For the most part, I think Kanye West’s music is great. He’s an awesome producer, and he brought a fresh attitude to the game. I appreciate that. Kanye reflects a perspective that was missing in hip-hop since its inception, that of the insecure, evolving man. He’s had some amazing message songs in his short career. He seemed so happy to be alive, in songs like “Through the Wire,” and he proudly professed his faith in “Jesus Walks.” Many of his songs are about being an insecure youth, becoming mature, loving his family, and striving to be a role model. I was kind of proud of his stammering, poorly-conceived political statement after Hurricane Katrina, even though I didn’t ever find out what action he took beyond pointing fingers at obvious targets. These days, I can hardly stand to listen to his music.

Somewhere along the way it became obvious that Kanyeeze was starting to seriously believe his own hype. He’s revealed himself as a poor sport and a narcissist, but keeps deflecting accountability for his immature actions.

Say what you will about Jay-Z – I doubt he would storm the stage and steal someone else’s spotlight if he didn’t win a lousy MTV Europe video music award, regardless of how intoxicated he was.

Although he apologized, sort of for the incident, he still came off looking like a jerk.

Recently, Kanye West’s specialty has been lessons on The Importance of Knowing When To Shut Up. Case in point, what my blog amiga Hottie Hottie referred to as “the Jackass quote of the day.”

In the December 2006 issue of Essence, Mr. West cleverly quips: “If it wasn’t for race mixing, there’d be no video girls. Me and most of my friends like mutts a lot. Yeah, in the hood they call ‘em mutts.”

Wow, Kanye. You’re working overtime on setting us back.
There are so many elements to that statement that are problematic. First of all, the word “mutt” itself – not only are you referring to mixed-race people as dogs, but as interbred (and therefore undesirable) dogs.

I had to check out the Urban Dictionary for that one. See, back in my days at the University of Miami, the football players used that term for girls who would do anything. And I mean anything. But yes, it’s a derogtatory term for racially mixed people. I’m surprised Kanye didn’t just go for the bigot’s favorite term, “mud people.” I mean, if you’re going to play with racist terminology, you might as well use the term KKK members love to fling about on daytime talk shows.

Then there’s the implication that only light skinned women make “video girls.” You would think a rapper who represents the educated, thinking person would try to change things instead of perpetuate that kind of prejudice. Sadly, that isn’t the case.

I imagine Kanye’s mother is ashamed of his stupidity by now, seeing as she is a college professor and a lovely dark-skinned woman. Kanye’s current lady fits the description of the lighter skinned, possibly racially mixed woman. So would he then call her a mutt? Probably right after he called her a bitch. What’s with the canine terminology, hip-hoppers?

Kanye’s sadly ignorant comment is raising eyebrows with members of the Congress of Racial Equality who express concern that American attitudes towards race are regressing. Funny! Michael Richards expressed the same concern in his embarrassing apology last night on David Letterman.

The recent race hubbub got me thinking about labels, and how we identify ourselves. Kramer invoked an antiquated term, Afro-Americans. For the most part, my friends here refer to themselves as African-American. Some people argue with that term, but it seems to be generally accepted.

If I have to fill out a form at a doctor’s office, I don’t tick off African-American, because I’m not an American citizen. I check “other” if need be, and if “black” is an option, I check that instead. There is never a box for Afro-Caribbean, or “Of Mixed-Race”, although just about all of us whose ancestors were brought from Africa have been mixed racially somewhere down the line.

The “One Drop” theory still rules regardless of shade, and that’s part of why I was so surprised to find that someone the skin color of Shirley Bassey could possibly not identify as black. Honestly, the thought never crossed my mind that some black people didn’t think of themselves as anything but what they are. Or that some black people seek long and hard to be something they are not. I read Nella Larsen’s Passing in college, but I really believed those days had ended with the Harlem Renaissance.

In Trinidad, we’ve got our own multiracial glossary that takes shade and ethnicity into consideration. Walk down any street in downtown Port of Spain, and you’ll hear people referred to as red, brown-skin, darkie. Then there’s “dougla,” a mix of Indian and Black, and “brown Chinee” or “haquai.”

My own racial blend combines black, white, and Amerindian, and some of my friends are so mixed that it’s difficult to tell exactly what they are. If you ask them, they just say “I’m a Trini.” For me, labeling has never been an issue. The color of my skin makes it obvious who I am – a black woman. I might be mixed, but I refuse to be labelled a “mutt.” (My dad’s joke here would be, “you’re not a mutt, you’re a monGrell” because of my maiden name. Ha ha, Dad). I have adopted the term Afrobella, to reveal how I feel about my identity: afro for black, bella for beautiful.

But I am curious about you, dear readers. How do you identify yourself? What terms do you find most offensive? And which cliff should Kanye West and Michael Richards jump off of?

