Women’s Her-story Month: Why Not Sex Workers (Sofia Maldonado’s Mural)?


There is a “moral panic” that Keysha Whitaker highlights in “Latin Female Artist draws criticism for Times Square Mural” brewing on the streets of Times Square where Sofia Maldonado, a young Puerto Rican-Cuban woman, is under fire for creating a mural that for many embodies the sins of rap videos . . . big booty black women . . . exotic looking Latina women . . . crouch mesmerizing poses . . . and at the end of the day “un-respectable” images of black and brown women. One incensed passerby said the mural harkens back to a time when 42th Street was a “red light” district . . . a place where prostitution . . . drugs . . . and un-catholic like debauchery reign supreme. People are mad not ordinary mad, but “witch-hunt” mad. Men of color are mad not ordinary mad, but I need to protect “my woman” mad. But the question is: why? Why are they mad? Why are they Mad Men?

And all that I can think of to answer this question is that these images are not “respectable” images. They do not paint black and brown women are Supreme Court Judges—Sonia Sotomayor—or as First Ladies—Michelle Obama—or as multi-billionaires—Oprah—or as activist— Linda Chavez-Thompson—or as writers—Sandra Cisneros. Nope . . . as one mural viewer said, “They look like prostitutes.” And in response to this I say [silent drum roll], why not sex workers? Why not a mural honoring sex workers during Women’s Her-story Month? Of course, this is not to say that the mural showcase sex workers, but the way in which people are talking about the images of the mural gives substance to the claim that people see the images as such.

Howard (1), Hollywood (0)


Howard Stern was right. Gabourey Sidibe is a big girl. And with the exception of The Biggest Loser, Celebrity Fit Club, Frat Boy Comedies, and Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, there aren’t many heavyweight folk in Hollywood or in much of TV land. Thus it isn’t a surprise Gabourey can’t find anyone in the audience that looks like her. In addition to being obese, she is also black. And while Hollywood has undergone some changes, black actresses still have to quote/give thanks to old Ms. Hattie McDowell because each time a black woman wins, it is still that much of an achievement. Meanwhile, Meryl Streep (phenomenal by the way) can kick back laughing, arms relaxed, knowing yet another meaty role will find its way to her. She will sing, she will dance, she will be horrific, she will be sexy, she will be everything. So Stern’s comments about Gabby aren’t as far off as they seem and may say more about Hollywood and the rest of the world than it does about Gabby.

Minority Jobless Gap

CNBC | March 18, 2010

A new report by the Joint Economic Committee shows the struggle for jobs is particularly acute for African Americans. William Rodgers, a Rutgers professor and former Labor Dept. chief economist, and Harley Shaiken, a professor at UC Berkeley, share their insight.

"They're Not Us" Baseball's Diversity Issue

Baseball is an international game, a truly international game. But the simple fact is that there is a lack of Black players in Major League Baseball. Angels outfielder Torii Hunter spoke to that fact and now the Major League Baseball community is in an uproar. Everyone from bloggers to Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has weighed in on Hunter’s candid comments.

“People see dark faces out there, and the perception is that they’re African American. They’re not us. They’re impostors… Even people I know come up and say, ‘Hey, what color is Vladimir Guerrero? Is he a Black player?’ I say, ‘Come on, he’s Dominican. He’s not Black.’ “

March 8, 2010 – March 14, 2010

Teenagers in need of direction can turn to apprenticeships
Mary Beth Marklein, USA Today, March 14, 2010

BET’s Debra Lee seeks to improve black women’s images with leadership talks
Krissah Thompson, Washington Post Staff Writer, March 13, 2010

Unity needed to help youth
Emily Stewart, Poughkeepsie Journal, March 12, 2010

Student group celebrates women of color
The Diamondback, Melissa Quijada, March 12, 2010

Obama and black caucus talk summer jobs for youths
David Goldstein, The Kansas Star, March 11, 2010

Leaders address black-on-black violence
Olivia Neeley, Shelby star, March 10, 2010

Georgia bill would outlaw abortions for race or sex; Raises issue of whether providers target blacks
Cheryl Wetzstein, Washington Times, March 10, 2010

Mentor sees himself in Duval youth
Bridget Murphy, The Florida Times-Union, March 8, 2010

Study says minorities more often glued to tube
Perla Trevizo, Chattanooga Times, March 8, 2010

Back to Africa?

20 years. It was 20 year ago that I came into this world. It was 20 years ago that one of the most remarkable activist was released from prison. I found out this past week that I will be in Cape Town, South Africa for three months during my 3rd year of college. Mandela, now 91, still lives in South Africa and represents one of greatest symbols of justice, ever.

So besides Nelson Mandela, why Cape Town, South Africa?

I am not the type that wants to go back to Africa to discover some lost roots that I am somehow missing. I am not pulling a “Garvey”—not this time anyway, and even if I was I’m sure it would be in West Africa, not South. The motive for this peripatetic juncture is found in furthering my education. Cape Town will be my moment to spend some time studying abroad. Outside of my general desire to leave the United States for the first time—while living in a South African summer off of the ocean, and happily being absent for a Chicago winter off the lake—

Puff, Puff.

I am surprised more and more each day at the growth of a small clique that bonds over their ruthless habit they’ve taken up before and after school, during lunch and at all other times they can manage to sneak away for a cigarette. In full view of my high school’s main entrance, a large group of students stand, smoking and filling the air with a sour smell. They’re all there right up until the first period bell sounds and many of them longer.

It’s hard to imagine why young, otherwise healthy individuals would take up such a self-destructive and physically taxing habit. Well, truth is they are exactly what any company trying to market a product want, especially tobacco companies. Young people are often in desperate search for activities and behaviors that define themselves. Companiesthat take advantage of this by putting out a notion that their product is stylish and cool and fun are going to tempt and interest teens. And not only do tobacco companies have the appeal that makes young people want to buy their firstpack, but they are also selling a product that can create a physical addiction after smoking just one cigarette. So tobacco companies simply need to tempt teens and soon the dangerous effects of the product begin to keep you buying on its own.