Friday, October 30, 2009

Three Really Hot Burning Questions from the Meltingpot

People, people, people. What a week it has been. Folks just acting a fool left and right. You know I have questions so here we go:

1. What is Alison Samuels smoking that has made her lose all sense of journalistic integrity? She already made people question her judgment in writing that irritating opinion piece about Zahara Jolie-Pitt's hair, but then she thought it prudent to write a follow-up piece defending the first ridiculous article. Some have suggested she's just looking for publicity in attacking one of the most famous celebrity families on the planet. Others say she is suffering from a severe case of self-hatred which she is projecting on poor Zahara. Either way, I want to know why we have to read about it in Newsweek?

2. And speaking of possible publicity stunts, is that what's behind Tyra Banks' decision to have her contestants on America's Next Top Model pose in blackface -- or better said in "mixed face" -- in some sugar cane fields in Hawaii for the show? If you hadn't heard about this latest hulabaloo in TV land, you can read about it on Yahoo news or check out Clutch magazine's take on the story. I don't know. It makes me uncomfortable on many levels, but does Tyra get a pass as a woman of color to play with "blackface?" Is this just fashion/art? And obviously we don't all have to agree, but are you okay with this? Would you be okay if this is precedent setting and fashion shoots and fashion shows in the future use White girls in face paint instead of real Mixed or Black models? Hmmm... I wonder.

3. So tomorrow is Halloween and the next day is Day of the Dead or rather Dia de los Muertos. I had the great pleasure of being invited to a Mexican friend's home one year to paint sugar skulls and participate in a traditional Day of the Dead celebration. But here's my question. In this month's Cookie magazine (may she rest in peace), they have an article about how to throw your own authentic Day of the Day celebration. Is that okay? I mean if Day of the Dead isn't part of your cultural heritage should you really be celebrating? I mean wouldn't that be like frying up the latkes in early December and celebrating Hannukah? Or ordering in Indian take-out for your own Diwali festival? I mean where do we draw the line people? Or am I reading this wrong? What do you think?

So dear readers, if you have some answers, let them rip.

Happy Halloween and remember to eat all that candy responsibly. Friends don't let friends eat the whole bag of one day.



BloggingQueen said...

I'm not sure about the whole "diy Dia de los Muertos", but I think I'd probably avoid it. If I were to see, say, a German family celebrating American Thanksgiving, I'd think it was weird but wouldn't be offended. If they were celebrating Juneteenth (which I don't celebrate but lay claim to by virtue of shared heritage), I'd be deeply offended. Reinvent your own freakin' heritage!

Come to think of it, there are already way too many Germans who dress up as "authentic" Indians and have the nerve to tell living Native Americans they're not authentic enough.

BloggingQueen said...

Oh, and Tyra does not get a pass. There was nothing deeply considered about that color-face business. How does a model "think Egyptian" or "mixed-race?"

riffraff814 said...

I have little comment on the first 2 questions as they're out of my realm of awareness (although I will go click and read after I post this). As for question 3 -- our UU church is doing a Dia de los Muertos. Which, honestly, feels a little uncomfortable to me, as our church is "standard Seattle suburban" demographically (read older and white white white). I have some inkling about the celebration from having lived in SoCal for a decade and having NoCal friends who regularly gather as it was the favorite holiday of one of our group who died unexpectedly and quite young. They call it Dia de Joe, though.

Personally, I feel more resonance with the Wiccan version -- Samhain -- which is both the new year celebration and also the time of remembrance of those that passed in the last year. Same idea. Same symbols, for the most part. Just different originating culture.

I'm currently torn on bringing something to church on Sunday commemorating my Great-Aunt who passed last December. She cut my Dad (who really coulda used the dough) and "all his descendants" (who didn't need it as much) out of her will due to a perceived slight. Am I honor bound to pay her remembrance? Or can I remember my Grandpa again, because I still miss him.

As far as holidays, I think celebrating the ones that mean something to you is the most important, and for the Cookie readership, this might be the first opportunity they've heard about a holiday intentionally meant to celebrate the lives of those who have passed away. So perhaps it ends up being meaningful. If it's just a chance to mock-Martha Stewart up some sugar skulls, then meh.

riffraff814 said...

Point 1 -- yeah, not really Newsweek fodder. And mental note to make my husband comb my daughter's hair before they leave the house in the morning lest I get accused of bad mothering (blond curls & bedhead...)

Point 2 -- Models. Blech. I don't watch the show. My reality TV dalliances are elsewhere. As far as "a professional model is a frame to display outerwear", I could *almost* stretch that to include race. And sort of understand why they did it. But, honestly, if they want a little race on the show, why not try some actual non-white models? Dunno.

Anonymous said...

There are many people in the United States with Mexican heritage; the article could have been aimed at those people. That said, cultures change. Mexican influence has gotten more and more strong as the years pass. You no longer need to be a in border state,etc. "Middle America" is being touched by this too. I think its great that an aspect of the culture is being celebrated. Lord knows, the language aspect is terrible....(speak english laws, etc)

Now, more and more people are celebrating Halloween/trick or treat outside of North America. Does that bother you? It doesn't me. Strange, maybe. Bother me, no. Imitation is a form of flattery.

And I'll add, The tradition of Halloween comes from the Irish, Should only those with Irish Heritage have the right celebrate Halloween?

Mango Mama said...

ok... I'm going to tackle your first question... are you simply questioning why is the article in Newsweek, or should it not be up for discussion, because honestly, I've had the same conversation with many of my friends who have bi-racial children. We all know how loaded the Black hair issue is and just as you recently questioned the woman who phoned in to Radio Times, it's important for caregivers/parents of Black children (especially girls) to actively address the hair issue.

After reading the two articles, I googled images of Zahara and I didn't find any pictures where I thought she looked too bad, but Angelina and Brad need to be prepared as this little sweetheart grows more into self-awareness. I remember when Olivia first asked me why didn't she have blond, "straight down" hair like the other girls in her pre-school class... it broke my heart. It didn't matter that she had two dread parents and was surrounded by a plethora of diverse images, She still gravitated to the stereotypical Barbie look. Thankfully, she's moved past it, but I do remember it like it was yesterday.