One Species

An exploration of human nature. How we treat one another, both the kindness and the cruelty.

owning-my-truth:

Andrew Christian, “The Audition” Video -  Reifying White Supremacy in the LGBTQ Community (NSFW)

Every Monday I review media as part of my weekly “Media Review Mondays” series. This is the first installment of this series.

As a black gay man, the blatant white supremacy and antiblackness in the LGBTQ community no longer comes as much of a surprise to me. I’ve grown accustomed to the racist pronouncements of white gay men, who are so incredibly entitled and feel like their experiences with homophobia somehow gives them license to spew racist filth. With the vast majority of white gay men I’ve encountered, they either openly say that they’re “just not into black guys” and ignore the fact that our economies of attraction do not exist in a vacuum, so that they can cling to their white supremacist ideals and standards of beauty. Or, alternatively, they fetishize me and my blackness with their “jungle fever” and being “really into black guys.” There is almost never any in between with them, very little space for my humanity to be acknowledged and for them to not homogenize me and all black men into some dark, exotic mass to be consumed or vilified.

[image description: A screencap from “The Audition” video featuring 5 of the male models. All are white, muscled and wearing tight underwear]

And so already at 23, my expectations of white gay men are incredibly low. But still, for whatever reason, this video advertisement for Andew Christian still stunned me. Andrew Christian is a white gay male underwear and swimsuit designer whose line heavily targets the gay community. The video makes clear, though, who he sees as counting in said community.

We are introduced to the video as an audition for models to win a ticket to Matinee Las Vegas, a large annual Gay Dance Festival. The judges, include Davey Wavey, Pandora Boxx and Todrick Hall (the only judge of color), and together they judge who wins a ticket based on the attractiveness of the contestant (in their eyes).

[image description: The judges from “The Audition” video. From right: Todrick Hall, Davey Wavey, Andrew Christian and Pandora Boxx. All are holding up “10”s for a white contestant]

Begin white supremacist trainwreck.

Of course, the several contestants whom they judge over the course of the video are almost all white or white passing. Many (heterosexual) people may be surprised to know that the “progressive” LGBTQ community is far from a safe space and is as virulently white supremacist as the rest of our society. The video’s parade of white beauty and blatant exclusion of non-white passing MOC, besides one lone black model, should therefore come as no surprise. This is “the gay community” in their minds, and there is no space for us QMOC in it.

[image description: Screencap from “The Audition” video showing black male model, Indar Smith, winking]

The part of the video which gave me the most pause, though, was seeing the treatment of the token black guy, Indar Smith, they threw into the mix. As he walks onto stage, the last contestant, I cringed not knowing what racist fuckery was to come next. He becomes a spectacle, as many of the other contestants had, but one cannot tell the real reason for his particular objectification until the final moments of the video when this happens: 

[image description: Animated gif image from “The Audition” video showing Pandora Boxx being led off camera by Indar Smith. She holds up the sign, “Once U Go Black” and smirks as she walks off camera with him]

Yes, “Once U Go Black” being touted about by Pandora Boxx, a white person, as they walk off stage with the only black guy in the video.

And so in the midst of this white supremacist spectacle of a video, the only non-white passing MOC becomes a fetishized object and spectacle before the white gaze.

The fact that Todrick Hall is in the video and was the first one to use the sign, “Once U Go Black” is no excuse. We forget that as POC, we can indeed fetishize ourselves and do so quite often. Moreover, Todrick Hall has been one whom I’ve never really been a fan of for his constant stream of modern minstrel style performances on Youtube. One lesson that people must come to realize is that having one or two black people included in your video does not an anti-racist video make, as many of us POC readily can and do buy into white supremacy and the enshrinement of white supremacist aesthetics in larger culture. This video, between the parade of white bodies as the standard of beauty and the blatant exotification and fetishization of the sole black contestant, is so indicative of this fact.

Overall “The Audition” provides the viewer with clear insight into the value systems which the gay male community as a whole ascribes to: white supremacy. There is also some fatphobia thrown into the mix as well, of course, as they mock the one fat contestant in the competition and boo him off stage. In addition to this the utter exclusion of non white passing MOC, besides one, and the complete tokenization, debasement and fetishization of the one black guy in the video, really stood out to me personaly as a queer black man myself. It reflected many of my own experiences with white gay men and facing white supremacist standards of beauty within the community, and of course it was in a predominantly white gay bar this past weekend that I happened to see this video.

Shortly after the video played, a white gay guy I had recently met got a notification from a black guy on Grindr. He turned to me and the group and remarked nonchalantly: 

“Wow this guy has an amazing body… but he’s black” 

And with that I was officially done. And the same goes for my feelings about this trainwreck of a video.

