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My Header

Since I moved to WordPress and designed my own header, I’ve had several comments on it. Some people object to the image in the left corner — the black woman forcing the white woman into a position of submission. A few don’t like my South Park me, possibly because I have that gun. And still others are offended by the quote — “Why are black people so angry all of the time? Oh, it’s probably some dumb shit you did, white girl.” — courtesy of stopthepresses.

Since it’s often referred to and commented on, it’s a good idea to have a post about it. I thought so, anyway. Tell me what you think of the elements of my header, be they negative or positive thoughts. Explain why you do or do not like these elements. Convince me of your worldview. I may change the layout of this blog sometime soon and that may mean a new/different header. This is your chance to affect this change.

46 comments to My Header

  • I like all the elements, and recognize where the image on the left came from, so I find its use here pretty funny and ironic (and powerful), which I assume you meant intentionally in the grandest traditions of repurposing travesties of white decision-making for personal power.

  • Tom

    I liked all the elements without worrying about it … until you asked the question. Now I’m a little uneasy about why the header might seem so appealing and nonthreatening to a white man (me). Some of it is good feelings about the message to not trust oppressors. Some of it may be not-so-good feelings about infighting among folks who all have less privilege than me.

    I’m gonna hit “submit” before I panic about exposing these thoughts.

  • I’m a white woman and for what it’s worth, I find nothing offensive about the quote. I actually find the quote rather hilarious. The icon of the woman with the gun isn’t offensive to me either since I don’t perceive you as actually promoting violence in any manner. Feministe also has an image of a little girl with a gun (or they did at one time) on their header. The image on the left… *shrugs* … it isn’t personally offensive to me, but I can see where others would take offense and that offense might stand in the way of them taking you seriously.

    I’m sorry, none of that is likely particularly helpful. Just wanted you to know that I do not find your header offensive in any manner. If you were a man, now that would be a different story.

  • I can see why people would find the image from the Sony ad campaign offensive. I’m not sure if it’s my place to comment on its reappropriation, since I’m not black.

    I also don’t like South Park. It’s too far into the anti-PC toilet humour for my liking.

    But I love the quote!

  • Tom

    Faith’s comment seems to be helping me think about this. I’m not objecting to any element that’s in the header. Instead I think I’m wondering whether the header can come across to some white men as letting us off the hook.

    That’s certainly not the tone of the blog at all.

    I don’t know. Maybe I’m being too … hm. Ok.

  • I agree with Malcolm Gin. And I’m a European-American woman. I like the different elements of your header. It’s strong. It’s personal. It’s unapologetic. But to be honest with you, I didn’t really zero in on the picture on the left until you specifically drew attention to it. Then, I dug it, especially because it’s like you appropriated the controversy. And it goes with the quote. I know you may be feeling the need for a change, but I vote two thumbs up for the one you have.

  • LivG

    I love your little Southpark self.
    The quote is funny…enough said. It goes with the title of your site. I guess you take out the white girl part, but that’s not my call.

    The Sony image to me was more erotic than anything else so it didn’t bother me at all.

    Did the folks give you specifics on why the elements offended them?

  • Speaking as a white girl, I love the header — the quote makes me grin every time I visit.

  • I’ve never actually looked at the picture on the left before – my eye has always been drawn to the South Park image so I don’t think I noticed it before. I like the little South Park avatar, and I think it’s funny and appropriate. I actually do like the show, too.

    I took the quote to be a bit tongue-in-cheek, and I thought it was provocative and funny.

    In short – I like the header, although I don’t really notice the image on the left.

  • Mandolin

    The sony ad doesn’t really catch my attention, and so I didn’t notice it until you showed me the post where the strange woman was freaking out about it. I vote that she can be safely ignored.

    I love the South Park image.

    I also find the quote funny. I can remember a time when I was new to the blogosphere and it would have stung. I don’t think that necessarily indicates that you should take it down.

  • I’m a white woman, and I love the header. The quote is my favorite part, because it’s funny but true.

