On noticing older women

I was recently listening to a panel on African Americans and television, and one of the speakers noted the well-known and quite real bias towards light-skinned African American women, even on relatively revolutionary shows like the Cosby Show. The speaker was challenged on this point. While certainly Felicia Rashad, Lisa Bonet (whom I’ve wanted to look like my entire life), and Sabrina LeBeauf are all very light-skinned, it wasn’t clear to some members of the audience that the younger girls were particularly light.



I think the point was well-made; beauty standards for black women too often mirror those for white women, which are just plain screwed up in the first place so by the time those ridiculous standards get chewed up and passed along on the racism platter, black women get a nice serving of double invalidation for being who they really are. Even though the Cosby show maintained these mainstream standards in many regards, you do have to admit the women on the show were singular: educated, intelligent, successful. A breath of fresh air on a significant show.

However, I was also struck by how nobody mentioned Clarice Taylor, shown below, who played Cosby’s mother, Anna Huxtable, along with her real-life husband, distinguished theater actor Earle Hyman, as Russell Huxtable. Clarice strikes me as both not particularly light and exceptionally beautiful. I don’t want to play that rhetorical game of finding one exception/contradiction to what is a sound argument about color bias in a racist world, but…I wish the panel would have at least noticed the older woman on the show as a woman capable of being beautiful. That’s all.


I close with one of my favorite beauties of all time, the late Esther Rolle, who in many respects epitomized how to age well. That smile! That bone structure! And when her hair turned silver, she looked incredible.


How is anybody supposed to understand WTH is going in energy?

I’ll admit that even though I had have some very good teachers (JR DeShazo from UCLA) and brilliant colleagues (Adam Rose and Donald Paul from the USC Energy Institute), I don’t understand large things about the economics of energy delivery. It’s not like water; it’s not like transport. I clearly need to do more reading.

What isn’t helping, or perhaps it is helping, is the fact that my home state has become the battleground for climate change and energy policy. Every day we have a new development, but I have yet to really understand what it means. I am not sure that the answer is to have municipalities getting into the energy business: I am also not sure that wouldn’t be a great idea. Here’s a write up from the NYT’s new Green blog:
Dollars and Daggers in California’s Energy Battles РGreen Blog РNYTimes.com

I know the attempt to dismantle AB32 is bad news:I doubt they’ll succeed on that. But the other proposition? I am confused.