If you have suggestions for other media you would like to see reviewed as part of this weekly, “Media Review Mondays” series. Please submit those requests: HERE.

Related Posts:

Podcast: Racism, Sexism & Transphobia in the LGBTQ community

On HBO’s New Show “Looking”

A White Gay Man being Racist

 

— 9 hours ago with 175 notes
#racism  #lgbtqia  #homosexuality  #gay men  #the audition  #todrick hall  #davey wavey  #andrew christian  #pandora boxx  #qpoc 

thinkmexican:

Stories From the Real Coachella

Below is an excerpt from “How the P’urhépechas Came to the Coachella Valley,” an oral history of Pedro Gonzalez, one of thousands of P’urhépecha farmworkers living and working in the Coachella Valley of California. In an interview, he recounted the history of the P’urhépecha migration that created the Duros and Chicanitas labor camps located on the Cahuilla Indian Reservation:

I grew up in Ocomichu, Michoacán, which is a P’urhépecha town. When I was growing up, nobody knew how to speak Spanish. When you asked something in Spanish while they were working in the fields they would run, because they didn’t understand what you were saying. You suffer when you don’t know the language. My father wasn’t P’urhépecha, though, just my mother, so he taught us Spanish when we were young.

I first came to the U.S. in 1979. When I first arrived in Riverside I didn’t get a paycheck for two weeks. We survived off tortillas and oranges. We were working in the orange fields, and ate them for every meal. Someone lent us a couple of dollars and we would buy a package of tortillas. We needed to help each other, even when someone just needed a dollar. I just felt like crying back then, not knowing what to do.

Today in Duros or Mecca you can practically go anywhere and speak P’urhépecha with anyone. It wasn’t like that when I got here. I didn’t have anyone to talk to. I lived with an African-American man in Palm Springs for two months and felt very lonely. Nowadays the younger generation says our memories of what we suffered are exaggerated. That makes me feel bad. We walked two nights and two days crossing the border back then. Now it costs as much as $3,000 to cross the line. You have to work for more than two or three months to earn that much. It used to be that you didn’t have to pay another person to help you cross. Now it’s much harder and the coyotes charge so much. I used to help people cross for $300, and it was no big deal. I’ve helped others cross and they’ve never paid me. They forget.

I would say we have about three thousand P’urhépecha people in this area now. There are a lot of us. In Riverside alone I think there must be fifteen hundred people. Our hometown in Michoacán has also grown a lot. It used to be a small town, but it’s now a lot bigger. A few years back, they conducted a census in Mexico and determined there were about eight thousand indigenous people living in the hills of that area of Michoacán. I would say most are still there, but there are many of us now all over the U.S. We’re spread out in Palm Springs, Coachella, Indio, and Riverside.

Here in the Duros trailer park, there were only four trailers when I came in 1999. Slowly, people started arriving and everything started growing. Now I think there must be hundreds of people in these two parks, Duros and Chicanitas.

Most of us here work picking lemons and grapes, depending on the time of year. I like working the lemon harvest the most, because it pays piece rate (and not by the hour). If you work by the hour, it’s just over $7. On piece rate you can make about $1,550 every two weeks. If we do odd jobs here and there, it’s enough for us to live on. But piece rate makes you work fast, and some people don’t like it because they don’t like to work hard. For example, today I finished nine rows while some others only did five.

The owner of the park is a good man, a Native American. He even helped me fill out the immigration paperwork for my family, and only charged $500 when others would have charged $2,000.

But we used to have a lot of problems before the state took control of the park. A big one was the lack of security. Once, my wife heard knocking right after we’d left for work. She thought we’d come back, so she opened the door. It was an intruder. She yelled and he ran off, but the security guards wouldn’t do anything to protect us.

Rent on the trailer here costs us about $250, and with garbage, water, and security it goes up to $300 a month. If you’re getting paid $7 or $8 an hour, that’s hard. Gas prices keep going up and our wages don’t. Food prices are high. I spend more than $300 every time I buy food. If people got together and decided not to work for one day, it would have a tremendous impact on the economy; but people don’t do that because they are in need of money. We participated in a strike once. But there were other people who really needed work. They went into the fields to work even though we told them not to.

