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Human Junk

Engineering Perfect Americans Were your immigrant ancestors considered genetically predisposed to become criminals? Were your mixed-ethnic ancestors thought to be polluting the nation's 'germ-plasm'? The Image Archive on the American Eugenics Movement presents a well-put-together online exhibit/walkthrough of this disturbing vein in American history.
posted by Miko on Jan 31, 2006 - 7 comments

Defense of Bill Cosby

Defense of Bill Cosby [...]My crimes that afternoon were two. I committed the transgression of wearing a tweed jacket, black sweater, black slacks and glasses, a no-no for the “ thug barbers" there because to be an appropriate African American by their standards was to wear saggy pants, sport jerseys and doo-rag caps. My second transgression was to bring a book, James Baldwin’s Notes of A Native Son.
posted by Postroad on Jan 19, 2006 - 88 comments

Detroit, how hast thou fallen?

"Oh, Detroit! Detroit, how hast thou fallen! No power in noonday to defend the helpless women and children from outlaws, till they have fully glutted their hellish appetites on the weak and defenseless." This full-text version of A Thrilling Narrative From the Lips of the Sufferers of the Late Detroit Riot, March 6, 1863, with the Hair Breadth Escapes of Men, Women and Children, and Destruction of Colored Men's Property, Not Less Than $15,000 contains firsthand testimonies from African American victims of this forgotten race/draft riot, which was overshadowed by a much larger one in New York City. [more inside]
posted by goatdog on Jan 19, 2006 - 8 comments

Four Mothers, 3.5 Million People

Study finds that 40% of Ashkenazi Jews come from four Jewish mothers. Previously discussed on Metafilter: the peculiar genetics of Ashkenazi Jews and their impressive intellect.
posted by billysumday on Jan 13, 2006 - 153 comments

Tour d Afrique

Tour d' Afrique, the other Tour. Ninety-nine stages, 120 days, almost 8,000 miles, racing on bicycles riding across the continent of Africa... the long way... from the pyramids of Giza to Cape Town. Registration's still open! Come on, it'll be fun!
posted by RockyChrysler on Jan 10, 2006 - 14 comments

Strange Fruit

Strange Fruit
Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swingin' in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hangin' from the poplar trees...

posted by caddis on Dec 30, 2005 - 47 comments

All over one guy getting beat up, what a bunch of pussies

Newsfilter: White people riot in Sydney, Australia They're upset that a lifeguard or something got beat up by a bunch of 'middle eastern looking' people.
posted by delmoi on Dec 11, 2005 - 163 comments

Will the real Thanksgiving please stand up?

Thanksgiving sucks. The English went on setting fire to wigwams of the village. They burned village after village to the ground. As one of the leading theologians of his day, Dr. Cotton Mather put it: "It was supposed that no less than 600 Pequot souls were brought down to hell that day." And Cotton Mather, clutching his bible, spurred the English to slaughter more Indians in the name of Christianity.
posted by j-urb on Nov 24, 2005 - 55 comments

32 Hours 7 Minutes

32 Hours 7 Minutes is all it took to drive from New York to LA. via Gizmodo
posted by blue_beetle on Nov 23, 2005 - 43 comments

Blackballed?

Until now, the last World Series team without a black player was the 1953 New York Yankees. (via SpoFi)
posted by mr_crash_davis on Oct 25, 2005 - 86 comments

by sitting she stood up.

Rosa Parks, RIP
posted by amberglow on Oct 24, 2005 - 194 comments

ragnarok now? or is it all just in your head?

Why do we always seem to expect the worst from some people? By now, it's common knowledge that media reports of widespread looting, violence and sexual assault in the wake of Katrina's strike on New Orleans were grossly exaggerated, but why? Some might attribute such distortions to unconscious bias, offering up some hope of alleviating racial tension by bringing unexamined racial biases to light; still others see the problem of racial tension as an intractable one, leading inevitably to an all-out clash of cultures--even finding "evidence" of the inevitably of such a conflict in the unlikeliest of places. Still others seem especially eager to bring all these tensions to a head. What's really going on these days? Is racial tension ultimately a political problem or, as some suggest, a psychological one?
posted by all-seeing eye dog on Oct 21, 2005 - 35 comments

Rumors of deaths greatly exaggerated - 6 bodies found at Dome; 4 at Convention Center