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andrea says:
November 21, 2006, 2:45 pm
Well I guess my little mutt children are going to grow up and become video dancers! I read about Mr. Kanye's comment on YBF this morning and you are so right! He is becoming a victim to his own ego. It amazes me that at this time when we have so many influential black people in a position to really make valid, positive statements, the best some of us can come up with is "Bush hates black people," and "bi-racial people are mutts!" C'mon! And for Richards, well the man has some deep seated issues and obviously stand-up is not his forte. The life of a comedian is being able to take the heat, not jump up and call people nigger! I mean, damn, where the hell does he live that he even imagined that something like that was gonna fly? And I'm not even going to mention O.J. Girl, all I can say is 2007 is almost here!
sammie says:
November 21, 2006, 2:49 pm
thanks for this afrobella....kanye west is an asshole...he is totally perpetuating the myth that only light skinned,mixed people are beautiful and that dark skinned chicks have to fight harder with what they have to be considered beautiful...... I identify with the word black and caribbean i dont answer to anything else cause i am not american........ kanye west and michael richards need to jump off any motherloving cliff that will have their ignorant ass
Coffy says:
November 21, 2006, 2:58 pm
i label myself Black (with a capital B), i have a mix of Haitian and Dominican and Taino Indian. i am so over Kanye, i don't think he understands the power of his words. with the Michael Richards incident i believe that there was wrong on both sides. Mr. Richards had more to lose and that should have kept him in line.
blackjade says:
November 21, 2006, 3:03 pm
We have reached a new level of ridiculousness. We have fallen so far from Black-is-Beautiful it’s embarrassing. For a while I thought Kanye was trying to do his part to bring consciousness, understanding of self, and self-love to the forefront from the POV of a “regular,” educated, black man torn between image and reality. But he got caught up in the hype and it’s just sad. Maybe this is why Lauryn Hill hasn’t been back, because this is what mainstream can do to people. I can’t even get started on Michael Richards-he must’ve bumped his head!
Nana says:
November 21, 2006, 3:23 pm
Well it used to really piss me off when I lived in America and there was no other box to tick other than "African- American" or "Other". Guess which one I ticked.... I'm a Black African/ British girl. African because that's where I'm from and was born. British because it's a huge part of my culture and the passport I hold. I don't understand why people are so scared of just being "Black". I have so many African friends in America who aren't black and have this problem. 2 White South African friends, a Kenyan of Indian heritage, a Ghanaian of Lebanese heritage etc. etc. You guys get my drift. I'm a proud BLACK woman. It's not a dirty word.
70ssoulchild says:
November 21, 2006, 3:49 pm
Like Coffy, I too call my Black with a capital "B". My mother is from Bermuda and my dad is from New Orleans so you can imagine all of what's flowing thru my veins. LOL! Yes blackjade, what DID happen to "Black is Beautiful"? I remember being in the first grade walking to school singing I'm Black and I'm Proud because folks were proud to be who they are and not into degrading others with stupid labels - Go Jana. .Methinks Kanye needs to "walk with Jesus" for real and Michael Richards? His apology is hollow and meaningless..he's just embarrassed because he got caught. The Bible says "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks".
afrika says:
November 21, 2006, 3:52 pm
I just consider myself Black, that's all. I never did get back in the day why people used to try so hard to be something else (ex. "I have Indian in me!") I am Bahamian on both sides but I am aware that I have Irish (on dad side) and English (mom side)roots from my great-grandparents. As for Kanye:as a dark-skinned woman, it really pisses me off how we destroy each other as if we don't have enough challenges! As for Richards: therea re NO WORDS that can justify his ignorance. Apologies don't do anything for me because clearly that's something that just doesn't go away. WE DON'T NEED SYMPATHY.....WE NEED CHANGE IN ATTITUDES, BEHAVIORS AND THOUGHT PATTERNS.
Mahogany_Butterfly says:
November 21, 2006, 3:52 pm
I just happened to come across your site and I absolutely love what I've read thus far. I read Kanye's comment in Essence and I was so disturbed by it. I consider myself Black-American (although I hate labels), because although I know that my descendants may have come from Africa that is not something I can prove. I have no knowledge of any of my relatives that may have been slaves and for all I know my family could have come from the Carribean or another island and been sold into slavery since we do know that these things happen. I'm not comfortable with the term African-American because I have friends that are truly African-American. I'll add this to the list of blogs I frequent.
Mireille says:
November 21, 2006, 3:54 pm
It's disappointing to see that within a week, two otherwise popular (or used to be popular) artists have exposed the ugly underbelly of race, ethnicity, and culture in America. I personally despise the term African-American to refer to Black Americans because it fails to recognize people like Nana mentioned while lumping recent immigrants (like my dad) with families who have been here as for the entire history of the American colonies (like my mom). The "one drop" theory is equally disheartening to me, not because I don't love my blackness, but because it leaves the connotation that one drop of black defiles anything else. However, I am equally torn when Black people try to stake a claim to every blood that runs in their veins that isn't Black. Black is beautiful for a multitude of reasons, but it shouldn't be used to define a culture. My soon-to-be husband is beautiful as a mixed-race child. Our children could turn out any shade, and will have ancestors that comprise almost every shade in the rainbow . . . I dare Kanye to call a single one of them a mutt.
Coffey says:
November 21, 2006, 4:18 pm
