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An interview with MaryBeth Hamilton, author of In Search of the Blues

...The cult of and luster for country blues among these record collectors came about because not only were recordings by Charley Patton, Son House, Skip James and Robert Johnson not successfully sold to African Americans, but other record collectors were not interested in them either. There were so many collectors of New Orleans jazz that not only did the recordings became too expensive to collect, they also didn't want them -- they wanted to find something that required more energy to uncover, and more energy to actually appreciate. Anyone who has ever listened to Charley Patton knows that you have to learn how to listen to him, you have to really struggle -- it is a work of archeology, really, to make out what he is saying. It is powerful, and I don't want to deny its power, but you have to learn how to hear that power, and African Americans, when these records came out, didn't necessarily hear that.
From an interview with Marybeth Hamilton, author of In Search of the Blues [more inside]
posted by y2karl on May 26, 2012 - 13 comments

Teach them well and let them lead the way

According to the U.S. census bureau, from July 2010 to July 2011, more than half of all babies born were members of minority groups, a first for the United States. [more inside]
posted by cashman on May 16, 2012 - 59 comments

In the MMORPG of life, straight white male is the easiest setting

Okay: In the role playing game known as The Real World, “Straight White Male” is the lowest difficulty setting there is...
As the game progresses, your goal is to gain points, apportion them wisely, and level up. If you start with fewer points and fewer of them in critical stat categories, or choose poorly regarding the skills you decide to level up on, then the game will still be difficult for you. But because you’re playing on the “Straight White Male” setting, gaining points and leveling up will still by default be easier, all other things being equal, than for another player using a higher difficulty setting.

Likewise, it’s certainly possible someone playing at a higher difficulty setting is progressing more quickly than you are, because they had more points initially given to them by the computer and/or their highest stats are wealth, intelligence and constitution and/or simply because they play the game better than you do. It doesn’t change the fact you are still playing on the lowest difficulty setting.


MeFi's own John Scalzi provides an excellent, relatable metaphor for explaining the realities of race and gender without invoking the dreaded word "privilege". [more inside]
posted by Jon_Evil on May 15, 2012 - 368 comments

If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try, try, try, try again.

If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try, try, try, try again: black Mississippi man tried six times for the same crime.
posted by Evilspork on May 10, 2012 - 33 comments

Just another firestorm in the ivory tower...

A recent post by conservative Naomi Schaefer Riley on the Chronicle of Higher Education's Brainstorm blog -- "The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations" -- has caused quite a furor in the academic blogosphere. [more inside]
posted by artemisia on May 8, 2012 - 137 comments

Never forget, never again

We Japanese Americans must not forget our wartime internment - George Takei on the the treatment of Japanese-Americans during WWII and Allegiance, his new musical. Previously.
posted by Artw on Apr 29, 2012 - 45 comments

We've said all the way through the campaign to expect the unexpected, but we didn't expect this

The 158th Boat Race between Oxford University Boat Club & Cambridge University Boat Club last Saturday was perhaps the most eventful in the event's 183 year history. The race was stopped after a protestor, Trenton Oldfield, swam out out the course and was narrowly missed by Oxford's blades. After a 20 minute delay, the race was restarted. Thirty-five seconds in, the Oxford cox was warned for steering into Cambridge's line, and then initiated a blade-clash that broke one of Oxford's blades. Cambridge rowed on to win by four and a quarter lengths (Official race report). After finishing the race, Oxford's bowman collapsed, and was taken to hospital; the traditional presentation ceremony was abandoned. The OUBC medical officer stated: "The sudden and premature stopping of the Race when concentration and exertion were at their peak was bad enough, but when the Race had lost its equal footing for having lost an oar, the psychological response was to try even harder. Oxford drove themselves to the limit to try to contain the damage. Alex Woods rowing at Bow reached the finishing line and found he had expended all reserves of energy; in my view he had rendered himself hypoxic, and this was the cause of his collapse". He has returned home to recover. [more inside]
posted by James Scott-Brown on Apr 9, 2012 - 68 comments

The Ethnic Aisle

The Ethnic Aisle discusses race and multiculturalism in Toronto. Their current "issue" is about Hair. [more inside]
posted by chunking express on Mar 27, 2012 - 4 comments

Don't get lapped.

