“Has the American Dream Been Achieved At the Expense of the American Negro?” [YouTube] Historic debate between James Baldwin v. William F. Buckley Jr. at Cambridge University. [more inside]
The Glare Varies for Two Actors on Hollywood’s Awards Trail [The New York Times] “Why do the two men find themselves in much different circumstances? Perhaps people think Mr. Affleck’s performance, and the movie in which he stars, is better. Maybe it’s because, as an Oscar nominee and the brother of the box-office star Ben Affleck, Mr. Affleck has attained a privileged status in Hollywood; the power surrounding him may make people reluctant to openly criticize him. Certainly a factor is the fact that there was unsettling new information revealed about Mr. Parker’s rape case in August — that his accuser later committed suicide — while there have been no new disclosures regarding Mr. Affleck’s cases. Or maybe, say those mindful of Hollywood’s checkered racial history, it is because Mr. Affleck is white and Mr. Parker is black. ” [more inside]
Technically, melanin is a set of biomolecules that we think are synthesized by enzymes and that are notably very visibly colored. There are three types of melanin: the most common, eumelanin, which appears black or brown and occurs in skin and hair; the less abundant pheomelanin, which is on the yellow-to-red spectrum; and neuromelanin, which appears in high concentrations in the human brain, but the function of which we essentially don’t understand at all. For the most part, it seems, we don’t understand melanin. Despite this lack of scientific understanding, the social consequences of melanin are understood intimately by many of us.
"The Venus Effect" by Joseph Allen Hill is "a story of stories, a metafictional experience that sees the narrator seeking to create a story where the main character can take part in big SFF adventures and not, well…not get shot by police." [more inside]
A History of Deus Ex's Racism Controversies [New Normative] “With futuristic, sci-fi sequel Deus Ex: Mankind Divided [YouTube], developer Eidos Montreal has once again found itself walking atop the fiery coals of controversy. The developer first landed itself in trouble by referring to the game’s poor treatment of augmented humans (‘augs’ are treated as second class citizens, forced to live in ghettos) as the ‘Mechanical Apartheid.’ Apartheid is the term used to describe the horrific, and very real, period of segregation and oppression faced by black South Africans during the 20th century (1948-94). Many have questioned whether it is appropriate for the term, which is based on the South African language of Afrikaans (which is itself based upon the Dutch language, introduced to the territory by Dutch settlers) to be adapted and used as a slogan in a video game. In subsequent marketing materials – concept art created to further depict this oppression – the movement in favour of better treatment of augmented people is referred to as ‘Aug Lives Matter. It’s an unmistakeable and questionable nod of the head to the real-world movement for the better treatment of black people, Black Lives Matter.” [more inside]
3 journalists and a sociologist talk about the black person’s burden: once you have attained some level of visibility as a black writer, there are people who think you become a kind of MLK surrogate. [more inside]
Earlier this week, the New Day's reign as WWE Tag Team Champions became the longest in the company's history at 479 days (and counting). To commemorate the occasion, New Day member Big E tweeted a picture of his team with Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann and Women's Champion Sasha Banks titled "#BlackExcellence" (Swann and the three members of the New Day are African-American; Banks is biracial). A "What if the white champions did this" backlash predictably ensued. [more inside]
"The dream Ronald Reagan invoked in 1984—that “it’s morning again in America”—meant nothing to the inner cities, besieged as they were by decades of redlining policies, not to mention crack and Saturday-night specials. Likewise, Obama’s keynote address conflated the slave and the nation of immigrants who profited from him. To reinforce the majoritarian dream, the nightmare endured by the minority is erased. That is the tradition to which the “skinny kid with a funny name” who would be president belonged. It is also the only tradition in existence that could have possibly put a black person in the White House." by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Today We Launch the Injustice Boycott in Standing Rock, San Francisco, and New York City
Intro: Here is how we will boycott injustice and police brutality in America
Intro: Here is how we will boycott injustice and police brutality in America
An investigation by The New York Times of tens of thousands of disciplinary cases against inmates in 2015, hundreds of pages of internal reports and three years of parole decisions found that racial disparities were embedded in the prison experience in New York.
Reith Lectures 2016 by Kwame Anthony Appiah. 'I hesitate to disagree with even the Gandhi of legend, but I believe Western civilization is not at all a good idea, and Western culture is no improvement.' [more inside]
In 1801, Washington Irving wrote of attending the theater in New York City, where he was assaulted by apples, nuts and gingerbread thrown from the “gallery gods” — the people sitting in the cheap seats at the top of balcony — onto the heads of those in the audience below. [more inside]
Offshore Podcast, a collaboration between PRX and Honolulu Civil Beat, is "a new immersive storytelling podcast about a Hawaii most tourists never see." Season 1: A Killing in Waikiki presents the story of two killings, 80 years apart, that highlight the race and power struggles in "the most multicultural place on the planet." [CW: sexual assault, racism, violence] [more inside]
The Universal Right to Capital Income - "If a universal basic income is to be legitimate, it cannot be financed by taxing Jill to pay Jack. That is why it should be funded not from taxation, but from returns on capital." (via) [more inside]
HBO's Class Divide is a documentary that profiles the neighborhood of West Chelsea, New York, and in particular focuses on the housing projects that sit across the street from Avenues: The World School, a private school with an entrance fee of $50,000 per year.
