But what will the community think?!

padma and russell simmons.JPG

Ah, Padma.

Padma, Padma, Padma.

Potentially Mallu (I thought you were TamBrahm!) beauty, accomplished author and Television ish-tar, you speak so uniquely and that takes some talent. What sort of talent, I haven’t a clue, but I’ll credit you anyway, because I’m fond of you like that.

A few years ago, you made every Desi man’s heart beat a little bit faster, from the joy of the improbable occurring; if a supermodel would marry an award-winning, uber-protective, “distinguished”-looking author, then everyone had hope (as long as they did something extraordinary. Or had a looooot of paisa). It was the ultimate Revenge fantasy and that’s exactly what it was, because the dream, it died. You and the man who defended your intellect, who insisted that you were being shortchanged by the focus on your outsides, you are…kaput.

So, what to do, except to follow the well-established mores of our culture. You don’t recall? I am happy to remind. Now comes the time when you cast your eyes downwards, marinate in the somber reality of failure and wait an appropriate time before you are back on the scene, the ultimate “Innocent Divorcee, no issue”. It is imperative that you be seen alone, that you not be photographed with strange men touching you, because if a potential groom from Madras or Bangalore sees that, chee, vat he vill think?

So it is paining me, Padma-akka (chechi?!) to see you emulate the controversial example of that Sarita Denzel Masala of Mississippi, especially since you chose to do that in the front row of the Marc Jacobs show, where everyone could see you! Aiyo! What’s the one thing your Amma told you, edi?

“Don’ bring home a Kala or Muslim.”

Stop lying, you aren’t special, she totally said that. [Aside: whenever I hear that oft-repeated phrase, I wonder what would happen if one chose to bring home a KALA MUSLIM, but I digress]. I’m well aware that all of our parents ignorantly shouted this rather nonsensical order at us, in an attempt to be helpful (though I’m sure for our Muslim friends it was “Don bring home a Kala or a Hindu!”, since the hate goes both vays).

So, what are you doing? Yes, this Russell, he is healthy, wealthy, wise. He does yoga. He is a vegan (unlike you! Naughty, naughty omnivore!) and he seems kind. BUT. He has two children! And his ex-wife will smear Vaseline on her face, take her bamboo earrings (at least two pair) off, hand them to her assistant and then CUT YOUR ASS UP. Have you not seen Life in the Fab Lane, starring Kimora Lee Simmons? Put down the bong and pay attention: you should be terrified!

Worst of all, when I was watching the Today show this morning, I saw your “friend” Russell. He was wearing his “uniform” of baseball cap, sweater, shirt, jeans, sneakers. Ek tiny problem: there was an OM symbol on his jeans pocket. Now I am both Christian and a quondam lover of status denim (Diesel, Blue Cult, James et al), so I am just slightly, less offended than half of those who are sure to comment AND I get that the kundi pockets must have some elaborate design on them, to show people you have rs.5500+ to burn on a pair of pants which was once worn by the working class…to WORK, but I was taken aback when I saw that, much as I was when I viewed this commercial. Someone who is so entranced with our culture should know better than to put a sacred image on a back pocket!

Om on pocket? Home with two kids, and a fiercely mean ex-? Far too friendly hand on your leg? What are you thinking? Who will want you, if you continue with such shenanigans? They will burn you in effigy, I tell you. Or worse. They will call for strikes. The sweatshops in Bangladesh will stop stitching Phat Farm and Baby Phat crap! There will be chaos!

I only say all of this to be nice. I am concerned for you! If you ask me, you should try to be more homely and make sure you fast on Fridays for a good husband; perhaps your kinda-boring cooking show can tape on other days? Vatewer. I care, so I advise. I am like this only. You should be, too. Hangari!

Photo via NYT. A big, juicy “thank you” to Rumor Monger, for the tip. :)

415 thoughts on “But what will the community think?!

  1. Ugh thats the thing with you desis, you are always taking things up the a$$!!

    LOL! Just… LOL.

    naz, i totally agree with you on most of your points. :) -what could these parents possibly know about people of african descent to hate them especially so? stereotypes, basically. though it’s not just desi immigrants who are like this, but also many mexican + central american immigrants. -i think ananda lewis is mixed with the other kind of indian (native american). -i’ve never found a lot of white people particularly attractive either, but i guess part of that may be a) not being familiar with a whole lot of ‘em, and b) thinking the white ideal of beauty is overrated.

    honestly, i don’t think black beauty gets appreciated enough. lauryn hill was freakin gorgeous back in the day. also, black don’t crack. she’s almost FIFTY people!!

