Saturday, July 3, 2010

Femonomics reads the internet: Everyone's a little bit racist

Joel Stein wrote a piece for Time lamenting the fact that his hometown has become his "own private India" after a large influx of Indian immigrant.  It's supposed to be funny (sample humor: "I never knew how a bunch of people half a world away chose a random town in New Jersey to populate...Did we accidentally keep numbering our parkway exits all the way to Mumbai?"), but like so many things, is actually just really racist.  Kal Pen, of Harold and Kumar fame, mocked Stein's really uncreative racism for the Huffington Post:
Were it not for the intelligent, fresh sense of humor of individuals like Mr. Stein, the world may never know about Americans who happen to be of Indian descent. Gags about impossibly spicy food? I'd never heard those before! Multiple Gods with multiple arms? Multiple laughs! Recounting racial slurs like "dot-head"? Oh, Mr. Stein, is too good! I don't know how he comes up with such unique bits. (I was worried that he'd missed an opportunity to joke about Dr. King's predecessor, Gandhi, but I see that he got to that hilarity on Twitter. More never-before-heard satire!)
Growing up a few miles from Edison, NJ, I always thought it was hilarious when I'd get the crap kicked out of me by kids like Stein who would yell "go back to India, dothead!" I was always ROTFLMAO when people would assume that I wasn't American. He really captured the brilliant humor in that one too!
Stein apologized on the pages of Time by saying his piece was actually pro-immigration:
 I truly feel stomach-sick that I hurt so many people. I was trying to explain how, as someone who believes that immigration has enriched American life and my hometown in particular, I was shocked that I could feel a tiny bit uncomfortable with my changing town when I went to visit it. If we could understand that reaction, we’d be better equipped to debate people on the other side of the immigration issue.
Right.  Except to do that, you would have had to actually discuss your feelings and critique them instead of just playing your grade school inability to accept change for laughs.  Time magazine fail. [Hat tip Jez]
DL Hughley guest-hosted the view, and voiced his clearly medically researched (sarcasm) opinion that "brothers on the down low" are responsible for the AIDS epidemic in the African community.  Because any form of unlubricated sex (anal sex or dry sex) has a higher transmission rate than lubricated PIV or oral sex, it is true that, for unprotected sex, transmission rates will be higher on average for gay men receiving anal sex than for straight men having vaginal sex.  But it's not true that the phenomenon of gay black men having girlfriends is responsible for the high rates of HIV among African American women.  Evil Slutopia sets the record straight:
The CDC has studied why the HIV/AIDS rates among African-American women is so extremely high (they make up 61% of all new HIV cases among women). Although 80% of African-American women contract HIV through heterosexual contact, this is mainly from men with high-risk behaviors such as having multiple sex partners (primarily female partners, not secret gay male partners) or IV drug use. There are actually "relatively few" infections coming from male partners who are bisexual.
Slutopia points out how ludicrous it is to continue to consider "gayness" a risk factor, instead of actually risky behaviors:
I was researching the subject, for a potential article for the school newspaper, and questioned a representative of the Blood Bank on why gay men were restricted from donating blood. She informed me that gay men were at a higher risk for contracting HIV/AIDS. I reminded her that not all gay men are at a higher risk, only those who engage in high risk activities like unprotected anal sex with numerous partners. However women who engaged in the same high risk activities could donate. She didn't understand, so I explained further.
Me: The risk factor isn't "being a gay man". Yes, unprotected anal sex is a higher risk activity, but it would be the same level of risk for a woman.

Idiot: Oooh, you're right! She could have had anal sex with a gay man!
In other racist news, the movie The Last Airbender, which replaced all of its leading Asian characters with white actors, while still having minority characters play villainous and background characters, is apparently terrible.  Ebert's review: "The laws of chance suggest that something should have gone right. Not here."  Oh M. Night, how far you've fallen.  Also check out this history of Yellow Face in the movies.
If you like the World Cup, this infographic is fun.  Or if you just like hot soccer players magically changing size with their facebook popularity. [Hat tip Fug Girls]
I thought this piece on why breastfeeding is a feminist issue was interesting.


  1. Hi,

    Just wanted to let you know the link to the breastfeeding piece only goes to, no actual article.


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