I’ve never been female. But I have been black my whole life. I can perhaps offer some insight from that perspective. There are many similar social issues related to access to equal opportunity that we find in the black community, as well as the community of women in a white male dominate society…
When I look at — throughout my life — I’ve known that I wanted to do astrophysics since I was 9 years old…I got to see how the world around me reacted to my expressions of these ambitions. All I can say is, the fact that I wanted to be a scientist, an astrophysicist was hands down the path of most resistance through the forces of society.
Anytime I expressed this interest, teachers would say, ‘Oh, don’t you wanna be an athlete?’ I want to become someone that was outside of the paradigm of expectations of the people in power. Fortunately, my depth of interest of the universe was so deep and so fuel enriched that everyone of these curve balls that I was thrown, and fences built in front of me, and hills that I had to climb, I just reach for more fuel, and I just kept going.
Now, here I am, one of the most visible scientists in the land, and I wanna look behind me and say, ‘Where are the others who might have been this,’ and they’re not there! …I happened to survive and others did not simply because of forces of society that prevented it at every turn. At every turn.
…My life experience tells me that when you don’t find blacks, when you don’t find women in the sciences, I know that these forces are real, and I had to survive them in order to get where I am today.
So before we start talking about genetic differences, you gotta come up with a system where there’s equal opportunity, then we can have that conversation.
And many of us darker skinned women notice this in the beauty community of youtube as well. The most popular youtubers are light skinned or white/white-skinned. The Black ones that have a VERY large following? Beautycrush, Andreaschoice, ShamelessMaya, ItsMyRayeRaye, etc? Mixed Black women with very light skin. And while I don’t wish to downplay their success, part of it is due to the fact that they’re skin tone isn’t so dark and their hair not THAT different from white people that white viewers THINK they can still get lots of tips from them. As apposed to darker skinned Black youtubers who white viewers think they can’t take any tips from them. Light skinned beauty vlogers are allowed to be a universal beauty while darker skinned Black vloggers are a niche that only one “small” group of viewers can enjoy.
The only exception I can think of is britpopprincess, who probably gets a pass because, well, she’s British. Considering how most Americans view English (not all the same, but you know what I mean) accents as “posh” and “sophisticated,” Patricia’s accent saves her from looking like a “ghetto, ratchet, Black American girl” and instead looks like a “classy” Black woman. A lot of Black women from England have noted that they are treated better in America than in the UK simply because their accents make people think they’re wealthy and sophisticated. I once saw interviews of a Black woman who couldn’t get non-stereotypical roles in England and moved to America where she’s always cast in roles playing intelligent and posh women.
I think that instead of getting defensive, you should have maybe done some research. With your platform, you could have really brought attention to the issue of colorism, not just on youtube, but in the media at large. There are lots of studies and documentaries (Dark Girls is a great place to START) that showcase the Western world’s preference for lighter skinned girls. And to see a rather prominent Black youtuber deny that, it’s frustrating.
Here’s the thing; you can’t help being privileged. And being privileged doesn’t erase your personal struggles, nor minimize your successes and all you had to overcome. No one is saying that. What that man was trying to say (though in a less academic way) is that some people are awarded more privileges than others. And because of it, it’s easier for them to navigate their way into certain avenues than others. It’s not a slight at your success to admit that you had it a bit easier than others. It’s not going to make your successes disappear just because you’re light skinned and privileged over darker skinned Black people.
But ignoring your privileges or getting defensive isn’t the way to go about it. If you don’t want your light skinned being looked at as the REASON for your success, then work on learning why light skin is a preference inside and outside of the Black community. And then do what you can to change it. That way, when you make it, you can honestly say your skin color had nothing to do with it and it was 100% on you. In a perfect world, that is the case. But in the real world, certain people are awarded certain privileges just for being born a certain way. That’s the world we live in. And ignoring it or getting mad when people who are less privileged than you in some way point our your privileges, isn’t going to change anything.
