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]
posted by flex
on Jul 2, 2014 -
The song "Turkey In The Straw" is one known to millions of Americans as well as many, many others around the world. Here's a National Public Radio article
that shines some light on the virulently racist lyrics that attended that familiar old melody in its earlier incarnation. WARNING: Do not go to the link if you wish to avoid racist imagery and slurs.
posted by flapjax at midnite
on May 14, 2014 -
The first thing we learned about war re-enactment is that it's fucking terrifying having guns fired at you, even ones loaded with blanks. The second thing we learned is a common re-enactor's dilemma called "The G.I. Effect", which is basically that people playing Americans don't like to die. So sometimes they just don't.It's Like Vietnam All Over Again, pt 1
. Part 2
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey
on Jan 4, 2013 -
Anyone familiar with the contemporary Russian humorous folklore (jokelore, or in Russian anekdoty) knows that one of the most popular series of such jokes revolves around the Chukchis, the native people of Chukotka, the most remote northeast corner of Russia. These jokes, especially popular in 1990s and 2000s, fit the international genre of ethnic stupidity jokes . . .
posted by jason's_planet
on Nov 10, 2012 -
The Burns Archive
is a collection of over 700,000 historical photographs that document disturbing
subject matter: obsolete medical practices and experiments, death, disease, disasters, crime, revolutions, riots and war. Newsweek posted a select gallery
this past October, as well as a video interview and walk-through
with curator and collector Dr. Stanley B. Burns, a New York opthalmologist. (Via) (Content at links may be disturbing to some.) [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Apr 26, 2011 -
Through a Lens Darkly
- on September 4, 1957, when 15-year-old Elizabeth Eckford tried to enter Little Rock Central High, she was blocked by the National Guard and surrounded by a screaming mob of 250: "Lynch her! Lynch her!" "No nigger bitch is going to get in our school! Get out of here!" "Go back to where you came from!" Looking for a friendly face, she turned to an old woman, who spat on her
. Dramatic news footage
. Ernest Green, another of the Little Rock 9 recalls
the first day of school. [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive
on Sep 25, 2007 -
Bought from a slave trader and put on display at the Bronx zoo:
the strange, sad story of Ota Benga, a Pygmy with filed teeth brought from the Congo to America in 1906. Here
are a couple of contemporary news accounts of the controversial exhibit. After the zoo, Benga tried to make a life in America, studying to be a missionary. "But what he really wanted to do
was to tell everyone in this country that his people were dying, and why. I think he thought that eventually they'd listen. But they never did. That, to me, is the real tragedy."
In 1916, at the age of 32, he built a ceremonial fire, chipped off the caps on his teeth, performed a final tribal dance, and shot himself
with a stolen pistol. Creationists
say the story illustrates "the racism of evolutionary theory" and "the horrors that evolutionary theory has brought to society."
posted by CunningLinguist
on Aug 7, 2006 -
"Approximately 250,000 persons viewed and passed by the bier of little Emmett Till. All were shocked, some horrified and appalled. Many prayed, scores fainted and practically all, men, women and children wept". Chicago Defender, September 1, 1955.
Federal officials this morning erected a white tent over the grave of Emmett Till
, Ill., in preparation to exhume the body
to shed light on the Chicago teenager's death
50 years ago.
Till, 14 years old at the time, was killed in a hate crime
in Money, Miss., that sparked the Civil Rights movement
. (previous Emmett Till MeFi threads here
posted by matteo
on Jun 1, 2005 -
"I am an American, so that is why I make films about America.
America is sitting on our world, I am making films that have to do with America (because) 60% of my life is America. So I am in fact an American, but I can't go there to vote, I can't change anything. We are a nation under influence and under a very bad influence… because Mr. Bush is an asshole and doing very idiotic things."
Lars Von Trier introduces his new film
at the Cannes Film Festival
picks up where «Dogville
» left off, with the character originated by Nicole Kidman -- now played by Bryce Dallas Howard -- stumbling
onto a plantation that time forgot, where slavery
still operates in the 1930s. The film (5 MB .pdf file, official pressbook)
ends, as Dogville did, with David Bowie’s Young Americans played over a photomontage of images that range from a Ku Klux Klan meeting to the Rodney King beating, George Bush at prayer and Martin Luther King at his final rest, American soldiers in Vietnam and the Gulf, the Twin Towers. More inside.
posted by matteo
on May 16, 2005 -
Rebecca Protten, born a slave in 1718, gained her freedom and joined a group of proselytizers from the Moravian Church
. She embarked on an itinerant mission, preaching to hundreds of the enslaved Africans of St. Thomas, West Indies. Weathering persecution from hostile planters, Protten and other black preachers created the earliest African Protestant congregation in the Americas. University of Florida historian Jon Sensbach
has written a book
about Protten's life -- the interracial marriage, the trial on charges of blasphemy and inciting of slaves, the travels to Germany and West Africa. Later in her life, after she moved to Germany, Rebecca was ordained as a deaconess: "a former slave now administered Communion and practiced other claims to spiritual authority over white women, including European aristocrats." More inside.
posted by matteo
on May 15, 2005 -
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 -
"The mob was rolling toward us for the second attack. This was, in a way, the worst of that night. For one thing, it was still daylight; later, when night fell, our own sense of organization helped us much more, but this was daylight and they poured down the road and into us, swinging broken fenceposts, billies, bottles, and wielding knives..." Howard Fast's account of a terrifying evening that was supposed to be an outdoor concert near Peekskill, NY. You can think about the political implications ("...it illustrates how easily, when terror is unleashed in a nation, it can take hold, and how thin the line is that separates constitutional government from tyranny and dictatorship...") or just enjoy the riveting tale. (Related song and picture here
posted by languagehat
on Dec 1, 2003 -
The Pornography of Racist Violence:
NYT Columnist Margo Jefferson reviews "Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America", and says the book is a "record of what we can call civil war crimes." She goes on to say:
"The images are also what the historian Leon F. Litwack calls, in his introduction, race pornography: they were often made into picture postcards that were mailed, with curt, gleeful or venomous messages to friends and foes with nary a peep from the United States postal authorities."
posted by likorish
on Dec 26, 2000 -