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 -
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 -
"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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
"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 -
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 -
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 -
Genes Reveal Recent Human Brain Evolution.
Two important new papers
in the journal Science
) 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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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
re: Tulsa Race Riot Reparations on March 1, 2001 .
posted by y2karl
on Feb 22, 2005 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
"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 -
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 -
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.
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 -
"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 -
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
Why do we even put up with this?
posted by black8
on Aug 16, 2004 -
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 -