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July 3, 2012 12:27 PM   Subscribe

The Race Card Project by Michele Norris of NPR.
posted by mrgrimm (17 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

Interesting project. I hope it does well.

I feel compelled to note sex blogger Mollena's Race Card as well. (caution: while this page itself isn't NSFW, some of the ads might be and other pages on her site are NSFW)
posted by rmd1023 at 12:33 PM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Heh, I actually had the same idea post-OJ, a novelty "race card" that one could "play" on their friends, etc. Good on her.

Interesting project. I hope it does well.

For a little context, Norris introduced the project about a year ago and has received about 10,000 submissions.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:37 PM on July 3, 2012

Yow! 10000 submissions is a whole lot of race-carding going on.
posted by rmd1023 at 12:41 PM on July 3, 2012

I made one. Looks like some poor bastard has to moderate the submissions. I'll update if they post mine before this thread is closed. It was about a complicated intersection of racism centering around a time my Dad, talking about WWII Japanese he fought, called them "Japs" while talking with a Japanese family friend (who apparently didn't take offense). Several other folks who were part of the convo did get pretty uncomfortable though. And I was personally on the fence about whether it was appropriate or not.
posted by kalessin at 12:50 PM on July 3, 2012

It's VERY rare that I'm going to suggest something becomes "more tumblr" like -- but I wish this had a random button.

That little complaint aside, this is just the kind of voyeurism meets discussion meets possible train wreck (that would be very telling if it happens) that I love.

Unrelated aside: I always hear her name as Nichele Morris. Always.

Related: As a person best known as a voice without a face, I bet Michele Norris has her own deck of work-related cards of her own.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:02 PM on July 3, 2012

I don't understand why that one black lady did not want to be called "articulate". Is there a slang meaning I'm not aware of?
posted by Renoroc at 1:58 PM on July 3, 2012

For anyone else who wasn't sure what this was going to be:

From the About page:
My idea was to use these little black postcards to get the conversation started. But I quickly realized once I hit the road on my book tour that I didn’t really need that kind of incentive. All over the country people who came to hear about my story wound up sharing their own. … I asked people to think about their experiences, questions, hopes, dreams, laments or observations about race and identity. Then, I asked that they take those thoughts and distill them to just one sentence that had only six words.
From the front page:
Since I began asking people to share their thoughts or experiences about race and identity is just six words, thousands of submissions have poured in from the web, in the mail, by hand or via Twitter. Spend some time scrolling through The Race Card Wall. Click through to read some of the stories behind the six-word submissions. Send in your own six-word essay. Share this with your friends. Join the conversation.
posted by zamboni at 2:00 PM on July 3, 2012

Renoroc: "I don't understand why that one black lady did not want to be called "articulate". Is there a slang meaning I'm not aware of?"

It implies that other people of color are not.
posted by I am the Walrus at 2:04 PM on July 3, 2012 [7 favorites]

Just another reason that she is a Babe of NPR.
posted by liketitanic at 2:04 PM on July 3, 2012

I don't understand why that one black lady did not want to be called "articulate". Is there a slang meaning I'm not aware of?

It's seen by African-Americans as a backhanded compliment -- "Gee, you don't speak ghetto like I assume all the other black people do!"

In particular, it has a bad history when referring to athletes. No one ever said Larry Bird was "articulate," but Michael Jordan got it a lot.
posted by Etrigan at 2:04 PM on July 3, 2012 [5 favorites]

Mee-shell Norris
posted by squorch at 2:05 PM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't understand why that one black lady did not want to be called "articulate". Is there a slang meaning I'm not aware of?

It's come up a few times in the past -- basically, there are some people who feel the need to gush approvingly about how "articulate!" a particular black person is when they realize that not ALL blacks communicate in some hackneyed ghetto-speak.

The problem isn't with being called articular per se, it's that the common "You're such an ARTICULATE black person!" has a profoundly condescending implication. "You're such a RATIONAL woman!" "You're such a KIND man!" It's not the word itself as much as the emphasis, and the patterns in how it's used.

I certainly wouldn't hesitate to call someone articulate BECAUSE they're black, but it's worth asking, "Am I calling out this particular quality for praise because I assume that people 'like them' don't possess it?" That's where the problematic stuff lies.
posted by verb at 2:08 PM on July 3, 2012 [6 favorites]

Renoroc: here's Chris Rock on the issue, talking about Colin Powell at the time. (NSFW language, obviously)
posted by Navelgazer at 2:37 PM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

'Well-meaning essentialism demeans us all'.
posted by chrisgregory at 3:56 PM on July 3, 2012

Biden took a lot of heat for describing Obama as "clean" and "articulate" during the '08 election, as I recall.
posted by BurntHombre at 4:30 PM on July 3, 2012

I never liked this. I suspect that Jon would find it silly if someone suggested everyone in his family just go by "Carlson" because having a different first name was somehow not conducive to being treated equally. Yes, there can be African Americans, and you can treat them like you treat White Americans or whomever else. The goal is not to be colorblind or term blind. It is to accept that people have different names, looks, hair, culture and practices, but you are to treat them equally.

Anyway, Terry McMillan!
posted by cashman at 5:56 PM on July 3, 2012

This one got to me, since I've been there. I haven't been asked that question in a long time (that I can recall), and I'm grateful for it.
posted by May Kasahara at 8:55 PM on July 3, 2012

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