Hey dudes! Next Monday the 21st at 8pm EST, I’m doing a live streaming episode of the show from my place. It’s going to be cool and weird, and I’m using the opportunity to play with the format a bit, so I hope you tune in to check it out, plus, I’ve got some great guests:
Josh Gondelman (Last Week Tonight with John Oliver) Franchesca Ramsey (YouTube vlogging sensation) musical guest Lady Lamb the Beekeeper (Ba Da Bing! records)
You can watch for free, but if you want to toss a few bucks at the show, there will be incentives like sweet posters made by artist Joe Karg (and other things) and all profits will go to help Kitty Kind (I keep no $$$), a great all-volunteer, no-kill cat shelter here in New York.
Again, 8pm EST on Monday 4/21 and you can watch here. And tweet questions to @andybeckerman to join in the fun!
Hey! I’m doing a live show on Monday 4/21 and you should tune in online!
Some things I like here: One, I think Denzel’s story shows how powerful institutions (like Hollywood) can perpetuate racism in the name of comedy. Two, Denzel himself shows how people can make the call to turn down the big payout for the big picture. That’s a tough call to make; it’s not a choice everyone has, but, damn, I’m glad Denzel did. Three, Denzel is so ridiculously Denzel, I can’t even.
I didn’t think it was possible, but my respect level for Denzel just went up about 100 times. Not every job is worth accepting.
Him: I don’t date black women. It’s just a preference.
Me: Based on what?
Him: Nothing, it’s just how I feel.
Me: Impossible, deliberate aversions come from somewhere.
Him: Its just a preference, that’s all.
Me: No, a preference is preferring broccoli to asparagus. You can say that because asparagus will always taste the same, even when prepared differently.
Me: And we’re not always the same at all. There are hundreds of millions of us and we’re each completely different from the next. If an employer said not hiring Black people was a preference would you agree?
7 Cups of Tea connects you to free active listeners, counselors online, and online therapy. Speak anonymously with a trained, compassionate person when you need someone to talk to.
I just got off the site. I had a massive anxiety attack and I remember seeing chesca’sfacebook post last night and since imalive.org was busy they suggested this page and I got help. The listener was super helpful and you never know when you might need help.
This was the second time I’ve had an attack in my life and it was definitely more intense and I’m really glad there are resources like this to help out in times of need. Thank God for the internet.
So don’t be afraid to share, you never know who you end up helping.
You want forgiveness, for others to respect your process in learning and growing, and you want the space to do that yet yall don’t allow others the same courtesy. A huge part of taking on the role to recognize some of the ugly in our society and fixing it is self reflection that means recognizing the ugly that’s in you too. That is, the negative effect society has had and STILL has on ALL of us. Just because you’re conscious of it now, doesn’t mean that you’re immediately “FIXED” and all your kinks have been worked out too. Some of yall seem to not want positive change, but want to feel better about yourselves, to alleviate some of the guilt you have internalized for whatever reason. I read your posts, watch some of yall’s “discussions” and “debates” and a lot of what I see is just elaborate finger pointing. I’ve watched a few of yall DRAG people on here who are trying to change their behavior but you wanna keep bringing up their past bullshit, sabotaging the very thing that you claim you want - CHANGE. I didn’t mean for this post to be this long, but I guess i had more to say than I thought. In summation, some of yall (yes, especially a few of the Black women I follow that are part of the “sj” side of tumblr) need to check ya damn selves and learn to get over the personal shit that’s making yall kinda act like assholes every once in awhile which hinders yall from doing good shit on here and in the world. I’m seriously thinking about unfollowing several of yall that I consider myself cool with in order to remove the negativity from my dash (at the risk of discontinuing learning from you). Yall seem to be becoming more and more like the people you claim to be against. I’m just sayin.
When some people hear the term “affirmative action,” they think it means a person of color is getting an undeserved advantage over a white person just because of their race. This race track analogy does a great job of putting the whole thing into perspective.