The Red Hook Criterium is "an unsanctioned race held at night featuring a fixed gear criterium and a 5km running race held over multiple laps of a short technical circuit. The field consists of elite athletes, track stars, amateur runners, professional cyclists, bike messengers, and urban cyclists." First held in 2008, the Crit has steadily gained momentum, recognition and exposure. In recent years it has spread to Milan (highlights, footage). The 5th running of the Red Hook Crit is being held tonight. Red Hook Crit website and promotional design by MeFi's own fidgets.
posted by nathancaswell on Mar 24, 2012 - 8 comments

The White Savior Industrial Complex

"From Sachs to Kristof to Invisible Children to TED, the fastest growth industry in the US is the White Savior Industrial Complex." (Teju Cole, The Atlantic)
posted by naju on Mar 21, 2012 - 93 comments

Run, baby, run!

Sometime tonight the winner of the 2012 running of The Last Great Race will cross the finish line. [more inside]
posted by Runes on Mar 13, 2012 - 32 comments

Got your pearls? Get ready to clutch 'em.

"I can tell you that the days of of white, wealthy, upper-class [Smith] students from prep schools in cashmere coats and pearls who marry Amherst men are over. This is unfortunate because it is this demographic that puts their name on buildings, donates great art and subsidizes scholarships." Anne Spurzem, Smith College '84, reacts to news about the increase in diversity at her alma mater during President Carol Christ's tenure while Christ prepares to step down in 2013. Unsurprisingly, Spurzem's comments have caused an uproar among students and alumnae, leading to the creation of the Pearls and Cashmere Tumblr, which celebrates the diversity feared by Spurzem. Meanwhile, President Christ has responded to Spurzem's allegations in an open letter to to the Smith community.
posted by peripathetic on Feb 24, 2012 - 146 comments

9 days, 16 hours, and 5 minutes to race 1000 miles on a dog sled

The Yukon Quest is a 1000 mile dog sled race that stretches from Fairbanks, Alaksa, to Whitehorse, Yukon. The 2012 race had the closest finish ever: the first and second place winners were separated by just 26 seconds. [more inside]
posted by leahwrenn on Feb 14, 2012 - 4 comments

Art and Activism: Five Tips for Queer Boys

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]
posted by anya32 on Feb 14, 2012 - 0 comments

Bleached

At Plano Children's Theatre, They've Shampooed All the Black Kids out of Hairspray
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! on Jan 31, 2012 - 125 comments

Blah people

Bloomberg columnist and The Atlantic correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg explains: How to Listen for Racism on the Campaign Trail [more inside]
posted by 2bucksplus on Jan 31, 2012 - 147 comments

Being a Maid

James McBride talks about The Help, Hattie McDaniel, why black women are still winning awards for playing maids, how black culture is appropriated and represented, and whether marginalized groups in America all serve the purpose of "cultural maids". [more inside]
posted by nakedmolerats on Jan 30, 2012 - 59 comments

Peeling Back the Labels: Survey paints portrait of black women in America

Results of a new survey by the Washington post and Kaiser sheds some light on black women in America in a way that some others have failed to do. 2011 saw a record number of articles, books and shows dedicated to analyzing the "plight' of black women in America. Naturally, most of it devolved into popular tropes about black women being undesirable, ugly, angry, and lonely. This new survey shows that for some black women, the path to happiness doesn't necessarily have to be through companionship with a mate.
posted by RedShrek on Jan 23, 2012 - 34 comments

Divide football teams by race, simulate outcome.