"I've got a report of 200 bodies in the Dome," Beron recalls the doctor saying. The real total was six, Beron said. Of those, four died of natural causes, one overdosed and another jumped to his death in an apparent suicide, said Beron, who personally oversaw the turning over of bodies from a Dome freezer, where they lay atop melting bags of ice. State health department officials in charge of body recovery put the official death count at the Dome at 10, but Beron said the other four bodies were found in the street near the Dome, not inside it. Both sources said no one had been killed inside. At the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, just four bodies were recovered, despites reports of corpses piled inside the building. Only one of the dead appeared to have been slain, said health and law enforcement officials.
Widely reported attacks false or unsubstantiated
posted by y2karl on Sep 27, 2005 - 48 comments

Explosion Over the N-Word

Explosion Over the N-Word When Kanye West blasted President Bush’s treatment of poor black people in New Orleans after Katrina hit, the rapper unintentionally set off a hurricane of words in Florida. The Independent Florida Alligator, the student newspaper, ran a cartoon last week that criticized West’s statements by showing him holding a large playing card marked “The Race Card,” and having Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, exclaim with scorn at West: “Nigga Please!”
posted by Postroad on Sep 20, 2005 - 135 comments

Still Separate, Still Unequal

Still Separate, Still Unequal: America's Educational Apartheid, by Jonathon Kozol, from the September issue of Harper's. Even if you're familiar with a big-city public-school system , it's an eye-opener. (Also, if (like I might be on a worse day) you're miffed by yet another Harper's cover story FPP, what do you think about the posting site's Fair Use application? I've never seen that before. No more inside.)
posted by mrgrimm on Sep 19, 2005 - 30 comments

It's not all black and white

Throughout his childhood, David Myers was told that his skin color was a disease called melanism. He was lucky, his mother said, because the skin discoloration was all over his body, instead of just splotches of brown like most people had. So despite his dark skin, Myers grew up in white, middle-class neighborhoods in Ohio and New York believing he was white.
posted by mr_crash_davis on Sep 19, 2005 - 55 comments

Brain Gain

Genes Reveal Recent Human Brain Evolution. Two important new papers in the journal Science (available here) from the evolutionary geneticist and rising star, Bruce T. Lahn (see this recent profile from The Scientist), are potentially the tips of some very large icebergs. The papers document how two genes related to brain properties that underwent strong selection during the course of hominid evolution, have continued undergoing strong selection since the emergence of anatomically modern man. The papers wonderfully illustrate how biological evolution is an ongoing process as well as the artificial distinction between “micro” and “macro” evolution, and promise to be controversial for two reasons: First, the brain genes underwent the strongest selection during two periods of cultural and technological efflorescence (roughly 37,000 and 5,800 years ago). Second, the genes are distributed very differently in modern human population groups, existing at very high frequencies in some groups and being very rare in others, ensuring that the modern function of these genes will be a source of more research and much impassioned debate. More observations from anthropologist John Hawks.
posted by Jason Malloy on Sep 8, 2005 - 54 comments

Shades of Grey in a Black & White Issue.

The Inequality Taboo - Charles Murray defends his ideas, published in the controversial book The Bell Curve.
posted by Gyan on Sep 5, 2005 - 71 comments

The Two Americas

Last September, a Category 5 hurricane battered the small island of Cuba with 160-mile-per-hour winds. More than 1.5 million Cubans were evacuated to higher ground ahead of the storm. Although the hurricane destroyed 20,000 houses, no one died. What is Cuban President Fidel Castro's secret? According to Dr. Nelson Valdes, a sociology professor at the University of New Mexico, and specialist in Latin America, "the whole civil defense is embedded in the community to begin with. People know ahead of time where they are to go. Cuba's leaders go on TV and take charge," said Valdes... "Merely sticking people in a stadium is unthinkable.. Shelters all have medical personnel, from the neighborhood. They have family doctors in Cuba, who evacuate together with the neighborhood, and already know, for example, who needs insulin." They also evacuate animals and veterinarians, TV sets and refrigerators, "so that people aren't reluctant to leave because people might steal their stuff," Valdes observed.

The Two Americas. See also A Nation's Castaways, 'To Me, It Just Seems Like Black People Are Marked' & White Man's Burden
posted by y2karl on Sep 4, 2005 - 69 comments

little somalia?

"Little Somalia" is how The Army Times has characterized post-Katrina New Orleans. And this isn't about race?
posted by brookish on Sep 3, 2005 - 35 comments

Broken promises, broken hearts

The New England Journal of Medicine published several articles this week on remaining, statistically significant gender and racial disparities in the quantity and quality of various medical procedures and care management resources made available to black and white Americans. These disparities may possibly help our understanding of the cause of some of the unexplained differences in mortality rates between populations. "Although the reasons for these differences are unknown, their persistence emphasizes the need for a continued search for explanations so that inequities in clinical care may be eliminated..." (registration req'd)
posted by Rothko on Aug 19, 2005 - 23 comments

Gender War

What happened to the black power movement? Has it turned it's attention to such pressing matters as teaching the black man how to claim, tame and train the blackwoman, rescue her from lesbian feminist witchcraft and mocking her for dying her hair piss yellow?

