federal law enforcement to take these instances of discrimination seriously?

Trayvon Martin Target Sells Out in Less Than 48 Hours

Yet we live in a post-racist America…

“If Trayvon Martin were white…” I find myself muttering this sentence—sometimes even shouting it at my husband, who can only nod and shrug helplessly—so often these days. The more hate I see directed to this poor murdered boy and his family, the more hopeless I feel about our country. “We have a black president!” people will cry, as if that solves everything. Having a black president means nothing if we are still participating in such ugly, violent, racist acts across the nation.

Some idiot who admitted he was trying to make a buck off this “controversy”—why is the murder of a teenager controversial again? Oh, yes, because he was BLACK—made this revolting target practice cutout of Trayvon Martin. It didn’t show his face, but it was a black hoodie depicted holding an iced tea bottle and a pack of skittles—the two “dangerous weapons” he was holding when George Zimmerman murdered him. This target should have been seen as poor taste by all Americans at the very least, yet it sold out in just two days.

Do me a favor, America: look at the picture I’m posting here and not this faceless target. Look at this seventeen-year-old boy. He was little older than a child; indeed, the law still saw him as one. Not yet old enough to vote or drink; not yet old enough to look back on a long-lived life with his own family, his own career, his own dreams. He was someone’s son. He could have been your son.

Yet the seller of these horrible target practice cutouts—who cowardly continues to remain anonymous—says that the response regarding them has been “overwhelming.” Folks, the only overwhelming response to this kind of sickness should be OUTRAGE or DISGUST—not a joyful purchase of the despicable product itself.

The seller depicts “obvious” support of the murderer, Zimmerman, on the package of the targets, and calls Martin a “thug” that was shot. Again, if Martin were white, would this be happening? I can guarantee you that the answer to that question is no—and if it were, there would be a vast public outcry.

Some laws indicate that this likeness of Trayvon Martin used to sell this product may also be a crime; let’s hope so. Please click here to sign a petition against the target and demand that action be taken against the Hiller Armament Company for selling the targets in the first place. Be sure to let Hiller Armament Company know that you do not support this, either, and they won’t be getting any sales from you.

Television Media And Demographics

It seems that within the past few decades, the media and entertainment industry has really worked on targeting interracial relationships. Initially I had not noticed it until my boyfriend pointed it out to me while we were watching television one day. I had never thought about how advertisements and the episodes of tv shows are cast to appeal to a certain demographic of people. The more I began to consider it and research about the subject, I discovered it was actually a fairly common action.

Think of commercials, movies, and television shows where you have seen couples walking together or sharing an intimate moment. There was a time in the past where you would only see couples of the same race together, whereas now you're able to see interracial relationships more often than ever before. Almost every television show tries to have people from a variety of races in order to show that they treat people equally and also to appeal to getting people from the associated demographics to start watching the show. Many companies follow the logic that if they depict interracial couples in their ads or series, it will make individuals who are in an interracial relationship feel more comfortable with watching the entertainment or considering their product.

Likewise, think of the amount of beauty and makeup commercials that you see on television on a daily basis. There was a time when many of these ads only strictly showcased Caucasian women; now many of the ads showcase Asian women, African American women, Hispanic women, and women who would be considered biracial. The entertainment, media, and advertisement industry holds a theory that if they depict a variety of races in their productions, you will be more interested in it because you will relate to one of the people that you saw.

Is Julie Chen using Asian stereotypes to boost her popularity and her CBS talk show?

Chen is more fun this season, but is she also more offensive?

I ditched "The View" this year and became an ardent daily viewer of "The Talk."  I had a sinister reason: I wanted to watch it implode. I thought kicking off Holly Robinson Peete and Leah Remini was a bad decision and I wanted to watch the show fall apart. To my surprise, the show has been really fun this season. Aisha Tyler was a phenomenal replacement for Holly, and while Sheryl Underwood is annoying to watch and somewhat cartoonish, occasionally she has great moments of humor.

Furthermore, Julie Chen, formerly known as the Chenbot due to her very  formal and monotone TV presence, has come out of her shell!

She is much more likable and personable, even weaving tales from her family into the dialogue. She laughs and smiles more and is not above participating in skits and pranks on the show.

There's just one thing: she is using stereotypical Asian voices and broken dialect for humor, like when she says things like "ancient Chinese secret!" or mimics her mom talking at the dinner table. Once she referred to white men dating Asian women, remarking "Once you go Yellow, you never go back!." Cute ...but do we really want to refer to Asian people as "yellow."

I have mixed feelings about this.

On one hand, I love hearing about Julie's culture and I think it broadens what people experience on TV.  Her brand of self-referential humor is really unprecedented in daytime. On the other hand, I think she is fueling the ranks of people who make fun of Asian clichés.

I have no trouble with her comment today when she responded to the quip "Black don't crack" by saying "Chinese stays fine-ese" to explain that women of her ethnicity don't show age when they grow older. She didn't use a mock accent, so it was humorous instead of borderline offensive.

