"[In] the face of a culture that would deny them, it becomes necessary for an artist of color in the west to defiantly announce to the world: I am a fact." In April 2014, at the first ever Yale Asian Alumni Reunion, Vijay Iyer delivered a powerful speech "on two intertwined issues: the role of Asian Americans as upwardly mobile minorities and the role of the artist as a potential transgressor within elite institutions."
Kanye takes more heat than anyone. Post-Grammys and "SNL" 40, we're finally seeing his critics for what they are. Social media has changed the game a lot in the past six years. There’s a lot of voices–lumped under names like “Black Twitter”–who have begun to consistently speak out to fill in the missing pieces from stories like the Kanye West Saga, to poke holes in pat narratives like “Kanye West is an egotist” or “Kanye West is a maniac.” [more inside]
The Equal Justice Initiative has released a report (pdf) on the history of lynchings in the United States, the result of five years of research. The authors compiled an inventory of 3,959 victims of “racial terror lynchings” in 12 Southern states from 1877 to 1950 -- documenting more than 700 additional victims, which places the number of murders more than 20 percent higher than previously reported. "The process is intended... to force people to reckon with the narrative through-line of the country’s vicious racial history, rather than thinking of that history in a short-range, piecemeal way." Map. [more inside]
A San Francisco deputy public defender was handcuffed and arrested at the Hall of Justice after she objected to city police officers questioning her client outside a courtroom, an incident that her office called outrageous and police officials defended as appropriate. [more inside]
Why Did Michael Brown Die in Ferguson? - According to the police of Fergusson, Missouri it was because he reached for an officer's weapon, necessitating that he be shot multiple times as he ran away empty handed. Eyewitness tell a different story. Whatever happened the killing has prompted demonstrations and looting. Ferguson police responded in full force, firing teargas and wooden rounds into crowds of protestors and sealing the area off from the media. In the wake of the tragedy questions of racial profiling, the paramilitarization of police and media depictions of black shooting victims have been raised. Meanwhile the shooter has not been named to preserve his safety.
In March, Lawrenceville School Student Body President Maya Peterson, the first Black woman to be elected to that position, posted a photo to her Instagram account where she depicted what she described to be a “Lawrenceville boi”: white, Republican, and cockily holding a hockey stick. She used the hashtags “#romney2016,” “#confederate,” and “#peakedinhighschool." In response to the backlash from the photo, Maya, who is headed to Wesleyan in the fall, chose to step down. [more inside]
In the past month since publishing his essay, "Checking My Privilege: Character as the Basis of Privilege," Princeton freshman Tal Fortgang has become a hero of many in right-wing politics for his refusal to believe that he enjoys privilege. [more inside]
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]
"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."
Franklin McCain, one of the Greensboro Four, has died. McCain was a freshman at North Carolina A&T College when he, along with fellow students Joseph McNeil, Ezell Blair Jr. (later Jibreel Khazan), and David Richmond (who died in 1990), walked into their local Woolworth's on February 1, 1960, and sat down at a whites-only lunch counter. This spontaneous act of civil disobedience (previously) sparked what would come to be known as the sit-in movement to dismantle Jim Crow.
The New York Times' lead editorial on the Moral Monday arrests (Previously on Metafilter), ending federal unemployment benefits, failing education programs, racial discrimination, and new abortion laws.
Third-grader Asean Johnson schools Rahm Emmanuel on the mayor's plan for Chicago's public schools. (YT) [more inside]
Manhattan District leader Mark Levine plans to run for a city council seat in 2013, for District 7. The problem? Thomas Lopez-Pierre, a Harlem activist who is also running for term-limited Councilman Robert Jackson’s seat, circulated an e-mail late on November 26th in an attempt to plan a “private meeting” to “discuss the potential damage to the political empowerment of the Black and Hispanic community if Mark Levine, a White/Jewish candidate was elected to the 7th Council District in 2013.”
