My boy TAN has a nice post on his blog about his piece on Gawker about black people not working in magazines. I find it a little more than obnoxious that Gawker chose MLK Day to "expose" this problem. (But I guess they were just responding to an article about it in the Observer.) Is this phenomenon something media types have really never noticed before? Have you ever read Time Out? My favorite recent TONY snafu regarding POC* involves their description of my neighborhood in the "Eating Out" section: "nothing but Baptist churches for miles..." Amazing. There are a few churches by the restaurant they mentioned, but not a one of them is Baptist. (But if it's black its gotta be Baptist!) My dear friend Nichelle (a black girl - a Catholic) has an entire category on her blog called "Gawker hates black people." But not on MLK Day. That would just be rude. As Negin Farsad said last night at Galapagos, it is their one special day after all...
*POC: People of Coolness, or Color, depending on your mood.
Here's an excerpt - bits of the Observer article explaining why black folks don't make the grade are in quotes and TAN's responses are in bold.
“Several industry professionals traced this silence to the fact that magazines are, in the end, just magazines: waxy-paged collections of ads and articles that may provide everything from political analysis to eyebrow-waxing advice, but are hardly essential guardians of the public interest,” Ratner writes. This, then, is the We Also Promote Eating Disorders And A Low Self-Esteem So Why Get Huffy Over Racial Discrimination defense.
“But, on the other hand, there is a diversity of magazines,” Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker tells Ratner. “So it’s just a different kind of diversity exists already.” This one is the Y’all Motherfuckers Got Vibe and Essence So Shut The Hell Up defense.
“There is definitely no sense of shame about not having a diverse staff the way there was 10 years ago,” an anonymous Asian-American glossy-mag editor said. Now we’re seeing the Y’all Not Wearing Chains No More, So We’re Not Going to Feel Shame No More defense.
And finally, “I think, in people’s minds, it’s not like, ‘Let’s not hire any black people,’” said Hung author Scott Poulson-Bryant, a founding editor of Vibe. “It’s just like, ‘I don’t really know any black people to hire, and I don’t really want to do the work to find out who they are.’” Which is the beloved Where the Hell Are All the Black People When You Need One? defense.
TAN concludes: So with these four defenses stacked up together, what’s left for a young, aspiring minority writer to do? It seems clear now there’s only one option: Go scale the walls of the Conde Nast building, naked, with a piece on “How Mothers Can Lose Those Pregnancy Pounds” taped to your ass. Then jump. You may lose your life, but quite possibly you’ll gain a byline in the process.
I don't know what Conde Nast thinks about the proposal, but TAN jumping off a building is a pretty dramatic inspiration for me to start shedding the preggers weight. However, it's still not enough. I think it's valiant, but I'd rather be pleasantly plump. So TAN, this rap is for you:
You don't have to die to save my thigh!
Don't jump off that building, 40 stories high,
just write an article wich yo name in the by-
line about how to get skinny,
I'll read it and I'll feel fine.
But I won't work out, won't bother to take the time
I like my ass fat, that's how you know it is mine!
So screw the white girls who write the magazines -
I won't get skinny, I'll just eat rice and beans.