My kids are here legally now, and I’m in the process of obtaining legal residency for my last child. They all speak P’urhépecha, which is what we speak in the house. My wife doesn’t speak Spanish too well. She refused to learn it in the beginning because she said she wouldn’t need it. But now look at how necessary it is to speak English in this country. When my kids were young we had such a humble life in Mexico. They used to run around with holes all over their clothes. But our life has changed. Now if they have a little tear, they want to throw the clothes away. They even waste a lot of food. They don’t know how to value things. My family still has land in the ejido. My brother sold his plot when the land reform law changed, but I still have mine. My father died but my mother is still alive, and my wife’s mother is as well. We never forget about them, and send them money continuously. I don’t think my kids will return to Michoacán to live, though. Even though some were born over there, when we go to visit they always want to come back. But I don’t think they will lose their language and culture living here. We hold onto the P’urhépecha traditions with dances, weddings, baptisms, and quinceañeras. We all help each other out. There are many P’urhépechas here so everyone feels at home. I might go back to Mexico to live someday, but I don’t know when. I haven’t been there in years. I don’t even have my voter card. I’ve never voted in my life.

Read more at New America Media

Photos and interview by David Bacon

(via thisisnotlatino)

— 10 hours ago with 692 notes
#immigration  #mexican american  #fruit  #vegetables  #america  #usa  #culture  #poc  #coachella 

dynamicafrica:

Karen Walker collaborates with local Kenyan artisans for UN initiative.

Noted New Zealand eyewear designer Karen Walker recently teamed up with the United Nations’ International Trade Centre’s Ethical Fashion Initiative, collaborating with local artisans in Kenya to make unique screenprinted and beaded pouches for her Summer 2014 collection.

The campaign, photographed by Derek Henderson, also features some of the individuals who made these pouches including machinists, cutters, tailors, production managers, metal workers and members of the Maasai group who created the beading work, modelling the collection. The workshop took place in Waithaka, a small village 20 minutes from Nairobi.

When I first saw this campaign and the design of the sunglasses, the first thing that came to mind was Cyrus Kabiru and his incredible c-stunners. Would’ve been fantastic had he and Walker collaborated on a range of exclusive eyewear.

The sunglasses range will be available in February.

Read more about the initiative.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | YouTube | Soundcloud | Mixcloud

All Africa, All the time.

(via the3volutionofchichi)

— 10 hours ago with 1018 notes
#fashion  #style  #black designers  #african fashion  #sun glasses  #poc 

awkwardsituationist:

from girl rising …to consider on international women’s day (and every day thereafter)

Always reblog when it comes around. 

(via muslimwomeninhistory)

— 3 days ago with 243840 notes
#women  #woc  #women in poverty  #education  #violence against women 

amchphotography:

Part II / Set III - San Miguel de Allende, Gto. Mexico. I [Alrededor de México con Messenger]

"To me, family is a group of people who stay together no matter what."-Christopher. I 01:21

"Every person that we know now, at some point were strangers." -Christopher. I 01:35

"I never thought that so many people would be interested in my story. Keep in touch…" -Christopher. I 01:54

[Part II - San Miguel de Allende I Footage here.]

(via tofuboots)

— 3 days ago with 146 notes
#photography  #art  #portraits  #artists of color  #mexican artists  #poc 
"The best way to stop homelessness is mindbogglingly simple: Give them homes."

Housing The Homeless Saves Money—Here’s The Research That Proves It (via fastcompany)

The city of Los Angeles recently released a list of “initiatives” for “cleaning up” Skid Row. In LA, roughly a quarter of a million people experience homelessness every year. The $3.7 million proposal would alleviate this by - wait for it - adding 10 trash cans to the area, cleaning the streets 12 times a year instead of 4-6 times a year, and “valet cart storage” where homeless people can “check” their grocery carts and belongings.

It’s a fucking insult, is what it is. Los Angeles has enough space to house everyone. And now we have (more) data that prove it’s cheaper to just do that than all of these shitty band-aid solutions. Homeless people need homes, not a cart check.

(via payslipgig)

It’s fucking sad that we have to explain how it’s economically viable to house the homeless in order for city leaders to decide that the homeless are worthy of the basic right to shelter.

(via takeherbacktowonderland)

(via hawtistic)

— 3 days ago with 1424 notes
#poverty  #homelessness  #usa  #america  #capitalism  #classism  #los angeles  #la 
Sign the Petition to urge Theresa May to halt all deportations of LGBT asylum seekers · Demand the UK grant asylum to female Nigerian activist →

owning-my-truth:

SIGNAL BOOST!!!!