We Salted Nannie. A small tale of ghosts and spirits both real and semi-real, and what lies buried in the past.
"However, our race-based skepticism actually makes us nicer. Because of what we see on TV and movies, we assume all White people are one bad breakup or firing away from becoming a serial killer. I know that’s very prejudiced, but just like how your kin clutch their purses when we pass them in parking lots of Target, Black people will be nice to you for the first three months because they want to be the one person you spare when you go on your shooting spree."-The Caucasian's guide to Black neighborhoods
Racist Objects The New York Times and the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia are partnering to collect stories of personal encounters with racist objects, like producer Logan Jaffe's grandmother's salt and pepper shakers. [more inside]
The final week of September comprises the fourth week of the latest iteration of Black Lives Matter: Race, Resistance, and Populist Protest, a 14-week interdisciplinary seminar taught by NYU Professor Frank Leon Roberts. Texts, videos, and reflective writing prompts for each class are being made available online. Next week's readings are Nobody: Casualties of America's War on the Vulnerable, From Ferguson to Flint and Beyond by Marc Lamont Hill and the U.S. Department of Justice Report on the Ferguson, MO Police Department (previously); this week's reading is A Vision for Black Lives: Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom, and Justice (previously). [more inside]
A century in the making, and now completed by Britain’s David Adjaye, the Smithsonian’s gleeful, gleaming upturned pagoda more than holds its own against the sombre Goliaths of America’s monument heartland.Preparations are in full swing for a historic opening on 24th September 2016 when America's first president of African heritage will ring an equally historic bell. Related.
KNOCKOUT ROCK BOUNCER RACING IS INSANE (20 min youtube video, but 5 minutes will give an good understanding of the sport as a whole). A rock bouncer is a vehicle designed for driving up and over difficult terrain and obstacles. Races are normally run as time trials with the biggest cheers coming not from finishing but for any vehicle that rolls and lands back on its tires. Racing head to head up a section of bolder strewn mountain ... pretty much what it says on the dented tin.
In 1993, American Girl set out to introduce its first black character. All she had to do was represent the entire history of black America. [more inside]
What I Pledge Allegiance To. "I am a black Mississippian. I am a black American. I pledge to never be passive, patriotic, or grateful in the face of American abuse. I pledge to always thoughtfully bite the self-righteous American hand that thinks it’s feeding us. I pledge to perpetually reckon with the possibility that there will never be any liberty, peace, and justice for all unless we accept that America, like Mississippi, is not clean. Nor is it great. Nor is it innocent." -- Author Kiese Laymon, Professor of English and African American Studies at the University of Mississippi [more inside]
A large part of our attitude toward things is conditioned by opinions and emotions which we unconsciously absorb as children from our environment. In other words, it is tradition—besides inherited aptitudes and qualities—which makes us what we are. We but rarely reflect how relatively small as compared with the powerful influence of tradition is the influence of our conscious thought upon our conduct and convictions.Albert Einstein, 1946
To begin with, auditions taught me to get through airports. In the end, it was the other way around. [more inside]
A CityLab analysis finds that some charter schools disproportionately suspend and expel students, especially in black neighborhoods.
And Do You Belong? I Do by Solange Knowles [Saint Heron] “It’s the same one that says to your friend, “BOY…. go on over there and hand me my bag” at the airport, assuming he’s a porter. It’s the same one that tells you, “m’am, go into that other line over there” when you are checking in at the airport at the first class counter before you even open up your mouth. It’s the same one that yells and screams at you and your mother in your sleep when you’re on the train from Milan to Basel “give me your passport NOW.” You look around to see if anyone else is being requested this same thing only to see a kind Italian woman actually confront the agents on your behalf and ask why you are being treated this way.” [more inside]
In a new 32-page report, Airbnb says that it would institute a new nondiscrimination policy that goes beyond what is outlined in several anti-discrimination laws and that it would ask all users to agree to a “community commitment” starting on Nov. 1. [more inside]
The Henley on Todd Regatta is the only boat race in the world that was cancelled because the river actually had water in it, back in 1993. How do the boats move on a waterless river-are they towed or pushed?. In the words of its founder, Reg Smith, we cut the bottoms out and carry them!. [more inside]
The premise of Jack Hamilton’s deep new study Just Around Midnight: Rock and Roll and the Racial Imagination seems like something that’s been on rock history’s tongue for a long time without ever quite leaving it. Chuck Berry, a black man with a guitar, had been a rock and roll archetype in 1960, but by the end of the decade Jimi Hendrix would be seen as rock’s odd man out for being... a black man with a guitar. How did that occur? "Tracing the Rock and Roll Race Problem" an interview in Pitchfork.
