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I felt the relief of being known.

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."
posted by sweetkid on Apr 4, 2014 - 73 comments

"It’s easy to trip people up if that is your sole intention."

"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]
posted by Atom Eyes on Apr 3, 2014 - 128 comments

Stuff White People Like

Shrinking Majority of Americans Support Death Penalty "According to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey, 55% of U.S. adults say they favor the death penalty for persons convicted of murder. A significant minority (37%) oppose the practice. While a majority of U.S. adults still support the death penalty, public opinion in favor of capital punishment has seen a modest decline..." Jamelle Bouie at Slate notes that , "Nearly twice as many whites as blacks favor the death penalty. There is a simple, and disturbing, reason why" and blames racism. [more inside]
posted by MisantropicPainforest on Mar 31, 2014 - 145 comments

The politics of black aspiration

"A number of liberals reacted harshly to Ryan. I'm not sure why. What Ryan said here is not very far from what Bill Cosby, Michael Nutter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama said before him. The idea that poor people living in the inner city, and particularly black men, are "not holding up their end of the deal" as Cosby put it, is not terribly original or even, these days, right-wing. From the president on down there is an accepted belief in America—black and white—that African-American people, and African-American men, in particular, are lacking in the virtues in family, hard work, and citizenship:
If Cousin Pookie would vote, if Uncle Jethro would get off the couch and stop watching SportsCenter and go register some folks and go to the polls, we might have a different kind of politics.
Cousin Pookie and Uncle Jethro voted at higher rates than any other ethnic group in the country. They voted for Barack Obama. Our politics have not changed. Neither has Barack Obama's rhetoric. Facts can only get in the way of a good story. It was sort of stunning to see the president give a speech on the fate of young black boys and not mention the word racism once. It was sort of stunning to see the president salute the father of Trayvon Martin and the father of Jordan Davis and then claim, "Nothing keeps a young man out of trouble like a father who takes an active role in his son’s life." [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Mar 23, 2014 - 76 comments

“I’m just not attracted to Asian men.”

Asian male stereotypes complicate my love life.
posted by rcraniac on Mar 18, 2014 - 248 comments

The brave men and women of the FDNY work tirelessly to keep us safe

This afternoon, the City of New York announced a $98 million settlement in United States of America and Vulcan Society, Inc. v. City of New York, a federal class action lawsuit that alleged that the New York City Fire Department engaged in discriminatory hiring practices, using written examinations with discriminatory effects and little relationship to the job of a firefighter to select more than 5,300 candidates for admission to the New York City Fire Academy in 1999 and 2002. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Mar 18, 2014 - 50 comments

The First Black Graduate of the University of Vermont

For a while, the first African American graduate of the University of Vermont was George Washington Henderson, who would become the first black inductee to Phi Beta Kappa. Except he wasn't the first black graduate... [more inside]
posted by papayaninja on Mar 16, 2014 - 8 comments

"they cry because they are not allowed to be children at all"

"Our research found that black boys can be seen as responsible for their actions at an age when white boys still benefit from the assumption that children are essentially innocent." [more inside]
posted by joannemerriam on Mar 12, 2014 - 41 comments

Forgive me for being longwinded, but I was speaking from the heart.

As Gawker has done for a couple years now, they sent letters to all the U.S. death row inmates who have execution dates in the upcoming year. Texas inmate Ray Jasper, who is set to be executed later this month, responded with an incredible letter on his thoughts about the US justice system, race, Christianity, and society as a whole.
posted by gman on Mar 5, 2014 - 84 comments

"'You aren't black on the inside' - childhood friends"

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]
posted by zarq on Mar 5, 2014 - 38 comments

I wasn't impressed

"33" is a video made by the students of color at UCLA Law School. There are 33 black law students at the UCLA law school out of 994 J.D. students, not including those pursuing an LL.M. degree, a one-year law degree program for international students. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Feb 12, 2014 - 86 comments

Marginally better than mistaking Brazillian electricians for terrrorists

"Such esoteric partnerships can confuse the authorities. Last November the Home Office invited journalists to accompany officers on a raid of an apparent sham wedding between an Italian man and a Chinese woman in north London. After interrogating the bride, groom and guests, the officers emerged sheepishly to admit that the union was probably real." -- The Economist looks at the rise of mixed race Britain and the changing ethnic makeup of the UK.
posted by MartinWisse on Feb 10, 2014 - 47 comments

Wilderness Women

Every year, women come from all over North America to prove themselves in Alaska's wildest competition [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 14, 2014 - 4 comments

Do "tendrils of past mind-sets still remain"?