— 3 days ago with 201 notes
#lgbtqia  #hate crimes  #asylum seekers  #united kingdom  #europe 
theatlanticcities:


This week officials in Bolivia gave a public preview of the country’s new gondola system, and it was impressive: With a length of nearly 7 miles threading through 11 stations, the cloud-kissing people-mover is set to become to world’s largest network of urban ropeways.
Bolivians piled into the system’s globular, cherry-red pods to take a giddy ride over the labyrinthine streets of La Paz. This ropeway is one of three planned for the network, which is being built by Austria’s Doppelmayr Garaventa Group. The hope is that when it’s completed later this year, the gondolas will ease some of the terrible congestion in the country’s urban areas. Together, the cars are estimated to be able to carry up to 18,000 people an hour.

-Bolivia Deploys the World’s Largest System of Cable Cars
[Image: Reuters]

theatlanticcities:

This week officials in Bolivia gave a public preview of the country’s new gondola system, and it was impressive: With a length of nearly 7 miles threading through 11 stations, the cloud-kissing people-mover is set to become to world’s largest network of urban ropeways.

Bolivians piled into the system’s globular, cherry-red pods to take a giddy ride over the labyrinthine streets of La Paz. This ropeway is one of three planned for the network, which is being built by Austria’s Doppelmayr Garaventa Group. The hope is that when it’s completed later this year, the gondolas will ease some of the terrible congestion in the country’s urban areas. Together, the cars are estimated to be able to carry up to 18,000 people an hour.

-Bolivia Deploys the World’s Largest System of Cable Cars

[Image: Reuters]

(via thisisnotlatino)

— 3 days ago with 67 notes
#environment  #public transport  #south america  #bolivia  #urban planning 

fotojournalismus:

“Portraits of Reconciliation” by Pieter Hugo

This April marks two decades since the lives of all Rwandans were dramatically changed through violent events that would mark the country forever.

In an effort to highlight this anniversary, South African photographer Pieter Hugo recently journeyed to southern Rwanda, twenty years after nearly a million people were killed during the country’s genocide, to document the lives of those affected by the Rwandan genocide. What he captured is what the New York Times’ Susan Dominus calls “a series of unlikely, almost unthinkable tableaus”. That’s because in each of these photographs, composed of pairs, the two people posing next to each other share a haunting relationship - one a victim, the other a perpetrator. Each photograph consists of a perpetrator, who is Hutu, who was granted pardon by the Tutsi survivor of his crime.

The individuals, all of whom are part of an initiative run by the AMI (Association Modeste et Innocent) that fosters a continuing national effort toward reconciliation, all agreed to be a part of this photographic series. Through this AMI-led project, small groups of Hutus and Tutsis are counseled over a period of several months with the process leading up to the final stage where the perpetrator makes a formal request for forgiveness from their victim.

Read more about the stories behind these photographs.

(via dynamicafrica)

— 3 days ago with 1016 notes
#peter hugo  #photography  #portrait  #africa  #rwanda 
aljazeeraamerica:

Trapped in a nightmare

Starved bodies and emaciated faces are illuminated by rays of light filtering through the planks of the barn. The heat is stifling in this confined space where about a hundred Peuhl tribesmen are staying. Living in the Muslim community, tolerated but not assimilated, these nomadic cattle farmers are forgotten human beings in a landlocked enclave – an additional conflict in a city already beset by violence amid a humanitarian catastrophe.
In Boda, a mining town 200 km west of the Central African Republic’s capital, Bangui, 14,000 Muslims are trapped in a perimeter that boils down to a single street lined by a few houses. Nicknamed “Boda the Beautiful,” the city has been surrounded since January 29, following the departure of ex-Seleka (Muslim) rebels, a group responsible for a coup in March 2013. Driven from Bangui in December by anti-Balaka (anti-machete) militiamen, they withdrew in the cover of darkness to Boda.

Continue reading

aljazeeraamerica:

Trapped in a nightmare

Starved bodies and emaciated faces are illuminated by rays of light filtering through the planks of the barn. The heat is stifling in this confined space where about a hundred Peuhl tribesmen are staying. Living in the Muslim community, tolerated but not assimilated, these nomadic cattle farmers are forgotten human beings in a landlocked enclave – an additional conflict in a city already beset by violence amid a humanitarian catastrophe.

In Boda, a mining town 200 km west of the Central African Republic’s capital, Bangui, 14,000 Muslims are trapped in a perimeter that boils down to a single street lined by a few houses. Nicknamed “Boda the Beautiful,” the city has been surrounded since January 29, following the departure of ex-Seleka (Muslim) rebels, a group responsible for a coup in March 2013. Driven from Bangui in December by anti-Balaka (anti-machete) militiamen, they withdrew in the cover of darkness to Boda.

Continue reading

— 3 days ago with 75 notes
#africa  #central african republic  #war  #hunger  #boda  #islam  #religion