‘There is an unbroken line of police violence in the United States that takes us all the way back to the days of slavery, the aftermath of slavery, the development of the Ku Klux Klan,” says Angela Davis. “There is so much history of this racist violence that simply to bring one person to justice is not going to disturb the whole racist edifice.”
Yeah. Indiana’s got a constitution, which says you can’t pass special laws for one city, one town, etc. But they got around that, because instead of saying, “We want to eliminate the buffer zone around Gary,” they said, “We want to eliminate the buffer zone around a city that has a river that runs through it, and that has a steel mill…” and by the time you got down to it, there was only one city in the state that fit that description.Gary, Indiana: the city that split in two.
A playable blog post about triangles, squares, bias, and society from Vi Hart and Nicky Case.
How to play the game of life when you are Black. Mike Sholars, associate editor at the Huffington Post Canada, on what it takes to "win". [more inside]
Racism Insurance Coverage for White Privilege is a clever short promoting the upcoming Sundance favorite Dear White People.
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]
A look behind the mask reveals a naïve techno-utopianism.
Twin Cities TV station KSTP ran a story alleging that Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges threw gang signs titled "Mpls. Mayor Flashes Gang Sign with Convicted Felon; Law Enforcement Outraged." Shawn King suggests it's an early frontrunner for most racist news story of 2014. Commentator Nekima Levy-Pounds points out that the media went to tired stereotypes instead of telling the actual story of civic engagement. Images tagged #Pointergate have proliferated online. Former Minnesota Viking Chris Kluwe refuses to weigh in, saying he "can only deal with one 'gate' idiocy at a time", despite the fact that this one actually is about journalism ethics.
“Someone recently came into the store and bought Belle and Sebastian and Darkthrone CDs,” laughs Connors. “It seems like the new thing now is that everyone in an indie band has a black metal solo side project. It all makes sense to me; black metal has easy appeal for music obsessives.”As Black Metal has become hip, Jessica Hopper asks whether its new fans are sufficiently aware of its problematic history or if in fact the racist and fascist undertones adds to its "weirdly exotic" cachet.
Potty-Mouthed Princesses Drop F-Bombs For Feminism (YouTube; NSFW), FCKH8's new video campaign, has gone viral - attracting both praise & criticism. FCKH8's campaigns have sparked similar mixed reactions before. [more inside]
Keene, New Hampshire tried to set a new world record for most pumpkins carved at their 2014 Pumpkin Festival, but failed to reach their goal. Instead, the news coverage of the Pumpkin Festival is for the vaguely related mayhem that erupted in neighborhoods near Keene State campus. It has been reported that the chaos was due to an influx of young people, up to 2,000 congregated in some areas, who threw billiard balls, rocks, debris and bottles full of liquor, and overturned at least one car. Police used tear gas and pepper balls to quell the crowds, and arrested 84 individuals. There were dozens of injuries, but no fatalities. In the larger discussion of various group gatherings and actions and the police response to such events, comparisons have been made between the Keene "pumpkin riot" and Ferguson. To which Luke O’Neil wrote Keene Is Not Ferguson—Despite the Police, Fires, and Tear Gas. Jordan Lebeau responded with a piece titled Actually, Comparing Keene to Ferguson Is Precisely What You Should Do (last two articles on Boston.com). [more inside]
When I knew the Clippers were drafting me, the first thing I did was type Donald Sterling’s name into Google. The first hit that came up was “Donald Sterling is a racist.” I read an article on how he didn’t want minorities to live in his apartment buildings. My first thought was, Wow this guy is really, really a racist … how is he an owner of an NBA team? My second thought was, Wow, these articles are from 2003 and 2008. I guess everybody already knows about this stuff and just doesn’t care. As players, we’re not supposed to really care about anything but basketball. We’re just supposed to perform. To be honest, I didn’t ever really think about bringing up Sterling’s past. What was I supposed to do? Just picture me at the press conference my rookie year. “Uh … hey, guys, before we talk about today’s game, did you happen to see that investigative report on my owner?” -- The Boss. An Essay about working for the NBA, by Blake Griffin. [more inside]
Barry Spurr, an expert on T. S. Eliot and the Virgin Mary, is Australia's first Professor of Poetry and Poetics. Appointed as one of two English subject specialists to the new Australian Review of the National Curriculum PDF, his concerns that "the Western literary canon" has been neglected and "the impact of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on literature in English in Australia" overemphasized in the existing curriculum are quoted liberally in the final report, which recommends that: "There ... needs to be a greater emphasis on dealing with and introducing literature from the Western literary canon, especially poetry," in Australian schools. The report has met with approval in the right-wing Australian press. Now, emails leaked to the New Matilda show that Spurr has spent the past several years sending messages from his University of Sydney email account referring to Native Australians as "Abos" and human "rubbish" and Asians as "chinky poos," calling Nelson Mandela a "darkie," Desmond Tutu a "witch doctor," and his own Vice Chancellor "an appalling minx," comparing Methodists to "serpents," and referring to women generally as "whores." Now, in the wake of the New Matilda exposé, the University of Sydney is investigating the emails and the Australian Education Minister is denying that the Abbott administration had anything to do with Spurr's appointment. Spurr, meanwhile, maintains that the emails were nothing more than "a whimsical linguistic game" and "repartee" shared with friends, which went right over the heads of the New Matilda journalists. There is also a petition to dismiss Spurr from the Review Commission.