  2. -i’ve never found a lot of white people particularly attractive either, but i guess part of that may be a) not being familiar with a whole lot of ‘em, and b) thinking the white ideal of beauty is overrated.

    just wanted to clarify. i can see how someone is objectively ‘attractive,’ and i can understand others’ attraction to them… but i’ve never found a lot of white people to be particularly sexy. i dunno why.

  3. No I’m not American, African Americans are descendants of slaves for god’s sake, what else can be expected of their unfortunate brainwashing? My objection to dating an Indian guys is people who come from colorist cultures, like Af. Americans, have the unfortunate belief that light skin and European appearance are the most beautiful. I distinctly stated I would have a major hernia each time he didn’t defend me against racist or colorist comments said about me or other black people. No such relationship would last. The posts I’ve read on this forum clearly indicate there is still some “issue” with dark skin in Indian culture. And no, where I come from, I’ve never felt any disrespect accorded to me for my race or skin color; therefore I have no reason to put myself under such emotional torture. Any culture that thinks dark skin is unattractive is not for me!! I’m not judging Indian culture, I’m just avoiding being hurt. And I have been hurt already reading the comments here, imagine if I lived in this culture!

  4. No I’m not American, African Americans are descendants of slaves for god’s sake, what else can be expected of their unfortunate brainwashing?

    imnotbeingfunnybut:

    so you wouldn’t date an african-american?

  5. hey nala,thank for the feedback! regarding #301: i believe you are correct about ananda. i think some of the sources i saw online were confused by her name, which is an east indian name :) but she only discusses black and native american heritage!

    also to imnotbeingfunnybut #303, how can you make such ignorant blanket statements about african americans? did you know that not all africans in the americas arrived as slaves? clearly the vast majority were, but there has always been a significant community of wealthy and free blacks in the americas. and for those who were enslaved, even so, they were people first and not sub-human just because of their condition of servitude. it would be nice if you didn’t speak so disrespectfully and harshly of people who are the descendants of ancestors who endured so much hardship, as if they were the perpetrators and not the victim!

    also, many other civilizations practiced slavery as well. many other civilizations are brainwashed in many respects as well. in addition, color prejudice is not only a result of slave mentality. to reiterate my earlier point, many communities of color experience the problem of skin tone discrimination. it is very obvious you are neither an african american nor a scholar!

    please choose your language more carefully to express yourself in an appropriate manner.

  6. Ugh thats the thing with you desis, you are always taking things up the a$$!!

    LMAO …. i am a desi and Lena I think u r kinda right …

    But for now my a$$ is busy laughing out loud

  7. For those of you interested in the side issue of the politics of color with in the NOI, here is a video of scholar Farah Griffen discussing the issue, including the fact that the early NOI under elihjah did not worship the black aesthetic as Malcolm did, even to the point of encouraging women to straighten their hair, as well as Malcolm’s fair skin giving him an advantage and access that allowed him to rise within the organization.

    HMF, how does it feel to be schooled about the NOI by a Rush Limbaugh fan?

  8. ImNotfunny , if you really read the comments here, then you would also know that we actually condemn and make fun of the indians who have a color complex. So I do not get what you are talking about that if you dated an Indian guy, he wouldnt defend you and he would tolerate the comments you may get. But hey, date whoever you want, but you will get feedback if you put down stuff that can be debated here.

  9. I distinctly stated I would have a major hernia each time he didn’t defend me against racist or colorist comments said about me or other black people.
    Any culture that thinks dark skin is unattractive is not for me!! I’m not judging Indian culture, I’m just avoiding being hurt. And I have been hurt already reading the comments here, imagine if I lived in this culture!
    What kind of psycho wants to have anything to do with a culture that hates their skin color (no apologists please LOL)!
    No I’m not American, African Americans are descendants of slaves for god’s sake, what else can be expected of their unfortunate brainwashing?

    Right…

    Complaining about racism while embracing ethnocentrism is more than a little audacious. Not to mention it invalidates your entire argument.

    But what do I know, I’m just a pitiful African American!

  10. The posts I’ve read on this forum clearly indicate there is still some “issue” with dark skin in Indian culture.

    Sure. And in African-American culture. And Moroccan culture. And Egyptian culture. And in Minnesota. Unfortunately, you hit the same problem anywhere you go. I find it weird that you would indict all Indians but imply that there are lots of non-racist white people.

  11. Who are these bizarre desis who try to prohibit their kids from dating black people? In my admittedly small circle I haven’t come across any, or maybe some are not vocal about it. I know that my old folks don’t care even if he’s martian, let alone black – my father has said repeatedly that black women are the most beautiful of all, even.

  12. HMF, how does it feel to be schooled about the NOI by a Rush Limbaugh fan?

    don’t feel bad HMF, any true Limbaugh fan would have already got themselves hooked on opiate-based pain medication whilst trumpeting the value of ‘lock ‘em up fer using!!!!” public policy. Speaking of, why didn’t that odious gas bag march himself off to the county jail for being a low-down, law-disrespecting, controlled substance user?

