For the majority of white people, race is something that happens to other people. Whiteness is a default that needs no name — all deviations must be categorized and given a "race." If race is always something that happens to other people, how are you able to see the part you play in the system?An essay by Ijeoma Oluo (previously, previouslier) for Scenarios USA. [more inside]
"So last week, when country radio promoter Keith Hill controversially suggested that stations should stop playing songs by female artists, it’s easy to label his actions another example of misogynistic, conservative politics.The Conversation's Clifford Murphy, on why [country radio promoter] Keith Hill’s comments about women in country music cut far deeper than misogyny [more inside]
However, Hill’s comments are actually indicative of something much bigger and far more troubling: the consolidation of an entire genre of music, and the type of environment this can create. In the case of country, it’s allowed for the repurposing of the genre’s history, and the exclusion of certain individuals."
Cyborg isn’t just an emasculated man, but an emasculated black man, and as one of comics’ higher profile black superheroes — starring in his own movie in distant 2020 — the unspoken fact of his castration is demeaning. The racist narrative of black man as sexual threat is served by the idea of a character who is rendered heroic in the same event that symbolically renders him sexually unthreatening. (Genitals do not define gender or sexual power, but they are often tied to an individual’s relationship with their sexual, gender, and cultural identities.) The Re-Masculation of Cyborg asserts that DC Comics may be correcting the problems that blogger Robert Jones Jr. identified in his essay Humanity Not Included: DC’s Cyborg and the Mechanization of the Black Body.
The Washington Post is compiling a database of every fatal shooting by police in 2015, as well as of every officer killed by gunfire in the line of duty.
Overall, blacks were killed at three times the rate of whites or other minorities when adjusting by the population of the census tracts where the shootings occurred.
"To all these ends, the third- , fourth- , and fifth-graders at Lower were to be divided once a week for five weeks into small groups according to their race. In 45-minute sessions, children would talk about what it was like to be a member of that race; they would discuss what they had in common with each other and how they were different, how other people perceived them, rightly or wrongly, based on appearance. Disinhibited by the company of racially different peers, the children would, the school hoped, feel free to raise questions and make observations that in mixed company might be considered impolite. The bigger goal was to initiate a cultural upheaval, one that would finally give students of color a sense of equal ownership in the community. Once the smaller race groups had broken up, the children would gather in a mixed-race setting to share, and discuss, the insights they had gained."
The story of one private school's attempt to teach children about race and the reactions of the parents and children involved in the pilot year.
The story of one private school's attempt to teach children about race and the reactions of the parents and children involved in the pilot year.
Michelle Obama's painful discussion of America's racial inequality and deep misogyny exists, for many, on the same spectrum as [Saida] Grundy's blunt remarks about race, power and privilege. Where the first lady used her commencement speech at one of the nation's premier HBCUs to deliver a seminar on institutional racism and our nation's anti-black culture, Grundy's social media commentary dispensed with complexity to deliver screams, sometimes angry, other times humorous, that reflect equally important truths about contemporary race relations, black women's activism and the limits of freedom of expression in the 21st century.Peniel E. Joseph for The Root: What Happens to Black Women Who Boldly Speak Truth About Racial Inequality [more inside]
Keep Harriet Tubman – and all women – off the $20 bill. "Harriet Tubman did not fight for capitalism, free trade, or competitive markets." [more inside]
"They don’t know — here he lowers his voice — that even if they get the money and they left, they could always come back. They don’t know that part. And it’s so scary sometimes because they could come up in the middle of construction and say, “It’s my property, I didn’t understand what I was signing, and I want to come back.” -- DW Gibson interviews a Brooklyn landlord about how they push poor black residents out in favor of affluent whites.
"I’ve been interrogated by police more than 50 times—all because I’m black." Desmond Cole writes in Toronto Life about his experiences with being carded and harassed by police.
The White Negro, Norman Mailer, 1957.
