"[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."
In 1889, Elizabeth Bisland’s boss sent her on a trip around the world. Her goal: to beat Phileas Fogg’s record of going Around the World in 80 Days. She was not thrilled at the prospect, and even less happy to learn she would be chasing Nellie Bly, who had left that morning on the same journey. But sure enough, she was on a train that evening. [more inside]
Starbucks announced a new campaign to start conversations about racial issues by inviting baristas to pen the words Race Together on the sides of their ubiquitous cups. Unsure how to talk to your baristas about race? Jezebel has you covered. Of course, some people are less than thrilled with the campaign.
Why I didn't call the police when I saw two black boys with guns next door. [The Guardian]
"My husband’s instinct was to call law enforcement, but that didn't seem like the solution. Especially after Tamir Rice."
Anna May Wong was the first Chinese-American movie star, first appearing as an extra in 1919. Her first leading role came in 1922's Toll of the Sea, the first color feature made in Hollywood. She continued appearing in films until 1960, the year prior to her death. [more inside]
Today, March 6, is Blackout Day, "a day where black people post, share, reblog, like, and distribute other photos of black people on social media. This includes Tumblr, Instagram, the petri dish known as Facebook, Vine, Twitter, and any other site that allows you to share photos." (FAQ, official master post)
Friends often try to assure me that people mean well, urging me to go easy on them, to be gracious, to give people the benefit of the doubt. "People don't mean to be offensive," they tell me. "They just don't know how to say it without coming across that way."Nishta Mehra writes about her family's experience with learning how to navigate the landscape of interracial adoption in a "post-racial" America: Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair.
What these friends don't understand is that when the act of defining your family structure becomes an expected part of every day of your entire life, you grow tired of being gracious. It's exhausting to have strangers view your life as an up-for-grabs educational experience. For my kid, it's to constantly hear the underlying message: "Your life, your family, doesn't make sense to me. Someone needs to explain it to me. You owe me an explanation."
It's the people who live comfortably inside majorities who tend to discount any sort of commentary from minorities as being "overly sensitive." And I imagine that it's hard to step back and grasp the fact that when the world you occupy is built to accommodate you, you fit inside the boxes. You make sense. You are expected.
Today, the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division released its report on the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department, whose officer, Darren Wilson, shot and killed Michael Brown in August 2014, prompting large-scale, nationwide protests, which only increased following a grand jury's choice not to indict Wilson for the killing. [more inside]
Ronson’s argument is essentially a reactionary liberalism taking shelter in the privilege of the status quo: while the ideals of twitter shaming campaigns are well-founded, their application, in practice, is problematic. They go too far. Innocents have suffered. His rhetorical appeal, therefore, is like the many liberals who have written books and essays and memoirs about how they joined the communist party (or Occupy, or whatever) only to discover that it didn’t instantly solve everything painlessly and precisely, who find fault with every activist who isn’t literally the saintliest fantasy of MLK and Gandhi rolled into one. The theory is (still) good, they always say, but the practice leaves something to be desired. I’m all for anti-racism, but you know what, I can’t get on board with disrupting people’s commute.Aaron Bady: On Landings, Soft and Otherwise, and Aggressive Lacks of Proportion.
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]
"I tilted my head in cartoon-like confusion. Where had he picked that up? Bruce Lee? He knew nothing of martial arts nor had he ever watched Kung Fu Panda (this is where my brain went). So I asked Noah to repeat himself. Perhaps I’d misunderstood or heard it incorrectly."
The Urban Institute has released (PDF) the first study to focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning (LGBTQ) youth; young men who have sex with men (YMSM); and young women who have sex with women (YWSW) who get involved in the commercial sex market in order to meet basic survival needs, such as food or shelter.
You are a good man, and a good father, but all this good cannot continue to make up for the race we cannot touch. I am so tired of slipping into black and out of daughter whenever race is evoked. I need for you to meet me as your daughter, as your daughter of color, all at once. We cannot keep evacuating our bodies to love each other. We cannot simply ignore the way our bodies are policed and politicized as antithetical, irreconcilably raced when we stand side by side."An Open Letter to the White Fathers of Black Daughters, from Kelsey Henry in Bluestockings Magazine.
Racing the Mongol Derby
The ponies that carried Genghis Khan’s warriors are small, tough, and skittish as hell, making the prospect of riding them for 1,000 kilometers seem downright insane. American cowboy Will Grant couldn’t resist, so he entered the Mongol Derby—the longest, hardest horse race in the world—determined not just to finish but to win.[more inside]
Last night at the Oscars, Patricia Arquette, after making an impassioned statement about wage equity for women during her speech, said, backstage, "The truth is: even though we sort of feel like we have equal rights in America, right under the surface, there are huge issues that are applied that really do affect women," she mused. "And it's time for all the women in America and all the men that love women, and all the gay people, and all the people of color that we've all fought for to fight for us now." [more inside]
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 Struggle To Be A Good Critic [Electric Literature] How should or shouldn't white writers write POC characters?
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]
"To me this intersection [between food justice, fat-positive politics, and LGBTQ politics] seems clear as I live in a community where food is not easily accessible and I’m a fat dyke… We can simply look at the numbers and see that folks in poverty and are classified as food-insecure often have greater percentages of fat folks in their numbers. Often we get a lot of crossover between folks belonging to the LGBTQ communities and low-income folks. I’ve been doing food work with street-based queer youth for almost five years now. But beyond just the numbers we share this similar struggle, this fight for what’s just. We are all part of groups that are marginalized by society and many of us are doing work in many of these spaces."