We Simulated The NFL White Vs. Black Race Bowl On Madden So You Don’t Have To "Earlier this week, reader Dustin asked who would win between an all-white NFL All-Pro team and an all-black NFL All-Pro team. Mind you, this question was asked without ANY ROOTING INTEREST, and without any hint of RAYCESSNESS. Are we clear on that? Good. BECAUSE WE TOTALLY SIMULATED THAT RACE WAR ON MADDEN TO SEE WHO WOULD WIN." [more inside]
posted by hot_monster on Jan 4, 2012 - 75 comments

"SO GHETTO!"

Shit White Girls Say...to Black Girls (SLYT)
posted by overeducated_alligator on Jan 4, 2012 - 251 comments

Charlie Chan: The (Not Entirely) Fictional Chinese Detective

Charlie Chan is more than a fictional character created the author Earl Derr Biggers, or the star of 50 movies (played by 8 different actors). His origin goes beyond the illiterate Chinese-Hawaiian detective with a bull whip instead of a pistol (previously). Charlie Chan is more than racial stereotypes and yellow-face. A part of his far-reaching story is told inside. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 23, 2011 - 19 comments

Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing"

In Do the Right Thing, the subject is not simply a race riot, but the tragic dynamic of racism, racial tension, and miscommunication, seen in microcosm. The film is a virtuoso act of creation, a movie at once realistic and symbolic, lighthearted and tragic, funny and savage... I have written here more about Lee’s ideas than about his style. To an unusual degree, you could not have one without the other: style is the magician’s left hand, distracting and entertaining us while the right hand produces the rabbit from the hat. It’s not what Lee does that makes his film so devastating, but how he does it. Do the Right Thing is one of the best-directed, best-made films of our time, a film in which the technical credits, the acting, and Lee’s brazenly fresh visual style all work together to make a statement about race in America that is all the more powerful because it blindsides us. - Roger Ebert (SPOILER) [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Dec 20, 2011 - 74 comments

Poverty and Race in America

Article suggests that we need to reassess our assumptions about the relationship between poverty and race. Following the article published in Forbes magazine dealing with poor black kids, this article brings up the question about poor whites and how invisible they have become.
posted by RedShrek on Dec 20, 2011 - 38 comments

Racist rant on London tram leads to arrest

A woman has been arrested after a swearing, racist rant (YouTube) on a tram in Croydon, London trended on Twitter. Daily Mail reports with comments switched off, far right EDL member declares her a patriot to be proud of. Satire site The Daily Mash weighs in sardonically.
posted by TheophileEscargot on Nov 29, 2011 - 202 comments

...so we need to move away from the tonsils paradigm of race discourse towards the dental hygiene paradigm of race discourse...

"How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Discussing Race". Recent talk from Jay Smooth presented at a local TED conference meet up at Hampshire College. Previously.
posted by catchingsignals on Nov 17, 2011 - 27 comments

Donald Crowhurst

Donald Crowhurst (1932–1969) was a British businessman and amateur sailor who died while competing in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, a single-handed, round-the-world yacht race. Crowhurst had entered the race in hopes of winning a cash prize from The Sunday Times to aid his failing business. Instead, he encountered difficulty early in the voyage, and secretly abandoned the race while reporting false positions, in an attempt to appear to complete a circumnavigation without actually circling the world. Evidence found after his disappearance indicates that this attempt ended in insanity and suicide. (previously: 1, 2)
posted by Trurl on Nov 17, 2011 - 11 comments

Black Girl In Suburbia Documentary Trailer

A trailer for a documentary about the experiences of black girls growing up in the suburbs
posted by RedShrek on Oct 28, 2011 - 14 comments

"“I feel more like myself when I’m out running,” Chase-Brand said. “I’m a good animal.”

