Month: March 2017

Real Friends; How Many of Us?: A Discussion About Solidarity | Kendrick Williams

 

Hi y’all! Welcome to this edition of the Mosaic E-digest blog! I hope you’re having a great March so far! Today, with events that have happened in the entertainment industry, I think it is important to have a discussion about solidarity in POC communities.

     pasted image 0.pngAbout a month ago, a Mexican-American comedian named George Lopez took the stage at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix for a stand up performance. As a long time fan of George Lopez’s combined with the feeling of nostalgia I experience when watching the TV show George Lopez, I was excited to watch his stand up  performance. I was shocked when I heard in his stand up
performance that he made a joke dragging black people.  The ‘joke’ was:
“There’s still two rules in the f**king Latino family. “Don’t marry somebody black, and don’t park in front of our house.” A woman offended, proceeds to give George Lopez the middle finger and attempts to leave, where George Lopez then begins cursing her out and telling her to “sit her ass back down” as well as a slew of derogatory slurs. George Lopez has defended his banter in the name of comedy. The video of the event can be seen here.

     My initial gut reaction was to scream “NO!” at the top of my lungs. How could this man of color, who made it big in the world of comedy despite its lack of diversity, say something so awful and bigoted?!

     Unfortunately,  I’ve heard this sentiment in most non black communities. Many non black people say that they fear what their parents would say or more specifically, their disapproval. I was just hurt to see a man who I liked so much say such an awful thing. Reading the Youtube comments comments, it also seemed that many black viewers were questioning their own allyship with the Latinx community because of his comment.  This made me just as uncomfortable.  

     I understand that I cannot excuse people of my own race who have also offended other communities of color. In 2016, during the Oscars Chris Rock did a bit where he brought out three Asian children. The joke in question was following how the Oscars failed to include pasted image 0 (1).pngany people of color to be nominated. In the bit Chris Rock did, he brought out the three Asian children to play the “finest bankers” from the Pricewaterhouse Coopers. He then introduced the names of these children (Ming Zhu, Bao Ling, and David Moskowitz) and proceeded to say “if you were offended by this joke, then you can tweet about it on the phone they also made.” Rock playing up two stereotypes about Asian Americans was met with offense and disgust. Celebrities also voiced their concerns with not only the act, but with the Oscars themselves for not stopping this ahead of time.

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Celebrity tweets regarding Chris Rock’s bigoted joke

     What bothers me about these actions of these comedians is that it shows the troubling power dynamic between minorities in the US. That we as people of color in this country feel that they need to fight amongst each other so we can “be on top”. The reality is we would only be knocked down by those in power once we get there. Recently, on y trip to Leadership Today, I learned a concept called “Horizontal Oppression”. What this basically means is when POCs have internalized oppression and are  prejudiced and discriminatory towards each other, it goes nowhere. It’s not helping anyone and the oppression simply stays on the horizontal line that POCs in the US are on. Nobody moves up and it only helps keep one group down. This type of behavior is never good nor helpful. If we want to fight against racism, POCs have to work together to dismantle systems of injustice, not encourage them. Don’t let these systems divide us, but instead let’s fight them together. Thanks for reading this addition of the Mosaic E-digest!
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How Beyoncé’s Life and Career Are Met with Criticism | Emilie Rodriguez

Article is a look into Beyoncé’s Pregnancy, The Grammy’s, Lemonade, and Religion


Maternity Photos… OH MY!

   Beyoncé recently shared with the public that she is pregnant with twins by posting a maternity photo of herself on Instagram Beyoncé is seen in the picture on her knees and holding her belly, surrounded by a bed of flowers. Her veil left the impression that she was trying to give off a ‘Virgin Mary’ look. Below is her instagram announcement:

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“We would like to share our love and happiness. We have been blessed two times over. We are incredibly grateful that our family will be growing by two, and we thank you for your  well wishes. – The Carters” 

     The internet went wild and so did a lot of my friends! The day she released the pictures, I remember my best friend called me and asked me if I had heard the news yet. Like others I was definitely stoked forBeyoncé. She is great at keeping things very private until she chooses to share! Queen B was definitely the topic of discussion for the next couple of days.

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Another one of Beyoncé’s maternity photos

 

Beyoncé’s Maternity Photo’s and Critics

     Beyoncé’s good news, however, was met with criticism. R.A. Farley, an author from The Refinery29 , responded to the photo’s saying,

“This excitement is all well and good. But it seems that no one, aside from a few brave souls on social media, wants to admit the truth: The pictures are tacky.”

