Colorlines Issues A Correction & FCKH8 Is Still Awful

So. Yesterday, after FCKH8 accused Colorlines of “race baiting”  and spammed the site with links to their “call for an apology”, Colorlines updated their post on FCKH8’s video with the following: 

Update, September 15, 2014, 5:28 p.m.:

Colorlines would like to acknowledge that we did not reach out to before running the blog post “This is the T-Shirt Company Making Money Off of Ferguson.”  We make the following clarifications in the post:

1. According to a statement, the kids were from Ferguson.

2. Our piece says, “Five dollars from each shirt will supposedly go to unidentified ‘charities working in communities to fight racism.’” After publication, we learned that the organizations had designated as recipients were listed elsewhere on-line, including in a September 9, 2014 Shadow and Act story.

3.In our post we say “The company behind the video,, has made a name for itself selling what it calls ‘LGBT Equality Gear’(which sort of covers some LGB themes, but sort of leaves the T part out)…” According to an September 13, 2014 visit to, there is a transgender-themed T-shirt on sale in the “LGBT Equality Gear” section of the website.

4. After publishing the post we later learned that the organization behind the campaign had designated our publisher, Race Forward, as a recipient of a portion of the proceeds from this campaign. Unfortunately, contrary to philanthropic best practices, Race Forward hadn’t been previously notified of the the donation and immediately issued a statement that it would not accept any funds from the effort. Race Forward stands by that decision and would not have accepted the designation had we been previously aware.

It is important for us to assure you that our readers can trust us to report and behave with integrity. For 16 years, Colorlines has been a news source where race matters, featuring award-winning investigative reporting and news analysis. The questions we raised about the relationship between commerce and community politics with regard to race are important and legitimate, and we will continue to explore them generally on our screens.

At Race Forward, the organization you have come to know over 30 years —formerly under the name of Applied Research Center — our mission remains clear: to build awareness, solutions and leadership for racial justice. We do that by addressing: the impact of individual acts of racial discrimination within a deeper analysis of systemic racial injustice; the racial impact of individual and institutional actions and outcomes, as well as the intentions behind them; and the consequences of unconscious racial bias. Race Forward will remain committed to using this approach in considering any organizational perspective, opinionor association.

We remain committed to working towards a vibrant world in which people of all races create, share and enjoy resources and relationships equitably.

—Colorlines and Race Forward

On the one hand, I get it. Journalistic integrity yadda yadda. But the above correction essentially throws the author, Aura Bogado under the bus. Yes, there were errors in the original post that should’ve been fact checked before publishing BUT those errors do not negate the original rightful critique. FCKH8 is completely in the wrong here, as evidenced by their temper tantrum and endless stream of spam all over the Colorlines post. As they say, “a hit dog will holler”. 

FCKH8 REGULARLY uses problematic language and imagery when talking about POC and race, which is why their “anti-racism gear” and light hearted Ferguson video came off as disingenuous and incredibly opportunistic. How can an organization “support” an issue in which they have no understanding and are completely unwilling to learn? How can FCKH8 support anti-racism and accuse a non-profit dedicated to anti-racism of “race baiting”? ”Race baiting” is how RACISTS attempt to derail conversations about racism. Real allies don’t claim “race baiting” when called out. FCKH8 is not an ally to the anti-racism movement and does not deserve an apology. 

There’s really no way to wrap this up other than to say I’m incredibly disappointed that this is where this story has ended up. FCKH8 will no doubt take this as a “victory” and not analyze any of their behavior or understand why the critique was made in the first place. Instead, they’ll use this situation to silence other POC who take issue with their “anti-racism work” and continue to water down serious conversations about race and equality all in the name of t-shirt sales. 

Sept. 16 2:48 pm

This is a good example of the differences between Marvel & DC, especially when it came to race relations. In the Green Lantern books, DC was just starting to address the issue of racism. They didn’t do it with a black superhero, but instead had a one-off character point out that Hal is a racist.