"I am the gay community that many people think of, that gets to have its voice heard, who considers the prospect of marriage. But it certainly doesn’t end with me." (SL Atlantic)
Almost five years ago Metafilter was introduced to Black People Twitter, but Metafilter has no chill. Since then Black People Twitter has become hot af. Compilations of black people being hilarious on twitter that were posted to reddit and a Black People Twitter subreddit was created, and has since grown to over 165,000 subscribers. [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]
"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]
"Just because I sit here and say I haven't felt overt racism or harassment doesn't mean I don't know what it is and that I haven't experienced it elsewhere in my life, or that my mother didn't grow up in a world where there were colored drinking fountains," Harvey said. "This is stuff that happened and stuff that we think is relevant still today, on a lot of levels. And I think many people are very aware of this, a lot of gamers are very aware of this stuff in their daily lives. Games are a way of processing, a way of playing through an experience that is maybe more intense than you've ever felt it – you're sort of living in that avatar's skin. I guess, in a way, we're trying to put them in a skin they're maybe not used to, or maybe they would be interested to inhabit."Jessica Conditt looks at the realities of videogaming's treatment of race and is cautiously optimistic.
No-man's Land. (Fear, Racism, and the Historically Troubling Attitude of America's Pioneers)
DISCUSSED: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Kansas, Bonnets, “A Great Many Colored People,” Copper Gutters, Martin Luther King Jr., People Who Know Nothing about Gangs, Scalping, South Africa, Unprovoked Stabbing Sprees, Alarming Mass Pathologies, Chicago, Haunted Hot Dog Factories, Gangrene, Creatures from the Black Lagoon, Tree Saws, Headless Torsos, Quilts, Cheerleaders, Pet Grooming Stores, God
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)
Women of color are a principal force behind one of the most important components of America’s current marketplace and our nation’s future economy: entrepreneurship. Today, women of color are the majority owners of close to one-third of all women-owned firms in the nation. Increased access to business capital—including microenterprises, venture-capital-funded firms, and crowd funding—has helped the number of women entrepreneurs grow substantially. But women of color face significant obstacles in starting their own businesses, leading to the question of why so many of them turn to entrepreneurship. The growth of women of color as business owners is part of a long-term trend, but the question of why this trend is occurring is often left unanswered. Looking at the alternative to entrepreneurship—the traditional workplace—sheds light on some of the reasons.
Just because there’s been more successful white rappers, you cannot disregard where this culture came from and our place in it as white people.In the wake of Azealia Banks' controversial interview on Hot 97, in which she called out Iggy Azalea and the "smudging out of black music," Macklemore appeared on the same show, Ebro in the Morning on Monday and spoke thoughtfully and at length about white privilege and cultural appropriation in hip hop. [more inside]
When Subalternist theorists put up this gigantic wall separating East from West, and when they insist that Western agents are not driven by the same kinds of concerns as Eastern agents, what they’re doing is endorsing the kind of essentialism that colonial authorities used to justify their depredations in the nineteenth century. It’s the same kind of essentialism that American military apologists used when they were bombing Vietnam or when they were going into the Middle East. Nobody on the Left can be at ease with these sorts of arguments.Vivek Chibber (Professor of Sociology, New York University) discusses the pitfalls of postcolonialism in the wake of his controversial book Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital. [more inside]
"Demolished: the end of Chicago's Public Housing" A look back at Chicago's 20th-century public housing high-rises, and how they were taken down. Also an interesting form of web presentation. (SLNPR)
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]
When Was The Last Time You Got Your Ass Kicked? The viral Wondermark sealion strip confounds many by casting its villain as polite with ostensibly reasonable demands, but four years prior, Alone thoroughly explains the tenets summed up in the strip, and the mechanics of bullying in general, with some help from a scene from Louie. [more inside]
The Minister Who Went to Jail for Financial-Aid Fraud
Ozel Clifford Brazil was a respected clergyman who helped thousands of African American teens get into college. What drove him to break the law?
Misguided Altruism Trailer
Ozel Clifford Brazil was a respected clergyman who helped thousands of African American teens get into college. What drove him to break the law?
Misguided Altruism Trailer
Do the Right Thing wasn’t ahead of its time. It was behind its time, and it’s ahead of ours. It came out in the summer of 1989, six months before Driving Miss Daisy, but if you can imagine it without hip-hop, it could have come out in 1939 alongside Gone with the Wind; without color, in 1929 with The Jazz Singer; without sound, 1915 and The Birth of a Nation. If you updated the soundtrack and the fashion a bit and released it next week, critics would praise its timeliness and how its depiction of police brutality and racial tension captures the angry zeitgeist surrounding the recent killings of unarmed black civilians by police officers. Some might even predict that it would ultimately end up feeling dated, as some did 25 years ago. If only. - Lessons from Do the Right Thing on Its 25th Anniversary
The FBI announced today that they will open an investigation into the death of 17 year old Lennon Lacy. [more inside]
It's been over two years since Hennessy Youngman's made an Art Thoughtz video, but that doesn't change the relevance of what he's posted and the deeper meaning behind them all. (NSFW SLYT) [more inside]
Worried about being pulled over for Driving while black? No worries, there's an App for that coming, checkout the official site with video demo.
Kiese Laymon, American writer and Associate Professor of English at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, on the price of his Vassar College faculty ID. [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]