Why Ask Why – Week of April 26-30, 2010

  • Why are so many Americans defending Arizona’s new immigration law, which targets Mexicans? (Who’s next?)
  • Why is it taking so long for the Gulf Coast oil spill to be contained?
  • Why haven’t we heard more about the recently held “African Oscars” awards?
  • Why won’t amusement park giant Six Flags hire women with dreadlocks?
  • Why did two networks refuse to air Lane Bryant’s so-called “plus size” lingerie ad during “family hour” while Victoria’s Secret’s skimpy ads always get a pass?
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You asked for it and now it’s here – WHY ASK WHY as its own column and not one big continuous column.  Apparently, I confused some of you with one continuous column.  So, now WHY ASK WHY will have five to ten current points to ponder on a weekly basis.  As usual,  if you have any questions and/or comments, please email me! Thanks!


  1. Why won’t anyone admit that Facebook is just a glorified version of AOL?
  2. Why won’t white Republicans acknowledge that slavery SHOULD ‘amount to diddly?’
  3. Why did the film “Up In The Air” receive so many Oscar nominations?
  4. Why did I see a stripper with a stomach rash and another one with braces recently hanging outside a strip joint in the French Quarter?
  5. Why do so many Americans adopt kids outside of the United States?
  6. Why does President Obama bow to other world leaders?
  7. Why didn’t Nike think that the Tiger Woods father ad was creepy and weird?
  8. Why does the Census Bureau insist that the usage of the word “Negro” is a justified racial classification on its 2010 forms?
  9. Why are so many folks shocked about certain revelations in Kitty Kelley’s unauthorized bio of Oprah Winfrey?
  10. Why did Tyler Perry make the sequel “Why Did I Get Married Too?”
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Why Ask Why

*Why do some black people complain about the diversity of the mostly majority private schools they send their children to?
*Why did President Obama’s just forced out Social Secretary Desiree Rogers need to go to an MTV dinner and other entertainment functions to get acts to appear at the White House (I would think that by working with the first black president she could just sit back and let the acts come to her)?
*Why is airfare so expensive to travel just about anywhere to the continent of Africa ($2000.00 per person isn’t unusual)?
*Why pay for first-run movies in theaters when they come out on DVD a couple of months later?
*Why are students committing suicide at an alarming rate at Cornell University?
*Why are folks still struggling in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina?
*Why is slavery on the rise in the United States?
*Why are their so few Native Americans showcased in the media in a positive light?
*Why are racist events happening at Wal-Marts across the nation (black Barbies selling for less and someone accessing the speaker system at a store telling all black people to leave)?
*Why was I, me of all people, not accepted into the graduate chapter of a sorority?  (Hmmm, their loss)
*Why was ‘Precious’ star Gabourey Sidibe nominated for an Oscar?
*Why is it taking so long for water and food to get to Haiti?
*Why did it take so long for U.S. troops to get to Haiti?
*Why are some so concerned that Haitians might come to the U.S.?
*Why can’t everyone just wish that Haiti can come back from the earthquake devastation?
*Why do people pay attention to ignorant and nasty folks like Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson (just ignore ’em)?
*Why do folks just throw out their Christmas trees on the curb (poor trees)?
*Why do banks get a break from their bad debt and hardworking people don’t?
*Why would Tiger Woods and/or his people make up such silly stories about his car accident?
*Why is President Obama sending more troops to Afghanistan?
*Why should we feel sorry for Rush Limbaugh who was dropped from a group trying to buy an NFL team?
*Why in the year 2009 did a white judge in Louisiana refuse to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple?
*Why are so many celebs, politicians and seemingly regular people coming to the defense of the recently arrested filmmaker Roman Polanski for raping and drugging a 13-year-old back in the ’70s when he was in his mid-40s?
*Why don’t more news shows cover missing people of color like CNN’s “Issues With Jane Velez-Mitchell?”
*Why does the trailer for Disney’s first black princess movie, “The Princess and the Frog,” look exceptionally bad?
*Why don’t celebs like Whitney Houston and Mackenzie Phillips stay off Oprah and get professional help?
*Why do some comedians continue to use the f-word every two seconds in their routines?
*Why don’t folks check to see if they have plumber’s butt when they sit down?
*Why do Republicans liken the Obamas to monkeys and then deny that they didn’t mean any harm?
*Why is it important for Congress to make sure that an apology for slavery doesn’t mean a nod toward reparations?
*Why are women forced to leave the hospital only 24 hours after having a mastectomy? (For more info, check out my links section).
*Why did a 13-year-old boy tell my daughter of the same age that he loves her?
*Why does the new Honda Insight look like a Toyota Prius?
*Why are there still racially segregated proms?
*Why do right-wing, wacko talk show hosts still insist on calling U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, an “activist judge” and a “radical?”
*Why don’t Miss California USA’s family values have anything to do with posing for nude pictures?
*Why do many gay people do not agree with gay marriage?
*Why didn’t President Obama keep his promise to adopt a shelter-dog?
*Why are there non-profit organizations set up to help fund veterans’ healthcare?
*Why do police officers continue to abuse suspects even though they’re being caught on tape by news copters?
*Why does my 7th grader insist that her friends are going out but it really doesn’t mean that they’re going out?
*Why aren’t squirrels cute anymore?
*Why do people throw open their car doors onto oncoming traffic?
*Why do people insist upon slowwwwwllllly looking for change in their purses, wallets, and pants in the express lane at the supermarket?
*Why doesn’t Verizon Wireless have a separate line for accessories’ purchases?
*Why do banks only have two tellers working at any given time?
*Why does America’s Next Top Model have 25-year-old contestants only to have the judges complain that they’re too old to be top models?
*Why do women newscasters have to wear too-tight clothing with their bosom poking out to heaven?
*Why is Luke Walker, from 2 Live Crew fame, married to a lawyer?