Is the United States a ‘Racial Democracy’?
posted by anotherpanacea on Jan 12, 2014 - 40 comments

what would the yellow ranger do?

Tired of being constantly asked "Where are you from?", Shing Yin Kor looks to the Yellow Ranger for advice.
posted by divabat on Jan 10, 2014 - 137 comments

"I wasn't afraid because I was too angry to be afraid."

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.
posted by scody on Jan 10, 2014 - 33 comments

I Got Myself Arrested So I Could Look Inside the Justice System

"From Brownsville to downtown Manhattan, I would estimate that I passed more than 200 police officers, some from a distance, some close enough to touch. Though I was conspicuously casing high-profile public targets while holding graffiti instruments, not one of them stopped, frisked, searched, detained, summonsed, or arrested me. I would have to go further."
posted by katemonster on Dec 17, 2013 - 147 comments

Some Essays by Hilton Als

This year's critical darling essay collection -- Junot Diaz's favorite read of the year (#), Michael Robbins's pick for best book of the year (#) -- is White Girls by Hilton Als. Mentions of Als are infrequent on Metafilter, so I thought I would share a Readlist collection of his stuff (that has a bit of overlap with the book).
posted by AceRock on Dec 16, 2013 - 3 comments

Naturalis Historia

"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."
Naturalis Historia was written by Pliny the Elder between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger.
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 16, 2013 - 24 comments

People of Color are not an anachronism

The Tumblr blog People of Color in European Art History, or medievalpoc for short, has a simple mission: to showcase works of art from European history that feature People of Color. All too often, these works go unseen in museums, Art History classes, online galleries, and other venues because of retroactive whitewashing of Medieval Europe, Scandinavia, and Asia. [more inside]
posted by daisyk on Dec 8, 2013 - 107 comments

Why I Wouldn't See 12 Years a Slave With a White Person

"Very often, black people work to make white people at ease by layering away any unease we ourselves may feel. It is hard work to translate yourself daily to someone else who most likely lives life without ever being fully aware of how their very existence has been the basis for determining what is 'normal' in America and much of the world. And yet this painful and ongoing work of translation is second nature to those of us who have always had to figure out ways to be seen and understood in a world where the white experience is assumed to be the default."
posted by rcraniac on Nov 28, 2013 - 191 comments

Having the characteristics of iron

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.
posted by Joe in Australia on Nov 12, 2013 - 89 comments

The Logic of Stupid Poor People

"If you are poor, why do you spend money on useless status symbols like handbags and belts and clothes and shoes and televisions and cars? One thing I’ve learned is that one person’s illogical belief is another person’s survival skill."
posted by parudox on Oct 29, 2013 - 393 comments

Politics as usual

Did Race Play a Role in the Shutdown? Republicans from the House districts that have the highest levels of racial resentment were about 60 percentage points less likely to vote for the deal to end the shutdown than Republicans from districts with low levels of racial resentment.
posted by MisantropicPainforest on Oct 22, 2013 - 92 comments

Pike County, OH: As Black As We Wish To Be

In this episode, Al Letson and guest producer Lu Olkowski visit a tiny town in the Appalachian foothills of Ohio where, for a century, residents have shared the common bond of identifying as African-American despite the fact that they look white. The middle segment of the episode, in which a daughter has split from her mother and sister and chosen to identify as white, has been re-edited and aired as a Radiolab short: Ally's Choice
posted by Going To Maine on Oct 7, 2013 - 14 comments

Everybody’s in the minstrel show

“Oh,” says the ad man. He’s responsible for the hour of primetime television Revlon has bought and turned over to Belafonte, who, by the way, will not be singing “The Banana Boat Song,” and has also decided that he won’t accept commercials. “Oh my god,” says the ad man. Belafonte grins now, and says what he thought then: “Swallow that sh*t, motherf***er.” The Revolutionary Life of Harry Belafonte.
posted by Potomac Avenue on Oct 4, 2013 - 36 comments

"Individually, the were impressive; collectively, they were formidable"

Paris Fashion: Rick Owens’s Powerful Rejection of Conventional Beauty Big, athletic African-American dancers storm the runaway [more inside]
posted by TheGoodBlood on Sep 28, 2013 - 32 comments

Ripe For The Picking

Ask A Native New Yorker: How Guilty Should I Feel About Being A Horrible Gentrifier? Passionate response from a Bushwick native.
posted by The Whelk on Sep 27, 2013 - 205 comments

Visualizing Minority Representation

Why whitewashing hurts: an illustrated guide.
posted by overeducated_alligator on Sep 24, 2013 - 59 comments

"I was highly suspicious of this book when I first started it."