Let the gender war begin! (via Memepool.)
posted by PeterMcDermott on Aug 1, 2005 - 22 comments

Smart gateway to black lit

Zora Neale Hurston's Glossary of Harlem Slang. Profiles of black writers including Audre Lorde, Chester Himes, The Last Poets and Linton Kwesi Johnson. The complete list of Coretta Scott King children's book award winners. Lots of informative off-site links. A lively forum filled with juicy gossip, among other pleasures. Just a few things you'll find at the African American Literature Book Club.
posted by mediareport on Jul 27, 2005 - 11 comments

“White folks need to get over their fear of being called a racist.”

“White folks need to get over their fear of being called a racist.” Oh the things you hear at the College Republicans' National Convention.
posted by expriest on Jun 24, 2005 - 72 comments

RIP Hamilton Naki

RIP Hamilton Naki, the black surgeon working unrecognised behind the scenes at Christiaan Barnard's pioneering South African heart transplant.
posted by iffley on Jun 21, 2005 - 7 comments

America, also, is a country built by black folk.

ESPN.com's Scoop Jackson on the Detroit Pistons' Ben Wallace: "Although no one will admit it, Ben Wallace is the image the NBA doesn't want... He's that unspoken stereotype that white America has of the black athlete. He's what they fear." I found this to be an unusually frank examination of race in American professional sports.
posted by dammitjim on Jun 17, 2005 - 34 comments

Race-based pharmaceuticals?

Pharmaceutical company seeks approval for controversial heart drug BiDil for blacks only, even though the connection of a nitric oxide deficiency to the genetic makeup of the African-American population is an unsubstantiated hunch, in the words of the drug's own developer — and the drug had already once been denied approval. Is the FDA doing good science or ignoring science under the pressure of big business wanting to sell BiDil to a US$1Bln demographic?
posted by Rothko on Jun 16, 2005 - 27 comments

Science, race, and genetics

The Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence (PDF). A fascinating new theory from physicist turned renegade evolutionary theorist, Gregory Cochran (see this Atlantic Monthly cover story on Cochran's already path-breaking germ theory of disease), and genetic anthropologist Henry Harpending, proposes that a unique evolutionary history, and a number of improbably clustered neurologically related genetic diseases among Ashkenazi Jews could help explain their incredible intelligence test scores and extraordinary intellectual achievements (e.g. Ashkenazi Jews are 3% of the American population but win 27% of the Nobel Prizes). The paper is set for publication in the Journal of Biosocial Science, and is already getting major press in the New York Times and The Economist. Does the recent Harvard fracas over Larry Summers herald a new "arms race" in academic debate about genetics, man and society for the 21st century? [compelling post by Jason]
posted by mathowie on Jun 3, 2005 - 68 comments

black naturalization ceremony

How I Became a Black American "I became a black American long before I acquired American citizenship. . . . I was not eager, upon my arrival to the United States, to assert a black American identity. My parents had taught me "better" than that. But I became a black American anyway. Before I freely embraced that identity it was ascribed to me. This ascription is part of a broader social practice wherein all of us are made intelligible via racial categorization."
posted by caddis on May 20, 2005 - 81 comments

title.

blacks and whites agree: black people are scary! Scientists measured the amygdala response in white and african-american subjects when shown expressionless white and black faces. Interestingly, when paired with the words "African American" the response didn't register.
posted by delmoi on May 11, 2005 - 20 comments

Economics and race.

Economics and Race: "Twenty-seven-year-old Harvard economist Roland Fryer grew up poor and black, in a family that was falling apart. His mother abandoned him. His father drank heavily and beat him. Fryer sold drugs and carried a gun. Then, at age 15, after he got pulled over by the police and then let go, he decided he wanted something different."
posted by yoga on Apr 1, 2005 - 8 comments

The Minstrel Show 2.0: Why Postmodern Minstrelsy Studies Matter

Jump Jim Crow, through the hoops of one Robert Christgau's erudition as he surveys the literature extant in In Search of Jim Crow: Why Postmodern Minstrelsy Studies Matter, through multiple readings of Raising Cain: Blackface Performance from Jim Crow to Hip Hop, Demons of Disorder: Early Blackface Minstrels and Their World and and Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class. Consider, too, The Minstrel Cycle from Reading The Commitments and other various and sundry attempts to peek inside the minstrel mask—all multiple readings reading blackface minstrels from the pejorative to the explorative, subversive to oppressive, past to future, unfolding tesseractly, if not exactly, with singing, dancing and extraordinary elocutions. Buy your tickets and step within for The Meller Drammer of Minstrelsy in The Minstrel Show 2.0
posted by y2karl on Mar 31, 2005 - 17 comments