"...officials warned that a woman who ran a more ambitious distance might cause her uterus to fall out." [NYTimes] On Thanksgiving Day, Dr. Julia Chase-Brand, 69, plans to run a 4.75-mile race in Manchester, Conn., where the presence of women will be plentiful and unremarkable. Fifty years ago, when she and two other women ran there the first time, it was a widely publicized act of civil disobedience that became a pioneering moment in female distance running in the United States.
posted by Fizz on Oct 26, 2011 - 58 comments

R.I.P. Professor Derrick Bell

Derrick Bell, Law Professor and Civil Rights Advocate, dies at 80. Bell was a pioneer of critical race theory and the first tenured black professor at Harvard Law School. Bell was also a lover of gospel music, and hosted an annual gospel choir concert.
posted by likeatoaster on Oct 6, 2011 - 25 comments

Tacit racism and sexism

The Implicit Bias & Philosophy International Research Project brings together philosophers, psychologists, and policy professionals to study unconscious biases against members of stigmatized groups. The recommended reading page collects recent scholarly articles available for download. (Previously)
posted by painquale on Oct 4, 2011 - 10 comments

"this man has paid enough"

This week has seen a lot of discussion of the American criminal justice system and its failings, and a lot of concern about what can be done to fix it. In 1947, a working class black man looked like he was about to have the full weight of the system brought down on him for taking justice into his own hands. But after Chicago leftists - including labor unions, religious leaders, artists, civil rights activists & others - launched a movement, James Hickman was set free after an all-white jury, in a trial presided over by a white judge, failed to convict, and the DA chose not to re-try because of the magnitude of public support for Hickman. According to a review in The Nation, a new book tells the story in a way that turns the typical right-wing biases of the true crime genre on their head. [more inside]
posted by univac on Sep 22, 2011 - 11 comments

"I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free: On Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes And The Help"

"You know something very bizarre is going on in Hollywood when the movie Rise of Planet of the Apes tells more about the black experience in America than The Help." Max Gordon reflects on the truths that Hollywood can't talk about openly, and the dangers involved in sugarcoating the past.
posted by invitapriore on Sep 12, 2011 - 158 comments

I come late, and I mean to come humbly.

Deeply Embarrassed White People Talk Awkwardly About Race. 'Once I realized I was racist, it was, well, what am I going to do about it?' says Winn, a mild-mannered white guy in his 30s. 'That shifts the defensiveness.' [...] 'The test of how racist you are is not how many people of color you can count as friends,' I recall someone telling me—I can't remember who now. 'It's how many white people you're willing to talk to about racism.'
posted by shakespeherian on Sep 7, 2011 - 256 comments

We call this "dislocated polygamy".

The Tribes of Darkest Austria - or: if Africans ruled Anthropology. (slyt)
posted by divabat on Sep 2, 2011 - 43 comments

"The Civil War isn't tragic"

The Atlantic's Ta-nehisi Coates sparks months of debate with his contention that The Civil War Isn't Tragic. "The Civil War is our revolution. It ended slavery, and birthed both modern America, and modern black America. That can never be tragic to me." [more inside]
posted by Danila on Aug 25, 2011 - 116 comments

Pomobama

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
posted by Rumple on Aug 25, 2011 - 22 comments

Ultimately, there is no separating Vick from his circumstances: his race, parents, economics and opportunities.

What if Michael Vick were white? The cover of the September issue of ESPN The Magazine features an image of the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, but another picture might end up getting more attention. [more inside]
posted by furiousxgeorge on Aug 25, 2011 - 171 comments

"I’m like, pat my hair? O.K., I guess..."

Does the TSA have "a thing" about black womens' hair?
posted by John Cohen on Aug 16, 2011 - 107 comments

The lack marriage of prospects for Black women and a different way of looking at the problem

"I'm trying to get to a point where I accept that marriage may never happen for me."

Audrey belongs to the most unmarried group of people in the U.S.: black women. Nearly 70% of black women are unmarried, and the racial gap in marriage spans the socioeconomic spectrum, from the urban poor to well-off suburban professionals.

African-American Professor of Law Ralph Richard Banks has an intriguing solution: Interracial marriage.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Aug 7, 2011 - 183 comments

But it's just so American!

