The Color Of His Presidency
A few weeks ago, the liberal comedian Bill Maher and conservative strategist and pundit Bill Kristol had a brief spat on Maher’s HBO show, putatively over what instigated the tea party but ultimately over the psychic wound that has divided red America and blue America in the Obama years. The rise of the tea party, explained Maher in a let’s-get-real moment, closing his eyes for a second the way one does when saying something everybody knows but nobody wants to say, “was about a black president.” Both Maher and Kristol carry themselves with a weary cynicism that allows them to jovially spar with ideological rivals, but all of a sudden they both grew earnest and angry. Kristol interjected, shouting, “That’s bullshit! That is total bullshit!” After momentarily sputtering, Kristol recovered his calm, but his rare indignation remained, and there was no trace of the smirk he usually wears to distance himself slightly from his talking points. He almost pleaded to Maher, “Even you don’t believe that!”
“I totally believe that,” Maher responded, which is no doubt true, because every Obama supporter believes deep down, or sometimes right on the surface, that the furious opposition marshaled against the first black president is a reaction to his race. Likewise, every Obama opponent believes with equal fervor that this is not only false but a smear concocted willfully to silence them. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Apr 15, 2014 -
"America is in the midst of two major changes to its population: We are becoming majority non-white at the same time a record share is going gray. Explore these shifts in our new interactive data essay
posted by Chutzler
on Apr 13, 2014 -
"A sociologist at Johns Hopkins University, Edin is one of the nation's preeminent poverty researchers. She has spent much of the past several decades studying some of the country's most dangerous, impoverished neighborhoods. But unlike academics who draw conclusions about poverty from the ivory tower, Edin has gotten up close and personal
with the people she studies—and in the process has shattered many myths about the poor, rocking sociology and public-policy circles. [more inside]
posted by Bella Donna
on Apr 10, 2014 -
Teaching The Camera To See My Skin.
An essay by photographer Syreeta McFadden on "photography's inherent bias against dark skin."
"Photography is balancing an equation between light and documentary. Beauty and storytelling. Honesty and fantasy. The frame says how the photographer sees you. I couldn’t help but feel that what that photographer saw was so wildly different from how I saw myself."
posted by sweetkid
on Apr 4, 2014 -
Shrinking Majority of Americans Support Death Penalty
"According to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey, 55% of U.S. adults say they favor the death penalty for persons convicted of murder. A significant minority (37%) oppose the practice.
While a majority of U.S. adults still support the death penalty, public opinion in favor of capital punishment has seen a modest decline..."
Jamelle Bouie at Slate notes
that , "Nearly twice as many whites as blacks favor the death penalty. There is a simple, and disturbing, reason why" and blames racism. [more inside]
posted by MisantropicPainforest
on Mar 31, 2014 -
"A number of liberals reacted harshly to Ryan
. I'm not sure why. What Ryan said here is not very far from what Bill Cosby, Michael Nutter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama said before him. The idea that poor people living in the inner city, and particularly black men, are "not holding up their end of the deal" as Cosby put it, is not terribly original or even, these days, right-wing. From the president on down there is an accepted belief in America—black and white—that African-American people, and African-American men, in particular, are lacking in the virtues in family, hard work, and citizenship:
If Cousin Pookie would vote, if Uncle Jethro would get off the couch and stop watching SportsCenter and go register some folks and go to the polls, we might have a different kind of politics.
Cousin Pookie and Uncle Jethro voted at higher rates than any other ethnic group in the country. They voted for Barack Obama. Our politics have not changed. Neither has Barack Obama's rhetoric. Facts can only get in the way of a good story. It was sort of stunning to see the president give a speech on the fate of young black boys and not mention the word racism once. It was sort of stunning to see the president salute the father of Trayvon Martin and the father of Jordan Davis and then claim, "Nothing keeps a young man out of trouble like a father who takes an active role in his son’s life." [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse
on Mar 23, 2014 -
As Gawker has done for a couple years now, they sent letters to all the U.S. death row inmates who have execution dates in the upcoming year. Texas inmate Ray Jasper, who is set to be executed later this month, responded with an incredible letter
on his thoughts about the US justice system, race, Christianity, and society as a whole.
posted by gman
on Mar 5, 2014 -
I, Too, Am Harvard.