    I do propose, however that HMF and Manju get their own velvet-lined, shag-carpeted NOI-LURVE room where they can steamily debate this topic by their heated lonesome (apparently germane to ANY topic on SM) until the literal colorism wheels fall off.

  13. No I’m not American, African Americans are descendants of slaves for god’s sake

    why do you have disdain for a group of people that were once slaves – you should have disdain for the people and culture of that time that allowed the enslaving of humans.

    And by the way, you know those descendents of slaves, so many of these Americans changed America for the better with using their brilliant minds to challenge racist laws and make America closer to its ideals. These legal changes in turn have influenced egalitarian laws in many other countries. For so many desis we wouldn’t be in America if the civil rights movement didn’t help change America’s racist, ethnocentric attitude.

  14. I do propose, however that HMF and Manju get their own velvet-lined, shag-carpeted NOI-LURVE room where they can steamily debate this topic by their heated lonesome

    No, I like to watch!

  15. razib mentioned the movie malcom X, so maybe you want to see that or look into spike lee’s wrinting on NO

    I’ve seen the movie about 40-50 times, there’s nothing in there to even remotely suggest it (other than malcolm’s ‘desire’ to be white by conking, then later using that as a device to teach him self determination – scene where Baines says “let it burn”, then him finally removing the conk), I trust you on Malcolm moreso than razib, in fact unless it involves a z-test or haplotype I pretty much ignore anything he says.

    HMF, how does it feel to be schooled about the NOI by a Rush Limbaugh fan?

    I see you glossed over her statement “…charistmatic, gifted, and talented…” Color politics is a human phenom, so any organization will have some component of it, however, I don’t trust elements of the NOI that say, he was chosen for being light skinned, as many of the NOI leaders were very jealous of him.

    Seriously you aren’t schooling shit, and if you’re only retort is to say I retracted from making an absolute statement, bully for you, here’s a cookie.

    let me make this plan. No social statement by anyone can be absolute. So my ‘fucked up shit’ comment is to be understood in a relative sense. He certainly wasn’t ‘chosen’ for being light skinned as you alluded to, if the language bothers you, then go back to the mothership with rush and he’ll tell you all about making idiotic absolute statements, if thats what you think I did.

  16. Perhaps I can make it up to you by teaching you more about MLK.

    like how whenever you talk about him, he pretty much does a backspin you-know-where?

  17. By the way Diletante – I KNOW desis use (electric) hair straighteners – I don’t actually most people in my family (except for my little sis) and most of my friends do not. Not every desi uses a hair straigtener – sometimes it’s natural. Oh,And I try and make my hair curlier most of the time PS#258

    Fair enough PS. I said “Desi’s” just as others have said ‘blacks” or African Americans. Oviously you know black people who do not, straighten their hair, just as I know Desi’s (guys even ) who do. For me to come back with the racial history of my own family, my hair texture and length blah blah blah would sound like the pathetic apocryphal stories nobekinsmans highlighted in comment #173. And as my theory (for which I’m patiently awaiting an Nobel prize for) that RACE= CLASS in the U.S.A, proves; Only Tiger Woods or other rich and famous people can “transcend” their ‘blackness’ as an inferior good, when they can bankroll their new “white” lifestyle. And any black person who questions it, or disapproves,- is just playing “race” politics(Razib comment # 2,diff. thread)

    iABD: I like to watch too! I found HMF’s secret honeycomb hideout. But step off ladies, because like Kimroa, I just might might locate some Vaseline.

    And just to go one step, mile, further. I can understand why someone would be loath to deny a part of their “heritage”, I would never ask anyone to do that. I went to college with a guy who was lived in Lagos Nigeria w/ his Yoruba father, & in Russia with his (white) Russian mother. He could legitimately talk about the diverse cultural values he had from his family. For many ‘mixed’ race people to use race as a proxy for culture in the USA- that’s just false. Debra J. Dickerson (black journalist married to a white guy). Famous for starting, or perpetuating the whole(?) Obama is not black enough nonsense. She claims ,[Tiger Wood's]not wanting to “deny his Mother’s heritage”, inspired her to tell her kids that they did not “have to black” for her. If you read the stupid article she definitely equates race with class. Historically the ‘black’ partner has always married downward in exchange for their partners white skin.

    she writes: but now that we live in upstate New York, we encounter very few black people and even fewer who are not mainstream professionals, with all the requisite class implications that follow (affluent, private-school educated, i.e., not very culturally black).