Kanye's comment and recent behavior is indicative of his own self-hatred, narcisissm, and insecurity. The recent rash of hateful language, being spewed by celebrities no less, is sad when you consider we're living in the 21st century, and these are people with enough power to influence impressionable minds. Rappers who share this very same sentiment, obviously didn't get many dates growing up, and feel the need to use their fame as a way to lash out at the very women they seem to exploit and hate. Eff Kanye. If he were secure with his talent, he wouldn't need to grasp at straws and cling onto the ledge by the tips of his fingers, in a desperate and obvious bid for attention. What an irresponsible statement.
Liz says:
November 21, 2006, 5:12 pm
I'm a Latina and I'm proud of it. My father's side is composed of Native Indians from Colombia and Spaniards; my mother's sideof the family are basically descendants of Spaniards. I don't really go into all the details when people ask me what I am, since I can technically be considered "white" or of " mixed" heritage, but I am what I am: a Latina woman. I am not ashamed to say it, even if Latinos may not have the best reputation in the United States. For someone that was supposedly so "black and proud", Kanye is seriously degrading his own racing by using that racial slur. What else can be expected from this pompous jerk? Someone needs to pop his balloon because he is too gassed up! As for Kramer, honestly, I don't think there was a need for his apology. It was far from sincere, and completely bogus. The man is a racist; those hateful words were on the tip of his tongue, just waiting to lash out at an unsuspecting person. If he is going spew such hateful language, then stand by it. Don't give me no bullsh*t "I'm sorry" on Letterman, which is basically catered to a white audience, so what is the use in that? I understand he needed to do some damage control, but honestly, it was too late for that.
Liz says:
November 21, 2006, 5:14 pm
oops ***kanye is seriously degrading his own race***
Dee says:
November 21, 2006, 5:41 pm
I have no words for Kanye. As for what I call myself, it's Black. My parents are West Indians from different islands, and I lived in St. Lucia (mom's island) for a few years, though I was born in New York. Got that? I guess the politically correct term would be Afro Carribean American, but Black is good enough for me. ;-)
Avin says:
November 21, 2006, 5:43 pm, I mean what can one say? This guy continues to show that seemingly educated folks can be so ignorant. I really had high hopes for him when he came out, and I like you Bella thought this was going to be the start of a positivity in hip-hop movement. Well somewhere between Kanye stating that he singlehandedly saved hip-hop, throwing a fit cause he didnt win a Grammy last year, this year's "Touch the Sky" debacle and the mutt comment, he has sorely dissapointed me. I am particularly offended by the mutt comment as most minoritys are of mixed race. It sends a dangerous message to our youth that women are inferior and that shade denotes beauty. I believe that it is impossible to uplift your community while using words and actions that tear its women down. His mother should be ashamed and so should he. With that said, I dont particularly put any stock in Kanye and his over inflated ego. He is just a sad testament to what can occur when people start to believe their own hype.
Niki says:
November 21, 2006, 5:49 pm
I, too, thought that Kanye West was representing something different in the world of hip hop--a guy who wasn't afraid to be from the black middle class with a father still in his life, who didn't used to be a drug dealer or a gang member, who attended college for a period of time, and who drew on several differenct musical influences--who tried to balance that with what is "expected" of a young black man in America. But his "enfant terrible" persona is a big turn off. This latest statement of his is definitely hateful and wrong-headed. I am a proud black woman curently in a 2 year relationship with a white man. If/when my boyfriend and I have children I would dare Kanye to come up to me and call any of my kids mutts--he would find himself knocked back on his short, simple azz! It is insulting not only to mixed race people, but to women in general. We already have guys calling us everything from 'garden tools'(hoes) to 'pieces of currency' (dimepieces) and here is another term that turns us into objects and not human beings. I was a casual "Seinfeld" fan, and I was watching a rerun just the other day, but I think I will not be watching reruns anymore. I think Michael Richards is a depraved, deeply troubled individual. Most comedians have had a bad night in their careers where someone heckles them--most usually ignore the heckler, just plow through their routine, or come up with som kind of clever diss of the heckler's clothes, intelligence level, etc. that is funny. They do not invoke lynching and racial slurs. Michael Richards is a comedic actor by trade, not a stand-up comedian--he was trying to hold on to whatever slim thread of fame he had by trying his hand at stand-up. He not only showed what a miserable failure he is as a comedian, he displayed what a miserable excuse for a man he is. Watch him go into "rehab" LOL
Dani says:
November 21, 2006, 8:07 pm
Kanye West really needs to sit down and shut up for a minute. And excuse my language here but Michael Richards can go fuck himself. I mean, damn, it IS 2006, right? I know Jim Crow wasn't that long ago, only 50 years, but have we all really evolved so little in that time span? Is it really the 21st century and we have a white guy making lynching references and Black man referring to light-skinned Black women as mutts? Why do we all have so little respect for each other, as human beings, in this day and age?
70ssoulchild says:
November 21, 2006, 8:11 pm
WE DON’T NEED SYMPATHY…..WE NEED CHANGE IN ATTITUDES, BEHAVIORS AND THOUGHT PATTERNS. ^^^I sooo co-sign with you Afrika on this and all of the posters comments. Its way past time of labeling and the objectification of women to STOP! If Kanye West's attitude is what happens when you believe your own press, thank goodness Lauryn Hill walked away when she did. At least she still has her self-respect and integrity..and folks call her crazy! Thanks Afrobella for such an insightful and thought-provoking topic of discussion. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!!
Bygbaby says:
November 21, 2006, 8:41 pm