Diversity Mongers Target the Web

National Review's Heather McDonald responds to columnist Steven Levy's question: Does the blogosphere have a diversity problem? "Could it be that the premise of the 'diversity' crusade is wrong—that there are not in fact hordes of unknown, competitively talented non-white-male journalists held back by prejudice? Don’t even entertain the thought. Steven Levy certainly doesn’t. 'It appears that some clubbiness is involved'—that is, that white male bloggers only link to other white male bloggers." Do we need a race-based quota for web journalism? As racial identity is often anonymous, where would we start?
posted by jenleigh on Mar 30, 2005 - 59 comments

Reading Race

Is it American literature or African-American literature...or is it literature at all? Nineteenth-century novelist Emma Dunham Kelly-Hawkins, author of the little-read novels Megda and Four Girls at Cottage City, is getting dumped from The Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers (previously mentioned in this thread) because she was probably white. Let the literary bickery begin!
posted by butternut on Mar 10, 2005 - 19 comments

Tulsa Race Riots of 1921 & The reparations Question Revisited

Otis Granville Clark is a wonder. At 102, the former butler of Joan Crawford - who served Clark Gable and Charlie Chaplin - still drives, lives on his own and twice a week attends church in his home city of Tulsa, Oklahoma... Today his blue eyes have gone milky but they still sparkle, his wiry frame remains agile, and his most painful memories are still fresh - even after 83 years. Coiled on the edge of an understuffed sofa, Clark leans back and screws his eyes tight to summon up "that day". It remains the most vivid of his life... Historians call the firestorm that convulsed Tulsa from the evening of May 31 into the afternoon of June 1 the single worst event in the history of American race relations. To most Tulsans it is simply "the riot". But the carnage had nothing in common with the mass protests of Chicago, Detroit and Newark in the 1960s or the urban violence that laid siege to Los Angeles in 1992 after the white police officers who assaulted Rodney King were acquitted. The 1921 Tulsa race riot owes its name to an older American tradition, to the days when white mobs, with the consent of local authorities, dared to rid themselves of their black neighbours. The endeavour was an opportunity "to run the Negro out of Tulsa". Burnt Offerings
.See also The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 or the tale of the lost city or another The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. See also Frequently Asked Questions from the Tulsa Reparations Coalition. Previous post by allaboutgeorge re: Tulsa Race Riot Reparations on March 1, 2001 .
posted by y2karl on Feb 22, 2005 - 172 comments

"I'd rather play a maid than be one"

Call her Madame. Among the old-timers, the story went like this: a woman known to everyone as Madame came to California from Kentucky with her children and her husband. But once they were in the Gold Rush State, her husband left her. Desperate to find work, she introduced herself to a movie director named D. W. Griffith. He not only cast her in his movie, but the two became friends for life. And with this woman, called Madame Sul-Te-Wan, what we now call Black Hollywood began -- as a new book by historian Donald Bogle explains. (more inside)
posted by matteo on Feb 7, 2005 - 6 comments

HIV/AIDS

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness & Information Day February 7, 2005 Seventy-two African-Americans are infected with HIV every day African-Americans make up approximately 12 percent of the population of the United States, yet 38% percent of total AIDS cases reported in this country are among members of the Black community. In 2003, more African Americans were reported to have HIV/AIDS than any other racial/ethnic group.
posted by halekon on Feb 7, 2005 - 10 comments

Run doggie Run

The 23rd -Beargrease sled dog race- running of the dogs. In just about three weeks 36+ teams will either run the near 390 full distance race, or short 145.6 mid distance race. Check out the legend behind John Beargrease through the left hand links on the spash page. Last year there was a young blind dog sledder Rachel Scdoris, who has caused some minor controversy in past . There was also a musher from... Florida, (who also ran in 2003) Dee Morris, her dogs had never run on snow before that 2003 race (didn't finish either 1/2 race). Should be fun.
posted by edgeways on Feb 3, 2005 - 10 comments

Ragtime, Cakewalks, Coon Songs and Vaudeville, Barbershop Quartets & etc.