    Obviously,in her book, to be authentically “black”, you have to be poor. Maybe that’s why she doesn’t like Obama, becuase not only has he beat her own biracial kids to the punch bowl, he’s happy to call himself black. I do not think that b-w Americans, in 2007, have fundamentally different ‘cultures’.

  18. I’ve seen the movie about 40-50 times, there’s nothing in there to even remotely suggest it

    I’m not too sure about this. I think razib may be right and perhaps others who’ve seen the movie may know. there is some video out there of elijah, or elijah voice, mentioning he was looking for someone with the right skin color to lead temple # 8 (the most prestigious temple in NOI). it could be that documentary i referred to earlier, or it could be the movie, or both. the more i think about it, the more i think it was the movie, but i’ve seen a lot of documentaries on Malcolm so i may be mistaken. maybe you psychologically blocked it out.

    I see you glossed over her statement “…charistmatic, gifted, and talented…”

    Why would I gloss over it? I’ve used such terms to describe him myself. I’m surprised after all this time you haven’t caught this.

    Seriously you aren’t schooling shit, and if you’re only retort is to say I retracted from making an absolute statement, bully for you, here’s a cookie.

    thanks for the cookie (chocolate chip, i see). but really HMF, you were completely gobsmaked at first. now, this gobsmacking is completely understandable considering the whole reason i bought it up was for its gobsmacking quality, after all the NOI is known for its love of black skin.

    but this displays, imo, a very superficial understanding of the NOI (and black power in general). This movement has always been a complex mix of pride, individual responsibility, empowerment, as well as self-hatred and resentment (thus the anti-semitism and racism). pride in one’s race or skin represents a fundamental acceptance of the terms white racism has set, and no movement exemplified this more than the NOI.

    also, if one goes beyond the autobiography one finds out that elijah is not malcolm. it was malcom that took the organization from an obscure racist cult to a cultural phenomenon. elijah liked his color privilege and used it. i don’t think it was a coincidence that elijhah, malcom, and louis were light skinned with mixed features. plus context matters, as razib pointed out. what are the odds that the NOI could escape such deeply entrenched notions as the “brown paper bag test.” not everyone can be as evolved as GWB.

    so given all this, i think my original assertion is not all as gobsmacking as it appears. now, the degree to which colorism infected the NOI is debatable, and i can’t say i know the answer to the question: how much did malcolm himself benefit from his lighteness within the organization? the NOI scholars i referenced—all of whom are extremely sympathetic to the movement–are still debating this. my suspicion is that color meant a lot to elijah (though not malocolm) and he explicitly sought out light skinned blacks to lead the movement, knowing that he himself had benefited from his looks within the black community.

    it was malcolm who fought this self-hatred, so much so that his philosophy inevitably became incompatible with the NOI’s–which, imo, was really a cover for internalized racism all along.

  19. so i opened up the October issue of Fitness magazine this morning (my mother has a subscription), and who do i see? padma lakshmi, of course. she was part of feature article in which women talk about their physical ‘imperfections’ that they have come to love. one woman talked about how she came to love the gap between her two front teeth. another, her large size. padma lakshmi’s flaw? a scar on her right arm, from a car accident she was in when she was 14 (which also broke her pelvic bone… hm, i wonder if this is why she and salman didn’t have kids? other than her career i mean). apparently she was self-conscious about it when she got into modeling, but it turns out designers actually loved it (ah, the freaky freaky world of high fashion). and guys think it’s sexy and girls also like padma better because of it since they feel better that she’s not perfect. so, uh, i guess the rest of us mere mortals can feel better. padma lakshmi has a scar on her arm!

  20. …pride in one’s race or skin represents a fundamental acceptance of the terms white racism has set, and no movement exemplified this more than the NOI.

    Manju- not getting into your tangle w/my bf- but you can rest assured that this juicy little bit has been booked marked by me. I predict it will not get the reponse’s Prema/(Dharma?) quotes does, though its implicitly the same.

  21. Manju- not getting into your tangle w/my bf- but you can rest assured that this juicy little bit has been booked marked by me. I predict it will not get the reponse’s Prema/(Dharma?) quotes does, though its implicitly the same.

    y’know, dilettante, i don’t necessarily disagree with the essence of most of what prema says. i’m just afraid he’s the mutineer most likely to go on a shooting spree.

  22. don’t feel bad HMF, any true Limbaugh fan would have already got themselves hooked on opiate-based pain medication whilst trumpeting the value of ‘lock ‘em up fer using!!!!” public policy. Speaking of, why didn’t that odious gas bag march himself off to the county jail for being a low-down, law-disrespecting, controlled substance user?

    muralimannered:

    when this news hit, many people searched the archives for rush’s ant-drug statements hoping the can use the hypocrisy defense to do to him what would be considered wrong to do to a leftist. but as it turns out, there wasn’t much and it appears rush had a more libertarian view on drugs.

    reminds me of the hoopla when bill bennett got caught gambling. anyway, i got shot up with morphine in the hospital once. good shit, man, good shit.