Donny is flopping about on immigration and his "deportation force," and the view of Donald as a bigot are solidifying, as Hillary's camp keeps up the race-themed attack on Donnie. Meanwhile, Donny bought $10 million in ads for this week, his biggest buy yet, focusing on the economy. Ads will air in battleground states, including Colorado and Virginia, where Clinton’s top aides — citing the growth in minority communities and college-educated white voters — feel confident enough to pull local ads. And to keep things lively, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton trade jabs over their health. With a bit more than 70 days to go, it's too soon for Hillary to run out the clock, so let's go, get back on your feet!
What do we call people of multiple backgrounds? Leah Donnella writes about the complexities of naming yourself and being named by others. She also links to Evoking the Mulatto, a project to explore black mixed identity in the 21st century. [more inside]
Mychal Denzel Smith, author of Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching, discusses his new book: "We have to be willing to let go of the things that we think that we like about ourselves because if they are things that deny others access to respect and dignity and humanity, then they're not things worth having. So we have to be willing to let go." (MDS: previously) [more inside]
What We Lose When POC Entertainers Crack Into The Mainstream [Buzzfeed] How Lilly Singh’s Superwoman and Jasmeet Singh’s JusReign navigate between two worlds.
Rosemarie Garland-Thomson writes for the New York Times: "Disability is everywhere once you start noticing it. A simple awareness of who we are sharing our public spaces with can be revelatory. Wheelchair users or people with walkers, hearing aids, canes, service animals, prosthetic limbs or breathing devices may seem to appear out of nowhere, when they were in fact there all the time."
"Joanne the Scammer lives for drama. Branden Miller is just trying to live." Performer and comic Branden Miller is a quiet young man who collects fragrances. His comic persona Joanne The Scammer is a fur-wrapped con artist moving from one stolen credit card to another and a Twitter sensation. The Fader talked to Miller about racial indenity, growing up gay, sex work, the fragility of internet fame, and getting scammed.
When the deputy sheriff’s patrol cruiser pulled up beside him as he walked down Broad Street at sunset last August, Martee Flournoy, a 32-year-old black man, was both confused and rattled. He had reason: In this corner of rural Georgia, African-Americans are arrested at a rate far higher than that of whites. But the deputy had not come to arrest Mr. Flournoy. Rather, he had come to challenge Mr. Flournoy’s right to vote. - From the county and town level to the state level, voter suppression in America is all about race.
A Vision for Black Lives: Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom and Justice. (Platform, Downloads/Briefing)
John Cho, star of the new Star Trek movies, Harold & Kumar, and Selfie, as well as the recent internet meme #starringjohncho, gives an honest, insightful interview about his experience as a Korean-American actor in Hollywood. Plus, an answer to the question: should Mr. Sulu have a human husband?
"What do you say to a police officer who tells you to stop when you are legally and not obstructively filming their interactions?" [more inside]
Women Were Included in the Civil Rights Act as a Joke And a racist joke, at that. But working women and black civil rights lawyers had the last laugh when they brought women’s workplace rights to the courts and won.
"I cannot reconcile the divide between two of the biggest civil-rights movements I've covered—marriage equality and Black Lives Matter. How can two such quintessentially American fights occur so near each other yet feel so disconnected? How were the revelers on the steps of the Supreme Court so far from the implosion of a major American city happening just up the street?"
In this six part video series, the BBC follows "22 year old Felicia during her pregnancy as she navigates a welfare system which critics claim puts unfair demands on poor and minority women."
Why ‘Transcending Race’ Is a Lie [The New York Times] Few American athletes have been as widely beloved as Simpson was. Even today, his popularity seems inconceivable. “O. J.: Made in America,” the ESPN “30 for 30” documentary [ESPN] directed by Ezra Edelman that is airing this week, busies itself with the making of the man at the myth’s center and with the country that helped him become a monster. It’s the best thing ESPN has ever produced. And it answers my question: Simpson’s story is that of a black man who came of age during the civil rights era and spent his entire adult life trying to “transcend race” — to claim that strange accolade bestowed on blacks spanning from Pelé to Prince to Nelson Mandela to Muhammad Ali. Which is to say, it’s the story of a halfback trying, and failing, to outrun his own blackness. [more inside]
Choosing a School for My Daughter in a Segregated City: The New York City public-school system is 41 percent Latino, 27 percent black and 16 percent Asian. Three-quarters of all students are low-income. In 2014, the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles, released a report showing that New York City public schools are among the most segregated in the country. Black and Latino children here have become increasingly isolated, with 85 percent of black students and 75 percent of Latino students attending “intensely” segregated schools — schools that are less than 10 percent white. [more inside]
Eraced, an 11 minute student-made documentary about race and diversity at Berkeley High School. [more inside]
Last fall, Baltimore's Renaissance Academy High School was put on the school district's closure list for poor student performance, though the decision was later reversed. In November, 17 year old senior Ananias Jolley was stabbed in the middle of science class, and died a few days before Christmas. By the end of February, two more students from the school were killed. 65 students graduated this past Friday from Renaissance; among them Ananias' brother, 20-year-old Santonio Jolley, a dropout who enrolled in Renaissance five days after his brother died. This is Renaissance.