A look at which companies have issued a security patch to fix the Heartbleed bug.
Hey friends, I know this might seem like a huge pain in the ass, but you gotta change your passwords. This is one of the biggest internet security flaws in history and your personal data including your credit card info could be compromised. I had to change my Tumblr password TWICE today because of suspicious activity. This isn’t a joke. Before changing your passwords makes sure to check the above linked list on Mashable and make sure that the flaw has been patched on that specific sites AND THEN change your password. Also, if you have Gmail or are using Gmail for business, it’s a good idea to set up 2-step verification just to be extra safe.
HuffPost Live is a live-streaming network that attempts to create the most social video experience possible. Viewers are invited to join discussions live as on-air guests. Topics range from politics to pop culture.
Today, I co-hosted my first segment on HuffPost Live alongside Marc Lamont Hill. We discussed the Marissa Alexander case, “Stand Your Ground” and protecting black women with Esther Armah, Dr. Brittney Cooper and Aaron Laramore.
“Twenty-one million people with disabilities did not vote,” said [Christopher] Dodd. “That made the disabled communities the single largest demographic group of nonvoters in the United States of America. At that time, only 16 percent of polling places were physically accessible. And not one, not one of the nearly 500 polling locations which the General Accounting Office (GAO) visited on Election Day in 2000, had special ballots adapted for blind voters.”—
My polling place is not accessible (the line to vote goes up an enormous staircase), so I have to use the “special” accommodations instead of voting like everyone else.
But if I didn’t know about that option, I would’ve just turned away. And what about all the people that don’t consider themselves disabled and wouldn’t ask for accommodations but also can’t stand in line for HOURS at a time, either because of their knees or their hearts or their kids or their jobs?
Not to mention these absurd “voter ID” laws that require people of color, poor people, old people, students, and disabled people - disproportionately - to stand in line at the DMV for hours on end just for the “privilege” <ahem shouldn’t it be a right> to vote.
So I spent three months working with a bunch of really great people on a video about incarceration in America. Of course the work was off and on, but videos like that are very difficult to get right because those situations are unsurprisingly complex.
People who know about the full complexity will talk your ear off for about four days straight and at the end you’ll come away thinking “well, this is screwed up, but I’m not really sure how or why and obviously there’s nothing to be done about it.” But a point of pride for me is the ability to take complicated situations and distill them down for broader understanding.
Of course, it also means that I don’t talk about everything. A lot of people in the comments of that video are criticizing me for not discussing race, which is indeed an important factor and the justice system does appear to be racially biased.
I argue that taking on that issue would have blurred the over-arching theme I wanted to have with that video, which is that the justice system (even if it wasn’t racist) is broken. Which it is.
They argue that I could have mentioned race in passing and that would have been better than nothing. I completely disagree…I think mentioning it in passing would have been a huge disservice to the complexity of the issue. There is clearly racial bias in the criminal justice system but where and why exactly it occurs is extremely complicated. I’ve seen a lot of really alarming stats, but when I tried to find their sources I was unable to.
You can’t boil it down to a sentence…that’s the point of these videos…that the sound byte mentality of the news media is almost as broken as the policy of mass incarceration. I could of plopped some misleading statistic in the middle of the video, but that’s the opposite of my goal.
Talking to experts on incarceration made it clear that there was no one-sentence (or even one minute) summary that could in any way do that conversation justice.
There’s a part of me that’s annoyed…I do my best to sometimes make videos about complicated issues that would otherwise never be discussed on a medium like YouTube. Videos like this are terrifying to make for this exact reason. John and I were terrified of posting “Human Sexuality is Complicated” because we knew we’d catch flak for not telling the whole story (which we did.) And I was scared to post that video yesterday for the same reasons.
By far the easiest way to avoid these criticisms would be to not make videos about complicated topics. And so that little voice in my head is like “JESUS STOP GIVING ME SUCH A HARD TIME! AT LEAST I’M TRYING!”