Marvel had already established a few black superheros by the early 70s, some even headlined their own book. Chief among them was Black Panther, who is literally attacked by Klansmen attempting to burn him on a cross. Clearly one publisher had a more subtle approach to this topic than the other.

But while everyone knows the "black skins" speech from GL #76, I think the Black Panther panel is much more powerful. It doesn’t (for lack of a better term) white-wash the issue of racism by reducing it to a soundbite. Instead it shows racism at it’s purest and most disgusting. It shows that even though he’s a superhero and a king, T’Challa was treated like any other black man in America.

GREEN LANTERN Vol. 2, #76 (April 1970)
Art by Neal Adams (pencils), Frank Giacioa (inks) & Cory Adams (colors)
Words by Dennis O’Neil 

JUNGLE ACTION Vol. 2, #20 (March 1976)
Art by Billy Graham (pencils), Bob McLeod (inks) & Janice Cohen (colors)
Words by Don McGregor


Fedex Employee Refers to Package Recipient as “Ching Chong”

Sorry, nobody here by that name. Also, you ought to be fired.

Not this again. Got word passed along to me about a recent racist incident involving a FedEx employee… In northern Virginia, a FedEx employee left a doortag regarding a package delivery to the residence of an Asian customer. In the space denoting the recipient’s name, the delivery man wrote "Ching Chong Lee."

Oh, hell no.

Diana L., whose parents received the doortag, contacted customer service to inquire about the name on the package, and how exactly this happened. During the course of this attempted delivery, “Chang” somehow became “Ching Chong” — a familiar racial slur we all know and love. This was not somebody’s honest mistake.

Read more:

Privilege and Using Individual Compliments/Insults To Derail Conversations About Oppression

When I discuss how oppression functions structurally, often times among the replies that I receive are compliments or insults. See, for some reason (usually lack of understanding of structural power, oppression, privilege and intersectionality, coupled with that person’s personal “like” or “dislike” of me) people think replying with a compliment or insult is somehow contributing to that topic. As if it validates or invalidates complex issues. As if their personal feelings about me makes oppression any more or less true. Racism isn’t “true” because someone White likes me or “false” because someone White hates me. Sexism isn’t “true” because men like me or “false” because men hate me. That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works. And to be clear, I am not agreeing with the ignorance that accompanies lack of lived experience where the privileged will suggest that the reality of oppression in our lives can be discussed “objectively.” (The oppressor and the oppressed are invested and affected. How I feel about this matters, not just how I think about it; this isn’t divergent.) I am suggesting that compliments and insults are regularly used to assuage guilt, derail or harm, in this context.

A topic that I find both helpful at times (if discussed mostly with Black women) and triggering many times (if discussed with people who degrade Black women) is beauty politics. Obviously this complicates for Black women because of how sexism, misogyny, misogynoir, colourism, fat shaming/ableism/classism (for some), racism, and anti-Blackness itself impact perceptions of Black women’s appearance and thereby humanity; as they’re connected. This impact is not solely about “insults” without repercussions. It’s about oppression. “Ugliness” ascribed to Blackness directly correlates to how Black women are harmed, degraded and deemed “deserving” of violence. Beauty has never been “just about looks,” but ascribing value/non-value on humanity itself, and excluding Black women (especially salient for Black trans women) and Black people in general from “humanity.”

Thus, when I discuss Black women and beauty politics, the very last things I am interested in are insincere compliments from White women. I…never said I thought that I am ugly. I…don’t think that. They do. They’re socialized to think that. (In fact, everyone is and unlearning this is important for Black women. Not because we “need” to be “pretty” in an aesthetic sense, but because perception of “ugliness” places our humanity itself as non-existent because of anti-Blackness/misogynoir.) Thus, out of guilt about how White supremacy and Eurocentric beauty standards centers their appearance (and even in the margins; i.e. who is the face of fat positivity and plus size web sites, for example, White women; White privilege still exists in the margins) they feel the need to force a compliment in to assuage their discomfort with their guilt over this itself and over whatever conversation I might be having.


