Bill Cosby (with a little Richard Pryor & Eddie Murphy thrown in for good measure)

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For decades, Cosby was America’s ideal dad. His real life was more complicated. CREDIT PHOTOGRAPH BY MILTON H. GREENE / ARCHIVE IMAGES

I consider myself a decent fan of Bill Cosby’s, but it’s in the fond-childhood-memories-kind of way because of re-runs of “The Cosby Show,” which I watched as a kid. I don’t remember his stand-up (before my time), and his ‘clean,’ storytelling type of stand up wasn’t exactly my cup for tea. Yet for his TV shows, it worked well.

Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy, however, were my thing. Wild and potty mouthed, they made shitty days something to forget and laugh at. Still, as a comedy fan, I find him to be extremely important in the history of show business, African American history, and comedy, in the United States. And, truth be told, his recent notoriety for issuing respectability politics-laced tirades to (and about) the Black community, piques my interest. Why does he feel this way? What’s his deal?

This New Yorker piece gives great insight to a man I’ll always associated with Jell-O Pudding Pops. But this excerpt is THE BEST. I can hear Pryor’s voice and delivery(via an impeccable Murphy impression) as if I were right there:

In the 1987 concert movie “Raw,” Eddie Murphy told a story about Cosby calling him up and urging him to use less profanity in his act, for the sake of his young fans, including Cosby’s own son. Murphy recalled being so offended that he telephoned Richard Pryor, who offered some defiantly un-Cosby-like advice: “The next time the motherfucker calls, tell him I said suck my dick.”

Hahahahahaha. Now that’s funny.

It’s a long read, but worth it. Check out “The Real Cliff Huxtable” via The New Yorker.


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A brilliant Latina law scholar

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Tanya Hernandez

I was writing to an editor at a magazine this evening about an opinion piece one of our law professors is going to write for them, and as I was going through her credentials, I thought, “She’s one brilliant Latina!”

An alumna of Brown University and Yale Law School, Tanya Hernandez is a professor of law at Fordham School of Law. Her expertise centers on discrimination; Latin America/Latin American law; and employment.

In 2013, she was selected by a Manhattan Federal Court judge to sit on a council that would weigh in and advise on New York City’s controversial Stop & Frisk policy.

She penned this opinion piece for the New York Times about civil rights: affirmative action, voter rights, and same sex marriage rights.

And in this piece she penned for the Huffington Post (before the Supreme Court ruled on Affirmative Action), she covered one of my favorite things to bring up when debating matters of race with friends: implicit bias.

The thing is, once I bring it up, it usually shuts the (Facebook) discussion down. The person feels I’ve insulted them, when in reality, I haven’t, because I’ve had implicit racial biases as well. We all have! And as Hernandez explains, they can be overcome:

As a decision is expected within the next two weeks, one thing I hope the Court will consider is that research in the field of cognitive psychology reveals that we all harbor biases and that affirmative action policies assist in addressing those biases.

Part of the reason for enduring social hierarchies is that individuals rely on stereotypes to process information and have biases that they don’t know they have. These implicit biases, as psychologists call them, are picked up over a lifetime, absorbed from our culture, and work automatically to color our perceptions and influence our choices.

Over a decade of testing with six million participants of the collaborative research venture between Harvard University, University of Virginia, and the University of Washington, called “Project Implicit,” demonstrates pervasive ongoing bias against non-Whites and lingering suspicion of Blacks in particular. Some 75 percent of Whites, Latinos, and Asians show a bias for Whites over Blacks. In addition, Blacks also show a preference for Whites.

In the educational context, studies of school teachers indicate that teachers generally hold differential expectations of students from different ethnic origins, and that implicit prejudiced attitudes were responsible for these differential expectations as well as the ethnic achievement gap in their classrooms. This is because teachers who hold negative prejudiced attitudes appear more predisposed to evaluate their ethnic minority students as being less intelligent and having less promising prospects for their school careers.

The pervasive existence of implicit bias in society and its manifestation in the educational setting, strongly suggests that the selection of students can be similarly affected by unexamined stereotypes and implicit biases. Bluntly stated university Admission Offices are not immune from the operation of implicit bias.

But we are not slaves to our implicit associations. The social science research indicates that biases can be overridden with concerted effort. Remaining alert to the existence of the bias and recognizing that it may intrude in an unwanted fashion into judgments and actions, can help to counter the influence of the bias. Instead of repressing one’s prejudices, if one openly acknowledges one’s biases, and directly challenges or refutes them, one can overcome them.

