Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Crabs in a Barrel



Sunday, September 17, 2006

Opening Our Eyes to the Crisis in Darfur

I promised someone a while ago that I would write an entry of the situation in Darfur. So the purpose of this post is to open everyone's eyes (if your eyes aren't already opened) to the crisis that is happening in Darfur, and hopefully to encourage everyone to do their part in putting an end to this crisis. Since 2003, it is estimated that more than 400,000 Darfurians have been killed, and another 2 million have been forced to flee their homes and are now refugees in Chad. If that's not enough, another 3.5 million people are completely dependent upon international aid to survive.

As background, the conflict in Darfur -- a region in western Sudan -- is between the Sudanese government-backed "Janjaweed" militia and two rebel groups, the Sudanese Liberation Army/Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement. The purpose of the rebel movement is to compel the Sudanese government to address the underdevelopment and political marginalization of the region. In response, the Sudanese government's armed forces, together with the Janjaweed, have engaged in "ethnic cleansing" against civilians who are of the same ethnic background as the rebels. There have also been several targeted attacks against aid workers.

Similar to the genocide that occurred in Rwanda, the world's response to the genocide in Sudan has been slow, if it exists at all. The United Nations has not identified the conflict as "genocide," and is planning to deploy a U.N. peacekeeping mission in January, 2007. However, the U.N. has stated that it will only do so if the Sudanese government consents to the deployment. And although the U.S. has identified the conflict as "genocide," it continues to do nothing to stop this genocide. I guess Sudan doesn't have enough oil for the U.S. to give a damn.

So what can we do? To start, I suggest going to http://www.savedarfur.org/, to learn how you can contribute. Whether you buy a wristband or organize a local group to raise funds, PLEASE GET INVOLVED!!! And please encourage your friends and family to get involved. I also encourage you to post comments reflecting your opinions about the conflict, and also about how people can get involved. We can't rely on our government to look our for our people in Africa.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Guilty Pleasures: "Flava of Love"

Have you seen "Flava of Love?" It's sort of like "The Bachelor," but with Flava Flav as the available bachelor, and a bevy of strippers and wanna be actresses from which he can choose his mate. On the show, Flav is the flamboyant and crass character we all know him to be, who, at the end each show, tells the women to "crown around their man;" while the women constantly engage in backstabbing and cat fights in their efforts to win Flav's heart. It depicts every stereotype about black people, particularly about black women. In essence, it is a modern day minstrel show. Yet, I love it.

What does it mean, if anything, when a group of four professionals, all attorneys, sit around on their lunch break and discuss nothing but the latest drama from "Flava of Love?" Not politics or current events, but the buffoonery and entertainment that is "Flava of Love." This was the scene last week with me and three of my friends/colleagues. We sat around talking about the latest drama and gossip from the show, anticipating today's (Sunday's) episode when "New York" would be brought back from last season. (Those of you who follow the show understand what that means.)

I couldn't help but to think that by watching "Flava of Love," we were in some way validating the stereotypes that are portrayed on the show. That maybe we have a responsibility to the welfare of the black community to shun shows that depict us as buffoons (as so adequately stated by New York's mom last season -- who, by the way, will be back for more later this season) and slutty, foul-mouthed dancers. But then I thought, its just entertainment. One of those guilty pleasures that we enjoy watching, but are not necessarily proud that we watch. The women on the show are grown, so they're not being exploited. In fact, several of them are trying to exploit the show to get their fifteen minutes of fame.

Maybe that's just me trying to validate the fact that I am entertained by Flava Flav passing out clocks to women who he deems worthy of his company. Or maybe I am doing a disservice to the black community by supporting a show like that. Either way, I can't get enough of it.