Ten Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali will always remain a hero to me, if just for one statement he made while resisting

being drafted to fight in Viet Nam:

By March 1967, his (boxing) record stood at 29-0. One month later, he refused induction into the US Army during the Vietnam War, claiming conscientious objector status. “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong,” he said, adding, “No Viet Cong ever called me nigger.” Condemned as unpatriotic and cowardly, Ali was stripped of his title and his boxing license. He was tried, found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison. Released on appeal, he waited three years for the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the verdict.

Read also – Ten Things You Probably Didn't Know About Muhammad Ali


Some blacks insist: ‘I’m not African-American’

updated 2/5/2012 10:44:12 AM ET

The labels used to describe Americans of African descent mark the movement of a people from the slave house to the White House. Today, many are resisting this progression by holding on to a name from the past: “black.”

For this group — some descended from U.S. slaves, some immigrants with a separate history — “African-American” is not the sign of progress hailed when the term was popularized in the late 1980s. Instead, it’s a misleading connection to a distant culture.

……… read more

Considering the “IndiVisible” History of African Americans and American Indians

African Americans and American Indians can both tell tales of historical injustice—but to what extent do those tales overlap? Often quite a bit, as demonstrated by IndiVisible, a traveling exhibit created by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

IndiVisible looks at the multi-dimensional relationship of the two groups. While the exhibit emphasizes the ways in which African Americans and Indians have common cause — with such apt exhibit sub-headings as “Stolen People on Stolen Land” and “United in Common Struggle” — it is also unafraid to deal with points of contention. The exhibit discusses intermarriage, blood quantum, the notion of “passing” as another race, and the ongoing drama surrounding the Cherokee Freedmen.

Read more:http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/01/16/considering-the-indivisible-history-of-african-americans-and-american-indians-72672 http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/01/16/considering-the-indivisible-history-of-african-americans-and-american-indians-72672#ixzz1lVs9y0bU

….. read more

Racial Perceptions – Tyra (Part 1)

In this video clip, the Tyra Banks talk show has set up a “case study” where a group of

individuals, males and females of different races, sat down and watched a clip of other

people “living their lives”. In this portion of the video, the panel watches a clip of a white

male running down the sidewalk, chasing a black male. The panel is then asked to discuss

what they think is going on in the video. This leads into the panel talking very openly

about their perceptions of Black men.


The Help – Movie Review

Note: I resisted watching it but we rented it last night to see what all the fuss is about. Yet another “Snow Falling on Cedars” and “Amistad.”

Publication Date Aug. 12, 2011 – by Peter Canavese, Palo Alto Online

Hollywood has a pernicious tradition that’s been dubbed, by one professor, the “anti-racist-white-hero film.” You know it unconsciously, if not consciously: a movie purportedly about racism afflicting an oppressed community, but actually about the experience of the affluent white person defending that community. “Cry Freedom.” “Mississippi Burning.” Director Edward Zwick scored a hat trick over the years, with “Glory,” “The Last Samurai” and “Blood Diamond.”

And now we have “The Help,” an adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s bestselling novel by writer-director Tate Taylor, her lifelong friend. Where the novel adopts multiple perspectives to tell its story of Jim Crow-era Mississippi, Taylor’s film sticks closely to 23-year-old aspiring journalist “Skeeter” Phelan (Emma Stone), an implicit audience surrogate meant to reassure the white viewer that he or she is “one of the good ones,” just like the enlightened protagonist.

Despite being a privileged white girl obliged to play nice with the community’s nasty cliques of racists, Skeeter has the soul of a rebel. She decides to help the help — that is, work against the mistreatment of local maids by getting them to tell her their stories, which Skeeter will fashion into a book she’s writing on spec for Harper & Row editor Elain Stein (Mary Steenburgen).

Skeeter’s commitment to social justice contrasts with the inability of her mother (Allison Janney) to step up, and the film doesn’t much complicate Skeeter’s heroism with the obvious career boost the book will give her: She’s just a girl whose intentions are good.

As for the help, they’re treated as second-class citizens as a matter of course. Worse, high-strung socialite Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard) has mounted a campaign to officially banish all African-American servants to outhouses, since they aren’t good enough or clean enough to use the indoor facilities. Though such virulent racism rings true to the time and place, Howard plays Hilly to the hilt (if she had a moustache, she’d be twirling it), the better for audiences to say, “Whew! I’m not a racist like her!”

After much hand-wringing about the consequences, maid Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis) can no longer stand by. She agrees to be interviewed by Skeeter and, better yet, takes the initiative to write down her own accounts — of employer mistreatment and the expectations put on a maid not only to cook and clean for 95 cents an hour, but also raise the employer’s children.

Much is made of the children’s touching mother-daughter bonds with their maids: Cicely Tyson serves as the film’s godmother by playing, in flashback, Skeeter’s longtime, maternal maid. Eventually, Aibileen’s best friend, sassy Minny Jackson (Octavia Spencer), joins Skeeter’s project, and others follow.

Taylor’s studiously styleless direction goes down easy: Nothing in “The Help” could be described as “challenging.” If anything, the style spikes on the cartoon meter during anything involving Hilly and her serial comeuppances (all involving toilet humor; all stretching credibility in their particulars).

“The Help” has essentially one good excuse to exist: Davis, the Oscar-nominated, Tony-winning powerhouse who radiates Aibileen’s deep pain and coiled-anger determination in another remarkable performance. Unfortunately, Aibileen disappears for long stretches to accommodate the white characters (including Jessica Chastain’s guileless employer).

If only “The Help” accepted more of Davis’ help, we might have a work of art on our hands instead of another condescending, half-baked history lesson.

Rated PG-13 for thematic material. 2 hours, 27 minutes.