  • Farah

    I just laughed when I saw your header. I love the South Park Angry Black Woman, and I thought the slogan just right. It is after all the correct response to the idiotic “you don’t appreciate my joke? You must have no sense of humour…” line I hear dished out pretty much all the time.

    I didn’t actually see the image on the left until pointed out to me. It should unnerve. It’s not what people expect. That’s the point.

    White, Jewish, London.

  • It doesn’t bother me. I think little South Park ABW is perfect.

  • I agree with what Malcolm Gin has to say.

    Also, just saw you at the airport. That’s so weird, somehow.

  • I love the South Park self; I read it as saying you don’t mean for anyone to lose their sense of humor while discussing important things.

    I almost never see commercials, so I didn’t get the source of the image on the left.

    It might crowd things, but I wouldn’t mind a few more images in your header. I took a quick Google to see if there were any Pam Grier pics that might amuse you, but the popular ones seems to be the nudes, not the ass-kicking, and so I gave up after four or five pages.

  • kateelliott (but really Alis)

    Count me as another one who didn’t even notice the image on the left until you pointed it out. Visually, it’s very muted and fadey. Or my eyes are just getting old. Plus I have no clue what ad people are talking about.

    I love the South Park ABW, and – honestly – I hope you don’t get rid of the quote because it’s funny, and it’s funny because it’s, you know, true.

  • I’m a first time visitor. I found my way here via the Wired blog article about WisCon.

    I’m actually getting a little tired of angry people. Doesn’t matter if they’re Black, White, Liberal, Conservative or whatever, sometimes I’d just like to tell all the angry people of the world to get a grip and chill out. What is all that anger accomplishing?

    But about the header, specifically – no big deal. Anyone who would take a South Park character seriously enough to get offended by it really needs help. The quote – well, it’s not nice but compared to a lot of other stuff on the Internet, still no big deal. As for the picture on the left… what are they doing; having sex or what? I probably wouldn’t have paid much attention to it if you hadn’t mentioned it.

  • bridgett

    I never noticed the picture at the left. It might be more effective if moved to the center. Quote doesn’t make me feel defensive because it’s pretty true. South Park isn’t my thing, but if it amuses you, it’s your site.

  • Hazel Stone

    Purely a design thing, but I’d have one image, or the other. I think having both makes the header look cluttered.

    I’d go with SP you, it seems the stronger image. The two women look like a weird abstract blob (or maybe I just have a tiny screen).

  • i couldn’t ‘read’ the image on the left until you described it. maybe get rid of it and come up with something a little clearer?

  • Andrew

    I’m one who never noticed the pic on the left too. Doesn’t bother me tho, and neither does the SP ABW lol. I actually really like her :)

    The quote’s funny and perfect for this site and I think that if you change your header, you should at least keep that.

    Black male in his 30s here ^_^

  • This white girl loves it too!

    Because damn, it probably IS because of some dumb shit I did! :D

    I smile every time I visit here, then I learn something. Love it.

  • Yea what Dani said. You’re an angry black woman talking to a white girl.

    I like that. The pic on the right I can never quite make out. Maybe because I am a man I see something sensual in it.

    The header is a visual interpretation of the author of this blog. If that was the goal, you greatly succeeded.

    -=t=-

  • I never actually paid attention to the picture on the left, and looking at it, I still don’t think I’m “getting” it, whatever its message is supposed to be. I like the rest of it though :)

  • transgressingengineer

    nubian at blackademic posted about the sony ad (the image of the two women in ABW’s header). For those who want a better view of the image or to see another image in this ad collection, go to her July 6 post at: http://blackademic.com/index.php?paged=4

    Basically this ad campaign used a whole bunch of negative stereptypes for a play station campaign.

    ABW- I actually like that you have this image in your header. I think it would be cool if you had a post about why you use the image, etc. As for the other two parts of your header- nothing wrong with them, but if you are anything like me, change from time to time keeps things interesting.

