Jenée Desmond-Harris, associate editor of features for The Root, answers a reader who wrote in wondering if his compliment of a stranger's Afro was out of line. Though acknowledging that some women won't want to hear a compliment, regardless, Desmond-Harris elucidates three points on how to compliment a black woman's hair without being a jerk: 1) Hands to yourself. 2) Compliment, don't query. 3) Consider the context.
GenCon, the best four days of gaming starts tomorrow. It is also very white.
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.
Bill de Blasio has reduced the use of stop-and-frisk, but he still supports the kind of policing that led to Eric Garner’s death. New York City cops are fuming. On Tuesday, union officials gathered to publicly denounce “police haters” and defend the conduct of police officers involved in the apprehension of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who was killed while being placed under arrest for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes. Last week, the state medical examiner’s office said Garner died as a result of being put in a chokehold — a tactic banned by the New York Police Department. [more inside]
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.
City resources are lavished on gentrification and bicycle infrastructure, but few are invested in our public transit system and structures that support working class people (whom are disproportionately people with disabilities and QTPOC). Fares have gone up, incentives to park and ride have phased out, and there are endless stories of transit cops harassing riders. Bus routes run infrequently enough to be standing room only in my part of town.While Portland, Oregon prides itself on its progressive bicycle policies Rory Judah Blank's experiences show it's far less progressive when it comes to helping people with disabilities.
"No wonder we react so viscerally to the 'ching-chong, ching-chong' schoolyard taunt. To attack our language, our ability to sound 'normal,' is to attack our ability to be normal. It's to attack everything we've worked for." An essay by Arthur Chu on feigning a Chinese accent for work and ridding oneself of an accent for life. [more inside]
Disney Junior's Doc McStuffins is an animated children's show about 6-year-old Dottie McStuffins, who wants to be a doctor like her mother, and pretends to be a doctor to her toys. Doc McStuffins has done well as a TV show, but it's as a doll that Doc's success has been stratospheric, with over $500 million in sales last year. “'When little white girls embrace Doc McStuffins, for them Doc McStuffins is a girl, and Doc McStuffins is powerful,' Dr. [Margaret Beale] Spencer said. 'For a little black girl, it may be all of those things, but also that she’s black.'”
Michel Martin, in her last week as host of NPR's "Tell Me More," responds to conversations about work/life balance such as Anne-Marie Slaughter's much-commented 2012 "Why Women Still Can't Have It All", (previously) where "the discussion too often ends where it began: with privileged, mostly white women at the forefront." [more inside]
Is Race Plastic? My Trip Into the "Ethnic Plastic Surgery" Minefield The writing is delightful, the subject is unsettling and the advice not to google any of the proceedure images should be heeded.
Black Girls Hunger for Heroes, Too: A Black Feminist Conversation on Fantasy Fiction for Teens.
What happens when two great black women fiction writers get together to talk about race in young adult literature? That's exactly what happens in the conversation below, where Zetta Elliott, a black feminist writer of poetry, plays, essays, novels, and stories for children, and award-winning Haitian-American speculative fiction writer Ibi Aanu Zoboi decided to discuss current young adult sci-fi.
Last week, a 43 year-old man named Eric Garner died during an arrest on Staten Island, New York, when he was put in what looked like a choke hold. The NYPD claims that Mr. Garner was selling illegally cigarettes outside a store. The entire encounter, which was videotaped and posted to YouTube, (graphic) has so far resulted in the removal of the badge and gun from the arresting officers, as well as the suspension of two EMTs and two paramedics who were seen on another video taking Garner's pulse but apparently doing little else for about two minutes. [more inside]
A three-part series looking at the history of France's black community and their long struggle for recognition. French President Francois Hollande ran on a platform promising to eliminate the word 'race' from France’s constitution. But critics were quick to point out the disparity between constitutional reform and actual practice. [more inside]
A viral video series uses role reversal to humorously highlight casual insensitivities & stereotyping: If Asians Said The Stuff White People Say - If Black People Said The Stuff White People Say - If Latinos Said The Stuff White People Say (YouTube; each video ~2 min.) [more inside]
While everyone was distracted by LeBron James returning to Cleveland, World Wrestling Entertainment pulled off an even bigger coup* by signing seven-time Global Honored Crown champion KENTA. Kenta Kobayashi (he capitalizes his ring name to differentiate himself from his mentor, Kenta Kobashi) was one of the biggest stars of Japan’s Pro Wrestling Noah promotion before resigning in April, leading some to wonder whether he would be returning to the bigger All Japan Pro Wrestling. Instead, Hulk Hogan personally signed Kobayashi to a developmental contract while on a WWE event in Osaka. [more inside]
On July 8, the Daily Mississippian published Sierra Mannie's Op-Ed, "Dear white gays", which was then picked up by Time Magazine, and has spurred discussion on whether white gay men are stealing the culture of black women.