The Whiteness Project is a multiplatform investigation into how Americans who identify as “white” experience their ethnicity.
Bias in the Box. "This is where Bryan Stevenson’s 'undeveloped understanding' comes into focus. A prosecutor may say with the utmost sincerity that he doesn’t exclude blacks [from a jury] because of their race, but because they or someone in their family has been a victim of discrimination, which leads them to distrust the system. Because of their experiences, they are believed to be less motivated to sentence someone to die and are therefore less desirable on a jury." (slVQR) [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]
Exhibit B is a performance art piece by white South African Brett Bailey. The piece features black actors in still images depicting scenes of slavery and as asylum seekers in living installations that recall the human zoos (previously) of the 19th and early 20th Centuries. The piece has been highly controversial, it has attracted significant critical acclaim, being described by art critics as unbearable and essential and "hugely powerful, deeply unsettling, but vital viewing". [more inside]
This is Science Magazine; this is one of their featured front-page stories (date stamped 17 September 2014 8:00 am): "The top 50 science stars of Twitter", by Jia You. The list has 46 men and 4 women. [more inside]
Matt Zoller Seitz writes about his personal experience with coming to understand his own white privilege, in particular with interactions with police. [more inside]
"He’s black, male and autistic," she says. "[I] never know if he’ll be accosted. You ask questions later and you shoot first. It’s happened too many times all over this nation." In the wake of Ferguson, parents of autistic young men of color discuss their fears. [more inside]
St. Paul police roughly assault and arrest man, who is black and sitting in public area waiting for his kids. [SLYT] Police defended arrest but all charges were dropped by St. Paul police against 27-year old Chris Lollie. Lollie is filing complaint and now plans on suing.
[...]non-black [AirBnb] hosts earn roughly 12% more for a similar apartment with similar ratings and photos relative to black hosts. [more inside]
Gerald Horne is the John J. and Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston. He is a prolific author whose most recent book is The Counter-Revolution of 1776: : Slave Resistance & the Origins of the United States of America (published by NYU Press; available on Google Books). From the publisher's description:
The so-called Revolutionary War, Horne writes, was in large part a counter-revolution, a conservative movement that the founding fathers fought in order to preserve their liberty to enslave others—and which today takes the form of a racialized conservatism and a persistent racism targeting the descendants of the enslaved.Early in the book, Horne writes:
The construction of 'whiteness' or the forging of bonds between and among European settlers across class, gender, ethnic, and religious lines was a concrete response to the real dangers faced by all of these migrants in the face of often violent rebellions from enslaved Africans and their indigenous comrades.He recently sat down with Paul Jay of the Real News Network for the show Reality Asserts Itself. The result is a far-ranging discussion that covers his youth growing up in Jim Crow era St. Louis, his personal and intellectual development, pre-revolutionary America and the lucrative business of slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and the Civil rights movement. The interview concludes by bringing us back to recent events, including the recent chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York, and the protests in Ferguson, Missouri. [more inside]
Why Did Michael Brown Die in Ferguson? - According to the police of Fergusson, Missouri it was because he reached for an officer's weapon, necessitating that he be shot multiple times as he ran away empty handed. Eyewitness tell a different story. Whatever happened the killing has prompted demonstrations and looting. Ferguson police responded in full force, firing teargas and wooden rounds into crowds of protestors and sealing the area off from the media. In the wake of the tragedy questions of racial profiling, the paramilitarization of police and media depictions of black shooting victims have been raised. Meanwhile the shooter has not been named to preserve his safety.
BigApps (previously) "is a competition that empowers the sharpest minds in tech, design, and business to solve NYC's toughest challenges." One of the finalists is the recently-launched SketchFactor, which aims to help users avoid "sketchy" neighborhoods by posting notes about crime, racial profiling, harassment, and desolation. Not surprisingly, the creators have faced racism accusations. The developers have responded to the charges on their website.
Confronting Dragonforce about their racist, homophobic past. An interview by 'Grim' Kim Kelly. Prior to being famous for having the most difficult song on Guitar Hero, Dragonforce were members of a band called Demoniac, whose lyrics were often racist, homophobic, and generally bigoted. Kelly's confronts the band about their past.