Conversely, when I discuss beauty politics and oppression, some White women (and at times non-Black women of colour) immediately decide that I am “jealous” of them. (In White Women’s Aggression Against Black Women In Public Space, I mentioned how beauty stores are often very hostile spaces for me because of White women’s aggression.) Jealousy? Because I discuss how colourism attributes to State violence on Black women and longer prison sentences for darker Black women? Or because I discuss how White women force themselves into Black women’s natural hair spaces lying about “shared experiences/oppression” yet Black women are still facing discrimination for natural hair in the workplace? Or because I discuss the sheer violence involved in the cishet Black male gaze when it perpetuates the notion that I better think that Lupita Nyong’o is “ugly” but Amber Rose is “beautiful?”

The lazy responses of compliments and insults never actually address the structural nature of oppression. And this compliment/insult nonsense doesn’t only happen when I discuss beauty, though for obvious reasons it occurs most frequently then. It happens when I discuss Black women’s epistemology and people’s exploitation of my work; Whites rush in to tell me that I am “smart” (because they think sheer consumption plus compliment equals “allyship”) or call me “stupid” based on me using language that they don’t understand. It happens when I discuss street harassment in Black communities (and this is not an assertion that it happens nowhere else nor have I ever asserted that); some Black men rush in to advise how they "aren’t like that" and would be "nice" to a "beautiful Black woman" like me and how they'love' Black women,” while others rush to engage in misogynoiristic insults or assert that I “hate” Black men. And…Black men using the "you hate Black men" line basically functions as "you wish you were White." It is violent, meant to harm and carries a weight with a long history, especially since Black women are expected to serve and support Black men but are deemed “divisive” or “hateful” for expecting anything in return. 

What people approach me with as an “opinion” about oppression is usually unfounded, anti-Black, misogynoiristic, and includes expecting my humanity to be a “debatable” topic. There is no “both sides” of an issue when one side is dehumanization and the other side is survival. My humanity is not debatable. These are the insults. The compliments usually come from someone privileged (usually Whites/men) in terms of whatever facet of oppression I am speaking of as again, a way to control/derail the conversation and assuage their guilt. I’m not here for coddling White guilt or men’s need to center themselves and be told "not all men." I do not care.

Another way this compliment/insult tactic operates is to silence my dissent about exploitation of my work and my words. People rave about how they were “inspired” by my writing so felt the need to regurgitate my words without citation, or violate my content use policy altogether, if academics (and the abuse by academics [and journalists] is daily and unrelenting). I don’t care about their “inspirations.” I care about the fact that people think exploiting Black women’s lives and labor is “allyship” and justice, and how the compliments about “inspiration” quickly turn to insults and violence if I demand consent and accountability from them. Compliments and insults function in the same way when they come from people who do not value my humanity or Black women’s humanity, in general. Even what some White people think is “kindness" is actually violence. Being applauded as someone to exploit as a Fact Portal is not a compliment.

In terms of dealing with racism and White supremacy, one of the reasons why Whites insist insulting White people is “racism” isn’t just because they cling to pathetically simplistic, structurally incorrect dictionary definitions of racism in order to false equalize structural power Whiteness has to Black people reacting in self-defense from anti-Blackness that dehumanizes us. It’s because again, they cling to the idea that an insult is an adequate response, a valid interrogatory and critique of oppression. Thus, if they elevate compliments and insults to that which can remove or critique oppression, they engage in epistemic violence. In other words, the notion that Whites’ definitions of their violence and power are the only valid ones and that replies meant either assuage their own discomfort or inflict personal harm in any way addresses actual oppression, is how they seek to control language/concepts and use it as a form of violence.  