Julie is forging new ground here. There is no other Asian talk show host who has had this high of a profile to regale people with tales from their culture.

Given that, I'll give her a break as she figures how to walk a sociopolitical tightrope with her brand of fun. Heck, I'm even following the woman now on Twitter.

Interracial Dating Websites

If you have spent enough time on the internet, you may have come across some of the ads online for interracial dating websites. Now, despite how popular dating websites are, some ads make you question whether the website is truly legitimate or not. Of course, if you're interested in dating websites, you want to make sure you're signing up for a real website and not a scam.

For the most part, there are a few legitimate interracial dating websites - sort of. I've always thought that almost any dating website could be used for interracial dating, because it's not as if only one specific nationality or race is going to sign up to the website. Considering that, you could use any dating website to meet the person you're interested in.

But if you're searching for dating websites that are specifically geared towards interracial relationships, you will be pleased to know that they do exist. There are sites that are specifically created and aimed towards people who prefer to date a variety of races. Now although these are often times spin-offs of more popular dating websites, it doesn't mean that they offer a less quality experience; it's just more that the sites are less well known compared to the rest that you usually see advertised.

Likewise, it should be noted that you don't have to use these websites just for dating! There are plenty of people that sign up on the sites just because they would like to meet other interracial couples and new friends.

Asian-American phenom takes NBA by storm. But was prejudice keeping him on the bench?

Friday night I watched the New York Knicks play the Los Angeles Lakers, but it might as well have been a game between two players: Jeremy Lin and Kobe Bryant. Fans of Lin, who has only been starting for the Knicks FOR ONE WEEK held up signs lauding him as the "Yellow Mamba,"  an obvious play on Kobe's nickname the "Black Mamba."

 I'm pretty sure Lin's nickname is not very P.C., but it's a symbol of how much people love him and are enjoying seeing some unexpected diversity in the NBA.

I can remember no bona fide Asian NBA STAR in my life. Don't say Yao Ming because he was simply tall and productive enough for a center, not a star. He wasn't amazing to watch and he it's not like he had amazing skill. Lin, by contrast, is fluid on the floor, can set-up amazing shots, and can penetrate deftly to go to the basket. People, even Lakers' coach Mike Brown, are calling him a natural.

Lin is dynamic to watch and humble in interviews. In just four games, he's doubled his Twitter followers and amassed a legion of fans who carry his name on signs, wear masks of his face, and who are paying $1,000 for his collectible rookie cards.

So, why was he sitting on the Knicks bench since December? Why did the Houston Rockets trade him instead of nurturing him? And why was he bouncing from team to team with no one having faith in his abilities?

A Korean fan of Lin confided to me that he personally thinks owners and coaches have been undervaluing Lin because of his Tawainese heritage. I do think there are ingrained prejudices in the league about what types of people can excel at basketball. I mean, even with Yao Ming, who was Chinese, there were racist incidents like the time an opposing time disseminating fortune cookies to the crowd and when Shaquille O'Neal gave reporters a message for Ming by speaking in meaningless mock Chinese.

The fact that Lin hailed from Harvard, a school that hasn't produced any basketball prodigies, likely also added to his undervaluation.  However, we can't overlook the fact, that in the past when given playing time, Lin posted mediocre numbers -- nothing like the high scores and assists he's managed this week.

Having scored 38 points on his own in Friday's game where he shut down the Lakers pretty easily, Lin is certainly going to change people's views about Asian NBA athletes, earn players' respect, and give us a new face of basketball.

The question now is, can he gel with Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, creating a New York Big 3 to rival that other Big 3 in the East.

The Beauty Of Relationships

Dating someone from another race or nationality can truly be a rewarding an enriching experience. Although many people have been raised by their parents to only date and have relationships within their own race, it is also beautiful to date outside of your race or nationality. Regardless of skin color, we are all created the same way, share common interests, and are all united by the fact that we are part of humanity.

Likewise, sometimes being in a relationship with someone who is from a different racial background can help to expose you to different perspectives. You can gain a great amount of insight and learn about beliefs that are different from your own. If you have been raised by parents that have their own ideals and never explored the topic of dating a variety of races and nationalities, it can really help you to broaden your exposure to understanding other people and learning about their culture.


In some sense, no one is able to really choose who their soulmate is or who they will spend the rest of their life with -- if you love someone or have fallen in love with someone, it is not as if you can ever tell yourself to simply stop feeling those emotions. Sometimes, you can fall in love with someone that you would have never even expected and it can truly have a positive effect on you and who you are as an individual. In consideration of this, and how rewarding it can be to have a variety of people in your life, sometimes you really have to think about how much those who are raised only to date within their race miss out on unique insights and enriching experiences with potential partners outside of their race. Having an interracial relationship is a wonderful experience that everyone should be allowed within their lifetime.