AMC's Hell on Wheels is an upcoming series created by Joe and Tony Gayton, centered around the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. Joe: "I think what a lot of people think of when they think about the Transcontinental Railroad is the contribution of the Chinese immigrants." "But, it’s just so American". So the show focuses on railroad construction from the East, and the Chinese laborers story? They "ended up getting excised". [more inside]
posted by cashman on Aug 6, 2011 - 69 comments

Hoop dreams

The unlevel playing field - "Contrary to popular perception, poverty and broken homes are underrepresented in the NBA, not overrepresented. ... We believe that skills always trump circumstances. But that's a myth."
posted by mrgrimm on Aug 1, 2011 - 16 comments

Africa in India

The African Presence in India: A Photo Essay : The questions we pose here are simply these: Who are the African people of India? What is their significance in the annals of history? Precisely what have they done and what are they doing now? These are extremely serious questions that warrant serious and fundamental answers. This series of articles, "The African Presence in India: An Historical Overview," is designed to provide some of those answers.
posted by infini on Jul 30, 2011 - 14 comments

20 to 1

In America, the typical black household had just $5,677 in wealth (assets minus debts) in 2009, the typical Hispanic household had $6,325 in wealth and the typical white household had $113,149. These lopsided wealth ratios are the largest since the government began publishing such data a quarter century ago. Data from the US Census: Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP).
posted by cashman on Jul 27, 2011 - 167 comments

GoPro or Go Home

MeFi has seen a GoPro camera attached to a sword, but after running across a video of one attached to a Hula Hoop (it'll make you dizzy) I decided to look for more and found a trove of sports, most of which are created by GoPro and as such may come across as advertising, but some are independently shot, so put that aside if you can. I'll probably never take up any of these activities, but I get an idea of what they're like via helmet or pole-cam. There's the Base Jump; the GoPro at 80,000 feet (near space); Boogie Boarding Surf; Surfing; Racing up Pike's Peak; Mountain Biking; a Kayak Competition; Kiteboarding; Longboarding; the 2010 Highlight Reel and many more. Damn, now I want one!
posted by bwg on Jul 19, 2011 - 51 comments

mama put my guns in the ground -- I can't use them anymore

...after enrolling in public school and moving to Montana — a predominantly white state, albeit one with a decidedly hippie-ish vibe — Lamb and Lynx decided they simply no longer believed what they’d been taught. Prussian Blue, five years later. Previously, previously.
posted by gerryblog on Jul 17, 2011 - 105 comments

"Don't think you'll ever be cast as Eponine or Cosette."

Patrina Miller sings "Random Black Girl", a song about the one black girl in the musical's chorus. [more inside]
posted by NoraReed on Jul 5, 2011 - 22 comments

Le Tour via steephill.tv

Forget Velonews. For years now, the best place to follow the big cycling stage races has been steephill.tv, a "bike travelogue" with stage previews, results, news articles, photos, and video curated every day of the race. This site is an obvious labor of love... with no ads! If you want to watch or listen to the Tour de France for free, steephill will helpfully tell you where to go on the web. But if you're away from your computer or don't have Versus (in the US), there's an NBC iPhone app with live video, for $14.99 (launches iTunes) [more inside]
posted by jstef on Jul 1, 2011 - 24 comments

And Justice For All?

An image showing disparity in sentencing appears in a tweet by Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder John Perry Barlow and raises questions of its validity. Paul R. Allen is clearly a real case and Roy Brown an actual criminal but what do the differences in their sentencing say about the state of justice in America? [more inside]
posted by geekyguy on Jun 25, 2011 - 28 comments

The runners’ bibs say something different each year: SUFFERING WITHOUT A POINT; NOT ALL PAIN IS GAIN

The Immortal Horizon: Thirty-Five Runners Face Hollers and Hells, a Flooded Prison, Rats the Size of Possums, and Flesh-Flaying Briars to Test the Limits of Self-Sufficiency in a race only eight men have ever finished.
posted by The Whelk on May 7, 2011 - 37 comments

Don't be evil

Andrew Norman Wilson was fired from his job at Google for investigating the working conditions of yellow badge employees misusing company equipment: [more inside]
posted by AlsoMike on Apr 30, 2011 - 167 comments

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