  23. my father has said repeatedly that black women are the most beautiful of all, even.

    your mother must feel wonderful about that :P

  24. slightly o/t:

    Not every desi uses a hair straigtener – sometimes it’s natural. Oh,And I try and make my hair curlier most of the time.

    Me too! I thought I was the only brown girl who did this… the ones I know all go for that super-straight, silky look. I’ve tried it, but I don’t think it looks good with my face shape (round). My hair is naturally wavy and frizzy, so I use this to bring out my ‘natural curls.’ And for going out I sometimes use an actual curling iron. Curls are just sexier.

  25. PS wrote: “The mediterranean skin tone is an exceedingly rare variation in tamil or bengali families. – well I guess we keep arguing back and forth but I’m Malyalee and it is not an “exceedingly rare variation”; Exceedingly rare would be blue eyes among desis.”

    I totally agree with PS. In many of the port cities, there has been ethnic mixing for a long time. In Kerala, the Syrians came in AD345. The Knanaya Malayalees distinguish themselves from others are being of Syrian blood. Then there are the other Syrian christians who claim ties to Syria as well. Additionally, there Portuguese and the English came there and mixed with the people. There are Cochin Jews and a large population of Anglo-Indians in Kerala. Even the French and the Irish made their way to Kerala and left an imprint. Case in point, one very popular Mallu Christian dish is Irish-style chicken or mutton stew which we serve with uppam. Also, strangely, we are the ONLY indians to make pastries like the French. We make Puffs with consist of an croissant-like outer shell and either a spicy meat-potato-pea filling or veggie filling. I strongly believe that there was some mixing with the Chinese during the Silk trading times. Many a Mallu has Chinese features like the single eyelids, smaller eyes, flatter noses, fairer complexions – just like Bengalis & Assamese do too. Bottomline: Some Mallus look Jewish, Arab, Chinese, Spanish, very Dravidian, very Aryan or Aryan-Dravidian. Check out the following people for examples of this: 1. Asin (actress, model, the brand ambassador for Fairever – Syrian Catholic) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asin_Thottumkal 2. Kim Thallil (he’s bassist of Soundgarten; he looks Sikh but’s he’s Syrian Catholic) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_Thayil 2. Shashi Tharoor (green eyed, sharp features and very fair – Mallu Hindu) 3. Padma Lakshmi, Arundati Roy, 4. that perv Anand Jon,

    The chinese have spent a considerable amount of time in Kerala – particularly Cochin. As a result, we learned fishing from them and they learned our martial arts which was the mother of all martial arts. Malayalees have their own lethal form of martial arts called Kalaripayattu. This type of martial arts was used as defensive mechanism (mainly by men from Nair families) against intruders . In ancient times, disputes between (naaduvazhis or Vazhunors)nobles were also settled by the outcome of a Kalaripayattu tournament. This ancient martial art is claimed as the mother of all martial arts – even the Chinese Shaolin chuan from the famous Shaolin temple traces its ancestry to Bodhi Dharma, an Indian Buddhist monk who was a Kalaripayattu expert.[36]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malayalee

  26. Manju and HMF,

    Thanks for the Malcolm info. Regardless of the myriad of reasons that Elijah chose him, Malcolm’s message is still powerful.

    The Autobiography should be required reading–it definitely tears the veils off–most people don’t seem familiar with the post-Mecca Malcolm or the NOI Malcolm for that matter.

    Despite the black/brown ascension of Russell and Padma, the US prison situation isn’t looking so good (for any color)

    Manju/HMF, Do you have any recommended readings on if MLK would have been successful if NOI wasn’t on the horizon? (Or about similar forces waiting in the wings if Gandhi failed. (My history’s fairly weak on the India side)

    (intern, sorry for veering off topic again)

  27. it could be that documentary i referred to earlier, or it could be the movie, or both. the more i think about it, the more i think it was the movie, but i’ve seen a lot of documentaries on Malcolm so i may be mistaken. maybe you psychologically blocked it out.

    Provide a source then, if you’re talking Spike Lee’s movie? scene? if you’re going to run your cyber-mouth. Your UT tendencies are so strong, it’s hard to separate fact from bias. I have seen the movie many many times, as well as the documentary as part of the DVD special features. In fact I just watched the clip from Egypt & the Brother Johnson clip. Like I said before, you = minnow, dealing with a shark.

