Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
It’s the one about the Muslim girl named Maysoon Zayid, from New Jersey, of all places, who’s a stand-up comic – well, “sit down,” really, because she’s got cerebral palsy. (You know this one?) The first ever female comic to perform in Palestine and Jordan because, you know, no one ever told them over there that women can’t be funny. And she also works with disabled kids in the Middle East every year (you followin’ me, here? ) and started the New York Arab American Comedy Festival after 9/11 to combat the negative image of Muslims in the media (that could have gone better, I guess) and who now has a television series loosely based on her own life in development – okay? – and who needs to travel with security for the first time because death threats against her have escalated so badly since the Trump thing started – hilarious, right? – anyway, you know what she did?
She performed a free show for delegates at the Republican National Convention Tuesday afternoon. And she killed it.
“I thought it was going to be a tough crowd but I got so many hugs and so much love,” she says. “I don’t think I swung any votes but I do think I squashed some bigotry.”
Maysoon Zayid decided to get funny after her dream of being an actor died shortly after college. “It became clear to me that casting directors didn’t hire fluffy, ethnic, disabled actors,” she says. The not-so-perfect performers, the Whoopi Goldbergs, the Roseanne Barrs, – went for comedy. So, she did too. It wasn’t for a lack of material. “If there was an Oppression Olympics, I would win the gold medal,” she likes to quip. “I’m Palestinian, Muslim, I’m female, I’m disabled, and I live in New Jersey.”
But her keen social observations come with a fine helping of righteous activism. In her TED talk, I’ve Got 99 Problems and Palsy Is Just One, she talks about the role people can play in making the world a more inclusive place. “People with disabilities are the largest minority in the world, and we are the most underrepresented in entertainment,” she says. Citing the terrible things people say about her shaking and slurred speech on social media, she asks a bigger question: What if the images we saw of disabled people normalized them, instead of diminishing them?
Click here for more about Maysoon and the refugee joke that slayed the crowd.
|What political correctness really means|
|It is a term that has been bandied about, with different meanings, since the 1990s. Today “political correctness,” has become a master dog-whistle, a rallying cry that is blamed for all the ills in society, and an urgent national security threat. “They have put political correctness above common sense, above your safety and above all else,” Trump says in the wake of the Orlando attacks.|
|New York Times|
|Racism, not plagiarism, is the real issue with the RNC|
|Now that Donald Trump is the official Republican nominee, the real problems start, argues Vox’s Dara Lind. Regardless of November’s outcome, we must now deal with a wide swath of voters who have publicly declared that Muslims should not be trusted, unauthorized immigrants are criminals and that declaring support for the lives of black people is an unpatriotic act.|
|A new film from Ava DuVernay opens the NY Film Fest|
|DuVernay’s new film, The 13th, about racial inequality and the U.S. criminal justice system, is set to be the opening film for the annual event. The title refers to the 13th amendment to the Constitution, which banned slavery. The festival opens on September 30th, and the film debuts on Netflix on October 7.|
|Compton teen becomes youngest pilot to fly solo across U.S|
|Move over, Charles Lindbergh. There’s a new handsome aviator in town. Isaiah Cooper , a 16-year-old from Compton, California is now the youngest black person to fly solo over the continental United States. In what turned out to be a difficult journey in spots, he managed to fly 8,000 miles in 13 days. He plans an around the world flight when he turns 18.|
The Woke Leader
|Spiderman: Is a diverse cast enough?|
|Entertainment writer Constance Gibbs lauds the final casting choices of the latest Spiderman franchise, set to hit theaters in 2017, but with caveats. She explores the lack of creators of color behind the scenes in most film and television productions – writing, directing and producing –noting that diversity in creation can make the difference between a colorful cast and a story that truly reflects the wider world of experience.|
|Remembering when schools were segregated|
|Life before integration in this country was a constant challenge for black folks. But a hidden, makeshift museum – lovingly tended by Melvin Black, a former teacher and coach at the old Pearl High School, the only high school for black students in segregated Nashville, TN, – houses one of the few collections of memories of a difficult time. A must read.|
|Exploring the black experience in Germany|
|Black Twitterstorians (#blktwitterstorians) are a collective of experts, academics and scholars who discuss race and history in fascinating Twitter conversations. Their most recent discussion, on the history of black people in Germany, is a treasure trove of stories, data and research on the country’s own diversity trials and triumphs. Studying the black diaspora often surfaces important policy ideas and could provide excellent fodder for employee resource groups looking to bond with members overseas.|