I like Kanye's music for the most part but his behavior & attitude make it hard for him to be taken serious as a person with something valid to say. I did however agree with his comments about Bush not liking black people. The hip hop game is not going to change, let's face it Video hoes know what they are called and accept. Getting the to wake up and recognize the degrading behavior is a losing & sad battle. As for Micheal, he is just a racist asshole caught in a shit storm he created! I have the video of his rant & apology on my blog, check it out here Lastly, I despise the term African American. I am an American who happens to be African. White people don't broadly label themselves as "..." American. I's Nigra, Bygbaby
L-dizzle says:
November 21, 2006, 8:57 pm
I find that as i get older and I learn more about my family's heritage, I'm more inlcined to refer to myself as "African American." I'm definitely not adverse to Black or Black American and I use them interchangeably, but African American is the way I acknowledge the American and African lineage in my family. Of course, if i wanted to be super specific, I'd say "Afro-Caribbean-American" since my family also has Haitian roots :-)
Mizz Nikki says:
November 21, 2006, 9:23 pm
While I'm not a big fan of rap music, I admired Kanye West for his some of his intelligent lyrics and how well spoken he appeared to be. But his last few outbursts have turned me off completely. I wonder what his fiancee has to say about him calling mixed women mutts, because she looks mixed to me.
T.R.B says:
November 21, 2006, 11:36 pm
you know what? i just call myself by my given name, and advise everyone else to address me as such also. it's so sad that people cry about the lack of unity within the non-anglo communities, specifically the black community, yet ignoramus folks like kanye say silly things like that. Bush doesn't care about black people? it sounds as if he doesn't, and i won't even address his obvious disrespect of women. i did notice how kramer kept referring to black people as "afro-american."(sigh) all i can say is that it's to be expected. i'm 21 and i haven't a jaded view of the world, and really neither does he. america was foundated on the belief that black people were 3/5 of a person, human chattle good only for the servitude of white people. not for nothing, but if that is their idea of us upon first glance, how can you think that they would change their minds? one just has to define themselves for themselves and celebrate their own beauty and self worth
jerseybred says:
November 21, 2006, 11:51 pm
Black, halfbreed nigger, Mount Everest Kanye has always been an ass and his comment does not surprise me. Michael Richards showed his true feelings and Jerry Seinfield stepped in b/c he knows this will effect his show.
Alyssa says:
November 22, 2006, 1:13 am
I'm beyond exasperated by ignorant people, white and black, who put mixed people on a pedastal, as if they're better, prettier, more human than unmixed blacks. These disgusting messages aren't lost on black children, who internalize it all and suffer from self-hate. Perhaps Kanye thingk that by making these remarks full of disdain for black women he will ingratiate himself with all the buffoons in hip hip such as 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg, who regularly devalue black women while fawning over multi/biracial and non-black women. Regarding Richards, I can't stomach watching Seinfeld again. He's truly a vile, sick piece of filth. The most telling part is that on all the white blogs I've seen, the vast majority of whites are amused and even agreeing with him. Black people really need to unite. Form groups in your community with other blacks and pool money to buy old buildings in black neighborhoods before white grab them. Teach the children in your community about our history in American and African hisotry so they can develop pride in their ancestors and themselves as black people. Then perhaps we won't have many Kanyes in future generationss.
Carolyn says:
November 22, 2006, 1:41 am
I'm Black. No matter where I go in the world, that's what people see and it's what I feel and it's what I'm proud to be. I have nothing to add to all the insight everyone else has provided regarding Kayne and Richards. Both are obviously deeply disturbed. Another great post!
Akilah says:
November 22, 2006, 1:44 am
Kanye is disrepting game with all this darn cryin and carryin on. He get's on my nerves sometimes. So when he made the mutt statement. He was actually saying black can't be beautiful all by itself!! Still brainwashed...
nyp says:
November 22, 2006, 2:57 am
i like some of kanye's music but realistically, who cares what he says. he's a confirmed jackass much of the time. while i may cringe at his choice of words, there's truth to what he stated: many black men in hip hop prefer fair skinned women. he's an entertainer. there are other entertainment mediums out there. ignore them and they will go away.
anonymous says:
November 22, 2006, 9:26 am
I am a proud Black woman! I am decended from slaves who came from Africa and were forced to live in America!
Marisa says:
November 22, 2006, 10:09 am
What I hate is that this is not the first time I've heard a black man refer to mixed heritage people as "Mutts". The first time I heard it, I was in the 10th grade and some boy was trying to call ME a mutt (my mother is Italian, and my father is Afro-Caribbean). I told him then, he can call himself a mutt, but I'm not a dog. Now looking back, in his ignorance, he probably didn't realize the full implications of what he was saying. I think that Kanye's dumb @ss is the same way. He just shoots off at the mouth, thinks it's cute because he gets media publicity every time he does it, and so it continues. More recently, I heard a grown man refer to himself as a "Mutt". I kind of felt sorry for him. He is obviously the result of generations and generations of racial mixing, to the point where he just looks like an olive-skinned man. I see him all the time, but I've never asked him what his race or heritage is because I don't care and it doesn't matter to me, but the other day I heard someone ask him and his reply was "Man, I just call myself a mutt. I got so much mixing in me, I can't even explain it". It broke my heart a little to hear that. Not so much because he didn't explain where his ancestors came from, or because he didn't claim being black. Like I said before, I don't really care about his ancestry. It's just that by him saying that, it was like he was identifying himself as being "less than". He said "I just call myself a mutt", as if there were no importance or pride in himself. He was talking to a white guy, and I could see that the man was kind of put back at what he had said. I can only imagine what that response did to that man's ideas of racial mixing (fyi, I live in Mississippi). I just wish Kanye would shutup. It's bad enough when the occasional everyday ignorant person says something stupid, but it's all hell when an ignorant person gets a microphone.