    I haven’t found a single source to say Malcolm was chosen to lead the NY temple for any other reason than his powerful commitment and command of the literature & scripture. What could happen is other members of the NOI circulating rumors of colorism being widespread, in order to derail malcolm’s success. jealous people will do that. And Malcolm’s psychological divorce from the NOI was not about colorism, rather their attempted cover-up and trivialization of Elijah Muhammed’s extramarital affairs, to which the nation jumped on him for the famous “chickens coming home to roost” comment and silencing him for 90 days.

    so given all this, i think my original assertion is not all as gobsmacking as it appears. now, the degree to which colorism infected the NOI is debatable,

    Yes it is, because even the source you quoted was tenuous in describing it, “there are some people that say…” doesn’t sound like a definitive “he was chosen because…” And the source also stated that if any behavior was true, it really wasn’t a deviation from black culture at large (see: spike lee’s school daze), that whatever element that may have existed wouldn’t be much of a surprise.

    Do you have any recommended readings on if MLK would have been successful if NOI wasn’t on the horizon?

    Well, asking Manju this, is again like asking Paris Hilton her opinions on the Borel-Cantelli lemma and Radon-Nikodyn derivatives, however, Im not understanding your question. Do you think the NOI detracted from MLK’s work?

  28. I have a feeling I should not jump into this but since the movie and the Autobiography are the only sources specifically being touted here, both beautiful but rather stylized, I wanted to introduce some other sources:

    http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ccbh/mxp/nationofislam.html , The Malcolm X Project at Columbia University

    Spike Lee wrote a book, The Making of Malcolm X, which includes interviews done with relatives of Malcolm, Louis Farrakhan, and the former head of the Fruit of Islam (NOI’s defense arm). It’s also interesting to read his narrative of the struggles with the studio over funding, etc.

    Making Malcolm, by Michael Eric Dyson, looks at different constructions and aspects of Malcolm in the decades since his death.

    Malcolm’s nephew wrote a biography of Malcolm from a family perspective about 10 years ago – sorry, but I don’t remember the title and author’s name.

    I have not read Columbia’s Malcolm X site, but have read the books I mention.

  29. Do you think the NOI detracted from MLK’s work?

    rumor-monger could mean that the NOI enhanced MLK’s work (gave them a vision of a scary alternative, as Malcolm himself said once).

  30. rumor-monger could mean that the NOI enhanced MLK’s work (gave them a vision of a scary alternative, as Malcolm himself said once).

    Thats true, but I wasn’t sure.

    Spike Lee wrote a book, The Making of Malcolm X, which includes interviews done with relatives of Malcolm, Louis Farrakhan, and the former head of the Fruit of Islam (NOI’s defense arm). It’s also interesting to read his narrative of the struggles with the studio over funding, etc.

    It’s called “By any means necessary, trials and tribulations of making malcolm x” and yes it is very telling about how a bond company was used, when funding fell through and he asked prominent black people to assist in completing the film, the bond company was thrown out and the studio funded post production. Studios love to be racist, just not look racist.

    Also when the production company said he should shoot the Egypt scenes in the Jersey shore. Would Coppola ever be told, shoot the sicily scenes in hoboken?

    Around the same time, the movie JFK was being released, which in my opinion, was complete sh*t of a movie. When Spike Lee said he wanted X to be just an “epic” of a movie, the studios laughed in his face.

    Another great book is Growing up X, by Ilyasah Shabazz, shows the impact of Malcolm after his death.

  31. Malcolm x was successful not because he was some sort of biblical scholar (NOI was never very “scripturally” based) but because he could sell water to a whale. He was very aware that his skin color made him successful among black people as a hustler, a dancer, among men and women. He was also tall and photogenic. Elijah Muhammad picked him as a spokesman because MX brought a great deal of money and members to NOI via starting new temples, starting the newspaper, AND because he was genuine, a success story, and not corrupt. It was an overall good pick, and that E.Muh was shrewd enough to know that a light skinned black guy would work to advantage does not demean the choice.

    Malcolm Perry or Michael Perry, some Perry or or other wrote a controversial (he claims Malcolm had a number of homosexual relationships both for money and for other reasons) but thorough bio of MX, and might be the source you’re looking for. He definitely makes this claim. James Baldwin might have claimed it, too, in Fire Next Time because it seems like something JBald would claim. Hilton Als makes the claim in an essay in “The Women” about Malcolm’s mother (who didn’t die until well after Malcolm). Malcolm’s half sister Ella (crazy woman) and others make the claim in a documentary called “Make it Plain.”

    The movie would be a weird place to try and assert this because Denzel Washington, while doing a good performance, is dark. Saw the movie recently, with the Sam Cooke song playing while MX is driving to get shot and all the glass reflections and refractions, it’s a great movie.