It is on this bleak scene that a phenomenon has appeared: the American existentialist—the hipster, the man who knows that if our collective condition is to live with instant death by atomic war, relatively quick death by the State as l’univers concentrationnaire, or with a slow death by conformity with every creative and rebellious instinct stifled (at what damage to the mind and the heart and the liver and the nerves no research foundation for cancer will discover in a hurry) , if the fate of twentieth century man is to live with death from adolescence to premature senescence, why then the only life-giving answer is to accept the terms of death, to live with death as immediate danger, to divorce oneself from society, to exist without roots, to set out on that uncharted journey into the rebellious imperatives of the self.[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]
This movie is two hours of black people walking up to white people and yelling "BLACK" and white people yelling "WHY YOU GOTTA MAKE IT ABOUT RACE" over and over again.Ijeoma Oluo (previously) has written a handy guide to writer/director Mike Bender's recently-released "dramedy" for The Stranger: Boobs, Booze, and Black People Hair: A Very Thorough Review of Black or White. More under the fold! [more inside]
"A longtime feminist, Kimmel maintains a delicate balance when handling his sources. He wants to be sympathetic to the people he interviews and yet loyal to his academic principles. After a series of humbling recessions and other economic shifts, men like Rick feel emasculated and humiliated, he writes, 'betrayed by the country they love, discarded like trash on the side of the information superhighway.' Their sin, according to Kimmel, is a failure to adjust. These guys refuse to admit they’ve been handed privilege all these years by a world that puts white men on top. White men, he writes, 'have been running with the wind at our backs all these years,' and 'what we think of as ‘fairness’ to us has been built on the backs of others.' The New York Times reviews sociologist Michael Kimmel's 2013 book Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era. [more inside]
When we are taking about racism, and anti-black racism in the United States, we have to remember that under slavery black lives were considered only a fraction of a human life, so the prevailing way of valuing lives assumed that some lives mattered more, were more human, more worthy, more deserving of life and freedom, where freedom meant minimally the freedom to move and thrive without being subjected to coercive force. But when and where did black lives ever really get free of coercive force? One reason the chant "Black Lives Matter" is so important is that it states the obvious but the obvious has not yet been historically realized. So it is a statement of outrage and a demand for equality, for the right to live free of constraint, but also a chant that links the history of slavery, of debt peonage, segregation, and a prison system geared toward the containment, neutralization and degradation of black lives, but also a police system that more and more easily and often can take away a black life in a flash all because some officer perceives a threat.George Yancy interviews Judith Butler for NYT: What's Wrong With 'All Lives Matter'? [more inside]
White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable. A 2011 paper by Robin DiAngelo, author, Associate Professor of Multicultural Education, and workplace diversity trainer, explores the challenges of confronting racism which result from the inability of white people to accept that they are beneficiaries of a racist system. (PDF)
It's a white industry, writes Chris Rock on show biz, from the lowliest focus-group testing gig to being a film executive. [more inside]
Dear White Allies: Stop Unfriending Other White People Over Ferguson. "...Please try and remember how USEFUL you could be should you decide to be brave enough to speak up to the folks more likely to hear YOU than me." [more inside]
Keene, New Hampshire tried to set a new world record for most pumpkins carved at their 2014 Pumpkin Festival, but failed to reach their goal. Instead, the news coverage of the Pumpkin Festival is for the vaguely related mayhem that erupted in neighborhoods near Keene State campus. It has been reported that the chaos was due to an influx of young people, up to 2,000 congregated in some areas, who threw billiard balls, rocks, debris and bottles full of liquor, and overturned at least one car. Police used tear gas and pepper balls to quell the crowds, and arrested 84 individuals. There were dozens of injuries, but no fatalities. In the larger discussion of various group gatherings and actions and the police response to such events, comparisons have been made between the Keene "pumpkin riot" and Ferguson. To which Luke O’Neil wrote Keene Is Not Ferguson—Despite the Police, Fires, and Tear Gas. Jordan Lebeau responded with a piece titled Actually, Comparing Keene to Ferguson Is Precisely What You Should Do (last two articles on Boston.com). [more inside]
The Whiteness Project is a multiplatform investigation into how Americans who identify as “white” experience their ethnicity.
Among other common myths and misconceptions regarding serial murder in America, one curious myth bears closer examination: the idea, propagated heavily in the media, that serial killers are almost always white men. This fascinating (though weirdly formatted) essay discusses this phenomenon, and suggests possible reasons for the anonymity of African-American serial killers, including historical racial bias, stereotypical media portrayals of African-Americans, and the FBI’s promotion of static ethnocentric criminal profiling. [more inside]
This is Science Magazine; this is one of their featured front-page stories (date stamped 17 September 2014 8:00 am): "The top 50 science stars of Twitter", by Jia You. The list has 46 men and 4 women. [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.