Marisa says:
November 22, 2006, 10:15 am
OH! And about the Richards incident. If you pay attention while watching the video, you'll notice that people are still laughing while he's calling those men Niggers and boasting about how 50 years ago he'd have them upside down with forks in them. Yes, people were still laughing, as if it were a part of his routine or as if it were funny for him to call out those men like that!! And you know what else really bothered me? That no white person in that audience stood up and condemned Keith Richards. The two men who were attacked were left to defend themselves. When I was watching, I kept on waiting for someone to throw a drink at him or tell him to get off the stage or "FU#% YOU!!" or something!! It never happened. Race relations aren't improving y'all. Not at all, and I hate it. I hate it.
Staceyann Lindo says:
November 22, 2006, 12:22 pm
Personally I think kanye really should think before he opens his mouth and think about his actions before he acts. I mean I identify myself as afro-carribean my family is from jamaica so when i'm filling so sort of paper work I don't like to check the term african american yes my ancestors are from africa but my family and I aren't. All the same I love my skin we've been through a lot I have had to accept myself first before I can let anyone accept me. I would cry to my mom as a child and say there calling me blacky and my mom would say stop that crying you are a beautifull girl and not to listen to some people just ignore them. I figure if kanye is ignore he'll learn to put a sock in it. His quote is unforgivable, I am ashamed for him as a black man a (dark skin) man at that, for him to say these things and then look at his mother and say I love you mom I think that's a big diss on his part.Much love
Isis says:
November 22, 2006, 1:12 pm
How sad that we still have to deal with this crap from one of our " own" and I use that term loosely...
BlackHoney says:
November 22, 2006, 4:13 pm
I really want to bitch-slap Kanye. As for Richards, if he wasn't thinking along those lines, he never would've said anything like that.
Fatimah says:
November 22, 2006, 7:46 pm
I couldn't believe Kanye West said that, and in Essence of all places. I haven't read it yet and I do not the full context of his statement, but I do know that as a black woman with a mixed ethnic, racial, cultural, religious heritage (what a mouth-full) I am disgusted that lighter-skinned women would first be referred to as "mutts", and secondly be told that we are only good for videos. It's hard enough for women to have to take this from media but come on, a black man? And one who claims to be a proud, aware one at that. It's pathetic really and I will really think twice before buying any of his new shyt.
BlackHoney says:
November 22, 2006, 8:01 pm
I think that the quote in Essense was pulled from an article in Rolling Stone published earlier this year.
OyaGoddess says:
November 23, 2006, 12:19 am
I don't even bother with it anymore. I am Jamaican and British, born and raised between Jamaica and London. I came to the US when I was around 12. I have British pirates in my family tree,Armenian,and even a bit of German.My great grandfather was a white English man, and my mother's grandfather was a full German from Munich. My father's father was a white British Naval officer, and my dad came out very dark. I happened to come out brownskinned with broad features,coarse hair,and light brown eyes..and when I check off "other" on forms,(as they don't seem to have the tick mark box for "Afro-Carribean"), I get the strange look like "she doesn't LOOK racially mixed.." I think people are still colour struck and it's a shame.Black people come in many different shades.I am so sick of "racial profiling" within out own race. I am also sick of hearing such drivel as "Oh.. he is cute to be so black" and "Let me get out of the sun, I don't want to get any darker." When I first came here, I was teased to death because of my features, and my hair, and my accent, to where I would run home and ask my mum, "What am I?" I got called "ugly", "banana boat," and other assorted things. I still have issues with my looks because of the torment..Anyway, I think that this whole self hatred of our own race has poisoned us, to where it seems like we haven't made any sort of strides towards empowerment. Kanye West set us back about a good 300 years with his ignorance, and Michael Richards just said what he was thinking about us for all of this time.
stomach hurt... says:
November 23, 2006, 4:15 am
Race will always be an issue in our society based on the Westernized thought process which we have adapted to for survival. Yet, conscious for change........ west and kramer are no goes.......they better perform in areas where they are accepted.....i know some cats waiting in a city near you....(i know i dont wanna see them).... ensj4sho
stomach hurt... says:
November 23, 2006, 4:17 am
Race will always be an issue in our society based on the Westernized thought process which we have adapted to for survival. Yet, conscious for change........ west and kramer are no goes.......they better perform in areas where they are accepted.....i know some cats waiting in a city near you....(i know i dont wanna see them).... ensj4sho -
Dad says:
November 23, 2006, 11:16 am
This is indeed a very thought-provocating piece, which brings back some interesting memories about life in Trinidad and Tobago. Calypsonion Kitchner once sung'' If yuh not white yuh considered black'' and it has always bothered me as to why so many people, who are, by definition, not white,work so hard to be white. Many years ago,a famous Trinidadian ''white'' went off to war and was jolted, shoked and saddened when he realised, by the way he was treated by the white English soldiers, that he really was not white. Also, a famous ''white'' musician from Trinidad also got a rude awakening on his first European tour many years ago. It is indeed time that we embrace and accept our blackness, even if it is only one drop of blood, and respect ourselves. Stupid and ill-informed comments from our own do not help. Sorry for being so long.
Dad says:
November 23, 2006, 11:19 am
Oh, I forgot to add that the soldier returned to Trinidad and was the champion of the '' bare-foot'' man, while the musician started composing and singing only roots music.
Your Girl says:
November 24, 2006, 10:22 pm