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]
One of the greatest upsets in Olympic History happened in Tokyo in 1964: Billy Mills came from behind to win the 10,000m gold (YT: race edited down to 4 minutes). Mills, a member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux, remains the only American to win this race in the Olympics. Here he is talking to Here and Now on NPR about how he ran the race (it's riveting), the name of the Washington, DC NFL franchise, and in an extra on this page, about Native American history.
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]
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]
"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]
My black friends call it Murderland. My white friends call it Charm City, a town of trendy cafés. I just call it home.
"One of the most vexing questions in African-American history is whether free African Americans themselves owned slaves. The short answer to this question, as you might suspect, is yes, of course … For me, the really fascinating questions about black slave-owning are how many black "masters" were involved, how many slaves did they own and why did they own slaves?" Henry Louis Gates Jr. on black slave owners.
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.
Who really controls Hollywood? Now it can be told! (SLFOD)
How did Donelle Woolford's work cause Yams Collective (mNSFW) to withdraw from the Whitney Biennial? [more inside]
In 1976, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics ran a household survey that marked a crucial departure from other census exercises. The Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de Domicílios (PNAD) did not ask Brazilians to choose a race category among pre-determined choices; instead, researchers went out and asked people to describe the colour they thought they were.
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
Joanna Piacenza tackles difficulties she sees in the American conception of Buddhism. She was spurred out of writing silence several months ago by Time Magazine choosing for the second time in a decade to sell their magazine with a consumerist representation of Buddhism depicted on their cover with an pretty and ethereal looking white woman. Today, she published an article in First Things on why she believes Buddhism can't be just "an add-on: an energy boost in your spiritual smoothie," but is a religion and the American attitudes that she sees as enabling this misconception.
These Spelling Bee Champions Can Teach Us an Important Lesson About Race in America "In the past few years, the 89-year-old competition has seen a striking pattern in which Indian-American contestants have lifted the winner's trophy eight consecutive times and in 13 of the past 17 outings. Their streak feeds into years of conversation around race, achievement and immigrant success — all tied to problematic notions of what it means to be "American."
"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]
I can’t help wondering how many other, noncosmetic, nonashiness-related parts of your lives are so completely different that they’d make you ask each other, “For what!?” ...What I think is most fascinating about your question is the reminder that sometimes we simply have no idea what’s going on with other people from different backgrounds. Forget stereotypes and biases related to stuff we talk about all the time—we have actual, huge blind spots where it never occurred to us that our experience might not be the only one.
"To celebrate freedom and democracy while forgetting America’s origins in a slavery economy is patriotism à la carte." Slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation both de jure and de facto--Ta-Nehisi Coates on The Case for Reparations.
Tomorrow, is the 60th Anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision (pdf) in Brown v. Board of Education [more inside]
Amos Barshad of Grantland talks to Darcy Frey and the basketball players featured in the classic book The Last Shot 20 years after the book's release.
A 50 minute documentary about Maxwell Street Market and musicians in Chicago (I interpret the title with an implicit accusatory question mark.) Mike Shea—previously a photographer for Life, Look and Time—directed this exquisitely composed, Frederick Wiseman-esque documentary that lurches between the wiles and complaints of street vendors to some astoundingly well-recorded street side blues performances—recorded by Gordon Quinn. Most notably numerous songs by Robert Nighthawk and one electrifying performance by Carrie Robinson. There's also one seriously awesome-looking house party. [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]
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 NBA season has ended, and the playoffs have begun, causing a figurative ton of internet ink to be spilled on predictions and power rankings. But one word in particular seems to keep popping up in articles to describe white players like Steve Novak, Cody Zeller, Mason Plumlee, Andrew Bogut, and Josh McRoberts: "Dorky." And the writers that use it are inevitably white. Triangle Offense's Khalid Saalam (previously) thinks they should probably cut that out.
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]
"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."
"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]
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."
"So yeah, I (apparently) lost a game on Bill’s show that I didn’t know I was playing. The game was 'Gotcha!' And according to the Internet (and the number of misspelled and nigger filled — the word, not the people — tweets in my timeline), I got gotcha’ed!"
W. Kamau Bell writes about his recent appearance on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher [more inside]
W. Kamau Bell writes about his recent appearance on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher [more inside]