Answering Questions About Your Interracial Relationship

Many who are in interracial relationships often have to deal with the questions of those around them. Even if both of your families are supportive of your decisions, you may encounter people in public who will ask you unexpected questions. I have to mention that these questions are unexpected, because relationships that often feel natural to us can typically gain the prying attention of others when we are in public.

Personally, though sometimes it's shocking, I am somewhat used to these questions for two reasons. Initially, I had to become used to these types of questions because my parents were in an interracial relationship; of course, I am the result of that relationship and I am a bi-racial young woman. But likewise, as I grew older and became interested in pursuing relationships with other people, I was also in interracial relationships - and I continue to be happily in an interracial relationship.

Within the past few months when I had first mentioned my boyfriend, several people decided to ask me questions such as "Is he the same color as you? Well, why not? Don't you like black men?"  -- initially these responses really irritated me. Couldn't people just learn to be supportive of love? Eventually, I realized I had to really consider the source. Sometimes people don't always mean to be offensive by their questions; sometimes they're just curious. Yet at the same time, when I deal with these types of questions, I almost have to check what decade I'm living in - because interracial relationships were an issue during the civil rights movement and shouldn't be an issue in 2012.

Although no one should have to deal with racial questions because of their relationships, perhaps these questions only occur because our relationships encourage people to truly think outside of the stereotypes they are accustomed to -- which makes the experience a learning experience for them although questions might be controversial for us.

Have you ever experienced any awkward questions about your interracial relationship? Why do you think it occurs and what are your reactions?

Why "Red Tails" should not be turned into a Political Event

After George Lucas, director of "Red Tails," theorized last week that his movie on the Tuskeegee Airman was not supported in Hollywood because it lacked white actors, the film has sort of become a vehicle for social protest against whitewashed Hollywood.

Some groups have been calling for an "Occupy Red Tails" movement where people flood the theaters to demonstrate that black movements can sell tickets and wield green power. Tyler Perry, the black director who ranked #1 when it came to Hollywood profit last year, sent out a newsletter to fans, telling them to go see the movie.

This is all too much for a movie that seems poorly made and, quite frankly, boring.

I love the Tuskeegee Airmen's story as much as anyone. In fact, I've spoken in the past to an actual Tuskeegen Airman who lives in the Chicago area.  That group of 3,000 segregated pilots were incredible men who deserve to have their tale dramatized.

There are three problems though:

  • Poor casting
  • Poor script
  • A Mary Poppins veneer

I'm not sure why Cuba Gooding, Jr. or Terrance Howard were cast in this movie, since they are both given to overacting. I've seen clips of their scenes. I am not impressed. It's too much.

The plot seems quite generalized, without enough distinction between character plots. In steady of a hero to focus on, we get a nebulous montage of characters. In marketing, the movie sells history rather than a hero's struggle narrative. The dialogue sounds like a bad civil rights speech. It's so self-important and pompous. The men don't speak; they orate.

Finally, in trying to flatter these men and African-American history, Lucas glossing over their personas making them seem like perfect beings. No flaws, no internal struggle. Yet, the complex hero is what makes a movie so good.

George Lucas bemoans lack of movie funding due to lack of black heroes in film.

Tell us something we don't already know, Lucas!

During a recent appearance on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show,” movie director George Lucas discussed the pending release of "Red Tails," a movie about the famed Tuskegee Airmen, an all-black group of pilots that fought in World War II for the segregated U.S. Air Force.

Lucas bemoaned that he's been working on the movie for two decades and has never been able to get financial backing in Hollywood because the cast is all black.   Lucas ended up financing the movie himself and couldn’t even convince most studios to help him market it.

“It’s because it’s an all-black movie. There are no major white roles in it at all,” Lucas said.

This reminds me of when Danny Glover disclosed recently that he could not get a film made about Haitian revolutionary Toussaint-Louverture because it lacked “white heroes.”

Lucas said he wanted to make a movie for black male teens, so they could see heroes that looked like them and weren't being bossed around by a white person.

Forgive me, but is this the same George Lucas that made Darth Vader white after having the character voiced by a black man (James Earl Jones) for decades? I know Luke Skywalker, his son, was white, but it's frickin' Star Wars...we were already suspending logic. Genetic incongruence would hardly have been the weirdest thing on-screen.

The main thing that enraged me about this interview was how Stewart and Lucas both dismissed this as "funding green,” saying it was a business decision to not fund the all-back movie because it wouldn't be profitable.

Sorry, but such lazy acceptance and endorsement of the status quo is disappointing.  Why not lead a challenge for society to view black heroes as universal?  Does anyone find it strange that white moviegoers need white heroes in order to support a movie? Asians, Latinos, African-Americans don’t have this luxury or narrow-mindedness. They have been embracing "universal heroes" since Hollywood's inception.

Is there nothing about an ethnic hero that is universal?

To me, it is the height of cultural egotism to think that all heroes must mirror the superficial and physical self. Don’t we identify more with a hero’s traits of fearlessness and daring?



Photo Credit:  Newsbusters & Internet Movie Database