V.V. Ganeshananthan at The Margins on writing outside of what you know and the literary establishment's willingness to suspend disbelief and praise authenticity of narrative. As Gracie Jin put it, "In a society masquerading as post-racial, it is still only the white man who can speak authoritatively for every man."
posted by spamandkimchi on Sep 22, 2013 - 14 comments

Racism, Ridicule, Righteousness and Reactions

Why “Racists React To [thing]” posts are just passive white supremacy.
posted by Artw on Sep 18, 2013 - 130 comments

The first decade

Portrait of a Ten-Year-Old Canadian Girl
posted by zarq on Sep 18, 2013 - 10 comments

RETROREPORT - The truth now about the big stories then

How often does a great story dominate the headlines, only to be dropped from the news cycle? How often do journalists tell us of a looming danger or important discovery – only to move quickly to the next new thing? What really happened? How did these events change us? And what are the lingering consequences that may affect our society to this day? These are the questions we are answering at Retro Report, an innovative documentary news organization launched in 2013 as a timely online counterweight to today’s 24/7 news cycle. Combining documentary techniques with shoe-leather reporting, we peel back the layers of some of the most perplexing news stories of our past with the goal of encouraging the public to think more critically about current events and the media in ~10 minute segments. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Sep 10, 2013 - 15 comments

The Misremembering of ‘I Have a Dream’

Fifty years after the March on Washington, Dr. King’s most famous speech, like his own political legacy, is widely misunderstood.
posted by brundlefly on Aug 23, 2013 - 51 comments

Stop-and-frisk on trial

Stop and Frisk violated the constitutional rights of New Yorkers, federal judge holds. The ruling comes after the two-month trial in Floyd v. City of New York and finds the tactics and policies of the NYPD in conducting stop-and-frisk systemically violates both the 4th and 14th Amendments of New Yorkers of color. Stopping short of striking down stop-and-frisk more broadly, already upheld numerous times by the Supreme Court, Judge Scheindlin ordered an independent monitor to oversee reforms to the practice.
posted by likeatoaster on Aug 12, 2013 - 69 comments

Kiese Laymon may be the best writer and curator in a generation

Kiese Laymon, is writing some of the most innovative pieces about race and life in America right now. Previously discussed here when his essay How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America: A Remembrance was published on Gawker and took the world by storm. He has two books out this summer, his debut novel Long Division and an essay collection also entitled How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, which includes a correspondence between Laymon and four other authors, including Mychal Denzel Smith of The Nation. Long Division has received some very positive press although the establishment literary outlets have not (yet) weighed in, unsurprisingly. [more inside]
posted by cushie on Aug 5, 2013 - 16 comments

Stop playing around with serious stuff like this

Since the Riley Cooper story broke last week, writer Khalid Salaam has "had an angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other" about how to react. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Aug 5, 2013 - 267 comments

“WHY ARE THESE PEOPLE OPENING FOR THE POSTAL SERVICE???”

Some fans said the show “cracked [them] up.” One wrote, “I knew Ben Gibbard had to have some humor in there somewhere.” But what exactly was funny? Freedia’s act isn’t tongue-in-cheek. The implication was that Postal Service frontman Gibbard had offered a spectacle—something ridiculous. In fact he had offered a legitimate performer of another genre. What would be funny is Miley Cyrus twerking, if she didn’t look vaguely like Hitler Youth doing it.
posted by josher71 on Aug 1, 2013 - 213 comments

Video of Violent, Rioting Surfers Shows White Culture of Lawlessness

A frightening and violent mob swept through the normally quiet seaside community of Huntington Beach last night following a surfing competition in the area. Businesses were vandalized and looted, portable toilets overturned, and brutal fistfights waged right out in the open. It was an ugly display and a sad day for California. But more than that, it was a reminder that we must begin to seriously consider the values of our thuggish white youth.
(Oddly enough, do make sure to read the comments, they're amazing.)

