Stopped, Frisked and Speaking Out

I was recently given the opportunity to lend my voice to a news piece about a New York Police Department policy that many in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Fort Greene are upset about.  The video was published this week on “The Local,” a New York Times/CUNY Graduate School of Journalism blog.

The NYPD stopped and frisked more than 684.000 people in 2011. The NYPD set a new record with this number, almost 90 percent of these people are black or latino. Four victims in Fort Greene, (Brooklyn) tell their story about being stopped for no reason.

Lindsey Groot and Robin Antonisse are two Dutch filmmakers who joined the Hyperlocal Blog (New York Times) in February 2012 as part of a journalistic exchange program.

Have you heard of this policy? What are your thoughts? Is there a similar policy where you live? How does your community feel about it?

-NativeJournalist

Happy Halloween: A Superhero (Not an Ethnic Minority) is a Halloween Costume

I love Halloween…but I don’t love racist Halloween costumes. And, sadly, it seems like the “go to” Halloween costume is often an “Indian Chief” or a scantily clad “Indian Princess.” When in doubt, wear something brown, cut some fringe, put a headband around your head and attach a feather. Now, you’re an Indian!…??!!

image credit: jenmust.blogspot.com
Click the photo to read a great article at Colorlines.com

What kind of statement are we making when we dress up as a marginalized people? What makes us think we own their culture in this way?

I thought I was the only one who felt sick to my stomach seeing someone dressed up in costume as an “Indian Chief” or “Muslim,” but to my surprise, I’m not! There is quite a bit of buzz online about racist Halloween costumes and how to avoid being racially/ethnically offensive, while still having fun.

As ClayCane.net explained,

I saw people dressed as Mexicans, Asians and sporting the ever popular Afro wig. Putting on an Afro wig or a sombrero is not a costume. Batman or Superman is a costume, being ethnic for a night isn’t—it’s offensive.

"Native American boy" costume

Check out Gawker’s list of offensive Halloween costumes including the “Geisha girl,” “Samurai Warrior” and “Alaskan ‘Eskimo.'” TheRoot.com also has a great slideshow of wigs and masks (and glasses like the pair below) that made my jaw drop.

This is not okay.

Please think critically when you pick your Halloween costume. Just because your friend who is Native American/Black/Asian/Latino/whatever is not offended, does not mean the costume is not offensive to others! Halloween is about fun…not disrespect.

-NativeJournalist

Artist Profile: Traditional Native American and R&B Singer, Mother and Activist – Kyra Climbingbear

Click the photo to see the video

This is just a short glimpse into the life of Kyra Climbingbear, an urban Indian living in New Jersey.

She is Eastern Band Cherokee and Lumbee and Black, is a singer and an activist. Climbingbear is the mother of two small girls and is an R&B and traditional Cherokee music singer.

To learn more about Kyra visit her website.

For more about the producer and editor of the video visit AmyStretten.com

Note: I apologize for the rough introduction. I will be refining this video shortly. Please check back for a new and improved version soon!

-NativeJournalist