What I Pledge Allegiance To. "I am a black Mississippian. I am a black American. I pledge to never be passive, patriotic, or grateful in the face of American abuse. I pledge to always thoughtfully bite the self-righteous American hand that thinks it’s feeding us. I pledge to perpetually reckon with the possibility that there will never be any liberty, peace, and justice for all unless we accept that America, like Mississippi, is not clean. Nor is it great. Nor is it innocent."
-- Author Kiese Laymon
, Professor of English and African American Studies at the University of Mississippi [more inside]
And Do You Belong? I Do by Solange Knowles [Saint Heron]
“It’s the same one that says to your friend, “BOY…. go on over there and hand me my bag” at the airport, assuming he’s a porter. It’s the same one that tells you, “m’am, go into that other line over there” when you are checking in at the airport at the first class counter before you even open up your mouth. It’s the same one that yells and screams at you and your mother in your sleep when you’re on the train from Milan to Basel “give me your passport NOW.” You look around to see if anyone else is being requested this same thing only to see a kind Italian woman actually confront the agents on your behalf and ask why you are being treated this way.” [more inside]
...until now? "Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia used his executive power on Friday to restore voting rights to more than 200,000 convicted felons, circumventing his Republican-run Legislature. The action overturns a Civil War-era provision in the state’s Constitution aimed, he said, at disenfranchising African-Americans." SLNYT: Virginia Governor Restores Voting Rights to Felons
Here's a primer for white Americans to learn about race and racism
without making their friends/colleagues/acquaintances of color have to keep explaining it.
In 2007, the Pinellas County, Florida School Board abandoned integration, joining hundreds of US school districts in former Confederacy states that have resegregated
since 2000. The Board justified the vote with bold promises: Schools in poor, black neighborhoods would get more money, more staff, more resources -- none of which happened. This past August, the Tampa Bay Times
published an exposé, revealing how district leaders turned five once-average schools into Failure Factories. [more inside]
A working paper by three Harvard Business School researchers
shows evidence of "widespread" discrimination against African-American guests
by Airbnb hosts.
Previously on MetaFilter
, a paper by two of the study's authors, Benjamin Edelman and Michael Luca, found a similar effect involving the prices African American hosts
could command on the service. [more inside]
In a three-part series on BBC2 in the UK over February and March, Reginald D. Hunter
travels across the (USA) south and explores the music and culture. There is a bunch of intriguing clips in advance
. [more inside]
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]
"Too often, when I'm using my fiber-optic space to share, vent, rant, and process the realities of being Black in America, I'm faced with White people responding with comments and private messages that I'm attacking, disappointing, angering, or hurting them. Or, they use patronizing language like, 'Stacey, you're much smarter than this,' or 'I thought you were a more reasonable person.'
"How do I let them know that when I say things like 'White supremacy needs to be destroyed,' that I'm not talking about personally destroying them? How do I not become frustrated at those who jump in to debate and discredit what Black people are experiencing, in our own threads?" White Women, Please Don't Expect Me to Wipe Away Your Tears
, by Stacey Patton at Dame Magazine
. [more inside]
Among other common myths and misconceptions regarding serial murder in America
, one curious myth bears closer examination: the idea, propagated heavily in the media, that serial killers are almost always white men. This fascinating (though weirdly formatted) essay
discusses this phenomenon, and suggests possible reasons for the anonymity of African-American serial killers, including historical racial bias, stereotypical media portrayals of African-Americans, and the FBI’s promotion of static ethnocentric criminal profiling. [more inside]
[...]non-black [AirBnb] hosts earn roughly 12% more for a similar apartment with similar
ratings and photos relative to black hosts. [more inside]
Why I Yelled at the Kara Walker Exhibit
: "Anger shot up my body like a hot thermometer. Face flushed, I walked to the Mammy sphinx. Couples posed in front of it, smiling as others took their photos. So here it was, an artwork about how Black people’s pain was transformed into money was a tourist attraction for them... Something snapped... I yelled that this was our history and that many of us were angry and sad that it was a site of pornographic jokes." [more inside]
To be gay, Christian and black in Harlem
West African asylum seekers face a new kind of discrimination in the US
The most recent story in ProPublica's Living Apart: Examining America's Racial Divide
series is "Segregation Now
," which focuses on the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, city school district "and its fleeting experience with the challenges and virtues of integration." But beyond Tuscaloosa, "almost everywhere in the United States, the gains of integration have been eroded. And nowhere has that been more powerfully and disturbingly true than in the South – once home to both the worst of segregation and the greatest triumphs of integration. Freed from the federal oversight that produced integration, schools districts across the 11 former states of the Confederacy have effectively re-instituted segregation for large numbers of black students, in practical terms if not in law.