posted by Blasdelb on Jul 30, 2013 - 163 comments

Crime is driven by proximity and opportunity

There’s no such thing as “black-on-black” crime.
posted by latkes on Jul 25, 2013 - 47 comments

The Vegas Hotspot That Broke All the Rules

“What would happen if some of those ‘priests’ in white robes started chasing you at 60 miles an hour?” Frank asked. “What would you do?” And Sammy answered, “Seventy.” The Moulin Rouge: The Vegas Hotspot That Broke All The Rules. Smithsonian Magazine on the brief life but long-lasting legacy of Las Vegas' first racially integrated casino.
posted by goo on Jul 20, 2013 - 13 comments

Some Thoughts On Mercy by Ross Gay

An essay on race, fear, imagination, and beekeeping
posted by Joe in Australia on Jul 16, 2013 - 19 comments

The Talk: how to de-escalate a situation, for young people of color

"It's a lesson that many of us got from out folks at some point, often before we got that other uncomfortable parent-child conversation about the birds and the bees. Don't move suddenly. Answer questions clearly, and with yes, sir and no, sir. Don't raise your voice. If you're handcuffed, don't say anything until we [your parents] get there. The details differed depending on where you lived and your parents' particular concerns, but the point was for us to get through any encounter with the police without incident." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 15, 2013 - 52 comments

How is this less realistic than a guy with radioactive spider powers?

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly for this month's cover story, Andrew Garfield, the current star of the rebooted Spider-Man movie series, offered a new take the character's love interest:
“I was kind of joking, but kind of not joking about MJ,” he tells EW. “And I was like, ‘What if MJ is a dude?’ Why can’t we discover that Peter is exploring his sexuality? It’s hardly even groundbreaking!…So why can’t he be gay? Why can’t he be into boys?” Garfield even has an actor in mind: “I’ve been obsessed with Michael B. Jordan since The Wire. He’s so charismatic and talented. It’d be even better—we’d have interracial bisexuality!”
[more inside]
posted by zombieflanders on Jul 10, 2013 - 127 comments

The Decline of North Carolina

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.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jul 10, 2013 - 174 comments

A Plant, a Perch, and a Prophylactic

Charlie LeDuff Canoes the Rouge River through Detroit. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Jul 7, 2013 - 18 comments

Drugs in context

Dr. Carl Hart, psychopharmacologist at Columbia, bust pernicious drug myths and talks provocatively about race and the "War on Drugs."
posted by klangklangston on Jul 6, 2013 - 114 comments

Each time you open your mouth.. I see Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman..

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.
posted by jeffburdges on Jun 28, 2013 - 690 comments

For years I played as white characters.

Because New Leaf’s tanning doesn’t seem to happen in real time, and because it seems to take days instead of hours now, trying to get a particular mid-level skin tone is more precarious than maintaining a pale complexion. Not only is the outcome hard to predict, but someone who wants the default skin to stay only has to bring a parasol around with them in the summer sun. They literally have access to tools and methods I don’t. It is very hard not to just write “DO YOU GET IT?” over and over again. I don’t have a tanning booth, or tanning lotion. I certainly don’t have a way to lock in my current tan level.

The other implication is that it might be the case that tanning is a disincentive to overplaying. I hadn’t realized it until my friend with the cobblestone roads pointed it out. Let’s say, hypothetically, that you’ve kept your game running for five straight hours for some odd reason. You might notice that your town’s other villagers will greet you with an admonishment. You look tired they say, you should take a rest. You should stop playing. There is a strange, formal parallel between this directive and tanning. Both come only after hours of uninterrupted play. The same activity results in both outcomes. Coupled with the fact that players are outfitted with ways to prevent, but not cause tanning, it’s hard not to draw some connections.

My argument isn’t that Nintendo has gone out of its way to be racist, it’s that the question of race seems to have never been brought up to begin with, and that has its own problems.


Me, On The Screen: Race in Animal Crossing: New Leaf
posted by timshel on Jun 18, 2013 - 55 comments

The races of Star Trek.

A fanfic explanation for a certain continuity issue in the new Star Trek movie. It's amusing, and it checks out.
posted by Pronoiac on Jun 12, 2013 - 112 comments

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