     Later in the article she continues her critique of Beyoncé by criticizing Beyoncé for moving beyond her generally “minimalist” approach to fame.

 


Beyoncé’s Grammy Performance

     It is common to expect nothing but the best from Beyoncé when she puts on a show. The 2017 Grammy Awards Show was just that (in my opinion) the best. Beyoncé’s performance that included a hologram of Queen B. was considered a “magical” performance, and yet, some critics disagreed and expressed negative criticism for her performance.

     Piers Morgan tweeted ,” Didn’t really ‘feel’ that Beyonce [sic]  performance. [It] Seemed heavier on the narcissism than the music. #GRAMMYs” and, “Awful acceptance speech too. Looked bored as hell reading it. Come on Beyonce [sic] , you’re better than this.”

     I don’t think that folks, especially Piers Morgan, fully understood the religious symbolism behind Beyoncé’s performance though. The religion I am referring to is Santeria. Bey’s Grammy performance is not the first time folks have noticed her Santerian depiction of Oshun (a Santerian goddess), and it’s important to understand what messages she’s conveying about the religion.  

 


Santeria: Misconceptions and Truth

    image Santeria is a religion with spiritual practices that was started by Yoruban people from West Africa including: Nigeria and Benin. The Yoruba people were a group of many tribes with similar but distinct religious practices. Santerians worship orishas and saints.

Orishas and Historical Context

Before the slave trade, Yoruba lands had multiple major cities and were used as centers of worship for different Orishas. When slaves began “intermixing” and were forced to settle outside of their homelands, worshipping of Orishas got mixed up as well. This is when the practice of worshipping multiple Orishas became “standard” in the Santeria religion. There are sixteen Orishas. It is important to know that Santeria is not voodoo or black magic as the media likes to portray it. A Santeria worshipper said

“First, there are a lot of misconceptions about African-based religions in general.  If you go by what you see on television, you’d think practitioners of Voodoo and Santería are devil worshipers who practice black magic.  They stick pins in voodoo dolls and cast evil spells that kill their enemies.”

Some Orishas & Descriptions Provided by Santeria Church of the Orishas

“Eleggua”

  • the first and most important Orisha in Santería. He is the owner of the crossroads, the witness of fate and acts as the connecting agent in this world. Elegguá is often perceived as a trickster or impish child who tests our integrity.

“Ogun”

  •  Ogún is a mighty warrior, the divine blacksmith who crafts tools and weapons and the hardest working Orisha of them all. Ogún is the father of technology, the cutting edge of the knife and the power of metal. Ogún is often perceived as a powerful muscular man wearing a skirt made of palm fiber and he carries a machete.

 

“Oshun”

  •  Description: Oshún is the Orisha of sweetness, love and beauty. She is the embodiment of feminine grace, and is a flirtatious coquette.  She is a generous and loving mother, but she can also quickly turn bitter if she is wronged. Once she is soured, she is unforgiving and unbending. Oshún can accomplish miracles untold. She is the youngest of the orishas and is depicted as a flirtatious, mixed-race woman dressed in yellow, gazing in a mirror.

Speculation of Beyoncé Depicting Oshun: The Receipts

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source: vibe.com

     Above is one of Beyoncé’s maternity pictures and below is an animation of Oshun. In the picture above Beyoncé is being compared to the Orisha “Oshun”. Oshun is the goddess of love, fertility, beauty, and prosperity. Oshun also gave birth to twins, so it is fitting that Beyoncé is honoring the goddess with her maternity pictures.

Beyoncé’s Depiction of Oshun in Lemonade: (Similarities in Personality Traits)

    beyonce-hold-up-demo-compressed Beyoncé dressed in a yellow dress as she is dancing in the visual for “Hold Up.” In the song Beyoncé tells a narrative of experiencing infidelity. The Goddess Oshun is also known for experiencing hard times in her love life. At the beginning of the visual Beyoncé´ talks about wearing all white, trying to change, fasting for sixty days, and talks about being baptized in a river. Oshun’s main element is the river as she is the Goddess of the river.

As a disclaimer,I am not saying I am an expert on Santeria, but my best friend’s family does practice Santeria. I have witnessed both of her parents go through the the “crowning” process. During the process both of her parents attempted to cleanse themselves to become ‘pure’ once again. They wore all white for a year, had no sex, alcohol, and were told to avoid specific food and behaviors during that year.