I'm a Black woman, plain and simple. I'm a Black woman that doesn't know exactly where she came from, but I know it was from a strong Black people.
AMokaQT says:
November 25, 2006, 4:33 pm
This is beyond ridiculous! Kanye, is really a disgrace and disappointment to Black people all over. I am Black and American currently living in Germany and I happen to travel to a lot of places where black people are often misunderstood. I try to do my best to educate and show people the "other" side of what they see blaring out of MTV/BET or other media, but with statements like this, it really makes it hard to help our people come over the sterotypes and pre-judgement. It's one thing for someone on the street to say something stupid (not that it's any better) But I agree with the one of the statements above, when you give someone a microphone...the damage is so much more. It's sad, and it's so disgusting.
Blackbutterfly says:
November 25, 2006, 4:35 pm
thanx Afrobella for this article, i just like you did admire Kanye as far as his music. he seemed to be an enlightened man. but after this, man. i just think he's a babbler, and talks just to be saying something. i am a Jamaica american my mom is jamaican but i born and raised in the US. my backgroud is african, european, chinese,Indian (from india) native jamaican. i dentify as black, i follow the one drop rule, i don't reject the other races in me,i just see me self as black. Most if not all Afroamericans are racially mixed too, Mr. west seems to be ignorant to that fact. so when Kanye says mutt, he's talking about a lot of AA and Afro-latin, and other afro Desended people. even himself perhaps, "if it were for race mixing i wouldn't be here" is what he should have said. He took us back some for sure. and OyaGoddess i agree with what your saying, too many black people have black problems talkin about "good" and "bad" hair and light skin. even some blacks in latin american and the spanish speaking carribean talk about light skin women. and down the dark sistahs. my little sister came crying to me once before about how the guys at her school like me better because i "got that color" they like. that's sick. how can we love ourselves if we hate certain types of us.self hatred, and what are we to teach our kids if they look a bit different than us and they have "good/bad" hair and we don't. or they have light/dark skin and we don't what do you teach them about themselves? i'll tell you the answer is simple "you are black and you are beautiful". And about Kramer he's not sorry, he's sorry someone caught he's sorry ass on a camera phone. that wouldn't have "came from the inside of him, and stuff if the show was televised" END OF STORY.
Mz.Foxy says:
November 27, 2006, 6:02 pm
I'm black and I'm proud! I was born in Arkansas with Indian hertiage all threw my viens. His comment is not surprising at all to me. I see this crap everyday with black entertainers all the time. They let their fame go to their heads and marry "up" if you will. It's a shame and I want to tell all my balck sistas to be strong, stay confident, and let those fools drown in there own misery. Karma is alive and well ladies. You get what you put out to the world.
julia_claudine_deveraux says:
November 27, 2006, 11:34 pm
I would love to stick my foot so far up Kanye's ass so every time he burps it will taste like shoe leather. This man annoys me so much, I try not to let him bother me but to no avail. He's a classic insecure attention hound. Oh yeah, I'se just Black.
FenixStar says:
November 28, 2006, 9:35 am
i am so mad about this that i nearly had to wait 24 hours since reading this post 2 respond. what an arrogant bastard! interesting how some people's childhoods must have shaped the way they lash out as adults. kayne's not a looker. i'm willing to bet that his hatred toward us mixed race beauties is because someone who looked more like us was called 'cute' or something & he was overlooked. still, it's pathetic AND sad.
kunfunction says:
November 28, 2006, 8:13 pm
LOL He never downed "mutts", what he said was a nickname for a mixed girl. It may not have been the greatest name, but it's no worse than calling black women or women in general b****** and h***. I think it was slang, in fact it looked like he might have been having a flashback while he was talking. As far as the video girls comment. Notice we REALLY haven't seen darker sisters in videos, if they are, they're usually mixed...not REALLY just black women...There has been an influx of mixed folk recently...Most of the people I know have black dads that they no longer speak to or even know.
kunfunction says:
November 28, 2006, 8:15 pm
when I say mixed...I mean 1/2 and 1/2 or 1/3 1/3. We're black but you can tell a "mixed interracial person" from a black person. It seems exotic always is "cuter". The more we don't know what you are the more work you get
Creyole says:
November 29, 2006, 1:46 am
That stardom really gets to people and then they feel they can say whatever they want. Out of control!!!
Mz.Foxy says:
November 30, 2006, 5:01 pm
Kunfuction us black women will never accept being called the B word, ever. I am a brown skin beautiful sista who will not be degraded by videos that only feature mixed light skin women. I KNOW I'm great right down to my toned skin, big lips, and large butt. It's ashame the standard of beauty is marked by so much fakness and light skin, but yet the plastic surgery and tanning industry make billions every year paying for all the things I was born with. So i say to all the haters of women that look like me, Fu*k you and your SELF HATE. NO NEED FOR BLACK WOMEN TO BRING SEXY BACK, IT NEVER WENT ANYWHERE..LOL
daezhavoo says:
December 3, 2006, 12:19 am
I'm a proud Black Woman. I use African American also because my roots are in Africa and I am an American. My skin is Black. I am all of these things. Kanye is an egomaniac, M*Fing*R is a racist (I can't bring myself to write out his name. I'm so glad these celebrities are revealing their true selfs so people will KNOW what's really up. Love your website Afrobella!..((HUGS))....just me...daez
datgrl says:
December 7, 2006, 3:24 am