  32. NOI was never very “scripturally” based)

    They read the Koran, Bible and the Bhagavad Gita as part of their required reading. It’s in the book Remembering Malcolm, by Benjamin Karim.

    and that E.Muh was shrewd enough to know that a light skinned black guy would work to advantage does not demean the choice.

    If it’s recognizing a phenom throughout black culture, it’s not exactly an indication of shrewdness. Point is, If Malcolm was darker, he’d still be Malcolm.

    Saw the movie recently, with the Sam Cooke song playing while MX is driving to get shot and all the glass reflections and refractions

    A change is gonna come. I’d have to say one of the best scenes is the slow zoom onto Malcolms face intercut with the 60′s SCLC footage, and Dr. Kings statements of being non violent. It shows Malcolm’s internal struggle.

  33. HMF:

    When I first made the assertion (that “elijah muhammed picked Malcolm X as his spokesman in part b/c of his skin colour”) you were so gobsmacked all you could say was “What kind of fucked up shit is this” coupled with an almost witty insult: (“Oh wait. I forgot, Manju discussing Malcolm X is like Denise Richards discussing Pi-Meson theory.”) You found this so implausible you threw up your hands by writing: “But there’s only so much stupidity one human being can take.”

    When I offer a citation from a sympathetic scholar (“Elijah Muhammad named the light-skinned Malcolm to his first important post in the Na- tion of Islam because of his “complexion’”) you start adding qualifiers to your argument (“Malcolm’s engaging speaking ability had far more to do with his being chosen to establish temples than his color”) which tacitly concede that I was right without explicitly admitting that you were wrong.

    In keeping with this tactic, you ask me to provide evidence to assertions that (at least to that point) I had not made (“How about you produce a shred of credible evidence that Elijah Muhammed chose Malcolm in any real way based on his complexion, and that other more qualified, but darker NOI members would have or should have been given that position”) pretending as if your original shock was due to me asserting darker members were passed over or that colorism was significant within the NOI as opposed to me saying it played a part.

    But the cherry on your pie of bullshit is when, realizing you are cornered, you do a 180 degree turn and embrace the essence of my position as if this as been your position all along: “And the source also stated that if any behavior was true, it really wasn’t a deviation from black culture at large (see: spike lee’s school daze), that whatever element that may have existed wouldn’t be much of a surprise.”—errr, yeah, hmf, that was like my whole point!

    All the evidence suggests you were completely blind to the realities of black leadership at the time (realities that razib had pointed out with the brown paper bag test and the laurence otis graham book), so much so that you went ahead an portrayed malcolm, a deeply flawed hero, in this cartoonish way: “Malcolm is such a caliber person that he’d reject any kind of benefits afforded him based on skin color.” he probably never masturbated either.

    last, but not least, I don’t appreciate you, yet again, , making up quotes and attributing them to me. in this line:

    Yes it is, because even the source you quoted was tenuous in describing it, “there are some people that say…” doesn’t sound like a definitive “he was chosen because…”

    the “definitive” “he was chosen because” was never uttered by me as a quick search of this thread proves. My original assertion included the important qualifier (“in part”) because I was aiming to demonstrate what is apparently now your position, that the NOI, elijah in particular, practiced colorism much like the rest of black society, an assertion that is, at least to novices, quite surprising, but upon further reflection, quite predictable.

  34. when this news hit, many people searched the archives for rush’s ant-drug statements hoping the can use the hypocrisy defense to do to him what would be considered wrong to do to a leftist. but as it turns out, there wasn’t much and it appears rush had a more libertarian view on drugs.

    “I’m appalled at people who simply want to look at all this abhorrent behavior and say people are going to do drugs anyway let’s legalize it. It’s a dumb idea. It’s a rotten idea and those who are for it are purely 100 percent selfish.” – Rush Limbaugh show, Dec 9, 1993

    yep. that’s pretty libertarian. and this as well–could he possibly be talking about mandatory minimum sentences for simple possession?

    There’s nothing good about drug use. We know it. It destroys individuals. It destroys families. Drug use destroys societies. Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. And we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs. And the laws are good because we know what happens to people in societies and neighborhoods, which become consumed by them. And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up. -Rush Limbaugh show, Oct. 5, 1995

    Rush is annoying because he is an unrepentant hypocrite.

    Manju, you must not live in a rural area, otherwise you would know the scourge of hydrocodone and other opiate-based pain-killers. Rush had the opportunity to experience life on the other side of the ‘law n’ order’ track and he very clumsily sidestepped all the issues of ‘fairness’ and ‘appropriate penalties’ that he routinely and glibly dismisses as ‘far left liberal nonsense’ but would have no doubt faced as an accused criminal, under Florida’s possession laws.

