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.
“Safe”- MC Dumbfounded [NSFW Lyrics] [YouTube] Rapper Dumbfoundead Tackles Hollywood Racism in Amazing New Video [via: New York Magazine]
"Every day I experience how language can bring people together and build power. But language can also be divisive, dangerous, and exclusionary... I got to work on a Progressive Style Guide, (pdf) that would help guide fellow campaigners and writers in the progressive movement on using inclusive language."
What three decades in journalism has taught me about the persistence of racism in the US [slGuardianLongRead]. [more inside]
The Supreme Court today overruled the Superior Court of Georgia. In 1987, Timothy Foster – a low-income, intellectually disabled, black teenager was charged with the murder of a white woman and was tried by an all-white jury after Georgia prosecutors used their peremptory strikes to exclude all black prospective jurors from jury service. He was sentenced to death, and has been appealing this sentence for almost thirty years. [more inside]
Remaking 'Roots' In this version, accuracy is at the forefront, Mr. Wolper said one day last fall, in his production office in New Orleans, where the walls were covered with images of slave ships, plantation houses and African beads. “I’m not being modest here,” he said. “We have to make it better than the first ‘Roots.’ Otherwise, why bother?”
Sixteen soon-to-be U.S. Army officers will face no formal sanction over raising their fists in an "inappropriate" but not political gesture during their Old Corps graduation photo shoot, the U.S. Military Academy has announced. [more inside]
(Great video + summarizing text) In America, white people are referred to as Caucasians, but outside the U.S. the term refers to people from the Caucasus region, which includes the countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Russia, and Turkey. So why do Americans refer to people of European ancestry as Caucasians? In the video above, Franchesca Ramsey from MTV’s Decoded takes a look at the word’s history and it’s really racist. [more inside]
Two weeks ago the White House released a report by the Council of Economic Advisors entitled, "Economic Perspectives on Incarceration and the Criminal Justice System." (pdf) The report is a wonkish bombshell, concluding among other things that "if prison admission rates and average time served in prison remained the same as they were in 1984, research suggests that State imprisonment rates would have actually declined by 7 percent by 2004, given falling crime rates. Instead, State prison rates increased by over 125 percent." The CEA also found that "given the total costs, some criminal justice policies, including increased incarceration, fail a cost-benefit test." But the goal is to explain and fix this chart.
The United Shades of America is a new show on CNN. It's hosted by standup comic W. Kamau Bell, and he says the show is about "a black guy who goes where he shouldn't go or where you wouldn't expect him to go." And if you think that's hype, well, in the very first episode Bell hangs out with Ku Klux Klan members in Kentucky and Arkansas (45 minute Youtube link).
Jennifer Tamayo describes the cost of confronting white supremacy in the U.S. poetry communities, pointing to the emotional, economic, and temporal wages it exacts: "The handling of this poison — the labour to spot and deconstruct instances of capitalist white supremacist cis-hetero-patriarchy at work — is particularly venomous because it performs both personally and systemically." [more inside]
An extraordinary piece (MarylandMorning) on the detailed unfolding of the Baltimore riots from one year ago, with police radio interspersed with interviews of students.
"More than a dozen universities — including Brown, Columbia, Harvard and the University of Virginia — have publicly recognized their ties to slavery and the slave trade. But the 1838 slave sale organized by the Jesuits, who founded and ran Georgetown, stands out for its sheer size, historians say." (slnyt)
How Seattle Gave Up on Busing and Allowed Its Public Schools to Become Alarmingly Resegregated. Seattle reluctantly bused students to integrate schools in the 1970's. They bus no longer—unfortunately, as integration benefited the students who did it.
Twenty-five years ago, Anita Hill stood before 20 million people and testified that then Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her while she’d worked for him at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. [more inside]
He does not flip his bat after home runs. He does not insult the hard-working fans with talk about politics. He never takes more than one day at a time. As a result, he cannot exist without a foil to embody all those “flashy” or “hotheaded” or “provocative” things he is not. The foils, of course, have generally been black. But as the demographics of the sport have changed, so, too, has this dynamic.- Jay Caspian Kang on The Unbearable Whiteness of Baseball , and the decline of the sport's cultural relevance
"The statistics tell us that changing the way we think of race and ethnicity in the theater will not be easy. Of Equity’s 50,823 active members, 68% identify themselves as Caucasian." -- Actors' Equity President Kate Shindle, on the Hamilton casting debacle, and the real problem of diversity in theatre. [more inside]
On the racial injustice of big-time college sports: "Amateurism rules restrain campus athletes—and only campus athletes, not campus musicians or campus writers—from earning a free-market income, accepting whatever money, goods, or services someone else wants to give them. And guess what? In the revenue sports of Division I football and men's basketball, where most of the fan interest and television dollars are, the athletes are disproportionately black."
The Funny Thing About Race in South Africa
It's 1948 and it's the first day of apartheid in South Africa. A jazzy tune is playing, the sun is shining and some white people are lying on blankets on a grassy embankment. A familiar sign pops up: "Whites Only." The camera pans onto a young black man who is taking his place on the lawn as a security officer approaches. "Apartheid? Ahhh, it's today?" he says, as he's being led off the screen. "Man, I thought it was next week."