You start out in 1954 by saying, “N-----, n-----, n-----.” By 1968 you can’t say “n-----”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “N-----, n-----.”The full audio of Republican operative and Karl Rove mentor Lee Atwater's infamous 1981 interview has been obtained and published by The Nation. [more inside]
In 2008, the National Journal released The Hidden History of the American Electorate, an analysis of exit poll demographics conducted by multiple news organizations from US presidential elections between 1988 and 2004. The study looked for "pressure points in the electorate": trends which were likely to decide the outcome of the 2008 presidential election. They've released an update for 2012, by adding exit poll results from the 1980, 1984, and 2008 presidential elections. It gives a more comprehensive look at voting trends over a 32 year period of the groups whom they believe are likely to influence the outcome in November. Charts: Voting Preferences of the American Electorate, 1980-2008
Right now Baltimore, MD plays host to FemmeCon, a biannual gathering for those who "seek to explore, discuss, dissect, and support Queer Femme as a transgressive, gender-queer, stand-alone, and empowered identity and provide a space for organizing and activism within Queer communities". Some of the issues faced by queer femme culture include femme invisibility in larger queer culture, the lack of non-stereotypical role models, being classed 'femme' by default, dismissal as "too much", as well as intersectional issues of femme with race, gender, and disability. In the meantime, femme subcultures such as tomboy femme, hard femme, and FEMME SHARKS as well as femmes in specific regions come together for inspiration, expression, power, creativity and support from each other - as well as from appreciative butches.
It all comes down to race. Michael Tesler, expanding upon the research of his mentor David Sears, has found racial bias to be a strong indicator of people's opinions on a myriad of political and other issues. The effect extended even to issues that normally would be the most stable and to opinions that would seem divorced from politics. [more inside]
Yosimar Reyes, a champion slam poet has collaborated with artist Julio Salgado, who is "out and proud" as gay and undocumented, on a new set of works called "Five Tips for Queer Boys" (#1, #2, #3, #4, #5, and extra). [more inside]
Bloomberg columnist and The Atlantic correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg explains: How to Listen for Racism on the Campaign Trail [more inside]
Categories as fundamental as fact and fiction, news and entertainment, gender and sexuality, have eroded away. In literature and architecture, in cuisine, in music, in fashion and furnishings, everywhere, everything—it’s fusion and mix. Barack Obama emerged as a literal embodiment of this age. To educated people, especially younger people with generally progressive views, other candidates suddenly looked parochial by comparison—or simply outdated. In his ethnicity and biography and in his personality and politics, Obama, the conciliator, was above all a combiner. Because he was from virtually everywhere—Kenya, Indonesia, Honolulu, Harvard, Chicago’s South Side—he was also from nowhere. The pastiche of his persona made him “his own man” in a new sense of the term.On the Politics of Pastiche and Depthless Intensities: The Case of Barack Obama
What if the Tea Party was Black? Jasiri X raps about radicalism and racism. Inflammatory and simplistic, maybe, but the best rap polemic since George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People. Jasiri X responds to critics here.
I’d like to see at least one firm get blown out of business as a consequence of financially supporting the network that is telling America that its black president wants to kill white babies. Matt Taibbi takes on the Fox Network's systematic racial demonization and the Tea Party phenomenon.
The Gray And The Brown - why the baby boom generation's concerns about race may mean that it's stabbing itself in the back as it moves into retirement.
Black people are coming for you white people. Rachel Maddow argues that is the underlying theme of the four major Fox News-only stories of the Obama administration: Van Jones, ACORN, the New Black Panther Party, and now Shirley Sherrod. These stories are largely ignored by the mainstream media, but are being relentlessly pushed by Fox News in an effort to stoke white resentment towards the nation's first African American president.
Due to “credible death and kidnapping threats”, T-Pain has cancelled a concert in Guyana for Mashramani, the festival that marks the anniversary of Guyana’s independence from Great Britain. Last years, celebration was soured by a killing spree perpetrated by a heavily armed gang led by man known as “Fine Man”. Because the 23 victims were mainly of East Indian descent, the massacre was a powder keg issue for the tiny South American nation. With a population of 44% East Indian and 30% African ancestries, Guyana tends to be socially and politically divided along ethnic identity lines. [more inside]
An editorial cartoon in the New York Post gets reactions from around the world about its possible racial depictions. [more inside]
The end of white America is a cultural and demographic inevitability. "At the moment, we can call this the triumph of multiculturalism, or post-racialism. But just as whiteness has no inherent meaning—it is a vessel we fill with our hopes and anxieties—these terms may prove equally empty in the long run. Does being post-racial mean that we are past race completely, or merely that race is no longer essential to how we identify ourselves?"
