What Not to Wear This Halloween
Oh, Halloween. The worst night to get a cab and the best night to take home a slutty Disney princess. Is it really a holiday, since we don’t get the day off from work? Of course it is, because when else could you get nudity in massive quantities, enough facepaint to excuse you for bringin home a five, and cauldrons full of shame the next day.
Before you skank-it-out at a house party, leave your credit card at the bar, or turn into a weirdo roaming graveyards, you’ll have to pick out a Halloween costume interesting enough to spark a conversation with that five. You’ll have to navigate the thin line between offensive enough to be clever and overcompensating with complete stupidity. For those not smart enough to use all three digits of their IQs, we’ve brought you a guide on what not to wear on Halloween, so when you only pick up your sexy pizza-slice costume off the floor the next morning and not also your dignity.
Who sells that? Amazon.
What’s it supposed to be? A “realistic black Kenyan man”—perfect for doing the Harlem Shake (um, what?).
Why shouldn’t I wear it? It’s racist.
What kind of person wears that? A bigot.
Who makes that? aleXsandro Palombo, for his website humorchic.com; a “daily society portrait blog, the best illustrated fashion chronicle, a point of view about costume, politics, culture, society, and celebrity. aleXsandro Palombo is the father of fashion satire, visionary artist, author, and critic.”
What’s it supposed to be? It’s a T-shirt of Amanda Knox holding a bloodstained knife.
Wasn’t she acquitted of murder? Yes.
What kind of person wears that? The kind of person who believes they are the “father of fashion satire.”
Black, White & Greek
In 1963, in the midst of the heated debate over the desegregation of American schools, the University of Alabama announced that it would for the first time allow African Americans to enroll. Fifty years later, in September 2013, two University of Alabama sororities rejected an African American student because of her race. As a result, an anti-racist student group called the Mallet Assembly and other members of the community took action to prevent segregation within the university’s Greek system.
Watch the documentary
Remnants of the British Black Panther Party’s Lost Legacy
After the Black Panther Party filled the vacuum left by the death of prominent human rights activists like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, the movement’s successes inspired others to create their own chapter. In the UK, The British Black Panthers, rather than being politically driven like its US counterpart, aimed for social change within its communities. But due to its brief four-year tenure as London’s resident countercultural grassroots movement, the movement was largely undocumented.
Luckily, Neil Kenlock, one of the group’s core members, took it upon himself to become their photographer, capturing images of their meetings, campaigns, marches, and presence in local communities.
I had a chat with Neil about the British Black Panther movement, and the importance of documenting its legacy.
VICE: How did you become involved with the British Black Panther movement?
Neil Kenlock: Well, I encountered racism when I was quite young—maybe 16 or 17. I went to a club in Streatham, and when I arrived I was told it was full and that I should come back next week. When I returned I was denied again because they didn’t want “my type” in there. I protested that I didn’t see why I shouldn’t be let in. There were, of course, no discrimination laws in those days, so there was no one to tell about this.
And you were never let in?
My friend and I pointed out that we were well dressed, weren’t there to make trouble, and just wanted to enjoy ourselves like other people, so what was the problem? We were told to leave or the police would be called. We wouldn’t go, so they called the police, who then told us that we weren’t wanted in the club and that we should go home. I pointed out we weren’t breaking any laws and the police told us they would arrest us if we didn’t leave. I really didn’t want my parents to have to come to Streatham police station and bail me out, so I left. But, on my way home, I decided that I was going to fight against unfairness and discrimination in this country.
How did you come across the Panthers, then?
Well, some weeks later, I saw a Panther in Brixton giving out leaflets about police brutality and discrimination. I joined them then.
Neo-Nazis Are Attacking Anti-Racist Activists in Calgary
We’re being attacked, Bonnie Devine thought as a brick shattered her living room window, only inches above the couch where she slept.
It was just past 5 AM on September 29, and luckily the brick-throwing vandals didn’t break through the second of two window panes, which would have sent deadly glass shards cascading upon her.
The mother of four calmly checked on her four boys before inspecting the damage. A brick lay broken in half on the lawn outside. Three of her car tires were slashed. The next day, the fourth tire blew out while she was driving with her boys.
The attack follows six years of white supremacist violence against her family, which they link to 26-year old ringleader Kyle McKee.
“This time it’s a brick,” she pondered. “But who knows what it’ll be next time.”
Amidst a rising tide of hate activity in Canada, the couple have been targeted again and again for their activism with Anti-Racist Action Calgary.
Over six years, they’ve faced death threats, fire-bombing, home invasions, and horrendous beatings—the worst of which saw a group of thugs break into their home in 2010, jumping on Bonnie’s husband Jason—along with a friend of his—and battering them so severely with hammers and bats there was blood smeared on the walls.
“They tried to kill me by beating my head in and beating my body,” he recalled.
This Week in Racism
Welcome to a special “You’re really stretching the definition of racism” edition of This Week in Racism. I’ll be ranking news stories on a scale of 1 to RACIST, with “1” being the least racist and “RACIST” being the most racist.
VICE Podcast: The Time Philadelphia Bombed Itself
The VICE Podcast is a weekly discussion which delves inside the minds of some of the most interesting, creative, and bizarre people within the VICE universe. This week, Reihan Salam speaks with Jason Osder, the director and producer of Let the Fire Burn, a documentary that takes aim at the 1985 standoff between the Philadelphia Police and MOVE, a black radical anarcho-primitivist organization. The confrontation precipitated the firing of more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition and the unprecedented decision by the police to drop a bomb onto an American city, which resulted in the deaths of 11 MOVE members and the destruction of more than 60 homes.