  • One of the reasons I used the image on the left was because I moved to wordpress about the time the whole controversy blew up. It seems like everyone had seen the version of the ad where the white woman dominated, but hardly anyone saw or commented on the version I have up here. I wondered if the reaction would have been different if that was the first one they saw.

    I also thought it would be interesting to see if anyone noticed and cried racism. I even wondered if someone might say “If those images were reversed you would be offended!!” And then someone did. Others have as well. Sometimes irony is fun.

    The picture isn’t as clear as it could be. My Fireworks makes it fuzzy and I can’t tell why. :( I may attempt to clear it up and make it better in the future, though I find it interesting that so many just didn’t notice it. I think that’s good, in a way.

  • The people who find offense in your header are looking for an excuse to find offense at you. As you said to one of them — your words make them uncomfortable. They want to ease that discomfort by putting you into a neat little box that they can label (“WARNING: Racist! Biohazard!!”) and then dismiss/throw away as someone who should not be listened to. That allows them to ignore that niggling feeling in the back of their mind that says, “Heeeey, the people she’s bitching about sound an awful lot like me.” It allows them to go on their merry way whining about reverse racism and how black people have it easy when ohhhh the Irish had it so hard, or whatever, and wondering why statements like that make so many people around them so angry.

    There’s no logic to this. Their griping about your header is standard avoidance/deflection behavior. Ignore it.

  • dbshawn

    Hello Angry Black Woman!
    I came to your site because of your blogs on diversity in Science Fiction writing and feel like I’ve found a jewel. As a black woman myself, I absolutely LOVE your South Park avatar and the quote on the right.

    I guess I’m with many others when I say that I didn’t really pay much attention to the image on the left. Now that I have, I thought it was a slightly erotic yet angry still photograph. I had no idea that it was from an game ad campaign LOL.

    And after seeing Pirates of the Carribean 3 yesterday, I have bad news for you! You’re NOT the angriest black woman around. Tia Dalma (aka Calypso) is the angriest black woman…a voodoo priestess who becomes 50 feet tall when her rage is unleased and then…turns into a thousand white crabs who scurry back to sea. So there! (I could kick those writer’s asses!)

  • Mandolin

    “There’s no logic to this. Their griping about your header is standard avoidance/deflection behavior. Ignore it.”

    Absolutely.

    And beyond the fact that they’re being jerks, I think alienation *can* be politically useful. I was hanging out with a woman recently who was blunt about her opinions in a way that the men around me described as ‘irritable.’ It really wasn’t irritable of course, any more than this header is provocative. White people and men (and cissexuals, straight people, etc.) get coddled too much. It’s good for people not to do that, even/especially if it produces squealing.

  • “Why are black people so angry all of the time?”

    :?:

    Perhaps, white girls need to “lessons of communication”

    oh, i like my offer…

    Let’s go to school

    :D

  • Add me to the list of people who didn’t notice the Sony Ad. I remember when that came out, though. Urgh.

    The quote always makes me smile; I don’t rightly know why. And I adore South Park’s art style, if not so much the satire, so that was the part that really stood out for me when I first showed up.

  • I’m a white male, and I find absolutely nothing offensive about your banner, other than the fact that I’m pretty bored with the South Park icons that everyone has.

    And by god I’m glad I found your blog – it’s quite excellent!

  • The photo I can take or leave (maybe if it was less sexualized? and/or if the white chick was a guy?) but South Park You is awesome, and I quote that quote all the time.

  • (Oh, and I never saw whatever ad it is we’re talking about.)

