Monday, February 20, 2012

Racist Political Ad? Nah, of Course Not.

Things just got real in Michigan. U.S. Representative Pete Hoekstra is gearing up for a senate run against Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow, and is coming with serious heat. In an attempt I guess to show Sen. Stabenow as some spendthrift politician who could care less about shipping jobs overseas, Hoekstra drops this ad on Michigan voters:

In one thirty-second ad, Hoekstra manages to offend just about everyone. First, he makes it appear that there are many smiling Asians across the Pacific just happy as can be at the prospect of American jobs. Also, in Hoekstra's ad, there is no country mentioned just the euphemism of 'we' as if to lump all Asians together as those pesky American job thieves. Maybe if Mr. Hoekstra picked up a paper as of late, he would've seen that things are starting to change.

What a bout the young woman in the ad you ask? As it turns out, she has since expressed regret at being in the ad and interestingly enough doesn't even live in Michigan. Sadly, this is probably the first of more than a few racially insensitive campaign commercials coming to us during this election year. Let's hope there's better judgement over the coming months.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Last Farewell to Whitney and Don

So far Black History Month 2012 has hit us like a sledgehammer with the recent passing of icons Don Cornelius and Whitney Houston. Both left an indelible mark not only on African-American history, but the larger American media and entertainment industry as well.

Don Cornelius was the creator and innovator behind "Soul Train" which aired on Saturday mornings and featured people getting down to the latest grooves. Beginning in Chicago in 1970, "Soul Train" would air for 36 years providing a showcase for dance moves and fancy clothes while serving as a platform for up and coming artists to gain exposure. "Soul Train" was one of the few shows with an abundance of people of color who could be seen by mainstream America without having to cater to the same tired stereotypes so prevalent then and now. Don Cornelius will definitely be missed.