- Created on 13 September 2013
A picture of pugnacious Italian winemaker Fulvio Bressan, who's facing a boycott over a series of racist Facebook posts. (Facebook)
The normally placid world of Italian oenology is having a Paula Deen moment.
On Aug. 22, sixth-generation Italian winemaker Fulvio Bressan sparked a firestorm when he posted inflammatory, racially charged remarks to Facebook about Cecile Kyenge, who became Italy's first-ever black government minister when she assumed the post of Integration Minister in April.
Though Kyenge, an outspoken advocate of looser immigration laws, has been a frequent target of racist public incidents in recent months, Bressan's note was particularly abusive.
An English translation of Bressan's note, courtesy of HuffPost Italy's Giulia Belardelli:
hey, dirty Black MONKEY, I DON'T PAY TAXES to lodge your GORILLA friends at a HOTEL. Please bring them to your place, where you can feel superior with your money ... Oops ... That money is not even yours: it's the money Italians give you ... You're a s***ty black gold-digger.
In response, some wine merchants and writers -- even those previously fans of Bressard and his acclaimed, 400-year-old vineyard -- have called for a boycott of his wine.
British restaurateur Jacob Kennedy went so far as to smash his stock of Bressard wine on the sidewalk in front of his London restaurant, Bocca di Lupo. Kennedy taped his protest and then posted the video on YouTube.
Yet the threat of economic ruin hasn't caused Bressan to hold back in his tirades. In the weeks since his attack on Kyenge, he's continued to post frequent screeds about minorities on his Facebook page. He writes, of course, in Italian; Belardelli summarized the gist of them:
He blames gypsies and immigrants for the Italians' economic troubles, but he seems to be mad at everyone (starting with politicians). He is particularly aggressive towards Kyenge: he shared a combined photo of Kyenge and some people burnt to death with the sentence, "Look, this is what you do to Christians on your continent."
In other posts he calls her "monkey," and he often shares stories and articles about crimes committed by immigrants.
Looking beyond his own borders, Bressan also mentioned U.S. President Barack Obama in one of his vitriolic posts.
As of press time, bottles of Bressan wines were still available for sale on the websites of several different American merchants, mostly for upwards of $40 a bottle.
- Created on 12 September 2013
Want to pledge a Panhellenic sorority at the University of Alabama? Are you Black? Well…you can’t. The sorority advisers and alumnae recently stopped a couple of Black students who were pledging Alpha Delta Gamma during recruitment week. Members of the sorority were told they couldn’t vote for the new members because the chapter had already made the cut. The girls protested, but despite the recruit having an amazing 4.3 GPA, being the salutatorian of her graduating class and coming from a family with deep roots in local and state public service and a direct link to The University of Alabama, she wasn’t considered to join because she is Black.
One of the current members, Melanie Gotz asked, “Are we really not going to talk about the black girl?” The Crimson White is reporting, “Fifty years after Vivian Malone and James Hood became the first black students to desegregate The University of Alabama, there remains one last bastion of segregation on campus: The UA greek system is still almost completely divided along racial lines.”
“People are too scared of what the repercussions are of maybe taking a black girl,” Gotz said. “That’s stupid, but who’s going to be the one to make that jump? How much longer is it going to take till we have a black girl in a sorority? It’s been years, and it hasn’t happened.”
It’s 2013! Why are we still defined by color lines?
- Created on 12 September 2013
As someone as equally ambivalent about the idea of the U.S. military engaged in yet another Middle Eastern conflict as any other war weary American, I understand the need for people — particularly those in any nominal position of influence — to speak out. That said, I wish some people would know better than to speak in front of a live microphone in order to stop themselves from sounding like a fool. Such is the predicament of one Ed Asner (pictured).
The 83-year-old veteran actor has been making an impassioned plea that Congress not give President Barack Obama the authority to launch a military strike in the civil war ravaged country of Syria in lieu of reports that President Bashar Hafez al-Assad has used chemical weapons on his own people. Asner said, "We've been so God-damned stung in this country by false wars, repeatedly, that, how can you believe in any just war with the history we have had?"