BigApps (previously) "is a competition that empowers the sharpest minds in tech, design, and business to solve NYC's toughest challenges." One of the finalists is the recently-launched SketchFactor, which aims to help users avoid "sketchy" neighborhoods by posting notes about crime, racial profiling, harassment, and desolation. Not surprisingly, the creators have faced racism accusations. The developers have responded to the charges on their website.
Ta-Nehisi Coates writes in The Atlantic:The Effects of Housing Segregation on Black Wealth. As the wealth gap widens between whites and blacks in America, and after reading this list and this list, he concludes The Ghetto Is Public Policy. [more inside]
Hari Kondabolu on Why You Can’t Be ‘Obsessed With Race’ in America. “Saying that I’m obsessed with race and racism in America is like saying t hat I’m obsessed with swimming while I’m drowning. It’s absurd.” Hari Kondabolu of “Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell” fame on race in America. [more inside]
"Although the Civil Rights Act passed the Senate by 73-27, with 27 out of 33 Republican votes, one of the six Republicans who voted against it was Barry Goldwater of Arizona, who weeks later became the GOP’s presidential standard-bearer and started the long process by which the Party of Lincoln became the party of white backlash, especially in the South. Today, Republicans hold complete legislative control in all 11 states of the Old Confederacy for only the second time since Reconstruction." [more inside]
Why I Yelled at the Kara Walker Exhibit: "Anger shot up my body like a hot thermometer. Face flushed, I walked to the Mammy sphinx. Couples posed in front of it, smiling as others took their photos. So here it was, an artwork about how Black people’s pain was transformed into money was a tourist attraction for them... Something snapped... I yelled that this was our history and that many of us were angry and sad that it was a site of pornographic jokes." [more inside]
Take Me to Sanborns: Swiss Enchiladas and Race in Mexico City.
One afternoon early in their stay, [Jack] Johnson and Etta – who was white – walked into the famous Sanborns cafe in Mexico City's historic center for lunch. But before they could even place their order, owner Walter Sanborn refused to serve Johnson on racial lines. Johnson went and found a few of the generals he had met and told them what happened. They returned to Sanborns together and all sat down at the counter. They ordered ice cream. Everybody was served except for Johnson.
How did Donelle Woolford's work cause Yams Collective (mNSFW) to withdraw from the Whitney Biennial? [more inside]
The Racism Beat - Cord Jefferson writes about the repetitive mental strain of being a writer on racism.
To be gay, Christian and black in Harlem West African asylum seekers face a new kind of discrimination in the US
"DISCLAIMER: Rap Shirts for White People can be worn by people of all colors, but in some cases, it may not be appropriate to wear them at all. Use your best judgment." [NSFTwerk]
Tomorrow, is the 60th Anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision (pdf) in Brown v. Board of Education [more inside]
Michael Tesler is a political scientist who studies the "Spillover of Racialization" during the Obama presidency into other areas, both political and non-political. He argues that racial attitudes drive public opinion of miderm vote preference, healthcare, and the Obama's Portuguese Water Dog, Bo. [more inside]
The most recent story in ProPublica's Living Apart: Examining America's Racial Divide series is "Segregation Now," which focuses on the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, city school district "and its fleeting experience with the challenges and virtues of integration." But beyond Tuscaloosa, "almost everywhere in the United States, the gains of integration have been eroded. And nowhere has that been more powerfully and disturbingly true than in the South – once home to both the worst of segregation and the greatest triumphs of integration. Freed from the federal oversight that produced integration, schools districts across the 11 former states of the Confederacy have effectively re-instituted segregation for large numbers of black students, in practical terms if not in law." [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]
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]
Tired of being constantly asked "Where are you from?", Shing Yin Kor looks to the Yellow Ranger for advice.
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.
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.
Paris Fashion: Rick Owens’s Powerful Rejection of Conventional Beauty Big, athletic African-American dancers storm the runaway [more inside]
Fifty years after the March on Washington, Dr. King’s most famous speech, like his own political legacy, is widely misunderstood.
A Letter to Rachel Jeantel, the prosecution's key witness in the George Zimmerman trial for the murder of Trayvon Martin (tag) by Khadijah Costley White.