A photo campaign highlighting the faces and voices of black students at Harvard College. 63 students participated, sharing their experiences with ignorance and racism. "Our voices often go unheard on this campus, our experiences are devalued, our presence is questioned-- this project is our way of speaking back, of claiming this campus, of standing up to say: We are here. This place is ours. We, TOO, are Harvard." [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Mar 5, 2014 -
"Such esoteric partnerships can confuse the authorities. Last November the Home Office invited journalists to accompany officers on a raid of an apparent sham wedding between an Italian man and a Chinese woman in north London. After interrogating the bride, groom and guests, the officers emerged sheepishly to admit that the union was probably real." -- The Economist
looks at the rise of mixed race Britain and the changing ethnic makeup of the UK
posted by MartinWisse
on Feb 10, 2014 -
"From Brownsville to downtown Manhattan, I would estimate that I passed more than 200 police officers, some from a distance, some close enough to touch. Though I was conspicuously casing high-profile public targets while holding graffiti instruments, not one of them stopped, frisked, searched, detained, summonsed, or arrested me. I would have to go further."
posted by katemonster
on Dec 17, 2013 -
This year's critical darling essay collection -- Junot Diaz's favorite read of the year (#)
, Michael Robbins's pick for best book of the year (#)
-- is White Girls
by Hilton Als. Mentions of Als are infrequent on Metafilter, so I thought I would share a Readlist collection of his stuff
(that has a bit of overlap with the book).
posted by AceRock
on Dec 16, 2013 -
"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."Naturalis Historia
was written by Pliny the Elder
between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian
, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum
, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Dec 16, 2013 -
Craig Cobb is a white supremacist notorious
for his plan
to create a Whites-only enclave in Leith, North Dakota. Cobb's DNA was analysed for his appearance on The Trisha Goddard Show
, with hilarious results
. The episode will air on November 18th, but you can read more about it at the Daily Mail
posted by Joe in Australia
on Nov 12, 2013 -
In this episode, Al Letson and guest producer Lu Olkowski visit a tiny town in the Appalachian foothills of Ohio where, for a century, residents have shared the common bond of identifying as African-American despite the fact that they look white.
The middle segment of the episode, in which a daughter has split from her mother and sister and chosen to identify as white, has been re-edited and aired as a Radiolab short: Ally's Choice
posted by Going To Maine
on Oct 7, 2013 -
“Oh,” says the ad man. He’s responsible for the hour of primetime television Revlon has bought and turned over to Belafonte, who, by the way, will not be singing “The Banana Boat Song,” and has also decided that he won’t accept commercials.
“Oh my god,” says the ad man.
Belafonte grins now, and says what he thought then: “Swallow that sh*t, motherf***er.”
The Revolutionary Life of Harry Belafonte.
posted by Potomac Avenue
on Oct 4, 2013 -
A frightening and violent mob swept through the normally quiet seaside community of Huntington Beach last night following a surfing competition in the area. Businesses were vandalized and looted, portable toilets overturned, and brutal fistfights waged right out in the open. It was an ugly display and a sad day for California. But more than that, it was a reminder that we must begin to seriously consider the values of our thuggish white youth.
(Oddly enough, do make sure to read the comments, they're amazing.)
posted by Blasdelb
on Jul 30, 2013 -
“What would happen if some of those ‘priests’ in white robes started chasing you at 60 miles an hour?” Frank asked. “What would you do?” And Sammy answered, “Seventy.” The Moulin Rouge: The Vegas Hotspot That Broke All The Rules
. Smithsonian Magazine on the brief life but long-lasting legacy of Las Vegas' first racially integrated casino.
posted by goo
on Jul 20, 2013 -
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly
for this month's cover story, Andrew Garfield, the current star of the rebooted Spider-Man movie series, offered a new take the character's love interest
“I was kind of joking, but kind of not joking about MJ,” he tells EW. “And I was like, ‘What if MJ is a dude?’ Why can’t we discover that Peter is exploring his sexuality? It’s hardly even groundbreaking!…So why can’t he be gay? Why can’t he be into boys?”
Garfield even has an actor in mind: “I’ve been obsessed with Michael B. Jordan since The Wire. He’s so charismatic and talented. It’d be even better—we’d have interracial bisexuality!” [more inside]
posted by zombieflanders
on Jul 10, 2013 -