Watch/Listen to the podcast
Meet the Sikh Man Who Wants to Arm His Turbaned Brothers
Sikhs are a misunderstood religious group in the US. Sikh men—who traditionally sport beards and turbans—are sometimes mistaken for fundamentalist Muslim hellbent on America’s distruction. Which, they are not. In the month after 9/11, over 300 hate crimes were committed against Sikhs according to the Sikh Coalition, a New York-based community group formed in response to that flurry of misguided reprisal attacks. The mass shooting at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, last year was another disturbing example of the cultural confusion that the 700-year-old South Asian religion causes for some Americans. Although Oak Creek authorities have yet to determine an official motive for the attack, the shooter’s white supremacist background and alleged claims of an “impending racial war,” left little doubt that he targeted the Sikh community because of their differing cultural heritage.
Just last week, two incidents of mistaken xenophobia were reported: in Manhattan, a mob of 20 teenagers swarmed and beat a Columbia University’s Professor, Prabhjot Singh, supposedly because his turban and beard signaled to the marauding teens that he was a terrorist. Prof. Singh’s attackers allegedly yelled “Get Osama,” before they left Singh with a broken jaw and several missing teeth.
In Mississippi, a judge ordered a Sikh defendant to “remove the rag on his head” or go to jail. The defendant had gotten arrested for carrying a short knife—or a kirpan—which, it turns out, is a religious requirement that some Sikh men follow.
The kirpan is a ceremonial dagger that some Sikh men carry as a symbol of the martial history of the religion and the duty of manhood. Carrying the kirpan is one of the five articles of faith of Sikhism, as established in the 17th century by Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth leader of the religion. While advocates at the Sikh Coalition push for better education about their religion and non-violent, cross-cultural outreach as a means to stop the uptick in violence toward Sikhs in the US, at least one American Sikh sees the legacy of the kirpan as a reason to arm up as a more direct method of deterrence.
Gursant Singh has a solution: he wants every Sikh man and woman to have access to and know how to use a firearm. He details it on his YouTube channel and writes about his disenfranchisement with other white Sikhs in his book, Confessions of an American Sikh.
The Swedish Police Are Keeping Tabs on Roma Immigrants
Yesterday, it was announced that the Swedish police keeps a registry that contains detailed information about 4,029 people of Roma descent. According to the newspaperDagens Nyheter, more than half of the people on the registry have no criminal record, and there were 1,000 children on the list who are too young to have even committed a crime—some as young as two years old. All of which would seem to imply that when the Swedish police were compiling the list, they were creating a small but perfectly lazy and borderline-racist monitoring network.
Lawyers told the Dagens Nyheter that the database breaks several laws, including the European Convention on Human Rights, police data laws, and the law against general police surveillance registries. Anna Troberg, leader of the Swedish Pirate Party, was quick to express her outrage, tweeting: “I wake up to the news of the police cataloguing Romani. This makes me enraged to all fucking hell.”
A few hours after the registry’s existence was reported, demonstrators took to the streets to give the police a piece of their mind. I ventured out to see what they had to say.
More than 200 infuriated human rights activists, anti-racists, and concerned citizens turned up at a public square in Malmö, Sweden’s third-largest city. As often happens at protests, angry speeches were made. One person took to the mic to remind the crowd that, “this was how the Holocaust started,” which seemed somehow both a bit rash and actually quite accurate.
"Paula Deen" Is Going to Kill "Trayvon Martin" on TV
Welcome to the Trayvon Martin Will Never Really Die edition of This Week in Racism. I’ll be ranking news stories on a scale of 1 to RACIST, with “1” being the least racist and “RACIST” being the most racist.
- Popular fiction often dabbles in what-ifs. What if Superman grew up in Soviet Russia? What if the Nazis had won World War II? What if God was one of us? Just a stranger on the bus? Trying to make his way home?
These are all fascinating questions worth exploring, but Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has decided to ask another, possibly more provocative, question: what if Paula Deen shot Trayvon Martin because she thought he was trying to rape her? I mean, doesn’t Paula Deen look like she packs heat?
The show’s executive producer Warren Leight explained the premise to Entertainment Weekly:
“[Jeffrey] Tambor is a defense attorney representing a very high-profile celebrity woman chef who thought she was being pursued by a rapist and turned around it was a teenager. And she shot him. There’s a lot of stop-and-frisk elements to that as well… Is racial profiling justifiable? Can self-defense involve racial profiling? We’re diving right into that,”
It appears that Law & Order’s plot generator, which has mixed and matched elements of popular news stories for decades, is broken. This sounds like the absolute worst idea I’ve ever heard.
Here’s What’s Happening on the Internet’s Most Racist Forums
These days, you can call someone a cum bubble that was sharted out of a dead hooker’s crusty asshole and chances are you’ll walk away with a high five. But call someone the N-word, and you’ll be dropped faster than Paula Deen’s hottest potato. Racism really is the last taboo—and that’s a good thing. In fact, earlier this month, Slate examined the waxing and waning power of profanities over time and concluded that cuss words related to religion (“damn,” “hell”) and body functions (“dick,” “shit”) are losing their shock value, while racial slurs are becoming more and more provocative. In other words, as we become more secular, immune to gore, and open to freaky porn, we’re also becoming less OK with bigotry. Again, this is a very good thing.