why did she need to go to an MTV dinner and all this other stuff to get acts for the White House-I would think that working with the first black president she could just sit back and let the acts come to her
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MOVIE REVIEW: “Avatar” Is Worth Seeing

With mixed reviews from journalists and moviegoers alike, James Cameron’s epic “Avatar” has already made over a billion dollars worldwide after only being released a few short weeks ago. For many, the movie is so wonderful and filled with so many concepts that folks are seeing it over and over again.  The detractors complain that the movie criticizes everything from the United States and its military, Christianity, and big corporations. Some even say that the movie is not original and that it’s reminiscent of “Dances With Wolves” with blue people and that it’s another “great white hope” trying to save the natives. Well, I say that the movie is all that and more and that it’s a fascinating ride through an extraordinary world.

“Avatar” is the basic story of the mean old Americans going to a planet called Pandora to steal one of their natural resources.  Marine-like soldiers inhabit the planet and one of the soldiers (Sam Worthington) is sent (through an avatar) to infiltrate the nice blue natives and wham – he‘s supposed to get ’em.  As luck would have it, he falls in love with the main beautiful blue lady (Zoë Saldana) and turns on the Americans.

Simple enough, but it’s not that simple.  The film is filled with so many messages that it’s hard to ignore.  The messages include global warming issues, corporations stealing natural resources, loving nature and earth, how religions can take many forms and loving other people from different backgrounds based on content of their character.

As for the movie being representative of Native Americans, I found that the blue people incorporated several ethnicities.  While they rode horses and used bow and arrows, they also wore African hairstyles and African inspired jewelry.  Most of the blue people are played by people of color – which I think was James Cameron’s point – in the film he is dealing with how indigenous people all over the world have been damaged by and invaded by outsiders.

In response to the great-white hope saving the natives criticism, I have to admit that I was concerned about that as I was watching the movie.  However, as I continued to think about it, I realized that everyone worked together to save Pandora.  The white guy stands out because-well-he was white.  Besides, maybe Cameron is making a statement about white guilt in regard to colonialism and how in some cases it has not been good for the world.  Hmmm, food for thought!!

Meanwhile, I need to see the movie again to take it all in again.  Pandora rules! James Cameron rules! I want to be a blue person!