" [more inside]
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]
It's Not Just NYC: Across America, Only Black and Brown People Get Arrested for Pot
- "New York City
), the pot-bust capital
of the Western world, is notorious for the racial skewing
) of its marijuana arrests. Over the last 15 years, more than 85 percent of the half-million-plus people
charged with misdemeanor possession there have been black or Latino
. But the racial ratios of reefer roundups are equally extreme—if not worse—in scores of other U.S. cities
) as it
) ever was
Patrina Miller sings "Random Black Girl"
, a song about the one black girl in the musical's chorus. [more inside]
NOW WE CAN TRAVEL WITHOUT EMBARRASSMENT
was the advertising slogan used by the publisher of
The Negro Motorist Green Book
, a vital resource
for African-American travelers in a period when sundown towns (previously
) were still common. This slim volume
was published annually until 1964
for the benefit of black motorists
where they could sleep, eat, or purchase fuel.
A history of racial classification on the U.S. Census from 1790 to 2010.
: The Revolutionary Art
of Emory Douglas
, the Black Panther Party's Minister of Culture
from 1967 to 1979. Douglas is still alive and making posters
for the cause, in this case the San Francisco 8
, who were arrested earlier this year
for the murder of a police officer in 1971 -- despite the fact that evidence was thrown out of federal court in 1976 because "officers stripped the men, blindfolded them, beat them and covered them in blankets soaked in boiling water," and "used electric prods on their genitals." The SF Weekly
published a detailed 5-page story about the case
in November 2006.
Socially conscious rap and hip hop may be making a comeback, but it seems to be doing so at the expense of stereotyping and bigotry. Videos like Read a Book
(hilarious) and Serve Below Zero
may be intended to send a “good” message to the black community, but it’s hard to ignore blatant racist undertones (or overtones) in the lyrics and images. [more inside]
Welcome to The Wieners Circle
, a Chicago hot dog stand
where you can stumble in after a night at the bar and trade some colorful banter from the staff (along with your chocolate milkshake
). But a local tradition that was "supposed to be fun" often cuts a little too close for the black employees in the predominantly white Lincoln Park
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."
Black sues black for racism.
"Dwight Burch, a former [Applebee's] employee, accused his manager at the Jonesboro, Ga., restaurant of repeatedly referring to him as a 'tar baby' and 'Black monkey' during his three months at the restaurant." Here's the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
press release about the lawsuit (settled out of court for $40,000). The EEOC calls the case "rare"; BET says it's "increasingly common". But wait a minute: since black males make it a point to call each other "nigger", how can you tell self-deprecating camaraderie from self-loathing colorism?
In bigot versus bigot, white racist is winner
: "Hey, when you find a black bigot, feel free to censure and ostracize him or her as the circumstance warrants. I don't care. Just don't pretend the transgression is what it is not. Don't claim it represents a significant threat to the quality of life of white Americans at large." (via a2g2
blacks tend to favor checks.
"African-Americans ... are more likely than other racial groups to favor profiling and stringent airport security checks for Arabs and Arab-Americans in the wake of this month's terrorist attacks, two separate polls indicate."
"The findings by the Gallup Organization and Zogby International were
met with varying degrees of disappointment and disbelief by black activists and intellectuals, who struggled with explanations."
Could it be that income and education are more related to racialist attitudes than race itself?
Turmoil for black voters in Florida on Election Day.
Just like in the bad old days. Political situation in Duval County, Fla., presented in a historical and social context. From the Village Voice