  35. muralimannered:

    looks like i stand corrected on rush’s drug use and philosophy. haven’t listented to rush in a long time. oh well, at least bill bennet’s still standing.

  36. maybe if a consevative is liberal whose been mugged, a libertarian is a conservative whose been busted.

    (i swear i just made that up. i refuse to google since i don’t want to disillusion myself. i’m also convinced i conceived of the notion of the coodies and coodie shots when i was 5 yrs old, also i distinctly remember creating the notion of the boogieman)

  37. because I was aiming to demonstrate what is apparently now your position, that the NOI, elijah in particular, practiced colorism much like the rest of black society, an assertion that is, at least to novices, quite surprising, but upon further reflection, quite predictable.

    It’s not surprising at all. And my position has always been the same, that Malcolm’s apparent mobility through the nation is much more attributable to his talent, charisma, knowledge, and uncorruptibility, and that jealous elements within the NOI are most probably responsible for circulating rumors that his skin color played any significant part. The source you quoted actually downplayed any ‘more than average’ reasoning

    If you don’t want me misquoting you, then don’t say stuff like this: (#191)

    ” i think there is a video out there of elijah muhammed saying he picked his 2nd in command very carfully, and mentions “right skin color” and i think certain facial features.”

    How does this differ wildly from “was chosen” Oh I see, the difference between picking and choosing is…. well it’s… well when you really look at it, it’s…..

    But as I said before, it’s more sad than anything else that you’ve used your brainpower to reinforce UT attitudes, and twist and wriggle words to suppor them.

  38. “They read the Koran, Bible and the Bhagavad Gita as part of their required reading.”

    This is incorrect. Most of the NOI classes have the lessons stuff that people are to learn verbatim (the maker the owner, the asiatic black man wilderness of north america blah blah blah), and then all that yakub on the island of patmos shit (much of which Malcolm X talks of in the auto, and would tell to black audiences but not to white audiences because he knew it was ridiculous), which comes out of nowhere. And then they’ll usually use the Bible to say that blacks are a- a lost tribe, b- that jesus has wooly hair, or some other random stuff. Qu’ran is there (they all recommend the Maulana Muhammad Ali translation, which is great), but not much used (which is why elijah muhammad’s son Wallace left noi and became regular sunni muslim) because the qu’ran just isn’t a very exciting text to read in English — black muslims don’t pray in arabic nor do they perform salat. The Gita? There’s no basis for this and nobody in any NOI temples will care for it unless there’s someone who caught on to some krishna = blackman stuff.

    Above might sound dismissive, but i’m not, have known many black muslims in ny and boston from both noi and lost-found noi (silas muhammad group that splintered because they didn’t like Wallace Dean Muhammad’s attempts to make black muslims pray like middle easterners), many of whom are smart and whom I care for and I think much of the overall program can be purposeful. It may inspire individual members to become more bookish, but in no way is it in itself a bookish institution. It is a program of personal reform, which is why its most successful aspects are its drug recovery successes and its security corporation and why it almost always did most of its work in prisons and with addicts. Further, it is, after all, a completely American religion, and like all American religions (mormonism for example), its texts are strange and haphazardly put together by men of some vision and ability but not alot of literary acumen, from translations of older texts, from folkish tales of the northern u.s. and from their own imaginations/visions.

  39. this is why i love SM! a photo of russ and padma can spark a heated debate over malcolm x’s complexion and the NOI! keep up the great work :)

    and while were on the topic, how many of you think ghandi’s fair complexion played a significant role in his success as a leader for the people?

  40. the topic, how many of you think ghandi’s fair complexion

    Dude, you are on sepiamutiny. You better spell Gandhi’s name properly. It’s one thing to mispell it if it makes more sense phonetically or if it is a typo.

    Respect.

  41. Didn’t mean it to be as harsh as it read. But that particular misspelling gets on my nerves, especially when it is done on an indo centric blog.

  42. how many of you think ghandi’s fair complexion played a significant role in his success as a leader for the people?

    who is ghandi? was he the fhater of the nation?

  43. and while were on the topic, how many of you think ghandi’s fair complexion played a significant role in his success as a leader for the people?

    Have you ever seen a photo of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

    He was not fair complexioned. Here some hints – here, and here.

    Satyagraha, heard of that. or Satyagrhaa

  44. , how many of you think ghandi’s fair complexion played a significant role in his success as a leader for the people?

    Are you referring to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi aka`Mahatma Gandhi?Fair-skinned -compared to whom?The British against whom he lead his people?

    Gandhi’s leadership was based on many factors but this is the first time I have ever heard of his complexion coming into it. Also the first time I have heard anyone suggest that Gandhi was fair complexioned.

    IMHO, the obsession with skin color is becoming greater here on SM than IRL in India :-)