Because of this epistemic violence, they try to equalize actual slurs used against Black women/Black people/people of colour that are/facilitate oppression as structural with insults Black people make of Whites. This is why some still engage in the epistemic violence of suggesting “mayo” and “cracker” are slurs (they are not) with the gravity and weight of “nigger.” This is why they use the word "racist" as "nigger" as well, calling Black people “racist nigger” as a slur; when we suggest their words/behaviors are racist, we’re stating a fact not calling them a name. I mean, they even try to suggest “not loving Whites” “oppresses” Whites, when it does not. The oppressor demands the language, the labor, the time, the space, the bodies and even the love of the oppressed. All violence. White supremacist thinking can only support external individualism. It doesn’t support introspection. It doesn’t support examining institutional racism and all of its tentacles into every space. (Everything is an “isolated incident” to them.)

I’m not interested in anyone “liking” or “disliking” me because they think doing so is some sort of anti-oppression praxis or proof that oppression is not what it is. I’m not interested in anyone so guilt-ridden or intellectually dishonest to think that compliments and insults can address structural oppression and how it impacts both individuals and institutions. And since people cannot divest of misogynoir to be able to think about how compliments about what good fact portals and doormats Black women make for them, I’m not interested in their compliments meant to mask their dehumanizing gaze, their theft of my work and words. And I’ll never view their interpersonal abuse as valid criticism of structural oppression.

Related Posts: 10 Ways That White Feminist and White Anti-Racism Allies Are Abusive To Me In Social MediaOn People Who Respond To My Stress With Unfunny, Never Clever “Jokes”

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Opening Our Closed Minds: In conversation sometimes we can get stuck in our own ideas. I think it’s important to ask “Why [do you feel that way]?” before we bark, “No [that’s not so]!” One should be willing to listen to both sides, allow the conversation to continue, allow room for discussion, allow your eyes to be open to different perspectives, and make conclusions from there. Listen to the voices that are not often heard.

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This made me laugh!

Really?! A white model?!

White people are centuries late for everything. They were late for personal hygiene, the toilet, spices in food… etc etc. Now they’re JUST discovering kohl and its uses??

I swear they run out of ideas and go, “Well what are those people of color  doing nowadays? Let’s steal it and make it our own. Call those du-rags ‘urban tie caps’ mkay.”

LOL honkies. Gotta love ‘em.

- Jess

anonymous said:

Mike Brown would have most likely grabbed the officers gun and shoot him. That officer did the right thing. You're just too fucking stupid to realize that.

Guess you must be Miss Cleo, all these psychic readings you’re attempting.  But whatever, I’ll take the bait…




So let’s assume that your lunatic theory is correct— that Mike Brown went after the officer’s gun (don’t know of a Black man in America that would just randomly go for the gun, but whatevs). And let’s even ignore the question of why the officer would have unholstered his gun in the first place, just because some kid was mouthing off at him. In what way would Darren Wilson have been justified to shoot Mike Brown to death AFTER he attempted to surrender. We KNOW that Wilson fired several shots from his car. We KNOW that Mike Brown attempted to stumble away from the car after being hit by the bullet(s). We can safely deduce from multiple witnesses and several audio recordings that he had his hands up, yelling “Don’t Shoot,” when Wilson exited his car and unloaded the remainder of his clip.

So I ask again, in what way could Wilson have been justified in shooting Brown to death? The simple answer is he wasn’t and whatever dumbass racist fable you’re telling yourself to maintain the belief that Mike Brown invited his own death is not only stupid, abhorrent, and disgusting— well it’s about as factual and rationale as a psychic reading.


I’m doing a project on Dorothy Dandridge and I was just reading random articles about her and I found this one. I just think the first sentence is unnecessary and just rude. Basically saying, “she only looks this way because she’s not fully Black” we need better journalists out there. 

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New Michael Brown shooting video.

Contractor who witnessed the shooting: “He had his fucking hands in the air.”

TW violence.