NYT: A new generation of black elected officials are wooing white voters and winning local elections in predominantly white districts across the country.
Bill Moyers interviews the Reverend Jeremiah Wright in his first broadcast interview with a journalist since he became embroiled in a controversy for his remarks and his relationship with Barack Obama [more inside]
Obama's Gettysburg Address. Today we saw and heard a preview of our brightest possible American future in Senator Barack Obama's glorious speech. This, then, is what it means to be presidential. To be moral. To have a real center. To speak honestly, from the heart, for the benefit of all. If there was any doubt about what we have missed in the anti-intellectual, ruthlessly incurious Bush years, and even the slippery Clinton ones (the years of "what is is"), those doubts were laid to rest by Barack Obama's magisterial speech today. A speech in which he distanced himself from a flawed father figure, Reverend Wright, and did so with almost Shakespearian dignity and honor. One of the most important speeches on race in decades if not longer. (text) [more inside]
'Race' graphically illustrated - "most Europeans" vs. Ashkenazim (previously; see also IQ & Gladwell, viz. ;) [more inside]
When he's not writing for The Adventures of Chico and Guapo or MadTV, Colin Quashie is creating his own brand of political art (with some help from elementary school kids on that last one). He has even put together a free coloring book to help you sort out the civil rights movement. What does it all mean? He'll tell you.
It's a sticky subject. Romney apologized for his handling of it. Tony Snow felt it was "nice and zippy." John Kerry seems to have embraced it without any problems. Now John McCain latches onto it. Can he free himself?
Patricia Todd won a tight Democratic party runoff in District 54 in Alabama. Patricia Todd is also gay and would be the first gay representative in Alabama's history. Gaynell Hendricks doesn't understand why she lost, but maybe it has to do with the race baiting . Hendricks' mother-in-law contests the election for numerous reasons including "illegal votes were given to Todd" and said that "I want this controversy settled.This is happening like when Bush and Gore were running for president. I don't like it." Unsurprisingly, "Hendricks said she is pleased that someone challenged the results. " Weeks go by and the results don't get certified. A five member committee is appointed and bickers. Eventually the committee refrerences an old by law that has apparently not been enforced since 1988 to disqualify Todd. Although it does not seem quite over, it should be by tommorrow. Interestingly enough, Todd said she believes the challenge has nothing to do with the fact she is gay, but is about the fact that she is white and won in a majority black district.
Fancy Ford is the most elegant-looking political smear site you've ever seen. But is there a racial message?
Why do we always seem to expect the worst from some people? By now, it's common knowledge that media reports of widespread looting, violence and sexual assault in the wake of Katrina's strike on New Orleans were grossly exaggerated, but why? Some might attribute such distortions to unconscious bias, offering up some hope of alleviating racial tension by bringing unexamined racial biases to light; still others see the problem of racial tension as an intractable one, leading inevitably to an all-out clash of cultures--even finding "evidence" of the inevitably of such a conflict in the unlikeliest of places. Still others seem especially eager to bring all these tensions to a head. What's really going on these days? Is racial tension ultimately a political problem or, as some suggest, a psychological one?
The Rise and Fall of the Black Voter is a remarkable sequence of maps graphically describing the realignment of voting patterns in the U.S. during the past century (read this for a bit more context). It is an excellent companion to the purple maps of the most recent election, and a nice antidote to simplistic comparisons of pre-Civil War and recent electoral college maps. Republicans can bask in the glow of their successful "Southern Strategy," while Democrats can take heart that change, while often slow, is still possible.
Is the GOP tampering with Florida elections? The New York Times reports that State police officers have gone into the homes of elderly black voters in Orlando and interrogated them as part of an odd "investigation" that has frightened many voters, intimidated elderly volunteers and thrown a chill over efforts to get out the black vote in November. Also, see here and here. Why do we even put up with this?
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