Depiction of Post Infidelity Reactions

     As mentioned above Oshun is also known for having a difficult time in her love life. Though rumors spread about her being cheated on by her long time husband Jay-Z this narrative is yet to be proven. Regardless of whether it is fact or fictionBeyoncé plays the part of a Woman who has been betrayed by her lover, and calls herself “crazy.” Oshun is also known for falling head over heels for lovers who do not necessarily treat her as she should be treated.

Below is a picture depicting Oshun (left) who is dressed similarly to how Beyoncé  (right) is dressed in the Lemonade video.

 


Santeria or Appropriation: The Debate

     My motives for writing this post was not to prove that Beyoncé is Santerian. Regardless of my hunch, and other folks findings I still don’t know if  Beyoncé practices Santeria because she keeps her personal life very private. Some folks feel like Beyoncé is appropriating the African religion. My reason for writing this post was to invite others to ask questions before assuming a certain religion is just “black magic” or “voodoo.” The mainstream media and “white man’s” version of history has influenced folks to believe spiritual practices apart of the African diaspora are dark and demonic like. This is not true though. The African Diaspora refers to refers to the communities throughout the world that have resulted by descent from the movement in historic times of peoples from Africa, predominantly to the Americas and among other areas around the globe.”

    Here is a response from Maximiliano Goiz who’s post on Facebook went viral when he talked aboutBeyoncé depicting Oshun. He gives more context on why he thinksBeyoncé is emulating Oshun’s aesthetic.

 

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     Regardless of how you feel about Beyoncé  I encourage you to ask questions about the ideologies we are quick to believe and whose truths we are buying into!

Peace,

Emilie Rodriguez

Another Quiet Asian Woman | Jenna Edra

During an evaluation of my work performance, a supervisor told me that I could speak more during the weekly meetings. I brought up the point that the weekly meetings often consist of debriefing events that are optional to attend, for which I am not often present due to class or other obligations. My opportunities to speak are partially limited. But their viewpoint remained the same–I was just “so quiet,” which is nothing that I haven’t heard before. “Quiet” accurately describes me, but I still felt defensive because her comment seemed vague and unconstructive. What is it exactly that I need to verbally provide during meetings? More feedback? More ideas? Am I not helpful enough–a more specific critique–or am I just… too quiet? Is my quietness that much of a problem?

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It’s hard to not take critiques of my quietness a little personally because it is ingrained in my character. I have always been an introvert to the fullest; I am one to listen rather than speak or at least to ponder before speaking. If I were to speak more spontaneously and more often, my articulations would be messy. I need time to process my thoughts and choose my words.

During a work retreat, I could feel the pointedness of the question when someone asked whether anyone else in the large group who hadn’t shared yet would like to speak. I chose not to talk at that time. Shortly after, I was asked directly if I wanted to add anything to the conversation. I declined but insisted that I was still reflecting, processing, and engaging.

Silence seems to make people uncomfortable. It is interpreted negatively; to be silent is to be awkward, unsociable, or lazy or shy to speak. I am grateful for people who do not poke and prod silence away: professors who don’t grade participation solely off of how many times a student speaks in class, friends who appreciate active listening, etc. The same people are not often supervisors or bosses.    

I have a small fear that I will not succeed or be taken seriously in the workplace because I am 1) a woman, 2) a woman of color (Asian, specifically Filipina), and 3) a stereotypically quiet Asian woman. For Asian women, being stereotyped as quiet goes hand in hand with being stereotyped as docile and submissive. Not only is it considered unpopular and unusual to be quiet in U.S. society, but in the professional world specifically, the Western concept of leadership also prizes people who are talkative, extroverted, aggressive, charismatic, and skilled at public speaking. Undoubtedly, traditional conceptions of strong leaders and/or employees help to build the “bamboo ceiling,” the collection of barriers that Asians face when pursuing leadership positions in the workplace.   

Recently, I attended a speaker panel with two Filipina professionals. One spoke of her experience of being the only person of color during meetings. Despite being in the middle of the age range among the professionals, she is always treated as if she is younger by her white coworkers, who dominate the conversations. As she put it, they like to hear themselves speak. Initially, she was withdrawn and discouraged from talking. Now, she speaks freely–albeit not as often as her counterparts. But when she does speak, she is very intentional. Her words are original and thoughtful, never a parroting of what someone else said. And they listen closely to her.

Her story gives me hope. I liked that she didn’t change who she was; she communicates well and is respected, while still being relatively quiet. But I remain wary for myself and my professional future, knowing that I probably still have to work on my speaking skills and to accommodate a little to Western ideals until it’s more socially acceptable to be a quiet Asian woman.