While culling my clippings file for the big move, I came across Ragtime: No Longer a Novelty in Sepia, which led me to the The Rag-Time Ephemeralist, a labor of love by one Chris Ware , whose 'The Acme Novelty Library' and Jimmy Corrigan, Smartest Boy In The World I had long admired. The Ragtime Ephemeralist's mention of Out of Sight - The Rise of African American Popular Music, 1889-1895---here's a review from Musical Traditions--and, its very own links page, as a consequence, led to this post about Ragtime, Cakewalks, Coon Songs and Vaudeville, with a slight nod to Barbershop Quartets. There's more, of course...
posted by y2karl on Jan 21, 2005 - 27 comments

Shirley Chisholm: R.I.P.

Shirley Chisholm: R.I.P.. One wonders how much different America might be today had she been elected President in 1972 rather than Tricky Dick. (All 500+ sources from Google News)
posted by spock on Jan 3, 2005 - 12 comments

AK-47 Is The Tool

"Welcome to Black Man With a Gun dot com. If you smiled at the name of the site or jumped from fear of it you are not alone. This site is about responsible firearm ownership. I use the taboo subject of race to show how people have been conditioned to fear the words "GUN" and "BLACK MAN" when used in the same sentence."
posted by fandango_matt on Dec 22, 2004 - 35 comments

The times they are a-changing

The Rise and Fall of the Black Voter is a remarkable sequence of maps graphically describing the realignment of voting patterns in the U.S. during the past century (read this for a bit more context). It is an excellent companion to the purple maps of the most recent election, and a nice antidote to simplistic comparisons of pre-Civil War and recent electoral college maps. Republicans can bask in the glow of their successful "Southern Strategy," while Democrats can take heart that change, while often slow, is still possible.
posted by googly on Dec 15, 2004 - 7 comments

The 'Acting White' Myth.

The 'Acting White' Myth. When smart black kids try hard and do well, they are picked on by their less successful peers for 'acting white.' But it isn't true.
posted by Lisa S on Dec 12, 2004 - 45 comments

Taking the Long View

Only in 1967 did Loving v. Virginia overturn vigorously-enforced laws against interracial marriage in these 15 states--Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. Only in 1964 did the Civil Rights Act overturn laws against equal access to voting, public accommodation, and public education. Only in 1963 did the Equal Pay Act mandate that men and women be paid the same wage for the same work at the same job. History isn't a superhighway, leading us in straight lines toward utopia. We fall back and we move forward, but over the past fifty years, the United States has become considerably more inclusive and equality of access to opportunity has widened. Take a look at this article from the Atlantic Monthly in 1956--1956!--if you don't believe me.
posted by Sidhedevil on Nov 4, 2004 - 190 comments

Wearing the skin of the unthinkable

"Black Like me" : the notion of "Race" is know known to be scientifically meaningless, but now roll back the clock to 1959 : "...John Howard Griffin (1920-1980) was a true Renaissance man. Having fought in the French Resistance and been a solo observer on an island in the South Pacific during World War II, he became a critically-acclaimed novelist and essayist, a remarkable photographer and musicologist, and a dynamic lecturer and teacher. On October 28, 1959, after a decade of blindness and a remarkable and inexplicable recovery, John Howard Griffin dyed himself black and began an odyssey of discovery through the segregated American South. The result was Black Like Me, arguably the single most important documentation of 20th century American racism ever written....Because of Black Like Me, Griffin was personally vilified, hanged in effigy in his hometown, and threatened with death for the rest of his life."
posted by troutfishing on Sep 19, 2004 - 47 comments

taking off the color blinders

A hundred social scientists and geneticists gathered this week in Alexandria to sort out the meaning of race, and didn't, quite.
posted by sudama on Sep 18, 2004 - 40 comments

BOHICA!

Is the GOP tampering with Florida elections? The New York Times reports that State police officers have gone into the homes of elderly black voters in Orlando and interrogated them as part of an odd "investigation" that has frightened many voters, intimidated elderly volunteers and thrown a chill over efforts to get out the black vote in November. Also, see here and here. Why do we even put up with this?
posted by black8 on Aug 16, 2004 - 61 comments

Bush camp solicits race of Star staffer

Bush camp solicits race of Star staffer. President Bush's re-election campaign insisted on knowing the race of an Arizona Daily Star journalist assigned to photograph Vice President Dick Cheney.
The jounalist's name was Mamta Popat. She sure sounds like a terrorist.
posted by JeffK on Jul 31, 2004 - 30 comments

N-I-G-G-E-R

Cable channel Trio drops the N-bomb An original documentary, premiering tonight, takes a close look at a troublesome word.
posted by LinusMines on Jul 4, 2004 - 21 comments

Ebony & Ivory

Brown v Board of Education 50 years after a "landmark" decision not a lot seems to have changed in old Milwaukee.Via The Guardian
posted by johnny7 on May 15, 2004 - 5 comments

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