Last week, Pando.com's Mark Ames posted an article on the efforts of the GOP to recruit in Silicon Valley using libertarianism as a wedge and the history of libertarian links, particularly through Reason magazine, to racism. Reason responded, calling Ames a "conspiracy theorist". Ames, who has a history of digging into the seedy history of libertarianism, has responded by posting a copy of Reason's holocaust denial and revisionist history issue, along with profiles of its contributors and their involvement with Reason and late 20th century libertarianism.
Mey from Autostraddle interviews actress and advocate Laverne Cox on her Emmy nomination, the epidemic of violence against trans women of color, and how to create a more supportive and loving community. [more inside]
The Race Swap Experiment What happens when a black woman uses a white male avatar on Twitter? Something a lot more positive than what usually happens for her when she uses a picture of herself. [more inside]
True Lies is a 1994 action comedy film directed by James Cameron and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Tom Arnold. The film was a huge hit, and is noteworthy in that it featured visual special effects considered impossible only a few years prior. It's been 20 years since it was released. Time for a revisit, then. [SPOILERS if you haven't seen this movie.] [more inside]
Not too long ago, Sambo’s had 1,117 locations in 47 states—and a reputation for pushing racist iconography along with its breakfasts.
Ta-Nehisi Coates writes in The Atlantic:The Effects of Housing Segregation on Black Wealth. As the wealth gap widens between whites and blacks in America, and after reading this list and this list, he concludes The Ghetto Is Public Policy. [more inside]
Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan has been told by a court in the capital to reconsider the licensing of the Sinterklaas parade through the city last year, which became mired in controversy because of the Zwarte Piet character. The administrative court says the mayor has six weeks to look again at the decision to allow the parade to go ahead last year and determine if the correct one was taken. The administrative court said in its ruling the Zwarte Piet character a negative stereotype which is insulting to black people and the mayor must decide which interest is more important: that of black Amsterdammers or society in general, news agency ANP reported.It's official: Zwarte Piet (previously) is a racist, negative stereotype according to the Amsterdam courts. [more inside]
Hari Kondabolu on Why You Can’t Be ‘Obsessed With Race’ in America. “Saying that I’m obsessed with race and racism in America is like saying t hat I’m obsessed with swimming while I’m drowning. It’s absurd.” Hari Kondabolu of “Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell” fame on race in America. [more inside]
A microaggression is defined as "a question, a comment, even an intended compliment, sometimes, that nevertheless suggests something demeaning." (More from NPR.) The Microaggressions Tumblr publishes experiences with all kinds of microaggressions. [more inside]
"Although the Civil Rights Act passed the Senate by 73-27, with 27 out of 33 Republican votes, one of the six Republicans who voted against it was Barry Goldwater of Arizona, who weeks later became the GOP’s presidential standard-bearer and started the long process by which the Party of Lincoln became the party of white backlash, especially in the South. Today, Republicans hold complete legislative control in all 11 states of the Old Confederacy for only the second time since Reconstruction." [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]
“We pride ourselves on our multiculturalism and inclusiveness, but what kind of message are we sending to visitors and new Canadians from that region (South Africa) when they see this racial slur being used for a trendy ingredient with no thought as to how hurtful it might be to a segment of our own population?”The Vancouver Sun reports on the increasingly popular southeast Asian lime with the shockingly racist but obscure in Canada name. [more inside]
Take Me to Sanborns: Swiss Enchiladas and Race in Mexico City.
One afternoon early in their stay, [Jack] Johnson and Etta – who was white – walked into the famous Sanborns cafe in Mexico City's historic center for lunch. But before they could even place their order, owner Walter Sanborn refused to serve Johnson on racial lines. Johnson went and found a few of the generals he had met and told them what happened. They returned to Sanborns together and all sat down at the counter. They ordered ice cream. Everybody was served except for Johnson.
James Chaney. Andrew Goodman. Michael Schwerner. Murdered by the KKK 50 years ago today, in one of the galvanizing events of the struggle for civil rights in the South. (previously 1, 2, 3) [more inside]
How did Donelle Woolford's work cause Yams Collective (mNSFW) to withdraw from the Whitney Biennial? [more inside]
George F. Kennan, bigot. David Greenberg reviews The Kennan Diaries in The New Republic and discovers that the father of containment hated everyone, but didn't hate everyone equally. [more inside]
Phenderson Djèlí Clark details H. P. Lovecraft's racism (earlier version with links to recommended reading/listening). Daniel José Older situates HPL's racism within a more general aesthetics of disgust. Silvia Moreno-Garcia engages with racism in both HPL and Robert E. Howard through work such as co-editing a multicultural issue (pdf) of Innsmouth Magazine (formerly Innsmouth Free Press) and a new Sword & Mythos anthology. Balogun Ojetade explains how confronting racism in HPL and REH spurred his participation in the sub-genre of Sword and Soul.
The Racism Beat - Cord Jefferson writes about the repetitive mental strain of being a writer on racism.