Fair enough, but then the so-called liberal cited race as the reason why his Hollywood peers aren't speaking out in droves.
According to Asner, "A lot of people don't want to feel anti-Black by being opposed to Obama."
Yes, because saying racist things about President Obama is so uncommon.
And of course, of all places fighting the perception of being "anti-Black," Hollywood is leading the charge. You know, that's why there's so much diversity in television and film going on in La La land.
Instead of retooling his language to sound something more reminiscent of the truth, Asner repeated that fallacy in an interview with one of the most truth-tweaking people working in television: Bill O'Reilly.
When asked about the "anti-Black" comment, Asner said, "It does appear in many liberals' minds about how far to condemn a particular action by this President."
I know old habits die hard, but there are so many White liberals who need to realize that Black folks have long realized that said White liberals can be as capable of employing racially charged rhetoric as their conservative brethren. I mean, plenty of White liberals will tell you that themselves. Talk to each other; each one, teach one.
Not to mention, there have also been Hollywood liberals who have spoken out against President Obama. This includes Matt Damon, who in the past has publicly taken issue with Obama's policies. Only a month ago, Damon was asked about Obama's second term, and he quipped, "He broke up with me."
Then Damon got specific:
"There are a lot of things that I really question, you know: the legality of the drone strikes, and these NSA revelations. He's got some explaining to do, particularly for a constitutional law professor."
Damon said all of this to BET.
As far as I know, the interviewer did not hear this and shout out in response, "YOU HATE THE BLACKS, MATT! YOU HATE THE DAMN BLACKS!" Moreover, I'm certain that if you pulled Matt back to that seat and asked him about Syria, he would continue to be critical of Obama.
Asner has a point about there not being as great of a push-back to Obama's call for military strikes in Syria as there was a decade ago when President George W. Bush banged the war drums for an invasion of Iraq. It shouldn't be hard to peg why, though.
In fact, Asner himself said, "We had a million people in the streets, for Christ's sake, protesting Iraq, which was about as illegal as you could find. Did it matter? Is George Bush being tried in the high courts of justice?"
So he recognizes that people are complacent...but somehow thinks Hollywood liberals not speaking out in droves has more to do with race. He recognizes Bush toyed with both facts and international law to go to war — although Obama has not — but somehow thinks the likes of Barbara Streisand aren't all over CNN condemning Obama over Syria because of race.
Gee, I can see how some might suddenly start to question whether Asner is "anti-Black."
- Created on 11 September 2013
TULSA, Okla. -- An Oklahoma charter school has changed its dress code after inciting criticism for telling a 7-year-old girl that her dreadlocks violated the school's policy.
Tiana Parker and her parents said she was summoned last month to the administrator's office at the Deborah Brown Community School in Tulsa and told her that her hairstyle was against school policy. Her parents later decided to move Tiana to another school.
But Monday night, the school board voted to change its policy that had banned dreadlocks, afros and other hairstyles. Dreadlocks are formed by matting or braiding hair.
The new policy says only that students and parents are responsible for personal hygiene and that administrators have the right to contact parents or guardians regarding such issues. There are no specifications on hair styles.
School board president Kenneth James said in a statement that it was not the school administration's intent to harm Tiana or her family and he apologized if any harm did occur.
James said the ban on dreadlocks, afros and other hairstyles was due to health and safety concerns.
A spokeswoman for the Parker family said family members were not available for an interview Tuesday. In a statement, Tiana's parents, Terrance and Miranda Parker, said no board decision could "change the fact that our 7-year-old daughter Tiana was made to feel that there was something wrong with her appearance, in turn coming home in tears."
They said they've been contacted by community leaders, civil rights advocates, women empowerment groups and attorneys, and are "exploring all of their options."
The Parkers did not attend Monday night's school board vote.
The school says nearly 100 percent of its students are African-American.