But instead of being annoyed, I’m going to be thankful. Thankful to have intelligent people pushing me to create content that is more complete and more accurate than what a lot of major news networks can cobble together. Thankful for the opportunity to do that. Thankful for the ability to talk to experts and get free animation work provided in exchange for mentioning Visual.ly in my video.
So I was one of the many people that was disappointed that the Vlogbrother’s latest video, "Mass Incarceration in the US" didn’t mention race. While I don’t agree with Hank’s reasoning behind leaving this info out, I can appreciate how difficult it is to cover such a serious and complex issue in under 4 minutes that will make everyone happy. Truth is, it’s close to impossible. I also know what it’s like to work hard on something (damn 3 months?!) and have people rip it to shreds because you failed to live up to their impossibly high standards. It’s annoying as hell.
The fact of the matter is that race plays a HUGE factor in the “war on drugs” and who’s being incarcerated and given higher prison sentences. Spoiler alert: it’s black people and other POC. There isn’t a possibility that our justice system is racist. It is. One of my favorite blogs US Prison Culture does a great job of highlighting these disparities, and I’m on the hunt for more videos and graphics that shed light on these issues, so get ready for a barrage of content to that end.
At the end of the day Hank and John are finding new and creative ways to approach difficult subjects in ways that people can understand and I really love that. They’re also incredibly good at listening to their audience and are receptive to constructive criticism. No shade, but I can count on one hand the number of YouTubers, celebrities and news outlets that do the same. I respect the hell out of anyone that uses their platform to try and make a difference and that’s what Hank and John are doing, so I tip my hat to them.
So Marina Watanabe/marinashutup is putting together a really, really exciting new series.
The Women of YouTube Project will include a series of videos featuring perspectives of a wide variety of women on YouTube who will discuss an array of topics (body image, sex education, representation of women in media, sexual harassment on the internet, etc.) The goal is to represent all types of female content creators, give advice to and educate other women and girls, and start a discussion in the YouTube community.
Just wanted to write a quick follow-up to today’s post to share that I got really sweet email from that same subscriber, apologizing for her previous email. I also made sure to apologize as well, as I realize my response could’ve been seen as defensive. As Ms. Badu says, "Keep in mind that I’m an artist, and I’m sensitive about my shit." It’s no secret, I’m sensitive ya’ll.
I share my ups and downs here in my little corner of the internet not to get sympathy, props or to brag, but to remind you that our journeys continue to have twists and turns and that’s totally ok.
I constantly get messages from subscribers asking for and offering advice, which I’m very appreciative of. It’s crazy that think that strangers around the world want to connect with me, but I love it so very much.
I wish the following was an April Fool’s joke…but it isn’t. I got this email from a subscriber yesterday and thought I’d share it and my response for anyone else who has similar questions or concerns. In an effort to respect the author’s privacy, I’ve removed their name.
Subject: Come to grace meeting from a viewer
Hey Chescaleigh, I’ve been a viewer for about 2 years and I guess I’m emailing to really see what exactly you want from Youtube? Do you want to grow and make more money off youtube? Do you want to finally pass the 100k subscriber mark? And if so why do you continue to get rid of the small fan base you have? The reason I originally subscribed to you was because you were refreshing and versatile. You did hair videos, parodies, skits, and videos about important subjects. But it seems that with the decline of your 2011 popularity, so did your drive to produce anything funny.
A lot of people think growth on Youtube is hard but there’s so many ways to get noticed. You could do more parodies (Applause went really well for you), more important videos, or even more Ask Granny! But these whole follow me around vlogs and live chats are getting ridiculous. I mean you get 5-7k views on those daily vlogs and you have 100,000 subscribers! Doesn’t that seem bad to you? I know in your draw your life video you said that you think you’re almost out of time but you could easily increase your fan base if you just committed more to your channel