Tag Archives: stereotypes

Chescaleigh Breaks Down the Harriet Tubman “Sex Tape”

19 Aug

Sisters of Resistance have featured the awesome YouTube comedian Franchesca Ramsey, a.k.a. Chescaleigh before, when she took on the “Shit People Say” meme with her pointed and hilarious observations of “Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls.”

She recently posted a video critiquing the deeply sexist, racist and all-around offensive “Harriet Tubman Sex Tape” released by media mogul Russell Simmons last week. (Coincidentally, his video hit the Net around the time that the hashtag #blackpowerisforblackmen, started by Jamilah Lemieux of Ebony Magazine and illustrating sexist intraracial dynamics between black men and women, was trending on Twitter. Funny how that works.)

In addition to breaking down the wrongness that is the video in a smart and funny way, Franchesca also addresses the issue of social responsibility in comedy. She describes how as a black comic, she once relied on racial stereotyping to get laughs, as many other comedians have done in the past. But she was powerfully challenged by a concerned audience member to see what was problematic about this. She listened, and as a result, learned to stop relying on stereotypes (which she calls “lazy” comedy) and instead, to be funny while making social critique.

Her reflexivity and message is powerful, and especially needs to reach the ears of people whose voices and impact are widespread – people like Uncle Russell “Hustle” Simmons, who has weakly apologized for the video and pulled it from the web. In order to shine up his image (we suspect), he has tweeted about having his apology accepted by Harriet Tubman’s descendants (who are not the only ones he needs to ask forgiveness from!) and producing a miniseries on Frederick Douglas. Let’s just hope he has learned the lesson that Franchesca makes so clear – that claiming “it’s only comedy” is no excuse for eschewing social responsibility, and that all of us have a responsibility to reflect on our actions and contribute positively to the world in which we live.

Franchesca’s recent vlog is below. Follow her on Twitter or check out her YouTube channel here.

Update 22 Aug 2013: An Open Letter to Russell Simmons from Harriet Tubman’s Great Great Grandniece (we knew his claim that they “accepted his apology” was dodgy!)

Related Posts:

Why White People Talk Shit about “Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls”

Reality TV Exploits Women, People of Color, & Children

6 Nov

Sisters of Resistance have long opposed the misogynist, negative portrayals of women, working class people and people of color in reality TV shows. That circle has recently expanded to include children, exploited in such shows as “Toddlers and Tiaras” and its follow-up, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” We would like to call your attention to this clued-in article by Jennifer Pozner for the New York Times Opinion Pages in which she looks at this disturbing cultural phenomenon.

so much wrong with this picture.

Read the article in its original location at the New York Times here.

Sisters Talking Back (Challenging Dominant Narratives)

23 Jun

Sisters of Resistance have recently read some powerful sisters talking back, challenging racist, sexist stereotypes of the dominant white male power structure. 

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Lauryn Hill has spoken back against the poisonous nature of the music industry in a powerful statement available here.

Erykah Badu has directly addressed those who seek to badmouth her because of her third child here. 

Lastly, this in depth article analyses “respectability politics” and how they can be oppressive for black women in particular, making reference to the racist film The Help and Erykah Badu. 

Why White People Talk Shit about “Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls”

16 Jan

“Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls,” parts 1 and 2, by actress and comedian Franchesca Ramsey are recently released YouTube parodies of the “Shit Girls Say” series that have gone viral. Predictably, the videos are causing an uproar amongst white people attacking what they see as Ramsey’s “racism”, when in fact what she is doing is illustrating, in no uncertain terms, some of the many ways racism continues to be inflicted on people of color.

Sisters of Resistance read an excellent article over at New Black Woman critiquing these kinds of responses, some of which we would like to share with you here. In it, she explains why white people have reacted so vehemently to what Ramsey has brought to the surface with her videos, which are the”microaggressive” forms of racism experienced by people of color on a daily basis. She also reminds those who took offense of the historical and structural context that makes it impossible for Black people and other people of color to commit racism against white people. We encourage you to read the whole article for its insightful analysis.

And for further info on the topic, check out this article by Jamilah King, over at one of our favorite anti-racist news sources, Colorlines.com, and hear what Franchesca Ramsey herself had to say about the reactions.

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Unintentional Racism: An Apology

11 Apr

We have recently written two articles which have proven controversial. One highlighted the lies, behaviour and psychology of men who cheat and the other listed men to avoid. Both were based on real, personal, recent or on-going experiences.

When we were confronted with accusations of racism by people commenting on the blog and brothers we know, we immediately defended ourselves. We are both children of immigrants who have lived and worked in black, Asian and global majority communities all our lives; we have both seen and experienced racism and are disgusted by it; we are both dedicated to eradicating racism through our activism in our daily lives and with this blog. We have both read extensively on the subjects of anti-racism, civil rights, black liberation and post-colonialism.  We both have many more black, Asian, Latino and global majority friends and acquaintances than those from European/caucasian backgrounds, and the white friends we do have are likely to be committed anti-racists as well.

However, we are always advocating self-reflection, self-critique and self-improvement and thus realised it is not enough to simply defend ourselves. We advocate listening to others when they point out discrimination or injustice, and we argue for the importance of taking steps to correct oppressive behaviours. With this in mind, we must examine the criticisms being levelled at us and respond. Continue reading