  • Delux

    I like the south park pic, keep it! The sony ad… meh. It doesnt really do anything for me. On the other hand, it’s your blog…

  • Angry Black Writergirl

    ok, so i’m not going to be repetitive and tell you what so many have already said [though, i have to tell you that,once i did notice it, i would have *sworn* that that grainy little photo had been lifted from a copy of best lesbian erotica, circa 199whatever. blech! not to lesbians OR erotica...to the series! don't start a hate attack...i'm a damn dyke!!! did i already say i was angry, too?] now, where was i?

    even though i’m new to your fab little blog, since WHEN do you give a damn what folks say about your header? and why would you think about changing it cuz somebody came along and bitched? change it cuz that pic’s fuzzy and those broads aren’t even that interesting to look at…change it cuz using a sony ad, no matter the context/subversive nature, boosts sony’s bottom line…fuck sony! but leave your design alone…unless you can find a better representation of that hysterical quote.

    one last thing: i’m not gonna comment on the south park dealie cuz you know you stole that from me! straightaway!! you must’ve seen me on another site or something…oh, wait. i didn’t have a gun…whatever…

    abwg

  • LOL abwg :)

    It’s not so much that I care what others think, I just wanted to give people a chance to let me know. Knowing that most people don’t notice the thing on the left is useful, cuz I could get rid of it and put something else there or just rearrange things. I am a design geek ;) Also, I was concerned a bit that the quote was turning people off — at least one person mentioned this — and I wanted to determine if it was turning people off who I actually WANT to come here and contribute. It might be scaring off people I don’t even want to deal with. In which case, yay. I don’t plan on changing the header unless I have a good reason to. But if I change to a different layout, I may have to modify it and input on what works and what doesn’t will help me make it interesting and maybe better.

  • Carabosse

    I think your South Park icon is cute, I didn’t notice the Sony image, and I can see how the quote might wound feelings.

    A white girl taking her first steps outside of her own community (like she came here after seeing you at WisCon) could easily read it as, “I’m not wanted here, because they think I’m stupid.” It depends on if you want to welcome the newbies or warn them off until they are more culturally experienced. :-)

  • Love it, ABW. Loved it so much that I called my sweetie to come in and look at it on my computer, which request he usually finds annoying, and he laughed even harder than I did. In fact, he laughed so hard that I’m expecting that the next time I say (as I often do) “What are you so grumpy about?” he’ll say “Oh, it’s probably some dumb shit you did, white girl.”

  • mollykake

    ABW,
    i laughed when i first read the quote.

    i think that the image says/implies a lot. and it’s going to imply different things to different people depending on where they’re coming from. isn’t it interesting that sony, a japanese company, uses a US racial issue to market their product. and i think you’re using it to say something else, but i haven’t read enough of your blog to tell yet. i dunno.
    the way they’re dressed says something too. something kind of rapish, but in the context that rape is a crime of anger, not sexuality. that’s confusing. as women what are we supposed to do with our anger and our sexuality? take it out on each other?
    i saw the image on your page for the first time (like you intended for it) and those were my reactions. do with them what you will.

  • Katie

    I swear I always thought that the picture on the left was a black woman and on top of a white man dressed in a chef’s outfit. And it puzzled me, but I guess I was so busy reading the blog I didn’t think much about it.

    I have no excuse other than not owning a TV…

  • I never noticed the image on the left… I’m not a south park fan, but I still think the ABW icon is cute. And my first reaction to the quote was to laugh. I admit that I wasn’t sure if it would be wise for me to comment here at first, but after reading for a while I got over that.

  • it’s your blog…you can do whatever you want.
    i noticed the South Park you but not the one with two women and I still like your blog!

  • CroMagnon

    I love the South Park icon. It’s to “in your face.” The quote is funny, too. As to the image on the left, a picture of two beautiful women wrestling is very, very sexy! It just makes me wish I could join in the fun. Probably not the intended effect, but there it is.

    Please keep up the good work. I’m very interested in writing Science Fiction and Fantasy Fiction. I’m especially interested in race and gender issues in those genres.

  • CroMagnon

    I love the South Park icon. It’s so “in your face.” The quote is funny, too. As to the image on the left, a picture of two beautiful women wrestling is very, very sexy! It just makes me wish I could join in the fun. Probably not the intended effect, but there it is.

    Please keep up the good work. I’m very interested in writing Science Fiction and Fantasy Fiction. I’m especially interested in race and gender issues in those genres.

  • stopthepresses

    Of course, I love the header. =)