I've learned to just turn the channel or ignore an article that is related to Kanye. I prefer the term black. Although, I am an African American. I feel black is a more inclusive term that includes all children of the African Diaspora and most Africans. My boyfriend is Afro-Caribbean, but chooses African-American on forms. Many people don't realize that the counts of "African-Americans or Blacks" on government forms/census affect federal/state funding for thinks like historically black colleges and universities and health promotion/prevention programs, social programs, and other programs funded by the government that benefit blacks. So if there aren't enough people checking African-American funding will be cut. I believe the government has tried to fix that issue by making the category "African American/Black" instead of just "African American." I understand everyone has the right to self-identify (I teach a class on multicultural health", but realize that "African American/Black" means anyone living in American who of African ancestry no matter how much time has passed since your ancestors left Africa. Sorry so long :)!
Jasmine says:
December 7, 2006, 2:53 pm
Huge problem in the Latin community. I am Puerto-Rican and Haitian and was consistently reminded of my blackness by responsible parents. But I grew up in a Dominican neighborhood (as in Dominican Republic not Dominica). Dominicans probably have the largest black community of all Latinos (excluding Panama and Cuba and sure...even Puerto Rico which is all over the damn place) but I have never met a Dominican who thought they were black. My friend has been dating a guy for over a year who is clearly a high yellow black man w/ a particularly bushy afro. But he has told her several times he is not black....he is Dominican....failing to note the difference between race and ethnicity. While I know I'm mixed I am very clearly a black woman. Just because one of my parents is a white Latina doesn't mean I can say I am white because really, though I identify just as fully as a Puerto Rican as I do as a Haitian I have brown skin and my natural hair texture is curly and I AM a black woman. Period. I never get how there is room for debate on this issue. Also, Kanye is a retard. Actually my brother has learning disabilities and might take offense to that. You know I've taken slack for dating some white dudes in my day. Denying my race and all that crap. I'm always hearing it from the brothers but let it be those same brothers who will tell me I'm beautiful 'cause I have light skin and spanish blood and soft hair and see how quickly THEIR complexes start creeping up to the surface *rolls eyes*
LOLA says:
December 13, 2006, 6:10 am
JP says:
December 20, 2006, 11:27 pm
It is my contention that we must, without fail, hold these individuals that are in a public spotlight accoutable for their actions/deeds. This is so rooted in slavery times it is unbelievable (ie. House nigga's vs Field nigga's-sorry for the use of the N-word). In Kanye's case it is unfortunate to hear this "term of endearment" that is perpetuated by a continual denigration of self. THINK B/4 YOU SPEAK! Personally, I happen to be find folks of mixed heritage to be attractive but I also happen to find Indie Irie, Nia Long, and Alfre Woodward to all be striking too. Bottom line is that a woman is beutiful. PERIOD! How dare you call a woman a mutt. Heck, I too grew up in the "hood" actually southside of Chicago and the S.Suburbs (as did KW) and never termed them as such. Either she was fine or not quite. At the end of the day KW has the right to think whatever he wants too but we have the right to not support his rationale. Lose this brotha' and don't support his music or other endeavors.
Dj says:
January 5, 2007, 3:02 am
I am also from Trinidad. My mom is black with a mulatto father and my dad is mixed with a Spanish father and an Indian mother. Both of my parents are also from Trinidad. I have never experienced racism at home. I never considered myself to be much of anything but I knew I was black. My sister was called a dougla back home but it never seemed to bother her. it wasn't until i moved to America when I was called a nigger. I have never seen such a mass of people called themselves something so derogatory and demeaning. Which brings me to rap and hip hop. I am sick of hearing nigga this nigga that in rap lyrics. its got to stop.
NeglectedTarBaby says:
January 20, 2007, 3:56 am
I mean everybody so shock because he said something we already knew. For some reason light skin and spanish women dominate rap videos. A few rappers now and then throw in a dark model to tone down the brightness but u cant get mad at Kanye people. Rap music videos been out before he entered the industry.I see it all the time outside the industry. A dark skin guy with a lighter skin woman just to make a pretty baby. I'm dark and I have been aware of all this almost all my life. Its sad but whatever its life dont dwell on it
Coffy says:
January 30, 2007, 9:28 pm
@ NeglectedTarBaby,you are so right about throwing in the the dark brown girl to tone down the brightness, i thought i was the only one who noticed that. i guess once we get secure with ourselves these images in the media don't hurt just disappoint.
blackviolet says:
February 14, 2007, 1:21 pm
My father is a Black St. Lucian and my mother is a Black American. And our fmaily tree reflects England, St. Lucia, Native Americans and China. Growing up my sister and I always thought of ourselves as Black. We only questioned it when we were told by other kids that we were mixed and therefore, weren't Black. Now, we recognize our beautiful dark skin and the cultures that intertwined to create us and we call ourselves Black. My husband is a White man and our son is a lovely mixed baby who will be raised to love and respect everything about himself and the cultures that intertwined to create him. Kanye West is a disappointment.
Mya says:
February 20, 2007, 11:16 pm
I'm a mixed trinidadian girl myself and many a time I've described myself as a mutt though not to use that word specifically..more often pothound. The connotations never seemed negative to me - just a description and i daresay a humourous one at that. Hell as far as i'm concerned mixed breed dogs (i don't consider it equating myself to a dog either- just a point of comparison) are just as lovable as any other so i never considered it describing myself as being less than - just different. KW on the other hand - he's an idiot; i've never been able to appreciate his special brand of idiocy and in his context the usage definitely comes across as pejorative. Sadly in his case because of his ignorance of the notion of artistic responsibility his large following of spongebrained fools will also perpetuate the usage and the bam - 5 steps back for us all as women and as non-whites. Also, i read several people above talking about how sad it makes them feel when people seem to claim every other part of their racial makeup except for the black. As proud people who consider themselves