Read the rest of that piece here, and then check out this sampling of academic articles she’s written on a bevy of important topics:

  • Defending Affirmative Action: An International Legal Response, in vol. 29 Civil Rights Litigation and Attorney Fees Annual Handbook (eds. Steven Saltzman & Cheryl I. Harris 2013).
  • Racial Subordination in Latin America: The Role of the State, Customary Law and the New Civil Rights Response (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2013) (
  • “What Not to Wear” — Race and Unwelcomeness in Sexual Harassment Law: The Story of Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, in Women and the Law Stories 277-306 (2010 Foundation Press book chapter, Elizabeth Schneider & Stephanie Wildman eds.).
  • Afro-Latin@s and the Latino Workplace, in The Afro-Latin@ Reader: History and Culture in the United States 520-526 (2010 Duke Univ. Press book chapter, Juan Flores & Miriam Jimenez Roman, eds.).
  • Latino Anti-Black Violence in Los Angeles: Not “Made in the USA,” 13 Harvard Journal African American Public Policy 37-40 (2007).
  • A Critical Race Feminism Empirical Research Project: Sexual Harassment & The Internal Complaints Black Box, 39 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 1235-1303 (2006).  Available online at:
  • Sex in the [Foreign] City: Commodification and the Female Sex Tourist, in Rethinking Commodification: Cases and Readings in Law and Culture 222-242 (Joan Williams & Martha Ertman eds., NYU Press 2005) (book chapter).
  • To Be Brown in Brazil: Education & Segregation Latin American Style, 29 N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change 683-717 (2004-05).   Available online at:


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On birthdays…

Screen shot 2014-08-30 at 2.56.04 PMI’ll never forget how my parents forced me to have a special dinner for my 15th birthday. It involved months of big-time arm-twisting. I’ve never been big on birthdays, or, more accurately, the attention that is gushed upon one on that day. I may be a loud, outgoing person, but my thing is to be the person to make people laugh, talk about fun times or things going in the world; not ‘anyway, back to me.’

Secondly, my parents often worked two jobs to make ends meet; I didn’t want them spending money on this big dinner. Also, I was very into wearing black that year. I didn’t want to wear a dress (which turned out to be mint green!)

Although “Sixteen Candles” is one of my favorite John Hughes’ movie, if someone forgot my birthday, trust me, I didn’t sulk; I was happy!

Years later, I still that way about birthdays. This is not to say I’m criticizing close friends who choose to celebrate with bigger to-dos. I enjoy celebrating others’ birthdays. But, I will admit that the whole, “So… what are you doing for your birthday?” pressure gives me anxiety, so I removed by actual birthdate from Facebook last year, which helped. And  I love my very close friends (and family) for respecting my wishes on big workups for my “born-day.” Much like New Year’s Eve, I’m the type to agree to have a special drink, but it’s “just another day.” I’m ok with that.

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Every time an anti-government gun nut …

via WNYC

via WNYC

… would go on an internet rant about how he would rather be well-armed in order to protect himself against a government takeover (see top anti-government conspiracies here), I’d roll my eyes, and think to myself, “What is your weapon going to do against the military’s tanks or drones?”

Not much, I’d think. But now it’s time to revise that to, “What is your weapon going to do against the local police department’s war tanks?”

Take a look at all this military surplus sitting in the wee town of Little Falls, NJ, population: 10, 800, courtesy of WNYC‘s Sarah Gonzalez.

Police in the small suburban town of Little Ferry recently received six military trucks for its 25 police officers. 

Police departments in the state have received everything from armored trucks, rifles and grenade launchers to shirts for extreme cold weather, boots, and ladders. But the use of military equipment to quell protests in Ferguson, Mo., following the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager, has sparked a national conversation about whether local law enforcement agencies are becoming too militarized.

For example, among the most expensive items on the list of supplies used in Iraq and Afghanistan are the MRAPs – 30,000-ton armored, mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles.  

Police in Middletown, N.J., have one. And the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office has just ordered two.

Read or listen to the rest of the report here. And then read about the sad demise of our democracy in this fantastic piece by Fordham’s Heather Gautney in the Huffington Post:

“Social control is the opposite of social change. And it is the opposite of democratic freedom.” (Ferguson and America’s Hatred of Democracy.)

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When Parenting Feels Like a Fool’s Errand: On the Death of Michael Brown.


There was another police shooting of an unarmed teenager (18) last night. This time it was St. Louis, Missouri. Details about the incident are very sketchy, but this blog post about this shooting, and so many others like it, is very moving. Read on…

Originally posted on stacia l. brown:


I don’t want to talk about the boy and the sneakers peeking out from the sheet crudely draped over his corpse in the street, because I have been happy this month and it is so rare that I’m happy and that you, at age 4, don’t have to touch my knee or shoulder or face and say, “What’s wrong, Mama? You sad?”

I don’t want to think of who will go out on her hands and knees to scrub what’s left of the boy’s blood from the concrete. It will probably be a loved one, her hands idle after hours of clenching them into fists, watching what used to be her breathing boy lie lifeless, as she waited and waited and waited for the police and the coroner and the county to get their stories straight and their shit together and their privilege, sitting crooked as a ten-dollar wig, readjusted till it was firmly intact…

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Making Movies performs at TEDx Kansas City

Very proud to announce that Making Movies is performing at a big TEDx event at the Kaufman Center in Kansas City. The name of the program is, “Changing the Narrative.” Details here.

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Pope Francis-inspired soccer getups? Check!


Argentina fans represent their country’s team, and their fellow countryman, the Catholic Church’s Pope! Photo by: GETTY IMAGES

See 31 other great fan outfits here via GlobalPost


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