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“Rachel Getting Married’s” Colorful Twist

I finally watched “Rachel Getting Married” on DVD the other night, starring Anne Hathaway, who received an Oscar nomination for her lead role in the film last year.  Now, I didn’t get the memo that it had a very nice black presence.  Anne actually stars as Kym, who gets out of rehab just in time to wreak havoc on her sister Rachel’s wedding.  Rachel is marrying a black man – who knew?  Kym and Rachel’s stepmother is played by Ana Deveare Smith, who is also black -who knew?  There were also sprinklings of  Asian Americans and others just having a grand ole time.  While watching the film, I did some quick research by reading various user reviews on a popular movie website and many were complaining that such a diverse atmosphere in Connecticut  (where it was set) is highly unlikely.  Some said that the film was purposely trying to be politically correct.  It really bothers me when people say that.  If we see people of different races and backgrounds getting together, why can’t we celebrate that?  Isn’t it a good thing. Does it happen all the time? Maybe not! But, if it happens sometimes then isn’t that a good thing?  It should be a good thing.  It is a good thing. The more we say it’s impossible the less likely it will become the norm!

Now as for the actual film, as I mentioned earlier, Anne’s performance was much ballyhooed but the film in itself was not.  It has been criticized for having a bad script, a slow pace, having a film student feel and shoddy camera work.  Well, in my humble opinion, the film was just okay.  It’s more of a character study that people will either take to or not.  And, it was good to see Anne transform herself from “Princess Diaries” fame, to “Devil Wears Prada’s” passive aggressive victim to a messed up addict trying to get a grip on life.

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Props to ‘Precious?’

Props to “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire” for receiving major Golden Globe and Screen Actors guild nominations as well as NAACP Image Awards nods.  But it begs the question – can only stories about the trials of the inner-city and or pain of the black community receive praise?  While many say that this film is wrapped tight with all of the stereotyping one can imagine about black people – poor, illiterate, overweight, welfare queens – others say it’s a rise through pain to get to redemption.  I’m still on the fence about this.  I still want to see films for us that go beyond the grain – where’s our “Devil Wears Prada?”  Where’s our “It’s Complicated?”  “The Proposal?”

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MOVIE REVIEW/COMMENTARY: The Princess and the Frog

The new film The Princess and the Frog is a mixed bag.  While the film is hailed as Disney’s first animated feature starring a black princess, unfortunately, she is a frog throughout most of it.

Set in 1920s New Orleans during jazz’s heyday, the movie stars Tony-Award winning Anika Noni Rose as Tiana.  Tiana’s parents are hardworking people – her mother is a seamstress/housekeeper, while her father works double/triple shifts at odd jobs trying to make ends meet. He also makes a mean pot of gumbo and teaches Tiana how to cook as well.  It is Tiana’s love of  cooking that makes her set her sights on one day opening up a swanky, jazz playing Creole cuisine eatery.  As she grows older, she works as a waitress and serves up her cooking to the locals, while saving money for her dreams.

Now, that isn’t the bad part, which pays homage to the hardworking African American black folks from my hometown.

We run into problems when a vain prince comes to the Big Easy, makes a deal with a voodoo priest, who turns him into a frog.  Then when Tiana jumps in the picture she is turned into a frog as well – and the two of course fall madly in love – as frogs. Hmmm?

I ask why when we have our first starring animated black princess, does she have to remain a frog for much of the movie?  It would have been great to have more interaction with Tiana and her parents, played by Oprah Winfrey and Terrence Howard respectively, spreading their wisdom.

And while 1920s New Orleans is nicely represented, why do we have to keep going backwards to make a point. There was even word that Tiana, voiced wonderfully by Rose, was supposed be a slave at first.  Listen –   I know that our past is important but enough is enough.  We are saturated with depictions of life back in the day – can we move forward please.  Why couldn’t we have a modern day black princess?  Why, why, why? Why not?

Needless to say, I still have to give props to Disney for their live-action television mid 90s remake of Cinderella – it starred singer Brandy Norwood in the title character and Whitney Houston as the fairy godmother.  It was a great story. I even got the film on tape and played it for my daughter, who now always remembers Cinderella as a brown princess with long flowing braids.

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