racially and ethnically black i can appreciate your point of view, but i think it's important to appreciate as well the power of ethnicity, by which i mean the influence of the particular culture in which you were raised that in many cases informs the identity.By this i mean - it's not necessarily out of some misguided shame that they do it; they simply don't identify with black culture and black history in such a way as to consider it part of themselves. I for instance am so mixed that everyone calls me something different. I can walk through Port-of-Spain on any one morning and be called "Reds", "Douglah", "Haquai" and "Spanish". At UWI, quite often Indian folks quicker claim me as Indian and Afro-Trinidadians are always quicker to disclaim me. And it's definitely not because i hang out with or chat with Indian folks any more than anyone else. My mother is mixed Indian and French, She just looks like a fair indian and her hair is slightly wavy. My dad is also mixed, but far more so than my mother. He just looks like a typical fair skinned red man with curly hair. He has quite a bit of European heritage, white from England on his dad's side as well as Spaniards on his mum's. He also has Indian on both sides as well as black on his dad's, though it's apparantly so far up that no one can seem to identify who was the particular black individual. My parents divorced when i was 3 or so and i grew up with my mother's family and my stepfather's shortly thereafter.My stepdad is haquai and his family has retained some Chinese culture. My mother's family still has many Indian values. Mixed as i am racially, i still identify ethnically with the Indian and the Chinese (and I'm not even Chinese!). It's not so much a matter of me trying to avoid my blackness, or separate myself from it - it's simply not a culture that i've known intimately and so i don't identify with it very much. I will not check black simply because i am not white, nor will i do it simply because of the whole one drop issue.On forms that don't have a checkbox or other, or mixed, i make one. I don't have a problem with the fact that some one of, or some of my ancestors were from Africa and were slaves, nor do i hide it - it's just not something that has played a particularly significant role in making me who i am today. My long convoluted point is basically that you don't always need to feel sorry for mixed people who don't consider themselves black..or consider them uninformed and conforming to societal racial pressure. Sometimes, their self concept is just different to your perception of them. I talk too much. Sorry.
vendetta920 says:
February 24, 2007, 3:00 am
Kanye & Richards are two pieces of work. Nothing to get upset about because this is the state of America! As for what I consider myself...human! I'm of a diverse background all of which I look nothing like therefore leaving me with the obvious choice BLACK. At times if available I check black hispanic or other.I see it like this I'm aware how I'm viewed but I won't lie about my hertiage for anyone!!!
Mkabayi says:
April 4, 2007, 2:03 am
It never ceases to amaze me how some people of African decent will claim every other race on the planet bar the one they most obviously belong to. Case in point, 99% of the replies above.
Sam says:
April 9, 2007, 11:12 pm
I don't want to be called mulatto, I don't want to be called a mutt. I don't belong to the African American people, because, like so many people said above- Kanye doesn't put the darker skinned girls in his video. If part of my own people cannot except me- then how could I ever see myself fitting in to the status quo group. This is why young multi-racial kids are wanting to create a space for themselves. At every turn people are insinuating that you are unclean, impure, and the product of sin because of your heritage. And FRANKLY, if any of you have listened to the Video Girls song you would not want your "racial group" to be the one called out. He is saying that video women are nothing more than people he can sleep and throw a bathing suit at and film. Come on people we need to get it together. What the heck.
monisola says:
May 3, 2007, 2:06 pm
After reading your explanation of the Caribbean race/color classifications, I was reminded of something that I have wondered for years. Living in NYC I am surrounded by people from the Caribbean. At times I have found myself, a dark-skinned woman, being addressed as "Darkie". I wonder do Caribbean people who use the term mean it in a derogative way. Ironically, while in Trinidad perhaps this term bears no negative connotation, in America "Darkie" is an insult used by white people to belittle black people. Kanye's statement offends all black and multiracial women equally, but I think the bigger picture is that Black people, for some reason, feel compelled to group themselves into skin color categories as well as address people by these same categorical labels. This type of thinking is exactly what started the paper bag test. As far as I am concerned if your hair is that of a black person's then you are black. For those "white" people who strangely have kinky hair, that's just their roots showing.
racism against light skin biracial and black people says:
April 28, 2008, 5:59 am
Kanye West should not use the word mutt.I'm black and light(yellow)skin.I had lived in Philadelpia(7th poorest US city,blacks are the majority)for many years.In Philly many brown and dark skin black young adults prefer,date and marry only brown and dark skin blacks.I lived in cities that weren't like this.My light(yellow)skin and brown skin cousins lived in some zipcodes in Philly that have many sex offenders and none of the black men would date my light skin cousin and many black men wanted to date my brown skin cousin.There are few light(yellow)skin and brown or darker skinned black young adult couples in Philly.
ella says:
November 17, 2008, 5:25 pm
There is obviously much self-loathing here. I'm mixed race but he seems to be implying that black women are not as beautiful as more European-looking mixed race women, which saddens me. I also find the term 'mutt' very derogatory and he's implying we're all only good for one thing. It's pathetic. I used to have a grudging respect for Mr West but I'm not sure now.
ella says:
November 17, 2008, 5:28 pm
BTW, in the UK the 'mixed race' category on the census has been availible for almost 10 years, so I don't understand why America doesn't have it. It's divided up further for white and Jamaican black, white and Asian etc.
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